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Revisiting The Big O - 20 Years Later


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Advent_Nebula



Joined: 04 Jul 2004
Posts: 894
Location: Colorado
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:56 pm Reply with quote
I still love this series, sure the ending is a convoluted mess, but the film noir atmosphere of the series, as well as Dorthy and Angel make this series I revisit every several years.
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Takkun4343



Joined: 19 Jul 2007
Posts: 761
Location: Gahanna, Ohio
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:00 pm Reply with quote
"The Greatest Villain" is the best episode and none of you can convince me otherwise.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 3276
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:27 pm Reply with quote
I feel that this show worked really well being episodic,and when it tried to have an over arching plot, it just didn't come together all that well.
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LightningCount



Joined: 04 Mar 2018
Posts: 75
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:39 pm Reply with quote
I always wonder about the optioned Season 3 that ANN reported on. There have been several interviews since stating that Cartoon Network execs were privy to the concept for Season 3 and had considered it; and I successfully got an email response back in the day from Konaka himself stating he was basically interested in continuing things. (He even sort of campaigned for it himself during that time on his website.) There were some murmurs during that time, too, that pieces of Season 2 were altered to allow for a Season 3.

Here's a timeline I made a while back, even though I believe there have been a few additional statements since:

**6/9/2003: Animenewsnetwork.com
"More Big O"
According to Television Week, Cartoon Network has an option for 26 more episodes of "The Big O" should the series do well on Adult Swim. That's 26 additional episodes after the 13 new ones.

**Sometime between 11/2003 and 9/2004
Head writer, Chiaki J. Konaka, had the Big-O logo up on his website on a sidebar with the statement, "Do you want to see 3rd?"

**1/5/2005 Toonzone.net Interview with CN Producer Sean Akins
ToonZone: Toonami's helped get new episodes of some old shows on the air, like ReBoot and The Big O. Are there any series you'd like to see continued?

Sean Akins (CN Producer): The Big O, we co-produced that second season. I thought it was a great project, I liked it a lot. But I think it's a little bit too cerebral. It started off on Toonami and moved to Adult Swim, and it did okay but it wasn't really burning it up. I would love to see that finished, but I think the likelihood of that is slim to none. Mainly, these days we're trying to make new shows, co-produce new shows, and get some new things on the air instead of looking back.


**12/6/2005 Letter Response
I received this email response from head writer, Chiaki J. Konaka:
Hello.
Thank you for enjoying "The Big-O".
Unfortunately, there is no project about the "Season 3".
But If you and fans of "The Big-O" want it,
The staff of "The Big-O" could be reunion.
Regards.
cjk


**2/2006 Kim Manning's Ask Adult Swim Q&A
Question: And what is up with Big O Season 3?
Answer: I wasn't in on this, so I asked Jason DeMarco, who was involved in production for season 2, and here's what he said: "Unfortunately, I don't think it can happen. The ratings and DVD sales in the US and Japan were middling. The only reason Bandai made season 2 was because we asked them to, as a matter of fact. I myself am happy with the ending of the story in season 2, though the writer, Chiaki Konaka, told me he did have another idea for season 3....there you go!"

-------
If nothing else, the show's mysterious atmosphere and riddles are still among the best in anime, I feel. Personally, it's still one of my all-time favorites. Episodes like "R-D," "Enemy is Another Big," and "Roger the Wanderer" are especially remarkable. I remember thinking I wouldn't like this series, but then I saw it and was hooked.


Last edited by LightningCount on Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Kicksville



Joined: 20 Nov 2010
Posts: 679
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:57 pm Reply with quote
Oh booo. Boooo. I wasn't expecting even a negative take on The Big O to chalk up the dislikes to merchandising, of all things. Its unusual visual style and mechanical designs, and mystery laden "you're on your own figuring this out" storytelling and endings weren't risky? It's still unusual and unique even now. Why do you think it didn't sell any merchandise?
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unready



Joined: 07 Jun 2009
Posts: 366
Location: Illinois, USA
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:11 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
... severe class inequity ...
... a pension for snarky smart-mouthing ...

While it's possible the author meant inequity (unfairness or injustice), it's more likely he meant inequality (a difference in conditions or circumstances).
I doubt he meant pension (a regular payment made to a retiree). I suspect he meant penchant (inclination or tendency).
I found it difficult to read too carefully after that.

FWIW, I think Big O in English is one of the best dubs among a field of really unimpressive dubs. Lia Sargent nailed Dorothy's deadpan robot humor perfectly.

Cogent references (not Family Guy style inane shout-outs) to classic SF (Asimov, ITC, Flash Gordon, etc.) sprinkled throughout the series convinced me the producers and writers were targeting fans of the wider genre, even though most references probably went unnoticed by most of the audience.
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Sakura Shinguji



Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 140
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:05 pm Reply with quote
Toshihiko Sahashi's music is probably the most unerappreciated aspect of the series, particularly in regards to the creators' paying homage to different other works.

Certainly, if people are aware at all of the music from the series, it's most likely because of the opening theme songs, and specifically the concern regarding, and subsequent replacement of, the second season's opening theme.

But for anyone who hasn't noticed, the BGM throughout the show is also referential, or paying homage, or gleefully riffing on a number of existing genre pieces and themes.

For example, and this definitely falls into the "okay, that's pretty obvious" territory, you have a Twilight Zone theme riff that's prominently utilized in one track. My personal favorite is one of the recurring heroic robot battle tracks that is in its entirety a clear tip of the hat to the end credit theme by Vangelis from Blade Runner.

I suppose one could chalk this up to laziness if so inclined, but rather than being a disappointingly habitual career-spanning crutch (see: Kanno, Yoko), it seems perfectly appropriate for Sahashi to have gone this route for this particular project, whether at the behest of the creators or of his own accord.
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Arale Kurashiki



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 539
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:38 pm Reply with quote
Kicksville wrote:
Oh booo. Boooo. I wasn't expecting even a negative take on The Big O to chalk up the dislikes to merchandising, of all things. Its unusual visual style and mechanical designs, and mystery laden "you're on your own figuring this out" storytelling and endings weren't risky? It's still unusual and unique even now. Why do you think it didn't sell any merchandise?

Similarly, the article's characterization of the season one finale as just messy haphazard plot points thrown together is pretty poor, as I found it to be a masterpiece in terms of dropping the other shoe and showing you just what this show's really about with a sudden tonal shift. It's not that it's "a miracle" if you can understand it, it's that you literally can't understand it, because it's deliberately not giving you context. This wasn't done for no reason!
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Ajc228



Joined: 29 Dec 2015
Posts: 215
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:56 pm Reply with quote
Chiaki J. Konaka wrote all the scripts for the second season and it shows. The second season is slower, obtuse and pretentious. I try to pretend there is just one season.
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JackCox



Joined: 22 Jun 2006
Posts: 379
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:56 pm Reply with quote
Even if it's by no means perfect, it still blows almost anything that airs today out of the water. It's fun and entertaining even if it gets convoluted.
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Zhou-BR



Joined: 28 Feb 2008
Posts: 901
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:04 pm Reply with quote
I didn't get to watch this show until two years ago, when Sentai released it on Blu-ray. Knowing the reputation of the second season's ending, I was surprised by how much I liked it. I guess I just have a soft spot for Chiaki Konaka's mindf**ks.

What really bothered me was the jarring visual downgrade when the show switched from hand-painted cels to digipaint between seasons. Even though the first season was upscaled from SD component masters instead of getting a new telecine from the original film elements, it still looks much better in HD than the second season.


Last edited by Zhou-BR on Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Hiroki not Takuya



Joined: 17 Apr 2012
Posts: 1104
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:32 am Reply with quote
Funny that in another thread mention was being made of nostalgia for CN-AS shows such as Bebop and The Big O and here we have a full-on (review?). In The Name of God, Ye Guilty...I'll put myself in the league of those that both like and hate the show and how the many loose ends got knotted together in the end (plus the zinger last two scenes). I mostly agree with said article though, if the writer could have figured out what story they wanted to tell or if they could have figured out how to tell a cogent story over at least 12 consecutive episodes period, it could have been great. I'd love to see a third season if it meant straightening out the mess of story ideas in a way that made sense but that obviously won't ever happen. Memories, WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY??
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Ashabel



Joined: 16 Feb 2010
Posts: 257
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:51 am Reply with quote
Hiroki not Takuya wrote:
Funny that in another thread mention was being made of nostalgia for CN-AS shows such as Bebop and The Big O and here we have a full-on (review?). In The Name of God, Ye Guilty...I'll put myself in the league of those that both like and hate the show and how the many loose ends got knotted together in the end (plus the zinger last two scenes). I mostly agree with said article though, if the writer could have figured out what story they wanted to tell or if they could have figured out how to tell a cogent story over at least 12 consecutive episodes period, it could have been great. I'd love to see a third season if it meant straightening out the mess of story ideas in a way that made sense but that obviously won't ever happen. Memories, WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY??


Chiaki J. Konaka knew full well what kind of story he wanted to tell. In fact, that is kind of the problem. Where most showrunners plan out multiple endings for their series just in case it gets canceled halfway (Code Geass notoriously had three emergency endings just for the first season), he wrote a single 52-episode outline and persistently stuck with it regardless of how many times the series got canceled.

So it's not that The Big O is incoherent, it's that it's literally unfinished. There are still twenty six episodes to go.
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Arale Kurashiki



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 539
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:53 am Reply with quote
Also, it's Konaka. Even the finished story would have still been weird, because he's a weird writer. This persistent idea that "the story doesn't make sense, and this is an objective flaw the writer didn't intend" is naive.
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Hiroki not Takuya



Joined: 17 Apr 2012
Posts: 1104
PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:16 pm Reply with quote
^^I'm not one to necessarily follow a writer's body of work, I just watch the show in front of me. If I can't see a clear story arc and instead see a series of unsolved mysteries piling up episode on episode with no resolution or connection in sight and see a big turn midway to another direction with a lot of new elements thrown in on the top of the pile, it seems like aimless storytelling.

While one could argue all day from a vacuum that the story would have eventually made sense, after about 20 episodes of 52 I would expect to begin to see at least a glimmer of the proverbial light. And in deference, I don't mean to say the story was nonsense, but there were so many disparate elements (absent the mere presence of Roger and crew) and apparent contradictory information I couldn't see any way they could be connected with a coherent overarching storyline.

Since naivete is alleged, can your sophistication connect the dots without resorting to anything after Ep23 in a sentence or two?
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