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The Mike Toole Show - O Big O, Where Art Thou?

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Joined: 04 Mar 2018
Posts: 124
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:41 pm Reply with quote
Mike, great job documenting The Big-O and thanks for all your efforts toward the franchise. While it was more uneven overall, I liked Season 2.

I have a few additional tidbits from my own research and personal efforts.

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

"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 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:
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.

**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!"
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Deacon Blues

Joined: 09 Mar 2005
Posts: 260
Location: Albuquerque, NM
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:16 pm Reply with quote
Man, I remember being so mad about Norman's voice actor being different. I don't know why they changed it but it honestly impacted quite a few scenes with him from Season 2. I still need to get the steel case release of this show... for the collection, of course.
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Joined: 25 May 2009
Posts: 28
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 6:17 pm Reply with quote
Being a rabid Giant Robo: The Animation fanatic, I was pretty pumped for Big O (that sounds not a little obscene, but I'm keeping it!). Unfortunately, the series was more than a little too weak in the execution of the plot, or, rather, the lack of one.

I'd much rather see a continuation of the original Giant Robo: The Animation series (not the atrocious remake);, and find out what happened after Big Fire personally steps into the frame, instead of working through his duplicitous tools.
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Arale Kurashiki

Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 580
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:48 pm Reply with quote
Having finished Big O since the last time an article was ran about it, I now find it (particularly season 2) to be a near masterpiece, and am strongly wishing for a season 3 (as long as Konaka and Katayama retain their roles, that is). Big O is in a very similar position to where Twin Peaks was: left for years on a bizarre ending which greatly expanded the story.

Of course, the apparent unpopularity of season 2 makes me wonder if fans would really appreciate season 3 all that much anyway, since I'm sure it would keep going with the bizarre manufactured reality stuff instead of pulling back to "normal" stories (at least sooner or later; based on the ending, my idea of what season 3 would have been is something like an AU version of season 1 that starts the same but diverges hard.)
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Joined: 21 Jul 2016
Posts: 118
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:12 pm Reply with quote
Still rewatch Big-O to this day, and the fact that S2 wasn't as popular perplexes me to this day. While I still love S1, very often it felt like it was spinning its wheels, delaying its way to the ending with mediocre in-between episodes. Whereas overall, I felt S2 had a stronger (if a bit more confusing) focus on the narrative, where I was actually looking forward to how it moves forward in the next episode every time.
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Hiroki not Takuya

Joined: 17 Apr 2012
Posts: 1296
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:22 am Reply with quote
While I'd love to write a letter of support for an S3 (to who exactly?) I'm afraid the poor performance of S1 in Japan and even poorer performance of S2 in the US means there is zero chance it would ever be considered. Really too bad because I always thought S2 was so weird because they knew everything they wanted the story to be had to fit the final 13 ep and I think it would have been immeasurably better and less weird if they would have had another 26 ep. I just got an original DVD of Ep1-4, rewatched and have been listening to a Youtube download of the OST. I discovered I miss this show and the great English VA work...
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Gina Szanboti

Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 8562
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:46 am Reply with quote
named after handsome TV detective Roger Smith

Learn something new every day! Though stating it like that confused the hell out of me, until I realized you were talking about the actor Roger Smith who played handsome detective Jeff Spencer on 77 Sunset Strip.
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Stampeed Valkyrie

Joined: 10 Aug 2014
Posts: 594
Location: PA
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:23 am Reply with quote
I think this show was very much a product of its times, the influence taken from the "Batman" animated series airing at the time was impossible to miss.

The first season was well paced and the buildup at the end would become a standard trope for 1 cour seasons to follow. However with the tone change in the 2nd season, and the buildup from the first season just written off. Who can really blame people for walking away from this title back in the early 2000s.

I've gone back and recently re watched both seasons and the breakdown between season 1 and 2 is quite jarring. Now that isn't to say season 2 was terrible, but the story ebb and flow and the disconnect in tone from the first season is probably what kills this for me.

I've held onto this series on Bandai DVDs.. (thank goodness) almost gave them away when they released the Blu-rays.. but after they pulled the OP that didn't sit well with me.
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Joined: 28 Oct 2018
Posts: 86
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:02 pm Reply with quote
I loved Big O--mostly for that damned cool intro. I had no idea for years that it was channeling the original Ultraman/Ultraseven intros (especially since I got into The Big O years before I fell in with Ultraman), I just thought it was trippy to see silhouettes of characters and the Big O spinning against a psychadelic background while a really obvious knock-off of Flash Gordon was playing.

I was broken-hearted to hear that the recent re-releases of The Big O don't feature this intro, because it's just not the same. It's like Gundam Wing without Just Communication, or Cyborg-009 without that weird instrumental piece they made for the US release. What a shame.
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Cardcaptor Takato

Joined: 27 Jan 2018
Posts: 2067
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:59 pm Reply with quote
I only just watched s2 for the first time earlier this year. I avoided it for a long time because of the negative fan reaction to it and I always really enjoyed the first season. Having seen it at all, I think s2 was pretty good actually though I can see how the shift in tone can be jarring. I was especially off put by the shift to digipaint animation and I never liked how Roger's design looked in s2 for some reason. I think the biggest issue with s2 was even though it had a strong mystery to it the plots of individual episodes weren't as memorable as the s1 episodes, especially the mecha designs. I personally liked the ending and felt like it fit in with a lot of sci-fi movies that came out around the time the original Big O was airing like The Matrix and Dark City and earlier sci-fi anime classics like Megazone 23. The original season also seemed to strongly hint at the true nature of Paradigm City with it's theme of memories and Schwarzwald's story. The Big O also had one of the best English dubs and was one of those shows where I felt the dub was better than the sub. The Big O, along with Voltron, Robotech, and Gundam Wing was one of my first mecha shows. And I think it played an important role in shaping what kind of sci-fi stories I enjoy.
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Joined: 11 Nov 2002
Posts: 45
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:40 am Reply with quote
Tweeted this to Jason Demarco...his response:

Ha! Interesting. I don’t recall us asking Konaka-San for any changes to the ending at all. But he may have felt that pressure to keep things open ended, I dunno. Our conversations with him were always about making things a bit more clear to the audience
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Joined: 01 Oct 2015
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:11 am Reply with quote
Correction on the comics: VIZ did bring over the first six, but they didn’t get the rest of them. The second wave of two volumes, Lost Memory, were also drawn by Hitoshi Ariga, more known for drawing Mega Man comics for Capcom.
—Mr. Konaka’s other best friend name-checked on his website.
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Joined: 15 Oct 2019
Posts: 3
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:38 am Reply with quote
Wow, what a nostalgia trip. I learned a lot from this article; those kinds of behind the scenes glimpses tend to be fascinating, so I'm glad it was featured.
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Joined: 03 Mar 2012
Posts: 619
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:01 am Reply with quote
Is it out of the possibility that maybe some kind of kick starter might be launched and gaine some of the finances from fans in order to make more of the Big O? I am not talking about a full fledged series bu maybe just enough for an ova or two which are enough to care more of the issues left?
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Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 264
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:52 am Reply with quote
I passed on Big O for a long time but eventually got it on DVD and watched season 1. I enjoyed things about it like the art and English voices, but didn't like big parts of it like the lack of a driving story, plot holes, and reused animation scenes taking up like 5 minutes of every episode. There were a few episodes that really stood out and I loved but mostly it was just entertaining enough to keep me watching. I never watched season 2 just because I didn't like season 1 enough. I think this might be similar to a lot of people with season 1 being popular and season 2 not. I watched season 1 even if I didn't think it was the best but didn't watch season 2.
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