Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Big O - THE ビッグオー

In my early teens I went through a stage when I thought to totally distance myself from childish things as a way to feel and appear more mature among my peers. One of these things was cartoons. Nothing seemed more puerile and, quite honestly, silly to me than a boy growing into a man and still watching cartoons; comic books and offbeat manga (Japanese comics), another love of mine, were also cast by the way side, but cartoons had always been a love of mine.

At first things progressed fairly well; I stopped watching cartoons and replaced them with shows like Boy Meets World, Sunday Night Football, Football on Telemundo, and other more teen oriented or "grown up" programing. However, one day, bored to tears with another inane plot on Boy Meets World, I happened to turn on Cartoon Network out of sheer desperation, and that's when it happened. Perhaps it was fate or destiny, though I don't really believe in either, but whatever it may have been I now know that I had stumbled upon a diamond in the rough. The Big O is, without a doubt, the greatest animated series ever created.

Okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit (Batman: The Animated Series is the greatest, but the Big O is definitely a close second), but the show was seriously something awesome. Not only was I riveted by it to the point where I renounced my abstinence from cartoons, but I was also compelled to force my younger brother to watch it as well (though he got hooked just as easily as I did, so no harm no foul). Of course I was instantly reduced back to my previous juvenile status, but by that point I could have cared less how jejune I appeared before anyone; I was in love.

I don't know if it was the plot itself, the Batman-esque/Film Noir style, the music, or the characters, but I absolutely fell in love with this cartoon; and this is significant because I absolutely abhor giant mecha animes/cartoons. However, before I get ahead of myself, allow me to introduce the plot so that you may have something to go by.

Extracted From Wikipedia Because I'm Lazy:

The Big O
deals with the nature of memories. A memory is a record stored in the brain of an organism, but in Paradigm City memories can mean much more.[1] "Memories" (メモリー Memorī?) embody the lost knowledge of its residents, and can take the form of records from before the Event, forgotten artifacts from the previous era or manifest themselves as recollection, hallucinations and recurring dreams.

The first half of the series is episodic. Each Act revolves around different citizens of Paradigm dealing with the resurgence of lost Memories and how they manage to go on living without knowledge of what did or did not happen. The final episodes introduce elements that come into play during season two like the existence of people outside of Paradigm City, the nature of the Cataclysm that destroyed the world and the "Power of God wielded by the hand of man."

The second season takes an arc-based approach. Instead of self-contained stories like in season one, season two features a continuous storyline. The second season makes Alex Rosewater, CEO of the Paradigm Corporation, a direct antagonist to The Negotiator and introduces The Union, agents of a foreign power working within Paradigm.

Now I know this show isn't going to be everyone's metaphorical cup of tea, but I've long come to accept that; I'm a weirdo who's into weird things. However, I dare one person to tell me that they don't at least like the characters of Rodger Smith and R.Dorothy Wayneright (Possible Batman Reference?). Rodger Smith, your typical film noir private investigator (or Negotiator as the case may be) always trying to play it cool, sometimes succeeding and sometimes hilariously failing; and R.Dorothy Wayneright-a walking enigma, the deadpan snarker, and the ultimate straight (wo)man. The two of them are the most dynamic and lovable characters, out of a small number, I've seen to date.

As you can probably guess by now, I'm a fanboi to the max as it concerns this show (I've signed every petition that has ever circulated in an effort to get this show a third season). However, despite this I must admit that the show did have a few flaws. One of the flaws I noted was that, while enjoyable overall, the second season tried to do too much too quickly; though this was understandable given the fact that the show was rather abruptly being canceled after the second season. Also, some of the minor characters could be a bit on the annoying side, and at times the plot would hit you with a curve that might leave you wondering why that element was even included. These are only fairly minor complaints, in my opinion, so I wouldn't allow them to sway you away from checking out this series.

So, if you're still interested after everything I've written I invite you to check the show out. I can't guarantee that you won't be disappointed, but I can say that I was certainly not.

We Have Come to Terms...

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