Mar 15, 2017
InkSpider (All reviews)
The Positive Side: Like Cowboy Bebop, Big O benefits greatly from a cyber-noir atmosphere and voice-acting talents of Steve Blum. The romantic relationship between Rodger Smith and the robot Alice is by turns, deeply moving and bleakly hysterical. The exploration of the humanity in androids feels like a throw-back to Isaac Asimov in his prime. While this is primarily an episodic series, each episode is well-plotted, setting up mysteries and following the unique schemes of various cackling baddies.

The Negative Side: Can a good show be retroactively ruined by a bad ending? It’s hard to say, but no show comes closer to fitting that description than Big O. The finales of Seasons 1 and 2 are by far the worst episodes in the series. After twenty episodes of grounded, though imaginative, cyber-noir, the show takes a sideway leap into mind-shattering nonsense. Rodger is inexplicably hurled into an alternate universe where he is a beggar instead of a wealthy and respected Negotiator. Characters suddenly become actors on a stage, playing themselves to entertain an imaginary audience. A character named Angel suddenly sprouts wings, time reverses, and the cockpit of a gigantic mecha inexplicably fills up with tomatoes. Watching characters we have followed and come to care about vanish into the gaping jaws of insanity, we are left desperately asking what has just happened, and eliciting no coherent response.
This is not to say that Big 0 would be perfect if not for the finales, as there are plenty of other faults. The opening theme music is some of the most obnoxious I have ever heard, repeatedly blaring the name the titular mecha in lieu of actual lyrics. This is especially baffling when compared to the ending theme, a beautiful piece of work that can still draw my tears.
Though the anime moves along fine on story and character alone, the artwork fails to impress. Villains are all comically ugly, and all the characters have these flat, pupil-less eyes that just make them look dead and lifeless. The action isn’t bad on its own, but the hamminess of giant mecha battles tends to clash with the rest of the tone.
Big O may not be a bad series, but it is certainly a lot worse than it could have been. Watching it is more likely to prove frustrating than satisfying.