The Big O

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The Big O
Director Kazuyoshi Katayama
Format Anime (TV)
Made By Sunrise
Episode Length 22 Minutes
# of Episodes 26


Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Steampunk

Short Outline

Forty years ago, a catastrophe known as The Event turned the world into an empty, barren wasteland and erased all memories in Paradigm City prior to The Event. In this city of amnesia, Roger Smith performs the much-needed job of Negotiation, protects the city, and uncovers the mysterious events of forty years ago with the help of his Butler, android maid, and giant black robot: a mysterious, powerful Megadeus named "The Big O."

Main Description

Plot Synopsis

Roger Smith leads a simple yet dangerous life of negotiation between conflicting parties, occasionally finding himself in situations that cannot be resolved with his trademark charm, gadgets, or a tip from his shady informant, Big Ear. In these extreme cases, he summons The Big O, an advanced mechanical titan hidden beneath the labyrinthine abandoned subway tunnels of Paradigm City, to defend the city and its residents from giant robots, genetic experiments gone wrong, and the occasional remnants of The Event. He is aided by his elegant butler, Norman Burg, and the emotionless R. Dorothy Wayneright, a perfect android replica of a mad scientist's deceased daughter, who is taken in by Roger Smith after a negotiation that results in her creator's death. No one knows where The Big O came from, who built it, why Roger Smith can pilot it effortlessly despite having no memories of being trained to do so, or why it was built; only that it obeys Roger Smith's commands and displays the message "CAST IN THE NAME OF GOD, YE NOT GUILTY" whenever Roger Smith enters the cockpit.

oh god what is happening

As Roger Smith stumbles across more relics of the Event and finds himself deeper in Paradigm City's mysteries, he encounters increasingly powerful enemies and barriers that guard the secrets of forty years ago. Schwarzwald, a former reporter for the powerful Paradigm Corporation who is driven insane after unearthing memories beneath Paradigm City, terrorizes the city in hopes that the citizens will search for truth. Alex Rosewater, president of the oligarchical Paradigm Corporation, becomes obsessed with obtaining memories after witnessing the unstoppable power of The Big O and pursues them ruthlessly. Angel, the beautiful secretary to Alex Rosewater, secretly exploits Paradigm Corporation and Roger Smith in her own pursuit of memories. As more and more citizens begin to regain memories prior to The Event, the city is increasingly threatened by giant robots and relics thirsting for memories, forcing Roger Smith to face powerful enemies, the chilling events of forty years ago, and the nature of his own identity in a strange fusion of noir, mecha, psychological thriller, action, romance, and mystery that accelerates to one of the most notorious grand finales in anime.

Unfortunately for its fans, The Big O was cancelled after its second season due to lack of funds and interest on behalf of Cartoon Network. As a result, the vast majority of Paradigm City's mysteries remain unsolved.

If You Liked This, You Might Like...

If you enjoyed watching Big O tear through robots like cheap cardboard, try

If you prefer mindgames, psychological puzzles, and memories, watch

If you were thrilled by all the hostage situations and neat gadgets, look up

If you dig the cool jazz atmosphere of Paradigm City, get a hold of

Personal Opinions

Big Big Moon

The major downside to The Big O is that it moves very, very slowly in the first season and far too quickly in the second season. The first thirteen episodes is a series monster-of-the-week scenarios with a good 10-15 minute portion of Roger Smith doing his detective work, a 5-minute battle, a humorous conversation with Dorothy, and some clue to the nature of The Event. It's very formulaic and predictable, and a lot of viewers get turned off by the similarities between The Big O and the Batman cartoons. Faithful viewers are rewarded with Act 13, which opens up a Pandora's Box that turns the rest of the series into a fast-paced mindfuck with major plot events occurring every ten minutes. The end result, unfortunately, leaves the viewer hungering for more, since the series was cancelled after the second season. In every other aspect, Big O is flawless: the animation is gorgeous and heavily stylized, the robots are appropriately lumbering and hard-hitting, the characters are distinct and entertaining, and the soundtrack really shines through wherever it turns up. Big O is one of the weirdest series out there, but definitely one of the most entertaining. As cheesy as it sounds, watching Big O beat the stuffing out of anything in front of him with those piledriver arms never gets old.


  • Save Big O - An ongoing petition for a third season. Also includes an in-depth Big O FAQ, several links, and news updates.
  • Paradigm City - The prime Big O internet resource. Includes information on all major characters, plot lines, robot specs, essays, and a forum dedicated to speculation and discussion.
  • Big O vs Big Duo - A two-minute clip of a standard Big O fight scene.