Big O (mecha)

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"Cast in the Name of God..."

Big O (ビッグオー Biggu Ō?) is the titular mecha of The Big O anime TV series, a black megadeus piloted by series protagonist Roger Smith. The robot was designed by series creator Keiichi Sato, who also designed the Mazinger mechas featured on the Mazinkaiser OVA and the mutant creatures of The SoulTaker TV series.

Design[edit]

Big O's design was the creators' way of creating something distinguishable from the Gundam franchise and the Real Robot series inspired by it. Instead of blocky body parts, Sato designed a mecha where the chest and hips were not separate from the rest of the body. That way, the giant's movement would seem sluggish, comparable to the giants of old tokusatsu shows, portrayed by actors in bulky, heavy costumes. According to Sato, the name "Big O" comes from the opening theme of Daitetsujin 17, "Oh! Giant Ironman".[1][2]

Big O's summoning is an homage to Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Giant Robo. By calling the megadeus' name into his wristwatch, Roger informs the giant it is "Showtime!" and it comes to its master's side.[3] The boot sequence ("Cast in the name of God, Ye not guilty") is a design of series director Kazuyoshi Katayama. Katayama first learned of the phrase through a magazine article on John Milius and the Conan the Barbarian series. According to the article, the phrase comes from the swords of executioners in the 17th century. A variation of the phrase ("Suffer no guilt ye who wields this in the name of Crom") is engraved in Conan's sword.[4] Katayama liked the sound of it and decided to use it as the robot's call to arms.[5] The phrase is generally seen as the megadeus judging the pilot's worthiness to sit in the cockpit. Roger also tends to shout the phrase "Big O! And... Action!" before marching into battle, furthering the series' prevalent theater and film themes.

Characteristics[edit]

Whenever Roger enters Big O, he is greeted by the message, "Cast in the name of God, ye not guilty."

The black megadeus makes its first appearance on the show by the end of "Roger the Negotiator", when it is summoned by Roger to foil a robbery. It is established early on this is not Big O's first appearance in Paradigm City;[6] onlookers, including Chief of Police Dan Dastun, cheer him on, distinguishing the hero from the villain. Beyond Paradigm, it's a different story. When Big O shows up in "Electric City", the locals don't know what to make of it; and during "The Call from The Past" a local fisherman fears it, believing the metal behemoth to be a "Sea God" (海の神 umi no kami?). The first season finale suggests Big O and several other Big-type megadeuses played a part in the cataclysm that destroyed the world when Roger's nightmarish vision shows the megadeus as one of the giants burning down the city.

Big O is slow, lumbering, and heavy compared to more agile and lighter mecha featured in other series. However, it is at least capable of breaking into a run, and its movement speed is more or less directly related to the pilot's own reaction time.

Big O's cockpit is located in its collar area. The actual pilot console is enclosed in a glass dome on a raised pedestal to protect the pilot from harsh environments, and Roger is able to see through the large orange window on Big O's neck. When entering or exiting the megadeus, either the entire collar portion rises up on hydraulic pistons or the large orange window can split in half and part like an automatic door.

At times, Big O appears to have a mind of its own. When Roger is in danger of being killed during the last episode of the first season, the megadeus goes to its master and stops the assassin. Roger is in the habit of talking to it, even though Big O is never heard talking back. During the fight with Bonaparte in "The Third Big", Big O locks itself and lets Roger out because R. Dorothy is in danger.[7] In "Enemy Is Another Big!", Schwarzwald suggests that Big O may have chosen Roger, not the other way around;[8] while the killer android R.D. implies those who pilot a megadeus respond to a higher power and have a great mission to accomplish.[9] In the middle of a hallucination during "Roger the Wanderer", The Negotiator remembers how Big O was waiting for him. Big O, like other Big-type megadeuses, is able to fuse with its pilot via a series of prehensile cables designed to attach to the pilot's spine. It attempts this process in the final episode, but Roger convinces it otherwise.[10]

Features[edit]

The Big O possesses a varied array of weapons. Unlike other mecha series, where the robot's weapons come from specifically designed equipment or spiritual energy, the creators of The Big O took an old-school approach. The cockpit includes an assortment of pedals, levers and buttons that control the giant and the weapons are hidden within the giant itself, so only by displacing certain parts of the megadeus' armor can the pilot make use of them.[11][12]

The Big O's main weapon is the Sudden Impact (サドンインパクト Sadon Inpakuto?).[13] It works by retracting the pressurized pistons inside the arms and subsequently releasing them. In "Roger the Negotiator", the combined strength of Big O's punch and the Sudden Impact explodes a hole in Dorothy-1's chest. In "Beck Comes Back", the released gust beheads the Beck Victory Deluxe; while in "Enemy Is Another Big!", it goes through three skyscrapers. The Sudden Impact can also be used to propel Big O through water as shown in "The Call From The Past".

The Chrome Buster (クロムバスター Kuromu Basutā?) is first used in Act:03. It is a concentrated energy beam fired from Big O's crown. The weapon is charged when Big O points its forearms upward and continues charging until Big O slams its fists together in front of it, at which point a beam fires continuously until the megadeus' hands separate. The beam can be sustained for a long time ("Day of The Advent") or fired in short continuous bursts ("Hydra"), though its output grows weaker the longer it is sustained. The material that makes up Big O's head ornament and cockpit viewport can deflect beams ("Beck Comes Back") but it can also crack under pressure ("Enemy is Another Big!") and even be destroyed ("The Show Must Go On"). Big O is also capable of shooting laser beams out of its eyes called the Arc Line (アークライン Āku Rain?), first seen in "Bring Back My Ghost".

Big O concept art. A number of features designed in pre-production did not make it to the final product.

Hidden in the megadeus' abdominal area are 18 missiles, used for an attack known as Missile Party (ミサイルパーティー Misairu Pātī?) first seen in "Underground Terror". The upper chest houses six machine gun barrels for an attack known as Cannon Party (キャノンパーティー Kyanon Pātī?), first used in the fight with the mummified Big Duo in "Enemy Is Another Big". Big O's hips hide rocket-propelled anchors called the Mobydick Anchors (モビーディックアンカー Mobīdikku Ankā?), attached to the megadeus by chains strong enough to support the robot's weight ("Enemy Is Another Big!"). During the second season opener, it is revealed the waist is actually made up by two rows of eight anchors each. The anchors may be guided from the cockpit, as seen in "Twisted Memories" and it appears as though there are multiple anchors and chains in each launcher. This is seen on several occasions when Big O has fired off an anchor, detached the chain, and another anchor appears in it its place on Big O's hip. Other features include arm shields, a radar, a communication device and a station to keep the Griffon located in either foot. ("Stripes").

Big O's original design included interchangeable weapons for the robot's arms.[1] While this feature is not displayed in the TV series, it was implemented in the manga incarnation.[14] Some of the weapons featured in the manga are an electric attack arm, drill arm, a rocket-propelled mace and an upgraded Sudden Impact.[15]

New weapons were designed for the show's second season.

The first one is the O Thunder (オーサンダー Ō Sandā?), a pair of gatling-style guns contained within Big O's forearms, first used during "Negotiations with The Dead". Once activated, the armor covering the forearm opens exposing four gun barrels. The rotating barrels fire energy volleys at high-speed, while generating a ring of energy that explodes on impact.

The Plasma Gimmick (プラズマギミック Purazuma Gimikku?) is used for the first time during the "Hydra" battle.[16] The armor on Big O's shoulders and forearms opens, revealing electric shield projectors. These then project a spherical shield of plasma which surrounds Big O and protects him from any incoming attack. If the foot button used to activate the Plasma Gimick is pressed again, the shield can be used as a weapon. Big O raises his forearm projectors and the plasma shield increases in area, destroying anything surrounding the Megdeus.

During Big O's fight with Big Fau, the latter utilizes some kind of energy shield, which may be its own Plasma Gimmick.

The Final Stage (ファイナルステージ Fainaru Sutēji?) is used during the final episode.[17] Big O's 'steam boiler' chestplate opens up and a massive, telescopic cannon emerges from the Megadeus' chest. The Mobydick Anchors are deployed into the ground to withstand the recoil, the Plasma Gimmick is activated to protect the momentarily incapacitated Megadeus and the Sudden Impact pistons are primed to give a little extra firepower to the projectile itself. The cannon has enough destructive force to destroy an entire dome in one shot and is so powerful that it erodes itself to rust and breaks off of Big O after use, leaving a big hole in the Megadeus' chest.

Appearances in other media[edit]

The Big O manga[edit]

A manga adaption of the show was created shortly before the second season began airing. The stories were loose rettellings of the first and, at the time, unseen second season episodes of the show with a few original chapters included as well. Big O's appearance in the manga was practically the same as in the show, he is called upon when negotiations get too complicated or when a Megadeus appears. The only variation is that Big O had interchangeable arms in the manga with different weapons, a feature shown in the original designs of Big O during the production of the anime's first season but was never implemented in the show itself.

Super Robot Wars[edit]

Big O is featured in Super Robot Wars Destiny for the Game Boy Advance. In true Super Robot Wars fashion, the megadeus is super deformed, while its pilot stays in his regular full detailed form. Due to the time of the game's release, it only featurerd weapons, storylines and characters from the anime's first season and it replaces the myseterious cataclysm of 40 years ago with the release of Getter Energy from Shin Getter Dragon in Getter Robo Armageddon. Several attacks which were not named in the series are given names in this game, though the canonicity of said names is unknown.

Big O is also featured in Super Robot Wars Z, and its sequels, and, being released after the show's end, covers both seasons. This means that it includes all storylines, characters, weapon names and all other continuity from The Big O franchise. If the player chooses to stay in Paradigm City, the storyline leads to a bad ending in which The Event happens once more, complete with an army of Bigs overwhelming the player's forces.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Birth of the Big O". The Big O DVD Volume 1. Bandai Entertainment.
  2. ^ In the series, the word "Big" (ビッグ Biggu?) identifies a type of robot of similar make and model to Big O.
  3. ^ Toole, Mike (2003-09-24). "The Big O vols. 1-4". Anime Jump. Retrieved 2006-11-11. [dead link]
  4. ^ Waterman, E. (April 1997). Jody Samson, Master Sword Maker. The Barbarian Keep, 1.
  5. ^ "Anime Central 2003 Panel". A Fan's View. Retrieved 2006-11-23. [dead link]
  6. ^ Dan Dastun (as Big O makes its entrance): What? Not again!... That damn Megadeus just had to show up... (Act:01, Roger the Negotiator)
  7. ^ Roger Smith (Big O has just let him leave): Big O, you really sure? Are you sure about this? You can hold out 'til I get back? (Act:21, "The Third Big")
  8. ^ Dan Dastun (seeing Big Duo move on its own): But that's impossible! No one's piloting it! // Schwarzwald: You don't need a master, or do they choose their own master? Do we control them, or do they control us, Roger Smith? (Act:12, "Enemy Is Another Big!")
  9. ^ R.D.: Who commands you, Roger Smith? // Roger Smith: No one commands me! // R.D.: Then why do you pilot it? // Roger: Are you talking about the Megadeus? // R.D.: They are the sacred chariots of Mankind. Those who pilot them are intended to be commanded. If you admit that you are not... then you must perish! (Act:13, "R.D.")
  10. ^ Roger Smith Big O! Is this what you want? If you do this, you and I will become one being, but I've always been with you. Isn't that right?" (Big O's eyes stop glowing and the cables recede) "Right. This is my decision."
  11. ^ The Big O Visual: Official Companion to "The Big-O" TV series (ISBN 4-57-529579-5), p. 23.
  12. ^ Shimura, Shinichi. (2004). Anime rebel with a cause: The Big O's Keiichi Sato. AnimePlay, 5, 22-26.
  13. ^ ""Big O" Profile". Paradigm City. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  14. ^ The Big O Visual, p. 24.
  15. ^ "The Big O's weaponry (Archive)". Dominus Dei: A Big O Fansite. 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-11-05. Retrieved 2007-01-01. 
  16. ^ ""Plasma Gimmick" Entry". The Big O Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-01-01. [dead link]
  17. ^ ""Final Stage" Entry". The Big O Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-01-01. [dead link]