Elf Only Inn

surprisngly, not as sexual as it sounds

Big O, like most anime, is something that could have been great if it wasn’t anime.  From Adult Swim’s page:

"Welcome to Paradigm City, a strange place in the not-too-distant future where the people have lost their collective memory.  Millionaire playboy Roger Smith uses the help of his giant robot, The Big O, to protect the citizens of Paradigm City from evildoers.  It’s Gundam-meets-Batman in this amazing action-adventure about a city without a past."

Paradigm City is beautifully retro, full of stylish architecture and dapper suits. Using it as the setting for giant robot battles is a great idea, watching fancy buildings getting torn down by machines that look equally old-fashioned seems to be a good reason to spend half-an-hour in front of the tube.  Of course, it’s all a big scam.  During that half-hour you’re probably going to get all of five minutes of giant robot battles, and the rest is one long stream of GUH GUH blah de blah GUH.  But if you look away for a second you’ll miss the giant robots, so you have to stay glued to the tube listening to Alf plug 1-800-COLLECT.  Nothing is worth that, no matter how sexy cool the robots are.

My first experience with Big O was flipping through channels late at night.  A flying iron-clad helicopter thing was menacing the hot android Dorothy with a giant claw.  While hero Roger Smith and a couple from that 70’s Show watched helplessly, the old butler steps out onto the balcony with a suave “Allow me, sir”.  Batman’s Alfred occasionally whipped out an old musket to lay down the law, but Roger Smith’s one-eyed butler slid a giant freaking machine gun from behind his back and man . . . that scene STILL gives me chills.  And the pure awesomeness of it all makes what happened next such a crime.  The heli-thing returned fire and shot that 70’s guy, GUH!  And while everyone was busy GUHing at the tragedy of death, that 70’s woman runs out in front of the heli-thing and spends five freaking minutes crying at it like it’s her lost son or something until it finally gets bored and shoots her full of holes.  Acting not very quickly at all, Roger Smith gets there in time for her to die in his arms.  And he says GUH.

Big O is also responsible for the worst line in any science fiction story ever, cartoon or not.  On a scale of “One to Soylent Green Is Made From People”, the moment Roger Smith realizes that he is a genetically engineered soldier and metaphorically gasps “I’m . . . one of . . . the tomatoes!” is OFF THE CHART.  You no longer need to feel guilty about enjoying Ed Wood films, folks, because Bandai has raised the bar!

You know, you'd think that even a tomato would do a better job of grooming its eyebrows, Mr. Smith.  And you'd think we'd have learned by now that "Gundam-meets-ANYTHING" is a recipe for DISASTER

what are the odds?  TWO giant robots in the same show?  And they want to fight?

Rating: 17 GUHs

As usual, the show opens with a sweeping view of the derelict world outside Paradigm City, and thankfully it takes a moment before the terrible Engrish title card appears and informs us that “ENEMY IS ANOTHER BIG”.  By this time, the mood has been set and a willing viewer can forgive the translators' decision not to try a little harder to create a sense of foreboding about that other “Big”, which is perched atop some rubble like a giant undead mummy.

Strangely enough, this episode seems to get right into the giant robot fight.  In fact, through the entire show, there actually seems to be MORE giant robot fighting than the rest of that crap in between.  You know, if you have to eat a crap sandwich, you really want the one that has more bread than crap.  I could be mistaken, of course, while I was trying to time the actual amount of giant robot fighting I accidentally caught a bunch of that lame-ass posturing that happens before, during and after all anime “action” sequences, but there really was a lot of extra robot action.  But like bad soft-core porn, the robots tease you and make you wonder if they are finally going to get it on, and once they do, you still feel a little disappointed inside.

The dialogue during the first fight is as pointless as those freaking “Military Police” that drive up in clunky APCs to have a tailgate party every time the robots start to rumble.  These guys give the animators a chance to throw in a few more GUHs and give the audience a perspective from outside the giant robots.  You really feel the pain in the commander’s GUH when an attack goes awry and destroys buildings full of presumably evacuated innocent bystanders.  Well, you will feel pain, anyway.

Then the bad robot runs away and we cut to a commercial where Adult Swim shows a card from a fan who does “not want to be a tomato”.  Yeah, well neither does Roger Smith, pal!  My advice for those who do not want to be tomatoes is “Stop watching Big O, retards, but I doubt anyone will listen.

Since the bad robot had run away, we get to cut back to the rest of that boring crap where Roger Smith runs around and talks to people through a series of panoramic shots and extreme close ups that prevent the animators from having to flap too many lips since they shot their budget with the extra fight scenes.  Our hero, the tomato, is told to find the bad guy and give him a check for $1,000,000,000,000, which makes a lot of sense if you are a patient in a mental institution.  When Roger tracks the masked maniac to a masquerade party at the top of a ritzy hotel, the bad guy burns the check because, on close up, it was really only good for “**30.85”.  Roger Smith’s job now done, he tries to get away before the bad guy can go on some moral tirade about the corruption of the elite.  Meanwhile the rich white bastards at the bad guy’s party are all wearing the same masks and drooling all over their wine glasses, fat girls are dancing, and in all it was a lot like an otaku convention only with a little more class.

Then something exciting happened!  A noise in the kitchen!  My friggin’ CAT knocked down the trashcan AGAIN, and I had to go clean it up.  When I got back, all the rich people at the party were on fire and jumping out of windows. 

I guess the bad guy made his point by setting all of their masks on fire; as class warfare goes that’s a little less extreme than joining the Democratic Party, but setting people you don’t like on fire is still wrong.  Roger Smith therefore summons Big O for giant robot fight number two, while proving that he too is sympathetic to the Democrats by having Big O dramatically rip through the hotel, ensuring the violent death of any rich white people inside who were not killed by the burning masks.

The second fight is padded with the usual stock introduction of the Big O going through his IN THE NAME OF GOD YE ARE A TOMATO routine, but it wasn’t bad as far as giant robot fights go.  The bad guy shoots missles out of his nipples and Big O pulls not one, but TWO chains out of his ass to counter attack.  The Military Police say GUH, and then there is a big explosion that levels the entire city again and teaches the audience some powerful lessons:  The first is that you better not cut your military budget or all you will be able to afford are worthless APCs instead of giant robots.  The other lesson, of course, is hit the fire escape the moment you see a giant robot and don’t stop running until you are in the ocean, or you are screwed.

When the smoke clears Big O, of course, escaped the explosion that blew chucks out of the city he was supposed to defend, and then he beats the crap out of the other robot and knocks its head and arm off. Then he tries to rip off its nipples.  As climaxes go, not so bad.  But the episode ends with a chilling revelation, even when the bad pilot escapes the bad robot somehow staggers away on its own volition.  Who is controlling the machines?  Do we control them or are they controlling us?  AM I ONE OF THE TOMATOES TOO?????

ENEMY IS ANOTHER BIG could have been worse, but with 17 less GUHs this episode could have been a whole lot better.
this is a rough draft.  Why am I still doing this?  It hurts my eyes and it hurts my brain.  No more Big O, ever.

Episode 22 "Hydra"
Score: 21 GUHs (aproximately)

RAIN SCENE:  The show starts with some poorly animated woman running from the police in the rain.  She ughs a lot.  Then the police arrest some other civilian looking people who ugh and sob.  Apparently they are foreign spies, but I'm sure we're supposed to feel sorry for them or something because the cops are listing them as numbers, not people.  Bad Metaphor.

DINNER SCENE:  Then Roger Smith is having dinner with a bad guy who is playing with a toy version of his giant robot.  They talk about a lot of boring crap, and Roger's eyes twitch a lot in response.  Watch for the aerial shot where a shadow cloaks the bad guy's end of the table, dividing the courtyard into Light (Roger Smith's side) and Dark (bad guy).  Bad Metaphor.

Bad guy is eating spaghetti with tomatoes.  Roger Smith is a tomato.  Bad Metaphor.

RAIN SCENE:  Meanwhile the blonde chick Angel talks to robot chick Dorothy, who lies to the butler afterward.  Apparently, it's a big deal that robots can lie, but since Dorothy admits her lie it really doesn't make much of a difference.

Then it rains.  A lot.  Lots and lots of rain.  Water falls from the sky.  It flows down the street and into the storm drains.  It goes into the sewers.  Lots and lots of water.  Raining on down.  The amount of time and effort devoted to the thrilling Water Scenes that pad this episode is about the same as the amount of time devoted to Big O's battle scene at the end.

DINNER SCENE:  Roger Smith's eyes are twitching.  He grunts like William Shatner, too.  Apparently the conversation that he is having with the bad guy is relevant.  And the bad guy's skinny cyborg pinstriped clown threatens Roger Smith.  By the way, it's not raining on these guys.  Since everyone in Paradigm city lives under a bunch of domes, this is possible.  But it's still stupid.

RAIN SCENE:  It's raining a lot.  Angel is walking through the rain.  Everyone has an umbrella but her.  Bad Metaphor.

DINNER SCENE:  Roger Smith has finally left, but the bad guy is still eating his dinner outside.  The skinny cyborg clown guy tries to kill him, but the bad guy counters by talking about boring crap again and this distracts the clown until the scene ends.

RAIN SCENE:  Not much rain since something is happening underground, but it involves water.  Remember all the rain that flowed underground in the past ten minutes of thrilling rain animation?  It has led us to some place where they are doing robot stuff.  Then one of the spy ladies blows things up and a monster attacks.  Well, it doesn't so much attack as it looks ominous for a few minutes.  Then, eventually, it goes to the surface and blows up lots of empty buildings (everyone in Paradigm City died from giant robot attacks 12 episodes ago).

FLOWER BUYING SCENE:  Roger is interrupted in his quest to buy some flowers by the monster.  He gets in Big O and goes to fight the monster.  Finally!!!!  23 minutes into the cartoon and we FINALLY get some giant robot fights!  And what a fight it is, too.  The snake monster shoots electricity and this makes Roger Smith grunt and have flashbacks.  And then Big O wins.  And the electricity might power up some other robot for later.

DOROTHY IN A WET SUIT SCENE:  The cliff hanger ending that will have everyone talking is Dorothy showing up in a robot wet suit.  Roger gives her a flower.  She mentions that she has a message for him.  BUM BUM BUM.