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Act 1: Roger the Negotiator

 

Review by Brian Shea

August 11, 2012

 

Summary

 

Roger Smith drives down the streets of Paradigm City in his black sedan, the Griffin. He turns into a warehouse by the waterfront and exits his car with a briefcase, walking towards a trio of men standing outside of a yellow car. The leader of the men, Beck, turns on the lights of his car as Roger approaches and demands he leave the briefcase where he is. Roger says in a fair deal all parties lay their hands on the table. Beck has one of his men take a young blindfolded woman out of the car. Once doing this, Roger opens the briefcase, showing the cash inside. Beck is pleased that Soldano handed over the money for his daughter. Roger closes the briefcase and kicks it towards Beck. The men untie the woman, who walks, still blindfolded, towards Roger's voice. One of Beck's men grabs the suitcase, and the woman removes her blindfold. Soldano, an old man, swiftly arrives in his car, anxious to see his daughter, who's named Dorothy. Beck and his men drive away. Upon seeing Dorothy, Soldano gets upset, telling Roger it isn't her. Roger realizes 'Dorothy' is an android. Soldano calls Roger an incompetent idiot for handing over the money. Roger pulls out a button and pushes it, causing the briefcase to burst out of Beck's car. The briefcase flies away in the air. Beck's men fire at the briefcase, despite his pleas to stop, causing it to open and the cash falls out over the city. Later, Roger heads to a bar, the Speak Easy, and presses a button, causing armor to surround his car. He takes a bottle of alcohol from the bartender and sits down with a bearded man named Big Ear, who comments on Roger failing for once. Roger says he found Dorothy's whereabouts as asked, and it was out of the goodness of his heart that he went to recover her. Big Ear says Soldano got a hold of a memory fragment and his factory is producing illegal items. Roger leaves some cash for Big Ear and leaves. Roger narrates on the history of Paradigm City, and how on a day 40 years ago, everyone lost all memories of what happened before that day. He says that with technology, people have been able to still have some level of technology, despite not having a history. Roger drives his car into his mansion in the middle of the city and is greeted by Norman, his butler. Roger asks Norman to tend to his car's brakes and says that criminals should behave professionally. Norman tells Roger a Ms. Waynewright is waiting. Roger, excited to greet a woman, heads to where she is waiting. Roger is shocked to find that Ms. Waynewright is actually Dorothy, the android from earlier. Roger is surprised that Norman didn't realize she was an android, but Dorothy tells him that he made the same mistake earlier. Roger wonders what she is looking for from him since the military police are now investigating the kidnapping. Roger comments on how well built Soldano had her made. Dorothy says Soldano only funded her construction. Dorothy tells Roger she would like him to protect her. Roger says that's a job for someone else, but she says the job is his. Norman tells Roger that Maj. Dan Dastun from the military police is here to see him. Downstairs, Dastun is looking at an old photo of Dastun and Roger when they were in the military police together. Dastun tells Roger that Soldano has no daughter and that he has separately made a deal with the kidnappers, apparently not wanting any of his secrets to get out. Roger gets upset with Dastun when he calls him Lt. Smith. Dastun, saying he wants to give him advice, tells Roger that he blew the job and should keep his big nose out of this.

 

Roger gets in his car to head to Soldano's factory. Dorothy gets in the car and says a mere human like Roger wouldn't have the strength to get her out of the car when he says he doesn't want her to come. Roger wonders why she came to him instead of Soldano and wonders what an android would call her creator. Roger and Dorothy arrive at Soldano's factory and see a large crater there. Roger sees a bloody room with a broken window above them and heads there with Dorothy, finding Soldano on the ground, seriously wounded. He says he never wanted to build 'it' and calls Dorothy his real daughter. Dorothy claims it's nothing but the deranged ranting of a dying man. Soldano says "It's alright Nightingale" and dies. Roger puts his hands together in prayer. Dorothy wonders what he's doing. One of Beck's men fires a bazooka at the room from below them and Roger and Dorothy just barely make it out. Dorothy asks Roger whether he's going to return fire. Roger asks Dorothy to be a decoy. While she runs in one direction, Beck's men fire at her. Roger uses a remote on his watch to arm missiles in his car. The bridge Dorothy is running on is destroyed and she hangs by a pipe. The missiles from Roger's car fire and blow up Beck's men just before they fire on her. Dorothy, dirty from the explosion, calls Roger a louse. Roger receives a call from Norman who tells him there's a report of a giant robot in West Dome #5 attacking a mint building. Roger tells Dorothy they found her big sister. A giant red robot, Dorothy 1, walks through the streets. Roger and Dorothy drive back into the city. Roger tells Dorothy he's got to return her big sister, even though his client is now dead. The military police cordon off access to the dome. A policeman tries to stop Roger, who tells him to remember his face next time and drives off. Dorothy spots an old man in a white suit as they drive by and calls him her father. Dorothy 1 kneels in front of the mint building and transmits two metal tentacles into the building. The military police fire upon Dorothy 1 to no avail. Roger calls for Big O via his wrist watch. Dorothy, seemingly in a trance, tells her father to stop it. Dastun realizes Dorothy 1 is after the printing plates in the mint building. The street shakes and the Big O lifts up from out of the ground. Dastun is upset that the "MegaDeus" had to show up. Roger jumps aboard the Big O and gets in the cockpit. Dorothy 1's tentacles break into the safe to grab the printing plates, but are pulled back at the last minute as Big O grabs it from behind. Big O throws Dorothy 1 into another building, upsetting Dastun with the added destruction. Dorothy 1 punches the Big O, which defends itself with its giant armored arms. Civilians rush out of the dome. Dastun spots Dorothy running towards the two fighting robots and goes after her. Big O starts stops defending and starts punching Dorothy 1. Dorothy 1's tentacles grapple around Big O. Dorothy mimics Dorothy 1. Big O jumps behind Dorothy 1 and punches her in the chest, causing her to collapse to the ground. Roger realizes Dorothy is standing right nearby. Dastun grabs her to pull her away but has a hard time since she is so heavy. Dorothy 1 crashes right next to them.

 

Commentary

 

The Big O is one of the more different anime series out there, being influenced heavily not by other Japanese animation, but rather primarily Batman, in particular Batman: The Animated Series. The influences are quite apparent, in particular Roger Smith being modeled after Bruce Wayne and Norman being modeled after Alfred Pennyworth. An early scene with Roger using armor on his car appears to be taken directly from the 1989 Batman movie. That said, while taking the inspiration from Batman, the show has its own unique elements, in particular the city of amnesia theme that continues throughout the entire series. Roger Smith isn't the traditional hero, rather being a negotiator, which will give an interesting dynamic throughout the show. The first episode acts mostly as set up, introducing the story of Paradigm City and most of the recurring characters including Roger, Norman, Dorothy, Dastun, Big Ear and Beck. With its focus being primarily on setting things up, I actually consider this one of the weaker episodes of the first season of the show, but it's still good enough to get a high rating from me, just showing how high quality the show is throughout the first season.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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The Big O Episode 1 The Big O Episode 1
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