The Odds and Ends of The Big O

So I just finished the final episode of The Big O. While I’m putting my thoughts together about the series, and what it means to me now, there are a lot of random ideas that I have floating around out there. I don’t think any one, in particular, is enough to write a full blog post about, but I still wanted to share my ideas.

Religion

So beyond the saying, “Cast in the Name of God. Ye not Guilty,” this show uses a lot of Christian symbolism, and it uses it really well.

In Episode 8, Missing Cat, Eugene Grant has set up his genetics laboratory in what seems to be the basement of a church. There are at least two points where we see him framed by a cross and at the same time talking about how he is going to be a new creator.

It’s a bit on the nose, but it’s interesting.

More imagery

Christianity gets another chance to shine in the Christmas episode Daemonseed. They are celebrating Heaven’s Day, which is the “day Paradigm City was founded.” During the episode, we hear that people still return to the wrecked church to worship even though they don’t know what they’re worshiping.

The bad guy seems intent on recreating the Christmas card, which comes from the skylight of the church. He also uses a phrase from Revelations. Everything about it seems very on the nose, but it’s interesting to note that it’s all used correctly, and paints religion as something that people turn to in times of trouble.

There’s also a church in episode 10 that gets blown up, that I referenced before. Which seems to fly in the face of this episode, but who knows.

Schwarzwald’s big play

So Michael Seebach puts a new tint on the rules of Paradigm City. So when he returns he has his own Megadeus. I think it’s important to note that this is only the second time we see a Megadeus (outside of Big O) and he was associated with both of them.

What makes it interesting is that he was not burned or killed by it this time. This time he was chosen as its pilot. This gets explained in the last episode by Angel, when she tells Roger that Schwarzwald wanted to use his Megadeus to take down Paradigm.

Schwarzwald and robot

We’ve already gotten the explanation that people can use old technology if they’re doing it to make a better future. (This is spelled out a little more in Daemonseed, when Roger Smith says his second rule is “You must use your pent up energy to brave the harshness of the world.”)

Now we’re shown that people can use the power of the Megadeuses to remake the world. Even though he loses, he isn’t killed here, and the robot continues on attempting to fulfill its master’s wish.

There is a line later on where Roger Smith questions whether the Megadeuses serve them or whether they serve the Megadeuses.

Odds and Ends

Music does a lot of heavy lifting in this show. It’s amazing how much emotion a largely episodic show can squeeze out of 22 minutes. If I understood more music theory, I could probably explain why, but I do know that without the soundtrack this show would not be nearly as good.

We see Angel holding a red balloon at the end of the show as she watches the robots come in. It confirms her as some sort of foreigner. I still wish I could figure out what the symbolism of the red balloon is beyond just marking people not born in Paradigm City. It’s used really well in Winter Night Phantom, but then it never really comes up again until the final episode.

Heaven's day present

How the show deals with artificial life forms is a bit inconsistent. There are times when Roger acts like Dorothy has no emotions when it’s obvious that she does. He also takes her to R. Instro so she can learn about feeling when she plays the piano.

She also is given a bit of intuition, especially in the episode about the missing cat. He specifically says that she was so drawn to Perro because she knew that they were both created.

Then there is the episode Beck Comes Back where Roger is periodically painting Dorothy, and at the end of it he adds pupils to her eyes. This seems to hint that he sees her as more than just a robot.

There is also some really good shots in these shows. They play with perspective and framing a lot to general emotions. One of my favorite shots comes in Daemonseed where the evil Santa scientist is confronting Oliver and it’s tight enough to cut off the two people in the scene generating a feeling of claustrophobia.

That’s just one of a lot of them that I could mention.

A final note

So unless something major hits me, I think this is going to be my second to last post about The Big O. It’s been a fun, if occasionally nerve-wracking, trip. I hope that you’ve enjoyed them all.

So I’m writing this post on the same day that I’m writing the post before this. I’m still considering doing to dive into Eva. I know I won’t likely have a lot more to say about it then the people who wrote actual college papers about Eva. I hope I can say something interesting though, and I think I should lay out my feelings on the show before I get into the two shows I want to do after it.

Anyways, thanks for reading.

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3 thoughts on “The Odds and Ends of The Big O

  1. Just finished, then. I gotta tell you, after rewatching a number of times, I still don’t understand the ending. As for Roger and Dorothy, there were also plenty of times when he acknowledged that she has feelings–I think the main difficulty was in Roger’s own mind, trying to reconcile life and artificiality, rather than just accepting what was in front of him. Common problem with folks who overthink things.

    1. So I explain this more in a post tomorrow, but I divide The Big O into two shows. So when I say, “I finished it,” I mean I finished the first 13 episodes.

      The second 13 episodes is where the show gets weird, which I largely blame on Chiaki Konaka. Because Chiaki Konaka.

      That is a good point about Roger and Dorothy. I didn’t think about that.

  2. Isaac Asimov has some great explorations of the concept involving interactions between man and, well, not so much machine as perhaps mechanized man?

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