Anime fans who have been drawn to The Big O through the series' cablecasts on the Cartoon Network have said that the Japanese series has a Batman
feel. "I agree," said Kazuyoshi Katayama, the series' director, at Anime
Central. "When the offer first came to me, one of the requests was to have
a city like a Batman-type city with a rampaging big robot." And while
Bruce Wayne and Roger Smith aren't related, Katayama said they have similar
personalities. Those Megadeus robots in Big O were supposed to be toys at
first, Katayama said, but animators turned what could have been a program-length
toy commercial into a compelling story, one that ended with a cliffhanger
after 13 episodes because the first series was planned for only 13. Katayama
said it was easy to restart the series for a second 13-episode season.
Beyond the Batman influence, The Big O has a link to another anime series, Giant Robo, directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa, which had a great story but took years to produce. "The staff that worked on Giant Robo worked on The Big O, too," Katayama said. "When we first signed up for Giant Robo
we thought it was going to be different. It went through two different mentalities
and we became frustrated with the situation...then the offer for Big O came so we turned our frustrations toward Big O
and it became good." The newer series has some deliberate references to old
sci-fi movies and TV shows, including a second season theme song that resembles
music from the old Gerry Anderson puppet shows.
of the series' catch phases, "Big O - Showtime," is meant to show that Roger
Smith really wants to pilot the robot, said Katayama. Another phrase, "Cast
in the name of God, ye not guilty," was originally on 17th century executioners'
swords, but Katayama learned of the phrase from a 20th century source. "I
was reading an old magazine and I was looking at an article about (film director)
John Milius and Conan the Great (one in the series of Conan the Barbarian
films) and that phrase was written on Conan's sword - you can't see it in
the Conan movies. I really liked that phrase, and I felt it was the perfect
phrase to move this enormous robot. Since it wasn't publicized very much
in this movie, I decided to be the one to publicize this phrase."