‘Big O’ coming out in Blu-ray box set in December

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

The animated TV series “The Big O,” whose two seasons aired on and off from 1999 to 2003, will be released as a Blu-ray box set on Dec. 22, the anime’s official website recently announced.

Priced at 37,800 yen ($474), including tax, the box set will include all 26 episodes, the website said. It will also include a 24-page bonus booklet and special audio commentary.

“The Big O” takes place in Paradigm City, whose people have lost their memories. The story revolves around Roger Smith, a Negotiator whose job is to troubleshoot. With an android girl named Dorothy, Smith gets to the heart of the secrets of lost memories.

“The Big O” has a loyal fan base. The anime is known for stylishly-designed characters and robots, as well as the somewhat decadent-looking city and other cool story settings.

“The Big O” is distinctive from most Japanese anime for its use of film noir atmosphere–making full use of chiaroscuro lighting and disorienting camera angles. The Negotiator, Roger Smith, is a character cut in the same mold as Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade.

“The Big O” was also broadcast in the United States on the Cartoon Network. It became wildly popular among U.S. fans, making it one of the most successful Japanese anime in the United States in the early 2000s.

The anime was directed by Kazuyoshi Katayama, who is known as the director of animated feature “King of Thorn.”

Keiichi Sato, the director of the much-talked-about anime series “Tiger & Bunny,” served as character and mechanical designer.

The robot anime will be showcased at the Sunrise Festival 2011, which will feature a collection of anime studio Sunrise Inc.’s titles. The event will take place in August at Theatre Shinjuku in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward.

There will also be action figures modeled after the anime characters coming out from toymaker Max Factory Co. in 2011.

Visit (http://www.the-big-o.net).

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.