(Photo credit: Sentai Filmworks, Sunrise)
After a long wait, Sentai Filmworks will be releasing the entirety of The Big O on Blu-ray this June.
If you’re seeing a pattern in terms of mecha anime releases as of late, that’s because Sunrise is doubling down on its mecha related properties in the West.
The Big O is again one of Sunrise’s mecha shows and it saw a great deal of popularity when it was originally released in the U.S. over a decade ago now.
So much so in fact that when the first season did poorly in Japan, it was the Western popularity of the series that facilitated the creation of a second season.
As a series, The Big O is quite a bit different from other anime, not least for its unique visual styling but more down to its similarities to things like Batman and film noir.
The story deals with Roger Smith, the top Negotiator of Paradigm City. Much like Bruce Wayne, he is quite suave and wealthy but instead of donning a cape and fighting crime on the streets, he gets into a massive mecha called the Big O.
Again, like Batman, Roger has a loyal butler who maintains his mecha but he also works with a rather sullen android called R. Dorothy Wainwright.
However, that’s where the Batman similarities end, as The Big O goes into far stranger territory by the end of the second season.
More recently, The Big O’s popularity has picked up in Japan. Having appeared in games like Super Robot Wars and even received a very nice Soul of Chogokin figure from Bandai.
The fact that Sunrise is allowing this series to be re-released in the West and on Blu-ray no less again shows that there’s clearly a bigger strategy at work here. What’s interesting though is that Sunrise’s business model isn’t so much about the animation but the resultant merchandising, especially toys and model kits.
So we may be seeing more in the way of mecha anime merchandise coming Westward in the next year or so, which in turn will eventually include games.
The Big O will be released on Blu-ray by Sentai Filmworks on June 20.
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