This is a rehosting of the Big-O Plot Analysis, originally found at http://www.sixfortyfive.com/bigo/wtf/. Retrieved from the Wayback Machine. Written by (going by the WHOIS of sixfortyfive.com) Patrick Smith (vegeta645@hotmail.com).

Here is another theory.

Back Home (kiserai.net)



It still appears that people visit this page. As is custom with much of the projects I get involved with, this thing got off to a great start and came to a screeching halt halfway through. =) Never did get around to finishing it, and I've even changed my mind entirely on a thing or two regarding the ending of the show, yet I still get an e-mail from time to time with a comment or question about Big-O, the most recent of which came from a season 1 VA. (Wow!) Seems like people still draw a couple of helpful bits out of these ramblings, so I've kept it up even as I've torn a lot of other stuff on my site down for one reason or another.

I did finally acquire the complete season 2 DVD set, so maybe I'll get around to finally putting in some input on the episodes I skipped over, but I'm sure much of the community has done that to death by now and there'd be no point but for my own sake, so it's probably not gonna happen. For further discussion on The Big-O, I still recommend visiting the Paradigm City Forums.


So you've watched Big-O from start to finish, yet you're still at a complete loss concerning that whacked-out ending from out of left field in Act 26. Before you submit to rage at what may seem to be a cop-out of an ending at first glance, get yourself together and dig the truth out of this! Come on now, Schwarzwald would be disappointed.

Anyway, fret not, for here we will review the series from the beginning, taking note of anything worth mentioning and evaluate it in passing, with a more in-depth discussion about broader concepts presented at the conclusion. It might be a while before I complete the entire thing, but there's a lot of information already here. Sit down, get comfortable, and read on.



- INDIVIDUAL EPISODE ANALYSIS -



ACT 01: ROGER THE NEGOTIATOR

In the first scene, note that Dorothy acts in a passive manner. With her strength, she could easily escape her captors, but instead follows instructions and does what she's told. (Refer to Asimov's laws of robotics.) She rarely fights back in the rest of the series as well.

The currency used in the exchange between Roger & Beck most definitely seems like US Dollars, the first clue to Paradigm City's original identity.

Roger says to Big Ear that it's rather impressive that somebody could have created an android that could almost pass for human. (Ironic when you consider the beginning of Act 26.)

Big Ear reports that Soldano has his hands on some kind of "memory fragment." So what exactly are memories as applied to the Big-O universe? (Another note: The Japanese dialogue uses the English word "memory" in Big-O as opposed to the Japanese equivalent "omoide." I know that it's "hip" to throw English words around in Anime and Japanese music, but it might be possible that there's a deeper significance here.)

Probably the most important scene from this episode... Rewatch the first encounter between Roger and Dorothy in Roger's mansion. Isn't the whole situation a little bit strange? Dorothy seeks out Roger, a professional negotiator, to serve as her personal bodyguard for reasons she doesn't care to disclose. When Roger tells her that she is mistaken, she cuts him off, looks him straight in the eye, and tells him, "The job is yours, Roger Smith." First, how did she know his name? I don't recall anything of the sort being said in the opening scene with Soldano. Second, how on Earth did she track him down? The whole situation reeks of destiny, and I for one think that her brief encounter with Roger at the beginning triggered something in her own subconscious memories, which in turn led her to seek him out. "The Storm" is a rather interesting song to use in this scene as well.

It may not be essential, but the scene in which Dastun is eyeing the pictures in Roger's house is kind of interesting. (See if you can spot what is presumably a younger Roger standing with his parents.) His remark about "assuming these things are actually your own memories" makes me wonder, especially considering the whole whacked-out trip down memory lane in Act 14, but I'm not putting too much stock into it right now. At this point, the creators were still working out the finer details of the story, so I'm not going to dig too deep here.

At the end of this episode, it is shown that R.Dorothy is able to communicate with Dorothy I--another creation of Wayneright's--in a very advanced manner. Pay attention to the other types of Megadeus that she can "link" with throughout the series from here on out.



ACT 02: DOROTHY DOROTHY

Dastun sicks his boys on Big-O. He's either clueless of the pilot at this point (probably), or just playing dumb (unlikely). Yeah Roger, taunt him about being afraid of the underground; I didn't see you handle your first encounter very well.

Pretty amazing that the gigantic Big-O can be hauled through the subway like that. Oh well. It's a cartoon. I'll allow it.

"There's something strange about that Miss Dorothy, aside from the fact that she's an android." I don't have a comment, but I figure you can draw your own conclusions.

Withdrawing to his mansion, Roger reflects on the day's events and comes to the conclusion "You've got nothing to do with it anymore. Just let it go, Roger Smith." Nevertheless, he decides to follow through and investigate in the intent of protecting Dorothy. Strange, isn't it? It's nowhere in his job description, and I thought she was nothing more than a robot to him at this point. Again, the whole thing screams fate.

Notice that Dorothy is indeed capable of displaying a wide range of emotions in the Nightingale scene. In all likelyhood, however, these are probably automated responses to her "father," Timothy Wayneright. They don't seem to be genuine.

"Later on, I learned the old story of the Nightingale from somebody that knew it. The tale was a fable about an emperor of some ancient country, who loved the song of a mechanical bird." I'm sure the analogy is fairly obvious, but is there a deeper meaning to comparing Mr. Wayneright to an emperor of an ancient country?

Another point. The original Dorothy was said to have died during "The Event" 40 years ago. If that's the case, how did Wayneright even remember her to begin with, much less have the memories required to design her android reincarnation as well as a genuine Megadeus? Odds are that Wayneright knew much more than we could have imagined. Nice job, Beck.

And what the hell was that wind-up key for? She need that to sing or something?... Whatever... v_v;...

So Beck has the technical know-how to use R.Dorothy's linking abilities in order to repair Dorothy I. Interesting.

"You're Dorothy Wayneright! Just be who you are!" First use of the theme of fate vs. freedom.

Amazing how Roger doesn't seem to give a flying f*** about keeping his identity as Big-O's pilot a secret to Dorothy. Whatever.

"But what about Soldano. As he lay there he called the android his daughter..." It is sort of odd, isn't it? For the sake of not having another loose end to worry about, I'd just as well skip this remark altogether and chalk it up to an abandoned idea on the creators' behalf, BUT... There's at least one other fully-functional Dorothy-model android that we've seen in the series. Interpret that as you like. I probably have the wrong idea. Oh well.

And the whole "black" bit at the end. Roger (good) wears black. Assuming by contrast that "bad" wears white...



ACT 03: ELECTRIC CITY

The Dorothy/Angel feud starts right from the beginning. Dorothy realizes the significance of allowing somebody to enter the mansion without his permission, and she eyes his departure from the breakfast table curiously. We'll touch on this one again at the end of the episode.

He and Angel greet with a handshake. American custom, not Japanese.

"Casseey Jenkins?" Angeel must've gone to colleege. (Props to whoever posted that on the PC forums. I'd give you credit, but I forgot who it was that said it first.) "53-1441 New West Houston Street South third dome." Houston Street: actual location in NYC.

Roger thinks "It's only natural to ask youerself: Why a negotiator?" in regards to the case he's been offered. My bet is that the higher-ups of Paradigm are already aware of Roger's secret identity.

"Why did I take this job anyway? It's not like me. It's not normal. I would never tackle a job from Paradigm, the firm that just happens to rule this city. [...] So why? I wonder why..." *ahem* FATE!!!

The citizens of Electric City regard the Eel as a god, the first instance of a Megadeus (if you qualify the Eel as a Megadeus, at any rate) being compared with a god.

"She could have made herself usefull by lighting up the path." Roger regarding Dorothy as more of an appliance/servant than a person at this point.

Sven avoids the question regarding his seclusion from the rest of Electric City. Apparently hiding something from them, I'd say.

Now there's the lab. Apparently Sven was a researcher who engineered the Eel as a provider of electricity. Experiment apparently got out of hand.

"Well, a fallen angel." You might be closer to the truth than you think, Roger... Might be.

Angel's driving on the right side of the road. (Admittedly, somebody else probably has already as well, but it just now crossed my mind.) Another location clue.

"Your almighty power is man-made. That figures." Same exact statement can apply to the very thing Roger is piloting.

Oh my, Dorothy's bit at the end cracked me the hell up. The way she was bobbing her head... So un-Dorothy like. And she "feels like" playing the blues, eh? Not at all suspicious that the camera gives us a shot of the shredded card of "Casseey Jenkins" as this conversations transpires. Not suspicious at all.



ACT 04: UNDERGROUND TERROR

Schwarzwald's farewell letter

Religious parallel: "In this city, the firm called Paradigm is considered both God and State."

Why does Angel seem to want to arouse Roger's suspicions? It's obvious as hell that she's after Alex Rosewater.

Dorothy sure does like playing with those hourglasses.

"Michael Seebach. He's a German guy." Yeah, yeah. "BUT THERE ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF PARADIGM CITY!" Quiet. That doesn't mean that different ethnic groups didn't reside within Paradigm City before the Event. Assuming that it's NYC, it shouldn't be surprising.

It also seems that Seebach was a citizen of at least considerable wealth. Dastun reveals that he did live inside the domes, as well as having lived with a spouse.

Schwarzwald's alternate residence: 1286-24 Washington St. I wonder if that's a real location.

Interesting how Roger translates "schwarzwald" from German to English like it was no big deal.

It's unclear as to why Roger decides to face his fears and enter the subway. Presumably, he got the idea from Schwarzwald's remark about fearing the dark.

Which brings up another ponit: Why exactly does everybody seem to fear the underground? Was there something about the Event that did this? Is there something deep underground that somebody wants to keep secret? *coughvenuscough*

Listen carefully to the background as Roger begins to flip out. I could've sworn I heard something that sounded remarkably similar to the "crying" noises that Leviathan (Act 17) and Big-Fau (Act 21), one of which was pilotless and the other of which was not listening to its pilot, have made.... Of course, it could just be a ghost subway train, but you never know.

Is Roger's memory of his mother even real? Does it even matter? We never see her again.

What was Dorothy doing down there anyway? Was she looking for Roger, or was she drawn to the Archetype?

The Archetype sends out a signal to Dorothy as she and Roger are walking underground. It seems to do this without being provoked, implying that some types of megadeus are capable of acting on their own.

I wonder if there were other megadeuses concealed behind the additional chambers in the Expo '04 room. Could it tie into the "Big-O Army" flashback in Act 22?

Roger: "Is that Big-O's archetype?" Note that the Archetype megadeus underground has the same form as that of a Big; it's more or less a skeleton. (See the scene where Norman is repairing Big-O in Act 13.)

"A megadeus was nothing special, Negotiator. I could possess power like that, if only I could regain those memories." There's one reason as to why memories are so valuable.

"For some time it's been buried here. I have released the lock, and for my trouble this is what's become of me." Doesn't really explain exactly why he's a friggin' mummy now, but whatever.

Well, it's apparent that Dorothy can communicate with the "Big Archetype." That's two megadeuses now, the first being Dorothy I.

Dorothy is visibly frightened by the Archetype once it activates, insisting that it "shouldn't be allowed to exist" and "has no relation to [her]." She seems to be in denial, shocked over a bond that apparently exists between them. The Archetype desires to assimilate her. For what reason? So she can serve as its Dominus? To use her memories for its own purposes?

"It won't be long now, sir. It's almost ready." Norman, you crack me up.

Roger to Archetype: "You're no god, that's for sure."

The Archetype sure is a lot more agile than a Big. Can't tell whether it was designed to be like that, or if it's just an effect from not having the weight of all its armor yet.

"Dorothy, [...] That thing's a monster that has nothing to do with you. Big-O! [...] He's no friend of yours either..." You sure about all that, Roger? Kind of interesting that he addresses Big-O like that in the first place, don't you think?

Alex Rosewater seems to have his eye on Roger. Wonder how long he's known of Roger's identity as Big-O's pilot.



ACT 05: BRING BACK MY GHOST

Even though Roger seems to be financially secure, judging from his exchange with Mr. Frazier, he doesn't seem to care about money a great deal.

Hudson River? NYC.

There's a few similarities between Bonnie Frazier and Roger Smith. Both were idealistic young men who joined the Military Police with the intent of helping others. However, Bonnie was betrayed by the corruptness of his superiors and Roger quit the force out of disgust. Shortly after both incidents, both men were taken in by their respective megadeuses, and neither one recalls exactly what happened or exactly how they obtained the abilities to pilot them. (Bonnie: "I don't know if it was part of my own memories or someone else implanted them in me.") Perhaps Melissa Frazier, well aware of Roger's reputation as an honest man and maybe even his record with the Military Police, hired Roger for some of these reasons.

"Melissa buried that painful memory and lost all her memories, just like this city." Does that mean she forgot that Bonnie was apparently murdered? And does it have deeper implications to the mass amnesia, as if all of humanity, unable to accept some sort of truth, shielded themselves from it and lost their memories as a result?

Dastun: "The Megadeus... There's something about it I really hate." I don't think Dastun's aware of the pilot just yet.



ACT 06: A LEGACY OF AMADEUS

There is something of a kinship between Dorothy and Instro. Both were created by their "fathers" to serve a purpose, Dorothy as the Nightingale, Instro as an Instrument. Instro also seems to be a mechanical reincarnation of Amadeus's biological son as well, judging from his memories.

Gieseng's police report raises a few continuity questions. Some babble about the 1800's, Austria-Hungary, and Thomas Edison. Oops.

Ah, they used "The Holy" for this battle. Never could remember a time when that was used in place of "Stand a Chance."

Instro: "I am a tool to be used to activate my father's legacy! I was never a pianist!" Again, the theme of accepting one's predetermined role versus establishing one's own identity, something that many characters in the show have to confront.

Roger: "Amadeus didn't create you to be some kind of activation device! He never thought of you as that! If he did, he wouldn't have made you so human!" Roger considers Instro to be more of a person than an android, but he has trouble doing the same with Dorothy, probably due to his denial over any feelings he might have for her.



ACT 07: THE CALL FROM THE PAST

You know, for being an episode that involves a few shady characters (Angel, Alex) in addition to the heavy discussion of memories and being able to see Angel half-nekkid, there really isn't a lot of substance in this one. I can draw more meaning from the likes of Bring Back My Ghost and Daemonseed for crying out loud. Moving on...

Angel: "It's all lies! [...] All that talk about there being a limitless supply of memories left down here." Can't say whether she heard that from the Union or Alex, but again, it raises the question of what memories actually are? The thoughts in one's head? A historical document? Any kind of relic of the past? Angel exclaims to Roger not to destroy the megadeus's head, as the memories are stored in there.

"She's a two-seater. Have yourselves a good time." Best. Line. EVER.

Considering that the scuba men are revealed to work for Paradigm in Act 16, Angel is presumably acting under orders from the Union at this time.

Dastun, though more apt to follow orders than Roger may have been, decides to ignore Paradigm's orders and initiate the attack against the megadeus to try to protect the poorer section of the city. Swell guy, that Dastun.



ACT 08: MISSING CAT

Listen to the tune of Dorothy's song. It's the same as "And Forever" and is presumably a part of the original Dorothy Wayneright's memories. I wonder who's supposed to be singing the duet with her (as if it isn't obvious).

One important aspect that this episode brings up is the matter of transferring memories from one creature to another. Eugine has the knowledge required to genetically engineer animals with the memories of human beings, and it seems to have stemmed from his research on "artificial protiens." Ever seen the Cowboy Bebop movie in which nanomachines are used to spread a virus? Somebody brought that up to me and said that it could explain how memories are transferred from person to person in Big-O.

The whole ordeal has given Eugine quite the God complex. Interesting, as Gordon Rosewater, who seems to be very experienced at carrying out similar, though rather less-maniacal, experiments, is often portrayed to be the "God" of Paradigm City.

Dorothy: "Humans. All of these creatures are humans." Note the use of "are" instead of "were." If a creature has memories of a human, does that qualify the creature to still be human? Can this apply to androids?



ACT 09: BECK COMES BACK

Notice that Roger opens this episode almost the exact same way he opened Act 1. Kind of ties in with bringing back the villain from the first episode.

Mary looks DISTURBINGLY similar to Angel. What's up with that?

How exactly does Norman serve Roger the phone on a plate? That doesn't make a lick of sense.

"Oh, that got polished off the other day when a friend came by." You have friends, Roger? Could've fooled me.

Yeah, those are definitely $100 US bills that Beck is rolling around in. You can even discern the blurry "United States of America" label on them.

Roger gets rather protective of Dorothy when Beck inserts that control device into her headband drive.

Beck might be a doofus, but he's no weakling. Notice that Roger didn't even phase him when they were wrestling on the ground, and Beck broke free rather... easily. O_O

It's still unsure as to whether Dorothy said "I love you" solely because of Beck's control device, or if perhaps it just amplified her feelings.

The way Roger crushes the head of Beck Victory Deluxe... DAMN. I don't recall another time where he acted so coldly.

Perhaps the most pivotal moment of the series occurs at the conclusion of this episode. When Norman suggests that they replace some of Dorothy's memory circuits in order to prevent someone from manipulating her like this again (which Alex Rosewater eventually does with Beck's help), Roger declines. He has a considerable amount of respect for her as a person instead of considering her to be just a robot at this point (and all of Paradigm City will suffer for this decision later). His hesitation at her question before the credits roll signifies that their relationship has changed considerably since they first met.

"It turns my stomach to think that my fate has been intertwined with a low-life like him." It's only begun, Roger. It's only begun.

Beck episodes are great. There's always at least one guaranteed Roger+Dorothy moment.



ACT 10: WINTER NIGHT PHANTOM

Who is Lester Young, and why is his death a big deal anyway? (Opening credits. Sorry.)

Opening scene, Roger: "This is a city of amnesia, but sometimes memores appear suddenly and unexpectedly out of the darkness." He says this as the film reel of Winter Night Phantom begins playing. I for one think that the movie WNP is a memory itself (of Dastun's and Rowan's). I'll touch on that again later. In the opening, Dastun is watching the movie as an adult. Sybil is shot on the pier, but the person who shot her is nothing more than a faceless cop in this viewing (because he's not actually in the movie right now; he's sitting in the front row).

The killer in this episode is targeting "over-the-hill retired city officials." In other words: former senators who were used as memory donors in Gordon Rosewater's tomato experiments.

A red balloon is released after each target has been bombed. This is a signal that Union agents give off to notify their commrades of their progress.

Chief: "Major Dastun, one of these days you need to learn what justice is really about." Dastun: "Well Sir, as far as I'm concerned, I understand it perfectly." If I didn't know better, I'd say that was foreshadowing... Oh, wait.

Hey, I didn't notice that Dastun went to the Amadeus bar in this episode. Fairly interesting; he said he hadn't been there since Roger quit the force. Fondly remembering the good ol' days?

In Dastun's next flashback of the movie, he himself is in it, playing the role of the cop. First he's watching the movie, then he's acting in the movie. Soon enough, he'll be living the movie.

The typed reports with the photograph of the "Marble Balloon" truck paper-clipped to the front of them consist of nothing more than random letters, most of which are the primary home row keys. Hmph. The little things do make a difference. Anycrap, notice that the actual "Marble Balloon" marquee is missing. Could Angel have removed it to conceal the killer's identity?

The government ordered all prints of Winter Night Phantom to be burned 30 years ago. Odd that at least one copy survived for the next Dastun and Rowan to view together. (Maybe that copy has yet to be made in the first place?)

Roger: "I learned that when Paradigm City was founded, the councilors at the time who assisted the original chairman, Gordon Rosewater, expelled everyone from the city who was suspected of having anti-government leanings." Oh, you mean kind of like Ashcroft's Patriot Act? (Sorry. Cheap shot, I know. Couldn't help myself.) Anyway, what I think we have here is the birth of "the Union." Included in this group of protesters must have been the first batch of tomatoes. I'm assuming that their memories must have been altered to supply them with the illusion that they were part of a much greater organization from another country, when in fact they were merely rejects of Paradigm City to begin with. (The barcode in Vera's eye when Gordon tells her this very thing seals it for me.)

Notice that Alex seems shocked (disappointed?) that the giant walking robot bomb didn't complete its objective. It's painstakingly clear to me now: he hired the Union to kill the other memory children for him as part of his treaty. That's why Vera in Act 25 knew that Alex was involved with the murders of the tomatoes in Act 13. Perhaps he had promised to grant them the memories that those victims possessed in exchange for their work at both eliminating them and reconstructing Big-Fau? Not sure.

Roger: "There is no record of Sybil Rowan ever having a young daughter." Which means only one thing: that was Rowan in both in the flesh and in the movie. Dastun as well.

And the episode closes with a flashback of young Dastun and young Rowan sitting together watching the movie, red balloon in tow.

Fin. (Heh. :P)



ACT 11: DAEMONSEED

Come on, it's not like Dorothy's huge. She weighs about 287 lbs. Cute how Roger lets that slip his mind though. "Oh wait, that's right. She's a robot. Completely forgot."

Note the cross necklace that Oliver wears. Religion seems to play something of importance to the poor and the elderly, even if they don't really understand or remember what it all means.

That sly Norman, tricking Roger into getting Dorothy a "birthday" present.

"All the people in this city are suffocating!" Even better line EVER. He might even mean that literally. I mean, all he does is grow a giant tree. Photosynthesis, anyone?

Alex is concerned over the letter he has recieved: "In seven days, the world will be reborn." It also contains passages about the end of the world from the Book of Revelations. It might be unsettling for him because that's the very thing he intends to accomplish himself eventually through the use of Big-Fau. Either somebody has a similar objective, or somebody is aware of his plans. (Or Santa Claus is just a whacko and we can disregard his letter altogether. Whatever.)

Alex also seems to want to keep anything regarding religion a secret. He was unwilling to disclose information about the Book of Revelations. Perhaps he intends to promote himself as a god rather than letting the people know the truth about religion (as those religious groups perceive the truth to be, at any rate).

The picture design on Crazy Santa's letter has the same design as that of a stained glass window in a church in Oliver's neighborhood.

Roger, concerning the burnt down Christian church: "These fragmentary memories we sometimes come across make us remember insignificant things." Amusing comment.

Dorothy visits Laura again to learn more about human emotions, particularly love. One thing that is touched upon is that Laura doesn't mind it when Oliver lies to her about certain things (which is interesting to Dorothy, as she doesn't like the idea of lying), as they both live their lives the way they want to and are happy because of it.

Hmmm... Giant roots coming out of that jewel?... Three words: Hentai Tentacle Rape. *is pelted by tomatoes* Kidding, kidding!

This could be the episode where Dastun learns Roger's secret, as Roger isn't very far away or even concealed when he calls for Big-O. You never know, though. Could have been a circumstance that now episode encompassed.

"M*ASH?" That Norman...

Alex: "Tell me Chief, do you know the real meaning behind Heaven's Day? [...] It's the day God's son was born." Alex says this as he turns around and returns to his mansion. Again, more hints of Alex's self-righteous views.

Dorothy obviously wants to take part in human customs and experience what they feel, and likely feels affectionate towards Roger already, as apparent by her desire to participate in the Heaven's Day festivities.



ACT 12: ENEMY IS ANOTHER BIG!

Great. Here's were it starts getting complicated... Sigh. Here we gooooo!

Two oddities about Alex's check to Schwarzwald: (1) One amount reads $**30.85. The other reads $100,000,000,000. (2) There's a "Bank of America" line at the top.

"JFK Mark?" JFK International Airport?

So we're introduced to the second Big in this episode: Big-Duo. What qualifications must a megadeus meet in order to be classified as a "Big?" Common traits of O, Duo, Fau, and Venus: all humanoid in apperance, similar hip and frame design, similar face design, exact same underlying face plate, some degree of self-awareness and independent thought, and much greater strength then typical megadeuses. Many of these qualities are also shared with Archetypes. The Bigs will be discussed in detail later.

Schwarzwald: "I'm saving the ultimate attack for the main stage." Stage in the theatrical sense? Considering that their battle later takes place in the main dome in front of Paradigm HQ, I guess that would be the "main stage."

How does Angel know of Schwarzwald's wherabouts? Through Alex? The Union?

Notice the way one of the partygoers is lapping up his drink. "Paradigm lapdog," alright. The masks also seem to have the same color scheme as Big-Duo's face. Schwarzwald has designed his costume to more closely resemble Big-Duo, a small hint at the theme of a megadeus and dominus having their traits rubbed off on each other.

Schwarzwald: "It's this corrupt city that will burn! [...] These false skies called domes are ineffectual and useless on this world. It can't continue. Everyone must be made aware of the truth and experience what happened 40 years ago. And that's what I'm going to do, make them aware of it!" What is "the truth?" Does Schwarzwald already know of the "superdome" that rests over all of Paradigm City?

If you have the DVD's, make sure to watch this battle at least once in Japanese, as Schwarzwald says a few lines in German. I don't think it's an essential aspect of the plot, but it is kind of interesting, and unfortunate that it was cut in English.

Schwarzwald: "It's happening again..." He could either mean that Duo has done this once before, or he could be referring to how the Archetype moved on its own back in Act 4. Why did Duo get up, anyway? Given the circumstances, I'm guessing that Duo decided to ditch Schwarz because of where this fight was going. Was he then seeking out a more competent pilot? Notice that when he outstretches his arm at the end of his short-lived stroll, there are two things he could be aiming at: Paradigm HQ (to be saved by Alex? Or do destroy Paradigm?) and R.Dorothy Wayneright (perhaps in an attempt to assimilate her like the Archetype desired?).

Schwarzwald: "You don't need a master? Or do the choose their own masters? Do we control them, or do they control us, Roger Smith?" All of those questions could probably be answered with a "yes."

What building was Dorothy in at the end, anyway? It's not Roger's house; that's outside the domes. Wherever it was, Angel had been there too. Her cigarette is in the trash can under the phone she used to contact Roger earlier.

To Be Continued. The main story has been set in motion, and it's gonna be a long road to its conclusion.



ACT 13: R-D

Oh Jesus, here it is. That cliffhanger from Hell that left all of us in limbo for what, nearly two and a half years? I, along with many others, analyzed the hell out of every single image, every line, every question posed in this episode, desperately hoping to extract meaning out of what seemed to be both a huge turning point and the end of the series all at once. With so many questions and no resolution in sight, much was left to speculation, and we had to come to terms with letting it all go. There was no more Big-O. There were no answers. Metropolis seemed doomed to be left unfinished forever.

But alas, Sunrise, Bandai, and Cartoon Network have pulled through for us. Here I sit, years later, and this episode carries as much weight now as it did then, if not more. After viewing each season 2 episode, I would often come back to visit this one again, to see if I could extract something new from it. And almost every time I left with a new idea, a new possibility. There's so much to observe in these 22 minutes, so much that ties into so many themes of the show.

Even though other episodes may have more action (this one lacks a megadeus battle altogether), more romance (barely any Dorothy or Angel in this one), and more character development (nothing but Roger's nightmares here), I'd venture to say that this might be the one to bring me back again and again.

I'm going to cite information from other episodes as I analyze this one so I can paint a better idea of the bigger picture. Don't blink. You're bound to miss something.

First, the color red. "Red Destiny" wears a red cloak. The only other characters that wear the same outfit are Angel and Vera, and the only organization that uses red as a symbol of importance is the Union. "Red Destiny" was likely programmed by the Union to carry out the murders.

Second, "Cast in the name of God, ye not guilty." It's no mystery that Dorothy is linked to the megadeuses. More specifically, she contains components essential to Bigs (Big-Fau's "core memory," and the activation of Big-O's "Final Stage"). It could be the same case for "Red Destiny," which would give one reason for her knowledge of the phrase. Another is that she is programmed to kill all the tomato children, who each received memories from Gordon Rosewater and the senators killed in Act 10. These memories contain information about the Event and the Bigs, and seeing as how these are what allow Roger to pilot Big-O, I'd venture to say that every tomato child is a potential Dominus of a Big. This is why Alex wants them killed. His egotistical, self-righteous motives are to eliminate any potential "competition" to his power, as he considers himself to be the only true son of Gordon and the only rightful heir of the throne, so to speak. Getting back to my original point... We've seen Big-O's boot up screen fade from "Cast in the name of God..." to a barcode (Act 20), which are applied to the tomato children, who are killed by "Red Destiny," who uses the phrase after each murder. I'm still not sure of the meaning, but it's a cycle that links them all together.

Here's something interesting. Dastun drags Roger down to the station to ask if he was familiar with any of the victims. This poses the question, "Why would Dastun link them to Roger?" I think that this is the point where Dastun is aware of Roger's identity as the pilot of Big-O. He has connected him to the phrase "Cast in the name of God, ye not guilty" ("If I suspected at all that you were the assassin, I would ask you to explain this phrase."), which is reinforced in the scene where he's investigating the murder of Larry Flannis. (*looking at mirror w/ writing* "Where was Roger Smith? [...] Heh. I'm not surprised.")

After Roger finishes talking about how "the assassin got to [Ellen Weight before I could meet with her]," it cuts to Dorothy in the mansion, who notices Angel's cigarette on the carpet as "Weep For" begins playing. Although it's not true, the transition seems intended to make the viewer suspect Angel. (An interesting note: On the censored Toonami run, the cigarette was cut out entirely, thus removing the implication of Angel and instead making the viewer suspect Dorothy.)

In the scene where Roger and Norman are talking, notice the way Big-O looks without his outer face plate: just like that of an Archetype, which reinforces the possibility of the Archetype megadeuses being former designs for Bigs.

Also in this scene... Roger asks Norman if he is ever suspicious of his own memories. Norman asks Roger if he is questioning his own ability to pilot Big-O. When I first sat through this scene, I thought "Wait... that doesn't make a lot of sense. Those two topics didn't have anyting to do with each other." But of course, Roger is questioning himself because his ability to pilot Big-O stems from memories that are not his own.

Immediately following this scene, Roger has his first flashback of the past. One of the first visions is of a burning book with the title "History of the--" and what appears to be the Paradigm emblem. The next image is of a swarm of Big-Duos flying over a burning city. The next, of Big-O and Big-Fau destroying buildings with their eye lasers. The final image is of all three megadeuses walking through the apocalyptic scene. (I find it interesting that the Bigs seem to be cooperating and working together in their mission.) The flashback ends with a shot of the barcode children, topped-off with a close-up of an eye with the following serial number: "701330 570415". Remember this number! With a flash of fire, the screen cuts to Roger waking up from his nightmare, clutching his sheets. The camera is rather close to his eye, which makes the transition imply that the eye with the barcode was Roger's own eye. He walks to the window to see a red-cloaked figure standing there. "Red Destiny" is watching him now.

Big Ear: "All the victims supposedly did have one thing in common. They claimed with certainty that they were not born in Paradigm." This ties into Vera and Gordon's information in Act 25. The inferior tomatoes, the defective ones, were cast out of the city and formed the Union. The four victims in this episode all believed that they were from outside of Paradigm City, which implies that they are failures as well. There is, however, one person who has regained memories but does not believe he is a foreigner. That person is Roger Smith, and that fact implies that he is not a "rotten tomato," but a success. He might have "become the real thing" (discussed later).

The building in Ellen Weight's picture appears to be the place where Gordon conducted his experiments. Roger visits it only to find it in complete disrepair, and the basement where the lab supposedly existed has been sealed off. (The burned library is rather interesting as well, and I've attributed that to R Trusedale's "Myst Theory," which will also be discussed later.)

Angel: "I wouldn't dig too deep if I were you. It's for your own good, you know." Does Angel want to prevent Roger's death? "The representatives of the city... They're concerned that you're not using the megadeus appropriately." Roger: "Oh, is that what Alex Rosewater thinks?" Again, Alex isn't too keen on somebody else commanding that much power, challenging his own. Schwarzwald attempted to use Big-Duo to destroy Paradigm; who's to say that Roger wouldn't try to do the same some day? Better safe than sorry.

Roger's next flashback seems to be triggered by Angel's red cloak, which makes me think that she wants him to figure out the truth behind his memories and save himself from the assassin. She appeared to leave Metropolis behind at Alex's orders, but it's unsure as to whether she did the same with the victim list or if she snuck it in without Alex knowing. Alex wants Roger dead, so I don't think he'd want to give him too many clues.

Of the five names on the victim list hidden within Metropolis, four have been killed. Who is the next victim on the list? R-D. Who is the next person targeted by the killer? Roger Smith. What is the number next to R-D's entry? "701330 570415." What is the number in Roger's eye in his flashback? "701330 570415."

I'm sure you've noticed by now that I keep referring to that killer android, "Red Destiny," in quotations. Although that is her official name, it is implied in this episode that the entry on the victims list refers to her, and that, my friends, makes no sense whatsoever. The killer would not be on her own hitlist. "Red Destiny" is a red herring.

The beauty of this episode's title, "R-D," is that it is the most ambiguous element of the entire series, and it has multiple possible meanings. Off the top of my head: Red Destiny, Roger Dominus, Rosewater Dominus, Rowan Dastun, Run Down, etc. etc. I'm going to go through each plausible option and narrow it down to what I believe the case to be.

I've already debunked Red Destiny. A popular theory on the Paradigm-City.com message boards is "Roger - Dominus." There is a slight chance that the creators may have come up with that title during season 1, but I doubt it. Either way, I find it to be irrelevant because, as I've already stated, each tomato child is a potential dominus, not just Roger.

By all means, it shouldn't be Rosewater. Alex is the one behind the murders in the first place, and he doesn't even know that he's a tomato yet.

Rowan Dastun and Run Down were just random things I could think of, and there's absolutely no proof that either of those are the case. Moving on.

Well, it can be discerned that 'R' is Roger. After all, his barcode matches R-D's, and he is the next person to be targeted. The 'D'? You already know what I'm going to say. It's Dorothy, plain and simple. You ask why? Go back to the beginning. Go back to Act 1. Go back to the first words she spoke to him. Go back to what I had to say about it...

Probably the most important scene from this episode... Rewatch the first encounter between Roger and Dorothy in Roger's mansion. Isn't the whole situation a little bit strange? Dorothy seeks out Roger, a professional negotiator, to serve as her personal bodyguard for reasons she doesn't care to disclose. When Roger tells her that she is mistaken, she cuts him off, looks him straight in the eye, and tells him, "The job is yours, Roger Smith." First, how did she know his name? I don't recall anything of the sort being said in the opening scene with Soldano. Second, how on Earth did she track him down? The whole situation reeks of destiny, and I for one think that her brief encounter with Roger at the beginning triggered something in her own subconscious memories, which in turn led her to seek him out. "The Storm" is a rather interesting song to use in this scene as well.

There are a few ways that Roger, Dorothy, and Big-O have been portrayed as a trinity of sorts. Though Roger is the pilot, Dorothy is the key. Both Roger and Dorothy are capable of communicating with Big-O, and at times, communicate to each other through Big-O (Dorothy's attempt at getting Big-O to link with Roger as they are sinking in Act 26, for example). The barcode of R-D is the small shred of concrete proof that links their fates together; "R-D" is "Roger-Dorothy." They and Big-O are a single entity that will be the last item erased by Big-Venus at the conclusion of Act 26.

Another note about the barcodes altogether. If you omit the leading '9', all of them fall under the requirements for actual UPC-A barcode format, which makes this one detail that the creators made sure to get right. (While we're on the subject, try searching for information on these victims' barcodes at www.upcdatabase.com.) So what does the '9' mean? Perhaps the 9th tomato experiment? Who knows...

Notice that when Norman is repairing Big-O, it actually gives him the "Ye not guilty" check. That's kind of interesting. Was Norman perhaps a former pilot, or does Big-O simply trust him as a competent mechanic and loyal friend of Roger?

Alex: "The awakening is already well underway." Is the "awakening" the re-creation of the world as dictated by Alex? the assembly of Big-Duo and Big-Fau for his own purposes? the elimination of the tomatoes?

Roger's first meeting with Gordon. Pay attention, for you are about to hear THE MOST IMPORTANT LINE EVER SPOKEN IN THE ENTIRE SERIES!

Gordon: "These tomatoes are reproduced synthetically, with only the memories of the sweet flavorful original. If we keep repeating the process, this fruit will eventually become the real thing."

An alternate way of stating this line would be: "You 'tomatoes' are reincarnations of people from before the Event through the process of transferring their memories. If we keep repeating the process... That is, if we keep implanting memories into new children, refine the process, and eventually find a way for them to fully unlock these memories that we are incapable of accessing ourselves, then they will become a living replica of a person from this city's lost past. We will have regained what we have lost and solved the mystery of the Event." Repeating the process might also be another way of saying "rewriting Metropolis," or in more literal terms, "erasing and rebuilding Paradigm City from scratch via Big-Venus."

Gordon: "Everything contained in [Metropolis] is a lie: the world destroyed by a catyclism, giant robots running amok over the Earth, the power of the Creator weilded by the hand of man." I think I finally get what he means by "a lie." He didn't write the story as a factual account, but merely put down on words what he said a dream commanded to him. Although Gordon has perhaps been closer to the truth than anyone else, there are higher forces at work, and he has still been left in the dark, acting as a puppet of whatever higher power this may be.

Roger: "But the book has never been finished. Half of its pages still remain blank." Gordon: "Son, you have to harvest when the time is right." Judging from what I've seen of Act 26, Metropolis itself is the story of Paradigm City, in the process of being written. (I'm also subscribing to the theory of Metropolis physically being Paradigm City as well. Check the Myst Theory later.)

Red: "Who commands you, Roger Smith?" Roger: "No one commands me." "Then why do you pilot it? [...] They are the sacred chariots of mankind. Those who pilot them are intended to be commanded. If you admit you are not, then you must perish." I'd like to point out that in the Japanese version, the words "They belong to God" were used in place of "They are the sacred chariots of mankind." Considering that Alex views himself to practically be God... I think you get my point.

Roger: "Big-O acted on its own?" Roger asks himself this at the same time that "Red Destiny's" smashed headband drive is shown on the ground. This leads me to believe that Big-O saved Roger because he could detect the thoughts of "Red Destiny" and could not allow her to dispose of his pilot.

Angel: "It's too soon. If the power is released now, you'll ruin everything. Can't you see that?" Is she addressing Alex or the Union? She's apparently opposed to rebuilding Big-Fau so quickly, fearing what may come of it.

The episode ends with Roger facing off against the foreign threat, with Dorothy assisting him in battle. R and D fighting together to decide the fate of the city.

And it seems, for all that I've written on this episode, that I neglected to delve into why "Red Destiny" is a duplicate of Dorothy. We'll get back to that in Act 15.



INTERMISSION: WALKING TOGETHER ON THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD

Shortly after the first season was completed in Japan, a "special episode" of The Big-O was released as a Drama Theater CD. It involves Roger, Dorothy, Norman, Dastun, and Angel all in Roger's place discussing memories and the like. It's unsure as to whether it is meant to be placed into the series as an actual episode, or if it's just a special "what-if" scenario. At any rate, it touches on a few themes that are explored further during season 2, and there is an English translation available at Writer-in-Chief Chiaki J. Konaka's website. Give it a read.

I have the actual CD. It's pretty cool, but probably not worth it if you can't understand Japanese. In addition to the special episode, it has two other songs not found on any other soundtrack CD's: the original mix of "Brick Ballades" and "The Holy Remix."



ACT 14: ROGER THE WANDERER
ACT 15: NEGOTIATION WITH THE DEAD
ACT 16: DAY OF THE ADVENT
ACT 17: LEVIATHAN
ACT 18: THE GREATEST VILLAIN
ACT 19: EYEWITNESS
ACT 20: STRIPES
ACT 21: THE THIRD BIG
ACT 22: HYDRA
ACT 23: TWISTED MEMORIES
ACT 24: THE BIG FIGHT
ACT 25: THE WAR OF (THE) PARADIGM CITY



ACT 26: THE SHOW MUST GO ON

Big Ear: "Understand, Roger, that this city was created to be a stage with no memory prior to 40 years ago. It's nonsense to ask if memories exist." Here's my interpretation: There was nothing before 40 years ago. The Event was the beginning. Speaking of beginning, there are two amusing tie-ins to Act 1 here. Big Ear brings up the "knight in shining armor" comment again. Also, back in Act 1, Roger made a comment to Big Ear that it was amazing that somebody could design an android that could almost pass for human, completely unaware that Big Ear himself is an android. Something unsettling about Big Ear's newspaper: it contains a picture of something that hasn't happened yet! Is that how he got all of his information? Does he know the future? (In twenty minutes, it will be revealed that the past and the future are not entirely different.)

The new device in Big-Fau's cockpit is called the "Big-Fau Dorothy Unit." Notice that it contains what appears to be an hourglass, and the centerpiece of it is in the shape of a cross. Another way of bringing up Alex's self-righteous comparisons to the son of God, if you ask me. Is he supposed to be the Antichrist?

The first few seconds of the battle show us how strong Big-O truly is. Those lasers of Big-Fau, which melted Bonaparte in one shot and nearly destroyed the entire Central Dome, do absolutely nothing to Big-O's armor.

Notice that from time to time, the hourglass in the Dorothy Unit tilts slightly. I'd venture to say that this happens every time Alex says another self-righteous remark. It flips completely over when Alex completely flips out at Big-O's return later. Alex is "unbalanced," so to speak, and "time is running out."

Dastun quitting the Military Police... Unbelievable. That one motion of his arm has more character development in it than some entire monologues from other anime. Amazing.

Dorothy begins to wake up immediately after Roger and Big-O are KO'ed. The question here is whether she is waking up in response to Roger, Big-O, or both.

Gotta hand it to the Military Police. They pulled through when it counted, directly disobeying Paradigm's orders in order to save Dastun. They actually thwarted a Big, if only for a moment.

Interesting how Alex, in his self-righteous power-hungry manner, declares that he's "not a puppet" shortly before Big-Fau sticks his wires into him. Big-Fau teaching Alex who's boss here? Also, notice the arrangement of the wires in his back; they're in exactly the same layout as Angel's scars. Will Alex become the equivalent of Angel in the next version of Paradigm City? Is he now Big-Fau's "core memory?"

When Angel's scars begin glowing, Gordon comments that "The memory desperately wants to be remembered!" Perhaps Big-Venus is seeking Angel out, or Angel is doing the opposite unintentionally?

So we finally have proof that Big-Fau is the water Big.

Dorothy snaps out of it and regains full consciousness. This is extremely significant. She has awoken without her core programming, meaning that she is no longer ruled by the memories and tendencies of the girl she was modeled after. She may not be human, but she is her own person now. She's free. Recall Beck's line from earlier: "Do you actually know who you are?"

Alex tells Fau that he is different from Schwarzwald and Alan, that he is a true Dominus. Fau, in reply, shakes the hourglass rather heavily. I think Fau disagrees with him.

By contrast, Big-O respects Roger enough to honor his opinion. When Big-O attempts to assimilate Roger, perhaps to save his life, Roger declines. Roger doesn't want to be linked; he doesn't want to be controlled. Roger is the true Dominus. Roger has "become the real thing" (Gordon, Act 13). Alex is just another rotten tomato.

Beck: "Memories! What the hell are they?!" Amen, Beck. Amen. "I hate them. Both of them. The black guy and the white guy." Simple slam at Roger and Alex, or subtle social commentary? Hmmm... "But..." It seems that Beck clued Dorothy in to Big-O's secret weapon here.

Gordon: "Memories by nature are unreliable. They'll degenerate and become fradulent while they're inside people's minds." Similar to how the reality that is Paradigm City degenerates into one weird VR-esque spectacle? "People subconsciously create these stories called memories." Is the story Metropolis a memory? A subconcious memory of Gordon's that was revealed to him in a dream? Or a memory of the "true" original author that was handed down to Gordon, who hands his knowledge down to Angel? Roger's memories of the past first surfaced in nightmares, and a prevailent line in season 1 was "Memories, like nightmares, sometimes come when you least expect them."

Angel: "I don't know what happened 40 years ago, and I don't really care." Gordon: "Yes, I understand, and because of that nothing will have existed 40 years ago." He's referring to the past in future tense. Very confusing, but I think what he means by this is that the Event was the beginning, and nothing existed in Paradigm City 40 years ago. Paradigm City had become "the only stage where humanity can continue to preserve their civilization." (Alex, Act 22). Refer to the Myst Theory below for an explanation on what this may mean.

Angel: "I just want to go back." Gordon: "With the memories of what time? At what point in time? You have the power to either contain or release them, even those memories of events prior to 40 years ago." Angel: "So then, now I'm the one making the choice?" Angel is now directing the course of events in this world. She has become the Director.

Gordon: "It's up to you, Negotiator!" Roger must now negotiate with the Director to decide what the future will hold for Paradigm City.

What is that ball of light that shoots out from the water? Is it Angel herself? Or simply the catalyst for the "reset"? Angel is now in control of Metropolis, and she has begun "erasing" what Gordon (or perhaps his predecessor) had written.

Roger's final flashback. Oh boy, here we go... Assuming that everything in it is chronological (and that might be a pretty big assumption), here's how it goes down: Gordon and Roger standing in front of what appears to be the newly constructed central dome of Paradigm City, an army of Big-O's marching through the burning city, a swarm of Big-Duo's flying overhead, wreckage of many Big-O's scattered about the ground with a Leviathan battling one, a victorious Big-O clutching the Leviathan's head, Big-Venus appearing (this time with wings), Big-Venus shooting lasers from its mouth, a destroyed Big-O with a Roger Smith in the cockpit, another Paradigm City with people spontaneously appearing and populating it, with Roger the Wanderer walking through it, and an assembly line of Roger Smith androids. The scene closes with Angel watching Roger on a TV screen, picking up a model of Dorothy, and staring into a room that appears to contain a young Angel and Vera, both clutching a red book. It then shows Angel holding Metropolis.

Whew... So what the hell does it mean? It seems that Paradigm City is doomed to be destroyed by a war between megadeuses, and every time that happens, Big-Venus intervenes to wipe them out entirely. What's interesting though, is that Big-Venus has wings in that flashback and apparently loses them before he resurfaces in Act 26. A bird whose wings have been plucked will shed all its feathers and turn into the beast it was before it evolved into a bird. (Check the Legendary Beasts section later for the relevance to Angel.) Now for the Roger-bots... I'm going to chalk this one up to pure symbolism, as the case seems to be that a new Roger Smith is incarnated in each "rewrite" of Paradigm City, and this fact is symbolized by an assembly line of Roger Smiths. Now, Angel in the "studio?" She has become "the Director," or in another sense, become the God of Paradigm. She has become the new author of Metropolis and is going to rewrite the story from the beginning, similar to how Big-Venus resets the city.

Alex: "What's happening to my world?" I'd venture to say that it's the Event all over again.

Roger wanted mouth-to-mouth? He so wants her. Just admit it already.

I'm pretty sure Beck is my favorite character of the series. If you're happy and you know it, clap your feet...

Alex: "I'll give you all that I am now!" And the hourglass turns over and turns red. Is Fau absorbing Alex and/or his memories?

You'd think bombs that big would actually be able to do something, whether they penetrate Big-O or not. Geez, Fau was all hype after all.

Dorothy: "I was informed by a buffoon with curly hair and gaudy clothing." The fact that Beck was the one who allowed Roger to activate the BEST ATTACK EVER is truly ironic. Again, I love that guy.

Way to go, Roger. You wipe out all of Paradigm City but conveniently miss Alex. Whoops.

Enter Big-Venus. I'd like to point out something about this megadeus that you probably didn't notice. You only see it in its true form for about a second. It's normal color scheme is a dark gray / orange one, very similar to that of Big-O's. It only inverts into that white look when it's in the "rewriting" process. My sources stem from the only official full-color illustrations of Big-Venus, one in the official companion book (page 29) and the cover of Japanese DVD Vol. 7 of the second season. I bring this up because a lot of people interpret the color to mean that Big-Venus is the opposite of Big-O, and while that may hold truth as well, there's a possibility that they are more like twins as well.

There are implications that either Angel is the human form (or perhaps the memory?) of Big-Venus, or that Big-Venus is the megadeus form of Angel. Refer to the "Lengendary Beasts" section at the bottom of the page.

I'd also like to point out two significant edits that were made from the Japanese version to the English version. In the Japanese version, the whip marks on Angel's back had disappeared after Act 25. They fixed this for the US release and digitally added them back in. Also, the lights on Big-Venus's back were originally blue in the Japanese version. They were changed to red in the American version. Coincidence? I think it's supposed to draw another parallel between Angel and Venus, as the lights on Venus's back are in the same position as the scars on Angel's.

Y'know... Call me crazy, but I just got the impression that Big-O really looks a lot like Roger when his eyes lit up in this scene. Weird.

And now it's time for Roger to fulfill his purpose. It's the Final Negotiation. It can be assumed that what is happening to Paradigm City now is what happened 40 years ago, and maybe even 40 years before that, and before that, and so on, forever erasing the memories of the citizens, forever doomed to repeat itself. Roger: "I most-likely erased them of my own free will." Gordon said that the original Roger Smith had memories and was hired to negotiate with the Director of this world. Again, Roger is no longer Roger the Wanderer or Roger the Tomato. He has become aware of his purpose. He has become the real thing. He is truly Roger the Negotiator.

It's interesting that Roger outstretches his arms in the shape of the holy cross. Big-O and Big-Venus could be opposites, there is evidence linking Angel to Lucifer (see "Legendary Beasts") and now Roger to Christ. His line here, "You must stop denying your own existance! You have to live as a human being!" This brings a tear to Angel's eye. Roger doesn't wish for her to simply oversee the next world; he cares about her and wants her to enjoy life as well. She might have written herself into Paradigm City because of it. She might have changed her role as well.

Oh, and that other Roger and Dorothy in Angel's "control room?" I'd say that that was the same scene represented in a different way. In one, we have Roger and Big-O negotiating with Big-Venus. In the other, we have Roger directly addressing Angel. It's also worth noting that there's an actual promo poster for Big-O in the background of this shot, and that bugs the hell out of me. I hate the Truman Show theory, but I gotta admit that that really does make it one of many possibilities.

Roger's pleas to Angel about memories and the sake of the citizens of Paradigm City seem to have had a profound effect: Angel didn't erase the world completely. She didn't return Paradigm City to 40 years ago. She simply erased it back to the approximate time of Act 1, with a few noticeable changes. Remember that metal panel in the road that Roger drives over? In the end of Act 26, it makes a much softer noise than it had made before. Perhaps Roger's road is going to be easier in this version of Paradigm City? There's something about Angel and Dorothy that seem different as well. The two women might have a different effect on Roger Smith in this world.




- BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER -



THE PARADIGMS AND PATTERNS OF THINGS

par·a·digm (n.)
1) One that serves as a pattern or model.
2) A set or list of all the inflectional forms of a word or of one of its grammatical categories: the paradigm of an irregular verb.
3) A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

Usage Note: Paradigm first appeared in English in the 15th century, meaning “an example or pattern,” and it still bears this meaning today: Their company is a paradigm of the small high-tech firms that have recently sprung up in this area. For nearly 400 years paradigm has also been applied to the patterns of inflections that are used to sort the verbs, nouns, and other parts of speech of a language into groups that are more easily studied. Since the 1960s, paradigm has been used in science to refer to a theoretical framework, as when Nobel Laureate David Baltimore cited the work of two colleagues that “really established a new paradigm for our understanding of the causation of cancer.” Thereafter, researchers in many different fields, including sociology and literary criticism, often saw themselves as working in or trying to break out of paradigms. Applications of the term in other contexts show that it can sometimes be used more loosely to mean “the prevailing view of things.” The Usage Panel splits down the middle on these nonscientific uses of paradigm. Fifty-two percent disapprove of the sentence "The paradigm governing international competition and competitiveness has shifted dramatically in the last three decades."

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


I'm pretty sure the first and third definitions could easily be applied to Paradigm City.



ENTIRE WORLDS WITHIN BOOKS: THE MYST THEORY

This theory was originally proposed by R Trusedale and has been paraphrased and ammended by myself.

In the universe of the PC game series Myst, entire worlds are created by writing code into special books. These self-contained worlds are called "Ages," and the author has free reign over the scenery and laws of physics in each individual Age he or she creates, in essence making him or her the God of that particular Age. "Linking Books" are used as a means of transportation from Age to Age; laying one's hand on the first page of a Linking Book literally sucks you into the book and transports you to the Age depicted within the linking code.

As applied to Big-O, the Myst Theory states that Gordon Rosewater's book "Metropolis" is the design for the Age known as Paradigm City. This provides logical reasons for two things: the memory loss and the lack of an ending. Not to mention all the weird bending of reality at the end.

If Gordon (or perhaps his predecessor?) wrote the Age of Paradigm City from scratch, then the beginning of existence for the city would have been the start of the 40-year cycle; nobody remembers anything before then because there was nothing before then. It would require far too much work on the behalf of the author to write out the memories of every inhabitant, and I doubt that any author would have the capabilities of completing such a task at any rate, so the vast majority were left as blank slates. Those pivotal characters that apparently did have memories at one point (Gordon, Wayneright, the senators, etc.) might be the only inhabitants of Paradigm City that once existed in the real world outside of Metropolis. I think that the real world may very well have been destroyed, and the Age written within Metropolis was a last-ditch effort to save humanity. The survivors of the apocalypse were transferred into Paradigm City, but from the many rewrites of Metropolis, their memories had begun to decay and slip away as well. The tomato experiments were initiated in hope of reviving them so that they could solve the mysteries of the Event and perhaps prevent the world from ending again.

Also, the book for an Age can only describe the physical aspects and laws of that world; no author has the capacity to fully write out its history, as there are too many variables to contain. Should an author attempt to write an Age's future, it is likely that a logical contradiction would arise and the fabric of that universe could very well be torn apart. This could be why Metropolis is unfinished, in the process of being completed as time passes by.

This would make Big-Venus somewhat of an "eraser," I guess... As the new author, Angel uses Big-Venus to return to a blank slate in order to rewrite the story from the beginning. Out with the old, in with the new. Maybe change a few things here or there to prevent a similar outcome.

One of the interesting things about the Myst theory is that the assassination attempt on Gordon by Alex is not unlike the relationship between Atrus and his two sons in Myst; both attempted to lock him away and gain control over the Ages he created for themselves.

The burned library in Act 13 may also be a connection to the burned library on the Island of Myst.



THE BIGS: LEGENDARY BEASTS

This theory was originally proposed by Hustion and has been paraphrased and ammended by myself. I would appreciate if somebody could point me to additional sources on this subject because I want to make certain that I have my facts straight here.

According to Jewish belief, Behemoth was the most powerful monster of the land, Ziz the most powerful of the air, and Leviathan the most powerful of the ocean.

All of these monsters are served at the banquet feast at the end of time. They were said to be created for that sole purpose, to be enjoyed by the saved after the apocalypse. And you probably already noticed this:

Behemoth: Big-O
Ziz: Big-Duo
Leviathan: Big-Fau

One interesting fact about Ziz: While also being able to block out the sun with his wings, Ziz was also used to explain the occurances of meteorites. It was said that whenever Ziz was angry, he would swoop down, grab up boulders, and drop them down on humans from the sky. Ziz also appears in Arabian Nights, throwing boulders on ships and saving Sinbad from a shipwreck. Big-Duo crashes into the "stagelights" attached to the Paradigm superdome, which happen to be the equivalent to meteorites crashing down upon Paradigm City.

I know some of you are saying "Wait a minute. The Leviathan was the dragon megadeus in Act 17 and the Behemoth was the gold megadeus in act 25." True, but remember: These megadeuses had similar qualities to ARCHETYPES of Bigs; they could have very well been previous design ideas for Bigs before it was decided that they have a more humanoid form. The only scene involving the Behemoth is when it rises out of the ground with Big-O in Act 25. To me, this scene reinforces the parallel between them.

Recall the exchange between Vera and Roger in Act 23. Vera calls Roger "Behemoth!" She follows with "If there truly was a being that created this world, I would have to believe that he did not grant the right to live only to those born in Paradigm. After all, the Creator permitted the abominable Leviathan of the Sea and Behemoth of the Land to live." Call me crazy, but I seriously doubt that Vera was referring to two easily defeated megadeuses, one of which had a total onscreen time of what, 10 seconds? She is referring to Big-Fau and Big-O.

Schwarzwald's letter to the public in Act 17 contains an illustration on one side: God looking down upon the Behemoth and the Leviathan. It is said that these two monsters are supposed to engage in a battle during the end of the world. Interesting, seeing how Big-O and Big-Fau cause much of the destruction of Paradigm City in their battle before Big-Venus intervenes and erases the world.

Well, I just had my shit ruined. There are less than 24 hours before the premiere of the final episode as of this writing, and my perspective of Big-Venus just had a complete turn around. Here I am, hoping to guide others through the meaning of all of this, only to have my world shattered.

One hour ago, I had assumed that Big-Venus was the megadeus equivalent of God himself, as it has the power to recreate Paradigm City. However, I was glancing through my copy of the official Big-O companion book, and I stopped at the script of Act 26. I noticed for the first time that it has footnotes scattered here or there, so I skimmed through excitedly to see if I could extract any meaning out of the Japanese text. In page 105, in the third line of the right-hand side of the gray box, I read the following:

"Venus / Lucifer"

Holy. F***ing. S***.

But so much makes sense now. B666, for example, refers to the mark of the beast. Angel truly is a "fallen angel." She's LUCIFER! "A bird whose wings have been plucked will shed all its feathers and turn into the beast it was before it evolved into a bird." In Roger's flashback in Act 26, Big-Venus has wings and is destroying the city. It's wings are plucked, its mechanical body is shed away, and it is cast down to Paradigm City in human form as Angel. Gordon tells Angel that she is literally a "memory," as evident from the marks on her back. This could be a way of saying that Angel is an incarnation of somebody's former self entirely.

Well, at any rate, Alex was mistaken. He assumed that Big-Fau was the megadeus that had Venus's powers. (Act 24: "He who becomes Dominus of Big-Fau becomes ruler of the world. [...] Once [the battle] is over, I'm going to reset this city once again. I'll reset it with my own will and my own strength.")

As for the Archetypes, they seem to have either survived from a previous version of Paradigm City or were simply discarded failures in the creation of this version. The fact that Dorothy was able to link with the Archetypes and vice versa was very unexpected and alarming to her. She has the ability to link with megadeuses built by Wayneright and Bigs. She calls the Leviathan Archetype a "ghost" and exclaims to the humanoid Archetype that "That thing should not be allowed to exist anywhere!" Which brings up another issue...

Oh, and I believe I have put the age-old Dorothy vs. Angel debate to rest forever. Angel is Lucifer. Roger deserves better. Now I'm trying to figure out whether or not Paradigm City is Hell. Damn I need some aspirin.



THE ORIGINAL ROLE OF TIMOTHY WAYNERIGHT

This section is mostly speculation, but there's no doubt about it that Mr. Wayneright was an important figure before the Event. I'd venture to say that he even had a large hand in the creation of the Bigs. Let me cite what types of megadeuses that his most famous creation, R.Dorothy Wayneright, has been shown to be capable of linking to:

Dorothy I (another creation of Wayneright's)
humanoid Archetype
Leviathan Archetype
Big-O
Big-Fau

She also knows exactly what Big-Venus is the moment after it surfaces.

I for one think that Wayneright designed the Bigs as well, thus explaining why Dorothy can serve as the key for many of their powers. The tale of the Nightingale is about an emperor of an ancient country. Wayneright could have been a very prominent figure in the world pre-Event.

I guess it doesn't matter that much, but it is an interesting thought.



COMPUTER PROGRAMMING: WHY IS IT CALLED THE "BIG-O"?

I wrote most of the following when I was sitting in my Computer Science lab class. We were learning about search and sort methods for arrays and matrices of data, and up until this point I wasn't really paying attention, but my instructor said something that snapped me out of my stupor:

"To measure the efficiency of these paradigms, we use big-O notation... I hate this stuff. It gives me nightmares, and it's practically all you'll be doing if you ever take CS 320."

After listening to the lecture for half an hour and trying to sort out all the information, this is the meaning I've come up with:

In my computer science class, standard well-established algorithms and methods for problem-solving have sometimes been dubbed as "paradigms." Big-O notation is used to obtain a rough estimate of the time required for an algorithm to run from start to finish. Hence, big-O notation is used to determine the efficiency of various paradigms in different problems and situations, which in turn allows us to determine the ideal paradigm for accomplishing a certain task.

Trying not to get too technical (and while still trying to get a good grasp on this myself), I'll try to cover a few details. The number 'n' is used to define the number of data entries that a given algorithm must evaluate before it finishes. An equation is written to relate the number of entries 'n' to the amount of time 't' required to evaluate them. Let's say that this amount of time is defined by the equation "t = 2n^2 + n - 5".

The part of the above equation that is most essential to determining the value of 't' is the n-squared term. In big-O notation, the most significant term (the biggest order of magnitude) is the only element used to determine efficiency. In the above equation, efficiency would be determined simply by evaluating 'n^2':

O(2n^2 + n - 5) = n^2

So in other words, big-O notation takes into consideration only the most-significant factor in execution time and ignores all other elements.

Perhaps Paradigm City is one of many ideas, attempts, or experiments, and Big-O is a sort of evaluation tool?

witwerg adds: "So... On a similar tangent... In Act 25, with all the debris falling down and desctruction being wrought, we could say the paradigm was crashing. So the question is... What's going to blue screen and who's going to press the reset button?"

Yeah, but... adds: "I think Paradigm might be a sort of simulation, a way of trying to keep another Event from occurring, or at least finding ways that might bring about another Event. Roger and Alex declaring all-out war on each other could certainly lead to the destruction of Paradigm...again."

R Trusedale adds: "interesting idea. How many other computer terms are there in the show?

1. Big O (great idea)
2. Paradigm
3. Memory (obviously)

I may have another one. When Roger delves into memory sequences in R.D there seems to frequently be a wall of flame that represents a barrier or stopping point. Thats right folks, its a firewall."



ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE

Clearly, nobody can dismiss all the theatrical terms and elements used in Big-O: "showtime," "action," perhaps even "cast," the stage lights, the movie Winter Night Phantom, Angel's "home," Angel's "control room," and all the references to Paradigm City being a stage and all the characters merely being actors playing out their roles.

I must have heard a million references to the Truman Show when Act 25 was first aired. The similarities are there, yes, but I wouldn't jump all over the idea of Paradigm City literally being a reality show just yet. The fact that the whole superdome transformed into a grid and everything within it was erased should make you reconsider. Also, Schwarzwald refers to the superdome as "abandoned equipment," which leads me to the following thought (somewhat borrowed from Bentar): there is no audience, there is to director, there is no one at the helm!

I take most of the theatrical references as metaphors. I don't think Paradigm City is literally a show in the same manner that the "tomatoes" are not actually tomatoes! Was Paradigm City a project or experiment that has been abandoned? Is it doomed to forever rewrite/reboot itself until things fall into place and it is able to sustain itself indefinitely?



CAST IN THE NAME OF GOD, YE NOT GUILTY

God damn it's late. I'll talk about this one later.



ROGER SMITH IS MY DAD

This has absolutely no relevance to the show whatsoever, but my parents' names are Roger and Dorothy Smith. Seriously. No joke. Isn't that awesome?

Here's the proof I can come up with: [EDIT - You know, looking back, I think this might have been a bad idea to post this information on my site, even if it's relatively easy to find on one's own...]
Moving on...



IN CONCLUSION: "THERE PROBABLY IS MORE THAN ONE TRUTH."

I hope this page has been of some help. When it comes down to it, though, there's no way for somebody to know the absolute truth about everything in the series. All the symbolism of so many different things make it impossible for there to be one and only one interpretation of many aspects of the show. While understandably frustrating to some, this is the main draw of the show for me. It's refreshing to sit back and analyze something as entertaining and thought-provoking as Big-O, and I for one have arrived at my own personal truth, my own explanations for nearly everything I've observed in the series. It's been a wild ride, and who knows; maybe Cartoon Network will lay down the money for the show to be extended further. I can't say that I'd like the idea of a third season to continue the plot from this one, as I believe that would stretch out the story and water it down, but I sure wouldn't mind a movie, or perhaps a prequel to elaborate on some of the deeper mysteries of the show. I'm satisfied for now though, and I'm in much better mental health than I was when the conclusion of Act 13 first aired. Hope you've enjoyed it as well.

There is, however, one more source that you can turn to for answers. The Official Companion Book is a very concise guide to the entire series. It includes concept art, staff interviews, episode summaries, biographies, and more, all written by the producers and staff of the show. The only problem: it's all in Japanese, and I'm having one hell of a time translating bits and pieces of it. One notable fact that I've pulled from it so far is that the Event occurred on April 13th, 2018 (bottom of page 33). If I manage to draw enough significant facts from this book, I'll make sure to post a section about it here.

But if you're still yearning for more of a conclusion, the Reciprocal Paradigm team has pretty big plans for the conclusion of our story. I can't say for sure how long it will take before we finally bring it to a close, but I've got a feeling that fans of Big-O will definitely not be disappointed.

Final thought: I HATE BATMAN AND GUNDAM COMPARISONS!

End.