The Big O anime series returns to the Cartoon Network this August as part of the Adult Swim block. Television Week reports that thirteen new episodes of the stylish series, which combines elements of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Batman Beyond, and Japanese 'big robot' series, will be shown uncut and the 13 original episodes that were shown on the afternoon Toonami block in edited form will now be seen uncut on the Adult Swim. During the past May sweeps period the Adult Swim block overwhelmed its cable competition and even bested Letterman and Leno in the highly prized 18-14 male demographic (see 'Adult Swim Wins Its Demo Against All Competition').
The Cartoon Network is adding a number of new series to the Adult Swim block this summer in order to keep its programming fresh (see 'Kikaider Scheduled For June'), but the network has a special stake in The Big O, which is the first anime series for which the Cartoon Network has served as a co-producer. The first Big O series was actually more popular in the U.S. than in Japan and it was the Cartoon Network's interest that sparked the development of The Big O 2, the second 13-episode series. If the new series and the uncut versions of the original 13 episodes prove popular, the Cartoon Network has an option on 26 additional episodes.
Retailers will also benefit if The Big O becomes a hit on Adult Swim, since there is quite a bit of Big O merchandise available including DVDs of the first series from Bandai Entertainment (which will also do series 2, see 'Bandai Gets Big O 2'), the manga series from Viz, and a number of toys from Bandai America (see 'Bandai Expands Anime Collector Sets').