The Cartoon Network has announced that the new anime series The Big O will debut on Tuesday, April 3 at 5:30 Eastern Standard Time, earlier than we previously reported (see 'Cartoon Network Adds Two...' for the first announcement). What does this mean for retailers? Well The Big O has a real chance of appealing to both comic and anime fans because of its similarities to fan favorites Batman and Metropolis (with an anime twist). The hero of the Big O is Roger Smith, millionaire playboy and crime fighter, who comes complete with a high tech auto (the 'Griffon') and a reserved, but chipper butler (Norman Berg). The dark, noirish art deco look of The Big O also recalls the Batman Animated series, but The Big O's plot has some nice twists including a central mysterious event some 40 years in the past that caused everyone in Paradigm City to lose their memories. The Japanese elements in the story include the obligatory giant robot--The Big O, a huge piledriving behemoth--that only Roger Smith can summon to fight against gangster Beck Gold and his minions. Top it all off with a female robot (Dorothy) that harkens back to Metropolis, and you have a mix that fans will find quite interesting.
So the property sounds interesting, but is there any merchandise available? Yes, Bandai is including The Big O in its Anime Collectors Sets (see 'Bandai to Produce Anime Sets for U.S. Market'). The three-figure set will retail for $14.99 and contain figures for Roger, Dorothy, and larger, poseable version of The Big O robot. With the anime starting on the Cartoon Network in April, retailers should have a chance to gauge its impact before the toys arrive. Bandai is also set to release the first Big O DVD in June. The DVD will include the original, uncut Japanese version of four episodes of the series in both dubbed and subbed versions and will retail for a very reasonable $24.95. Pre-booking is underway (e.g., March Previews). A second DVD is set for an August release.