I started watching this show because-- well, because I would occasionally catch a snippet of it & end up totally befuddled. I couldn't wrap my head around what was going on, so I decided to immerse myself in it. I finally watched the final episode last night (I still have episodes at the beginning to see, since I started in the middle) & the end verdict is: I liked it, even the controversial second season. The hybrid style, the old-fashioned AIs, the whole attitude of the show appeals to me. Like, check this out:
The boot sequence ("Cast in the name of God, Ye not guilty") is a design of series director Kazuyoshi Katayama. Katayama first learned of the phrase through a magazine article on John Milius and the Conan the Barbarian series. According to the article, the phrase comes from the swords of executioners in the 17th century. A variation of the phrase ("Suffer no guilt ye who wields this in the name of Crom") is engraved in Conan's sword. Katayama liked the sound of it and decided to use it as the robot's call to arms. (Wikipedia)
On the surface, the premise of the show is a mash-up of a mecha fighting show with Batman: the Animated Series. The style is art deco, almost vergeing on steam-punk where the robots are concerned. The "mecha"-robots are called Megadeuses-- big gods. The main character is an integrated Bruce Wayne-- no psychotic break to cause a "bat-man" or anything. He even has a kick-ass butler. A sweet car. Gadgets. Oh, & a giant mecha called Big O. Designed by the same guy who designed crazy Tranzor Z, which explains why I like it so much, right?
The real plot of the show, though is thus: orchestral music will play & there will be voice overs about memory. See, everyone lost their memories 40 years ago, & now live in a domed city called "Paradigm City." Ruled by an evil corporation, natch. The real gist of the show is memory, amnesia, identity. Whether you're screaming about how you don't need them, or you do need them, or wrestling with the controls of your giant fighting robot until you have some catharsis-- memory. To such an over-the-top extreme that it alchemically transmutes from over-drama to melo-drama. Fun stuff. Then a robot punches a monster.