(ロジャー・スミス, Rojā Sumisu
) is the series protagonist. He is the Negotiator. His job entails finding a resolution for the troubles of Paradigm City, the "City of Amnesia". He'd negotiate anything for anyone, but he is a professional and expects the parties to behave professionally. When memories betray the people and force them to reawaken monstrosities of the city's past, Roger's only option is to fight back with a monstrosity of his own, the black megadeus Big O.
The character, originally envisioned as a private eye, shows influences from Batman, James Bond and Giant Robo'
s Daisaku Kusama. He is voiced by Mitsuru Miyamoto in the Japanese-language version, and by Steven Blum in the English version.
In 1996, Keichii Sato and Kazuyoshi Katayama began work on what would become The Big O
. Looking to create something distinguishable from the Gundam
franchise, they used as a basis old super robot series and American TV shows. Sato's original concept was a giant city-smashing robot piloted by a man in black, Roger Smith. Inspired by detective shows like Oretachi wa Tenshi da!
(We Are Angels!
) and Tantei Monogatari
), Roger was to be a private eye. However, the creators thought this to be too ordinary, and turned him into a Negotiator. With a negotiator, it would be "made sure the negotiations never work out... so, it's guaranteed the robot always trashes the place!" Contrary to other robot shows, the protagonist is not a young boy but a "cool adult". Sato's reasoning behind the decision is he wanted to give young viewers someone to look up to, and older viewers someone to identify with.
The Negotiator is portrayed as very methodical and strict. He has a number of rules and policies that dictate all aspects of his everyday life; from how people must behave in his house to the way he performs his job:
Roger considers side arms unbecoming a gentleman, so he avails himself of a number of gadgets to aid his job. Inspirations for the equipment include characters such as Batman, James Bond and Dick Tracy; and shows like Thunderbirds
, Giant Robo
, and The Avengers