Big Guy and Rusty as an animated series (1999) Was almost entirely different from the comic. But kept a lot of the roots of what made Big Guy and Rusty so good. You have the atomic art style and retro-futuristic feel to the characters. Big Guy as the American soldier and Rusty as the rusty prototype that couldn’t quite get the job done on his own.
Definitely not an American~Big Guy
While the comicfocuses more on Big Guy coming in to take care of what Rusty couldn’t and leaves it at that, the animated series focuses on Rusty and how he has a human emotion grid that allows him to think and feel more like a human being. We follow Rusty being the advanced robot child and not the hero that the world wants right now.
Following up to being introduced so poorly, Rusty cannot seem to handle the threat of monsters and chaos like The Big Guy can. Big Guy had been decommissioned before Rusty was supposed to be his replacement. Soon after Rusty fails his first mission, The Big Guy is recommissioned and resumes active duty on the condition that he take on Rusty as a partner/apprentice.
The series ran for two seasons, only 26 episodes. You can purchase it on Amazon. And while being directed towards children, this series had a lot of themes that one could consider more mature. The uniquely detailed art from the comics seemed to have been carried over from there to the cartoon. Although some of it lost it’s quality for the sake of lower budget animation, it still felt like a classic series that would not lose the nostalgia it has. Where the comic introduces characters, this series was able to expound on them and build a world where they interact and live. A world, while constantly threatened by monsters, is still an epic world of combined themes.
New Tronic City, mostly modeled after New York City, pulled the characters out of Japan, but kept all of the elements that the comic book’s story had, such as the evil man with a strange monkey that cannot be explained and the reluctant partnership formed at the end of the first episode between Rusty and Big Guy.
One thing this series did to create character building was the stirring of conflicts. Relationships were always in jeopardy, because there were secrets for the greater good, and the majority of them were focused around The Big Guy as he was actually not a robot, but a man in a Mech suit. There is an obvious difference.
So what made Big Guy a robot? Well, nothing literally, but the government couldn’t let the world know that the robot they had promised was nothing more than a tank. While there were some drawbacks to this, Lieutenant Hunter being in the cockpit made Big Guy more human and this made the lie of it all much more worth it, without Hunter, the robot would be a soulless hunk of metal that could not be as advanced as Rusty. And Rusty at this time could not be properly improved or replicated, which makes their partnership a necessity.
This is more-or-less an overview of the series, not in anyway a review, but my opinion to be noted is that if you’d like to enjoy a classic animated series about a retro-futuristic society where a robot and a Mech pilot work together to save the world on a regular basis, this is definitely your pot of tea.