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Big Eyes, Small Mouth

Entry updated 8 March 2014. Tagged: Game.

Role Playing Game (1997). Guardians of Order (GOO). Designed by Mark MacKinnon.

Big Eyes, Small Mouth is a generic system used for playing games inspired by Japanese Anime and Manga, both those based on specific series and those which simply share the form's characteristic themes and enthusiasm for melodrama. The title refers to a heavily stylized approach to depicting human features often used in its source material. The game's mechanics are simple and flexible, designed to be used with any Anime genre, including horror, comedy, sf and fantasy. Players are encouraged to create archetypal Anime characters, complete with amusing personality defects; the intent is that games should be fast-moving and fun. There have been several subsequent releases of the game: the second edition (2000 GOO) designed by David Pulver, Mark MacKinnon; a d20 version (2003 GOO) designed by Mark MacKinnon and the third edition (2007 Arthaus) designed by Mark MacKinnon. A variety of supplements have been produced, many of them adapting popular Anime television series such as the science-fictional Dominion Tank Police (1985). Big Robots, Cool Starships (1999 GOO) designed by David Pulver is a sourcebook for sf settings in Big Eyes, Small Mouth. As in Mekton (1985), extensive rules for constructing human-piloted giant Robots or Mecha are included. Unlike Mekton, however, Big Robots, Cool Starships emphasizes style over complexity; games are expected to feature angst ridden Robot pilots, sleek combat Cyborgs and bold Starship captains in stories emphasizing drama and intense emotion.

Big Robots, Cool Starships includes a scenario called "Red Planet, Blue Helmets", in which a United Nations team becomes involved in the accidental reactivation of an Alien starship found on twenty-first-century Mars. Centauri Knights (2001 GOO; rev 2004) designed by David Pulver is a sourcebook for this milieu, with a rather more serious tone than most Big Eyes, Small Mouth settings. Osiris, a planet in the Alpha Centauri system, has been colonized using technology reverse engineered from the starship in "Red Planet, Blue Helmets". Interstellar travel occurs at Sublight speeds, and the energies required mean that only human brains are sent, in Suspended Animation, and transplanted into artificial bodies at the destination. As in Ghost in the Shell (1995), these new "shells" are largely mechanical; sexual relationships between full body Cyborgs are commonplace. Centauri Knights focuses on the twenty-second century, when the colony is in a state of open conflict over the status of artefacts left behind by the vanished Alien race which constructed the Mars spacecraft. Osiris itself is a barren world, its surface scoured clean by Nanotechnology run wild. Players can create characters who belong to any of the various Osiran factions, including the "fog witches" who have learned how to communicate with and partially control the mist of Nanotechnological machines which covers much of the planet's surface, or who are members of the "United Nations Peace in Alpha Centauri Force", tasked with making peace using giant Robots. The milieu of Centauri Knights elegantly fuses the traditions of Hard SF and Anime, creating its own unique style. [NT]

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