Big Hero 6 Vol. #01 Manga Review

Big Hero 6 Vol. #01 Manga Review A new and interesting take on the Disney film

Creative Staff:
Story/Art: Haruki Ueno
Original Concept: Marvel Worldwide, Inc.
Translation: Aletha and Athena Nibley
Lettering: Lys Blakeslee

What They Say:
When Hiro’s kindhearted brother, Tadashi, vanishes through a portal to save him, the boy genius is devastated. But his big brother left something to help Hiro cope with his loss—a personal health-care robot named Baymax. And when what Hiro needs more than comfort is an explanation of his brother’s disappearance, Baymax—with a few upgrades—may be just what the doctor ordered! With new friends and Baymax 2.0 by his side, Hiro is determined to get to the bottom of everything…and he might end up saving the world on his own.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I love the Big Hero 6 movie and, while adaptations thereof can be extremely varying in quality, I thought it smart enough to at least take a look at a volume. The movie captures the charm of a young man trying to do right and a connection that transcends most others, in that between Hiro and Baymax. It’s also a story of grief and overcoming grief. It’s a beautiful little children’s film that’s not the best thing ever, but it is exceptional.

This comic, expectedly, is a huge departure from the movie. The core is still there, of course. The team all gets together, Baymax is still the health care device, Hiro still creates his microbots (but this time they’re for disaster relief instead of “creating anything you can imagine”). Callaghan still scouts Hiro, but this time to his company and not to a university. In typical Japanese fashion, Callaghan looks a lot younger than I recall from the film as well, as does their aunt.

The changes in the story actually make Hiro immediately weaker a character (this is ultimately overcome by the end of the volume, likely leading to the same problems from the film). He’s extremely dependent on his brother and looks up to him for everything. Hiro even became an inventor because he wanted to be just like his brother. The change in his motive for the microbots is to emulate his brother’s care for other people. But that’s just the thing…he’s emulating. He seems to have no emotions of his own aside from a love of his brother and copying his actions.

In Summary:
This was an enjoyable enough comic, but it’s clearly worse than its source material. I expected this, but I guess I expected a little more with an already relatively generic story in Big Hero 6 the movie. It became a little too overwrought with the tropes that bring anime and manga down sometimes (kids doing seemingly impossible things, sudden gathering of things for plot convenience, mysterious evil figure) rather than reveling in what made the movie so good: the connection between Hiro and Tadashi and the tragedy of him dying. The brothers’ bond becomes somewhat one sided with the way it’s written now and barely any time is spent on Tadashi’s now-disappearance through the mysterious hole thing.

Content Grade: C+
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: All ages
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: 3/24/2015
MSRP: $11.99

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Big Hero 6 Vol. #01 Manga Review