While a lot of Disney films receive a ton of promotion leading up to release, there has been relatively little info about Big Hero 6. Who are these strange-looking heroes and what's their deal? Here's your primer on Marvel's American-made Japanese heroes turned into American cartoon stars.
Let's start with the basic premise: Big Hero 6 were designed by American creators to approximate what Japanese heroes might be like in the Marvel Universe. The results were... mixed, to say the least.
They've had only a handful of appearances since they're debut in Sunfire & Big Hero 6 #1 back in 1998, and several team changes.
Most notably, they got rid of all the mutants.
We'll get to that in a sec, first check out this so-cute-it's-bad-ass trailer.
Seriously, how fun does that look? It seems pretty obvious Disney wants to focus on Hiro and Baymax, and that's a pretty wise choice, as they have the most interesting story.
Hiro Takachiho (presumably changed to Hiro Hamada because alliterative names are more heroic) was recognized as one of the smartest people on Earth while he was only in middle school. Hiro's father, tech mogul Tomeo Takachiho (basically the Stark of Japan), died while Hiro was creating his "synthformer" Monster Baymax (yes, his first name is "Monster"). Hiro used his father's brain engrams to give Baymax the personality of his departed dad. This is actually a pretty common thing in the Marvel Universe: Vision has Wonder Man's engrams, Jocasta has Wasp's, and so on.
Baymax was originally shown transforming from massive humanoid with a snaggletoothed underbite into a massive reptilian creature. Hiro later updated him to have a more mechanoid appearance - presumably when he next appears in the Marvel U, they'll change his look again to match his movie counterpart.
It's unclear whether the Baymax/father connection will be made in the movie. It doesn't seem like it, as it would take away from Baymax's cute factor and possibly add a squick factor, but a reverse-Astro Boy story might be a good one for this manga-inspired story.
Go-Go Tomago and Honey Lemon are the other founding members of Big Hero 6. Go-Go is pessimistic, antagonistic and competitive, while Honey Lemon is optimistic, convivial and cooperative - so of course they are best friends.
G0-G0, Leiko Tanaka, is an ex-gang member-turned-experimental suit pilot. She has the rather unusual ability to turn herself into a glowing ball of energy ("tomago" means "egg"), but she doesn't use it often, as she usually relies on her fighting abilities, speed and other weapons.
Honey Lemon, Aiko Miyazaki, fancies herself as one of the magical girl heroes of anime (complete with ridiculously long blonde hair). She pretends to be an airhead, but is actually a quantum physicist who created her own Power Purse, which she uses to pull an apparently infinite number of objects from other dimensions - Doraemon-style.
Then there's the team's newest members, introduced in the 2008 mini-series Big Hero 6 (sans Sunfire).
Fred Zilla (Really? Zilla as a suffix?) is a member of the Ainu - the often-marginalized native people of Japan, mostly living in Hokkaido - although he was raised on a US military base. His origins haven't been fully explained in the comics, but his true self is apparently a giant kaiju, only visible at times of great stress.
Wasabi-no-Ginger (which, from what little I understand of Japanese, would mean "Ginger from Wasabi") is a trained itamae, but his ability to generate energy blades made of pure qi make him a potent (if non-lethal) combatant.
The visual change for Fred seems fun, though I hope they kept his Ainu origins. Wasabi's racebending change is interesting, given that the character in the comics is probably the most nationalistic member of the team, and repeatedly touts his ethnic heritage. We'll see where they go with this.
There have also been a few other members over the years that have dropped in an out, a few never to be heard from again. It's kind of funny considering the whole team has only appeared in just over a dozen comics (most were their own minis).
The team was founded with classic X-Men characters Sunfire and Silver Samurai. It should be obvious why these guys won't make it into the film. Sunfire is basically the Captain America or Superman of Japan in the MU, and Silver Samurai was a criminal thug-turned-hero.
Sunpyre is an honest to gosh Marvel Princess, hailing from a tiny planet of fire people. No kidding. Ebon Samurai is a Silver Samurai knock-off using a demon-blade. SP and ES had to leave between issues, because Sunpyre's planet needed them.
The team has worked for major Japanese corporations and with the Japanese government, but their main government liaison is the one-eyed espionage expert Agent Furi, er, that is, Furi Wamu, not Nick Fury, but same dif.
The team's first enemy was horribly politically incorrect (and possibly racist). The Everwraith was a gestalt ghost made up of the amalgamated spirits of everyone who died in the atomic bombings in 1945. Think about it, that means every man, woman, child, nun, school teacher, bar tender, business man, baby - everyone - transformed into a single male ghost that dresses like he's from feudal Japan who wanted to cause a new atomic explosion on Japan because he thought it'd be good for them.
Well, that's just about everything there is to know about Big Hero 6 - any questions?