The Return of BIG HERO 6

Originally published on November 20, 2017

Three years ago, the small group of API animated Disney movie characters got a little larger when audience members met the tech-savvy Hiro Hamada in the film, BIG HERO 6. Together with his plushy healthcare robotic companion Baymax and his just as tech-savvy friends, they put their skills to the test when they become superheroes of San Fransokyo.

Now, Hiro and company are back in a brand new animated series for Disney XD called BIG HERO 6: THE SERIES. In the hour-long series premiere that aired this evening, it fills in the gaps at the end of the film; specifically, between Hiro finding Baymax’s healthcare chip and he and his friends flying all over San Fransokyo in their superhero get-up. Without giving too much away, we learn how it took quite a while for Hiro to rebuild Baymax, there’s a new strict professor to watch out for at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, the group needs a little convincing to continue being superheroes beyond the events of the film, and evil never rests.

BIG HERO 6: THE SERIES has been known for a while, and one of the aspects about it that I liked right off the back is that most of the voice cast from the film are reprising their roles; including Ryan Potter as Hiro and Jamie Chung as GoGo Tamago. The only exceptions are Damon Wayans, Jr. as Wasabi (who is replaced by Khary Payton) and T.J. Miller as Fred (who is replaced by Brooks Wheelan). Despite the replacements, as far as I can tell, so far the new actors have done the characters justice.

Anytime a film gets a spin-off animated series and the original actors don’t reprise their roles, more often than not, it’s noticeable and not in a good way. The fact that Disney managed to get most of the film cast back for the animated series makes all the difference in keeping the spirit alive from how we were first introduced to these characters.

Unlike the films, the series is 2D animated, which I didn’t mind at all, and for two reasons: 1) How often does one get anything in 2D animation these days? and 2) It doesn’t take away from the appearance in both the characters and the universe that we’ve come to know by. In fact, by keeping the series to 2D animation, it only enhances the fast paced action sequences.

The premiere did a good job of setting the ground for where the characters left off and keeps us on edge as to what has yet to come. The addition of Professor Granville (voiced by Jennifer Lewis) as Hiro’s strict professor is sure to keep him on his toes and is posed to be embraced by viewers. While I did find Fred quite irritating in this episode, I understand story-wise as to why he was like that, and just hope that he isn’t always like this going forward.

Otherwise, Hiro is still the timid yet intelligent robotics prodigy we know and love, GoGo and Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez) are still badasses in their own ways, Wasabi is still neurotic yet heroic, Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph) is still Hiro’s overly affectionate guardian, and Baymax (Scott Adsit) is still… well, Baymax.

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