Title: Big Hero 6: The Series
Author: Hong Gyun An
Release Date: August 24, 2021
Publisher: Yen Press
Hiro, Baymax & the rest of the Big Hero 6 gang return with Big Hero 6: The Series. Vol 1 of the new manga series follows more of a Korean Manhwa format by reading left to right, obviously to cater to the Western fans of the Original Disney Movie. The events of Big Hero 6: The Series takes place after the movie, ruling out any retelling that may scare off those interested, and they do an excellent job sticking to the core of what makes Big Hero 6 great.
The charm of each one of the Big Hero 6 team members is fresh, appealing to child audiences but not excluding the teen readers who may want to get connected with the Disney franchise in a deeper way. Without saying too much, the story takes a slice-of-life approach, each chapter expanding on the world long-time fans already know. It is cute and fun to see Hiro and the gang interact with each other in downtime and during fights against villains.
Even with the story expanding, volume one only prepares for a bigger story to be told, so most of the volume simply expands on the relations from the source material, giving more insight into what the characters are doing in the present time. This doesn’t take away from the immersion but does drag at certain moments where relationships already established become repetitive in their delivery. Nonetheless, Big Hero 6: The Series taps into great themes that can easily resonate with its audience.
The fourth wall breaking within the series is well-executed, not feeling corny or forced where other series would make these moments feel unnecessary. Jokes that revolve around comic books within the manga attempt to make the reader feel comfortable with its more childlike approach even though a majority of the cast are young adults or older.
These older characters play crucial roles in establishing that the series is focused more on Hiro’s coming of age story than that of solely Big Hero 6’s missions to save the world. It is a refreshing sense of accomplishment seeing Hiro becoming so accustomed to life with his older friends, making him feel more mature, yet he still makes mistakes that allow him to fall back on his allies for help.
What makes the first volume of Big Hero 6: The Series special is the balance between the growth of Hiro & the relationships he has with those around him. Of course, the influence of his older brother Tadashi is still a strong force in the story. Yet, it doesn’t handicap itself with comparisons of the two, escaping any cliche plot points that were handled in the original movie. Instead, it expands on that, creating space to emphasize Hiro’s growth as a character.
It is impressive how Hong Gyun An, the writer and illustrator of Big Hero 6: The Series, can express their understanding of both the original story and characters while creating room to expand the story beyond its source material.
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