Manga Monday Review: Big Hero 6 Vol. 1

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 way!

I’m a big fan of Big Hero 6. I enjoyed the original Marvel comics, but love the Disney animated film. This manga adaptation by Haruki Ueno is a spin out of the movie though takes enough liberties that though it’s similar, it’s different as well. This first volume feels like it condenses the film in some ways ending with a confrontation with the main bad guy. It could be the first or final confrontation, I have no idea, since I haven’t read the second volume. But, what’s interesting to me is how this version has changed.

Unlike the films, Tadashi is the one that’s sucked into the portal. Hiro has a bit more attitude and much less likeable, especially when it comes to the interactions with Tadashi’s friends like GoGo, Honey Lemon, etc. In the film the friendship when it comes to them is very natural but in this manga it’s a bit more abrupt. While we feel for Hiro in the film this manga has his attitude and personality so different, it’s hard to be totally behind him. He’s a bratty child in many ways. The heart, in other words, is lost.

Ueno’s art is pretty interesting blending the film’s art with a bit more of a manga influence and it generally works. There’s so decent action sequences, but again something is missing. Even what should be exciting action is either presented in ways that’s confusing, or the energy you might so in other manga is present. It’s a dulled version of a fun, full of energy, movie.

Maybe it’s because I’m such a fan of the movie, but this manga is just a dud to me. It misses the heart of the film, the action of the film, the fun of the film. What’s changed isn’t changed for the better. What’s added while interesting, isn’t interesting enough. When it comes to the original Marvel comic, the movie, or this manga, the manga comes in a distant third.

Story: Haruki Ueno Art: Haruki Ueno
Story: 5.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass