Creator: Tadashi Hamada
Primary Function: Personal Healthcare Companion
Secondary Function: Superhero
Featured In: Big Hero 6
Voiced By: Scott Adsit
Now, while I can’t claim that Big Hero 6 is the greatest superhero film of all time, as that honor still remains firmly on The Avengers, it is very close second and easily one of the best animated ones hands down. However, as I had gushed about the film already, I’ll stick strictly to my favorite character in the film and my personal number seven favorite hero overall.
In the manga prequel of the film, and yes there is in fact one with hints of a continuation, it is revealed that Baymax’s creator, Tadashi Hamada, was inspired to create the personal healthcare robot by his younger brother Hiro. More specifically, due to the fact that Hiro was not only an incredible genius at such a young age but also because his little brother tended to get into more than a few scraps because of said intelligence. It took a while, more than eighty some odd tests and trials, for Baymax to reach the full functionality that Tadashi had intended for him and even then there were still a few… bugs and quirks to work out.
Baymax’s primary function, as previously stated, is to be a healthcare companion, responding specifically upon hearing sounds of pain or distress such as “ow.” Upon activation, he uses a specialized scanner to locate any physical ailments of his patient, even being able to analyze their brain chemistry to find any emotional pains as well. He is surprisingly well equipped as a medical aid as well, containing within him antibacterial and antiviral sprays, a functioning defibrillator in both hands, and a small storage of lollipops for good patients.
Baymax is also capable of downloading any necessary medical data he might require in order to further aid his patient’s health as he had done for Hiro when the boy had explained that his pain wasn’t necessarily a physical one. Rather unsurprisingly, Tadashi designed him to be capable of lifting a thousand pounds of weight, but Baymax was originally not able to comprehend using that strength beyond basic functions like “pick up object, move object, and set object down.”
Hiro’s first attempt at upgrading him involved giving Baymax somewhat suitable body armor, made up of carbon fiber that he literally made in his garage but was still surprisingly durable, and an extra data chip. This chip, colored red and bearing a childish insignia of a skull contains within it all of Baymax’s martial arts prowess, specifically karate moves that Hiro copied from a few… imaginative… films he had in his personal computer. With this chip installed alongside the one created by Tadashi, that houses all of Baymax’s medical knowledge and his base personality, Baymax proved to be a surprisingly capable hero even with the limitations of his first suit of armor.
His second suit of armor did not increase Baymax’s strength any but did bestow upon him many useful tricks and abilities that he otherwise couldn’t do. His helmet was installed with an enhancer to his biometric scanner, increasing its output to a thousand percent above its base capability. This allows Baymax to scan the entirety of San Fransokyo at once and pick out any distinct individuals he had already scanned prior. Hiro then went a step further and granted Baymax a pair of rocket propelled fists alongside the ability to fly at Mach speed.
Baymax’s greatest strength is also his greatest weakness in that he cares so much about his patients’ wellbeing that he can and will risk severe damage to himself to see them made healthy again. Baymax nearly got himself run over several times whilst tracking where one of Hiro’s nanobots wanted to go simply because the boy had told him to. Even more to the point, Baymax was willing to be given martial arts skills and body armor though he did voice his concerns on losing his huggable design. It wasn’t until Hiro bade him to destroy Yokai that Baymax stood firm to his programming to such a point that Hiro forcibly removed the medical/personality chip that Tadashi had created.
Then, and only then, did Baymax truly become a killing machine the likes of which greatly reminded me of the moment when the Hulk went berserk on the helicarrier in The Avengers film. Specifically, how Baymax focused only on destroying Yokai and tossing aside the other members of Big Hero 6 as they tried to prevent him from failing to live up to his programming and Tadashi’s wishes.
As of this post, Baymax has no true rival or villain to call his own as, even in the end when the truth of Yokai’s identity and Tadashi’s death was revealed, he wanted to be apprehend Yokai with minimal harm. Baymax is a hero the likes of which I had never seen before in a Disney film, one that was willing and able to sacrifice his own existence so that his patient, his friend, could survive. There have been moments where it’s been remarkably close to it, like in Hercules’ case when he tries to rescue Meg from Hades and thus risks his own mortal life, but the payout of that attempted sacrifice was made immediate. Not so for the case of Baymax. I actually cried, freaking cried, when he asked Hiro if the boy was satisified with his care, the code phrase necessary for Baymax to deactivate himself.
… I’m starting to notice a trend with most of my favorite heroes…