Disney series Baymax! consists of six mini-stories following Baymax from Big Hero 6. The big white robot helps people in a variety of ways beyond their health, though he is technically not programmed to do so. As a “personal healthcare companion”, he is equipped with everything needed to treat a variety of injuries and illnesses. But his goal is to satisfy his patients with his care, which leads him to go above and beyond his spec, whether it’s to be a waiter, a therapeutic companion or just someone to help them buy a tampon. The story structure is very give-and-take, playing up the title of Big Hero 6 with one patient per episode in six episodes – the last patient being Baymax himself. Hiro also shows up at the end of each episode and the finale to keep it close to the film and canon story, grounding the series with familiar faces.
In just ten minutes, each episode showcases a diverse set of characters. This may at first seem like an effort to pander, but it’s more of a reflection of San Fransokyo – a city that embodies the multiple cultures and walks of life in San Francisco and Tokyo. There is, however, one visual criticism for the way this diversity is executed. Character designs and dialogue are good ways to present the multicultural world of Big Hero 6 and good visual cues for viewers to pick-up on – from cats drawn as super-thin to indicate their malnourished, feral existence to different being languages spoken in passing conversations – but there’s no need to ham-fist their identity on-screen. A trans man doesn’t need to be decked in the trans flag to showcase that he is, in fact, trans – his interaction with Baymax as he recommends a tampon brand to the robot is indication enough.
While there are animation improvements from Big Hero 6, the series still follows the same comedic beat. Viewers will hear Baymax squeaking first before they see him. Awkward silences, exaggerated facial expressions and deadpan responses elicit comedic effect and irony, making use of the robot’s obliviousness. Even the storytelling is similar, with subtle hints like the presence of a cat throughout to build towards an overarching plot. Baymax! is heartwarming; it teaches lessons about life, medicine and biology, and even causes viewers to shed a tear every now and then.
Baymax! is released on Disney+ on 29th June 2022.
Watch the trailer for Baymax! here: