Baymax top 5

Back in May, we reported to you about how we would be getting our first Japanese Disney hero in the upcoming film Big Hero 6 based on the Marvel comic of the same title. Since then, we’ve found out that the film will be titled Baymax in Japan, after the protagonist Hiro Hamada’s white fluffy companion robot. We’ve also learned from a recent announcement that Disney will be getting involved in a highly unique crossover for Big Hero 6 that’s never been done one with any of their other movies before — in advance of the movie release, Big Hero 6 will be serialized as a manga here in Japan starting in the beginning of next month, and there will even be a prequel manga published as well!  Now, that’s a piece of news we’re certainly excited to hear!

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Yes, it was announced this week that the story of Baymax will be serialized as a manga in the monthly comic magazine Magazine Special starting August 20, and a prequel to the story, titled “Episode 0”, will also be appearing in the August 6 issue of Weekly Shōnen Magazine. The manga will be drawn by Haruki Ueno, who previously illustrated Phi Brain: Saigo no Puzzle (The Last Puzzle), a mystery manga with a theme focusing on puzzles and code-breaking, which was also serialized in Weekly Shōnen Magazine. 

▼Here’s the post on Walt Disney Studios Japan’s Facebook page which shows the artwork from the movie (left) and the illustration by Ueno (right) side by side. From what we can see, it seems like Ueno has done a beautiful job of giving the Disney characters a Japanese manga look.

While there have been manga versions of Disney movies before, there has never been one turned into a series, and certainly not one which offers a preview before the release of the movie. The crossover can probably be considered a nod of recognition to the various Japanese influences that can be seen in the movie, including the imaginary city of San Fransokyo where the story takes place. And what better way to show that recognition than manga, that symbol of Japanese pop culture, right?

▼Baymax’s face is also modeled after the shape of a traditional Japanese bell, known as suzuBaymax top 2

According to the comments that have been released, director Don Hall is apparently delighted that the Big Hero 6 story with its numerous Japanese elements is being presented as a manga, and Ueno, for his part, says that he’s absolutely thrilled to be drawing the manga, as he admits he’s been a huge Disney fan since childhood. And of course, we the manga reading public are definitely pleased that we’ll be able to enjoy this special manga, so it looks like a happy situation all around!

Big Hero 6, set for release on Novemeber 7 in the US, will premier on December 20 in Japan. After the success of Frozen, we know what kids — well, maybe not just kids — in Japan will be looking forward to this Christmas vacation!

▼Here’s the official movie trailer in case you haven’t seen it already.

Source: Comic Natalie (Japanese), Cinema Café.net (Japanese)
Photos: YouTube (Walt Disney Animation Studios)