Superhero teams can be found all over the world, especially in the Marvel Universe. America is known for The Avengers, England has Excalibur and Canada has Alpha Flight. With its technological prowess and booming economy, you’d think Japan would have a superhero team, and you’d be right. Japan’s Big Hero 6 protects the nation from outside and inside threats. The team was featured prominently in a 2014 film of the same name, though Big Hero 6 got its start in Marvel.
The original comic team was made up of Silver Samurai, Sunfire, Hiro Takachiho, Honey Lemon, Baymax and Go-Go Tomago. I’m looking into the history of the group to see how it was formed and what brought each member onto the team.
Japan’s first government led team
The origins of the Big Hero 6 goes back to the Japanese government needing a team of state-sanctioned superheroes. They consulted a group of secret politicians called the ‘Giri’ to help recruit members for the group. The Giri chose Silver Samurai to lead Big Hero 6, with many people have reservations. As a former villain, Kenuichio Harada had a dark past he needed to make up for.
Harada was joined by Honey Lemon, the inventor of a nanotechnology based system called Power Purse. The third member, Go-Go Tomago, joined as part of her agreement to be released from prison. The Giri also identified the young genius Hiro Takachiho as a member, though he didn’t join immediately because he was unimpressed with Silver Samurai. Hiro eventually created Baymax, who became the fifth member. Sunfire, Japan’s premier superhero, also joined up to help protect his country from evil.
Who are the Big Hero 6?
Harada started off as a Wolverine villain, but he learned the error of his ways and chose a better path. Silver Samurai became the leader of Big Hero 6, growing into the role. Harada had a lot to answer for, with his team mates being wary of him at first. But over time, he proved himself to them and they recognised him as a valuable leader.
Silver Samurai’s mutant ability allowed him to generate a tachyon field, which he channelled into his sword. He could cut through all but the hardest of substances, such as adamantium. Harada served as the leader of the team until his death.
Aiko Miyazaki excelled from a young age, joining the graduate programme at the Tokyo University of Science. Her intelligence caught the attention of the government and she was assigned to a research team. Through her studies, Aiko developed technology that combined Pym Particles with wormholes. The result was a storage device called the Power Purse that could hold any object.
Inspired by the exploits of Sunfire, Aiko persuaded her superiors to get her a spot on Big Hero 6. She chose the name Honey Lemon, which came from her favourite TV show. Aiko came to be seen as the most compassionate member of the team and the resident tecchie.
Leiko Tanaka joined up with Big Hero 6 because it helped her get out of prison. A former member of the Shikei-otaku motorbike gang, Leiko had been arrested after a botched robbery. In exchange for trialling an experimental exosuit, Leiko earned her freedom. Her rough upbringing made her clash with everyone on the team. She refused to take orders from Silver Samurai and verbally abused Honey Lemon. However, Leiko came to see Big Hero 6 as her home and became friends with her team mates.
As Go-Go Tomago, Leiko used her suit to absorb kinetic energy. She could turn herself into a ‘powerball’ and launch high-impact attacks at high speed. The suit protected Leiko, enabling her to travel quickly, making her the speedster of the group.
At the age of 13, Hiro was targeted by the Giri for membership on the team. Considered to be a child prodigy, Hiro developed a range of inventions, including his synthetic bodyguard Baymax. Initially, Hiro refused to join Big Hero 6.
When his mother was kidnapped by an astral collective of the people who’d died in the 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, Hiro teamed up with the group. During the battle, Sunfire got involved, inspiring Hiro to stay with Big Hero 6. After Silver Samurai was killed, Hiro became the new leader.
Created to be Hiro’s bodyguard, Baymax served as the boy’s protector. He was programmed with the brain waves of Hiro’s late father, which gave him an emotional connection to his creator. In his normal appearance, Baymax looked like a human male with a suit and bowler hat. In battle, Baymax took on the form of a dragon, making him a lot more intimidating than the film version!
The character has a range of capabilities, including superhuman strength, scanning, jet engines and radio transmission.
Considered to be the most famous Japanese superhero, Shiro Yoshida inspired many people, including Honey Lemon and Hiro. Sunfire’s powers are derived from his mother contracting radiation poisoning from atomic bomb exposure. His mutant ability allowed him to absorb solar radiation and turn it into fiery plasma.
His family connection to Silver Samurai spurred him into joining Big Hero 6 during the battle with Everwraith. Sunfire also served with the X-Men and Avengers, though he chose to stay independent for the most part. His temperamental attitude stopped him from being a team player.