#TadashiIsHere, not #TadashiLives

Shortly after Big Hero 6 came out, one character got a crap ton of popularity: Tadashi Hamada, the brother of the main character and the catalyst for the plot.

He had it all. He was beautiful, he was supportive, he was a gentleman, he was noble, and very smart. Alas for everyone viewing the movie, he died in the first act.

What was supposed to happen was that the viewers were to sympathize and get invested in Hiro’s plight. We were supposed to mourn the loss with him, but realize that Tadashi is with us in spirit, and that as long as we keep him in our hearts and do good things in his name, he’ll always be here.

Too bad a lot of fans didn’t get the message.

While his popularity is understandable, some people are so deep in denial that they flat-out refuse to believe he’s dead and insist that he’ll return. One writer at moviepilot added fuel to the fire (pun intended) insisting that since we didn’t see his body, Tadashi could still be alive (even though we saw his funeral) and that he’ll come back as Sunfire, one of the characters from the original comics. This is NOT going to happen since the rights to Sunfire are owned by 20th Century Fox (who basically own all the movie and TV rights to the X-Men and all mutants), but the damage was already done.

Dozens upon dozens of clickbait articles would show up claiming a sequel to the movie would be coming out as early as 2017 and that Tadashi was definitely going to come  back, either as an additional member of the team or even as a villain. This definitely got a lot of people’s hopes up, but even though some fans didn’t quite believe it, that didn’t stop them from latching onto the idea. There have been petitions to bring him back to life, entire blogs dedicated to putting Tadashi on a pedestal and complaining how his death was unjust and that he needed to come back, and of course, the hashtag #Tadashilives. Now that the TV series is in the works but there’s no mention of Tadashi being in it (Daniel Henney was not listed as part of the cast), the flame has reignited.

One of the main justifications is that if Abigail can come back, then Tadashi should come back, right? Well, the thing is, the whole point of Abigail being not dead was to show that everything Callaghan did could’ve been avoided. He hurt and killed so many people and caused so much destruction without even bothering to check for sure if his daughter was even dead, and now that it’s revealed she’s alive, he realizes what he’s done. Note how he looks absolutely defeated and despaired at the end. He’s not being ‘rewarded’, he knows that his relationship with his daughter is going to be forever tarnished. And of course, Abigail coming back is a pivotal point in Hiro’s character development: after his mistakes he is able to do something truly selfless and heroic and proves that he is a fundamentally better person than Callaghan despite what they’ve both been through and that he can learn to let go.

Above all, if Tadashi is alive, that brings a huge plot hole. Shouldn’t Baymax have been able to detect Tadashi with his enhanced scanner? And reunite the two brothers? And I’m not sure if Disney is willing to show people who don’t (magically) come back from the dead, either.

Despite all this, people are aggressively insistent of Tadashi coming back. What makes this bad, besides missing the point of the movie completely, is that it kind of spits in the face of a lot of people who got emotionally attached to the film entirely BECAUSE of the death of a loved one story. There have been people who lost friends and relatives who felt better after watching the movie. A lot of people relate to Hiro’s struggles. So why are people willing to throw that away to bring back a character that doesn’t even have a lot of screen-time?

Well, simply put: because he’s light-skinned and pretty.

See, this is a huge problem I’ve noticed with the fandom. Everyone loves Tadashi. But no one loves Fred or Wasabi.

Everywhere you go, you can find something that appreciates Tadashi. There is hardly anything for Fred or Wasabi. Which begins to stick out like a sore thumb because, out of all the main characters, they’re the ones who tend to get shafted when it comes to fandom appreciation. They still have their fans, but compared to everyone else and ESPECIALLY Tadashi, you could be forgiven for thinking nobody cares about them.

Notice how it’s the black man and the non-conventionally attractive man that receive this treatment.

Antiblackness in fandom is very pervasive. Compare the amount of love Tiana gets to the love Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, or even the other nonblack POC princesses get. There have been lots of essays on how black characters get villified, fetishized, or ignored in fandom. And in all my years of fandom, I’ve noticed that less-attractive (and less groomed) characters (who aren’t villains) get completely glossed over. Despite being the titular and main character, Wreck-It Ralph hardly had any fans compared to Felix or Turbo. This cycle appears to have continued with Fred and Wasabi.

THIS is what bothers me about the whole #Tadashilives schtick. Even though all three of them are kind, supportive, loving, respectful to the women and caring of Hiro, only Tadashi matters because of his looks.

And I don’t like that.

The obsession with Tadashi has gotten so bad that the fandom makes it look like he’s the only character that matters. Even Baymax, the main heart and soul of the movie and the one keeping Hiro safe, happy, loved, and alive in Tadashi’s place, can get glossed over to make it look like Tadashi’s relationship with Hiro is more important (with some people going as far as to say Hiro cares about Baymax because he ‘literally’ sees Tadashi in him; that’s not true).

At this point, I want the TV series to focus less on Tadashi and more on the BH6 team as a whole. Tadashi can still play a pivotal role in spirit, but I don’t want him to dominate.

Tadashi is here, but he doesn’t have to actually come back to life in order to prove it.

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Author: Laura Alexander

My name is Laura, I use they/them pronouns, and I'm an autistic college student currently enrolled at the Social Service Worker Program at Sheridan College. I have a passion for film and animation, social issues, and helping others, all of which will be featured on my blog. "Big Hero 6" is my favourite movie.

2 thoughts on “#TadashiIsHere, not #TadashiLives”

  1. Hello. I just so happened to pop up in your blog, and you are very inquisitive. I think the thing with Fred and Wasabi is that……. there is a very weak dynamic and chemistry between Hiro and the rest of the crew, and the crew members are severely underdeveloped, so there is not much to invest into. You do have a point that the attractiveness of Tadashi plays into it as well, also the fandom’s need to romanticize and ship everything is involved.

    Like

    1. Thank you.
      The thing is, Honey Lemon and Gogo are still pretty popular, but Wasabi and Fred are conveniently not, even though Fred gets the most development out of the four.
      I wouldn’t call the dynamic weak; it’s pretty clear they all love each other and that the four of them will do anything to protect and comfort Hiro. The individual relationships, though, are weak. I think the TV show is going to remedy this though.

      Like

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