Did Tadashi Kill Himself?

Trigger warning: discussions of suicide

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For a lot of people, the saddest scene in Big Hero 6 is the death of Tadashi. After Callaghan sets the showcase building on fire to cover his tracks, Tadashi, with the knowledge that he’s still inside, goes to save him, saying “someone has to help”. Callaghan escapes with his life, but Tadashi does not, to the horror and dismay of Hiro.

The scene is undoubtedly sad and very well put together, but I have to admit, I’m bugged by the fact that Tadashi didn’t wait for the firefighters to arrive. Since Tadashi wasn’t a firefighter or a superhero with special powers or training, he should not have gone inside a burning building like that. Every time I watch this scene I go “you fool, you wait for the fire department to arrive!”

But lately I’ve been thinking: what if Tadashi had ulterior motives for going into that building? What if he was fully ready and prepared to die?

We all  know that Hiro and Callaghan are both going through grieving and depression, and what happens when you get help/let people in versus not getting help/using it as an excuse to hurt others. But what if Tadashi was also grieving and depressed?

Let’s take a look at Tadashi’s situation. He lost his parents at a young age, but unlike Hiro, who was only three, he would’ve been able to miss his parents. He would ultimately have to become both a brother AND a father to his little brother, who’s very smart but also very vulnerable. Imagine your own little brother constantly going out at night to partake in illegal activities with dangerous older men, and having to be there in time to save him (in the supplementary material it is confirmed it got so bad that Tadashi had to sew GPS tracking devices into Hiro’s clothes). That would absolutely take a toll on you. Knowing that you stressed out and disappointed your aunt and only caretaker doesn’t help at all. He is shown as being altruistic to a fault, and works so hard on Baymax (who he intends to help a lot of people, rather than help a lot of people on his own) that he neglects his own health.

Like, this is a lot of pressure and stress for a college student. He may appear happy through most of the movie, but it’s possible he was hiding a private pain. There are people with depression and other mental illnesses who sometimes hide it through helping others or making people laugh.

So now we get to the infamous scene.

Look how distressed he is. In the fire is his beloved teacher, Callaghan, who was probably the closest thing he had to a father in such a long time. And now he’s in danger. Losing him would’ve been too much to bear. Tadashi takes a minute, looking to the building and back, before ultimately deciding to go in. He knew what he was doing. He was fully aware that he was going to die. But at that moment, he didn’t care. To him, Callaghan’s life mattered more than his own life, not thinking of leaving behind Hiro and Cass. If he would die if it meant Callaghan could live, so be it.

This may make Tadashi seem less sympathetic, but if you’re depressed, you don’t make rational decisions. If you see the opportunity to die, you’re probably going to take it without realizing it or against your better judgement. I think for Tadashi, after everything he’s been through, after losing his parents and constantly living in fear over losing Hiro and Cass, the fact that Callaghan was going to die in a fire pushed him over the edge.

I think it’s also important to remember Baymax’s role. Considering how committed he was to building that robot, it’s possible he may have (consciously or not) built him to be his ‘back up’. Like he thought, “If I die, Baymax can take care of Hiro and Cass and fulfill our intended purposes”. And ultimately, he would have been correct.

I think if Tadashi was depressed, he would have presented another side of mental illness: the hidden one. The one that is repressed and kept secret until it boils over to the surface and results in the worst outcome. That would add a very tragic, dark layer to the story, but it would make Hiro’s journey and recovery all that more poignant.

This is all just my theory/interpretation, so if this idea seriously upsets you, please do not take it to heart. And if you ever feel like you’re worthless or you’re better off dead/it wouldn’t matter if you died, please seek help. There’s always someone out there who cares and will help you.

Little Things I Appreciate About Big Hero 6

This week on Tumblr was Big Hero 6 Appreciation Week. Every day, fans of the movie would make a post (gifs, fan art, videos, analysis, etc.) describing their favorite character, location/set piece, song/score, quote, parallel, and scene, along with a free day to post whatever they want at the end. I wanted to participate but…that didn’t happen. (I think I may have executive function problems, but I can’t be too sure.) But that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about it here!

Fave Character

Well I love everybody, but my absolute fave is definitely Hiro. I loved him since the first teaser (where we see Hiro trying and failing to put armour on Baymax). My very first thought was “Oh my god he is beyond adorable”. My love for him only grew since the movie came out. Not only is he absolutely precious, he’s also a complex, layered character. He’s highly intelligent and skilled, relates better to older people and robots (something I can relate to), mentally ill and is totally ready and able to kill a man but is brought back from the brink through the power of love and friendship. He is also a total dork who loves gummy bears. Overall I just find him a really interesting, relatable, sweet, and adorable character that must be protected at all costs.

Fave Location

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The aerial view of city of San Fransokyo, especially when seen at the beginning and during the first flight scene. It’s a beautiful city, incorporating advanced (and eco friendly) technology and Japanese culture to create a truly unique environment. You can tell it’s a great city to live in, and that there’s plenty of opportunities. It looks so vivid and almost REAL and ALIVE. I wanna go there!

Fave Song/Score

The movie has a great soundtrack, it’s hard to pick an absolute fave. One score I definitely like is “I am Satisfied with my care”. The music goes with each moment–from the triumphant ones to the tragic ones–perfectly. It definitely makes the scene where Hiro and Baymax have to say goodbye even more heartfelt.

Fave Quote

“Hiro. I will ALWAYS be with you.”

This is a great quote because Baymax means this both figuratively and literally. Figuratively because, no matter what happens, Baymax (and Tadashi) will remain in Hiro’s heart and memories and will guide him in life. Literally because it shows just how much Baymax loves Hiro and will do anything for him. He has become devoted to him and will go to any length necessary to protect the boy and be there for him. The fact that a robot has become capable of love is so…*sobs*

Fave Parallel

I think any part where Hiro references or quotes Tadashi (such as sighing “Unbelievable” or telling his teams to use those big brains of theirs) is feels worthy. Of course the scenes where Hiro sees himself reflected in the mirror along with his brother/robot companion is a subtle, emotional moment, but the parallel that is perhaps most chilling is when Hiro and Tadashi both sense that someone is in danger and their first instinct is “Someone has to help”. It just goes to show how willing both these brothers are to put their lives on the line to help those in need, and how much of an influence Tadashi really is. I’m just glad Hiro got out of it okay!

Fave Scene

Hiro and Baymax hug

Easy pick here: the hug between Hiro and Baymax at the end. I just wish it went on much longer.

Be sure to check out all the amazing works of art made this week HERE and HERE and the blog bh6daily.tumblr.com for more! What are your fave things about this movie?

Big Hero 6 and the Four Stages of Grief

You’ve probably heard of the five stages of grief under the Kubler-Ross model: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. You see it everywhere: it’s how grieving people deal with the loss of a loved one, right?

Not exactly.

See, Kubler-Ross developed the model while working with terminally ill patients. The model was actually originally meant to show the stages of DYING, not grieving. But since the model could also apply to the loved ones watching the patient dying, it became misrepresented to show how all people deal with grief. It’s also worth noting that the model has been criticized and not consistent with further research.

There is actually an earlier, less known model of grief: the FOUR stages of grief, developed by Parkes and Bowlby–Shock and Numbness, Yearning, Disorganization and Despair, and Reorganization and Recovery (and these stages can overlap).

When I learned about this model, I immediately remembered Big Hero 6 and how it dealt with grief. And I got to say, the filmmakers definitely did a lot of research into this aspect because the Parkes-Bowlby model is definitely present in the film.

Shock and Numbness: When Hiro realizes that Tadashi is dead, the world becomes hazy. All he can do is scream his brother’s name. In a deleted shot from the film (that’s present in the Japanese teaser trailer), this is his face during the funeral:

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You can tell he looks sad, but also numb. He can’t fully comprehend what’s happening or know how to react. (In the scenes that are present in the film, you don’t see his face at all, and all he can do is stay away from the wake.)

Yearning: He becomes extremely withdrawn, not wanting to eat or go to school, and is always thinking of Tadashi. He does not touch Tadashi’s part of the room, leaving his hat carefully on the bed, and becomes preoccupied with avenging Tadashi’s death (at this point, remembering Tadashi isn’t enough).

Disorganization and Despair: This overlaps with the yearning stage (loss of appetite, restlessness over avenging Tadashi, becoming more withdrawn), but it becomes especially apparent when Hiro finds out who killed Tadashi. He is unable to think rationally, pushing away his friends and trying to kill Callaghan. When he and Baymax retreat, Hiro starts to break down, stating that he doesn’t know if Callaghan’s death will make him feel better but that he has to do something, and when Baymax points out that this isn’t what Tadashi wanted, Hiro loses it. “Tadashi’s…gone.” “Tadashi is here.” “No…he’s not here.”

Reorganization and Recovery: With the help of his friends, Hiro does get better. He is able to go to school, becomes closer to his aunt and human friends, rebuilds his beloved robot friend (and Tadashi’s last invention), and places Tadashi’s hat in his new office. He decides to go out to do good things in his brother’s name.

This is a beautiful movie that gracefully and accurately portrays the death of a loved one and dealing with it; a lot of people have confessed that this movie actually did help them deal with the passings of their loved ones. It is one of the most important Disney movies and I hope it does become a true classic and it will continue to help people for years to come.

The Incredibles and Big Hero 6 are Opposite Ends of the Superhero Spectrum

On November 5, 2004, Pixar, which up until that point made films focused on toys, bugs, monsters and fish, released their first feature film with human characters:  The Incredibles.

It was an enormous hit with critics and audiences alike, with everyone clamoring for a sequel (it will come out…eventually). It expanded the superhero genre and showed that original superhero characters can be just as beloved as iconic comic book ones.

Interestingly enough, while live action superhero movies would see a boom (thanks in large part to Disney buying Marvel), there wasn’t a slew of theatrical animated superhero movies. For awhile, there were only really two movies that might’ve fit the bill: Megamind (which slipped completely under the radar) and Despicable Me (but at this point is more of a spy franchise than a superhero one, when it’s not focused on the minions).

But then Walt Disney Animation Studios, the first born child of Pixar’s parent company, developed their own superhero movie, inspired (very loosely) by an obscure Marvel comic book. On November 7, 2014–almost EXACTLY ten years later–they released Big Hero 6.

This film was also a huge hit (one of WDAS top grossing films), with lots of fans and demands for a sequel (it is getting a TV series, no word on a theatrical sequel yet).

It’s easy to immediately want to draw similarities between the two. After all, both films’ teaser trailers involved the heroes trying to get ready for heroics but had trouble fitting into their costumes because of their girth. But while there are a few similarities, in actuality, these movies are polar opposites.

The Incredibles is about a white, heterosexual nuclear family, with a focus on the altruistic older white male father figure; Big Hero 6 is about a mixed race adopted/extended family with the focus on a young mixed race boy who needs help getting on the right path. TI is set in the past (I think it’s implied to take place around 1970 or so); BH6 is set in the future. TI portrays technology in a mostly negative way and has a robot as a major antagonist, whereas BH6 portrays technology in a very positive and integral light (when used in the right hands) and features a robot hero. TI is long and rather slower paced, BH6 is shorter and very briskly paced. TI is dark and edgy and has a more complicated narrative, BH6 is light and soft with a simpler story (but still has a very heavy theme). TI is very violent and death is fair game, BH6 encourages nonviolent solutions to difficult situations. And most importantly: TI is about those born with superpowers, whereas BH6 is about ordinary people who achieve superpowers through science and technology.

And that’s the biggest thing that separates these two movies: Big Hero 6 leans more liberal whereas The Incredibles leans more conservative.

The Incredibles is a great movie, and is smarter and more intense than a lot of other animated family films, but it does have this weird elitist/anti technology theme that permeates it. There’s this awkward moment where Mr. Incredible goes on a spiel on “rewarding mediocrity” that has no bearing on the plot and just feels kind of forced. And for some reason, Syndrome stating that he’ll sell his technology so that “everyone can be super…and when everyone is super, no one will be”. Umm…why is this a bad thing? I’d be afraid of people misusing the technology, but for a lot of people, awesome tech can really improve people’s lives. For a lot of autistic, mentally ill, and disabled people, technology can be integral to their lives. As you can see, the anti technology theme in this movie has not aged very well at all. You can read more on how the movie swings more conservative (intentionally or not) HERE  (be warned, it’s a little harsh) but basically, natural talent and Supers are put on a pedestal whereas people who try to empower themselves and be rewarded for succeeding in other ways are almost demonized.

Big Hero 6, on the other hand, looks at the notion and tells it to piss off. Hiro is a natural genius but he is NOT shown as being somehow ‘superior’ to others. The students (of all races, genders, and ages) are encouraged to nurture and grow their talents, abilities, and interests. Even Fred, who doesn’t seem to have any particular special abilities or skills, is shown as special and important. Everyone can be super, and that’s not a bad thing.

I just find it very interesting that these are two animated superhero films from Disney that have wildly different themes, messages, and tones. I suppose ultimately that’s a good thing, since you wouldn’t want both films to be generic superhero flicks or for BH6 to be a complete TI ripoff, but it kind of says a lot on just how different Pixar (on a good day) and Disney really are.

That said, both films have one major similarity: the importance and value of family and friends, and how they can help you get through difficult times. And I think that’s what makes both films so great, and sets them apart from other superhero films in a special, positive way.

Big Hero 6 Could Be a Powerful Education Tool

While it may  be awhile until Big Hero 6 gets a sequel, there will be a TV series continuing their adventures to help get by and hopefully kick the franchise into gear. I’m a little suspicious that it’s not coming out until the fall when apparently the show was supposed to come out earlier, but hey, better than nothing at all. I’m excited.

When (hopefully not just if) the movie becomes an actual franchise, I feel that, in addition to entertaining kids, it could be used to educate them too.

When I was a little kid, I was fed a healthy diet of educational shows. The Magic School Bus, Bill Nye, Schoolhouse Rock, Reading Rainbow, Wishbone, Zoboomafoo, Blue’s Clues…oh my goodness I’m getting nostalgic just typing this. And I used to play the ClueFinders games too. These all definitely helped shaped my appreciation for learning and academics (as well as entertainment). I believe educational media really hit its peak in the 199o’s, but has diminished a lot nowadays. You have stuff for really little kids, but not much for older kids. This is where BH6 could come in. It’s a movie with a wide audience appeal (kids of all ages, races, and genders) and a huge appreciation of science. Why not use the characters to help kids learn?

A few ideas include:

  • Playsets of the characters in their labs
  • A book series detailing the adventures of the team that also gives kids quick facts (this would also be a great opportunity to get boys to read)
  • Mobile game apps that feature puzzle solving, skill building, and learning
  • An additional TV show after the first one, either animated or live action (I bet a lot of kids would love seeing Baymax appear live), where the characters demonstrate science experiments and document facts
  • Mental health and self care posters, graphics, flyers, etc.

I think a lot about how much potential BH6 has and how it’s sad that Disney has been taking so long to actually do anything with it. Which is why I heartily encourage everyone to watch the show when it airs. Even if the show itself isn’t that great (but knowing that it’s made by the same team behind Kim Possible, we can expect it to not suck), it will show Disney that enough people want more of these characters and that more can be done with them.

Why I Love Big Hero 6

I think I fell in love with this movie the moment I heard about it. The premise intrigued me:a diverse cast of superheroes with their robot go out on a mission to avenge the death of the main character’s brother. But when I read the tagline “the emotional story of a 14-year-old genius named Hiro who loses his big brother and a robot named Baymax that heals his broken heart”, I knew this was going to be a fave. Sure enough, when I got more info and images for it, my excitement would mount. It just looked so amazing and adorable.

It wasn’t always a pleasant journey. After coming off the heels of Frozen, which sparked the ire of a lot of animation fans and social justice bloggers, many people were extremely anal about BH6. They were quick to bash it to no end by claiming that the female characters looked like Rapunzel and/or Anna and Elsa, that the movie was racist and whitewashed, etc., and quick to put the movie down before it even came out and even guilt tripping people into not seeing it and seeing other movies instead. There were also die-hard DreamWorks fans accusing it of ripping off How To Train Your Dragon for some reason (which became a contributor of why I ended up hating HTTYD2). Still, I refused to let the negativity get to me. I was having one of my worst years and I needed something to feel enthusiastic over. I guess ultimately I got the last laugh because the movie ended up raking in over $600 million at the box office and became beloved by fans, but that’s not the point. The point is that, when I saw it (on opening day), it filled me with immense joy, gave me feels over Hiro and Baymax, and made me feel validated as a mentally ill person going through a bad time.

I’ve talked in lengths on how the movie helps me as a neurodivergent, but I think I’ll talk about the other things that make this film so amazing.

The animation and effects are absolutely incredible. It almost feels REAL and ALIVE. I wanted to reach out and touch everything. And the characters are distinct, relatable, and attractive without being too cartoony or too realistic. I think I can safely say this is probably Disney’s most beautiful CGI film (rivaled by Moana), and one of Disney’s greatest set pieces in recent history. I legitimately want San Fransokyo to be real so I can go there.

I really love the characters. The female characters are brilliant: Aunt Cass is a successful businesswoman who legitimately loves and cares about her two nephews that she’s raised on her own. She’s gentle and passionate about her nephews’ accomplishments and lets them grow. She also eats a lot and likes B movies. Honey Lemon is ultrafeminine and uber positive and sweet but can run and heels and likes explosions and is extremely passionate about science. Gogo is very passionate about technology and she can be tough, but also kind, comforting Hiro at his darkest moments. These are the type of feminist characters I love: the ones who have a lot of personality, are passionate in their fields, have hidden depths, and are confident in who they are and what they want to be. Fred loves media and his friends and can be a little weird but he’s very sweet. Wasabi has a lot of anxiety problems, but he can also be very brave. For all the crap that the side characters get for not being developed or having enough screen time, you can’t deny that they’re all VERY distinct and well-defined, and it’s clear that they all love and care for Hiro, each other, and their interests.

Of course Hiro and Baymax are the best characters in the movie. Hiro is a very complex and well-developed character, going through a lot of growth. He’s a genius young teenager who doesn’t have a real direction in life and not a lot of friends (besides his brother), but eventually learns the value of friendship and putting his talents to good use, apologizing for his mistakes and genuinely helping others. He’s a great example of a young, mentally ill, Asian protagonist. And of course Baymax is the heart and soul of the movie (and we all want him admit it). But what makes this film so special is their relationship.

I relate a lot to Hiro for obvious reasons and gravitated towards him very quickly. He’s one of my fave characters ever. So to see this robot love and care for him unconditionally filled me with emotion. Their relationship grows: Baymax sees Hiro as another patient, Hiro sees Baymax as slightly annoying. But soon, the gap closes between them, with Hiro finding a true companion in Baymax and the robot caring for Hiro beyond his programming. It’s a unique, heartwarming type of love, and it moved me a lot.

Beyond that, the movie is just so much fun! Daring chases, funny moments and lines, witty characters, daring action, compelling set pieces…this movie is just a sheer delight. It never fails to make me smile. I get totally invested every time.

This is my favourite movie ever and my go-to film whenever I need cheering up or to celebrate. And luckily, I’m not alone. This movie is getting a TV series (which will hopefully bring in more merchandise) and I’m excited as all hell. Maybe we’ll get a sequel at some point. I love this movie and I hope it receives the status as a Disney Classic it deserves.

 

#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 if 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: he 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.