On this week’s Big Hero 6: The Series, Baron Von Steamer returned to enact his revenge, and Fred had to take up his father’s mantle to foil his latest dastardly plot. Hiro, meanwhile, fished out Wasabi’s car out of the Bay for his birthday.
1. Mini-Max is Alright
After the bruising he received last week, Mini-Max is back, bouncing around and as healthy as ever, but once again we’re denied the opportunity to see him babysit Fred, as in this episode Fred has to don his father’s superhero outfit, after Baron Von Steamer demands another face-to-face confrontation with his old enemy. I imagine the writers want to use Mini-Max sparingly, or else he might wear out his welcome, but it would’ve been amusing to see Von Steamer’s reaction to “Boss Awesome” getting a kid sidekick: there might’ve been a fun running gag about the old coot thinking the robot is a real boy, or Fred getting the little guy to be less hypercompetent for the sake of the mission.
2. Gone Fishing
Hiro is becoming more and more like Tony Stark with every armor he’s producing: this time, we got to see him and Baymax don aquatic suits to retrieve Wasabi’s car, still lying in the Bay after it crashed in there a while back (I must admit I completely forgot that happened). We get to see Baymax blasting away a shark with non-lethal weaponry, which was very cool, as was the underwater version of Overdrive Mode, which still has as much battery as the red suit, but it does its job just as effectively. (Also, Baymax drunkenly saying “I did the thing” after each use just gets funnier each time.)
3. Subverted Tropes
The episode starts with Hiro making a conspiracy wall of all of Obake’s activities, which is an annoyingly outdated method of visual storytelling, but it’s made worth it quickly with the sight gag of Fred revealing he’s made a similar wall to plan for Wasabi’s birthday. We later see Hiro has taken a photo of his conspiracy board, which he scrolls on the phone when he has some downtime, which shows there may still be some life to the trope in the digital age.
More importantly, the episodes spends most of its time having fun with the notion that Baron Von Steamer would just explain his scheme to Fred after capturing him. Big Hero 6 assume they’d just be able to listen in on him monologuing his plans away, but the Baron proves not so senile after all, and he declares he’s just going to enact his plan to destroy the city, while putting gaffer tape on his mouth to stop himself from spilling the beans. With age comes wisdom (or maybe he found time to watch The Incredibles with his grandkids, you decide). It was also hysterical when the Baron revealed his past battles with Boss Awesome have taught him to actually have a Plan B, to which Fred responds, “I don’t even know who you are anymore.”
4. Obake’s Cooking
Hiro’s conspiracy wall leads into brief interludes with Obake, whose base turns out to be underwater. We learn he’s planning to turn water into a substance called D20, and that the Bay is so vital to his plans that he’s willing to hack into Big Hero 6’s comms to alert them to Von Steamer’s hideout. I love the notion that supervillains have clashing schedules to destroy the city, and that Obake would help them so swiftly, as it helps reinforce the notion villains don’t see themselves as villains, but the hero of their own story. It’s certainly more logical than what happened in Marvel’s 2011 one-shot “Shame Itself,” when Cul, Galactus, Thanos, Dormammu and Mole Man all show up at once and agree to a rota.
5. Nemo vs. Bond
The aquatic theme this week continues when it turns out Von Steamer is holed up within the newly built Colossus of Rhodes-esque statue of Boss Awesome in the Bay, which turns into a giant steampunk robot of the Baron when he launches his assault on San Fransokyo. Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Go Go then counterattack in Wasabi’s car, which Hiro reveals he’s decked out with all kinds of birthday treats, like the ability to turn into a submarine. It may not be as sleek as the Lotus from The Spy Who Loved Me, but it’s still really cool.Continued below
I then thought to myself, what inspired all the marine imagery in this episode? It all might’ve been a sly tribute to Jules Verne, the father of science fiction himself, whom Von Steamer’s steampunk style is a clear throwback to. It just fascinated me how all these characters in this cartoon clearly ape something the writers grew up with, and I cannot but wonder how kids watching these shows are going to port over these influences when they become writers and animators someday.
– The many sloths Fred’s dad hangs around with really makes Stan Lee’s dialogue more interesting.
– Of course Wasabi wants to go to a club called The Organized Gentleman, he’ll be wearing a monocle in no time.
– Obake’s crab drone rather resembles a hamburger when plugged into his computer (incidentally, we also see Noodle Burger Boy again this week, and that Obake’s finally found an off-switch for the nosy robot).