BAYMAX! has been one of my most anticipated series from Disney+’s original slate. The adorable chonky robot buddy quickly became one of my favorite Disney characters in Big Hero 6. Now, we get the chance to see the character in a variety of new stories.
In BAYMAX!, we’re back in San Fransokyo where the affable, inflatable, inimitable healthcare companion robot, Baymax, sets out to do what he was programmed to do: help others. In each of the six episodes, Baymax just wants to help someone even if they’re not open to his help.
The stories from this anthology series all offer up a piece of hope and healing, with each one written by Cirocco Dunlap. In Episode 1, directed by Dean Wellins, Baymax helps an elderly woman named Kiko overcome her fears linked to the community pool. Episode 2, also directed by Wellins takes on a physical healing journey after the owner of The Lucky Cat, Aunt Cass, sprains her ankle and has to take time to recover while Baymax runs the cafe.
In Episode 3, directed by Lissa Treiman and written by Dunlap, Baymax goes to school and helps a girl through her first period, and learns a lot along the way by bringing her a wide variety of menstrual products. Episode 4, directed by Dan Abraham, has Baymax help a man with a fish soup food truck who is allergic to fish find his courage. In Episode 5, Directed by Mark Kennedy, our humble helper sets out to help a stray cat only to end on a cliffhanger leading into the final episode (directed by Wellins) where all those he helped across the series united to help save him.
In each episode, Baymax identifies a physical issue with each character, but to help each issue, he has to get at the root cause, which allows him to explore emotional moments that help him have a transformative impact on the people that he’s caring for. With themes like growing up, grief, resting instead of overworking, and having to make a life for yourself different from your parents’, the series has a heart as big as its titular character.
The diversity of story and theme also helps this series of shorts be truly an all-ages endeavor, remembering the older fans of Big Hero 6, which was released eight years ago. While some stories target a younger audience with a coming-of-age theme, others look to those of us who are looking to find our paths in life or deal with larger grief. This makes the adventure of the series magical and loving in equal measure.
My only element of critique is that I desperately wish we got more shorts with Baymax and the kids from Big Hero 6. This isn’t to say that the variety of heartwarming and emotional shorts that create this series are bad by any means. I just wanted more of the crew that made me fall in love with Baymax’s humor and “help” in addition to new stories. But of course, what I want doesn’t mean much given that the series creators were focused on showing Baymax interact with everyday people in everyday situations.
Overall, BAYMAX! works from start to finish. It’s heartfelt, warm, and is a salve for increasingly darker times. Humor and hope are what make this short and sweet series one of my favorite animation endeavors of the year.
BAYMAX! works from start to finish. It’s heartfelt, warm, and is a salve for increasingly darker times. Humor and hope are what make this short and sweet series one of my favorite animation endeavors of the year.