Taking inspiration from a relatively obscure mini-series from Marvel Comics, Big Hero 6 is an anime inspired trip into the world of superheroes from Disney.
Set in the semi-fictional city of San Fransokyo, this sprawling, living environment stands out as a key character in the world of Big Hero 6, and one which dominates this behind the scenes book from Chronicle. Including many architectural and graphical references, the Disney designers explain how elements of Tokyo and San Fransisco were combined with inspiration from classic anime titles such as Akira and Ghost in the Shell to create the sci-fi world in which their human and robot characters live. Inevitably the shadow of Blade Runner is cast over any project aiming for a lived in future look, but what the designers Victoria Ying, Paul Felix and Scott Watanabe have achieved is truly impressive and full of subtle, relatable details.
Now typical of The Art of Disney series, the introduction from John Lasseter and director Don Hall has a mildly corporate feel where it’s great to work at Disney/Marvel, and I felt I disappointing absence of credit being given to the original creators of Big Hero 6, the collective known as Man of Action. A few paragraphs were spared though, just to make it clear how far removed the film is from the original comic books.
I’ll always enjoy looking at the early character designs and production sketches that are offered in these Art of Disney books, but besides some great environments this edition does feels lacking compared to last years The Art of The Box Trolls or even The Art of Frozen.
If you can’t get enough of Big Hero 6 then this book is a brief, but well-produced ‘making of’ and comes recommended to fans. Those looking for a more in-depth look at making an animated movie are better served elsewhere, but will certainly get a kick out of the amazing location designs.