Hi! It’s Annie!
I recently switched from re-watching ‘Teen Titans’ to watching the ‘Big Hero 6’ series that is currently on Disney+. Why? Because the original ‘Teen Titans’ series was kind of getting a bit repetitive for me. I know that a lot of superhero shows at that time were, but I was kind of looking for something with the same group dynamic and structure without the slight feeling that I was watching the same episode over and over. And that’s when I remembered ‘Big Hero 6’ is so similar. ‘Big Hero 6’ has always been one of my favorite superhero films for its college friend group dynamic, its combined San Francisco and Tokyo aesthetic, and the amazing science based powers they gave each character. (Yay women is STEM!!!) But after only a little inspection, it’s pretty clear to see that the movie adaptation of ‘Big Hero 6’ was probably influenced a little more by something else rather than the comics where the characters are extremely different. In fact, these characters seem to be very similar character tropes and have a similar young friend group dynamic to what we see in ‘Teen Titans’. While I doubt they would ever admit to it, I personally think that ‘Teen Titans’ most likely had something to do with the way the characters in ‘Big Hero 6’ turned out. And while I currently find myself to be enjoying the humor style of the ‘Big Hero 6’ series more, I feel like I have to compare the characters now that I’ve found the connection. So that’s what I’m going to do! SPOILERS for both franchises will be coming up!
Hiro vs. Robin:
The leaders and strategists of the group; neither Hiro nor Robin have the flashy superhero powers that other members of their group seem to. But what stands out here is that they seem to be equal with the rest of the group despite that. Robin is the true strategist of his group by assessing the villains they are up against, having strong hand to hand combat training, and carefully planning and designing each of the missions for his group. Hiro on the other hand strategizes with careful planning, but also designs and creates the suits and technology needed for the rest of the group. While each of them also have a say in creation and design, it’s Hiro who does most of the grunt work for their technology. Hiro and Robin also are the brooding members of their team. For Hiro it is entirely with good reason. Hiro was praised when the movie first came out because of how willing the writers were to tackle mental health as a theme. Hiro loses someone very close to him and it impacts the rest of the movie, pretty much culminating in a want for revenge. Robin is also on the revenge track, but his obsession with his foes culminates in a frustration that takes over his entire existence. Including working on plans without including his teammates. Robin has less clear brooding reasons, though it really makes sense since he was brought up by Batman. Either way, it is clear to see the similarities in creating Hiro, though Robin isn’t really younger than the rest of his team. Still, I think that Hiro comes across as more of a real character on multiple occasions. And Robin can get so obsessed with villains in the show that sometimes it feels like they become his only personality trait.
Wasabi vs Cyborg:
The most intimidating looking members on the team with probably the least intimidating personalities. Both Wasabi and Cyborg tower over the rest of their team mates and especially in battle look extremely intimidating. But Cyborg is a complete dork and Wasabi is a complete scaredy cat. Either way, not far into getting to know either of these men your intimidation for them fades practically immediately. Cyborg is know for his technological genius and the robotic parts of him that make him an upgrade from any other humans. Wasabi is known for his genius in both his work and his organizational skills. Both characters come really close to being just as smart as the leader. But they are both far too clumsy and unsure to take up a leadership position themselves. Though I could definitely see future leadership positions for either of them. Cyborg, unfortunately, is probably the most side-lined of all of the characters in ‘Teen Titans’. While the other members get copious episodes about themselves and their relationships to other members, Cyborg often gets left out. In fact, Cyborg doesn’t even appear in some Titans content, though some of it is because he’s been upgraded to a more important role within the Justice League. Still, it never seemed that he got enough time. Especially because the other members of the group kind of paired off. Wasabi doesn’t struggle from that. Wasabi has always been just as present as every other member of the group and even has been used as the main voice of reason or the primary comic relief. Also, his fear of heights is relatable. Another character that feels more real, but obviously he also has more time to do so.
GoGo vs. Raven:
GoGo and Raven even have the same purple shade of hair, though for GoGo it’s only a few streaks. These are the two women in the team who are possibly the most capable members of their respective teams and definitely the most badass. Both of them have a penchant for being more introverted and keeping to themselves while also picking up more of a gothic or badass aesthetic. GoGo frequently tells the members of her group to “woman up”, a phrase that I wish more people would use. She’s extremely intelligent, a real thrill seeker, and an entire episode of the series was dedicated to demonstrating that she never really got scared of anything. And even when she was, she was the first person to figure out a way out of it. GoGo is more selective about her displays of emotion or showing that she cares about other people, but she’s one of the first to get concerned when a member of her team has a real issue. Raven is also pretty selective at showing her emotions, but does truly care. Though Raven can’t show emotions rather than it being a choice, because she has the horrifying duty of constantly attempting to keep her demonic father and her inherited demonic powers at bay. Raven can’t take the responsibility off of other people, but she will try to soothe it. And she is the most powerful member of the team because of her demonic powers. Added onto this is her relationship with Beast Boy which is incredibly sweet and always demonstrative that she really has the capacity to feel emotions. Raven probably gets more overall time dedicated to her due to her difficulties with her powers, but I wouldn’t say by much. For me, it’s nearly impossible to choose between these two.
Honey Lemon vs Starfire:
Here we have the two extremely sweet members of the groups, or the Moms of the groups if you will. These two characters are specifically known for their positivity and lightheartedness, and their constant supportive nature of everyone else in the group. Either of these characters could easily be considered the heart of the group. They are the ones that bridge the gap between other members and mediate arguments. But I find that there’s a huge difference between these two. Starfire can be one of the most powerful members of the group, but if there’s ever a group member to be captured it’s usually her. Thought she often saves herself, she spends just the same amount of time waiting to be saved by someone else. Most likely because she’s the love interest for Robin, who is the leader and the one most likely to save everyone else. They use this device often for romance, but that doesn’t mean I like the use of this device at all. Starfire is also an alien which means they often use the fish-out-of-water trope to make her a bit more ditzy. Honey Lemon on the other hand is the chemist of the team. If someone needs to be saved, her chem purse creates cushions for others to land on or unique opportunities to get pedestrians out of dangerous situations. What I’m saying is that Honey Lemon is more of the savior than the one who has to be saved. She’s also the only person on the team with her particular science niche, meaning she’s treated more like an expert than a ditzy girl who doesn’t know anything about reality. I think that for far too long comics have put a line in the sand when it comes to positive and sweet female characters. We’ve been told that a character can’t be sweet and smart. Honey Lemon is the proof that this idea is, quite frankly, bullshit. And while I like Starfire, I think she plays more into the trope than proves it wrong. There’s a reason why Honey Lemon is one of my absolute favorite superheroes ever created. She’s sweet and loves pastels but she also never pretends to be less intelligent than she is. But I’ve ranted for too long about this. Honey Lemon is perfection, that is all.
Fred vs. Beast Boy:
Here we have the two lazier and more laid back members of the group. Neither of these characters are the brightest of the bunch by any means, but their laid back personalities and enthusiasm for the job make them valuable members of the group. In fact, it’s pretty clear that their respective groups wouldn’t be able to survive without them. Fred is the one who likes comic books and superheroes to begin with. While he doesn’t have the talent for science, he’s actually an English major specifically for creative writing (YES!!!), he has a huge passion for science and a respect for scientists. Without Fred in the group, Hiro probably would have never had the idea to turn their small friend group into a superhero group. And, on the other hand, Fred would have never been able to live his superhero dreams without his scientist friends making it a reality. But his comic book knowledge has proven to sometimes be the only knowledge to get the rest of the group through in a pinch. Beast Boy is a jokester who doesn’t really have the time for seriousness. He’s the one to cheer up another member who’s not feeling their best and the only one to not overthink a situation. Which, as an over thinker, I can tell you that it’s probably for the best. Beast Boy is able to balance and help characters like Raven who often need his brightness. Beast Boy is usually proven to be more helpful of these two though, as Fred has shown that he can’t protect anyone by himself and has to be supervised at all times. Though it is still difficult to choose between the two.
While I love ‘Teen Titans’, I think I have to go with ‘Big Hero 6’. Of course, I had a harder time choosing between some characters than others. You can probably tell that upon my recent rewatch of ‘Teen Titans’, I wasn’t a huge fan of either Robin or Starfire who I remembered liking a lot more than I ended up finding on my rewatch. I also found the tower to be stifling at times. Other than the obvious pro in the addition of the adorable Baymax; I like the overall city vibe of ‘Big Hero 6’. Everything about that group is just aesthetic from the city to the cafe. It really makes you wish that the locations were real. And the friend group being in college both makes it more realistic and reminds me of my own amazing college experience. I really love that the show takes time to explore each character and their relationships to each other without necessarily having romance. I also found the recent progresses in diversity in shows really show up in ‘Big Hero 6’. While I love both teams, and I think that Disney is kidding itself if they think that they weren’t inspired by ‘Teen Titans’, I think that ‘Big Hero 6’ in the end is an improvement on the tropes that span both shows.
See you across the pond!