Hidden from the public, Shimamoto's true passion was science. She never told anyone, not even her friends, as she was uncertain that people would understand her passions. In any case, she felt she did not understand herself.
Shimamoto kept her scientific work a secret in a laboratory hidden beneath her house. She also had experience in mechanical engineering, like the hidden trapdoor to her lab in the living room. Shimamoto kept a journal containing details about her secret life as a scientist and the progress she was making in her research.
Shimamoto sought to improve the world by creating an energy amplifier that would provide limitless energy. In 1906, though it seemed that she was on the brink of success, Shimamoto's amplifier inadvertently created a star that devastated most of San Fransokyo. The event was known as the "Great Catastrophe" and led to a massive recreation of the city. Having survived the shockwave, Shimamoto resumed her role as an artist. She created the masterpiece painting "City Rising" in honor of San Fransokyo's rebirth and founded the San Fransokyo Art Institute for aspiring artists.
Despite her acclaim following her mistake, Shimamoto remained riddled with guilt. Though she could not bring herself to reveal the truth in life, Shimamoto left clues that led to a recording in which she confessed her involvement in the Great Catastrophe. She died with the hope that someone would follow her leads and reveal the truth to San Fransokyo and hope that no one would ever repeat her mistakes.
Role in the series
According to her journal, on August 27, 1905, Shimamoto was studying localized mutations in flowers found around Muirahara Woods, leading to the possible discovery of a new type of orchid. By April 3, 1906, Lenore Shimamoto made a groundbreaking discovery that could change the world for all mankind. In order to gain the attention and support she needed to expand her research, she made plans for a demonstration on the following day. After exhausting all the necessary preparations and resources she had, her plans to share her discovery with the world never came to light under mysterious circumstances, possibly due to the great catastrophe of 1906.
After her passing, Lenore Shimamoto's secret life as a scientist remained hidden from the world. Her painting of "City Rising" hid designs for some kind of machine, and Obake recruited Globby to steal it for him. This was achieved in the episode "Failure Mode". By the events of "Rivalry Weak", Lenore Shimamoto's secret life as a scientist was finally discovered by students of San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. Hiro, Go Go, Honey Lemon, and Baymax stumbled upon her secret lab while hiding from campus security during an attempt to prank SFAT. Honey Lemon found Shimamoto's journal and brought it home to read with Go Go. The last entry Shimamoto made was on the day before the great catastrophe. Honey planned to hand the journal over to the museum, but Obake, disguised as a historian, tricked her into giving it to him. He went through the pages and then left it for Big Hero 6 to take back. Little did anyone know that the seemingly blank pages in the journal were filled with hidden contents, formulas and equations, which Obake unveiled.
In "Countdown to Catastrophe", Honey Lemon decides to research Lenore Shinamoto for her semester final project. While perusing her journal, she and Wasabi incidentally discover Shinamoto's equations using a UV flashlight; Wasabi remarks that this math is beyond that of Shimamoto's time. In the corner of one of these pages is "Mum's the word", with a doodle of a flower next to it. Thinking there may be a clue in Shimamoto's house, the pair determine that Shimamoto was referring to a chrysanthemum flowers sitting in a wax cylinder, which they realized was in fact an old-fashioned record. Playing this at the SFIT open house, everyone hears Shimamoto confessing to having caused the great catastrophe of 1906. This revelation proves essential in Big Hero 6 deducing Obake's plan to recreate the great catastrophe.
- Shimamoto's face is imprinted on San Fransokyo's currency, as first seen in "Issue 188", showing how significant a figure she is in the city.
- Honey Lemon dresses as Shimamoto for Halloween in "Obake Yashiki".