- “Tragedy has molded us, intellect has driven us. Now we stand at the doorway to greatness!”
- ―Obake to Hiro Hamada
Obake is the main antagonist of Disney Channel/Disney XD TV series Big Hero 6: The Series. He is a cold-hearted scientist with dreams of being revered and remembered for his genius, even in death. After enduring an accident that resulted in severe neurological damage, Obake sought to leave his mark on the world by destroying San Fransokyo, with the intention of recreating the city in his image.
Obake was born as Bob Aken. Twenty years before the events of the series, Aken was an exceptionally young prodigy at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, where he studied under the tutelage of Professor Granville. Aken sought to change the world in a grand way and went about doing so by creating an Energy Amplifier that would provide limitless energy. Granville believed Aken's intelligence would allow him to achieve great things; she granted him access to the school's resources without restriction but was unaware of just how dangerous his experiment truly was.
Unfortunately, Aken's experimentation resulted in a catastrophic explosion that nearly took his life. He survived with severe damage to his temporoparietal junction, the part of the brain that allows him to tell right from wrong, thus turning Aken into a sociopath. He was also left with a deformity along the left side of his face, which now produced a bright, neon purple glow based on his mood. The effects of Aken's illness would only worsen if not treated, but he found the damage to his mind to be "liberating" and therefore let it be. With his damaged mental state stripping away his moral compass, Aken became villainous and corrupt. He credited Granville's teaching for his new outlook on life and vowed to resume his project in time. At that point, Bob Aken became a supervillain known as Obake.
Obake was a self-proclaimed fan of the famed artist and scientist, Lenore Shimamoto. Like Obake, Shimamoto looked to create an energy amplifier to provide limitless energy for the world. However, her experimentation instead created a massive star that destroyed San Fransokyo, killing millions of people and forcing the city to be rebuilt from scratch. Despite the horrific events, Shimamoto's failure resulted in the creation of New San Fransokyo—a city that is far more powerful and efficient than its previous incarnation. Not only that, Shimamoto went on to become one of the most renowned figures in her field. Obake hoped to imitate Shimamoto's legacy by destroying the world on a large scale, recreating it into a "paradise", and going down in history as the man responsible. Though this would result in billions of deaths, Obake viewed this as a small price to pay to achieve immortality.
With a set goal in mind, Obake dedicated himself to collecting the material necessary to create his apocalypse. He spent a majority of his time in his lair off the coast of San Fransokyo. From there, Obake had surveillance on virtually every corner of San Fransokyo, allowing him to monitor and control parts of the city as he pleased. To assist in his schemes, Obake called upon the assistance of San Fransokyo's criminal underworld. As revealed in "The Bot Fighter", Obake has a daughter named Trina, who acts as an accomplice in his schemes. Though she appears to be a normal teenager, she is actually an android with whom Obake shares a paternal bond.
Greatly because of neurological damage to his mind, Obake is a staunch, ominous intellectual operated by the belief that innovation is worth every risk and sacrifice, no matter who has to fall to achieve such feats, fueling his confidence. The soft-spoken villain carries himself in a phlegmatic manner, though behind this persona lies a cruel and unpredictable menace. In his approach to diabolism, Obake is very meticulous and refuses to act on impulse. When faced with an obstacle, Obake will observe it from a distance, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of his hurdle, then use the information he's gathered to overcome it. This rigorous conduct allows Obake to always be five steps ahead of his enemy. As a result of this, he fears nothing or no one. He does, however, hold some level of respect to those who can hold their own against his schemes, at least briefly. As is the case with Big Hero 6, and more specifically their leader, Hiro Hamada.
As he prefers to work in secrecy, Obake regularly aligns himself with other criminals to use their resources to achieve his goals. Obake is deeply feared by his subordinates and is intolerant of failure. Should his underlings underperform in their assignments, Obake will quickly resort to killing them as punishment.
Obake's unwavering mentality comes from the belief that villainy is freedom. He lacks respect for the law, and pities anyone that chooses to follow it; he equates having a moral compass to being tied to a leash. In relation to this, Obake sees his attempts to recruit Hiro as a means of "liberating" him from the laws set by society. To Obake, he believes anyone with a vision should have the freedom to execute it, so long as not one shred of doubt gets in the way. In his own twisted way, Obake attempted to use this connection he had with Hiro, knowing the boy genius's vulnerability lied in their similar backgrounds, showing a wish for like-minded visionaries at his side; even after Hiro escaped, Obake strictly ordered Momakase to bring him back alive, despite the trouble Hiro was to his plans.
Obake was motivated solely for recognition of genius and success, and whatever cataclysm could come from it was a necessary evil for the world to improve under his vision. Unfortunately for Obake, his overconfidence, ambitions, and intellectual superiority come with a price. Obake chooses not to think of his previous accidents as failures but mere setbacks, and cannot fathom the possibility of making an error in his schemes. By doing so, he has a tendency to underestimate those who were lower in intelligence and expressed a distaste for artistic and abstract concepts, treating both with nonchalant disregard. His loathing for outdated and archaic technology also extended to villains who shared a technological background, showing he sees unsophisticated technology as beneath him.
His arrogance, combined with his penchant for seeing the bigger picture of things, made him impulsive at times, such as the case when he pretended to be Tadashi and revealed himself to Granville, both of which inadvertently allowed Big Hero 6 to discover more about their enemy than Obake intended to. Ultimately, when Big Hero 6 overturned Obake's grand scheme, Obake—for the first time in his life—suffered a mental breakdown so severe that he literally could not comprehend why it failed, having accounted for every possible contingency. Even when he was given the chance to escape and start from scratch, Obake chose to go down with everything he worked for, rather than survive knowing his efforts ended in failure.
Obake is a tall man with a slim physique. His skin is pale with a somewhat grayish tone. He has black hair with a red streak that's shaved on the sides, piercing ice blue eyes, and noticeable cheekbones. The left side of Obake's face occasionally produces a bright, neon purple glow that stretches from his skull, down to just above his chin.
Obake wears a black waistcoat (with a left pocket) over a dull grey turtleneck with its sleeves rolled up. He also wears a wristwatch on his right arm. His pants and shoes are black, though his pants are of a lighter tone.
Role in the series
The mysterious villain makes a hidden appearance in "Baymax Returns". Through phone, Obake orders his lackey, Yama, to steal a paperweight from the office of Professor Granville. The paperweight has the ability to amplify technology to dangerous levels. Unfortunately, Yama's initial attempt ends in failure, motivating Obake to kill him. In a desperate attempt to save himself, Yama claims to have something better and reveals to have an army of super-strong robots cloned after Baymax. Obake orders Yama to use the bots to steal the paperweight, but Yama's efforts are thwarted by Big Hero 6. Their leader, Hiro Hamada, destroys the paperweight to prevent it from causing any further destruction. As the team celebrates their victory, Obake watches intently on the monitor screen from his lair, seemingly intrigued by their sudden presence. Despite the loss of the paperweight, Obake continues on with his plot by hiring operatives to do his bidding. In "Failure Mode", he hires Globby to steal a priceless painting known as the "City Rising", which had blueprints hidden underneath. The blueprints were for some sort of machine that was designed by artist and scientist Lenore Shimamoto.
Meanwhile, Obake monitors Big Hero 6's activity and develops an interest in Hiro Hamada. In "The Impatient Patient", Obake anonymously sells Alistair Krei a "valuable" hard drive on the black market. The hard drive itself was actually a bug that allowed Obake to hack into Krei's computers once he plugged it in. Once inside Krei Tech's systems, Obake not only gained access to top-secret projects but also uncovered Hiro's secret identity. Following this discovery, Obake makes it his mission to uncover the identities of the five remaining members of the team and goes about this by stealing and reprogramming Noodle Burger's animatronic mascot in "Killer App". With Noodle Burger Boy's ability to obtain personal information of customers by scanning them, Obake sends it out to retrieve information on Big Hero 6. The mission is a success, and by the end of the episode, Obake "gets to know" the true identities of Honey Lemon, Baymax, Go Go Tomago, Fred and Wasabi. Even so, Obake's main concern lies with Hiro, who shows potential in being of use to Obake. Before Obake could pursue the boy genius, however, he sought to test his intelligence and find out just how smart Hiro truly is.
This plan was set in motion in "Kentucky Kaiju", in which Globby was sent to plant seeds of doubt into Hiro, making the latter question his own capabilities. The result was Hiro granting himself super strength through the use of nano compression circuitry, a move that Obake found painfully predictable. Obake nevertheless sought to test Hiro further by having Noodle Burger Boy hijack a life-sized Kentucky Kaiju animatronic and having it rampage through the city. During the monster's battle against Big Hero 6, Hiro's nano-suit gets destroyed, leaving him physically powerless. He is nevertheless able to defeat the animatronic and save the city by relying solely on his wit. While overlooking the damage, Hiro uncovers an incredibly advanced CPU with Obake's emblem. Knowing the technology is beyond Noodle Burger Boy's capabilities, Hiro deduces that someone else was behind the plot and becomes determined to find out who. Meanwhile, Obake is pleased with Hiro's performance and declares that he is, indeed, very smart.
When the house of Lenore Shimamoto was reopened after restoration in "Rivalry Weak", Obake went to SFAI in search of her secret lab only to be thwarted when a child bumped into him and broke his glasses. When news of Shimamoto’s secret lab was exposed to the public, he enhanced the video to zoom in Honey Lemon, only to find that she is in possession of her diary. The next day, Obake disguised himself as a historian in an attempt to get the diary from Honey Lemon and succeeded. Later on, he finally met Big Hero 6 in person and claimed disappointed because he knew the team could have tracked him down sooner. In their first encounter, Obake has the team trapped into three separate containers with only one minute to solve the riddle and the time he needed to finish scanning the diary. After the team escaped from his traps, he became mildly impressed with their creativity and cleverness. After that, he left the warehouse, with a desire to meet the team again another day. Back in his hideout, Obake has Lenore's diary digitized into his computer and has its hidden contents, formulas, and equations revealed to him.
During the events of "Fan Friction", Obake releases one of Big Hero 6's previous adversaries, Momakase, from prison. Obake offers her a place in his "club", with the intent on eliminating Big Hero 6, to which Momakase accepts. Momakase is successful in imprisoning Big Hero 6 on Akuma Island, where they are left to die as the island itself is marked for demolition. While reporting her success, Momakase questions why Obake would agree to the killing of Hiro, as the latter supposedly had plans for the boy. Obake simply declares that if Hiro is "good enough", he'll survive. As predicted, Hiro and his teammates survive the destruction of Akuma Island, further showcasing Hiro's capabilities.
In response, Obake initiates another coup to learn more about Hiro, in hopes of having him join his side. Obake sends his daughter, Trina, to gather intel on Hiro, and learns that the latter was influenced by his deceased brother, Tadashi Hamada, to give up his criminal habits and enroll into SFIT. During the events of "Obake Yashiki", Obake arranges for Hiro to be secretly fitted with augmented reality contact lenses, which gives him the illusion that Tadashi has returned. Upon further inspection, however, Hiro discovers that it was merely Obake posing as Tadashi in attempt to influence him. Though his plot was unsuccessful, Obake remains unfazed and even compliments Hiro's deduction. Meanwhile, Obake sends Noodle Burger Boy to steal a shipping container full of Alistair Krei's Buddy-Guard drones, which he puts to work on a machine in his lair. He also acquires a high-powered magnet from SFIT.
As revealed in "Countdown to Catastrophe", the machine was created to harness the power of an energy amplifier. Once set off, the amplifier will create a shockwave powerful enough to destroy San Fransokyo. Being unable to create an energy amplifier himself, Obake orchestrates a faux robbery of a special Krei Tech briefcase to lure in Hiro. Hiro learns that the case contained what was meant to be an energy amplifier. Though the product was a failure, it inspired Hiro to create an amplifier, himself. He succeeds, which unknowingly drew Obake closer to his goal. Globby, Momakase, and Noodle Burger Boy were then sent out to distract Big Hero 6, while Obake stole the amplifier from Hiro's lab. In the midst of the heist, Obake briefly reunites with Granville, to essentially reveal the damage he has. Rather than showing animosity, Obake indirectly thanks Granville for making him the man he is today.
During a previous battle, Noodle Burger Boy inserted a chip into Baymax that reprogrammed him to serve as one of Obake's subordinates. When Obake's apocalypse nears its start, Baymax kidnaps Hiro and takes him to Obake's lair. Obake explains his plot to Hiro and offers him a place in his new city as a student. When Hiro refuses, Obake imprisons him under the assumption that Hiro will start to think differently once there's "nothing left to save". Unfortunately for Obake, Globby breaks Hiro out and reunites the boy genius with his teammates. Obake orders Momakase to recapture Hiro, but she is unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the energy amplifier is set off, creating a massive shockwave from San Fransokyo's bay. Hiro and his teammates are just barely able to stop the wave from ravaging the city, thus foiling Obake's plans for good.
From his lair (which is on the verge of destruction from the impact of the shockwave), Obake looks on in horror as his machinations crumble before him. Distraught, Obake laments the loss of all he's worked for, and his dream, but refuses to leave his deteriorating home. Instead, he releases Baymax from his bind and orders the latter to reunite with Hiro. He also asks that Baymax sends his regards to Hiro ("Tell him, I still think we would have done great things together.") Baymax notes that he cannot leave Obake unless he is satisfied with his care. Choosing to die alongside his work, Obake takes a seat and affirms that he's satisfied with his care, prompting Baymax to take his leave. As Obake sits in silence, his lair continues to crumble until it is destroyed completely. Following these events, Professor Granville shows concern over what became of Bob. This prompts Hiro and Baymax to search for his remains at the bottom of the San Fransokyo bay. All that is left, however, is a computor chip with Obake's logo.
As revealed in "Internabout", both Trina and Noodle Burger Boy survived the destruction of Obake's lair. When Noodle Burger Boy stresses his need to return home, Trina notes that, "Home is gone, father's gone." further implying that Obake is dead.
- "Obake" (おばけ) means "monster", "ghost" or "apparition" in Japanese, which is appropriate, considering both his rather monstrous behavior and the neon-purple glow on his face.
- Obake has a one-eyed ogre-like logo that appears on the screens and monitors he hacks into.
- Despite appearing in "Baymax Returns", Obake's face was not shown until "Failure Mode".
- His fake name "Ekabo" is Obake backwards.
- According to Baymax, Obake's body temperature is below normal.
- Obake's name comes from his real name, Bob Aken.