It was only right that Disney's new animated feature, "Big Hero 6," opened this year's Tokyo International Film Festival, and that Disney animation head John Lasseter was on hand to introduce it. Lasseter has often said that his career has been greatly influenced by Japanese anime — in particular the work of Hayao Miyazaki, whose films he has helped distribute in the United States — and the lead characters in "Big Hero 6" are two Japanese brothers.

It's also only right that the movie's title has been changed to "Baymax" for its Japan release. Baymax is the name of the inflatable robot that the older brother, Tadashi, creates and his sibling, Hiro, adopts. The title "Big Hero 6" is taken from the Marvel Comics series on which the movie is based, and refers to a group of young tech geeks who form a kind of superhero alliance. But Baymax is the real hero, not so much because it saves the day, but because it embodies the values Disney promotes in its films: loyalty and right-mindedness. The fact that these qualities are programmed into Baymax does not make them any less affecting as human attributes.

It is this aspect of the film that conveys Lasseter's respect for, and familiarity with, Japan. Baymax is designed as a caregiver that assesses the psychological and physiological conditions of its subject and then provides appropriate treatment. Its purpose is practical, but the goofy rotund form and reassuring behavioral mode make it more than just a sophisticated diagnostic tool. Baymax is designed to be comforting.