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SKSpawn
02 April 2016 @ 03:14 pm
This follow-up to my earlier post is a little late, but better late than never.  I guess.  Anyway, since the last post, I have had one last tattoo done to commemorate my thirtieth birthday.  Although it took three sessions to get it finished, I am counting it as one as it was all part of one big design that would link together some of my earliest tattoos.  As I said before, people always ask is “why do you do it?” and “what do they mean?”.  No matter the answer, it's never enough for some people, so let's finally put this to rest.

Session One (Left Chest/Bicep):

The first part was, arguably, the main part of this particular tattoo.  Like I did for my 20th and 21st birthday tattoos, I incorporated my age into the chest design, in this case represented by three stars reminiscient of those seen on former WWE Superstar, Edge. The three stars are placed over an image of a skull used by the band Five Finger Death Punch and, from it, are a series of disembodied, screaming skulls/spirits that float over my shoulder and down over my 20th birthday tattoo.  To fill the gap on my bicep, I had a cluster of demonic skulls similar to those seen on WWE Superstar, Randy Orton.


Session Two (Left Bicep/Upper Arm):

Next, I had a central screaming face placed behind my 21st birthday tattoo to fill the gap; the fleshy, screaming nature of it not only links in with the disembodied spirits but also recalls the image of the Book of the Dead from the Evil Dead film series. In the bottom left, coming out from the face and peeking from behind my phoenix tattoo, is Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th film series. At the top right, also coming out from the face, is the comic book version of the Mask (a decidedly more violent version of the character compared to the movie version).

Session Three (Left Bicep/Upper Shoulder):

Rounding things out in the third and final session were a few more nerdy logos. From the top we have Wario's logo, below that is the "Z" from Dragonball Z, at the bottom there's the Red Lantern logo (because Green Lantern's are pussies) and, next to that, the "A" used by the Avengers.  Also, I had a load more skulls, screaming spirits, and disembodied ghosts inked in to help link everything together.
30 Tattoo 1.jpg
The central purpose of this tattoo was to both link my existing tattoos together and to create a more cohesive, detailed sleeve since my earlier attempt with a spider's web was a little disappointing.  This time, the skulls and spirits were shadowed and lightly-done, allowing my existing tattoos to pop out. Also, the "pandora's box" elements helped to tell a bit of a story with this one, namely that all the things that make me me were literally spilling out from the skull on my chest.

I am toying with ideas for expanding this down even further into an entire sleeve, but that won't be for some time yet, I think.  Right now, I'm more concerned with added on to my spider's web and having another image tear out of that and onto the right side of my chest but, for now, I'm happy to give myself a bit of a break.
 
 
Current Location: At home, in the study
Current Mood: mellowmellow
Current Music: hans Zimmer and Junkie XL: Is She With You?
 
 
SKSpawn
In 2013, director Zack Snyder released his gritty, modern reboot of the Superman movie series after a long hiatus and after Superman Returns (Bryan Singer, 2006) almost killed the franchise with ridiculous plotlines and nonsensical decisions.  Man of Steel caused quite a deal of controversy for its darker, more grounded approach and the massive amounts of destruction caused by the battles between Superman (Henry Cavill) and General Zod (Michael Shannon).  Personally, I enjoyed the movie for making Superman awesome again and showcasing the impact of super-powered beings doing battle in highly-populated areas.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice follows-up on Man of Steel’s themes and narrative by introducing the first-ever live-action meeting between the two iconic superheroes.  It should be noted that this post is going to be full of spoilers and talk about the film’s narrative, so if you haven’t seen the film then it’s probably best not to read on further.

With the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (2004-2012), the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman was taken up by Ben Affleck in a casting decision that also caused a stir of controversy, mainly due to Affleck’s previous work on Daredevil (Johnson, 2003).  Personally, this decision riled me the wrong way.  While I actually enjoyed Daredevil (especially The Director’s Cut), I cannot say that I am much of a Ben Affleck fan; also, I felt that his casting took the role away from other actors who could have shined in that sort of role.  Basically, this casting felt like the producers were trying to leech of Affleck’s star power.

However, Affleck’s portrayal of Wayne/Batman is a true gem of a surprise; Affleck plays an older, grizzled, veteran Batman who is constantly haunted by nightmares, fatigue, and inner turmoil.  In the film, Wayne has been Batman for about twenty years; Gotham has gone to hell despite his presence (Wayne Manor is dilapidated, for reasons unknown, and the Gotham Police Department is similarly run-down and seemingly abandoned) and his approach towards his vigilantism has become cruel and violent.  This is not just due to his age but also to the dramatic shift in Wayne’s entire persona and attitude after the loss of his partner, Robin, at some point in the past.


The loss of Robin has affected Bruce's attitude, just as it did in the comics.

As a result, Batman (refreshingly commonly referred to as “the Bat” on numerous occasions) tortures and brands criminals in his night-by-night activities and, at a number of points in the film, brandishes firearms and racks up quite the body count.  If people were pissed that Michael Keaton’s Batman killed people back in the day, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see Affleck’s Batman attract some debate given that he clearly guns down, blows up, and drives through quite a few goons.

Personally, again, I have no problem with that because of the movie’s context.  Batman is older, admittedly slower; he’s worn down by age, weariness, and his new mission in life: mainly, the destruction of Superman.  It transpires that Wayne was present during the events of Man of Steel and witnessed Superman and Zod’s fight devastating Metropolis, causing the deaths of numerous Wayne employees.


Affected by the events of Man of Steel, Batman makes it his mission to end Superman.

As a result, despite the protestations of his ever-loyal butler Alfred (Jeremy Irons), Batman has decided to view Superman as a potential threat that doesn’t need stopping…he needs killing.  It doesn’t help Wayne’s mindset that he is constantly haunted by nightmares of not only the deaths of his parents (as standard) but also visions of a dystopian future where Superman rules as a tyrant.  These visions are given further credence not only by a surprise visit by the Flash (Ezra Miller) in a scene straight out of Crisis on Infinite Earths (Wolfman, et al, 1986) where he warns Wayne of this apocalyptic future and urges him to “find us”, but also through the machinations of Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg).


During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Flash appeared to Batman and warned of the coming events.

Given the controversy caused by Man of Steel, the world is suitably divided by Superman’s presence.  A big side plot in the film is the world’s views on Superman; while many view him as a hero, saviour, and messianic figure, others are also fearful of his presence and uncomfortable with his status as an all-powerful alien who answers to no one.  While Batman comes to represent the extremes of the latter, Superman’s extended family – the ever-pretty Amy Adams and Lois Lane and his mother, Martha (Diane Lane) – represent the former, urging Clark to be a symbol of hope and/or remove himself from the equation entirely and leave the world to its own issues.

Luthor capitalises on the divide that Superman causes and works it to his advantages; through his devious machinations, Luthor gains access to the remains of Zod’s Kryptonian ship, the body of Zod himself, and frames Superman as a destructive force through a series of terrorist actions.  This is aided by the general consensus that, because Superman acts as an independent force, his actions have consequences for the rest of the world that led to a number of deaths, a fact that weighs heavily on Superman’s conscience and his belief in himself and what he’s doing.

For me, the casting of Eisenberg is the exact opposite of Affleck’s: while I generally believed that he could bring something unusual to the role, he is less of a gem and more of a scenery-chewing, ham-fisted version of the character.  In his defence, I was glad to see that he wasn’t the corporate, suit-wearing version; Eisenberg brings a manic, hyperactive energy to the role that masks his true, devious intentions; however, while it kind of portrays the character as a quirky, eccentric tycoon, it lends itself more to Jim Carrey’s over-the-top acting from Batman Forever (Schumacher, 1995) people continue to lament to this day.


Separated at birth?

Luthor, implied to be from observing how often Superman saves Lois Lane from danger, pieces together Superman’s secret identity and kidnaps his mother and places Lois in peril in order to bend Superman to his will.  He has also been fuelling Wayne’s thirst for blood by manipulating him over time, effectively setting the two against each other in order to publically discredit and shame Superman.  However, Luthor’s ultimate plot involves not only the discovery of Kryptonite (which Wayne manages to intercept and use to his own advantage) but also the genetic tampering of Zod’s remains.  Accessing forbidden Kryptonian technology, Luthor creates a hulking genetic monstrosity whose sole purpose is to kill Superman: he creates Doomsday.


Doomsday serves as the penultimate threat of the film.

Doomsday, whom many online have criticised as being shoe-horned in to unite the central characters, also surprised me.  When I first saw the footage of Doomsday from an earlier trailer, I lamenting his presence as it causes so many issues.  People have been asking me over the last few years how Batman and Superman can fight and I have explained, over and over, that the two have not only fought numerous times in the comics but also that Batman has often come out on top more than once.  Superman, for all his powers, is fallible and has numerous weaknesses; Doomsday, however, traditionally has no such weaknesses and, in a fight against him, the most useless ally you would want would be Batman.

However, the film’s version of Doomsday is markedly different; it’s somewhat weaker, physically, and vulnerable to Kryptonite but remains as immensely powerful as ever, if not more so.  Doomsday emits concussive blasts of heat energy, seems to float or straight-up fly a few times, and expels shockwaves of energy every time it evolves to repair from damage and attacks.  In Superman’s favour, he learns from Man of Steel and attempts to take Doomsday into space and away from the planet; however, this plan is foiled by the governmental decision to nuke them once their out in orbit, which brings Doomsday back more powerful than ever.

Joining Superman and Batman to oppose Doomsday is Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), who appears at numerous points in a sub-plot concerning her attempts to retrieve vital data of metahumans from Luthor.  It turns out that Luthor has kept tabs on Barry Allen/the Flash, sightings of Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and the augmentation of Victor Stone into Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and is eager to keep Luthor from eliminating these metahumans.  In service of this, she runs into Wayne at numerous points, who discovers that Diana has been around for about a hundred years and is more than she seems.  Diana opts to interject herself into the conclusion and assist Batman and Superman, relishing the battle against Doomsday.  For the first-ever live-action portrayal of Wonder Woman, Gadot bring both beauty and strength; while her casting also attracted controversy, she was actually portrayed very well and as integral to not only this film but also the formation of the upcoming Justice League.

However, the primary title of this movie involves the fight between Batman and Superman.  These two clash immediately due to their ideals and approaches and because of Wayne’s vendetta against Superman, but don’t actually come to blows until the third act.  For this battle, Snyder draws implicitly from The Dark Knight Returns (Miller, 1986); Batman dons a cybernetic suit exactly as in the comic, blasts Superman with Kryptonite gas as in the comic, and beats him into submission just like in the comic.  I guess, in execution, the fight between the two comes across as very similar to the showdown in Freddy vs. Jason (Yu, 2003) in that the entirely film builds the tension towards the confrontation, and builds it some more, and, when the tension finally snaps, it is a very satisfying event.


Snyder draws heavily from The Dark Knight Returns for the inevitable clash between the two heroes.

Batman, as mentioned before, is violent and aggressive in his fighting style; his combat prowess is ripped straight from the Arkham series of videogames (Rocksteady Studios/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, 2009-2015) and there is no question that, once Superman is suitably weakened, Batman is the superior fighter.  Superman, in a change of pace, shakes off the effects of Kryptonite over time and it merely weakens him, rather than kills him.  However, that’s alright because Batman is more than willing to stab a Kryptonite spear through Superman’s head! Batman bests Superman, beating him into submission, and is poised for the kill before Superman begs him to save his mother after the fact and Lois rushes in to help clear the air.

It is at this moment that Batman comes to his senses and realises that Superman is a selfless man trying to do good; however, this revelation comes off quite rushed.  Indeed, once the revelation that Wayne and Clark’s mothers share the same first name (a point I had never actually considered or thought of before) is brought up, Wayne does a complete turn around.  Not only is he now willing to assist Superman’s causes, he also pledges to unite the other metahumans in honour of Superman’s penultimate sacrifice.

Oh, didn’t I mention that Superman dies?


Superman famously died to stop Doomsday in 1992.

Well, honestly, I was pleasantly surprised that Snyder saw this through as totally as he did.  As I said on numerous occasions before the movie came out, you cannot involve Doomsday and not do The Death of Superman (Jurgens, et al, 1992) from the comics.  Doomsday’s entire purpose is to kill Superman; leaving that out would be like using bane and not having him break Batman’s back.  In fact, one of the major issues I had with Smallville (2001-2011) using a version of Doomsday was that it obviously wouldn’t be killing Clark (Tom Welling) and would be portrayed as another “villain-of-the-season”.  Here, Doomsday and Superman kill each other through mutual impalement; this heroic act brings Batman entirely over to Superman’s cause.  It also (through the effective use of a military/state funeral, the more emotional funeral in Smallville, and the montage of reaction shots to the news of Superman’s death) turns Superman into a matriarchal symbol of hope and heroism, effectively ending the divisive conflict he caused in life.


Smallville's Doomsday was an abomination.

Of course, a two-part Justice League movie is scheduled to begin filming soon and Superman is already confirmed as being part of the line-up.  As a result, the film’s final shot is of Superman’s grave trembling slightly, signalling his inevitable return (and without the four bogus clones as in the original story, one would assume).  However, the fact that Snyder actually had the balls to do The Death of Superman, in my mind, completely justifies and exonerates the inclusion of Doomsday.  It wasn’t just some half-assed inclusion there to be brought down by the trinity of superheroes; it was there to unite them, the Justice League, and the world by killing Superman, so kudos for that.

Visually, the film is actually quite magnificent; say what you will about Snyder as a storyteller, the man knows how to be cinematic.  Batman shines the most throughout because of this, being shot in pitch black and having his action scenes be energetic and clear to see.  Snyder’s visual symbolism extends to Superman as well; while the God and Christ metaphors have been done to death with Superman, here they actually have relevance in the plot so they don’t come off as cheap or superficial.  The visual dichotomy of the film is wonderfully done; the contrast between Metropolis and Gotham City is apparent, the costumes all pop out and appear functional, and Batman’s weapons and gadgets are showcased to the fullest.

It really feels as though the film-makers held nothing back (except for the half-hour of cut footage rumoured to be on the home release) and that has, in the eyes of many, caused more controversy.  I have heard of critics attacking the film for being “choppy” at the start, shoe-horning in the Justice League elements and Doomsday, and having nonsensical decisions woven into the dialogue, script, and plot.  To them, I say, these are valid points in some cases.  However, I never experienced any issues with the pacing or the editing; sure, it’s a long film, but films are these days and, when you’re enjoying a movie, that’s not a bad film.  I found myself engaged with the plot; I wanted to know more about Wayne Manor, Gotham, and Batman (which is a perfect way to re-introduce this version of the character and will be expanded upon in future DC films), I followed along easily enough with Luthor’s plot and the side-plots involving the Justice League, and never felt that anything else done an injustice or there for the sake of it.

The fact is that DC and Warner Bros. are very late to the shared universe party; Marvel Studios have gained the upper hand after building their individual heroes separately and now having them cross over regularly.  While DC’s television efforts are popular and are beginning to cross over, their television shows will not be a part of this forthcoming DC film universe and the studio, which has largely been happy to produce mainly Batman and Superman movies after the lacklustre reception of Green Lantern (Campbell, 2011), doesn’t have the time or the release schedule to introduce the Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg or the other Justice Leaguers.  Instead, what will set DC movies apart from Marvel’s from now on is their cross-connectivity and their immediate focus of having their films and character converge right off the bat, which could make for some exciting future releases.

Overall, yes, this film has some flaws but nowhere near as many as I was expecting and it certainly doesn’t deserve the critical backlash it is currently facing.  It re-introduces Batman, presenting a grizzled, more violent version of the character who seems just as mental as the villains he faces, and brings more humanity and empathy to Superman.  The visual presentation is top-notch, more than making up for any narrative deficiencies, and the thematic portrayal of both characters is largely in keeping with their portrayals in several prominent comic books, even the vaunted Dark Knight Returns.

Snyder had the balls to do new thins with this movie: he incorporates Robin (no one knows which one but, assumedly, it was Jason Todd, meaning Nightwing could be active in this universe), a character no one has used in film for nearly ten years (and that’s just criminal); he utilised Doomsday to its fullest extent; he addressed and upped the scale of destruction from Man of Steel; and the apocalyptic future witnessed by Wayne, which is implied to be the result of Superman’s actions (somehow), and Luthor’s manic rant at the end (I half-expected him to announce that “a Crisis is coming”) lend credence to the rumours that the Justice League will come together to battle Darkseid.  Make no mistake, the DC movies are a violent one where actions have consequences and the heroes amongst us may cause more trouble than the villains but it is one soon to be united by heroes and villains alike and, for the first true attempt and making headway towards a Justice League movie, I would say that Snyder has delivered on all fronts.
 
 
Current Location: At home, in the study
Current Mood: Intrigued
Current Music: None
 
 
SKSpawn
02 June 2015 @ 01:44 pm
Those that know me will know that I have quite a few tattoos.  I had my first when I was 20 and am planning to take a break later this year after I turn 30.  the first thing most people ask is “why do you do it?”, which is quickly followed by “what do they mean?” Now, these two questions have many answers for different people; some people get names, dates, and tributes to commemorate births and deaths, others are military brands, some are for fun or to look cool, and others just seem a waste of time.  I’m not a big fan of words and dates and the like; instead I like to use symbols, logos, and pictures that represent things about me that I love.  For some people this is not enough, so I thought I’d run through them all one more time to finally put this to rest.

My First Tattoo



This one is on my upper-left bicep, and is (obviously) the first one I got.  Despite being one o my smaller efforts, this was also quite pricey at the time, though I have no idea why.  I got this one done at a place in Wellingborough, mainly because people get saying “you can’t do anything big for your twentieth; it’s all about your twenty-first!” Being a big fan of whole numbers, and having wanted a tattoo since me eighteenth, I set out to prove these people wrong.



The red symbol behind it is taken from the title of Shadow the Hedgehog’s titular videogame.  I’m a big Sonic the Hedgehog fan, but at the time didn’t quite have the balls to have him tattooed on me, so I settled for Shadow’s tribal-esque logo and flipped it.  This is behind a black skulls, specifically the symbol used by Marvel’s gun-toting vigilante the Punisher, even more specifically taken from the 2004 movie of the same name starring Thomas Jane.  I’m a big comic book fan, and a massive fan of that movie, though I had wanted a more traditional skull at the time but couldn’t settle on a design that worked.  The two X’s are (you’d think obviously, but I’ve met plenty of people not aware of) Roman Numerals for 20, and were specifically used in WWE’s logo for WrestleMania 20.  Again, I’m a big wrestling fan so this worked out.

My Second Tattoo



About six months alter I went back to the same place in Wellingborough to have this done on my upper-right bicep.  A lot of people think this is to represent my love of Spider-Man, and it kind of is that, but more specifically it is the spider-logo used by a superb band called Cold, taken particularly from their album “Year of the Spider”.  At the time, I believed I would only have these two tattoos.  How wrong I was.

My Third Tattoo



As my twenty-first birthday approached, I figured that if I got a tattoo for my twentieth then I have to get one for this one, too!  This was the last one I had done in Wellingborough.  It sits right under my first tattoo and is a trial-esque phoenix incorporating a couple of other symbols.  The phoenix is kind of because I’m a big X-Men fan, kind of because I like mythology and the legend of the phoenix (a firey bird that always returned to life), and kind of because I thought it looked cool.  I did experiment with having it coloured red and black, but ultimately decided against it.  Between its wings is a Batman logo, specifically taken from Batman Begins, which had blown my mind at the time and, obviously, because I’m a massive Batman fan, and more Roman Numerals, this time indicating my new age.

My Fourth Tattoo



Shortly after going to university, moving to Bedford, and my twenty-second birthday, I popped into a tattoo joint in Bedford to get this done.  Similar to how my second tattoo was a band-related piece of art, this is the logo used by an excellent band called Breaking Benjamin.  As the lead singer’s initials are also BB, it is four B’s arranged like a Celtic Knot.  Honestly, there’s a slightly better variant to this design out there that I could’ve used, and I would have also made it a big bigger so it looks less like a flower, but I love the band so it works out okay.

My Fifth Tattoo



To celebrate my 23rd birthday, I went back to the same place in Bedford with a few design ideas and asked the guy to design me something to flank my fourth tattoo.  He came up with this tribal design that slightly resembles two runners, but, quite unexpectedly, also kind of looks like a Swastika if you cover part of it up.  Were I smarter, I would have had this one done at the same time as the fourth one, but money was tight at the time.

My Sixth Tattoo



Around my 24th birthday I popped into a place in Rushden to get this done beneath the last two on my right bicep.  The three triangles are the magical Triforce from the Legend of Zelda videogames, which I am a big fan of.  These are usu ally sitting in a wing-like pedestal but I decided to use a more skeletal, alternative wing design alongside them, partially in reference to Sephiroth, the antagonist of Final Fantasy VII (which I am also a big fan of), and partially to be different.  In hindsight, I kind of wish I had just used the complete Zelda design, as the wings didn’t turn out quit e how I wanted.

My Seventh Tattoo



About five years later, I finally decided to get another tattoo done.  Part of the reason for the long delay was because I couldn’t settle on decent designs or where to have it done.  I’d heard a lot of good things about a place in Kempston, and finally turned in this design, which sits on the back on my neck/top of my spine.  The big black bird is the symbol used by Nightwing, the grown-up vigilante persona of Batman’s sidekick Robin, who I am a big fan of.



To the left is a Biohazard symbol, used to indicate toxic waste and the like, which represents the Resident Evil videogames.  To the right is the brand of the Lin Kuei, ninja assassins most prominently represented by the ice-throwing Sub-Zero in the Mortal Kombat videogames.  These two were specifically to commemorate the progress of my PhD, two chapters of which centre around these videogame franchises.  At the bottom is the logo used by the violent vigilante Spawn, a comic book character I have been a massive fan of for years.  Normally, Spawn’s eyes are green, but I prefer to only use black and red in my tattoos.  Filling it out are some random tribal designs just to reduce blank space.  This one, which wasn’t that expensive, surprisingly, reignited my desire  to get tattoos.

My Eighth Tattoo



I had an appointment booked in at Kempston for another tattoo, but suddenly decided that my right wrist was boring and that I could get a little something done in the meantime, so I returned to the place I got my fourth and fifth tattoos done at for this little design.  For years I had enforced a rule that I wouldn’t have anything done below the elbow, in case it hindered my career prospects, but figured this would be okay as my watch would hide it.



This is Omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet, usually representing the end, or last, of something. This specific design was used in the Star Trek: Voyager episode, “The Omega Directive”; the titular directive overrides all other Starfleet directives in the pursuit of the eradication of the super-destructive Omega Particle.  Being as I am a big fan of Greek mythology and Star Trek this was an inevitable design, though in hindsight it would have been more fitting to have the Triforce done on my wrist.

My Ninth Tattoo



About two weeks later, my second appointment at Kempston came up.  This is on my outer-right calf, and is the first of four designs I suddenly decided to stick down there because there’s wasted skin on my legs.
Finally, after about eight years, I found a Sonic design I liked enough to get tattooed on me.  This is a tribal depiction of a classic piece of Sonic Adventure artwork, and is probably still one of my favourite tattoos.

My Tenth Tattoo



To celebrate my 29th birthday, I went back to Kempston to ink up my outer-left calf.  This is a tribal depiction of Mewtwo, probably my favourite Pokémon, charging a red-tinted Shadow Ball.  This one was pretty painful, but also signified that I was starting to lead up to taking another break from tattoos again.

My Eleventh Tattoo



After getting my tenth tattoo done, I discussed having some shadow work done on my right arm to help bind all my seemingly-random tattoos together after some comments that they don’t seem to be in a deliberate pattern.  This was, of course, true, but I liked the idea of using a broken, torn web to link everything up.  This picture makes it look very dark and over-lapping, but after it healed everything blended in nicely.  However, I think I meant to use the term “grey work” as the black is not as light as I expected; which I’ll keep in mind for a future design I have.

My Twelfth Tattoo



Returning to the calves, this time the inner-left.  This is the eagle logo used my the clandestine organisation S.H.I.E.L.D. Being a massive comic book fan, especially of Marvel’s blockbuster movies, this was also an inevitable design.  However, I think because of its position, size, and the movement of my calf muscle, this took quite a while to heal and even split a bit, something I’m keeping in mind for my inner-right calf design.

My Thirteenth Tattoo



My most recent tattoo.  This was again cobbled together somewhat at random; I hadn’t planned on having any more work done on my back, as it really hurts there, but realised that if I did then, by the time I got to my planned-last tattoo, I will have had fifteen tattoos done, and my OCD allows me to end on that number.  This is three designs running beneath my seventh tattoo.



At the top is the Chinese ying/yang (which represents balance between opposite forces) within wrestler CM Punk's transmission-interruption logo, as I am a big fan of CM Punk and his outspoken character.  Beneath that is the Chinese symbol for “ten” or “Heaven”, which is worn by Street Fighter antagonist Akuma to symbolise destruction.  Akuma famously wears this symbol on his back and it is displayed prominently whenever he kills an opponent, making this a very fitting position.   Finally a Viking-esque skull logo used by wrestler Triple H that bares the legend “Long Live the King” in both English and Latin.  This is mainly tying in to my recent work mindset, which I pull a lot from both CM Punk (anti-authority) and Triple H (pro-authority), which is based on a pretty arrogant belief that I am the best at what I do.  Also, it looks cool.

I have two more designs planned, though I may have the second one done in two sessions, and then I plan to take a break for anywhere between five and ten years so that I don’t just have any old thing slapped on me.
 
 
Current Location: At home, in the study
Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied
Current Music: A Day to Remember: This is the House that Doubt Built
 
 
SKSpawn
08 April 2015 @ 12:48 pm
As part of my PhD research, I watched every single episode of every cartoon and anime adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog, from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog to Sonic X.  Included on many of the DVD compliations were interviews with the cast and crew of each series, which provided some insight into the production process, and various online resources provided other enlightening videos that contributed to my research.

Included here are the notes I made on every episode pertaining to their adaptation of Sonic's gameplay elements, their portrayal of Sonic and his supporting characters and the various worlds in which they inhabit, and other interesting observations that all contributed to my understanding of the complex ways Sonic has been changed by the adaptation process.

Part Five, Part Two: Sonic X

Robotnik’s Revenge

Episode goes out of its way to avoid saying the word “killed” or specifically mentioning death despite Maria’s obvious fate.  It is also revealed that the only ARK survivor was Mr. Schmitz, which retroactively contradicts Shadow The Hedgehog.  Knuckles is shown carrying the full-size Master Emerald rather than inexplicably shrinking it.  Tails and the others ride around in the X-Cyclone, and Tails battles Eggman in it.  The later Sonic Battle adaptation story arc is foreshadowed with the mystery of two escape capsules being launched from the ARK 50 years ago.

There are several cuts in the dub removing scenes of violence, guns, blood, and Mr. Schmitz’s direct involvement in Maria’s death, all of which are present in both the original Japanese version and, in the case of Maria’s death, the videogame.

Showdown in Space

Professor Gerald’s execution is similarly cut; Eggman is personally offended by his grandfather’s betrayal, which motivates him to assist the heroes.

The adaptation of Final Rush/Final Chase is decent, but again far easier than in Sonic Adventure 2; Chris takes Amy’s place in convincing Shadow to help, though the physical abuse that Shadow deals to Chris is cut from the English dub.

Like Perfect Chaos, the Biolizard is noticeably weaker than his Sonic Adventure 2 counterpart, though the Finalhazard remains just as tough, if not stronger through its enhanced abilities.

Inspired by Maria’s wish, Super Shadow discards his Inhibitor Rings to unleash his full power, which would later make its way into Sonic The Hedgehog (2006) and the Archie comics.

Live and Learn is replaced in the dub’s soundtrack.  Eggman’s disgust at his grandfather’s destructive plot contradicts his own plans from the Sonic Adventure arc, though he explicitly states that he will continue his plans for world domination, which was cut from the videogame.

Defective Detectives

More of Sonic’s world spontaneously arrives in Station Square, including various other animals and Flickies (including Sonic 3D Blast-style Flickies), Cream’s mother, Vanilla, and the Chaotix.  Rouge believes that hr government will eventually turn on them if too many of their kind arrive; Chris continues to despair at the thought of anyone or anything taking Sonic away (although in the original Japanese version, he was still upset about Shadow’s death).

Team Chaotix, and their story, are exactly as depicted in Sonic Heroes – Vector refers to Sonic as their “old friend”, implied that they have encountered him before or are at least aware of his reputation on their world.

Eggman repairs the Moon after the damage he caused in “Shadow World”, something that went unexplained in the videogames.  Team Chaotix are quite bumbling in their approach and tactics, making wild assumptions, being blinded by their own hype and abilities, and having delusions of grandeur; however, deep down they mean well and are good people.

Sonic and Eggman engage in a proper conversation regarding their hostility though, as in the anime and “The Last Resort”, Sonic remains suspicious of Eggman’s apparent change of heart.

Sunblock Solution

Now in full control of the Egg Moon, Eggman can change the Moon’s orbit and cause a perpetual solar eclipse.  He uses the eternal darkness to manipulate himself into a position of trust with the President and the general populace, who turn to him in their desperation for a solution.  Eggman’s plans to restore sunlight are similar to AoStH-Robotnik’s obviously-deceitful nature and grandiose attempts to garner public favour.  Just as similarly, the population quickly falls for his act, with only Sonic retaining his suspicions – even Sonic’s friends begin to sway in Eggman’s favour, with Eggman being hailed as a hero and Sonic as a menace when he begins sabotaging Eggman’s plot.

Eggman for President

Knuckles’ previous grievances with Sonic are reignited when the people turn to him for help; while Chris struggles to trust Sonic’s judgement and Amy remains steadfast, Knuckles is not as level-headed and would much rather jump to the belief that Sonic has gone “too far”.  Despite only being ask to talk to Sonic, Knuckles unsurprisingly challenges him to a fight, which only Tails, Amy, and Chris can interrupt to uncover Sonic’s motivations.

Until SatAM-Sonic, Sonic X-Sonic is smart enough to figure out Eggman’s con, rather than giving in to the panic of the perpetual eclipse – he explains that he did not tell the others about what he was going to do before he thought Eggman’s plot “was obvious”.

As in “The Magic Hassle”, Eggman plots to have his face printed on money (in this case, the $1 bill); Knuckles is shown breathing in space!

A Date to Forget       

Bokkun activates Emerl (here called “Emel”) to assist in Eggman’s prison escape, beginning the Sonic Battle adaptation story arc.  Amy snaps when Sonic appears to ditch her when the two were supposed to be going on a date and goes out for a ride with Sam instead.

Eggman mentions that his genius brain burns more calories than the average person, necessitating a large intake of calories to sustain it, similar to early Sonic promotional material that stated Sonic consumes vast amounts of junk food to replenish his constant burning of calories.

Like Gemerl, Emerl acts as a power source for Bokkun’s Bomb Tank, and is later discovered and befriended by Cream.  Sonic shows that he does care about Amy and her dates as he admonishes Bokkun for delaying him.  Thanks to Sam’s incredible speed, Amy is able to destroy the Bomb Tank with one swing and finally understand why Sonic likes to run so fast and live his carefree, adventurous lifestyle.

Mean Machines

Flickies and other classic videogame furries are shown to have successfully integrated into society, while an almost manic worshipping of Sonic has begun to sweep through the human populace – Sonic is so popular that people have started to emulate, idolise, and become obsessed with him.  Because of this, Eggman is forced to work tirelessly as prison labour repairing home appliances (which he cane do at high speed with only a screwdriver) that have been poorly-constructed by workers more interested in emulating Sonic’s lifestyle and attitude.

As in Sonic Battle, Emerl has no programming data and begins as a mindless puppet; while he never talks in Sonic X, he still spontaneously duplicates the attacks and abilities of those around him, though no one specifically trains him to do this or to become a fighting machine (he just…is one).

The Sewer Search

None of the protagonists seem to have a problem with, or be suspicious about, Emerl’s presence in their lives but begin to realise his ability to copy attacks when he duplicates Rogue’s Screw Kick.

Prize Fight

Like Gemerl, but unlike his videogame counterpart, Emerl only develops a strong bond with Cream and is her loyal companion whilst living with the protagonists.

In an attempt to lure out Eggman, the President drafts (with some initial reluctance) Rouge, Sonic, and Knuckles into helping promote and organise a tournament, “The Chaos Emerald Martial Arts Mash-Up”, for a Chaos Emerald in a lacklustre adaptation of Sonic Battle into a poor man’s version of Dragonball’s World Martial Arts Tournament.  However, unlike those tournaments, this one moves along at a brisk pace, with most fights lasting only seconds and being purely for comedic purposes.

Chris and his friends somehow manage to qualify for the tournament, where Chris cheats to win over Danny be feigning cowardice.  Sonic actually reprimands this out-of-character behaviour; as Chris already feels guilt at his attempt to be “the bad guy”, he promises Sonic that he will not do it again.  Emerl also participates and subtly foreshadows his later rampage when Cream asks him to “go easy” on Ella; as the ultimate fighting robot, such a request conflicts with his programming.

A Wild Win

Scared of his potential opponents, Chris feigns illness, despite trying to fight Knuckles, and is subsequently eliminated.  Emerl is even capable of copying Tanaka’s attacks, and faces Knuckles in the final round of what is potentially one of the most laughable “martial arts” tournaments ever presented.  Emerl displays his now-diverse fighting skills in a dominating display; he also shows great sportsmanship after defeated Knuckles.

Once Emerl acquires the Chaos Emerald, its power reasserts his destructive programming and he goes on a rampage, similar to his videogame counterpart.  Fuelled by the Emerald’s power and able to match their abilities easily, Emerl easily overpowers Rouge, Knuckles, Amy, and Sonic; his violent actions break Cream’s heart.

Proceeding to wreck the immediate area, Emerl becomes increasingly destructive, as Eggman knew would happen, and the protagonists are forced to think of new ways to engage him, to no avail.  Cream finally uses her ears to fly in and rescue Sonic and to engage Emerl in battle alongside Cheese.  Cream and Cheese so surprisingly formidable fighting skill despite their passive nature.  As Emerl can only copy the fighting data of one being at a time, and due to his bond with Cream still present in his system, he is soon overwhelmed and knocked into the sea.  The last thing he copies is Cream’s tears, which revert his docile state and cause him to weep moments before his destruction.

Map of Mayhem

Hypocritically, when Eggman’s plan to conquer the world is foiled, he resorts to getting his revenge with the threat of planetary destruction just like his grandfather.  Sonic and Knuckles use Sonic Advance 3-style team-up attacks to destroy the Egg Giant-Makan.

The Beginning of the End

After quitting Eggman’s employ in the previous episode (“The Volcanic Venture”, where nothing else of note really happens), Decoe and Bocoe now work for the Thorndyke’s.

Apparently, Sonic’s world and Chris’s world used to be one and the same until an unknown catastrophic event split them into two parallel universe; the two and their timelines are now converging, which threatens to cause time to grind to a halt.  The President thus requests Sonic’s help in gathering the Chaos Emeralds to send them all back with Chaos Control, confronting Chris with his worst nightmare.

Convinced that it is all a plot of the President and/or another of Eggman’s schemes, Chris reacts violently and, desperately unable to accept or face the reality of the situation, has Decoe and Bocoe take him to Eggman in order to force his confession, to no avail.

Running Out of Time

While Danny, Helen, and Frances are also upset at the situation, they accept both the inevitability and the importance of it, while Chris rejects any attempts, firmly believing that he is integral to Sonic’s safety and wellbeing.

Convinced that Eggman is planning to attack one last time before they leave, GUN attack him full-force, over-ruling the President, and forcing Sonic to help him in return for Eggman’s promise that he will leave with the rest of them.  While still not admitting to be a “Sonic fan”, Knuckles finally accepts that the entire situation that left them all stranded was down to Eggman.

Sonic retains his nonchalant demeanour concerning his location, as he is happy wherever he is as long as he can run and explore, yet even he realises the importance of them leaving.  Ina final act of selfishness, Chris sabotages the Chaos Control gate to ensure that Sonic does not leave.

Friends ‘Til the End

Much to everyone’s surprise, Chris abducts Sonic and takes him far from the others.  Sonic, while aware of his important it is that he leaves, goes along willingly enough and even encourages Chris to run faster and go further.  Sonic’s passive attitude is designed to allow Chris to learn to do what’s right for himself, and to get his emotions out of his system, as it is pointless to fight such strong emotions.

Sonic admits that his fast-living and carefree nature to lead to him forgetting a lot of things, but he vows to remember Chris because of his troublesome ways.  Chris learns to cope by himself, without Sonic’s help, and to admit the things that have really been bothering him all along – his feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Chuck confronts Nelson and Linsey with their poor parenting skills and with the truth that they must figure out where Chris is and go to him, rather than relying on their connections and money.  They manage to track him down to their old holiday cabin right after he has accepted that Sonic has to leave.

A New Start

Back on Sonic’s world, Eggman is attempting to terrorise the Flicky/Furry inhabitants as usual, and is certain that Sonic will return to fight him once again.  Amy takes offence and takes her frustrations out on him, summoning one hammer after another out of thin air to attack Eggman’s battleship.  Knuckles, having now buried the hatchet with Sonic, has gone from describing him as “reckless” to “unpredictable”, and has faith that Sonic will return soon enough.

The X-Tornado (which is actually the regular Tornado and has been the victim of poor dubbing) becomes the Hyper Tornado.  Just as Tails is in danger of being killed, which is not Eggman’s intention, Super Sonic appears, saves him, and makes short work of Eggman’s battleship, much to Eggman’s joy.  Sonic next goes to see Amy and promises that he “will never [leave her]” (though in the French version, he tells her he loves her, while the Japanese version has no dialogue at all).

Sonic’s world resembles SatAM’s world in many ways, having expansive natural environments alongside futuristic cities; Sonic’s friends live in SatAM-style houses.  The episode’s epilogue shows Chris and his friends six years later, having worked extensively on the Chaos Control gate in order to visit Sonic’s world.  Chris is now in a relationship with Helen and has become a self-assured, confidant, and determined young man.



A Cosmic Call

Beginning of the Metarex Saga, a Dragonball Z/Dragonball GT-inspired final series set in Sonic’s dimension, which draws from Shadow The Hedgehog and, retroactively, Sonic Unleashed.  The Metarex, a robotic/cybernetic alien race bent on conquest (reminiscent in motivation to the Black Arms), come to Sonic’s world to acquire the Chaos Emeralds and the Planet Egg.  Super Sonic is shown struggling to defeat their leader, Dark Oak,; in desperation, he uses Chaos Control to scatter the seven Emeralds across the galaxy, though Dark Oak manages to steal the Planet Egg, the life source of a planet, causing the planet to slowly begin to die.

Eggman comes across Sonic’s beaten form and saves his life to prolong their feud.  Cosmo the Seedrian arrives to warn them of the Metarex threat; Amy states that “Sonic’s [her] boyfriend” after thinking Cosmo has aspirations for Sonic (given that ending of “A New Start” seemed to imply the two had mutual feelings for each other, it is not much of a stretch to think this might be more than just Amy’s usual schizophrenia).  Instead, Cosmo has come to recruit Sonic’s help in fighting the Metarex, as he is their “final hope” – Sonic’s reputation apparently spreads beyond his world and he is now pegged as the one to save the entire universe.

Knuckles actively abandons Angel Island and the Master Emerald to confront the Metarex in order to protect the forest below.  Even a single Metarex is incredibly tough, able to shrug off the Tornado’s lasers, Knuckles’ strikes, and Sonic’s Spin Attack.  Sonic is shown to still be hurting from his earlier beating, and enrages Knuckles when he reveals that he warped the Chaos Emeralds away, though he is mainly made because of the desperation of the situation.  Just as things could not get any worse, Chris manages to travel to Sonic’s world, spontaneously reverting back to his child body.

Cosmic Crisis

Although in his younger body, Chris retains his more adult personality and, as such, is smarter and more capable than before, and is far less annoying.  Sonic, still suffering from his recent battles, faints from exhaustion, proving just how tough the Metarex really are as, usually, Sonic overcomes all obstacles without issue.

Time on Sonic’s world moves a lot slower than on Chris’s; where six years have passed for Chris, only six months have passed on Sonic’s world.  Knuckles is the only one suspicious of Cosmo, believing her to be a Metarex spy (a suspicion proven true in “The Cosmo Conspiracy”, where it is revealed that she is an unwitting spy for them).  While Sonic notes that he could have done something different, he resolves to track down the Chaos Emeralds, defeat the Metarex, and restore all the Planet Eggs.

Tails’ Blue Typhoon serves as their space transport; in the absence of the Chaos Emeralds, it is powered by the Master Emerald, much to Knuckles’ chagrin.  In addition to helping them locate the Chaos Emeralds, the Master Emerald empowers the “Sonic Power Cannon”, which finally destroys a Metarex.  Eggman, Decoe, Bocoe, Bokkun, and Rouge all follow them into space.



H2Whoa

Sonic has a “Galactic Guidebook” (which is apparently out of date) that details the names and specifications of the planets in his universe.  Sonic is still uncomfortable around water, so he is less than impressed when Planet Secco turns out to be oceanic, rather than lacking in water, thanks to the Metarex.

Chris has a black belt in karate, curtsey of Tanaka’s tutelage, though his skills prove ineffective due to his childish body, much to his frustration.  Over the past six years, he has learned martial arts, become a pilot, and built up his skill set alongside his intelligence, but has been reduced to a child and despairs of his uselessness in the face of his anthropomorphic friends’ unique abilities.  Chris falls back on his scientific expertise, saving Sonic with Hover Shoes inspired by Shadow’s (similar Sonic Chaos’s Rocket Shoes), allowing Sonic to hover over the water and better battle the Metarex.

An Enemy in Need

Eggman makes his presence known, desiring to acquire the Chaos Emeralds for himself, and taking on the role of an anti-hero/neutral party to the events as he sides with neither Sonic or the Metarex – he battles both forces to get what he wants.  To get their Chaos Emerald, Eggman tricks Knuckles again by pretending to repent.  When the others point out Eggman’s past history with Knuckles, it only leads to the inevitable clash between Sonic and Knuckles.

While Cosmo voices concern that Chris used to show, Chris and the others ignore their hot-headedness in favour of confronting Eggman.  After a skirmish with the Metarex reveals Eggman’s true nature, once again, Knuckles apologises for his gullibility by the episode’s end.  The Metarex claim that Eggman misuse the Chaos Emerald’s powers and that only they are worthy of them.

A Chilling Discovery

It is revealed that the Metarex are creating impure, near-perfect duplicates of the Chaos Emeralds as part of “Operation Duplicate”, setting up the events of “Teasing Time”.  Chris continues to provide the group, especially Sonic, with power-ups: snowshoes and a snowboard.

Desperately Seeking Sonic

Tails is clearly the captain of the Blue Typhoon, giving orders and directing the ship’s operations.  Sonic can still breathe in space and survive planetary re-entry without burning up or suffering serious injury,

Galactic Gumshoes

After Chuck manages to transport some materials to Sonic’s world, Team Chaotix return and are once again hired by Vanilla to deliver the goods to Chris.  Chuck sends them a spaceship and they venture out into space (where Knuckles can also breathe) and have a series of mishaps against Sonic and his friends, with Chaotix bumbling their way through another mission.  Rouge discovers a strange capsule (which closely resembles the capsule from Sonic Heroes) onboard Eggman’s Crimson Egg.

Trick Sand

Rouge discovers that the capsule is powered by a Chaos Emerald and is keeping Shadow in a state of suspended animation, indicating that Eggman rescued him from his perceived death (as revealed in Shadow The Hedgehog).

Sonic, Knuckles, and Amy explore a haunted mansion that constantly shifts and changes its form, similar to Sonic Heroes’ Mystic Mansion, though here the threat comes in the form of the Metarex.

Chris’s desperation to save Sonic causes a reaction in the Chaos Emeralds and the Inhibitor Ring he inherited from Shadow, causing Shadow to awaken.  He saves Chris, destroying the Metarex threat and revealing himself, before delivering the Chaos Emeralds to Eggman and collapsing onboard the Crimson Egg (Shadow is missing his Inhibitor Rings).

Ship of Doom

While efforts are still made to not use terms relating death and dwelling on the matter, the Metarex sure do kill a lot of people, and are killed by the heroes as, while most of them are machines, the Metarex Commanders are male Seedrians transformed into techno-organic creatures, making them as much flesh and blood as the living characters.

As in Shadow The Hedgehog, Shadow is suffering from amnesia, allowing Eggman to manipulate him onto his side, though he also aids the heroes through his actions, rendering him more of an anti-hero (this is similar to the videogame, where he is never sure which side he belongs to and often aids both to achieve his own goals).  Presumably because he lacks his Inhibitor Rings, Shadow’s power is increased but burns out much faster.  He uses Time Stop to freeze the Scarship and allow its destruction.

Station Break-In

When Eggman proposes a team-up, Amy immediately warns Knuckles not to trust him; ironically, Sonic and Tails think pooling their resources is a good idea.

Chris presents Shadow with new Inhibitor Rings to stabilise his powers; Shadow instinctively trusts him after their encounter on the ARK.

Rouge, Chris, and Shadow’s mission is to “find the computer room”.  Eggman needs a space helmet to survive in space.

A Metarex Melee

The Metarex are not above sacrificing their own troops to get what they want.  With all seven Chaos Emeralds found, Super Sonic and Super Shadow return and begin to fight over them, endangering everyone.  Shadow uses all of his powers to save Eggman and the Emeralds are scattered again.

Mission: Match-Up

Chris also needs a spacesuit to survive in space.  Dark Oak’s four Commanders (Red Pine, Pale Bay Leaf, Yellow Zelkova, and Black Narcissus) have conflicting opinions and methods about how to deal with Sonic.

Chaotix return, now forced to ask for Sonic’s help to return home.  While they promise to behave, Vector makes it his mission to help Tails express his feelings for Cosmo, much to Espio’s chagrin.

Clash in the Cloister

Chris’s latest power-up is bladed Power Shoes that look similar to Sonic’s Sonic Riders sneakers.

In a testament to Sonic and Knuckles’ improved relationship, they do not hesitate to team-up their strength and speed against Yellow Zelkova’s seemingly untouchable power.

Teasing Time

Black Narcissus prefers to use intelligence over Red Pine’s strategy and Yellow Zelkova’s strength.  Fascinated by Sonic’s speed, he creates Silver and Gold to test the extent of Sonic’s abilities.  When the heroes discover a hoard of the Metarex’s new, improved Fake Emeralds, they are lured into Black Narcissus’ trap and he takes Chris and Cosmo hostage.

Interestingly, many characters mention Knuckles’ hot-headedness but it is Sonic who loses his cool when he is angered at Black Narcissus’ treatment of his friends.  The Fake Emeralds heighten Sonic’s dark feelings and cause his brief transformation into the sadistic Dark Sonic.  In a double irony, it is Eggman who talks Sonic down by reminding him of who he really is and comparing his outburst to Shadow.

Black Narcissus wishes to collect more of Sonic’s life data, though Silver and Gold are no match for Dark Sonic.  Eggman is offended by Black Narcissus’ tactics and lack of morals concerning his hostages and wrecks him to send the Metarex a message not to underestimate him, or Sonic, again.

A Revolutionary Tale

Eggman comes to the aid of the Cascadians to acquire their Chaos Emerald.  Shadow meets Captain Molly, a prominent figure in Cascade’s resistance against the Metarex and another Maria proxy, who helps jog more of his memories.

While the Cascadians regard Eggman as their saviour, Molly believes that Shadow’s power and skill make him the reincarnation of the fabled “Black Wind”, though he dislikes being labelled as a hero.  The Cascadians plan to betray Eggman to Pale Bay Leaf in return for joining the Metarex army, betraying Molly in the process.

Decoe and Bocoe rescue Eggman in the E-3000, which greatly resembles Sonic Heroes’ Egg Emperor.  Betrayed by Leon and the resistance, Molly vows to continue fighting the Metarex; however, in the Japanese version, she flies into a suicide run and is killed by Pale Bay Leaf.  Shadow then unleashes his full power to destroy Pale Bay Leaf’s fleet and builds her a monument, which is edited out of the 4Kids dub.

The Planet of Misfortune

Amy has a strong belief in the powers of fortune tellers in a possible call back to her original tarot-orientated backstory.

Terror on the Typhoon

Eggman briefly becomes an honorary Metarex, teaming up with the Metarex Commanders to capture “Team Sonic”.  The Commanders continued internal disagreements leads to them fighting each other and allows the heroes to take advantage of their enemy’s lack of cohesion.  Even Eggman is shocked at the Metarex’s brutal ways.

Despite the odds stacked against him and his guilt at having caused injury to Sonic and Knuckles by way of action, everyone has faith in Tails’ ability to captain the Blue Typhoon and to lead them, allowing him to retain (and regain) his composure and destroy the Metarex fleet.

 Sonic's Nitro Blaster sneakers vaguely resemble his SOAP shoes from Sonic Adventure 2 and act somewhat similar to his Magic Hands ability.

Hedgehog Hunt

Chaotix return again, having now established a seedy bar on an alien planet in order to pay for repairs to their ship.  Chaotix offer to help Sonic and his friends out by helping them acquire spare parts for the Blue Typhoon.  Though he unwittingly alerts the Metarex to their location, Vector does manage to whittle crucial information out of the Metarex’s newest Commander, Eggman, regarding the Metarex’s plans.

Eggman disguises the Crimson Egg as the Blue Typhoon to allow Sonic’s escape.  As in Sonic Adventure 2, he then appears to mourn the loss of “[his] best enemy”, though here he is actually toasting Sonic’s escape thanks to Eggman deceiving the Metarex.

Zelkova Strikes Back

Knuckles breaks one of his spikes when attacking Yellow Zelkova and screams in pain, though this could be because he hurt his hands throwing the punch rather than because the spikes are a part of his hand as in Archie.

Yellow Zelkova falls apart, revealing his Seedrian self otherwise hidden by his mechanical outer.  Zelkova’s death is a possible call back to Metal Sonic’s in the anime, as he slides into lava, refusing Knuckles’ help, and is consumed (the Japanese version is far more explicit in these last points).  Shadow and Rouge find Leon and his fellow Cascadians have been betrayed by the Metarex and being turned into trees.

The Cosmo Conspiracy

Shadow’s discovery leads him to attack Cosmo, believing her to be a traitor, and leading to another bout between him and Sonic that quickly ends with Sonic’s defeat, leaving Knuckles to gleefully take up the slack.

Tails bravely stands his ground against Shadow, even after he destroys the X-Tornado, using his wits and a series of traps to subdue and escape from him in a noble, yet fruitless, endeavour.  Dark Oak arrives to explain that the Metarex made Cosmo the “White Seed”, and their unwitting spy.

Eye Spy

Arriving on the remains of Cosmo’s home world, everyone learns the truth about Cosmo and the Metarex: they are of the same race.  When they were set upon by an unknown enemy, the pacifist female Seedrians wished to flee while the warmongering males chose to use the Planet Egg to force their evolution beyond their Kaiju-like forms and into the biomechanical Metarex.

Interestingly, Dark Oak’s (originally known as Lucas the Seedrian) ultimate goal is to use the all of the Planet Egg’s he has acquired, alongside both the real and the fake Chaos Emeralds, to destroy all flesh and blood life, similar to Robotnik, except he wishes to replace it with plant life rather than robots.

Agent of Mischief

Eggman reveals that his partnership with the Metarex was part of a grand infiltration to uncover their plot, though warns that the situation is hopeless due to the Metarex’s sheer numbers and Dark Oak possessing the seven Chaos Emeralds.

Even Cream participates in the final skirmish against the Metarex fleet, which is all-but-invincible to their attacks.  Chaotix bring Shadow into the fray, and even Eggman sides against the Metarex (similar to Shadow The Hedgehog), teaming with Sonic and his friends once again, though he is far from optimistic about their chances.

Dark Oak finishes his personality transformation into a Black Doom proxy with overly grandiose, ominous boasting galore, and then physically finishes this transformation by using the Chaos Emeralds to merge with Black Narcissus and Pale Bay Leaf to become Final Nova.

The Light in the Darkness

With everyone now on the same page, Eggman reveals a personal risk to Chris due to his trans-dimensional hop – he could be stranded forever or possibly killed.  Nevertheless, he chooses to continue with their plan to uses the Master Emerald to power the Sonic Power Cannon and destroy Black Narcissus and Pale Bay Leaf, which results in the Master Emerald being shattered.

A Fearless Friend

With Sonic freed, Final Nova merges with the Master Emerald’s energy, encasing itself within a seed that begins to absorbs life energy to allow Dark Oak’s “perfect universe” to be born.  As she is immune to the Forestation Process, Cosmo sees that the seven Chaos Emeralds are restored, allowing Super Sonic and Super Shadow to engage the Final Nova chrysalis.

Their efforts result in Final Nova opting to destroy the universe instead, leading to Super Sonic suggesting launching him from the Sonic Power Cannon, at the potential cost of his life – Super Shadow joins him.  Driven by her mother’s wish and her destiny to save the galaxy, Cosmo undergoes her own transformation and heads into the Final Nova to facilitate its destruction, placing Tails in a very difficult position.

Regretfully, Tails finds his resolve and fires Super Sonic and Super Shadow at Final Nova, destroy both it and Cosmo, and ending the Metarex threat.  While Cosmo assures Tails that her sacrifice will result in the return of her people, and potentially her own rebirth, this is exclusive to the 4Kids dub; in the Japanese version, Tails’ actions cause Cosmo’s death and he is wracked by his emotions when faced with having to kill her.  Unlike the 4Kids dub, Tails cries in horror, states his love for her, and fires out of supreme will alone.

So Long Sonic

The 4Kids dub goes to a lot of effort to enforce that Cosmo will live on and that her people will be restored, while her final fate is very explicit in the Japanese version.  Additionally, in the original version, Super Sonic and Super Shadow attempt to save her using “Chaos Regeneration”, though they are unsuccessful.  As before, Shadow opts to gives his life to save the others using Chaos Control; in the 4Kids dub, he appears to die (again), but is believed to still be alive, whereas in Japan he is shown to have survived and visits Molly’s grave.  Sonic is unable to emotionally express himself in either instance; in the 4Kids version, he is stoic and quiet while Tails weeps, while in the Japanese version he quietly takes Tails’ abuse as he laments that he trusted Sonic to save Cosmo.

With peace restored, everyone and everything soon returns to normal, even more so when Eggman helps Chris to return home, this time with no fanfare or issue beyond that he may never be able to return, allowing Eggman to continue his plots in earnest.

Japanese Preview Trailer

Some differences to the final show, mostly aesthetic and in the implied alliance between Eggman, Rouge, and Shadow, and the appearance of “Nazo”.

US Preview Trailer

Minor differences, mostly aesthetic (Eggman’s robots, the lack of humans) or strange translation errors (the “city without a name”, “the Crystal Rainbow Stone”, “Chao”).  Sonic gains his power boost from Chaos Emerald shards rather than a Gold Ring and, again, there is an implied alliance between Eggman, Rouge, and Shadow.
 
 
Current Location: At home, in the study
Current Mood: Bit ill, honestly
Current Music: Within Temptation: Frozen
 
 
SKSpawn
08 April 2015 @ 12:46 pm
As part of my PhD research, I watched every single episode of every cartoon and anime adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog, from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog to Sonic X.  Included on many of the DVD compliations were interviews with the cast and crew of each series, which provided some insight into the production process, and various online resources provided other enlightening videos that contributed to my research.

Included here are the notes I made on every episode pertaining to their adaptation of Sonic's gameplay elements, their portrayal of Sonic and his supporting characters and the various worlds in which they inhabit, and other interesting observations that all contributed to my understanding of the complex ways Sonic has been changed by the adaptation process.

Part Five, Part One: Sonic X

Director: Hajime Kamegaki

Chaos Control Freaks

Based on the modern-era of Sonic games, specifically using characters, designs, and plot elements from Sonic Adventure onwards, this series presents us with the most faithful depictions of the videogame characters and their various elements since the anime and places them into a world that vaguely resembles our own, somewhat eschewing this otherwise faithful rendition.  As a Japanese-produced anime dubbed into English, Sonic X also has its fair share of translation issues, edits, and errors that were not present in its American predecessors.  Also, the aesthetics of characters and technology are very anime-inspired.

Sonic and his friends are transported to earth by, and alongside, Doctor Eggman via Chaos Control.  Eggman utilises Japanese anime-inspired robots and mechs, not dissimilar to those used by G.U.N. in Sonic Adventure 2, as his main robot army, with no Badniks being featured in the show at all.  Eggman is not concerned with rapping animals in robots, or roboticizing anyone, nor is he overly concerned with polluting the environment – he desire world conquest through his robots and the power of the Chaos Emeralds, and to rule over vast cities made in his image.  When dumped on an island on earth, Eggman randomly selects a new robot most episodes using a card-based Selection Machine – exactly how they are produced is not explained.  Sonic uses Gold Rings ejected by the Tornado to power himself up; it is not explained how they are produced, but he can only use his trademark Sonic Spin Attack by having a Ring.  Similar to SatAM, the Rings also allow Sonic to defy gravity and perform superheroic actions, and he generally requires one to beat Eggman’s robot-of-the-week.

Sonic is a brash, cocky adventurer who lives for adventure and to oppose Eggman, mainly out of fun – he is extremely protective of the weak and defenceless (especially Cream and Cheese) and is always ready to leap into action (Knuckles, largely disapproving of Sonic’s reckless attitude, considers him “overkill, [as] always”).  When transported to Earth, Sonic is largely unconcerned – though curious as to his new location and how he got there, he quickly assumes it was down to Chaos Control and concerns himself with the welfare and whereabouts of his friends.  As in AoStH, Sonic often breaks the fourth wall or narrates to himself.

The humans, though unable to comprehend exactly what Sonic (and his friends) is (they think he is some kind of mutant, or science experiment, or an alien), are largely unaffected by his presence – Station Square’s police initially attempt to hunt him down and capture him for further study but it is mainly because of the nuisance his speed causes.  Deposited in Station Square, he begins a rivalry with Sam Speed, who describes Station Square as being very peaceful and quiet (he’s only made one arrest in a year) because his “S-Team” is so fast and efficient at catching criminals.  Sonic relishes the race against Sam and the competition that Sam provides, but mocks Sam and the S-Team by outpacing them and out manoeuvring them.

As always, Sonic is flawless in his skill and ability, his confidence peaking into arrogance (though arguably justifiable as he can run faster than the speed of sound).  However, as in the anime and Sonic Underground, Sonic cannot swim, and this weakness is often mentioned and exploited throughout the series – he simply drops like a stone and struggles to run when trapped in Chris’s swimming pool.  If not for Chris’s assistance, he would have surely drowned.  Although Sonic is aware of his inability to swim, he is not afraid of the water as in Sonic Underground, merely he prefers to avoid it and the issue entirely.

Sonic to the Rescue

Chris Thorndyke is a very lonely rich boy, often left in the care of his housemaid Ella, Grandpa Chuck, and family butler/bodyguard Mr. Tanaka.  His parents are very rich and successful people (his father, Nelson, is the owner of a computer and housing business, while his mother, Linsey, is a popular actress), and are often away on business – though they communicate with him via telephone, bombard him with presents, visit whenever they can and for important dates (like his birthday in “Techno Teacher”), and are extremely overprotective of him.

Sonic cannot remember how or where he learned to talk and rejects Chris’s attempts to feed him conventional hedgehog food – he also bolts as soon as he grows bored, uncomfortable with being still and stuck in one place for long.  Station Square experts are baffled by Sonic but Grandpa Chuck is far more open-minded and accepting of their strange house guest.  Upon seeing Cream and Cheese in trouble, Sonic dashes off to save them with no idea where they are and with no plan, and is forced to rely on Chris and Chuck’s help to find and save them.  Sonic is unhappy with this to begin with but, by the end of the episode, grows to accept and appreciate their help, and their home.

Cream, constantly accompanied by Cheese, is very young, naïve, and scares easily.  She’s extremely polite and soft-spoken and has unwavering faith in Sonic.  Sonic seems to care for her as though she were his younger sister; she dislikes conflict and bad people and is the archetypal hostage, a true innocent, with little other appeal beyond her cuteness.  As with all of the other videogame characters featured in the series, this is strikingly similar to her videogame counterpart.  Sonic, understanding that, in the absence of her mother, Vanilla, he is responsible for her safety, recognises that he cannot afford to be too reckless in rescuing Cream and Cheese from Area 99.  Sonic constantly gives Cream encouragement – he never puts her down, blames her for anything, or makes her feel bad.

Tails, as in most videogames, arrives just in the nick of time to carry them all to safety in the Tornado, and helped Sonic with the rescue by covertly hacking Area 99’s security system.  Tails is older than all previous animated incarnations, in line with his counterpart’s age, and is extremely modest about his abilities and contributions, though Sonic also constantly supports and encourages him.  Tails quickly bonds with Chuck over their mutual interest in science and machinery.

Like Sonic, Eggman quickly adapts to his new environment, rebuilding his base into a heavily-armed fortress and beginning anew his plot to recover the Chaos Emerald and dominate both this new world and the entire universe.

Missile Wrist Rampage

Like his videogame counterpart, Eggman is a clown-like megalomaniac rather than a tyrannical dictator or a bumbling buffoon – he establishes a base, unlashes his robots, and makes a play for domination but does not rule the world.  Unlike Eggman’s regular robot army and his larger robots-of-the-week, Decoe and Bocoe are far more vocal and express a wide range of emotions.  Their unfaltering loyalty, cringe-worthy one-liners, and general bumbling nature make them the Scratch and Grounder of Sonic X.

Knuckles bares a grudge against Sonic and his reckless ways, disapproving of his lack of patience, focus, and responsibility.  A natural loner, Knuckles can be quiet rude at times, and prefers to operate by himself and not get involved in Sonic and Eggman’s battles.  However, his rough exterior hides a softer side, as he does, out of begrudging respect, friendship, or perhaps even from his innate sense of duty, care about the welfare of his allies and will assist them when he can, even while maintaining his gruff demeanour.  Despite this, he elects to go his own way by the episode’s end, and not join the group at Chris’s house.

While Sonic is content to explore his new world, Knuckles is extremely angry and unhappy at being stranded, blaming his predicament on Sonic’s reckless ways.  Due to his duty to guard the Master Emerald, he vows to return home to Angel Island no matter what and is the most vocal of the group about returning home.

Amy, in her animated debut, is, like her videogame counterpart, fiercely protective and loyal to Sonic; obsessed with him, she will always be the first to stand up for him and his actions no matter what.  Tails states that it is Sonic’s nature to find trouble because he “likes danger”.

Both Sonic and Eggman crave their mutual rivalry as the challenges they provide stave off boredom.  Eggman is imposing and formidable through his unmatched genius and the power of his mechs and robots, which are capable and destructive and rarely comical – his closest underlings are the primary exception, and later episodes prove even them to be quite sturdy and dangerous.  Eggman easily dominates Station Square’s defences and the human population, and his robots-of-the-week are generally powerful enough to resist attack, only being defeated by Sonic when he is powered by a Gold Ring or similar power source.  Eggman’s dominating persona cracks when faced with Sonic and his friends and his sheer desperation to eliminate them takes hold, causing him to act more maniacal and outlandish as his failure to eliminate them is a constant source of frustration to him.

Chaos Emerald Chaos

Like the Dragon Balls, the Chaos Emeralds scatter when gathered – locating them before Eggman becomes the groups primary goal as they hope to use their powers to return them all home.  The Chaos Emeralds have the power to drive whatever touches them wild with Chaos energy.

The President recognises Eggman as a threat but is also suspicious of Sonic and his friends.  Thus, he places his covert agent, Mr. Stewart, into Chris’s school to try and gauge their intentions.

Sonic is often depicted either exploring the world or napping, while Eggman is constantly unable to choose which robot-of-the-week he wants to uses and repeats the same slot-machine-selection process every time.  Despite having school friends, Chris’s “empty” life is filled by Sonic’s presence and he worships him, his friends, and their mission to the extent that he constantly throws himself into danger to help, often meaning that he needs to be rescued or causes more trouble through his interference.  Sonic, however, does not resent this; again, he only ever encourages Chris and his other friends and never blames them for things going wrong as he knows they mean well.

Tails has unwavering faith in Sonic’s ability to find the Chaos Emeralds, stemming, presumably, from past experiences and adventures, and from Tails’ unmatched hero worship of Sonic.  As always, Sonic is extremely impatient and critical of the slowness of others, but elects to “chill out” and wait for them to catch up, taking the opportunity to have a nap and relax, rather than stand around tapping his foot and berate his slower friends.

Cracking Knuckles

Knuckles’ frustrations and his yearning desire to return to the Master Emerald and Angel Island (here depicted as being exactly as it appears in Sonic Adventure) are easily manipulated by Eggman, who tricks Knuckles into believe he has amended his evil ways and that Sonic is keeping him from returning them all home.  Knuckles is very hot-headed and gets extremely angry at the suggestion that he and Sonic are friends, and is only too eager to beat some sense into Sonic.

Tails claims that the origins of the Chaos Emeralds are as convenient a mystery as everything else regarding Sonic and his world, as in the videogames.  Sonic and his friends are able to fool people by staying completely still and posing as stuffed animals.

Sonic elects not to pursue the next Chaos Emerald because he has already visited Silver Valley, where it is located, during one of his daily runs, earning Amy’s jealous wrath that he neglected to take her along.  During the fight with Knuckles, Sonic embarrasses himself by panic wildly when he lands in a shallow pool of water.

Eggman employs a Coconuts-like underling, the Messenger Robo Bokkun, to irritate his enemies and deliver explosive messages – Knuckles’s challenge shakes Sonic from his frustrating apathy and he races to meet him.  Sonic believes that Knuckles should relax and not take things so seriously, but is games as Knuckles is for a fight because he enjoys making fun of, and sparring with, his rival.  While Knuckles is quick on his feet, his strength lies in his lightning-fast punches and his sheer physical power.  Amy indicates that Sonic and Knuckles often clash because of their contrasting characters, personalities, and pride.  This same pride causes Knuckls to turn on Eggman when E-47 Pumpty interferes in the fight, forcing Knuckles to realise that Eggman has deceived him and team up with Sonic once again.

Although aware of Sonic’s weakness to water, Eggman is frustrated to see him innovate ways of avoiding it.  Although they bury the hatchet, Knuckles still opts to go his own way.

Techno-Teacher

Eggman’s weekly schemes fluctuate wildly, similar to his AoStH counterpart, between destructive and cartoonish – one week he wants to destroy station square, the next he opts to manipulate school kids into worshipping him!  The degree of personality his robots have reflects how likely they are to rebel against him – initially, Intelligente revels in the adoration that Chris and his friends give him and defies Eggman’s orders, but Eggman is able to regain control with a minimum of fuss.  Despite being rudely aloof for the entire episode, Sonic “comes to life” to find and rescue Chris when he is taken hostage by Intelligente.

Party Hardly

When Cream disobeys Chris to pick flowers, Tails and Amy correctly guess that she is homesick and misses her mother; eager to lift her spirits, Sonic races off to find her some pretty flowers (beginning Sonic’s strange obsession with flowers in this series).

Sam Speed’s personality is very similar to Sonic’s – he is a braggart who believes himself to be the fastest, and best, at everything he does and craves speed and excitement.  After numerous humorous attempts to keep Sonic and his friends a secret, they are at last discovered, allowing Ella to befriend Cream and fill her need for a mother figure.

Satellite Swindle

Eggman creates his robots by stealing machine parts (in this episode it is shown to be satellites).  Like the President, Eggman clearly knows where Sonic and his friends are hiding out as Bokkun regularly visits them to issue Eggman’s latest challenge, but he never attacks Chris’s home directly.

Although defeated by E-90 Super Sweeper, Sonic refuses to let himself, or Tails, give in to despair and encourages tails to rebuild the Tornado into the faster, larger, more powerful X-Tornado, an anime-inspired mech craft, with Chuck’s help.  The X-Tornado takes off from a runway similar to the anime, Sonic Adventure, and Thunderbirds (which the entire episode, and E-90 especially, appears to be a homage to).  Tails claims that Sonic “can take” the -50 conditions of the stratosphere, again presumably from previous adventures and his awareness that a Gold Ring will enable Sonic to survive.

The Last Resort

Amy encourages the group to go to the Emerald Coast Resort but Sonic chooses to stay behind because “[he] hates water [and] can’t swim”.  Sonic prefers to be around nature rather than water.  Amy longs for Sonic to join her on romantic dates, walks on the beach, and to teach Sonic how to swim to bring them closer together, and is quick to anger when this daydream is interrupted.  Inspired by a couple, she makes him a lucky charm (a seashell bracelet to protect him whilst he is in the water.

Eggman plans to demolish the resort and replace it with “Eggman’s Scream Park” in a similar vein to his videogame counterpart.  Despite his reservations, Sonic confronts Eggman, though Tails and Amy play a part in the ensuring battle – Amy is instrumental in saving Sonic from drowning and Tails provides him with a Gold Ring to defeat E-38 Octoron.

Amy goes ballistic when E-38 Octoron destroys her lucky charm, causing Eggman to flee in fear and earning Sonic’s respect at her fighting spirit.  Sonic is forced to swim out to rescue her from drowning, making himself ill but replacing her charm with a new one, showing that, while uncomfortable with her advances and her obsessive behaviour, he does truly care for her.

Unfair Ball

Sonic has no patience for eating etiquette or manners, as in previous incarnations, but is not shown to be a gannet.  Taking a cue from the Mario & Sonic videogames, Eggman challenges Sonic and his friends to a (rigged) baseball game for a Chaos Emerald.  Knuckles pulls a Piccolo and arrives out of nowhere to help, but only joins the team after they goad him into it by accusing him of being scared, once again easily manipulating his pride (this time for a positive cause).

Fly Spy

Rouge debuts, again depicted as a dubious jewel thief as in the videogames.  By this point, the government is convinced that Sonic can help deal with Eggman and enlist G.U.N. to capture him and enlist his help, but capture Rouge instead.  Self-centred and desiring the Chaos Emeralds, she is recruited by the President and paired with Topaz, beginning a love/hate friendly rivalry, to steal Eggman’s Chaos Emerald.

Beating Eggman (Part 1)

Sonic claims to have now seen everywhere on Earth that does not require him to swim to.  Knuckles is conducting his own search for the Chaos Emeralds as part of his characterisation as a treasure hunter and to contribute to their ongoing search.

As in the anime, the President sends an aide to request Sonic’s help in return for citizenship and even payment, but the government is just as happy to capture him and force him to co-operate.  Obviously, that is easier said than done, so the President is forced to rely on Rouge’s help in their assault on Eggman’s island base.

The Tornado-X undergoes its first transformation into the X-Cyclone mech.  Although Sonic X features many ongoing plot threads and storylines, this is the first two-parter of the series.

Beating Eggman (Part 2)

Although they try to fight off E-35 Funfun, Tails and Amy need Sonic and his Gold Ring to destroy it and recover the third Chaos Emerald, which Eggman immediately steals.

As with the old Tornado, Sonic is perfectly capable of standing and balancing on the X-Tornado despite its jet-like speed and manoeuvrability.  Unlike Snively, Decoe and Bocoe are so incompetent that, when left in charge, they accidentally fire upon Eggman!

Upon being seen battling Eggman, Sonic is publicly revealed and recognised as a hero.  Knuckles again denies being Sonic’s friend and is simply seeking to stop Eggman before Sonic in order to trump him; there is an implied familiarity between Knuckles and Rouge that is later contradicted in “Project Shadow”.

Using two Chaos Emeralds, Sonic is able to gain a semi-Super power boost to destroy E-18 Guerra-Hard.  The bombs placed by Rouge and Topaz also obliterate Eggman’s fortress.

That’s What Friends Are For

Feeling overshadowed by Sonic’s recent popularity, the President and his aide, Jerome Wise, plan to depict him as their close friend and ally, though Sonic is more concerned with spending time with the wheelchair-bound Helen and improving her self esteem than pleasing the government.

Neither the President or the press are impressed or much interested in the res of Sonic’s friends – Sonic is the national hero and all the stops are pulled to bring him in, much to his anger.  The government’s continued attempts to recruit him and their interference in his life frustrate him greatly; he does not like to be given orders or to be hounded

Sonic is said to travel at both 400 and 700 MPH, and is now capable of rowing a boat across a lake without any issue.  Sonic does not discriminate Helen just because she is disabled; he is a staunch defender of nature and beauty, as well as freedom, justice, and innocence.  Sonic is also a capable and adaptable pilot.

Skirmish in the Sky

Chris attempts to give Sonic a cell phone so he can be reached easier and whenever they need him, but Sonic rejects it as part of his free-spirit characterisation.  Sonic uses two Gold Rings to gain an even greater power boost.

Depths of Danger

Sonic, Tails, Amy are baffled by the documentation they need to live, fly, and travel on the planet, as they never needed such legal paraphernalia before.  Though he rejected the idea of a cell phone, Sonic is more enthusiastic about being able to travel wherever he likes with his passport (despite the fact that he already has, and can, without much difficulty).  Also, the government covers all of their expenses now, having set up a “Sonic Budget”.

Sonic is so popular and recognised that he is chased by fans like a celebrity; Amy, Tails, and Cream do not like the deluge of attention this brings them, and prefer a quieter life.  SSTV now provides daily reports about Sonic’s activities and everyday life, inadvertently allowing Eggman to learn of Sonic’s location.

Sonic is forced to use Chris’s air supply options to explore the bottom of the ocean for a Chaos Emerald; his trouble with water seems to have abated to a dislike, rather than a fear, though he needs Tails and Amy to help him dive and swim underwater and appears to get slightly claustrophobic, and achluophobic, when trapped in Chris’s “diving bell” (whilst underwater, they encounter a crab that resembles a Crabmeat).

The Adventures of Knuckles and Hawk

Knuckles continues his solo quest for the Chaos Emeralds in suitably dramatic “film noir” style; ever eager for a fight and quick to anger, he is nevertheless just as easily deceived by others seeking to manipulate him.  Interestingly, Knuckles regards his duties guarding the Master Emerald to be less of a burden and more a source of peace and happiness – the Master Emerald is his whole life, and he cares for it diligently.

Knuckles conveniently acquires the Shovel Claws, a power up that mysteriously found their way from his world to Earth, which greatly amplify his strength.  Although Knuckles defeats E-91 Lady Ninja, he does not appear to destroy it, indicating that even his vastly superior physical strength pales in comparison to Sonic’s Gold Ring spin.  In a depiction of the show’s recurring plots, the episode ends with a foreshadowing of the later Sonic Adventure adaptation arc.

The Dam Scam

Having crash-landed in a region that greatly resembles Africa, Tails is greatly reminded of their home world due to the wide, open, natural environment.  Environmental themes are finally explored in this episode, though Eggman is not the one seeking to destroy the nature preserve; Tails grows greatly concerned about the humans’ destruction of the natural environment, and tries to urge the wildlife to fight back against the construction crews.

Tails flashes back to his childhood, where bullies would break his inventions and make fun of him for his mechanical ability.  He comes across Sonic in a jungle, presumably on West Side Island, similar to the Sonic Adventure flashback, and chases after him, discovering the Tornado and upgrading it, painting it blue, to impress his newfound hero.  Sonic, at the time, claimed that he “could use a mechanic…and a friend”, implying that he has been lonely by himself, and the two began their friendship.  Due to those experiences, he feels the urge to stand up to oppressive bullies.

Sonic’s Scream Test

The Boo ghosts, and King Boom Boo, from Sonic Adventure 2 appear in this episode as Poltergeist-like mischievous spirits haunting an old castle; their appearance is controlled by the placement of n Hourglass Statue, similar to Sonic Adventure 2’s Hourglasses.  When King Boom Boo possesses Amy, she takes on a horrific, puppet-like appearance that is reminiscent of Puppet Tails.

Cruise Blues

The group decides to take a cruise vacation; trapped on a cruise ship, moving at incredibly slow speeds, and surrounded by water drives Sonic crazy – he literally begs Chris on his knees, with tears in his eyes, to be let off the ship and ends up going stir-crazy, prompting Amy to berate him for “being a crybaby” and yelling at him to be a hero and overcome the challenge rather than give in to it, but Sonic instead tries to come up with clever ways of leaving the ship.  Sonic is so desperate to escape that he plays up to his friends’ weaknesses and even tries leaping from the ship 15 times (how he returns to the ship when he cannot swim is not explained).  After tangling with Eggman, and learning from Mr. Tanaka’s senior citizens, Sonic calms down and resolves to relax and enjoy the trip.

Fast Friends

Interestingly, unlike “Sonic Racer” and “Winner Fakes All”, when challenged to a speed race by Sam, Sonic initially refuses, though it is not clear exactly why (presumably because of the government’s involvement.  In fact, the Jerome is so determined to have the race happen that he strikes a deal with Eggman; though Tails believes Sonic finally accepts because he “couldn’t resist the challenge”.

Their race through the city somewhat evokes Stardust Speedway though, once again, Eggman unleashes an original robot (E-45 Sumo-Man) instead of Metal Sonic.  Sonic is offered ham sandwiches and milk – no chilli dogs here!  Sonic beats Sam by unleashing his trademark “rubber-band legs”.

Little Chao Lost

While camping in Tanaka’s homeland (which greatly resembles Japan), the group stumble upon a Chao Garden, indicating that Chao apparently exist, in secret, on both worlds.  Eggman’s E-66 Da-Dai-Oh inadvertently threatens to pollute the Chao Garden, brining pollution back into Sonic; notably, Sonic mages to destroy it without a Gold Ring.

Emerald Anniversary

Tails expresses caution regarding haphazardly bringing the Chaos Emeralds together; Sonic contradictorily mentions that he has never been to Filmdom City.

The three new Chaos Emeralds cause a dangerous electromagnetic pulse.  Sonic and Knuckles are far more amicable to each other and work together, they even talk in tandem and Knuckles saves Sonic from E-74 Weazo.

How to Catch a Hedgehog

Sonic eats a hot dog, the closest he gets to a chilli dog in Sonic X.  Forced into an unstoppable run by a loose chip from E-88 Lightning Bird, Sonic manages a continuous super-speed run for most of the day before growing tired and literally falling asleep while running.

A Dastardly Deed

Chris is distraught and extremely upset at the thought of his new friends leaving as the race for the final Chaos Emerald heats up, even when he knows that their departure is inevitable.  Knuckles, desperate to return home, is convinced that a truce with Eggman is the only solution, which Eggman takes advantage of by manipulating Knuckles and Chris into bringing him the majority of the Chaos Emeralds.  This marks the first part of Sonic X’s second direct two-parter.

Countdown to Chaos

Knuckles seems to finally have learnt that Eggman cannot be trusted and is eager to make amends for his actions.  Eggman is extremely angry at the government’s theft of his technology to produce their own offensive robots and mechs.

Eggman transforms the Egg Fort II into E-99 Eggsterminator, the ultimate mech powered by six Chaos Emeralds, which easily overpowers Sonic.  Determined to save Chris, Sonic endures incredible punishment before Chris brings all seven Chaos Emeralds to Sonic, resulting in Super Sonic’s animated debut.

Empowered, Super Sonic is almost God-like, able to heal wounds (his own and others), move lightning fast, and disintegrate on contact.  Super Sonic also initiates Chaos Control but, instead of transporting everyone home, integrates various elements of Sonic’s world into Chris’s, allowing the Sonic Adventure adaptation to take place.

Pure Chaos

Beginning of the Sonic Adventure adaptation story arc.  Big returns, now on Earth, with Froggy, with them both re-enacting and embodying their portrayals from Sonic Adventure.

Six months after Chaos Control, Station Square is accepting the new status quo, though Sonic has disappeared to explore the changes to the world.  Eggman, now upgraded to the Egg Carrier, uses Flickies to power his E-100 Series robots, an idea that is heralded by himself, Decoe, and Bocoe as an ingenious breakthrough, thus indicating that Eggman has never used organic batteries prior to this).

While searching for Froggy, Big, Chris, and Cream are attacked by Chaos 0, whose rampage occurs just as Sonic returns to Station Square.  Sonic defeats Chaos 0 with his Gold Ring Spin Attack despite not holding a Gold Ring (he runs down a skyscraper to gain the necessary momentum, though later episodes feature him using the Spin Attack without a Gold Ring, indicating either that turning Super Sonic allowed him to more freely access the attack, or he can use it without a Gold Ring but prefers to use the two in conjunction to show off his speed, skill, and power).

Eggman feeds Chaos Chaos Emeralds to turn it into Chaos 1 and Chaos 2, which, even with Knuckles’s help, they’re barely able to defeat.
A Chaotic Day

For a change, Sonic says he would rather be out finding Eggman than “taking a coffee break”.  Knuckles recounts that the Master Emerald mysteriously shattered after a lightning storm, releasing Chaos 0, believing Eggman to be behind it.  Tails’ Mystic Ruins workshop somewhat resembles the huts from Knothole on the outside and the interior of his anime counterpart’s workshop rather than his comparatively small Sonic Adventure workshop.

Knuckles is able to seek out and control the Master Emerald pieces through unexplained, semi-mystical abilities (presumably stemming from his Guardian status).  Sonic is barely able to defeat Chaos 4 as Amy’s Sonic Adventure story begins, as exactly as it does in the videogame, except that the Flicky she protects is named “Lily”, rather than “Birdie”, she is captured a lot easier than in the videogame, and ZERO now has a voice.

Tails’ flashback is different than in Sonic Adventure, as he already flashbacked to his first meeting with Sonic in “The Dam Scam”; here, he recalls how Sonic learned to trust Tails to be his pilot, though both flashbacks emphasise that Sonic gives Tails confidence in his abilities.

A Robot Rebels

Guilt-ridden by his failure to protect the Master Emerald, Knuckles almost allows himself to give in to despair before vowing to restore the Master Emerald.  Chris berates Big’s inexplicable desire to fish despite Big’s assurances that it will help find Froggy in an interesting commentary on Big’s controversial Sonic Adventure gameplay.  Amy’s flashback differs from Sonic Adventure by omitting Metal Sonic.

The characters visit many of Sonic Adventure’s locations (Windy Valley, Casinopolis, Lost World, Sky Deck, Final Egg, Hot Shelter, and Speed Highway) but do not have to contend with their respective gameplay mechanics (see “Revenge of the Robot” for one exception_ – they either simply arrive there and reach their goal or battle either Chaos or Eggman, rather than having to traverse trap-and-robot-laden environments.  Knuckles also acquires the majority of the Master Emerald pieces off-screen/between episodes.

The X-Tornado transforms into a new Battle Armour mode to battle the Egg Carrier more directly, though it still lacks a landing gear.

Heads Up, Tails!

Tails uses his tails to fly for the first time; his role in the series is reduced to a mech-pilot and mechanic, requiring him to use his physical abilities a lot less than his predecessors.  E-102 Gamma’s blasts are significantly more powerful than his videogame counterpart’s, causing massive damage to the Egg Carrier.

While Knuckles’s search occurs off-screen, Chris’s efforts to reunite Big with Froggy eat into the screentime – he is further ingratiated into the plot when he is absorbed into Chaos 6 alongside Big and Froggy.  Knuckles, now sporting his Shovel Claw, teams up with Sonic to defeat Chaos 6, solidifying their newfound friend/partnership.

Revenge of the Robot

In recognising Eggman’s negative influence compared to Amy’s positive one, Gamma is able to override his programming.  Until this episode, only Knuckles received visions from Tikal; here, she teaches Sonic about Sonic Perfect Chaos.

Final Egg features substantially more obstacles and gameplay elements from its Sonic Adventure counterpart, being a hazardous, trap-laden base, though it is still comparatively easier for Sonic to reach the Egg Viper (which is also much easier for him to defeat in Sonic X) here than in the videogame.

Even Gamma’s confrontations with his E-100 “brothers” are simpler and faster than in Sonic Adventure; only the battle against E-101 Beta mk.II poses a challenge to him.

In the Japanese version of this episode, SSTV reporter Scarlet Garcia refers to Angel Island as the “Floating Island”, and is corrected by Cream.

Flood Fight

The final episode of the Sonic Adventure adaptation story arc, which establishes that Eggman’s usual plans for conquest have escalated into his desire to destroy Station Square.  While Perfect Chaos succeeds in this, it is beyond Eggman’s control and has turned against him, hence his personal interest in stopping its rampage.

Perfect Chaos, here realised as a far larger, Kaiju-like creature, obliterates Station Square exactly as it does in Sonic Adventure, though noticeably attempts are made to downplay the severity of its attack and the casualties caused.  Cheese, like the other Chao, is noticeably distraught by Perfect Chaos’s rampage.  Perfect Chaos exhibits more powers and attacks than in Sonic Adventure but is comparatively much easier for Super Sonic to defeat, though the same desperation surrounds Sonic’s transformation – even Knuckles and Eggman support Sonic with both the means and encouragement to transform.

Project Shadow

Beginning of the Sonic Adventure 2 adaptation story arc.  All of Station Square is busy rebuilding, repairing, and recuing Station Square following Perfect Chaos’s attack.  The government plans to bolster their Eggman-inspired robotic army by utilising Sonic Adventure 2’s GUN robots, officially forming GUN in Sonic X (though they are never vocally named as such).

This episode almost acts as a prequel to Sonic Adventure 2 as it fleshes out much of the videogame’s backstory and elaborates on certain events otherwise only hinted at, or briefly mentioned, in the videogame: Eggman hacks into GUN’s database and discovers that they are outclassing his technology using his grandfather’s research (learning that he is a native of this world), he also discovers his grandfather’s diary and the notes regarding “Project Shadow”.  The episode also shows how Rouge stole the Master Emerald and the circumstances leading to her being assigned to infiltrate Eggman’s operation.

Shadow’s chamber resembles something from Final Fantasy VII or Mega Man rather than this chamber he was held in in Sonic Adventure 2.

Shadow Knows

Perfect Chaos’s attack is stated to have yielded no casualties, which seems extremely unlikely.

Mistaken for Shadow, despite numerous CCTV footage clearly indicating that the two are different creatures, the government once again turns on Sonic despite all his previous heroic deeds.  As in Sonic Adventure 2, the stupidity that everyone, even Sonic’s friends, exhibits in mistaking Shadow for Sonic is laughable, at best.

Overwhelmed by Shadow’s surprising speed, strength, and Chaos powers, Sonic is soundly defeated and humbled.  Tanaka and Chris go undercover dressed almost identically to the Green Hornet and Kato

Sonic’s Big Break

Similar to Magneto’s cell in X2, Sonic’s cell is made more secure by being surrounded by water.  The much-implied alliance between Eggman, Rouge, and Shadow finally happens, though this is only natural in a Sonic Adventure 2 adaptation.  Unlike the videogame, Tails and Eggman do not ride their Mech Walkers, though the X-Tornado does assume its X-Cyclone Walker form during this arc.  Chris, rather than Amy, evokes Shadow’s memories of Maria, implicitly stating that Shadow regards him as a female.

Shadow World

Conveniently, every inhabitant makes it off of Prison Island safely.  In a welcome change from Sonic Adventure 2-Knuckles’ stupidity, Rouge steals the Master Emerald intact.  Shadow’s traumatic memories are cut in the dub to avoid showing Maria’s death.  Tanaka dons Bruce Lee’s iconic yellow jumpsuit.

Again, the characters have the endure little of Sonic Adventure 2’s gameplay mechanics as they visit the videogame’s locations, although Knuckles still has to find the pyramid base key – Sonic and the others acknowledge his reputation as a master treasure hunter and goad him into this task by questioning his ability.
 
 
Current Location: At home, in the study
Current Mood: Bit ill, honestly
Current Music: Five Finger Death Punch: Weight Beneath My Sin
 
 
 
SKSpawn
08 April 2015 @ 12:42 pm
As part of my PhD research, I watched every single episode of every cartoon and anime adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog, from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog to Sonic X.  Included on many of the DVD compliations were interviews with the cast and crew of each series, which provided some insight into the production process, and various online resources provided other enlightening videos that contributed to my research.

Included here are the notes I made on every episode pertaining to their adaptation of Sonic's gameplay elements, their portrayal of Sonic and his supporting characters and the various worlds in which they inhabit, and other interesting observations that all contributed to my understanding of the complex ways Sonic has been changed by the adaptation process.

Part Four: Sonic Underground

Director: Marc Boreal, Francois Hemmen, and Daniel Sarriet

Beginnings

Taking a page out of SatAM’s book, Sonic Underground opens with a rock song and a mini story, both of which set up the premise of the series, presumably due to how wildly different this series is to other iterations of Sonic, which necessitates that new viewers be suitably caught up with what the show is about.  Sonic and his siblings are presented as royalty, destined to bring down Robotnik’s reign of terror, and as “leaders of the freedom fight”.

The series is an alternative take on SatAM, with Mobotropolis once again being conquered by Doctor Robotnik, now known only as Robotnik.  Again, Robotnik uses gases from an airship to pollute the atmosphere and transform the city into Robotropolis.  Unlike most depictions of Robotnik, however, Underground’s Robotnik’s income and wealth – and ability to do this, comes from Mobius’ aristocracy, who were left untouched as long as they paid tribute to Robotnik.  The poorer classes, and any resistance, were summarily roboticized, though the Robians resemble cyborgs rather than mechanized beings.  Mobians are anthropomorphs again, though mostly appear and act a lot more like humans than before, wearing layers of cloths and living in houses, towns, and cities – especially the aristocracy, who dress and live like Victorians.  Other Mobians, however, are decidedly more obscure and AoStH-styled.

Robotnik utilises Sentinel-like SWATbots and robotic minions alongside non-roboticized underlings Sleet and Dingo.  Robotnik retains his SatAM design, with subtle differences: he now has two robotic arms, and speaks without a mechanised voice.  Robotropolis remains aesthetically similar to its SatAM counterpart, only is often depicted during the daytime, rather than constantly being shrouded in darkness.  Robotnik operates as much out of force and power as he does through political, social, and financial manipulations, being something of an amalgamation of AoStH and SatAM Robotnik in that he is a corrupt political figure as well as a maniacal dictator.  Robotnik allows Mobians to remain as they are as long as they swear allegiance to him, as SatAM Robotnik originally did before growing tired of the façade.  Robotnik is aware of the prophecy and is desperate to locate the three missing royal children and end their potential threat.  Interestingly, Robotnik has three fingers, but the siblings have four!

The Oracle of Delphius tells Queen Aleena a prophecy wherein her and her three children will unite as “the Council of Four” to overthrow Robotnik, but the children must be separated and given up until the time is right.  While Manic is accidentally raised on the streets as a thief and conman by the Fagin-like Ferrel and Sonia is raised by aristocracy, Sonic is left in the care of resistance members, potentially an intentional decision on Aleena’s part to have the three siblings experience three different levels of class and society.  After their families are roboticized, Sonic falls into the care of Uncle Chuck, who operates out of the same hidden bunker as his SatAM counterpart and fulfils much of the same role/fate.  Uncle Chuck’s relation to Sonic is somewhat vague in this series; he is known as an associate of Sonic’s adoptive parents, and is a key figure in the resistance, implying that Sonic’s adoptive parents were also resistance members.  He could have been a spiritual uncle, part of Aleena’s plan to integrate Sonic into a functioning resistance, or Sonic’s actual uncle, for the same reason and also meaning that Aleena would have left Sonic with his literal family.  The siblings’ father, the King, is never mentioned, though the original French opening song mentions that “the throne is kingless”

Sonic (once again referred to as “Sonic Hedgehog”) is raised by Uncle Chuck to be a freedom fighter and acts as Chuck’s point man in hit-and-run operations against Robotnik’s factories and forces.  Sonic is depicted as the “secret weapon” of the Freedom Fighters, whom he has also worked alongside (though they’re rarely seen, and when they are, they’re not as charismatic or memorable as SatAM’s), and is only discovered by Robotnik in this first episode after having plagued him for a year.  As a result, he is the only one of the three to be integrated into the freedom fight from the beginning, while the others must suffer the roboticization of their loved ones to take up the fight against Robotnik.  Sonic thus brings his siblings into the fight and the three tour Mobius as a freedom fighter cell, “Sonic Underground”, who hide behind the act of a travelling rock band.  Though they are later shown to have a headquarters located in Robotropolis, the Sonic Underground also spend a lot of their time travelling in their van, meaning the show has far more locations available to show the length and breadth of Robotnik’s influence, unlike SatAM, which was comparitvely limited in that regard.

Each episode features a particularly cheesy rock-inspired song performed by the Sonic Underground which generally summarises the episodes themes and message, or is used to advance the plot in some way.  Each sibling has a magical medallion that transforms into a weaponised musical instrument.  Sonic is the lead signer and front man of the band, playing the electric guitar; Manic plays concussive drums, and Sonia plays the keyboard.

For the first time, Sonic has an actual family cell beyond an Uncle: he has a mother and three siblings, but Tails is nowhere to be seen (though Manic’s sneakers resemble Tails’) – all three are voiced by Jaleel White.  Sonic remains about the same as before, though more wise-cracking and carefree than in SatAM as Robotnik’s threat is not as totalitarian as in that show.  His speed is potentially faster than both previous shows, given the sound and depiction of his speed.  His love for chilli dogs and sense of justice remain as strong as before.  Manic is street-wise, laidback, tech-savvy, usually the more innovative of the three, and often swipes things out of habit; and Sonia is the vegetarian, acrobatic diplomat – because she was raised as a Princess, she is able to converse and integrate with high society, though she is quite stuck up and spoilt as well (Sonia can enter a whirlwind “Sonia Spin” similar to Espio’s Spinning Top Spin and appears to be an amalgamation of Princess Sally and Amy Rose).

As in SatAM, videogame mechanics are very few and far between, perhaps even more so here: there are no Badniks of any kind and no Power Rings, though Chaos Emeralds and Knuckles do appear later.

Getting to Know You

Each episode opens with a narration by Queen Aleena, who usually sets up the premise of the episode or the message we’re going to learn.  Most episodes also involve the Sonic Underground either fleetingly encountering their mother or attempting to find her, though to no avail.  As they search for their mother, they encounter various trainers and mentors sent by the Oracle to help them harness the powers of their medallions, learn the measure of teamwork, and to hone their natural abilities.  This is an important lesson for Sonic, as, again, he has to learn to temper his impatience and reckless actions, though his siblings admire those qualities in him for they make him an effective and prominent freedom fighter.

Sleet and Dingo fulfil the standard need for Robotnik to have at least one lackey; they’re more like Scratch and Grounder in their stupidity, comedy relief, and near uselessness.  Sleet can be the more conniving, intelligent, and vindictive, while Dingo is the slower, stupider, but more physically challenging of the two.

Harmony or Something

Unlike Sonic and Sonia, Manic has no superhuman abilities beyond his abilities as a thief, pick-pocket, and innovation, yet is described as having the most powerful ability of them all in his ability to crack and shake the earth through the vibrations of his magical drums.

The aristocracy defer to Robotnik’s authority and call him “sir”, regarding him as their lord and master, and make regular financial contributions to Robotnik’s empire.  They do so out of fear of being roboticized, but are left unharmed unless they defy Robotnik, or Robotnik feels an example needs to be made of them.  Manic and Sonic state that the roboticization process is permanent, and no attempts are made to recover or restore their loved ones as it is regarded as a lost cause.

Robotnik regards all three hedgehogs as “Priority One” and regards them individually and collectively as the most significant threat to his regime, rather than simply focusing on Sonic alone and measuring others against him.

Wedding Bell Blues

Robotnik makes frequent public announcements of his activities; he dislikes music even more than his AoStH counterpart (largely because of the Sonic Underground’s music); he concocts a deception to marry Queen Aleena, which would legitimise his rule, to draw out the Sonic Underground; the siblings adopt lame disguises, like AoStH Sonic; Manic swipes priceless artefacts in order to raise money for the resistance, but is guilt-tripped by Sonia into returning them.

Sleet can control Dingo’s transformations with a remote control; exactly what Dingo is and how he transforms is not explained.  Although a cruel, uncompromising, and manipulative dictator, Robotnik has far more comedic or awkward moments than his SatAM counterpart, without being a complete clown like AoStH Robotnik.

To Catch a Queen

It is shown that the siblings’ medallions can temporarily override a Robians programming and restore their former personalities.  Manic uses a hoverboard similar to Extreme Gear (each of the siblings is adept with the same vehicle in later episodes, notably ‘Three Hedgehogs and a Baby’).

Sonic expresses disgust towards water, a negative reinforcement of the aquaphobia that he exhibits throughout this series.  Just being around water makes Sonic act out of character (snappy, aggressive, and nervous, lacking his usual confidence and cheek).  He’s so afraid of water that he doesn’t even like to touch it or be in its general vicinity.

Mobodoon

As he was not raised with a traditional family, Manic is tempted to stay in Mobodoon, the place where he/they were born, as it is the closest thing he has to a true home town.  By this point, Sleet has entered Robotnik’s employ full-time and has gone from being a bounty hunter to being Robotnik’s “tax collector extraordinaire”.  Mobodoon is powered by a Power Stone that greatly resembles a Chaos Emerald.

The Price of Freedom

Sonia rides a futuristic motorcycle similar to the ones used in Akira and the Sonic Riders videogames.  Sonia’s aristocratic upbringing has caused her to crave comfort and material possessions, meaning she often yearns for the safety and comfort of high society as opposed to life on the run as a rebel.

Underground Masquerade

Similar to Sonia having to learn that her world has changed, and that she has gained a true family and cause to fight for, in the previous episode, Manic is tempted back into his old ways when encountering a group of young pickpockets.  Manic struggles against his old ways throughout the series, and the temptation to abandon the freedom fight for a life of no cares and no responsibilities is very tempting for him.  However, when he is discovered to have stolen and is locked up, he is guilt-ridden at having let everybody down, and is forced to realise that there is another, better way to life now.  A similar predicament befalls her in The Last Resort, where she is tempted to leave the resistance to be with Stripes, though, again, her bond with her brothers, and to the freedom fight, overcome these temptations (it also helps that Stripes is revealed to have sold them out to Robotnik).

Tangled Webs

As with Sally in SatAM, Sonia chews Sonic out for his reckless ways and Sonic learns the value of putting together a coherent plan before simply rushing in without thinking.  Cyrus, a freedom fighter ally of Sonic, is being manipulated by Robotnik similar to Lando in The Empire Strikes Back.  Similar to Knothole, Sanctuary is a hidden location that Robotnik has no knowledge of, where the resistance hides the children from Robotnik’s wrath – Sanctuary even uses almost exactly the same backgrounds as Knothole!

The Deepest Fear

Sonic claims to not be afraid of anything, but is clearly deeply afraid of water – this episode forces him to confront that fear directly, personifying is fears through his nightmares of Moby Deep, a legendary sea monster, and his efforts to confront it.  Sonic Underground is the first time that Sonic’s inability to swim in the videogames becomes a crippling fear to his character – even OVA Sonic, though he couldn’t swim, was not depicted as being afraid of water.  Sonic is so afraid of water that he doesn’t even like crossing a bridge!  Sonic is forced to confront this fear directly to save Manic and Sonia while they’re out at sea, where it is shown that he cannot swim and that, coupled with “it’s wet [and] it’s deep” is his stated reason for being afraid of it.  Through facing his fear, Sonic is ultimately able to overcome it – though he still has an aversion to it and likes to avoid it whenever he can in future episodes, he is not crippled by fear.

Who Do You Think You Are

Tashistan resembles Egypt, obviously, and is modelled closely after Egyptian society, resembling Aladdin.  Because of the desert setting, it recalls Sandopolis Zone, and the aesthetic of the region also resembles Sonic and the Secret Rings.  Again, Sonic and Manic don ridiculous disguises to fool Sleet, and Sonic even asks Manic for his opinion on what would be the best disguise as Manic is the one who likes to adopt them.  Raphi is partially roboticized by the episode’s end, ending up with mechanical legs, similar to Bunnie.

Winner Fakes All

Like ‘Sonic Racer’, Robotnik draws out Sonic was a racing challenge that is clearly a trap.  Again, rather than use Metal Sonic, Robotnik utilises his Speed-Bot, and Sonic accepts the challenge to satisfy his own large ego despite being fully aware of it being a trap, and his siblings berating his decision.  Even though he dons an elaborate disguise, he realises that he cannot hide his natural, trademark speed, and decides to heed his siblings and not enter, actually using his head for once.  His siblings attend, however, assuming that Sonic has disguised himself and entered despite their protests, so Sonic is forced to run to their aid.

A Hedgehog’s Home is Her Castle

Sonic gains his anti-gravity sneakers from SatAM; Manic is shown to be fearful of the idea of ghosts/haunted houses.  Worst Castle houses a mirror that transports Sonia to a particularly chaotic and difficult-to-escape-from dimension, similar to Special Stages.  The siblings come the closest they will ever come to reuniting with their mother, as she briefly physically interacts with Manic.

Artifact

Robotnik raids the legendary lost city of Mobupinchu for priceless treasures, similar to his escapes in the videogames and his later attempts to invade the Floating Island.

Bug!

Sonia is revealed to have a fear of bugs, and to regard them with general disgust and hatred, while Manic’s general driving ability is a constant source for criticism from his siblings.  After being left behind by Sonic, Manic attempts to “go solo” as well, which results in him being enslaved by the sting of one of Robotnik’s Flybots (which somewhat resemble even smaller versions of Whisps).  Again, Robotnik is shown to have in his possession the ability to mind-control and enslave people, if only for a brief period, beyond simple roboticization.

Sonic Tonic

Similar to the old Speedemint Gum, Robotnik distils the essence of the rare “Velocitree” into a speed-enhancing liquid that bestows super speed to Sleet and Dingo, in a welcome change from the usual plot device of suppressing Sonic’s speed.  However, similarly, Sonic is somewhat overwhelmed by being out-ran and must work to out-think his opponents, rather than simply out-run them.

Sonia and Manic begin to despair of Sonic assuming that his super speed makes him the leader of the group, and plan to use the Sonic Tonic to put Sonic in his place.  Sonic is then painted as the voice of reason, given that he is more aware of the tonic’s side effects, though strangely uses the van to chase after them rather than his super speed.  This is probably the first time that Sonic realises his teasing of “slow-moes” has negative repercussions, something he is apologetic about (Sonic, in general, is much more humble in this series, and realises and owns up when he’s made a mistake or learnt a lesson).

Friend or Foe?

Very loose adaptation of Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles.  The siblings head to the Floating Island, following up on a rumour that Queen Aleena is there.  The island is hardly obscured and relatively easy to access, but is littered with traps and “fraught with danger”.  The siblings were warned by the Oracle to “beware the Echidna”, painting Knuckles as an aggressor.  Robotnik plots to have Sleet and Dingo turn Knuckles against the siblings and steal the Chaos Emerald, causing the island to crash to the ground.

Knuckles is finally introduced to Western animation.  He is known as the protector of the island and its Chaos Emerald, for being tough, and for his ability to lay traps and hunt others.  Knuckles is easily manipulated and tricked, as his videogame counterpart can be, and it doesn’t take much to convince him that the siblings are after his Chaos Emerald.  Knuckles is fiercely protective of his island and the Chaos Emerald, and offended by the implication that he is a lesser being – full of pride and duty, he is quick to anger and to aggression, and not prone to clam, level-headed thinking.

The Floating Island is much bigger than its SatAM counterpart, but still seems smaller than its videogame counterpart – few areas resemble the Zones of the videogame, though its overall appearance actually resembles its Sonic Adventure redesign and the Chaos Emerald resides in a chamber that greatly resembles the Hidden Palace Zone (the Chaos Emerald also greatly resembles a slightly smaller version of the Master Emerald).  Others live on the island, mostly wild dinosaurs and creatures.

Knuckles’ special attack is to whirl his arms/fists into blurs of energy that allow him to burrow through almost any substance with his super strength.  He is also a skilled acrobat and fighter.  Sonic and Knuckles are mutually antagonistic towards each other, while Sonia and Knuckles eventually develop a mutual, subdued attraction (Manic just wants everyone to get along).  Similar to Archie Knuckles with Sally, Knuckles knows Queen Aleena, who decreed that he would be one of the allies the three would make in their journey.

Head Games

Unlike the last two shows, Sonic (and his siblings) carry and use money quite frequently.  Sonic still can’t swim, so Manic has to help him swim to safety, though he is no longer deathly afraid of water, he still hates it!

When in Rome…

The medallions are intrinsically linked to the siblings’ abilities – without them, Sonic has no speed and Sonia has no acrobatic ability, meaning that Manic’s innovative methods become more important than ever and they must rely on each other, and their wits, rather than their weapons and powers.  The medallions’ power is also finite and, when drained, renders their weapons powerless.

The Jewel in the Crown

Manic takes on the tech-savvy abilities of Tails/Rotor, constructing small robots and other tools for the team.  As money is the backbone of Mobius, it is featured far more prominently than in its predecessors: Robotnik’s empire is funded by the aristocracy’s constant tax “tributes”, the Sonic Underground are often seen paying for things, and it is implied that Queen Aleena sold her jewellery to fund the resistance effort.  However, when Robotnik really wants something, he simply takes it by force, while the siblings refuse to steal, no matter how justifiable it may be (and despite Manic’s attempts to convince them of the “greater good” behind the theft of certain items).

Dunes Day

Manic mildly panics at the thought of being stranded in the desert, hinting that he has a fear of wild, open spaces and prefers the tight-knit alleyways and crowds of a bustling city.

As revealed late in SatAM, freedom fighter cells exist all over Mobius but are far from united; the Sonic Underground hopes to change this and bring about a united front against Robotnik.

Also similar to SatAM, Sonic is very trusting, especially of fellow Freedom Fighters, while Manic is much more suspicious.  Sonia generally falls in the middle, usually trusting aristocracy or anyone who proves themselves, even if they end up being deceitful.

It is shown that the roboticization process can malfunction, enabling Robians to retain their free will.

Mummy Dearest

Aman-Rapi, an Egyptian-styled descendant of Sonic, appears, similar to AoStH, and appears in murals similar to Sonic 3 & Knuckles/Sonic Adventure.  Sonic affirms his dislike for water but has learned to escape from it quickly before it can truly affect him.

Hedgehog in the Iron Mask

The siblings free what turns out to be a fake uncle, which would have expanded Sonic’s family even further, but he is merely an actor meant to create dissent within the siblings.  With the siblings thus in conflict and separated, they are depressingly easy to capture, with only Sonic mounting a decent, if ultimately useless, fight.

Six is a Crowd

As in SatAM season two, there is a decent amount of continuity in this series, and arcing plots: supporting characters like Cyrus constantly re-appear or are referred to, there are a couple of multi-part episodes, and concurrent plots run alongside the central aim of locating Queen Aleena.

The siblings are transported to an alternate version of Mobius, similar to Archie’s Moebius, where they are the tyrants and Robotnik is the resistance fighter.  Their doppelgängers embody the siblings’ worst attributes (sloth, greed, vanity) and are taught to change their selfish ways for the better by the influence of the good siblings.

Flying Fortress

Knuckles, the Floating Island, and the Chaos Emeralds, return for another three-parter.  Robotnik commands a huge flying battle-station, the Fortress of Altitude, which resembles a scaled-down version of the Death Egg, making this multi-parter another loose adaptation of elements of Sonic 3 & Knuckles.

As the Fortress is powered by a Chaos Emerald, rendering it practically indestructible, the Sonic Underground recruit Knuckles for his experience with Chaos Emeralds.  Although Knuckles is more sociable towards them this time around, he initially declines to help due to his duties, but is persuaded by a song revealing his symbiotic relationship to the wellbeing of Mobius.

Knuckles’ great-grandfather and mentor, Athair, instructs Knuckles not to leave or else the island will be doomed.  Though conflicted, Knuckles chooses to help his friends.  His aircraft resembles the X-Tornado/Tornado X-Attack Mode.  He also has a “Chao-meter” device to track and detect Chaos energy, and is powerful enough to plough through even the Fortresses hull.

No Hedgehog is an Island

Having stolen Robotnik’s Chaos Emerald, Sleet plans to use its power to rule Mobius, but is quickly betrayed by Dingo, continuing the tradition of Robotnik’s underlings secretly plotting against him for their own aspirations of world domination.

Knuckles’ relationship with Sonia is developed and expanded into a subtle mutual attraction; the Sonic Underground believe the Emeralds capable only of making things float, but Knuckles knows that their power is virtually limitless and potentially destructive if left unchecked.

The broken Emerald’s power threatens to destroy Mobius, as in Sonic Chaos and Sonic Unleashed, leading to Robotnik begrudgingly assisting in safeguarding the planet.  Knuckles leads the siblings to Athair for his advice, and he encourages this alliance.  Not one to disobey his elder and mentor, and being slightly gullible, Knuckles chooses to spearhead the alliance by himself.

New Echidna in Town

The price for this alliance is Knuckles capturing the siblings, despite his personal feelings.  Guilt ridden, Knuckles successfully deceives his friends for the good of Mobius but is unable to see Sonia roboticized and turns against Robotnik.

Characters refer to “Chaos” as the destructor of Mobius, more than similar to Sonic Adventure.  The Emerald transforms and mutates Dingo into a mindless, unstoppable beast, like Perfect Chaos, whose power is great enough to shatter both the earth and Manic’s drum kit!  Sonic manages to manipulate Robotnik into helping them stop Chaos-Dingo’s rampage.

Knuckles dislikes the Sonic Underground’s music almost as much as Robotnik, and returns to his life of solitude after saving the planet, parting on friendly terms.

Healer

When Titus claims to have invented a de-roboticizer, Robotnik and the siblings are individually compelled to investigate further – Sonia out of her desire to de-roboticize Lady Windimire, Robotnik to destroy the machine, as such technology is supposed to be impossible.

Titus later even claims that his machine can immunise against roboticization, but wants payment for his services.  Unfortunately for Sonia, and Titus, the machine is an elaborate hoax – Robotnik subsequently blackmails Titus into roboticizing the siblings, but he ultimately sacrifices himself to spare Sonia out of guilt.

Sonia’s Choice

One of the hedgehog’s family treasures resembles a red emerald-cut Chaos Emerald.  Mega Muck is dispersed into the sewers to slow Sonic down for capture.  Queen Aleena physically intervenes in order to save Manic from robotization.

The Big Melt

Like his anime counterpart, Sonic prefers sunbathing to Manic’s body-boarding – he enjoys his down-time and the opportunity to relax and take a vacation. This Sonic does not seem to be impatient for action and adventure; indeed, his impatience seems more focussed towards people being slow rather than a lack of action, though how he would react to peace time is not explored.

Robotnik’s destructive ways extend to global warming in this series, as his usual war against nature is downplayed in favour of financial plundering and the acquisition of ancient artefacts.

Sleepers

Manic has a tendency to be captured or brainwashed a lot – he’s definitely the “Tails” of the group.

Bartleby the Prisoner

Strangely, after his plan to frame Bartleby and lure out the siblings is thwarted, Robotnik publicly declares Bartleby’s innocence to ensure his continued financial support, rather than simply take everything Bartleby has by force and roboticize him.

The Art of Destruction

Artificial Robot Thought Technology (A.R.T.T.) resembles D.U.F.U.S. (Design Unit Flexible Underling Substitute) from ‘Robotnik’s Rival’ in its ability to think logically and adapt to each new situation, something a few of Robotnik’s machines and creations did in Archie (E.V.E. and A.D.A.M) and Metal Sonic does in Sonic Heroes.

Replaced by A.R.T.T., Sleet and Dingo are placed on sanitation duty, like Coconuts.  A.R.T.T. is too smart for its own good, and is inspired by the Sonic Underground’s music to rebel against Robotnik, as Gamma and Omega did.

Manic, having grown frustrated with the apparent lack of progress and the seemingly pointless cycle of battle against Robotnik, begins to despair of the resistance effort.  A.R.T.T.’s self-sacrifice teaches Manic that each small victory is worth the effort and that they must learn from every battle to become stronger and smarter, until the final victory is won.

Virtual Danger

The series ends with no resolution to its overall plot, but at least it doesn’t end on a literal cliff-hanger!

Developing the Underground Director: Brian Ward

DiC Executive Producer Robby London:

“I also wrote the title song, which was an accomplishment of particular pride for me”.

“We felt we needed a new, completely new, approach and we really got the idea of wanting to incorporate music and making it sort of a music-driven show, which we had not done with the first two Sonic series’.  So we concocted this idea of the band and of Sonic Underground”.

“I think the one [show] that influenced us the most was Alvin and the Chipmunks, which we had produced for a while, and was a hugely, hugely successful show, and had a song in every show.  And, while the tone was different […] we still thought […] ‘why not take this formula of a song and the fact that the stars are a band, and make it a little darker, and a little more rock-orientated!’”

“…the germ of the idea would often come from [Executive Producer] Andy [Heyward.]  the idea of doing a Sonic series with a band and doing music may have come from Andy […] And then we’d all get together and just throw around ideas for an origin story, and what the lore would be, what the backstory, who the characters would be, how we’re gonna structure it […] Oftentimes Phil Harnage would go off and write […] what we call a “series bible”, which is a very exhaustive document kind of describing all the characters, the tone of the series – it’s basically an instruction manual to writers…”

“The title Sonic Underground we really liked a lot because it sort of conjured up, like, the Velvet Underground or it had the feeling of a band and it had kind of a double meaning that also fit, very much, the plot of the story and, sort of, the overall, what we would call the ‘series franchise’, which simply means the story the series was about – the characters having to be, literally, the underground.  But at the same time, it really sounded like a band name, too.”

“It think it was Andy Heyward that got the idea to use Jaleel; he was huge as Urkel during this time […] a big, big star at ABC and we knew we were going to pitch the show to ABC […] and we thought the idea of packaging Jaleel in that would make it more appealing, and certainly it was.  The wonderful thing was, Jaleel turned out to be an antithesis of what I describe as ‘celebrities whose voices don’t carry’ – he was a fantastic voice actor, his voice was wonderful,  but more than that he was just personally a gem to work with […] but he wasn’t really a singer, so we had to find a way to sort of transition that […] which is done very commonly […] especially in animation…”

“When you’re producing a series such as Sonic Underground, you never really know how many seasons you’re gonna get […] It’s very rare in animation for you to end something because you don’t know if you’re going to order more or do more […] you’re sort of cutting off your own nose if you write an ending on episode 26 and then a miracle happens and somebody wants another 26 – you’ve ended it!  So there was never really any thought given to writing, sort of, a finale episode.  I’m hard pressed to think of any animated series where they’ve had […] a finale that way because of the production situation.”

“I really loved all three of the Sonic series’ […] they were amongst my favourite series’ […] But I have a particular affinity for Sonic Underground simply because of the song”.

Giving Sega the Finger

“Well, Sonic The Hedgehog was, of course, SEGA’s flagship character […] their whole business at that time was all driven by Sonic The Hedgehog, so it was extremely important to them.  And fortunately, at DiC, we had a history of dealing with outside rights holders and their flagship characters […] and Sega was no different – they were extremely protective of their character and their franchise, and so they took an active role […] in, certainly, the approvals process […] they didn’t really generate material, but they absolutely looked at what we did and were very concerned about it, very active in looking everything over, and making sure they were comfortable that we were respecting the character and not doing anything at all to […] harm their franchise”.

“When we started getting footage back, and SEGA looked at the footage, they suddenly noticed that we had done a very common trick [in animation:] cut down the number of fingers […] just to save the pencil mileage, because most people don’t notice […] SEGA, being a Japanese company, unbeknownst to us, this issue of the missing finger was a big issue because [of the Japanese mafia] and when the President of SEGA in Japan saw out footage […] he said, ‘no, gotta have four fingers!’ […] I think we had to go back and add an extra finger on the hand”.

Songs of the Underground

Original Songs/Music Mike Piccirillo:

“[They would] storyboard around my songs […] the writers usually said in the script [that] the song should say something about […] whatever the lesson was, whatever the moral was…”

He was given a great deal of artistic freedom to compose, arrange, and incorporate a range of musical styles and sounds.

Robby London Answers the Big Questions

“…Sean Connery did not do any voice in any DiC series ever…”

“We needed the Queen, of course […] but we just never really gave thought to […] who Sonic’s father is […] I’m sure it’s some tragic tale,”
 
 
Current Location: At home, in the study
Current Mood: Bit ill, honestly
Current Music: Five Finger Death Punch: My Heart Lied
 
 
SKSpawn
08 April 2015 @ 12:40 pm
As part of my PhD research, I watched every single episode of every cartoon and anime adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog, from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog to Sonic X.  Included on many of the DVD compliations were interviews with the cast and crew of each series, which provided some insight into the production process, and various online resources provided other enlightening videos that contributed to my research.

Included here are the notes I made on every episode pertaining to their adaptation of Sonic's gameplay elements, their portrayal of Sonic and his supporting characters and the various worlds in which they inhabit, and other interesting observations that all contributed to my understanding of the complex ways Sonic has been changed by the adaptation process.

Part Two: Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie

Director: Kazunori Ikegami

A very loose adaptation of Sonic CD in the style of Sonic CD’s anime sequences, Mobius becomes “Planet Freedom”, a seemingly post-apocalyptic Earth (similar to what Archie comics did) where Robotnik dwells in the ruins of what appears to be New York City (the “Land of Darkness”) and Sonic and Tails live on South Island, part of the “Land of the Sky”.

Sonic enjoys relaxing, sunbathing, rock music, is extremely laid back, and has a very short temper, yet often scolds Tails (and Knuckles) for being complacent in the face of danger.  Sonic prefers to wait until the last possible minute to act, acts aloof, selfish, and disinterested, and needs to be encouraged to act by others (Tails, the President, Sara).

Tails is determined and smart, though young, and although he’s capable and heroic he still needs Sonic’s help in a pinch.  Tails is afraid of lighting and tires from flying, but smart enough to have built various gadgets, machines, to fly the Tornado, and to act as Sonic’s mechanic – even Robotnik respects Tails’ intelligence and understanding of machinery.  Although “neither one of [them] can swim”, they aren’t afraid of water, and Tails even body-boards over water.

Original characters pepper the story: Sonic and Tails are aided by Old Man Owl, an absentminded messenger/aide, and called up by the President whenever Planet Freedom requires their heroic deeds.  Videogame influences are numerous, compared to its predecessors (Robotropolis resembles Knuckles' Chaotix’s New Tek City, springs actually appear, classic Badniks appear), and also seem to have inspired further Sonic videogames (the Tornado take-off scene and Ancient Ruins seem to appear in Sonic Adventure, the technologically-advanced setting is used again in Sonic Riders, Egg Pawns seem to be based on Robotnik’s robots in this anime).

Sonic and Tails move so fast that they appear as blurs, like in Dragonball.  Sonic completely distrusts Robotnik, and appears to be the only one smart enough to constantly except a trap.

Even this noticeably Japanese adaptation of Sonic changes many of Sonic’s elements, despite appearing and “feeling” a lot closer to the videogames.  Knuckles is portrayed as a flying, free-roaming, treasure-hunting “mole”, “Sonic’s best friend”, whose usual duties are ignored.  Knuckles is arguably more carefree and inhibited than Sonic, who is at the beck-and-call of the President.

Although rotten and mean-spirited, Robotnik is far more clown-like, mischievous, and slightly gentlemanly despite his cruel intentions for Sonic – he wishes to marry Sara rather than cause her harm, and seems concerned for her welfare at various times.  This Robotnik is very close to the original depiction of the videogame character, as are Sonic and Tails (their duty to the President seems more like a necessary plot device, or a literal interpretation of Sonic’s love of freedom).

Like AoStH, Robotnik’s robots/weapons are quirky and unreliable though, thankfully, quieter!  Metal is truly his greatest creation, and even that is flawed!  Robotnik’s robots and Badniks don’t have animal captives, as usual in animation.

Sonic has never been to the Land of Darkness, or Robotropolis, before this anime, indicating that Robotnik really did “live [there] peacefully” and that, presumably, his machines attacked the Land of the Sky/South Island in waves/sorties rather than in a full-scale invasion.

Metal Robotnik resembles the Death Egg Robo in some respects, being a giant Robotnik-shaped mech.  Robotnik is smart enough to not be decided by Sonic’s tricks, unlike his AoStH counterpart,

Sonic and Knuckles have a friendly rivalry, based on mutual respect and lacking any real malice, and are equals in terms of skill (yet the President has no idea who Knuckles is, presumably due to Knuckles’ free-roaming nature), while Sonic and Tails have their traditional “brotherly” relationship.  Robotropolis resembles the SatAM Robotropolis, Metropolis, and Scrap Brain Zone.

In a twist, Hyper Metal Sonic absorbs Sonic’s “life data”, enabling him to copy, counter, and predict Sonic’s actions in a strange adaptation of roboticization.  Metal comes to evolve, taking on aspects of Sonic’s personality, which is further enhanced by Tails’ reprogramming, leading to Metal’s sacrifice for the planet’s safety.

Planet Freedom has a strange, dangerous, unstable ecosystem held in place by a delicate balance maintained by a giant glacier.  This delicate system is similar to how easily Eggman damages or cracks the planet in various Sonic videogames (Sonic Chaos, Sonic Unleashed).

Although clearly the best at everything he does, Sonic is fallible and has clearly met his match in Metal Sonic, requiring the help of his friends to prevail, despite originally wishing to face Metal alone.



Part Three: Sonic The Hedgehog (SatAM)

Heads or Tails Director: John Grusd

Like AoStH, we are dropped right into the middle of a story with very little relation to the videogames.  The intro gives a brief summary and indication as to how Robotnik took control of Mobius and of the show’s general premise: Robotnik controls the planet, having roboticized almost the entire population, and Sonic and a handful of Freedom Fighters are committed to opposing him.

The Freedom Fighters are a lot like Robin Hood’s Merry Men, being a small group of individuals that take on covert missions against Robotnik.  They hide out in Knothole, hidden deep within the Great Forest, and are forced to steal minor victories from Robotnik at every opportunity they get, unable to truly bring his empire down with one decisive blow.  There are noticeable aesthetic differences in the pilot to other episodes (many characters have different colour schemes or slightly different appearances, such as SWATbots, Rotor, Sally, Robotnik’s Spybots, the various vehicles featured, and Bunnie.  NICOLE is a full-sized computer rather than a hand-held, and Robotropolis is called “the Big City”).

Only Sonic, Tails, and Robotnik appear from the videogames, with numerous original characters rounding out the supporting cast, however, unlike AoStH, they are at least anthropomorphic characters and mostly similar to the animal captives of the videogames.  Sally Acorn, here a Princess, is perhaps the most well-known, as this was the original name of Ricky – she dislikes being referred to as “Princess”, stating that Mother Nature is the only true authority.  Sally despairs of Sonic’s childish antics and it is hinted that he prefers showboating and heroics to practical help and chores.  The only human characters in the series are Robotnik (initially frequently hinted to be a robot) and Snively, though this is never elaborated upon.

The series most directly adapts Sonic’s anti-pollution message, which was more subtle in the videogames.  Here, the depiction of nature against mankind’s pollution and violent nature is extremely explicit, with Knothole being almost entirely free of conventional machinery and utilises more farm-based, organic solutions, and Robotropolis being entirely mechanical from the ground up.  While a far more vicious depiction of Buzz Bombers do appear in this pilot, no classic Badniks ever really appear; Robotnik instead has an army of various SWATbots acting as his attack force, and has roboticized almost the entire planet into worker ‘Bots.  Robotnik’s machines are never referred to as “Badniks”, just SWATbots or simply “’Bots”, and again there’s a difference between ‘Bots and the roboticized Mobians, who are worker slaves.

Sonic is mostly the same as his AoStH counterpart, only seems slightly older and a bit more mature in that he recognises the magnitude of Robotnik’s threat and the seriousness of their situation, however he doesn’t let it get him down.  Sonic is optimistic, cheeky, cocky, brave, extremely impatient, and often likes to act alone – he will often leave his team or the group, speed ahead and tackle a problem head-on, not just to be a showman but also to protect his team mates.  Sonic produces a sonic boom whenever he runs, usually followed by a strong gust of wind; he states that he is the only one who can use the Power Rings and that Uncle Chuck invented them for him to fight evil despots.

Sonic overcomes the usual “4th dimensional pockets” by often carrying a handy 4th dimensional backpack, has strong feelings for Sally, views Tails as his kid brother and protégé, and takes his position as “Hedgehog: Priority One” very seriously and as a badge of honour in the war against Robotnik.  Sonic acts on impulses without thinking beyond the safety of others or the short term, leading him to sometimes miss obvious traps.  Sonic is once again proficient with the electric guitar.

Tails is still very young, though even less adept than his AoStH counterpart as he is a Freedom Fighter in training.  He acts more innocent and child-like and is reliant upon others and often disregarded because of his age, though Sonic constantly encourages him when they’re together (which is rare in this series).  Tails’ mechanical expertise is assumed by Rotor, rendering Tails as the consummate protégé.  Tails wears sneakers that have a colour scheme that is the reverse of Sonic’s.

Robotnik is now part-machine and far more menacing, and successful, than both his AoStH and videogame counterpart – he’s rarely a clown or childlike, has already conquered the planet, and rules with an iron fist.  He is a cold, calculating sociopath, able to be eloquent and polite but turning on a dime to be a ruthless and merciless dictator.  He views everyone as inferior underlings and desires the secret of the Power Rings and complete domination of Mobius – as long as that small pocket of resistance exists, he cannot be satisfied.  He returns to Mobius in this episode, presumably from some off-world venture (his pilot states his return to “Planet Mobius”, rather than “Robotropolis”, indicating that he went off-world).  He shows concern and affection only for Cluck.

Each of the Freedom Fighters are unique, having distinct appearances and personalities, even if they fall into cliché character stereotypes (“the coward”, “the genius”, “the strong one”, etc).  as the series progresses, they gain more layers and become deeper characters, evolving as the series grows darker and the situation becomes more dire.

References to our world are practically non-existent this time around, Mobius uses its own date and time system, and references to the videogames are equally minimal – elements that are adapted are done so freely and to conform to this darker context.  For example, Sonic uses Power Rings for a burst of super speed/energy, enabling him to perform brief superheroic actions.  They can power other machines, too, and as such Robotnik desires them, making them amalgamations of Gold Rings and the Chaos Emeralds.  Power Rings are generated once every 12 hours from a mysterious lake grotto in Knothole.

Uncle Chuck and Muttski appear for the first time (Uncle Chuck’s roboticized form slightly resembles an amalgamation of Silver- and Mecha Sonic).  Muttski gives the first indication that Robians can overcome Robotnik’s programming through emotional attachments, though only for a very brief period.  Robotnik’s Sonic-Seeking Missile is similar to Doomsday Zone’s homing missiles, but takes on a wacky personality reminiscent of AoStH’s approach (Sonic calls the missile “Needlenose”).  The Buzz Bombers, though redesigned to appear more fearsome and dangerous than their videogame counterparts, also hark back to AoStH in their more comedic depictions.

Sonic Past Cool Director: Dick Sebast

Tails mentions that he missies his mother, indicating that he knew or was raised by his family before Robotnik’s coup and is not an ignorant orphan.  Robotnik has roboticized every Mobian species but the Freedom Fighters, Terapods, and dragons (Dulcy, introduced in ‘Game Guy’, is one of the few dragons left on Mobius).

Despite the fact that Tails flies in ‘Heads or Tails’, he doesn’t think to do so in this episode when Sonic’s life is in danger.

Sub-Sonic

Robotnik is obsessed with mining and obtaining all of Mobius’ natural minerals and power sources (in this case, oil) to power his machines of war.  His destructive ways have adversely affected the environment, polluting the natural ecosystem and killing wildlife.

Sonic uses his electric guitar again, and is a capable water-skier.  Rotor is given focus in this episode, struggling with his stereotype as a “nerdy handyman” and, similar to AoStH Tails, aspiring to be a hero like Sonic.  This episode gives Rotor the heroic spotlight and allows him to reconcile these issues and accept where his true talents lie.  The “pollution pit” renders Sonic’s speed useless, though where it’s because of the pollution or simply the vines holding him in place is not specified.  The Kraken mentions that Robotnik’s pollution has killed all of his people.

Warp Sonic

At the bottom of the Power Ring grotto is a Power Ring generator; the Rings are spawned from a golden “Power Rock/Stone” and formed by the machine.

Sonic demonstrates an ability to dive and swim with no issues.

Sonic and Sally

Robotnik’s heavily industrialised Robotropolis is an adaptation is Scrap Brain/Metropolis.  The SWATbots have far less personality than their AoStH counterparts, though they do occasionally have some personality (laughing or acting out of character), and so they are far more efficient, but no less useless, yet are still treated as a threat even when Sonic is mocking them – the Freedom Fighters are usually forced to surrender when a group of SWATbots corners them or has them at blaster-point.

Obsessed with learning Knothole’s location to get the Power Rings and eradicate the Freedom Fighters, Robotnik strangely chooses to send a Robo-Sally duplicate (that possesses her life date, like Metal Sonic) to draw out Sonic rather than immediately roboticize her.

Similar to AoStH, Sonic tricks the SWATbots by mimicking Robotnik’s voice, though this type of tomfoolery is rare in SatAM.  Sonic is a self-proclaimed and heralded hero of the free peoples of Mobius and the small resistance, making his exploits more of a legend amongst outsiders.

Sonic gets stuck in his tracks by Mega Muck, retains super speed and super fast reactions, but doesn’t take this to AoStH’s extremes – no “super fast eyes”.  Sonic’s name appears to literally be “Sonic Hedgehog”.

Ultra Sonic

Robotnik’s chief flunky is Snively, his conniving nephew, who is actually fairly competent at times and has his own dark aspirations of ruling Mobius.  He grows to resent his Uncle, and showcases droll wit and feigns unwavering loyalty to Robotnik.  Snively is often placed in charge of Robotnik’s forces, sub-bases, and is the 24/7 director of operations in Robotropolis and beyond, reporting directly to Robotnik.

Sonic’s ability to be innovative in dire situations is matched by his ego and recklessness, which is constantly reprimanded by Sally, despite his ability to deliver.  Sonic has a family in SatAM, Uncle Chuck, who was roboticized by Robotnik, making Sonic’s campaign against robot as personal as Sally’s (Robotnik is responsible for the disappearance, and at this point implied death, of her father).  This, coupled with Sonic’s guilt and sense of responsibility for his friends and those he couldn’t save, gives Sonic emotional depth unseen before or since as such portrayals of emotional “weakness” have recently been removed from all portrayals of Sonic.

Uncle Chuck invented the Power Rings, which is never elaborated on in the series, and they remain more magical in nature.  Robotnik attempts to mine a gigantic crystal to power his facilities, similar to the Master Emerald.

Sonic Racer

Channelling AoStH, Snively convinces Robotnik to stage a race to lure Sonic out, appealing to his inflated ego.  Sonic enters, aware of the trap, determined to distract Robotnik from the Freedom Fighters’ sabotage mission, wearing a lame hooded disguise similar to Robin Hood in that archery contest.

Despite being a perfect opportunity to debut Metal Sonic, Sonic instead races against a leopard-like robot.  The race through Robotropolis, littered with traps, somewhat resembles Stardust Speedway in essence.  Robotnik has cybernetic eyes with infrared vision.

Hooked on Sonics

Robotnik’s Sonic Sensor locks on to Sonic’s speed and attacks him, suppressing his skills and forcing him to rely on his other abilities – walking seems to tire Sonic out more than running does!  As in AoStH, Sonic thrives on the adoration of his peers for his heroics, particularly Sally’s – his passionate kiss to her indicates he has deep feelings only for her, rather than any cute girl that comes along.

As in AoStH, Tails is disgusted by the idea of girls and kissing, while Antoine’s jealousy takes central stage over his usual cowardice.  Robotnik wears jet boots, or perhaps has cybernetic feet, and fires a laser from his robotic fingertip.

Harmonic Sonic

In a very loose adaptation of Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Robotnik launches his Sky Spy satellite into orbit to detect the Freedom Fighters, like the Death Egg.  The Freedom Fighters live in little huts in Knothole, with Rotor having a mechanical workshop resembling Tails’ workshop from Sonic Adventure.

Sonic and Rotor use a rocket to fly into space to take out Sky Spy, which is also polluting the atmosphere.  Strangely/conveniently, Sky Spy has artificial gravity and atmosphere, despite being automated, and houses a makeshift “town” for the robot workers, which resembles the Mos Eisley Cantina.  AoStH-style robots populate the town; they have more personality than the usual SWATbots, and as such are easily fooled by Sonic’s lame disguise.

Sonic’s Nightmare

Sonic is haunted by a nightmare of Sally’s roboticization and once again must try to use his brains, rather than just relying on pure speed to solve his problems.  Robotnik’s plan involves highly toxic rain in another message against pollution.

Nimbus Island resembles Chemical Plant/Oil Ocean Zone, the Cloud Buster resembles Sky Base, and the Freedom Fighters are held captive in a similar fashion to the videogame’s Capsule prisons.

Sonic jumps heedlessly into water without fear, though he leaps right back out again before swimming or drowning – Antoine claims that it is he who cannot swim!  Sonic becomes uncharacteristically frozen with fear when his nightmare haunts him with the possibility of failing his loved ones.  He overcomes it and actually makes a plan to bring down the Cloud Buster and seemingly kill Robotnik (Robotnik actually fakes his death).  Sonic drills into the ground like his Yellow Drill Wisp power-up, an effort that leaves him breathless.

Sonic Boom

Sonic’s makes a point to strike back at Robotnik whenever a fellow Freedom Fighter is roboticized, feeling responsible for Cat’s fate and having been unable to save him, much like his personal motivations against Robotnik for roboticizing Uncle Chuck.

Super Sonic

In the struggle for Lazaar’s magic computer in the “Forbidden Zone”, Sonic is once again forced to use his head and wits when Lazaar’s magic suppresses his speed.

Science and magic co-exist in SatAM, with Lazaar the first indication, through his “technomagic”, of the threat later posed by Naugus.  Lazaar was also once as evil as Robotnik, but now wishes to atone for his past.  Robotnik is described as having a “metallic heart”.

Sonic and the Secret Scrolls

The Tornado becomes the Freedom Stormer, a more conventional aircraft, though Sonic has doubts about its reliability.  Though he can be stubborn and childish, Sonic can also be the voice of reason and caution when his instincts disagree with Sally’s plans, and he will voice his objections tenaciously.

This episode marks the first time the Freedom Fighters travel to an obscure, hidden place in search of an ancient, hidden artefact that could aid their cause – “Maga” even resembles Angel Island.  Also, this is the second time Robotnik is presumed dead.

Game Guy Dir: John Myrick

Start of season two.  Snively’s snide remarks, muttered insults, and sarcastic insubordination towards Robotnik begin to become more prominent and noticeable.  The Power Rings also become far more elaborate and flashy.  Tails now wears the right sneakers; Dulcy debuts; Rotor, Sally, and the SWATbots get aesthetic overhauls.

Season two also introduces overarching plot devices: the construction and perfection of the de-roboticizer, the Void (a loose adaptation of the Special Stages, debuting here) and the growing search for the King, Snively’s growing insubordination and aspirations for power, the Deep Power Stones, other freedom fighter cells, and the Doomsday Project.

Very loose adaptation of Sonic Spinball: the Fortress resembles the Sandopolis Zone pyramid, hiding a metallic variant of what is essentially the Veg-O-Fortress; Robotnik traps Sonic in a giant pinball machine.

Sonic Conversion

Sonic’s impatience to restore Uncle Chuck breaks when it seems the Freedom Fighters’ de-roboticizer works, putting everyone in danger when the process proves flawed, showing that Sonic allows his personal vendetta to override his common sense.

Sonic now wears anti-gravity sneakers, allowing him to walk on walls and ceilings and float while falling.  It is revealed that Robians are fully aware of their predicament but powerless to act against their programming.

The de- and re-roboticization, coupled with his emotional attachment, allows Chuck to retain his personality despite his robotic appearance and become the Freedom Fighters’ spy in Robotropolis.  Despite this, Sonic takes his lack of patience regarding the de-roboticizer quite hard. 

No Brainer

While left in charge, Snively actually succeeds where Robotnik continually failed thanks to Sonic being subjected to a brain scrambler, leaving him open to Snively’s manipulations.  Snively relishes the power now afforded to him as acting-commander in a heavy foreshadowing of his later assumption of Robotnik’s empire.

Blast to the Past, Part 1

First two-part episode.  Very loose adaptation of Sonic CD and Sonic The Hedgehog 3 where, through time travel, we finally learn how Robotnik betrayed the King and took over Mobius.  The desperate situation of Robotnik’s rule drives the Freedom Fighters to seek out the Floating Island and its Time Stones in order to change history.  Floating Island is considerably smaller than its videogame counterpart, somewhat resembles Kami’s Lookout from Dragonball, is hidden behind thick clouds, guarded by living statues, and presided over by “the Keeper of the Time Stones” (a wise old owl, not dissimilar to Old Man Owl, who protects them with a riddle).  The Time Stones are “hidden” in the island’s central “palace” and resemble ancient relics rather than the actual Time Stones.

Robotnik’s coup occurred in the year 3224, when Sonic and his friends were five years old.  In 3224, “Mobotropolis” was a peaceful kingdom, where SWATbots were polite public servants and Robotnik was known as Julian, the King’s personal military advisor.  Julian was renowned and respected for bringing “the Great War” to an end, yet this was an elaborate deception to take over the kingdom.  Uncle Chuck invented the roboticizer as a medical aid, but it malfunctioned and took away people’s will; Julian stole the technology and corrupted it for evil.

Sonic and Sally arrive too late to actually stop Robotnik’s coup, and only succeed in making minor changes to the timeline.  Snively is revealed to be Robotnik’s nephew.  Sonic teaming up with his younger self would be a major plot point in Sonic Generations.

Blast to the Past, Part 2

Exactly why Julian adopts the name Robotnik is not explained beyond his obsession with robotics.  Robotnik’s Destroyer spreads pollution over Mobotropolis, its poisonous gases somehow, inexplicably, instantly roboticizing the entire city and everything it flies over, as in the introduction.  Exactly why the Destroyer never destroyed the Great Forest in the original timeline is not explained, creating a time paradox where Sonic and Sally must have always travelled back to stop it.

Bunnie’s roboticization is prevented, yet she remains half-roboticized in future episodes, indicating that she must have been partially roboticized at some other point.  Interestingly, in an early draft for the series’ introduction, the original opening depicted a mini story where the series was not only more comical like AoStH and featured Sega-styled designs for sally and other characters, but also depicted the specifics of Bunnie’s partial roboticization.  Sonic caused Robotnik’s left arm to be roboticized and Snively to loose his hair, earning both of their hatred.

Naugus is mentioned for the first time; Robotnik’s obsession with controlling the dragons is established (and expanded on in Dulcy, where it is revealed that he has roboticized the majority of the dragons).  As in Sonic Generations, Snively and Robotnik seem unable to distinguish between the older and younger Sonic.  Exactly why the Freedom Fighters never attempt to time travel again is not explained.

Fed Up with Antoine/Ghost Busted

Filler, character building mini episodes that deviate from the darker nature of the series to explore the relationships of the Freedom Fighters and how their society operates.  As in AoStH, it turns out there’s other unsavoury characters on Mobius besides Robotnik, here represented by the Nasty Hyenas.

The Void

Naugus, the former royal sorcerer, is finally revealed as the master of the Void.  He draws in Sally and Bunnie using the Mandaras Ring – it is fitting that character access this loose Special Stage via a Gold Ring.  Naugus is evil, but his personal hatred of Robotnik is his primary concern, making him more of an anti-hero/wild card.  First mention of the “Doomsday Project”.

The Odd Couple/Ro-Becca

Two more filler mini episodes that continue to explore the everyday lives and society of the Freedom Fighters and Knothole.  Sonic’s sneakers do not stop him from running, but he is extremely protective of them.  He also highly values his privacy.

Cry of the Wolf

Introduction of the Doomsday Pods and the Wold Pack as Robotnik’s Doomsday Project begins to take shape as his final push to conquer the entire planet.  The Freedom Fighter groups have difficulty getting along at first, but quickly team up to take on the Doomsday Pod.

To emphasise the seriousness of the Doomsday Project, the Pods are virtually indestructible – it takes everything the Freedom Fighters have just to destroy it, and Doomsday plans to produce hundreds!

Drood Henge

The search is on from both sides for the Deep Power Stones, capable of “great power or great destruction”.  They are essentially the Chaos Emeralds of the series and could bestow Robotnik with incredibly, unlimited power.  They appear as more traditional relics/stones, rather than resembling anything seen in the videogames, but their potential greatly mirrors the Chaos Emeralds.  The search ends in stalemate, with Robotnik obtaining one Stone but believing the other was destroyed, when really the Freedom Fighters have it.

Tails’ promise as a freedom fighter is showcased when he puts Sonic’s training to good use to be a valuable asset to Sonic.  Tails is ten in this series, yet acts younger than AoStH Tails, who was four-and-a-half!

Spyhog

In the increasing build up to The Doomsday Project, a whole new section of Robotropolis is revealed that resembles Launch Base Zone and features the Doomsday tower, large and foreboding despite being under construction.  The exact threat of Doomsday is rather vague beyond its ability to launch multiple Doomsday Pods and “finish the job”.

The Doomsday Project

Doomsday, the nearest depiction of the Death Egg so far, is finally completed and Robotnik’s master plan to spread destruction and machinery across Mobius is launched.  With Doomsday Pods being dispersed all over Mobius and resources tight, the Freedom Fighters pull out all the stops to bring Robotnik down once and for all.  This results in a lot of the recent supporting characters being captured and held under threat of roboticization, and to a showdown between Sonic and Robotnik where Sonic uses three Power Rings to stave off roboticization and is unable to end Doomsday’s threat by himself.

In the end, Sonic and sally join forces and use the Deep Power Stones to become super charged.  While Sonic does not turn into Super Sonic, they both gain an energy shield, invincibility stars, and super speed, making it a close approximation.  Together, they obliterate Doomsday, and it is heavily implied that the blast also destroy Robotnik.  In the midst of their celebrations, Snively and a mysterious cohort emerge from the wreckage intent on continuing the fight in an incredibly frustrating, unresolved cliff-hanger.

Way Past Cool!  A Conversation with Writer Ben Hurst Dir: Brian Ward

“We were shown three or four levels of the videogame on a video projection board, we didn’t play the game, and it […] didn’t really connect with me […] It was sort of hard for me to see what that was going to be.  But then there was a Bible [written by series creator Len Janson] that tells the writers who the characters are, […] the interactions between them […] what the world is [which] changed a lot of the elements of Sonic to things that were more screen-friendly.  It became more of an animation, almost feature film quality.”

After the first series, the staff reviewed the original 13 episodes and decided to create an arc to the series, similar to a motion picture, which led to the Doomsday scenario.

“Animation differs from regular television writing or feature film writing in that we actually direct in the script, we call all the shots [and do] all the things that a director traditionally does because we have to set it out so that they know exactly what they’re drawing.”

“Len had strict guidelines for every episode.  Number one, each episode, with the exception of Blast to the Past […], had to stand on its own merits so that, if somebody just dropped in on the series and happened to watch one episode, it would still keep their attention and they wouldn’t feel like they’d just come into an ongoing soap opera […] The other thing was, he insisted that we have wins and losses so that we had a higher emotional closure with the show.  So it wasn’t always the Freedom Fighters winning, sometimes they lost things, they lost people […] so you actually believed what was happening, and I think that’s what’s kept the series alive for so long is that it’s believable […] I think we actually touched a chord by looking at some of the universal truths, which is that freedom is good and tyranny is bad…”

Sonic The Hedgehog ran into problems almost from day one.  Number one, we were up against the white-hot Power Rangers […] Number two was the fact that they were pre-empting us for […] Saturday morning sports […] so sometimes we were on and sometimes we weren’t […] it was when they started re-running it [when] Sonic really started to take off […] The third thing was is that the head of ABC children’s programming left at the end of the year, and the new people came in […] and so Sonic was just simply taken off the slate […] we left the second season on a cliff-hanger anticipating doing a third season and so I think that may have contributed, in part, to the longevity of the fan base.”

“When Sonic was cancelled I was disappointed […] My dream is that Sega or DiC or whoever else is up there decides one day, ‘you know what?  This worked, let’s do the third season!’  The third season is something that I feel very strongly about, and always have […] I've actually pretty much plotted out the entire third season […] One thing that would definitely be […] a part of season three is the ascendance of Tails […] and Snively [as well,] alongside Naugus [who would’ve] captured Robotnik…”

The Fastest Thing Alive: A Conversation with Jaleel White Dir: Brian Ward

“I had plenty of input on the character, I had no input on the series.  I deliberately wanted to make him […] of another race […] Sp when you listen to Sonic, I don’t think you even get an impression that […] is he black, is he white, is he a surer […] no!  Instead, he’s just ‘hero’, just ‘fast’.”

“The most rewarding thing about children’s animation is that it doesn’t die.  There are generations that still aren’t born that will watch episodes of Sonic The Hedgehog and it has a shelf life that’s almost forever.”
 
 
Current Location: At home, in the study
Current Mood: Bit ill, honestly
Current Music: Breaking Benjamin: Failure
 
 
SKSpawn
08 April 2015 @ 12:38 pm
As part of my PhD research, I watched every single episode of every cartoon and anime adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog, from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog to Sonic X.  Included on many of the DVD compliations were interviews with the cast and crew of each series, which provided some insight into the production process, and various online resources provided other enlightening videos that contributed to my research.

Included here are the notes I made on every episode pertaining to their adaptation of Sonic's gameplay elements, their portrayal of Sonic and his supporting characters and the various worlds in which they inhabit, and other interesting observations that all contributed to my understanding of the complex ways Sonic has been changed by the adaptation process.


Part One: Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog

Director: Kent Butterworth

Super Special Sonic Smash & Search Squad

Sonic and Tails are introduced as best friends, with a “little brother/big brother” dynamic between them, living carefree, day-by-day, and basically setting up camp wherever they feel like stopping. Sonic is smart, wise-cracking, cheeky, and wily.  Tails is much younger and naïve.

Scratch and Grounder are introduced as persistent thorns in Sonic and Tails’ sides, having been chasing them for a long time.  Robotnik’s plans are thwarted by Sonic seemingly because Sonic finds it fun to upset him, and he blames Sonic for his baldness; he is desperate to eliminate Sonic.

Robotnik’s Badniks are much more humanlike and crazily designed, easily fooled, and generally useless.  They also exhibit strong personalities and independent thought, though are programmed with complete loyalty to Robotnik.

Sonic uses a variety of Looney Tunes/Merry Melodies-style disguises and tricks to defeat, outwit, escape, or destroy the Badniks, essentially turning him into the Roadrunner to Scratch and grounder’s Coyote.  Sonic’s “Triple Spin” is mainly used for burrowing or bouncing off enemies – it rarely tears through them in an offensive manner.  Sonic’s constant breaking of the fourth wall and foot-tapping impatience echoes his videogame counterpart.  Sonic is apparently teaching Tails how to be a superhero like him, and constantly eats junk food (especially chilli dogs).

Robotnik creates his Badniks using an automated blending machine – “the Robomatic Machine” – by stuffing it with a variety of materials and components, which are then blended together comically to create a machine-based life form that is completely loyal to him.  Their over-exuberant personalities are a fatal flaw, as hey are capable of a range of emotions which conflict with their general stupidity, and cause them to be largely ineffectual.  Grounder’s multitude of accessories and functions seems almost a precursor to E-123 Omega.

Robotnik has aspirations of being the supreme dictator of Mobius, indicating that he has no true power over the planet.  His position seems to be one of high social esteem, though he has gained control over various towns and Zones, and has enough power to brand Sonic a fugitive, though Sonic’s reputation as a hero precedes him wherever he goes.  Sonic generally helps anyone in need, whether Robotnik is involved or not, but can be painfully aloof and childish at times, rarely taking Robotnik as a serious threat – he also enjoys insulting the “slowness” of others, even those he is friends with/helping.

Tails can fly for much longer periods than in the videogames, and rarely gets tired out from flying, though later episodes show that flying vast distance, at high speeds, or numerous times can tire him out.  Sonic enjoys alliterative rhymes and puns, and is angered easily by being called a “slowpoke”.  Sonic is very easily distracted by females, which is often exploited by Robotnik and his Badniks.  Tails is easily captured due to his comparative slowness and inexperience, though Sonic doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice himself to keep Tails safe, mainly due to his overbearing arrogance in both his ability and the Badniks’ tendency to be foolhardy.  “Badnik” is more of a generic term to refer to bad guys, as the machines are more typically referred to as robots, or creations.

“Sonic Says” endeavours to teach little kids important lessons and habits.  Robotnik only wears his trademark cape in the show’s credits, with one exception (see Grounder the Genius).

Subterranean Sonic

Robotnik claims that Sonic is what stands between him and “total domination of Mobius”, yet he doesn’t appear to be in control of anything except his Badniks and his fortress, yet this implies that, with Sonic eliminated, any resistance towards Robotnik’s schemes would be removed and he could subjugate Mobius relatively quickly and easily.

Sonic is said to be in the “Marble Zone” in a rare Zone reference, yet the actual area seems to resemble Under Ground Zone more, with is mine carts and underground dwellings.  Sonic is easily the most intelligent in this series compared to his other incarnations (barring, perhaps, the anime – SatAM Sonic was often being encouraged to use his head, but AoStH Sonic is always thinking and acting on quick, innovative impulses).

AoStH also liked to introduce a multitude of original characters and a supporting cast as protagonists, antagonists, and anti-heroes, beginning a common trend in all other Sonic adaptations to pad out their story and cast with additional characters.

Sonic identifies himself as a “Freedom Fighter”, although Robotnik’s oppression is far less dominant than in every single other incarnation – like his videogame counterpart, Robotnik has a central base and spreads his Badniks out in a colonisation process, securing smaller towns/cities/events and such, schemes which Sonic quickly foils, thus keeping Robotnik from truly oppressing Mobius in any significant way.

Robotnik does not hesitate to destroy the natural environment.  A bottomless pit poses as a series threat to Sonic and Tails, as in the games.

Lovesick Sonic

A sultry, robotic hedgehog, Breezie, woos Sonic in the name of Robotnik. But sees the error of her ways after Sonic sacrifices himself to save her.  Sonic’s flaw of falling for pretty girls who pay him multiple compliments and stroke his already-large ego of fleshed out, revealing that his desire to help people becomes easily clouded by a pretty face, and is possibly born from his need to be adulated by others – he is a lovesick, hormonal, egotistical teenager, after all.

Tails is much younger and thus regards girls, and romance, as disgusting, and is smarter for it, suspecting Breezie’s motivations, questioning her actions, and attempting to keep Sonic away from her.

It is shown that sustained periods of running, running across vast distances without a proper rest period, can tire Sonic out.  Sonic has a reputation for being a hero of Mobius, which he keenly lives up to and embraces.  Tails’ can’t swim “very well”.

Slowwww Going

When Mobians are threatened by Robotnik and/or his Badniks in any way, they immediately try to contact/look for Sonic for help.  Robotnik’s plan to steal/suppress Sonic’s speed is reminiscent of Sonic Labyrinth.

Tails reveals that he is “only four-and-a-half years old” and “[doesn’t] know how to read yet”.  Sonic whips up a “Sonic Tornado”, a possible precursor to “Sonic Wind”.

Without his speed, Sonic’s confidence disappears and he falls into a depressive state, leaving the less-experienced Tails to summon his courage to save not only the day, but Sonic as well.

High Stakes Sonic

It is heavily implied that every part of Sonic and his anatomy is super fast, not just his feet, similar to how the Golden Age Superman was “super” at everything.

Robotnik likes to build monuments to himself, of himself, out of anything and everything.  Robotnik opens up his “new” Casino Night Zone, perhaps indicating that the series takes place after the events of Sonic The Hedgehog 2, rather than acting as an alternative continuity to that videogame – the actual Zone resembles a warped version of Las Vegas rather than is namesake.

Tails is initially more than happy to be left behind, out of the action, in the Zone’s nursery, but grows bored after ten minutes.  Tails does not flinch or show fear of Robotnik, snapping at him and attacking him – he knows Robotnik is a cowardly, blustering blowhard.  The first mention of Momma Robotnik is made, as well as Robotnik’s desire for her approval of his deeds and social standing.

Sonic Breakout

Given his inflated ego and heroic status, Sonic is dissatisfied with his height/portrayal in Crack Ups, mirroring Robotnik’s angered reaction at his portrayal in the same comic book.

Sonic claims that he is, and fools Scratch and Grounder with, a hang glider, which he uses in a similar way in the 8-bit Sonic The Hedgehog 2.  After feigning capture, Sonic surprisingly comes to recognise the effectiveness of Robotnik’s prison for him, before innovating an escape – his moments of despair are as fleeting as his feet.

As in the videogames, Sonic possesses “4th dimensional” hidden pockets to carry otherwise hidden items.  Robotnik’s childlike tantrums are a major inclusion in this series, more so than in any other of his incarnations.

Trials of the Missing Tails

Robotnik banished his cousin, Warpnik, to the “Warp of Confusion” (a reference to the Japanese name of the videogames’ Special Stages), similar to Naugus in SatAM.

When purposely running into a Badnik trap, Sonic makes a point to leave tails behind due to the potential danger and his lack of experience, which is proven when Tails promptly falls into Badnik hands out of his concern for Sonic’s welfare.  Sonic’s subsequent anger at Tails’ disobedience stems from his care for Tails, and quickly disappears.

Sonic is very good at deducing Tails’ disappearance through observation and clue-searching.  Sonic’s Triple Spin allows him to defy gravity, a common trait in Sonic animation.

Close Encounters of the Sonic Kind

Twelve years before Shadow, Sonic jumps the shark by helping a bizarre alien couple stranded on Mobius.

Momma Robotnik’s Birthday

Momma Robotnik reveals that Robotnik’s rottenness is as hereditary as his obesity and moustache.  Robotnik’s motivations are purely out of his desire to please, out do, and step out of his mother's shadow.

Tails is tricked by Momma Robotnik with stories of Robotnik’s traumatic childhood (he embraced his rottenness when his favourite toy was taken away from him – Robotnik is horrified when the same toy is turned into a monster by his mother).

Big Daddy

Sonic can run at super speed in reverse (as later seen in Sonic Heroes).

Big Daddy appears to have inspired by King Kong, but has even closer links to Donkey Kong through Boom-Boom, who could be said to resemble Donkey Kong Jr.

Coconuts lands in a palm tree and throws coconuts, just like his Sonic The Hedgehog 2 counterpart.

Sonic’s Song

Sonic is extremely adept with the electric guitar and has a fondness for music, both aspects are carried over into SatAM and become the character’s focal point in Sonic Underground.

Birth of a Salesman

Introduction of Wes Weasely.

Sonic often comes to a sudden stop like the Roadrunner.

Robotnik’s finances are vast, revealing his he can afford all of his gadgets, gizmos, and machines, and may-or-may-not be ill-gotten (Robotnik and his Badniks are seen looting in Boogey-Mania).

Best Hedgehog

As a teenager, Robotnik was shunned by girls because of his rotten appearance and nature – he began “his villainous career” after Lucinda’s rejection (he remembers himself as the charming victim of another’s unfair, and cruel, oppression, thus revealing that he sees himself as a hero, and those who oppose him as the villains).

The Robotnik Express

Introduction of Big Griz and Big Mike, Da Bearz, two Mad Max-like Freedom Fighters who idolise, but have never seen, Sonic, and whose good, but dim-witted, natures are easily manipulated by Robotnik and his Badniks.

A rare mention of death is made in this episode.

Too Tall Tails

As much junk food as Sonic eats, it is Tails who has the insatiable, bottomless appetite in this series (becoming a major plot point in Boogey-Mania).

The Weinerville citizens are very easily swayed/fooled, or bribed, by Robotnik into thinking that Sonic is a villain after Robotnik’s gas makes Tails super tall.

Introduction of Professor Von Schlemmer.

Tails’ New Home

When Tails gets hurt by the Badniks, Sonic decides a more normal, stable family life would be better for the young fox.  After a well-meaning, but absent-minded, family, they try the retired Sergeant Doberman (implying that Mobius has had at least one way, and/or is at least home to a military presence).  Tails ends up with his “real parents” (Badnik imposters aided by Scratch and Grounder), showcasing Tails’ desire for a real family and his real parents.

Although it was Sonic’s idea in the first place, the idea of an ideal family life is alien to him.  Sonic’s doubts and regrets lead him to remember how he met Tails: Baby Tails literally landed on Sonic’s head one day while searching for his true home.

Sonic remembers Tails’ real name, Miles (which Tails hates), allowing him to see through Robotnik’s deception.  Sonic is surprisingly emotional and sentimental at times.

Over the Hill Hero

The Badniks attack “Hill Top Village”, populated by vaguely-humanoid Mobians, that is literally a village on top of a hill and bares no resemblance to Hill Top Zone at all.

Sonic has little patience for older, more traditional superheroes, to the point of egotistical arrogance, prejudice, and even bigotry towards Captain Rescue.  Sonic is depicted as leaving Mobius’ atmosphere and surviving in the vacuum of space, yet falls to earth as though simply high up in the sky.  Either way, he survives the high altitude.

Mobius uses 1964 as a date.

Black-Headed Eagle

Surprisingly, Sonic finds slow, uneventful days and places relaxing, rather than boring, despite craving action and adventure during slower moments in other episodes.

Mystery of the Missing Hi-tops

The aptly-named “McGuffin Town” hosts “Sonic Appreciation Day”, as advertised in a newspaper alongside the headline mentioning “Buzz Bombers” (if referring to the Badniks in this episode’s opening, their designs differ from their videogame counterparts).

Harry the Hucker, introduced in this episode, wants to steal Sonic’s sneakers to sell them as souvenirs.  Sonic’s sneakers are specially made to reduce friction and, without them, he “can’t run” – he can still run super fast, but the resulting friction burns his feet.

Interestingly, Sonic mentions that he would rather use his feet than his head in a downplaying of his usual intelligence.  Sonic again falls into a depression at the suppression of his super speed, believing that his “powers” make him a hero.

Sonic Gets Trashed

Interestingly, Robotnik tosses his defective Badniks into the scrap yard, where they resent his mistreatment.  It’s interesting to see what Robotnik constitutes as “defective” in his creations, given that they all seem quite defective from the moment of creation.

Robotnik flies around in a colossal “Blimpnik”, a smaller variant of Sonic The Hedgehog 2’s Sky Fortress and precursor to Sonic & Knuckles’ Flying Battery.  Sonic advises the kids in the audience not to copy his dangerous stunts, as his successor would also do in Sonic X.

Interestingly, Sonic rallies the scrapped robots to fight back and defend themselves and their home, whereas he usually fights for others (perhaps he deems the scrapped robots as capable of holding their own better than normal, otherwise defenceless Mobians).

Pseudo-Sonic

Robotnik creates a robot doppelgänger of Sonic to duplicate Sonic’s speed and ruin his reputation.  Unlike Robotnik’s other Badniks, Pseudo-Sonic is more of a mech suit, requiring a pilot.  Robotnik forces a Mobian to pilot the suit, in a twist on the videogame’s Badniks using animals as their power sources.

As in the anime, Tails takes control of it to save the day, though here he commandeers the suit rather than influencing its programming.

Grounder the Genius

Scratch and Grounder’s trap utilises a stuffed Tails Doll.  Robotnik finally dons his cape, though purely in service of the plot (it gets stuck in a door and allows his escape near the climax).

Sno Problem

As in many episodes, Robotnik tends to favour regular enslavement, brainwashing, or some kind of hypnotic/robot implant over roboticizing Mobians, creating slaves rather than robots in the mechanical sense, with Badniks serving as tools and minions.  This is somewhat true to the original American story behind Robotnik’s creation, which indicated that he enslaved Mobians to do his bidding as well as trapping them in Badniks.

Submerged Sonic

Robotnik attacks the underwater city of Labyrinth, which resembles and functions more like Atlantis than its namesake, for its “Power Pearls”.

Robotnik’s “guards” resemble Sonic The Hedgehog’s Jaws, though with Chopper’s colour scheme.  Sonic exhibits no issues with water.

Musta Been a Beautiful Baby

 Robotnik claims to have “conquered most of [Mobius]”, but again we see little evidence of this claim.

Robotnik, Jr

Robotnik constructs Junior by hand in this episode.  Sonic breathes air bubbles whilst trapped under water.  Robotnik’s lineage bares a striking resemblance to him.

Full Tilt Tails

Robotnik and his Badniks have just finished looting another town, though Sonic cons them out of it all.

Tails is in training to match Sonic’s speed, but can only do so with the aid of his tails.  His lack of foot-speed depresses him as, thanks to Sonic, he equates speed with heroism.  Yet, when faced with a crisis, he still yells for Sonic’s help, who attempts to teach him that speed is not just about showing off, but doing good (preferably doing both at the same time, as he admits to doing).

Robotnik’s Speedemint Gum gives Tails uncontrollable speed; his new-found speed makes him brash, over-eager, cocky, and leads him into trouble because he has not mastered super speed.

MacHopper

MacHopper is introduced and says that he has fought against Robotnik for years, again indicating that Robotnik’s presence has been around for some time before the start of the series.

Rather than roboticize him, Robotnik brainwashes MacHopper into servitude to lure Sonic into Robotnik’s hands.  This brainwashing can be temporarily over-ridden when MacHopper eats or is doused with chilli sauce (a similar temporary reprieve from a form of brainwashing is seen in SatAM’s ‘Ultra Sonic’ episode, where Uncle Chuck’s programming is suppressed by a Power Ring).

Momma Robotnik Returns

Robotnik plans to use a giant microwave emitter to control all of Mobius’s machines, a plot slightly closer to his videogame counterpart.

Momma usurps Robotnik because she views him as an embarrassment, and his Badniks turn against him in favour of her.  She then (somehow) legally adopts Sonic!  Bound by his duty to uphold the letter of the law, and with Tails’ life at stake, Sonic is forced to do her every whim.

Robotnik is forced to assist Sonic in order to regain his fortress from Momma.  Sonic tears off Robotnik’s moustache as easily as if it was fake, as alluded to in Sonic Adventure 2.

Spaceman Sonic

Rather than wake Sonic from his nap, Tails pursues Robotnik alone to his secret space centre, which is said to be located inside a “Secret Zone” within a mountain.

Sonic’s confidence is so high that he feels he can nap until the last minute before he acts (this is later taken to an extreme in Sonic X, where Sonic is constantly napping, and further seen in the anime, where Sonic always waits until the last possible second to act, presumably because it’s “more fun”).

Sonic sneaks onboard Robotnik’s spaceship, similar to his trip to the Death Egg in Sonic The Hedgehog 2, which drifts into the “Star Light Zone” – a simple star cluster, rather than its videogame counterpart.  Sonic redirects the rocket to an abandoned space station, similar to Sonic Adventure 2’s Space Colony ARK, due to the impending threat of oxygen deprivation, which is now depicted as a fatal threat (supporting this, Sonic must wear a spacesuit to survive in the vacuum of space, perhaps indicating that, in ‘Over the Hill Hero’, he must have been in Mobius’s upper atmosphere).

Mad Mike, Da Bear Warrior

Tails’ skill with machinery is introduced, or at least given prominence, as he is able to fix, improve, and alter a big rig truck so that it is capable of faster speeds and even transforming into a dinosaur-like mech.

Big Mike is terrorised by a warm of Buzz Bomber-like Badniks.  Robotnik employs Mad Max-like Toad Warriors, and a Black Knight, to intercept Sonic’s truck – another, far more literal Black Knight, is the main antagonist of Sonic and the Black Knight.

The Last Resort

Robotnik feigns retirement, publicly addressing and forsaking his nefarious actions.  Sonic distrusts this sentiment and accepts his predictably trap-laden holiday to prove that Robotnik is still a menace (similar to Sonic Colours).

As in Sonic the Comic, Robotnik’s absence leaves Sonic bored – unlike Archie/SatAM’s Sonic, he doesn’t have politics to distract him.

Scratch and Grounder operate a Chopper-coloured Jaws as a submarine; the “Choppers” they subsequently unleash from it are simply robot piranha, rather than their namesake.

In this episode, even Tails seems capable enough to tread water, having apparently improved his swimming abilities since ‘Lovesick Sonic’; Scratch and Grounder threaten Sonic and Tails with hidden spikes, a constant obstacle in the videogames.

The Magic Hassle

Wes Weasely returns, in a continuity nod.  Robotnik’s computer makes sounds from Super Mario Bros. Robotnik, like a corporate chairman, signs paper work to pay off his bills and debts, rather than simply…stealing stuff or not paying for his goods.  Interestingly, his plan this episode is to rob the Mobius Mint and use the cash to torment Mobius.

Sonic the Matchmaker

Somewhat similar to his anime counterpart, Robotnik desires a wife, only he takes it upon himself to construct one in a homage to Frankenstein/Bride of Frankenstein, rather than force a princess into marriage.  AoStH’s adherence to continuity becomes prominent here, with the return of Robotnik, Jr and Breezie.

Sonic states that a relationship with Breezie would not work out because, not only is she a robot, but he’s “always on the go”, indicating that this philosophy would extend to relationships with organic females as well.  This paints Sonic as a bachelor, with no time for a serious relationship, despite his tendency to get smitten.

Tails Prevails

Realising that his birthday is imminent, Sonic heads to “Star City” for the best possible celebration, though no mention is made of how old Sonic will be.  Sonic offers to loan Tails money (which he needs to buy Sonic’s present), indicating that Sonic does carry money, though he’s rarely seen actually using any (he has some change in ‘Sonic Breakout’).

After his efforts result in catastrophe, Tails puts his mechanical skill to good use and builds Sonic a present using the scrap yard.  Sonic is surprised at the extent of Tails’ ability, and pronounces him a “genius”.  Scratch and Grounder then bring Tails’ skills to Robotnik’s attention, increasing his value as a target.  Additionally, now fully aware of the extent to Tails’ genius, he has him collaborate with Professor Von Schlemmer on the creation of a machine to defeat Robotnik.

“Sonic The Hedgehog never says ‘dead’” is a fitting line.  Sonic’s mastery of Tails’ pedal-craft mirrors his piloting skills with the Tornado.  Robotnik channels Darth Vader’s “I have you now” targeting threat, Tails turns down the opportunity to be a real inventor, sticking to it as a hobby.

Zoobotnik

Tails Doll returns!  By this point, Sonic is actively sought out by Hippo Mayor to solve crimes and save people.  Sonic also makes public addresses at press conferences to assure the planet that he is on the case.

Katella’s plan to kidnap Mobians is similar to Robotnik’s videogame counterpart, and she does more kidnapping than AoStH’s Robotnik does.  Despite his earlier desire for a mate/marriage, Robotnik initially resist Katella’s advances on him, until he can work her skills to his advantage.

Attack on Pinball Fortress

Sergeant Doberman and Wes Weasely return to team up with Sonic in this loose adaptation of Sonic The Hedgehog Spinball, though both out of selfish reasons (they desire Robotnik’s Stupidity Ray).

The Pinball Fortress does not resemble to Veg-O-Fortress at all, but rather castle adorned with pinball table-like outer defences.  Robotnik is using the Pinball Fortress to house his giant Stupidity Ray, and it is purely for defensive reasons, rather than as a Badnik processing plant powered by a volcano.

The inside is a giant pinball table, unlike the Veg-O-Fortress, which merely had pinball-like elements to its stages.  The bumpers all make Super Mario Bros.-like sounds.  The team land in an area resembling the Lava Powerhouse level, where they are confronted by “Boss Scorpion”, a loose adaptation of Scorpius.  They destroy the Pinball Fortress by the end, as in the videogame.  Tails cannot carry all three of the protagonists at once because of the weight, which is ignored in Sonic Heroes.

Mass Transit Trouble

Sonic and Tails are so comfortable with water that they serve on Captain Finny’s ship clearing icebergs from its path (Sonic crosses water by simply running over its service).

Robotnik’s plan is surprisingly clever, sending the three Badniks to different locations so that Sonic has to travel vast distances multiple times to stop his plot, an exertion which, again, tires him out.  Sonic is barely able to foil Robotnik’s plot, but is able to swim out to sea to destroy Robotnik’s three bombs, though exhaustion does cause him to nearly drown.

Shunning any kind of façade, Robotnik makes his planet-wide threat publicly known.  Sonic creates a whirlwind again, similar to Sonic Wind.  Interestingly, Sonic heats his sneakers up with friction, when they’re supposed to be specially designed to reduce friction perhaps this only applies to the in-soles).  Another reference to death is made, as Angus Mac Gull writes his Last Will and Testament, and the episode even references and shows a hand gun.

Untouchable Sonic

Roller and Ball Hog appear as gangster/mafia-types; Roller differs quite considerably from his videogame counterpart, being green and resembling a lizard, and turning into a balling ball.  Similarly, Ball Hog is grey and has a beak-like mouth, though he does produce bombs from his chest.

In the Sonic movie Scratch and Grounder are watching, Sonic swims expertly, and authentic-looking Choppers finally appear, alongside an Octobot.

Super Robotnik

After gaining superhuman powers and becoming an evil counterpart to Superman, Robotnik gains the strength and powers necessary to up his game – he kidnaps Mobius’s World Leaders and challenges Sonic to a direct physical confrontation, with the loser having to leave Mobius forever.  Super Robotnik’s villainous exploits also include stealing some gems that resemble Chaos Emeralds.

Tails mentions that he sees Sonic as “Super Sonic everyday”, though “Super” is more a reference to Sonic’s superheroics.

Robolympics

The impending threat of a comet forces Sonic and Robotnik to work out a truce, which is later seen in Shadow The Hedgehog, however the catch is that Sonic must prevail at the Robolympics – Sonic would compete against Eggman in the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games videogames.  However, Robotnik’s terms are far more dangerous than the truce seen in Shadow, and are a big double-cross as well, leaving Sonic to use the event to save Turtle Town from destruction.

The robotic piranha return, now called “Robo-Piranha”.

Magnificent Sonic

There’s finally something Sonic is not good at – he’s a terrible shot!  But, as expected, uses his speed skills to compensate for this.

Black Bot the Pirate

Part one of the “Quest for the Chaos Emeralds” saga, which is the first multi-part, concurrent storyline in the series, and features improved animation.  Introduction of Professor Caninestein.  Robotnik plots to use the Professor’s time machine to gather the four legendary Chaos Emeralds, which will grant him the powers of invisibility, invincibility, immortality, and “life itself”, to become “Supreme High Robotnik”.

Sonic is too busy sunbathing to enjoy surfing, as in the anime.  Professor Caninestein gives Sonic a pair of sneakers which will allow him to “circle the planet at the speed of light” in order to travel through time, meaning that he has to run fast to travel through time, as in Sonic CD.

Robotnik carries a “Robot-Transmogrifier Ray” gun, which instantly roboticizes whatever it shoots.

Hedgehog of the “Hound” Table

Part two of the “Quest for the Chaos Emeralds” saga.  The Chaos Emerald of Invincibility resembles the brilliant diamond-cut Chaos/Super Emeralds of Sonic 3 & Knuckles onwards.  Sonic travels back to the middle-ages for an Arthurian adventure, similar to Sonic and the Black Knight.

Robotnik’s Pyramid Scheme

Part three of the “Quest for the Chaos Emeralds” saga.  Robotnik reveals that he had an ancestor, Julius Robotnikus, who “looks [and] acts just like [him]” in the ancient past.  Professor Caninestein also reveals that Sonic has a time line and family tree, that Robotnik is erasing, though none of Sonic’s relatives are shown in this series (Masonic is his distant ancestor, rather than direct family member).

Sonic finally gets to surfboard, once again proving that he is extremely skilled and perfectly comfortable around water.  This episode takes place in Ancient Mobigypt, and within a trap-laden pyramid, similar to Sandopolis Zone.  Sonic’s attempts to ensure his ancestors meet and fall in love is an obvious allusion to Back to the Future.

The Chaos Emerald of Immortality resembles the emerald-cut Chaos Emeralds of pre-Sonic 3 & Knuckles.  To reach the Chaos Emerald, Scratch and Grounder have to collect a certain amount of Gold Rings, similar to how Sonic reaches Special Stages in the videogames.

The Mummified Hedgehog wears his own Emerald, a blue variant, which apparently grants him immortality and allows Sonic to generate an energy shield to damage the otherwise untouchable, immortal Robotnik.

Prehistoric Sonic

Part four of the “Quest for the Chaos Emeralds” saga.  Magma, the Volcano God, resembles Ifrit, in some ways.  The Chaos Emerald of Life somewhat resembles the Emerald Shards from Sonic Adventure/2/Battle.  Robotnik says the word “kill”.

Although they stopped Robotnik gathering the Chaos Emeralds individually, they are unable to stop him getting the Chaos Emerald of Life, and are too late to stop Robotnik going back to get the other three and becoming all powerful.

The treasure chest that Robotnik brings to life vaguely resembles Crabmeat.  Supreme High Robotnik’s gigantic stature and nigh-omnipotent power was seen a couple of other times in Sonic the Comic.  Flung back to the beginning of the universe, Sonic and Tails can now survive in the vacuum of pre-Big Bang space!

Sonic’s plan to stop Supreme High Robotnik involves recruiting multiple past versions of himself; a younger, time-travelling versions of Sonic also appeared in Sonic Generations, and the idea of a multiverse army of Sonic’s and Tails’ was done to death in the Archie comics.

Baby-Sitter Jitters

Cleaver Beaver, introduced this episode, has a red bi-plane that resembles Sonic’s Tornado (Captain William Le Due also flies a red bi-plane in ‘Tails’ Tale’).  Robotnik’s Blimpnik returns.  Robotnik’s pit that he traps Sonic and Tails in has no discernable escape, much like the infamous Mystic Cave Zone spike pit.

Honey, I Shrunk the Hedgehog

Robotnik’s plan to shrink Mobian cities is reminiscent of Brianiac’s modus operandi.  Sonic helps the moles dig their tunnel by handing out replicas of his sneakers and spiked-hard hats…despite the fact that it is not Sonic’s sneakers that give Sonic his super speed.  Sonic and Tails are shrunk by Robotnik’s Super Shrink Ray; shrinking lasers were common in later Sonic CD stages.

Robotnikland

It’s Sonic’s birthday…again…and, like last time, we have no idea how old he is.  Interestingly, Sonic is very depressed at not having a real party and the thought that no-one has remembered that it is his birthday.

“Robotnikland” is reminiscent of Eggmanland, rather dangerous carnival-themed areas that are Eggman’s current forte, and it contains, again, a giant pinball machine that harkens back to Sonic Spinball and SatAM’s ‘Game Guy’.  Robotnik’s rollercoaster is reminiscent of Sonic Colours’ Asteroid Coaster.  Many of Sonic’s friends from previous episodes return for his birthday party.

The Mobius 5000

Potentially a loose adaptation of the Sonic Drift Game Gear games, given the racing theme.

Wallace A. Ditso, from ‘Sonic Gets Trashed’, and Professor Caninestein make a return.  Interestingly, despite Tails’ mechanical genius, Sonic asks Caninestein to help him build his racing car.

One of the areas the racers must go through is “the deadly Chemical Plant Zone” which vaguely resembles its videogame namesake, with twisting pipes, toxic chemicals, and being a large industrial city-like location.  After leaving the Chemical Plant Zone, they enter the jam-packed “Casino Zone”, which, as before, is like a warped version of Las Vegas.  Sonic jumps the traffic jam by using a Star Post to enter a “Special Zone”, which is based on Sonic The Hedgehog 2’s half-pipe Special Stage.  To make use of the short-cut, the drivers have to collect enough Rings, though here the Rings are blue instead of gold.

The Little Merhog

Despite previously having dived and swum pretty deep in water before and being known to breathe air bubbles under water, Sonic (and Tails) don scuba suits for their underwater excursion.

Like Aquaman, Merna can talk to all underwater animals (in another rare occurrence of Mobius having regular, non-anthropomorphic creatures living alongside the anthropomorphs).

Robotnik again mentions “killing” Scratch and Grounder.

Road Hog

Sonic’s adherence to the law means that he wilfully goes to court when pulled over for speeding, and accepts his punishment, even though he could easily escape/out run the law at any time.

The Blimpnik returns, now sorting a different design.  References to death and dying are made frequently by Scratch and Robotnik.

The Robots’ Robot

Introduction of Robot, Scratch and Grounder’s robot servant, who is mistreated by Scratch and Grounder (despite them actually caring for him) and ends up in Scrap Valley.

Hero of the Year

Many of Sonic’s former friends and allies from the series return for Sonic’s tribute dinner (a pretty excuse for a flashback episode).  The idea of Sonic being nominated as “hero of the year”, and Robotnik sabotaging it to host one dedicated to him, is similar to the ‘Man of the Year’ short from Sonic Jam.

Fast and Easy

Easy Eddie, being a thief and a ferret, resembles Nack the Weasel.

A fifth Chaos Emerald is featured in this episode, this one smaller, set into a ring, and more in line with their videogame counterparts as it is a source of immense energy rather than granting God-like powers.  This one is described by Robotnik as “the most powerful Chaos Emerald on Mobius” which, when placed into an activation alter deep with the “Secret Zone”, will allow Robotnik to “make a hundred square miles of Mobius sink into the sea” any time he wishes.

Lifestyles of the Sick and Twisted

In keeping with the show’s/Sonic and Tails’ theme of attributing egg-based puns and insults to Robotnik, Tails appropriately insults Robotnik by calling him “Eggman” in this episode.

Sonically Ever After

Sonic and Tails are transported into a fairy-tale world, similar to the ‘Storybook’ videogames.

Sonic Christmas Blast

Director: Blair Peters

A strange, intermediary hybrid of AoStH and SatAM, featuring AoStH settings with various SatAM cameos (Princess Sally, “Robot-tropolis”, various sound effects, “SWATbots”).

Human characters appear for more prevalent, presumably due to the Christmas theme of the special.  Perhaps in an indication of the more SatAM-influenced world, Mobius’ currency has become “Robotnibucks”.  Conveniently, Sally gave Sonic a ring the previous year that increases his super speed.
 
 
Current Location: At home, in the study
Current Mood: Bit ill, honestly
Current Music: Breaking Benjamin: Failure
 
 
SKSpawn
18 March 2015 @ 02:30 pm
So, I’ve recently made more of an effort to get back into watching wrestling, mainly because in the last year or so I discovered that TNA Impact Wrestling aired a couple of times a week on Challenge and Sky 1 started showing WWE Superstars on Saturday evenings.  With the advent of the WWE Network and Impact relocating to a new channel in America, both of these shows have gone from my viewing schedule lately (TNA repeats are somewhat sporadic now, meaning I’ve fallen behind).  I did test out the Network the other month for free and enjoyed the extensive library available, but was disappointed by the delay placed on Raw and SmackDown! Shows presumably because of Sky Sports, which means you can use the Network to watch every month pay-per-view event but won’t be able to keep up to date every week with the shows that lead up to it.  WWE regularly post videos on YouTube of matches and highlights from these shows, so I chose not to pay for the Network and to just keep more up to date with those updates.

Unfortunately, 2014 was a pretty dire year for wrestling.  WrestleMania XXX had a pretty bare-bones card from where I sat, with the highlight of the show focused on Daniel Bryan as he defeated Triple H and then both Randy Orton and Batista to deliver a tremendous World Championship win, and Brock Lesnar’s shocking defeat of the Undertaker and his coveted WrestleMania winning streak.  Bryan was forced to vacate the WWE World Heavyweight title soon after a lacklustre, nonsensical feud with Kane after a real-life injury left his career in doubt.  The WWE then entered panic mode and fell back on type by placing the Championship on their go-to guy, John Cena, much to the dismay of many, who then dropped it to Lesnar, who promptly disappeared for weeks on end as he’s simply there for the money and bound to a handful of appearances a year.  Cesaro, who had won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale at WrestleMania XXX, looked to be getting a big push that went nowhere, resulting in him ending up in a tag team with Tyson Kidd, while the Intercontinental and United States Championships have been buried all year round with their holders constantly losing non-title matches.  Probably the best reasons to watch all year have been Money In The Bank winner Seth Rollins, who’s quickly replacing Randy Orton as the slimy dominant heel, Dean Ambrose, who needs a bit more of a push and focus to truly become the “next” Stone Cold Steve Austin, Dolph Ziggler, who’s risen above the crap to become a big babyface, and Roman Reigns, who’s been groomed as Cena’s “replacement”, which has drawn some resistance from Bryan-loving fans.

The build to WrestleMania 31 hasn’t been the best, with some odd decisions made throughout the year and around certain matches, but I’m hoping that the event will help the WWE to truly build some new stars and gain some new momentum.  With that in mind, let’s make some predictions based on how the card stands right now.

WWE World Heavyweight Title Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns

This is an odd one for me; I’ve known all year that the WWE planned on Reigns being the guy to unseat Cena as the top babyface and dethrone Lesnar at WrestleMania yet…he’s hardly been booked that way.  Instead of taking the whole year to build the character and get the crowd on his side, the WWE took the focus off him and swept him to the side.  Despite being involved in the Money In The Bank ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Reigns hasn’t really shown that much interest in the title or Lesnar, being sidelined with an injury and then shoved down our throats.

I read a column once that believed Reigns, not Cena, should have won the title at Money In The Bank, and I am inclined to agree.  With Bryan out injured, Reigns should have filled the gap and then been annihilated by Lesnar at SummerSlam, which would have written Reigns out while he was injured and allowed Cena to get decimated as before, and given Reigns a legitimate reason to win the Royal Rumble and challenge Lesnar.  Lesnar, meanwhile, has been repackaged as this dominant force after quashing the Undertaker’s undefeated streak, and billed as a special attraction that has seen the WWE World Heavyweight Championship lose focus, in my view.  The idea that the WWE will bring Lesnar back once a year as a special WrestleMania attraction to replace the Undertaker is intriguing but seems unlikely, given that Lesnar’s contract is due to expire the day after WrestleMania 31 and he seems set to go back to UFC.

Personally, I believe that the plan will go through and Reigns will win, but I really want to see Paul Heyman be the catalyst for it.  A large complaint about Reigns is his inability to produce decent promos, which I blame the writers for more than anything, but let’s eliminate that by having Heyman turn on Lesnar, cost him the title, and become the manager and mouthpiece for Reigns.  The next night on Raw, Reigns could then decimate Lesnar, who draws a lot of cheers anyway so hell, turn him face in the process, and go on to face Ziggler or Wyatt in subsequent title matches.  The only problem with this is that Heyman’s recent promos have really been focused on hyping Lesnar and, while hyping Reigns, deride Reigns’ ability to beat Lesnar.  I’d rather have seen a situation similar to when Lesnar was set to face the Big Show back in 2002, I believe, where Heyman showed concern over his client’s ability to beat his opponent.  If Reigns wins, and remains a face, I’d like to see him face Wyatt or Rusev next, but I think he’d draw more of a reaction as a cocky, monster heel with Heyman as his mouthpiece, and holding the belt until Summerslam, where he’s beaten by Bryan.  Either way, I expect Reigns to win, with no cash-in from Seth Rollins.

Triple H vs. Sting

Another somewhat polarising build surrounding this match, as Triple H keeps bringing up WCW stuff and making that the focus of this feud, when really it should be able Triple H’s power being contested by the “vigilante”, Sting.  I feel there should be some stipulation attached to this match, but after Survivor Series 2014 unsuccessfully pulled that angle I doubt people would buy it again here, but I would like a consequence of this match to be the removal of Triple H from WWE programming until Summerslam, at least.  This means, yes, I’m expecting a win from Sting here, but recently it was announced that Sting world not be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame until next year so I wouldn’t be surprised if Triple H won and they then spent the rest of the year setting up a rematch for WrestleMania 32.

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins

While Orton didn’t really do much to help Reigns get over at Summerslam 2014, I see this as Rollins’ right of passage into becoming the number one heel in the WWE by knocking Orton from his totem.  Orton is played out as a hell by this point, but kinda sucks as a babyface, so he should become an out-and-out tweener following this match, severing his ties to the Authority and just doing whatever the hell he likes.  Seth is in an odd position as the Money In The Bank winner; he doesn’t seem likely or poised to cash in any time soon and I really don’t think he will at WrestleMania 31.  they probably should have had him cash in at Money In The Bank and steal the title from Cena, then drop it to Lesnar and go into his feud with Ambrose as before, which would have freed him from the crutch of holding the briefcase but never being able to cash in because Lesnar isn’t around (and when he is, Rollins never attempts to cash in, which makes him look like a pussy) and given more gravitas to his involvement in the Championship match at Royal Rumble 2014.  Still, my money’s on Rollins here, as he out-slimes Orton and caps off an impressive run.

The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt

What the hell is the point of this match?  The Undertaker’s undefeated streak is dead, so beating him now, while impressive, isn’t as big a deal as it would be, and losing to him means just as little.  In his podcast with Austin, Vince McMahon claimed there was no one else “ready” to beat the streak at WrestleMania XXX, which is why Lesnar was the “obvious” choice, but Wyatt seems to be just as obvious.  Imagine it: Wyatt defeats the Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX, becoming the “new” Phenom of the WWE, and goes on to use that distinction to challenge Bryan at Extreme Rules, rather than Kane.  When Bryan vacates the belt, Wyatt wins the Money In The Bank Championship match and drops the title to Lesnar at Summerslam.  Then, Wyatt faces Cena at WrestleMania 31 and wins, meaning he has knocked off two legitimate WWE legends, capitalised on the biggest achievement ever (defeating the streak), and begun his own undefeated WrestleMania streak.  Then you have the Undertaker entered into the Hall of Fame this year and retire the next night on raw.  Undertaker is so broken down these days that I worry for his safety and health, given that Lesnar roughed him up pretty bad last year.  With the streak dead, the only benefit I can see coming out of this match is that Wyatt wins and claims his place as the WWE’s new Phenom, but if they don’t capitalise on that with a main event push right away then it will be as pointless as it looks on paper.

United States Title Match: John Cena vs. Rusev (c)

Supposedly, Triple H is pulling for Cena to win here and bring some legitimacy back to the United States Championship.  While I do believe that could happen, I feel Cena holding the belt actually devalues it a bit as Cena has no need for it and would probably treat it as an after thought.  I’d rather the United States title was defended every week on Raw or SmackDown! In fifteen-minute time limit matches, similar to the old Television Championship, and that up-and-comers were the principal challengers against top mid-carders like Ambrose or Swagger.  Rusev is pretty over, though I don’t really dig him that much as the “Angry Russian” gimmick seems very old-hate to me, but I think he could really benefit from decisively defeating Cena and then going on to lose the title to a new up-and-comer from NXT.  Adrian Neville is supposed to be getting the call soon, bring him up, have him defeat Rusev for the belt and gain instant credibility, and turn him into the new CM Punk.  Rusev can then move into the main event for a stint, while Cena can spend the rest of 2015 losing matches and putting people over.

Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match: Bad News Barrett (c) vs. Luke Harper vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Daniel Bryan

Christ, what a mess the Intercontinental Championship is!  The belt once held in high regard by Steve Austin, The Rock, and Triple H is now nothing more than a prop that guys hold so you know they’ll lose every non-title match they’re in!  I like everyone in this match; Barrett was hugely over before his injury, and since his return he’s been totally screwed over.  Ziggler has really impressed me and managed to do good things with the belt earlier this year, but really needs to move back into the main event.  Harper is…useless.  Honestly, splitting him and Rowan up was a dumb-ass move; Wyatt having those two as flunkies benefitted him greatly, and the absence of a big-guy tag team has hurt the tag division greatly, and Harper hasn’t really gone anywhere or done anything since the split.  R-Truth is here simply to bump around, he’s never winning this.  Ambrose is great, but appears to be losing momentum after some confusing losses.  Again, Triple H is apparently pulling for Bryan to win to give legitimacy to the Intercontinental title, which I could see happening as Bryan may not have much hope of ever winning the World title any time soon.  However, Ambrose started this whole thing; the only reason this match exists is because Ambrose chose to challenge Barrett for the belt, so I think he should win and go on to feud with the losers and put on some entertaining matches, and not lose non-title matches, which would also give legitimacy to the belt again.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

What is the purpose of this battle royal?  Last year, Cesaro looked to be getting a big push from winning and instead…nothing.  If anything, WrestleMania XXX should have produced two obvious number one World Championship contenders: Lesnar, for ending the Undertaker’s streak, and Cesaro, for winning this debacle.  Instead, we got Kane, Lesnar buggered off, and Cesaro got the shaft.  So who really cares who wins this?  It’s just an excuse to shove a bunch of guys on the card; unless the winner gets a main event push, or some kind of push, it just feels redundant.  Of those involved in the match, maybe Curtis Axel, Ryback, and Damien Mizdow are my favourites, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the WWE has the Big Show win it and reignite his “awesome” feud with Roman Reigns afterwards.

AJ Lee & Paige vs. The Bella Twins

The only reason anyone’s going to care about this match is because (a) the crowd loves AJ and (b) the get an excuse to chant for CM Punk.  Personally, I am completely besotted with Paige, and she’s been unsuccessful against the Bellas so far, so I’m betting on a win for the faces here.

Unannounced-but-Inevitable WWE Tag team Championship Match: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd w/Natalya (c) vs. Los Matadores w/El Torito vs. The Usos w/Naomi vs. The New Day w/Xavier Woods and/or The Ascension

This match hasn’t been announced yet, but it seems inevitable given the interactions between these four teams and based on the track record of other WrestleMania’s.  shove all your teams on the card and let them duke it out for the tag titles, which are almost completely meaningless as the WWE’s tag division is so stale and lacklustre.  Honestly, while I feel the WWE missed a massive opportunity in not revealing Kane to have been Bryan’s mole in the Authority, I think having Kane and Big Show split from the Authority, get over their issues, and just be a monster tag team would really help at this point.  They certainly shouldn’t be winning as many matches as they are as singles guys, so sticking them in the tag ranks could help by giving young teams a huge obstacle to overcome.  If the Ascension makes it into this match, I would bet on them to win, but I actually think the titles will stay with Cesaro and Kidd for now, as no one else really deserves or needs them out of the other teams competing.  I’d like to see the New Day get frustrated at losing and snap, though, and drop their ridiculous gimmick to become something a bit more threatening and entertaining.

So…yeah…expectations are high for the WWE making up for a pretty shit year, but none of it will mean anything if they don’t capitalise on it and actually do something to repair their mid-card championships and bolster the main event with new talent.
 
 
Current Location: At home, in the study
Current Mood: Sleepy
Current Music: Staind: Believe
 
 
SKSpawn
George Romero’s 1998 script, produced from a screen story by Romero and Peter Grunwald, is surprisingly closer to the aesthetic style and atmosphere of the original Resident Evil videogame than Paul W.S. Anderson’s eventual 2002 film,[1] yet contains many issues that, rather than being addressed in subsequent re-drafts, were ignored in favour of a complete overhaul.  These range from clichés often closely associated with Romero, to a close, almost uninspired fidelity to the source material.  Like the videogame, Romero’s script features Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield as the central protagonists.  Jill is largely similar to her videogame counterpart, being somewhat overwhelmed by the events surrounding her, rather insubordinate to her superiors, yet militaristic and direct in her actions and capabilities.  Chris, however, undergoes a significant alteration; rather than being a member of S.T.A.R.S. (here a military organisation rather than being associated with the Raccoon Police Department), Chris is depicted as a “part Mohawk” Native American who has strong ties to the Arklay land and a close association with nature.  As part of her cover story, Jill initiates a sexual relationship with Chris in order to gather intelligence on the Arklay Mountains and the mansion where the T-Virus outbreak occurs; Chris is swept along due to his need to find answers concerning both the infected and Jill’s betrayal.  These alterations are apparently intended to make Chris the voice of reason among the other S.T.A.R.S. members, who mostly follow orders or are concerned with their own survival rather than the implications the T-Virus has on natural life.  Chris’s capabilities are severely downgraded from his videogame counterpart and he spends the majority of the script brandishing “an old Winchester rifle” in contrast to the well-armed S.T.A.R.S. members.
            Jill’s Alpha Team, made up of Russo, Williams, and Disimone, is quickly massacred, leaving Jill the only survivor.  Albert Wesker leads Bravo Team, twelve additional commandos (including Barry Burton, Brad Vickers, Rebecca Chambers, Richard Aiken, Kenneth Sullivan, Rosie Rodriguez, Forest Speyer, and Laguardia) to assist, and they are immediately beset by zombie dogs and forced into the mansion, as in Resident Evil.  Wesker and Barry are portrayed as old friends, almost like brothers; Rodriguez, ironically much like Michelle Rodriquez’s Rain from Anderson’s film, is a trash-talking tough girl, while Rebecca is a nearly non-existent and inconsequential medical officer.  Nevertheless, they closely resemble Resident Evil’s S.T.A.R.S. members rather than being entirely original characters as in Anderson’s film, yet Anderson’s Umbrella Special Forces Commandos fill a very similar role.  Wesker also serves as Romero’s principal exposition as he relates the mansion’s history, the experiments being performed there, and their mission to rescue Dr. John Marcus and recover key research data.  Much of this dialogue is mirrored by the Red Queen and serves as blatant exposition, sandwiched between moments of gore-filled action, reading very much like the videogame’s passive cutscenes.  The team navigates the mansion using various coloured key cards, solving some familiar puzzles involving grandfather clocks and crests, and utilising a map similar to the computerised system seen in Anderson’s adaptation.[2] These aspects, excised completely from Anderson’s films, are depicted as security measures built in by the mansion’s eccentric architect, yet they make the mansion much bigger than usually depicted in order to encompass the script’s large, shifting labyrinth-like rooms and puzzles, and the decision to replace these with Anderson’s more practical key card/password system seems a wise and realistic aesthetic decision, especially considering the majority of Resident Evil’s puzzles simply provide keys to open new areas.
            Depending on the avatar, either Jill or Chris can go missing after S.T.A.R.S. take refuge; in Romero’s script, both Jill and Chris rendezvous with S.T.A.R.S. at different points to reference this, with both eliminating multiple zombies along the way.  Though Jill and Chris both exhibit an uncharacteristically aggressive disrespect for Wesker (Resident Evil depicted both as frustrated by Wesker’s secrecy but nonetheless trusting him until the finale), Chris is far more vocal, turning his confusion into anger at the events which have left his homeland a bloody mess.  He directly blames Wesker for these events, and Jill for her betrayal, and he continues to butt heads with both throughout their investigation.  Romero’s script draws principally from Resident Evil alone –Resident Evil 2 only influences are the mysterious, bloodcurdling, roar echoing throughout the mansion similar to G’s and Ada Wong (albeit as a scientist who assisted in developing the T-Virus and delivering yet more superfluous exposition, rather than being a double agent).  The mansion is beset by Plant 42’s destructive growth, infected sharks, a giant snake, and even the murderous Hunters, all lifted directly from the original videogame, and showcasing the scale of Umbrella’s research and the impact of the T-Virus beyond “simply” reanimating dead tissue.  Whereas the exact implications of the T-Virus in Anderson’s films is left mostly unclear, Romero’s script openly lifts its purpose – to create nigh-indestructible B.O.W.s for use in warfare – from the videogame, whereas this only become relevant in Anderson’s films after the T-Virus was released in the Hive.  This research culminates in, like the videogame, the Tyrant, and its subsequent rampage mirrors the closing moments of the videogame very closely.  By including these creatures, most of which are rather large, complicated, and cumbersome entities, the budget for Romero’s vision would conceivably far exceed that of Anderson’s more low-key, fixed approach.[3] Additionally, the script’s extremely graphic depictions of zombie and creature attacks, with victims being ripped apart and torn open and copious gore that mirrors Dawn and Day of the Dead, takes it far from an R-rating.[4] These factors were clearly at odds with the film studios and Capcom, who desired a more manageable budget and wider audience range, which is also at odds with Romero’s surprising faithful adaptation.
            In addition to incorporating more recognisable Resident Evil elements, Romero is not shy about self-gratification: characters draw comparisons to Night of the Living Dead and call zombies “ghouls”, and the increased emphasis on both military presence and Umbrella’s surreptitious nature is extremely similar to the military’s depiction in The Crazies (Romero, 1973).  Romero’s cynicism regarding government and corporate power is reflected in Wesker’s superiors being devoid of personality and appearance: “We see no faces.  But expensive watches, sleeves with high-ranking stripes, indicate wealth, power, and a military presence”.  Wesker’s depiction is much more military-orientated; his focus on the mission and barking orders reflects this, and it is easy to see how his characterisation could have evolved into Anderson’s One.  Perhaps the only line of Romero’s to reach Anderson’s is “we live here now”, originally delivered by Rodriguez throughout the script in extraneous reference to her childhood.  While the line becomes over-emphasised and is far from relevant in Romero’s script, when delivered by Rain it highlights the dire situation that she and the others are in.
            Romero’s closer adherence to gameplay mechanics is again evident in the conservation of resources; having been beset by enemies and rendered expendable, Wesker orders the division of ammo and supplies, mentioning that they came unprepared for the odds they face.  While Anderson’s Commandos are similarly unprepared, they nevertheless enter the Hive fully equipped and fully armed; such resources allow the protagonists to gun down their zombie attackers without the fear of running out of ammunition, though their armaments are inevitably useless against the Red Queen’s defences.  These, specifically the laser grid system, surprisingly appear in Romero’s script, though only as a quick jump-scare, with the true danger coming from the acidic steam the lasers trigger, which causes a gruesome death.  Thus, both Romero’s mutated creatures and Anderson’s laser grid serve the same ends – the deaths of minor characters, though Romero’s approach to this is much closer to the videogame than Anderson, who openly voices his appreciation for the source material, as opposed to Romero, who largely dislikes videogames.  Whereas in Anderson’s film, the lasers are significant, in Romero’s script they are glossed over in favour of an overly complex battle against Plant 42 and a mutated copperhead snake, both more suitable inclusions to a Resident Evil adaptation given their prominence in the videogame, yet clearly more expensive to incorporate than Anderson’s more subdued lasers.
            As S.T.A.R.S. navigates Umbrella’s laboratory, they are beset by Hunters, which are given an extreme durability upgrade.  In Resident Evil, the Hunters were far stronger, faster, and more aggressive than zombies, providing an effective difficulty spike, yet they could still be dispatched using small arms fire (though close-range weapons like the shotgun were more effective).  Romero’s Hunters are practically indestructible as their skeletal structure is protected by a metallic coating – the only effective tactic is to aim for their joints (an action that Resident Evil’s stiff, restrictive controls would not allow), and even then they continue their relentless pursuit, crawling and dragging themselves along the floor.  The survivors take refuge with Ada, who wishes to atone for her part in creating the T-Virus.  Her videogame counterpart’s lost love, John, is amalgamated with Professor James Marcus, the videogame creator of the T-Virus, to become Dr. John Marcus, a markedly different character whose work Ada describes as being “for humanitarian purposes”, rather than specifically creating the T-Virus for military applications.  This is pinned directly onto Umbrella, who corrupted Marcus’ research, and this concept was later explored through Resident Evil: Apocalypse’s Dr. Charles Ashford.  Ada, far from her deceitful, untrustworthy, and sultry videogame counterpart, awkwardly explains the film’s events directly to the audience and the characters before the finale, rather than this information coming naturally.
            Ada’s attempts to keep Wesker out of D Lab are unsuccessful, as Wesker’s true motivations are revealed and he activates the Tyrant, confiding in Barry his intentions to retrieve the creature’s data, sell it to Umbrella, and split the money between himself and Barry as payback for Barry’s loyalty and friendship.  Once Romero’s script enters D Lab, it closely follows the videogame’s final revelations, with Chris, Jill, and Barry openly opposing Wesker’s schemes and the Tyrant escaping and going on a rampage.  By not resorting to a mid-level enemy like the Licker for his finale, Romero’s conclusion is considerably augmented, as the Tyrant is practically unstoppable.  Its physical threat, imposing stature, unrelenting nature, and iconography as the classic Resident Evil final boss give the finale a danger and tension that we must be convinced of in Anderson’s finale as his Licker has to undergo a significant mutation into a less-recognisable version of itself in order to match the Tyrant.  As in the videogame, the Tyrant tears Wesker apart during its rampage, although Romero’s script describes this death as being so total and horrific that it seems unlikely that Wesker could have revived himself as in the videogames.[5]
            As the final countdown to the destruction and eradication of all the evidence of the T-Virus takes place, the survivors are beset by zombies, infected crows, and forced to solve contrived puzzles to access a secret passage.  The tension is somewhat numbed by these distractions; typically, Resident Evil players face relatively few enemies and some rudimentary but necessary puzzles[6] while an ominous countdown flickers onscreen, but few distractions that slow progress to a crawl, as in Romero’s script.  Like the videogame, though, the final confrontation between the Tyrant and the survivors is short-lived, as a single Stinger missile is enough destroy it.  This ending is more predictable than Anderson’s, which mirrored Resident Evil 2’s ending, but the specifics and fundamental impact deviated quite considerably due to Anderson’s belief that to simply copy the videogame eliminated any suspense or tension for Resident Evil veterans.[7] Instead, Romero adheres closely to the source material’s finale, with the Tyrant dispatched almost identically and the final survivors escaping just as and the mansion explodes.  Romero deviates by making this explosion powerful enough to eradicate Raccoon City, which has been overrun with zombies, effectively encompassing the ending of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and seemingly eliminating the possibility of a direct sequel.  Quite how the protagonists survive this is left unresolved, but the imagery suggests Romero intended on a big, gory, explosive finale, one that reads as being very abrupt and total rather than Anderson’s cliffhanger or the videogame’s various endings.
            Overall, Romero’s script reads very much as a first draft; there are clear elements, such as dialogue and characterisation, which require re-drafts to make them less contrived, and the characters more three-dimensional.[8] Largely, it ironically reads very much like the original Resident Evil videogame, with cheesy dialogue and awkward, flat characterisations.  These issues were addressed in subsequent sequels and remakes, with the localisation improving over time and characters becoming more detailed and intricate.  Thus, it is not too unbelievable that Romero’s script could have been improved and the constant repetition of “we live here now” and Chris’s cringe-inducing speech about evil “[residing] in all of us”, in a contrived justification of the film’s title beyond the simple and obvious fact that evil literally resides in the mansion, could have been eliminated altogether.  Additionally, rewrites could possibly eliminate the larger creatures and emphasised zombies, as in Anderson’s film, which avoided B.OW.s completely.  The Licker was the obvious exception, serving as the big effects finale, but Romero’s script is littered with B.O.W.s – virtually every Resident Evil enemy is present.  While enemy variation is important in videogames to maintain player interest and increase difficulty, on film the appearance of so many different creatures could potentially overwhelm it with underexplored monstrosities.  Anderson’s films, after all, rely heavily on traditional zombies and utilise B.O.W.s for the finale, rather than focusing on them, ironically making Anderson’s films more zombie films than Resident Evil movies, as the videogames are generally concerned with addressing the T-Virus’s communicability, and zombies are simply a by-product of this rather than the main objective, and this is very much reflected in Romero’s script.
            The result is that, oddly, Romero’s Resident Evil is less a Romero film infused with videogame elements, and more a slavish videogame adaptation, with certain elements and characters altered in order to create, or force, friction between the characters and unpredictability.  Rather than critiquing society, consumerism, or even videogame culture, Romero delivered a banal gore-fest, one that attempts to cram as much from its source material as possible to showcase its fidelity, rather than attempting to adapt gameplay elements and characters in smarter, more sophisticated ways.  While Anderson fails to produce direct adaptations, he nevertheless strived to include a fresh, perspective; despite Anderson’s first film initially attempting to be a Resident Evil prequel, they are more inspired by the videogames than adapted from.  Romero’s script, however, is the opposite; even though he utilises videogame characters, they all read very similar, especially supporting characters, and utilising the videogame’s puzzles seems unrealistic within the mansion’s confines, whose architecture, on film, promotes realism rather than fantasy.  Finally, while videogame purists and fans may yearn for absolute fidelity, there is a considerable difference between adapting smartly and adapting directly, and Romero appears to have produced the latter.[9] For all Anderson’s faults, particularly his first Resident Evil, Romero’s script reveals how attempting to incorporate every aspect of Resident Evil into a single movie causes characterisation to suffer and the impact of the various creatures to be lessened.  Where Anderson infuses a sci-fi, action-horror aesthetic, pulling visual inspiration from various other successful action movie archetypes, Romero relies solely on gore.  By creating a more marketable, accessible, and audience-friendly film, Anderson was able to improve upon any faults in sequels and introduce other videogame elements, even though they clash with their source material.  As this aligned with the intentions of the multiple production companies behind the Resident Evil films, it is hardly surprising that Anderson’s vision won out over Romero’s, whose adaptation reads, for all its attempts at slavish fidelity, as unimaginative and lacklustre, literally as though he was given crib notes concerning the general aspects of the videogame and worked from them, rather than attempting to incorporate these elements in a smarter, more inspired way.


[1] “…this is probably the first script for a movie where it's almost one-hundred percent accurate to which the property it’s based” (Nukem85, 2014).
[2] “The script runs a lot like a video game […] They have to get to level D.  They start on level A, then go a floor down to B, […] and so on.  On each floor there are more zombies and various undead creatures until they get to bottom level where the big bad guy awaits” (Quint, 2000).
[3] In Resident Evil: Apocalypse’s director’s commentary, Anderson claims that the inclusion of the Licker came in the final stages of the first film’s development.
[4] “There’s about 50 zombie headshots, there are legs ripped off, animal body parts […] A man is half digested by a huge snake.  The Hunters go to work on an unlucky bastard with their metallic claws.  The Tyrant skewers a few people with his huge, bionic hand.  Ahh.  The wonderful world of Romero” (Quint, 2000).
[5] As this was retroactively introduced in CODE: Veronica, this gruesome death can be understood as being Wesker’s much-deserved and overdue fate, rather than a deviation from the source material, as Wesker’s death seemed to be total and final in Resident Evil.
[6] In Resident Evil 2, for example, the final puzzle of Leon or Claire’s “B” Scenario involves activating an underground train and opening a gateway in order to allow the survivors to escape.
[7] As stated in the Resident Evil commentary track.
[8] “I found myself cringing at some of the dialogue […] At times some of the supporting characters that provide comedic relief for the movie often provided poorly timed sarcastic comebacks and quips” (Nukem85, 2014).
[9]…this script held potential for a totally kick-ass zombie movie […] I went into the script hoping to see why the Suits kicked Romero off the project.  I’m as confused as ever now […] With just a little work it would be a great script. With Romero directing, it no doubt would have been a helluva thrill ride” (Quint, 2000).
 
 
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