Back on Sonic's home planet, Eggman has collected all 7 of the Chaos Emeralds, and is about to have absolute power when Sonic interferes, causing an explosion that sends everyone from their world to Earth. Sonic and his friends team up with 12 year old Christopher Thorndyke to collect all the Chaos Emeralds and defeat the evil Dr. Eggman.
Few names in the history of video games have raised controversy and fierce arguments like Sonic the Hedgehog. In the early 1990s, Sonic was almost universally beloved. His games were fast, simple, and fun. They didn't have the massive number of worlds, secrets, and re-playability that Super Mario for SNES had, but they were the best thing on the Genesis/Masterdrive system...other than Rocket Knight Adventures of course. However, since the Sega Saturn came out, Sonic has starred in a lot of REALLY horrible games including: Sonic R, Sonic Fighters, Sonic Shuffle, Sonic 06, Sonic Free Riders, Sonic Boom: the Rise Lyric etc. At this point
Sonic is an absolute joke and most Sonic fans are angry Sega kids in their late 20s and early 30s driven by nostalgia, bitterness, and a refusal to admit they should have just bought a SNES. "Shut up you damn kids! Sonic is good!"
Why would I even review a Sonic anime? Simply put, I was a Sega kid. During the late 80s and early 1990s, there was a resentment of Japan in the US caused by fear of Japan's rapidly growing economy, similar to how Americans feel about China now. Few Americans disliked Japan more than my old man, largely thanks to his partially Chinese heritage. Whereas the SNES was filled with anime inspired JRPGs and fully embraced its Japanese origin, Sega in the US focused on sports games, beat em ups, and if you didn't know better (my dad didn't) you would think Sega was a real, red blooded American company. Even though retrospectively the SNES was a superior system in graphics, sound, game library and every other category, I ended up with a Sega genesis because MURICA! ...Even though Sega is in fact a Japanese company. My friends got to play games that revolutionized storytelling in video games like Final Fantasy 6, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, etc. I got to play really primitive football games where the playbook complexity was at the level of "run play" or "pass play", all the teams had the same stats, and you were lucky if they even had the real team names, let alone the player names. I got to play platformers with NO draw distance like Tazmania, where everything is trial and error rather than actual skill. I got to enjoy inferior ports of games with 1/2 the levels and quality of their SNES counterparts like Sunset Riders and Hyperstone Heist. If you were a dumb jock who was around college age in the early 1990s, the Sega Genesis was a passable system. Otherwise it fucking SUCKED! We Sega kids are so forgiving and dedicated towards Sonic because he was basically ALL we had God Damn it! Other than Sparkster-Sama the Rocket Knight of course (Peace be upon Him).
Story and characters: 3/10
The story is that Sonic, Robotnik, and all the other Sonic characters get teleported to Earth thanks to a bullshit plot device and Sonic must team up with a young boy named Chris and his other human friends to stop Robotnik (Eggman), retrieve the chaos emeralds, and return home. That sounds pretty simple right? The problem with Sonic X, like the later Sonic games is that they feel the need to try tell a ridiculously convoluted story and end up failing miserably. Sonic was never really about the story in the first place! Stop trying to make Sonic into Final Fantasy! The best story for any Sonic game or show was easily the American cartoon Sonic SatAm, which kept a fairly simple premise, didn't have a million worthless characters, and focused on the theme of environmental preservation vs. industrialization. Sonic didn't have lots of human sidekicks because the only humans were Robotnik and his assistant, who had taken over Sonic's world and were rapidly destroying the planet's environment and turning the animals into robots. The quality came not from how mindblowing the story itself was, but HOW the story was told and the overall tone and world the show created. There was no need for ancient deities, time travel, and worthless friends like "Vector the Crocodile". Sonic Team should have realized that overly complex sub-plots and extra sidekicks wasn't improving the quality, but they keep reaching for the stove and getting burned over and over again! After the first couple seasons, the show could have ended with a small fragment of decency. Instead we get a time skip and a completely unnecessary 3rd season that more than jumped the shark. It would be more accurate to say it pulled a Dr. Strangeglove and cheerfully rode the A-bomb into oblivion.
Let me be real honest here. Sonic X looks like crap. I don't like the human art models, I don't like the animal character models, I thought the animation was atrocious. I really don't have anything positive to say on this topic.
Sonic may have had some faults, but Sonic games have traditionally had AMAZING quality soundtracks. The Sonic OSTs for Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Sonic and Knuckles are some of the catchiest, most awesome video game music ever written. Even Michael Jackson himself helped compose the soundtrack for Sonic 3! How is the music in Sonic X? Lets just say it REALLY doesn't live up to the legacy of Sonic music.
Sonic X did NOTHING to help breathe new life into the ailing Sonic franchise. I stand with the majority of critics in my opinion that at this point, Sonic should be taken out back and put out of his misery like Old Yeller. The only entertainment you can get out of this show is that the voice actors for the American dub are the same poor sons of bitches that had to dub the Video Brinquedo (Brazilian Pixar) knockoff cartoons. Every time Robotnik says anything I want to chime in "precisely". Cookie if you get that last joke. Even though this series was aimed at children, I can't honestly recommend this one to young viewers, old Sonic fans, or really anyone else. Other than maybe extreme masochists.
I don't really wanna review Sonic X. What about you, Tails? Do you want to? (Tails staring at me bored and pissed) Well...... Sorry Tails, I have to do this anyway. We all know Sonic. He's the badass mascot of SEGA that spawned in the Genesis in the 90's and became a pop culture phenomenon. When news began of a Sonic anime in the works, fans were thrilled with excitement and maybe Sonic can translate well into anime. But then came 4Kids! and...... The results were not pretty. Hated by both Sonic and anime fans, Sonic X was a huge failure among fans of Sonic,
due to ridiculous plot, ripping off other animes and terrible new characters.
Sonic X begins with, who else, Sonic and his friends going to Dr. Eggman's base to rescue Cream and her Chao, when a nuclear reaction on the Chaos Emerald exploded and sending Sonic and his pals to Earth. That makes sense right guys?..... Moving on. After the weird explosion, Sonic gets chased by cops and ends up falling into the pool of a kid's house named Chris Thorndyke, a 10-year-old boy who lives with his grandfather Chuck and her maid Ella. So in the first season, it begins with a bang and then it goes a little bit strange for me. First, why the hell did Sonic and his friends end on Earth? DIdn't the place that they live is basically Earth? If not, then what's the name of their world then?! (although they did explain this in the second season of Sonic X, but the way they explain it is messed up). Second, how can a Chaos Emerald send you trough time? Cause that was never even in the games and things get even crazier in the second season of Sonic X, when they introduced another new character Cosmo and boy, they crammed up a lot of story into Season 2, cause the amount of backstory that they give to the plot in Sonic X just screams epic bullshit all the way in my opinion. Also, i found out that Sonic X in Japan was more violent and bloody than the US version, they even show Sonic bleeding while in a fight with Shadow in the Japanese version and hearing both Sonic and Tails swear a lot in the Japanese version, as well as Amy saying "Fuck". It was so controversial that 4Kids! edited the living crap out of Sonic X, so that it may receive a TV-Y7 rating in the US.
There are some things that I really like about Sonic X. First the animation. While it's not really perfect and there are a few incredibly bland backgrounds at times, the art and character models do look really good and fluid. Character models really bring the Sonic feel to life and they really work on each of the characters personalities from the game into the anime. the sense of speed really goes perfectly with the art and it really looks damn good on screen. Also, i like how the creators are, at least, giving some of this characters some depth to it, where many other Sonic games failed. There's one part where Sonic comes to see Amy, but Amy gets angry at him cause he always left her without telling her and then Sonic actually gives a Rose, apologizes to her and telling Amy that he would actually stay with her by the end of the world in the Jap version! Holy shit, Sonic, that's pretty damn deep. Also in the Jap version, the character development in Shadow was really great and I really can't believe i care for the guy, but really I just did. To be fair as well, while this anime does sometimes rips off some cliches from animes, it does deliver some very funny moments that make Sonic X worth the time to enjoy.
Now the main reason I think Sonic X fails is because of the shitty English dub and dialogue script that 4Kids! wrote for the US version of Sonic X (in which I do agree on). Voice-acting can be a hit or miss and it does fit the voices for each character, but sometimes the English voices can be extremely corny and cheesy and hell and the terrible script for the 4Kids! version ruins the show. It often feels rushed and really ruining some of the character development by making it too damn simple, i mean, really, couldn't they write something better than the script that these voice-actors were given to do?. Also, characters like Chris, Cosmo and etc. are really bland and useless. Chris looks like Sora from Kingdom Hearts and basically, he's just there to be a buddy with Sonic, nothing more and Cosmo is just for Tails to have a love interest, just like Sonic and Amy.
If you wanna see Sonic X, see the Japanese version instead. It has better English subtitles dialouge and some nice character development to it. I don't recommend the English dub, cause 4Kids! really ruined it by cutting too much plot from the Japanese version and just rushing the series for a quick-buck. If Sonic X was dubbed by Funimation instead of 4Kids!, it would have been so much better for Sonic X, cause Funimation only does little editing on animes all the damn time. It's not the greatest thing ever, but it's definitely not the worst thing ever made, it's actually pretty enjoyable and it worth the interest if you like, but please, see the Japanese version, not the 4Kids! one.... Thank you.
There's something to be said when a Sonic fan hates a Sonic show so much that they have to write a review on a public website so that other people can see it and (most likely) disagree. But let me say this clearly: I am a huge Sonic the Hedgehog fan and I hate this show.
Why do I hate this show so much? Well, let's compare it to the best Sonic TV Show ever, Sonic SatAM.
Sonic X: well... maybe like, 5 out of 10.
Sonic SatAM: 9/10
Any of you who remember Sonic SatAM know that the storyline was pretty intense while still at the same
time being humorous. It could balance seriousness and comedy and that was something that made the show so good. I mean, the show was about pollution for the most part, but Sonic and the others DID talk about other things AND created comedy out of the situation. You might not have realized you were learning about the environment, and you probably weren't really. But I'm sure that you saw Robotnik's home and thought 'Ew gross, jeez, I hope this doesn't happen where I'm from' or something like that.
Sonic X, I have to say starts off with a decent plot but only if you know the characters already. If you just come in, they show you all the characters, but you don't really know them. I think that the original two arcs for this series is chronicled in the two games Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 (SADX and SA2B for Gamecube players). Well, the games are better than the series itself, but for the most part, the stories are the same. But the characters do play a part in the plot, so I can't say that I can put the plot up high, like I would if we were just talking about the game.
Sonic SatAM: For me 8/10
Sonic X: For me, 6/10
This really depends on which Sonic you like better, honestly. They're drawn in two different styles and I prefer the older Sonic to the newer one. The art is pretty clean in Sonic X. It's also pretty good in Sonic SatAM. I think the backdrops in both are really good, and the character design again, really depends on which Sonic you like. Same with all the other characters. The only character that would make any real difference is probably Robotnik, as known as Eggman (Why?). I think his design was the most radical change ever (since he went from pointy headed with small, red eyes to... well, Eggman). Honestly, I like the newer Robotnik (Eggman) better. The Older one just was creepy. Although hilarious.
Sonic SatAM: 10/10
Sonic X: skklfjklsadjfkjdakkkkkk
Sonic SatAM has THE BEST OPENING EVER. Like seriously, how could you not get pumped for the show when you heard it? If you weren't thrilled by the theme itself, you could get excited watching the opening animation itself. So there you go.
While Sonic X's animation is pretty intense for reasons I can't explain other than running everywhere all the time, I can also say that the theme song is pretty meh. It reminds me of the Yu-Gi-Oh one or the Digimon one, only not executed well. The premise behind these themes is just to repeat the name of the show over and over again in the hopes that you'll remember the show with only a few other words that aren't like "Digimon' or whatever. Sonic X tries to do that, but it's not really well executed. I moreso got annoyed. There's only so many times I can here "gotta go faster, faster, faster, faster, faster" before I want to skip to the commercials for relief. But sometimes I'm really stoked when I hear it, like, "AW MAN I LOVE THIS" and sometimes I'm just like "Eh." And I really can't say that it's because the song is bad. I can't say that it's because it's good. So I don't know how to rate this. I just know that I'm a fan of the opening theme for the most part.
Both series have their pitfalls, but I will give them both a pretty high score for voice acting, even if I don't think some characters matched their voices. As always, Knuckles is a favorite character and most people AGREE with his voice actor. Big sucks, but his voice did match his absolute suckiness. Amy's voice actor was good too. Rouge also. Only one voice would grate at my nerves for hours on end, CHRIS. And since he was in PRETTY MUCH EVERY EPISODE, everyone sounded okay in comparison, as long as he shut up.
Sonic SatAM: 7/10
Sonic X: 2/10
This is where Sonic SatAm can dull a little bit. Sonic SatAM consists of a wide range of characters, in what I call Sonic Syndrome. SEGA shows that they can't leave Sonic well enough alone by constantly adding new characters to the games without any real reason and then dropping them forever afterwards. Granted, all the characters in Sonic SatAM are in the comic series... but it's still sort of like "Do any of these guys do anything but wait around for Sonic?" And everyone always hates on Tails, but he's one of the only characters who is CONSISTENT in the series. Props, Tails. Props.
Sonic X has the biggest case of Pretentious Sonic Syndrome-- adding characters to the series and then acting like those characters are so totally canon. Prime Example: CHRIS AND HIS ENTIRE FAMILY. If you played the games, when you watch the show, you're like, "What the fuck is this? Who thought this was a good idea? Why? Why?" Yes, we get that Sonic enters 'our world', but he never befriends a human to the point of living with him. I guess you could say that a hole in the plot of the games is that everything seems to take place in just about one or two days... but that's the entire point. Sonic is fast. When he saves the world, he does it quickly. He doesn't need Chris or Chuck or any of that stuff. And Chris isn't even well written, in my opinion. I don't know, I would just play the game at that point.
Sonic SatAM: 10/10
Sonic x: 1/10
No, I'm not going to be nice. I hate Sonic X. HATE. I went in thinking it would be good and, like any good Sonic fan, I defended the hell out of this show. But I blame 4Kids for the lack of creative process put into the show, and I honestly hope no one watches this because holy crap, it is terrible. It's not even that the premise is bad, it's that it was executed terribly despite 4Kids having the thing set up in front of them. Seriously. The series was RIGHT THERE, already written out in all of it's fantastic gaming glory but no one thought to themselves, "Hey, the people who watch this because they like Sonic are gonna get really pissed off." On the other hand, if you like Sonic and old cartoons, you'll probably like Sonic SatAM (and probably think Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is hilarious/deplorable and that Sonic Underground shouldn't even exist). In other words, play the game or watch something else Sonic related. Like the straight-to-VHS movie, Sonic the Hedgehog. DEFINITELY WATCH THAT. Not this. This should be placed in the bowels of hell and forgotten about.
Sonic X was a favorite of mine back in the day. When the show aired on Saturday mornings, courtesy of the CW4kids, the Sonic fan in me tuned in every Saturday to watch the adventures of Chris Thorndyke and his stranded alien, animal, anthropomorphic friends. What Sega hoped to do what this series was popularize the brand by conveying Sonic's video game adventures in a television format.
Does it work? Sort of . . . It gets some things right but some things wrong.
Story (7/10): Season 1 is a mostly episodic set-up that details the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (I mean, Sonic and Chris).
The first episode details how Chaos Control (teleportation, a power granted by the Chaos Emeralds) mis-used by Eggman whisks Sonic and his friends away from their planet, Mobius, to the real world. There, Sonic and his friends take shelter at the home of a lonely, 12-year-old rich kid name Chris's mansion. In fear of what would happen if their identities were revealed, Chris tries to help Sonic and co. stay below the public eye (though these attempts ultimately prove futile). As you can tell by this premise, there are little to no overarching plot details, so I'll have to judge the episodic story lines by what merits do have. They're a blend of action and slice-of-life sitcom antics that worked okay for me at the time but thinking back on it now, come off as rather bland. The central reason behind this is how oddly slow-paced this show is.
Most modern cartoon series know that kids tend to prefer a faster pace. It lends itself to more intense action, snappier comedy, and compelling events. These things help keep aforementioned target audience interested. Unfortunately, Sonic X doesn't really do this. Even as a kid, I recall yawning during most of these season 1 episodes because the writers spent way too much time on conversational scenes that have no weight. Because of the archetypal nature of these characters, conversations in the boring mansion backdrop aren't going to entertain, especially when they're sparse on humor. Oddly enough, the human characters are used for humor more often than Sonic's group, who seem to take their conflicts a bit too seriously. This results in an uneven tone that only kept me hooked because I cared about the Sonic characters.
Season two picks things up a bit, adapting plots from Sonic Adventures 1 and 2, only using the human characters established in the series. Now, this was a bit more compelling. From Sonic and Shadow's duels, to the climatic battles between titanic foes, season 2 was action-packed and filled with thrills that entertained me at the time. There's a surprising bit of pathos behind the stories, and even the slower-paced conversational scenes worked better because it felt there was actually something to talk about. Sure, 12-year-old wish fulfillment was at play here, but it was still a LOT more enjoyable than season 1.
Season three is . . . weird. This time around, Eggman's not even an antagonist, but an occasional ally. The foe this time around is a space-fearing race known as the Meterax who are in pursuit of an OC for reasons established during the plot. It's the series attempt at an overarching story, and it does a decent job. The Meterax are pretty bland as far as overlords go, but to its credit, the arc is fairly well-executed Ensemble darkhorses like Shadow and Rogue only get bit parts (unfortunately), but otherwise, it's a decently executed (if not terribly distinct) storyline.
Art (5/10): Ugh. TMS does not bring their best here at all. Very little here is well-done. The colors are bland, the backgrounds are forgettable, and the animation is limited during conversations and cuts corners during fight scenes. This is egregious because a series like Sonic should be more fast-paced (pun totally intended), not a weird mix of camera pans, looped animation, and dragged frames. The human character designs are bland, with little to distinguish them from the anime grain.
To its credit, though, the Sonic characters are rendered accurately. Sure, Snic has less quills than he normally does, but TMS brings their designs to traditional animation form about as accurately as one could do so. If only they moved a little more . . .
Sound (8/10): Whether America's "Gotta Go Fast" or Japan's "Sonic Drive", I remember Sonic X for its iconic themes. They were catchy, upbeat, and opening themes that really capture the tone of the video game series. The 4kids score, however, was pretty weak and didn't have any memorable tones. The anime's, however, was well-done and matched the on-screen action well.
The future ending themes for Sonic X in Japan were strong as well. T.O.P was my personal favorite. Combined with cool on-screen visuals, it conveyed the smooth, cool side of Sonic exceptionally well.
While the English dub of this series is well-cast, it's not terribly well-acted. Besides its script inconsistencies, the voice acting is stiff and awkward at times (it would take time for this cast to come into their own). Conversely, the Japanese voice isn't terribly well-cast, but its much better acted. I wouldn't blame most people if they watched the sub on Hulu because of this.
Character (6/10): I mentioned earlier that Sonic and his friends are archetypal, but that doesn't mean they have to be boring. These video game characters have enough personality that they should be able to drive a series like this. Unfortunately, they don't get enough screen time and what little they do get is marred by underwhelming comedy, and poorly-executed build up to episodic conflicts. Sonic, in particular, feels like an enigmatic drifter who we only cut to when we need him. He's got his cocky, classical anti-hero style traits like he does in the video games, but they don't shine through here because the main character spot is taken by Chris Throndyke, an utterly forgettable progtagonist. Ash Ketchum and the lead from the Beyblade series look compelling compared to this guy's generic niceness, really looks up to Sonic as role model stuff. His one distinctive trait (his lonely rich kid side) doesn't get enough screen time or development to be interesting. To his credit, though, his emotion in some particularly tear-jerking scenes does ring true.
The other human characters are pretty boring. The butler has his moments but isn't strong enough to be memorable, the scientist is bland in much the same Chris is, and the maid is a boring stereotype. Chris's uncle, Sam, is a weak Human Torch expy, and the President is about as memorable as an unnamed president would be.
One of the only strong characters in the human cast is Topaz, an original character who is a member of GUN. Her vitriolic relationship with Rogue is well-executed, and she's played refreshing straight as a normal person swept into these events without her consent. A couple one-shot humans, like a traumatized GUN soldier in seasons 2, and Helen in season 3, are also portrayed effectively and show more distinctiveness than their supporting/main character peers.
As for Sonic's friends, they have their canon traits. Amy loves Sonic, yet is kinda violent to everyone else, Cream is the enthusiastic younger sister type character, Knuckles is, well, a knucklehead who is kinda slow at times, and Tails is the upbeat, ready to help sidekick. These personalities don't get a lot of limelight in season 1, but get some tests in seasons 2 and 3. These moments are refreshing, but they certainly don't take them out of one-note character. Dr. Eggman is admittedly entertaining, and he gets really cool a couple times late in the series but is mostly a bright spot because the rest of the cast is that bland. It's bit post-morteum to say this now, but his robot buddies, Decoe and Boccoe, are only good for a couple gags.
Enjoyment (6/10): I LOVED this series when I was younger. For all its flaws, it was my favorite characters on the TV screen, battling evil, going through drama, and having fun together. Does it really stack up for me now?
Honestly, there are so many other series that fill the quotient for this series better. It has a really yawn-inducing first season, and the next two seasons, while decently-executed, don't stand out much from its contemporaries. The main reason I'll remember this series is because of how nostalgic it was, and that despite its slow pace, I still tuned in every week I could.
So, props for that.
Overall (6/10): Don't watch this series if you're not a fan of the franchise, casual or otherwise. But, if you are, this series might be diverting. If you can make it past season 1, there are legitimately enjoyable plots, scenes, and character dramas. It's just not gonna appeal much to those who don't care about the franchise already.
Let's take a quick jog around memory lane and remember those anime you used to watch and enjoy as kids. Feel the nostalgia and see if your favorites made the list and discover more that other children enjoyed.
What happens when an anime goes on break? An eyecatch appears! Studios have produced these short clips not only to help transition into commercials, but also to provide you with special entertainment or important info. And without further ado, here are 15 of the most interesting anime eyecatches!