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Would the American story have been better


Miko
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Note: By "American story" I mean the mainstream perception of American or even western stories manuals of Robotnik being a tyrant and Sonic and co fighting him.

So if Japan had mixed the two stories to some extent, or just ditched the Japanese story altogether would it have been a better idea/move for Sonic? May post my ideas here eventually.

Edited by Miko
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No.

It would be no different. The only things different about the stories was the planet name and Eggman's name, and that was virtually it. There's nothing really seperate about the stories in the first place.

Everything else in the past could just as easily be brought back into today, provided they make a good story to appease the folks.

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I don't know really.

Would the games be the same, with the names Robotnik and Mobius in place, or would they introduce elements from the cartoons and comics, with more emphasis on talking animals instead of humans, and a darker, less friendly Robotnik?

All I know is, there's one person who wouldn't like that idea for sure.

Me, I could go either way. Heck, in some people's minds, The American story IS still going on in the Sonic canon. I know I still accept The Mario Bros as coming from Brooklyn via Drain Pipe, instead of always living in the Mushroom Kingdom.

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Many people would disagree. Could you see for instance Eggman being the cold brutish dictator of a particular location to people? Many really can't. The Japanese also didn't do the whole Freedom Fighter thing and had Sonic essentially roam around the planet.

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chaosartwork.png

Eww, constantly-scowling blind Eggman instead of the cutesy supervillain we have today?

I'm sorry, but Eggman's SoA design was horrifying, even before the cartoons deliberately made it even more twisted. What reason could they have to make him have no eyes? It was really an atrocious design decision, in my opinion.

Which also goes hand in hand with SoA's presentation of who Eggman is- As the writer's bible described him, "a man with no redeeming qualities." I just can't get into that kind of character. SoA Eggman was very shallow compared to the much deeper Japanese Eggman, I feel. His image was really off-putting to me, and I can't help but think that if SoA used the blue pince-nez glasses design for Eggman in their boxart as well, the later cartoons would also be more on-model to his original design, perhaps cementing his personality as a lovable and comedic villain even in the 90s.

It's amazing what one artistic decision can do for a character's image, really. And I feel this decision for Eggman really distorted his image in western territories.

Edited by El Gran Gordo
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To be fair I don't think the point was to get into the villian, rather the protaganist. Say where is the bible btw.

Perhaps, but Eggman was what got me into the Sonic series in the first place. Had the advent of dialog introduced more SoA elements instead of SoJ ones, and had my first impression of Eggman been an empty-eyed scowling psychopath, I doubt I'd have payed him- or the series- any mind, and simply moved on.

And... I don't know, the old board had a topic about it, but it's gone, so.

Didn't they actually have a cartoon planned that had the on model eggman? They had a preview of it in Sonic Jam called Man of the Year or something, but they seem to have scrapped the idea.

I remember that. I didn't know if that was a series concept, or simply a bonus cartoon, or what.

I'd love to have seen a Sonic cartoon that looked like that though. Eggman not only looked good, but he got to have fun and show off as he went on a disguised rampage through the city, which even had human inhabitants!

Edited by El Gran Gordo
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I think there are parts that work and parts that don't. If it went as serious as SATAM made it we'd have more games like Sonic 06' rather then Sonic Secret Rings or Heros.

If they fallowed the Japanese story but incorporated the American bits into it we wouldn't have such a terrible continuation as we do now. I like Sonic's youth story, making him a naturally fast hedgehog named Sonny but I don't like the Kintobor origin story (and being born in Nabraska, dear god no!). I think Sally and the Mobitropolise story could be used but I like Sonic being a wander better and not having him tied down with Knothole.

As a whole, both sides have good and bad sides and it was SoJ who decided to separate that.

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The American Sonic storyline is practically a myth. What they had actually intended for the western storyline was barely even used, only really showing up in the Fleetway comic (which evolved into its own thing anyway) and maybe some random one-shot comic elsewhere. The manuals were devoid of anything interesting, barely providing any more information than "Sonic good, Robotnik bad!" And everything else you think you know about the western storyline was cobbled together from various unrelated sources that contradict both the games and each other. It's all just a bunch of jumbled memories.

On the other hand, the Japanese storyline seems a lot less jumbled; as far as I know the OVA is the only thing that could really mess up the perception people had of it. It's also got some actual thought put into it, looking at the manuals; they actually explained how Sonic and Tails met, and they put together a legend for Angel Island that they ended up using as the basis for Sonic Adventure. And not to infringe on Gordo's schtick, but the Japanese/current interpretation of Eggman is a hell of a lot more interesting than any Robotnik that I've seen.

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I agree that Eggman is better as a many layered villain with motives besides "I'm evil", even if those motives are as deluded as building a city-park with his name on it. Our Eggman is a man of innovation, and that's certainly a redeeming quality. He doesn't mean harm, but he's not afraid to take what he thinks he needs to accomplish goals. This doesn't mean he's good either. Many real world evils are committed when people become negligible in the face of the greater good.

I also prefer the setting on Earth. It's nice to know that Eggman isn't the only human out there, and that he has a history with the other people of Earth, and that Sonic's considered a hero by most of them. The environments have become a little bogged down in that however, as if by being officially on Earth they've lost some of the more surreal locales on the planet we once considered Mobius. S3&K's Angel Island was much more fantastic than Sonic Adventure's.

I wish they'd have stuck with the idea of showing us how the Mobians live on their own, whether they stuck with the SatAM Knothole model, or the Sonic OVA. Either one had Sonic living in the wild, like a hedgehog would. When I think about other series where different species have their own kind of modified habitats, and Sonic's kind in the big city seems a little claustrophobic. I'd prefer if they had other Mobian NPCs just hanging out. Right now it's the opposite of Robotnik in the classics. Are Sonic and his friends the only anthros on the planet? Why not have a bunch of walrus people hanging out in Holoska with the ice people?

As for SatAM's setting, it's too dark and post-apocalypse for the main series. That's a story that needs to be told with continuity, because otherwise each game would be a cliffhanger. It's so much easier to say "save the world" or "save the princess" is your objective, instead of "destroy the Empire" which is of Star Wars scale. I would change a few things, and lose the shonen elements like I mentioned in the earlier thread. But I've been happy with developments recently. Unleashed and the Storybook games remind me of the good days of Sonic cartoons.

Edited by Badnikz
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No, and for once I am relieved. The American stylized 'story' wrote, executed, and sounded like horrible Sonic fanfiction you would read at some 12 year old's Sonic fansite- but with more Nebraska in it.

Gran Gordo... He's wearing his glasses. They just don't LOOK like glasses.

And I think all the art came out of Japan. So yeah.

Nope, not glasses. In other artistic studies of European Robotnik, you can clearly see they are two vapid pits of blackness, probably from two reasons:

1. Misinterpretation. Robotnik's glasses could be mistaken and re-designed for American audiences as two black "eyes"

2. Horrible translation. Culture clash made Robotnik for English-speaking audiences into a overbearing tyrannical beast, and was probably re-worked to fit this image. Two vapid pits without no pupils seemed to get the message across to a child-age audience.

And not all of the art came out of Japan. Most of the English stylized Robotnik pictures came from just that, English speaking countries, mainly SOA.

And from that style we get this lovely guy:

robotnikmodelpagebig.gif

robotnikmodel2.jpg

Which was the basis for the other Robotnik images floating around the English (and French) countries.

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The American Sonic storyline is practically a myth. What they had actually intended for the western storyline was barely even used, only really showing up in the Fleetway comic (which evolved into its own thing anyway) and maybe some random one-shot comic elsewhere. The manuals were devoid of anything interesting, barely providing any more information than "Sonic good, Robotnik bad!" And everything else you think you know about the western storyline was cobbled together from various unrelated sources that contradict both the games and each other. It's all just a bunch of jumbled memories.

The American story (Robotnik taking over factories, refineries and cities) with Sonic and co essentially having to fend for themselves and to stop him is essentially outlined in Sonic 1 and 2. I should probably expand on this in the OP but the general American or even western idea of Robotik being a tyrant and Sonic and co fighting him, would that have been better? Was it best the whole concept be scrapped or should it have been modified?

On the other hand, the Japanese storyline seems a lot less jumbled; as far as I know the OVA is the only thing that could really mess up the perception people had of it.

First of all the Japanese weren't really promoting as rigourously as the US. Sonic was everwhere in the US and had several cartoons, novels, comics, etc. That is to say, more came out of the US and there's little to assume that if the Japanese did have to change aspects of the story to appeal to television audience/comic audience, etc, they wouldn't do it. We even see hints of this in Sonic X with a change in setting from Sonic going from someone whose always in another location to a character who has a official residency at Chris' house. What we DID see really come out out of Japan (The OVA which was an attempt at a cartoon show, and the Sonic Manga) were different from the game story. The manga had almost nothing to do with the story. Sonic an ordinary hedgehog boy called Nicky who gets powers to transform into a blue hedgehog and fight Eggman?

It's also got some actual thought put into it, looking at the manuals; they actually explained how Sonic and Tails met, and they put together a legend for Angel Island that they ended up using as the basis for Sonic Adventure. And not to infringe on Gordo's schtick, but the Japanese/current interpretation of Eggman is a hell of a lot more interesting than any Robotnik that I've seen.

You know I honestly don't see them as any more interesting. Eggman wants to turn things into his little theme park but why? Why does he think the world would be better ran by him? What social injustice has he been bothered by to make him want to take things this far? At least we understand Julian being incredibly concerned with control but why is he a stickler for control I guess could also be explained. On the flip side Julian wasn't supposed to be enjoyed as a character as much as the status quo he was beleivably able to create. He was a psychopath that yes, can exist in the real world. And don't be surprised that like Julian they can fake it til they make it, and be cruel to the people socially beneath them just like the people that rule your country. You can't be it, so you may not conceive it. But it doesn't mean anti socials don't exist. Eggman may be more loveable to people but the status quo he has managed to create and what that's been able to bring out of the characters is obviously not grabbing as many people in todays age.

Finally as another thing to consider: The targetted age. Most people aren't going to die if the villian isn't relateable to them. Evil isn't something people often relish in understanding. However, for many people a loveable villian can create mental dissonance, especially concrete operational thinkers or people who have a very concrete view of life and do not understand a "grey" that many people who enjoy Eggman claim he has. They understand good and evil, and no grey in between. Its typical of children and even most of the adult population to think this way. And again even if they don't think this way, they're often not going to die if they can't personally relate to the villian of a story. Sorry if it seems to some people like I'm bashing Eggman. I just don't want this to become a "let's bash Julian" thing without at least providing another perspective.

1. Misinterpretation. Robotnik's glasses could be mistaken and re-designed for American audiences as two black "eyes"

2. Horrible translation. Culture clash made Robotnik for English-speaking audiences into a overbearing tyrannical beast, and was probably re-worked to fit this image. Two vapid pits without no pupils seemed to get the message across to a child-age audience.

I think neither. This sort of assumes everything was ripped entirely from Japan sort of how like dubbing works. The east and west worked in collaboration with each other, and recent stuff would indicate they had control over their own branches and simply didn't agree with the Japanese idea.

Edited by Miko
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No.

It would be no different. The only things different about the stories was the planet name and Eggman's name, and that was virtually it. There's nothing really seperate about the stories in the first place.

Everything else in the past could just as easily be brought back into today, provided they make a good story to appease the folks.

You're underestimating how different the US and Japanese stories are. The US story focused a lot on crap that didn't actually have anything to do with the plot. In the US story, Sonic and Robotnik both have origin stories. Early version of these stories have them taking place in Kansas. Sonic (currently named Sonny) "learned" his super speed from Johnny Lightfoot, his jumping prowess from Sally, and his Spin Attack accidentally in an incident involving the chicken who"s name escapes me. No, that's sentence has nothing to do with SatAM, that comes from the SoA canon.

One thing they should have kept was "Robotnik". It just flows off the tongue better, same with "Robotropolis" vs. "Eggman Land". Eggman Land also sounds like the name of a theme park, and that's exactly what we got.

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Finally as another thing to consider: The targetted age. Most people aren't going to die if the villian isn't relateable to them. Evil isn't something people often relish in understanding. However, for many people a loveable villian can create mental dissonance, especially concrete operational thinkers or people who have a very concrete view of life and do not understand a "grey" that many people who enjoy Eggman claim he has. They understand good and evil, and no grey in between. Its typical of children and even most of the adult population to think this way. And again even if they don't think this way, they're often not going to die if they can't personally relate to the villian of a story. Sorry if it seems to some people like I'm bashing Eggman. I just don't want this to become a "let's bash Julian" thing without at least providing another perspective.

But this isn't even about Julian, is it?

It's about the vaguely-defined "SoA Robotnik" of the games, whose entire essence can only be understood through manuals and concept material. They intended for the character to be, essentially, an uglier, less sympathetic version of the Japanese Eggman, with the added Kintobor backstory in the writer's bible, which never actually made its way into any of the game manuals.

AoStH, SatAM, Archie, Fleetway, etc. were various interpretations of the SoA/SoE storylines, but they weren't the storylines of the games themselves.

The same can be said for the OVA and Sonic X. While based on the Japanese storyline, they aren't "SoJ canon" by any means.

But to respond to your point- I'm not sure I buy it. Even decades prior, many villains were presented in comically-sympathetic ways. They didn't have to be dark destroyers of death and doom to get the point that they were villains across. More to the point, the great divide between Eggman's in-game appearance and American concept art was still noticeable.

He was far quirkier and cuter in-game and in his Japanese art, and the American art shift really didn't match up well with what was in the actual games, especially when later they dropped the "Classic Eggman with no eyes" design and outright used designs based on the AoStH look, such as the Triple Trouble box art(Which of course, in-game, featured a happily prancing bespectacled Eggman with no graphical edits).

Compare American Kirby Is Hardcore.

Edited by El Gran Gordo
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So if Japan had mixed the two stories to some extent, or just ditched the Japanese story altogether would it have been a better idea/move for Sonic? May post my ideas here eventually.

I would have to respond with an emphantic YES. Sonic would be a major hit and be placed next to other revered franchises like Metal Gear and Halo. He wouldnt be the butt of the gaming industry and instead be more respected and treated with dignity. The insufferable storyline the Japanese has forcing down our throats for the past decade is a huge failure and the cause of Sonic's downfall. Sega of Japan just needs to learn how to compromise with their other branches and allow their neglected yet more developed characters have a shot in the games.

Edited by a knothole resident
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One thing they should have kept was "Robotnik". It just flows off the tongue better, same with "Robotropolis" vs. "Eggman Land". Eggman Land also sounds like the name of a theme park, and that's exactly what we got.

Well, Robotnik is one of the things kept consistent over the years. Gerald and Maria are specifically Robotniks to clear this up.

Edited by Badnikz
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I'm confused.

I would have to respond with an emphantic YES. Sonic would be a major hit and be placed next to other revered franchises like Metal Gear and Halo. He wouldnt be the butt of the gaming industry and instead be more respected and treated with dignity.

This sounds laced with sarcasm.

The insufferable storyline the Japanese has forcing down our throats for the past decade is a huge failure and the cause of Sonic's downfall. Sega of Japan just needs to learn how to compromise with their other branches and allow their neglected yet more developed characters have a shot in the games.

But this is arguably true. Especially the second sentence. I'll comment more on this tomorrow, but that stuck out.

Edited by Tornado
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I think the American version would have been very different, but I can't say it would be any better. But regardless of that, Eggman still goes by the legal name of Robotnik, and either way, I couldn't give a rat's ass if they named him Dr. Sillywilly. As for the planet, I'm glad Sonic's homeworld has remained a vague subject because it makes the imaginative range for levels more open rather than confining them to the realities of Earth. Unfortunately, this hasn't been entirely taken advantage of.

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This sounds laced with sarcasm.

No, Im being serious. If the Archie Comics went out of publication during the Sonic Adventure 2 era I wouldve left this fanbase. Nothing in this decade has be of quality value aside from the portable games (which really isnt saying much.) In fact, I would say that Archie Comics is keeping the franchise on life support. Otherwise, I can safely bet that the marjority of the old school fans wouldve left too.

Edited by a knothole resident
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The American story (Robotnik taking over factories, refineries and cities) with Sonic and co essentially having to fend for themselves and to stop him is essentially outlined in Sonic 1 and 2.
It's like one or two sentences, and it's still nothing like any of the cartoons and comics.

I should probably expand on this in the OP but the general American or even western idea of Robotik being a tyrant and Sonic and co fighting him, would that have been better? Was it best the whole concept be scrapped or should it have been modified?
I think it's crap, to be honest. It's not a particularly interesting scenario, it's not fitting with the characters, and I think it tends to limit what you can do with it.

Eggman may be more loveable to people but the status quo he has managed to create and what that's been able to bring out of the characters is obviously not grabbing as many people in todays age.
The western story doesn't exactly grab me, tho'. I've got my own complaints about the things they do these days, but none of that would be solved by using the western storyline.

Finally as another thing to consider: The targetted age. Most people aren't going to die if the villian isn't relateable to them.
Nor will they die if the villain is more than an amorphous blob of evil. So why not push for a more rounded character instead of a two-dimensional cliche?

One thing they should have kept was "Robotnik". It just flows off the tongue better, same with "Robotropolis" vs. "Eggman Land". Eggman Land also sounds like the name of a theme park, and that's exactly what we got.
Bah, "Eggman Empire" is better than both of 'em.

In fact, I would say that Archie Comics is keeping the franchise on life support.
That's hilariously incorrect.
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To you maybe, but that whole canon is entirely peripheral to me and pretty much every Sonic fan I've ever met.

Of note, the Archie comics have steadily become more Japanese-influenced anyway. Eggman is on-model to his game counterpart, and despite still being ruthless and evil he's a lot more whimsical and funny than the stoic SatAM Robotnik of old. Also, humans exist as a numerous population(and are portrayed as generally good characters).

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Of note, the Archie comics have steadily become more Japanese-influenced anyway. Eggman is on-model to his game counterpart, and despite still being ruthless and evil he's a lot more whimsical and funny than the stoic SatAM Robotnik of old. Also, humans exist as a numerous population(and are portrayed as generally good characters).

I may despise the concept of humans co-existing in Sonic's world, but I commend Archie for their story development. The writers actually invest thier efforts to give the humans some exposition unlike Sega of Japan who randomly throws them in the games with no explaination. I'll even admit that Archie rendered Shadow and Rouge's character to the point of being likeable.

Edited by a knothole resident
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