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Nepenthe

The Catch-22 of Sonic as a Theatrical Hero

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Your suggestion for Sonic's character sound somewhat similar to how he frequently acted in Satam and (to an extent) Archie.

If I interpreted what you said correctly, he pretty much acts that way in those mediums to an extent. His brash nature tends to put in a jam on more than one occasion and sometimes, it does indeed have big consequences.

Edited by TheScroogenator

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Your suggestion for Sonic's character sound somewhat similar to how he frequently acted in Satam and (to an extent) Archie.

If I interpreted what you said correctly, he pretty much acts that way in those mediums to an extent. His brash nature tends to put in a jam on more than one occasion and sometimes, it does indeed have big consequences.

That would certainly be the gist of it, but I figured if a movie's going to be based on anything at this point in time, it's going to be based on the games, and Sonic's brashness doesn't get him into trouble in the games. He's not afraid to call on his team mates, or work together with acquaintances and enemies, or ask for Tails' advice. Any bad thing that happens to Sonic happens because of mere bad luck, not necessarily because he himself made a bad call. Again, the closest we get to something like that in the games is the Werehog, but that was pretty much ruined by a whole host of things, namely Chip's little revelation in Adabat.

Edited by Nepenthe

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While I like the idea that Sonic the Hedgehog seems to represent a message more than anything, a vital fault is his relationships with those around him. Eggman destroys planets, Sonic stops him. Tails invents helpful mechs, Sonic doesn't need them. Knuckles/Metal Sonic/Shadow try to antagonize Sonic and rival him, Sonic stops them. Consider the fact that Eggman is an incredible force of destruction as proved in almost every game, Shadow is the Ultimate Lifeform, Knuckles has enough muscle to rip the dude in two, and Tails can build any MacGuffin necessary to the plot. Meanwhile Sonic runs fast.

Sonic is actually very imperfect, but this sort of thing is never utilized. Why are his flaws so apparent yet so rarely utilized? Sonic's very fun to watch, but his sheer lack of care for anything around him detracts from the quality of his friends and foes, Eggman may be a silly villain, but he's very dangerous, yet with every game we know he's going to lose pathetically from the get-go. In The Dark Knight Rises, the Batman villain Bane breaks Batman's spine and dumps him in an inescapable pit, which builds on the character of Batman a lot. It shows he wasn't ready for the might of Bane and had too much confidence going into the situation. Sonic has never had a moment like this. (I know this is a pretty dark and extreme example, but hey!)

Sonic's extremely impatient and downright selfish at times, but this has never been a proper plot point. His pathetic loss to Silver in '06 only damaged his character and arguably the same thing can be said over his total annihilation of Silver in Generations. Why must they be so extreme with him? His reluctance to tackle Merlina almost built on this, but he just carried on anyway and defeated her. I wouldn't mind him going OoC to actually make him more interesting as a character...

Is any of what I just said even relevant? :P

Edited by The Merry Joker

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It's true that changing his character to "work for a film" would make him act out-of-character, as you pointed out in the opening post. Writer's block: what do we do when we need a character to change yet that would go against his personality?

We develop him.

You see, an abrupt ocurrence of fear is derailment. But not if there's a path to it. Luke Skywalker's brave behavior in Return of the Jedi is completely out of character for his New Hope self, if we take out the path. But if you look at the full picture with his slow transformation from a farmer boy to a Jedi, the change all makes sense.

Likewise, there would be little problem in Sonic's low point if there was a clear and complete development leading to it. More importantly, if they KEEP that character evolution true in the next events. So, I do believe Sonic can change, as long as it happens over a period of time.

Edited by Homem

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I think Black Knight handled the situation of Sonic's lack of a ability to have low points pretty well. The way they did things over there set out a little bit of a roadmap as to how to get us to sympathize with Sonic.

Namely, through everyone else.

Merlina was never able to break Sonic's will in that game. Regardless of how badly she stabbed him in the back, or how much she viciously beat him into the dirt, or even after she "killed" Calibun, Sonic kept rising to his feet to continue that battle. He was still that beacon of hope that could never be fully extinguished. That story used the other characters (the Knights) to imply the direness of his situation. While Sonic himself never broke, the viewer was shown that for all his valor, his efforts were ultimately in vain. While we knew he would not give up, it was increasingly clear that his bravado would not be enough to save the day. He was doing little more than killing himself bit by bit... and his mentality was essentially having to force himself to stand up and continue to march right into his own grave.

I felt for Sonic there. Every fiber in his body knew no form of quit. And yet here he was. Battered and Beaten, with the world on his shoulders, and unable to mount the burden. He was not broken. But his cause certainly was.

I think that is an effective low. Without taking Sonic into Ooc territory, the story line employed other characters to make the viewer sympathetic to Sonic's plight. Expand that over a little bit larger area, and I think you can duck under one of Sonic's problem as a movie experence.

Edited by The Arcane Arceus

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This is something I've thought about. Sonic is basically the essence of modern Western idealism. If there's a will, there's a way! Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything! You know, all that crap. It's a paradox, as you say, that in order to be a strong character, one must be tested to their limits, yet it would be outside Sonic's defined character to HAVE limits. The first time I got to know Sonic, he was skydiving from a helicopter with nothing but a plank of steel attached to his feet, rode and ran straight through a military ambush, evaded a two-lane wide semi and destroyed a mecha, all within ten minutes. For the sake of the games he's designed for, he's built to be unbreakable.

But perhaps a tale can be told that doesn't skew this design all the while testing Sonic's character. A scenario in which he is forced to run away from, not head-on into, his problems. Ironically enough, the only time in the games I've seen Sonic come close to being broken is in Sonic 06, when he watches the Egg Carrier crash with Elise on it. He actually had a look of despair on his face, and it seemed almost alien to me to see him like that, even if for a split second. Perhaps it would be the failure to rescue a friend from harm that would make him want to seek escape instead of resolution.

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I think Black Knight handled the situation of Sonic's lack of a ability to have low points pretty well. The way they did things over there set out a little bit of a roadmap as to how to get us to sympathize with Sonic.

Namely, through everyone else.

Merlina was never able to break Sonic's will in that game. Regardless of how badly she stabbed him in the back, or how much she viciously beat him into the dirt, or even after she "killed" Calibun, Sonic kept rising to his feet to continue that battle. He was still that beacon of hope that could never be fully extinguished. That story used the other characters (the Knights) to imply the direness of his situation. While Sonic himself never broke, the viewer was shown that for all his valor, her efforts were ultimately in vain. While we knew he would not give up, it was increasingly clear that his bravado would not be enough to save the day. He was doing little more than killing himself bit by bit... and his mentality was essentially having to force himself to stand up and continue to march right into his own grave.

I felt for Sonic there. Every fiber in his body knew no form of quit. And yet here he was. Battered and Beaten, with the world on his shoulders, and unable to mount the burden. He was not broken. But his cause certainly was.

I think that is an effective low. Without taking Sonic into Ooc territory, the story line employed other characters to make the viewer sympathetic to Sonic's plight. Expand that over a little bit larger area, and I think you can duck under one of Sonic's problem as a movie experence.

While this is true, it's more of the reactions of the other characters that gives us our sympathy, and not Sonic himself. I mean if the audience has to rely on the perspective of another character to make us feel for the protagonist, then said protagonist probably isn't very compelling. Sonic SHOULD be allowed to break down once in a while, and we shouldn't have to rely just on the reactions of the other characters to convey a situation.

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While this is true, it's more of the reactions of the other characters that gives us our sympathy, and not Sonic himself. I mean if the audience has to rely on the perspective of another character to make us feel for the protagonist, then said protagonist probably isn't very compelling. Sonic SHOULD be allowed to break down once in a while, and we shouldn't have to rely just on the reactions of the other characters to convey a situation.

Does it really matter who's eyes we see his plight through as a delivery method? All of our sympathy still ended up on the main character.

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Does it really matter who's eyes we see his plight through as a delivery method? All of our sympathy still ended up on the main character.

But we're not talking about that, we're talking about how to properly develop Sonic's character in a way that makes us feel sympathy for him. Black Knight is really just more of a reinforcing of something we already know, Sonic never gives up.

Edited by Ragna Claus

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As far as a movie goes, the movie itself is probably not the best place to do it, since it's likely to be just one lone movie. It'd look more like one instance of unintentional OOC, and thus solely negative, rather than intentionally being OOC for the sake of building a new and better "character". It'd be better to establish it in the games first, take the time to solidify it in people's minds before popping it in a Big Deal Movie.

I think whether or not any changes to any character would look like writer ineptitude or changes for the sake of the medium would ultimately depend upon the quality of the film as a whole, thus you wouldn't necessarily need to wait on the games' storytelling to get better before greenlighting a project. For better or for worse, we're all aware that things get lost in translation when you're porting story lines between mediums. Ultimately, I feel that the better the movie would be, the less likely any changes to the source material would be taken in bad faith by the fanbase (sans absolute fanatics); doubly so for an animated film, where there's a whole lot more attention to detail, continuity, and the like for the sake of functionality. Of course if the film was crap, it would be hard to say what changes were intended or not. But let's just assume this hypothetical film could only be good for the sake of ease of discussion.

Of course, you can avoid the in-universe discrepancy by pairing it with a reboot...

j8uAF.gif

I think Black Knight handled the situation of Sonic's lack of a ability to have low points pretty well. The way they did things over there set out a little bit of a roadmap as to how to get us to sympathize with Sonic.

Namely, through everyone else.

Merlina was never able to break Sonic's will in that game. Regardless of how badly she stabbed him in the back, or how much she viciously beat him into the dirt, or even after she "killed" Calibun, Sonic kept rising to his feet to continue that battle. He was still that beacon of hope that could never be fully extinguished. That story used the other characters (the Knights) to imply the direness of his situation. While Sonic himself never broke, the viewer was shown that for all his valor, her efforts were ultimately in vain. While we knew he would not give up, it was increasingly clear that his bravado would not be enough to save the day. He was doing little more than killing himself bit by bit... and his mentality was essentially having to force himself to stand up and continue to march right into his own grave.

I felt for Sonic there. Every fiber in his body knew no form of quit. And yet here he was. Battered and Beaten, with the world on his shoulders, and unable to mount the burden. He was not broken. But his cause certainly was.

I think that is an effective low. Without taking Sonic into Ooc territory, the story line employed other characters to make the viewer sympathetic to Sonic's plight. Expand that over a little bit larger area, and I think you can duck under one of Sonic's problem as a movie experence.

I feel you have a point there to an extent, but my reaction to the scene wasn't so much so that his cause was broken so much as it was that Sega had the balls to actually beat the shit out of Sonic on-screen in a game. Sonic's general perfection tends to keep him relatively squeaky clean from harm, so to see him beaten so badly is visceral to someone invested in the stories at that point in a way I'd compare to learning of the mortality of your parents as they get older and you more wiser.

But I never felt Sonic's cause was broken. Regardless of the hopelessness of the situation, he still never wavered. He still never lost hope. But the Knights sure did, telling him to run away, which only reflects on the severity of the situation and not Sonic's own development. If nothing else, this scene probably best exemplifies the whole issue. Had Sonic not stuck it out and took one or two or twenty for the team, Merlina would have won. But we knew he wasn't going to do that, because that's not Sonic's character, and it doesn't really matter how much you grind the little guy into dust. Eventually, something is going to win out from his unshakable spirit, a breakthrough of some sorts- like maybe a set of magical Deus ex Machina swords that transforms him into the best Super form ever!- that will cause him to save the day.

In short, I reacted mostly from the fact that Sega actually went ahead with a scene like that when we've heard horror stories about how others are able to handle the character. It's the same with how I reacted to the initial transformation scene in Unleashed; I just don't like seeing Sonic in severe pain. =P

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This is something I've thought about. Sonic is basically the essence of modern Western idealism. If there's a will, there's a way! Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything! You know, all that crap. It's a paradox, as you say, that in order to be a strong character, one must be tested to their limits, yet it would be outside Sonic's defined character to HAVE limits. The first time I got to know Sonic, he was skydiving from a helicopter with nothing but a plank of steel attached to his feet, rode and ran straight through a military ambush, evaded a two-lane wide semi and destroyed a mecha, all within ten minutes. For the sake of the games he's designed for, he's built to be unbreakable.
Yes, he jumps from a helicopter, evades the police/military, and busts up a mecha, but then he runs into Shadow, and suddenly things don't go so well. Sonic's basically a superhero, he's going to end up doing some crazy superhuman stuff just as a matter of course, but that doesn't mean he can't be challenged.

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Ya know, It says a whole fucking lot when Eggman kick's his superform's god-killing ass and uses his energy to destroy the planet below, and yet Sonic, nor the rest of the world, are so much as shaken by the event. That right there should have been the very point where Sonic should have had some legitimate worry and shattering of his will: Eggman just beat you when you were at your most powerful, how the hell will you be able to stop him if your superform couldn't?

But as Sonic never gives up, and the world knows he'll stop him, it's no biggie. Which is really telling that if the fracture of the world isn't gonna put him in any kind of grief, then what will? Considering how things are now, a restructure is in order for his character. For all the number of times terms like "Mary Sue/Gary Stu" get thrown around at characters like Silver or Shadow, people are more than willing to turn a blind eye to someone like Sonic who has never had their kind of life. As shitty as it was handled, Shadow and Silver suffered as characters to various things, but what has ever gotten Sonic down? Shadow, Silver, and Knuckles were sent on a wrong path towards their goals, but when has Sonic ever been misguided? Shadow, Silver, Knuckles, and Blaze all had issues and inner conflicts that they were trying to deal with as characters, but what internal conflicts did Sonic possess? Even in games like SatBK, where he's going up against the series' only Well Intentioned Extremist who actually had positive and admirable goals of preserving a world instead of conquering it, Sonic's put in the right. Granted, he makes a decent point behind his actions, but it's still something to have in mind with all his other actions in the plot, and most noteable in a game that has the most stellar writing that even trumps SA2.

The closest we've ever seen any kind of change in behavior from his usual self would be in SA2 where Shadow manages to piss him off because the military framed him for Shadow's crimes. I guess that's another reason why the Adventure's mediocre plots are held to a higher regard, because Sonic isn't always put in the role of being "Mr. Right" for what little they did in putting him in opposite role. But even then, he carries on and when he gets close to being put to death, it takes a Deus-Ex Machina to get him out of it.

But, regarding how giving him OOC moments would be bad, I say that anyone who stands behind that claim has no idea how a well-rounded character is. People may have default moments, like Sonic being happy-go-lucky, Eggman being maniacal and jolly, Shadow being stoic and straightfaced, Rouge being flirty, and so forth, but that does not mean that a character like Sonic should never have to experience a moment of despair or a shatter of his will. If we want Sonic to be less like the series incarnation of Jesus and more of an actual character, one with strengths and weaknesses and a belief system that gets shaken and then rebuilt even stronger among other things, then we're gonna have to go with some OOC moments.

We see all sorts of heroes of various kinds suffer and endure not just physically, but mentality and sometimes spiratually (but spirituality isn't really notable in this series), only to bounce back even stronger than before. We should have that for Sonic too. Many major characters in this series except him have gone through this struggle, and sometimes it's used against them as why they suck as characters. That is not how quality characterization or perception should work. It says a lot how someone is willing to overlook a potential Sue for being the main protagonist, yet will turn around and criticize another potential Sue for going through things the former Sue didn't and call it bad characterization.

Edited by ChaosSupremeSonic

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But we're not talking about that, we're talking about how to properly develop Sonic's character in a way that makes us feel sympathy for him. Black Knight is really just more of a reinforcing of something we already know, Sonic never gives up.

I was just looking for a way to make it work for a movie... if we are just focusing on fixing Sonic's character, then yeah, something’s gotta give.

j8uAF.gif

All of my likes.

Take them.

I feel you have a point there to an extent, but my reaction to the scene wasn't so much so that his cause was broken so much as it was that Sega had the balls to actually beat the shit out of Sonic on-screen in a game. Sonic's general perfection tends to keep him relatively squeaky clean from harm, so to see him beaten so badly is visceral to someone invested in the stories at that point in a way I'd compare to learning of the mortality of your parents as they get older and you more wiser.

Vicious beating aside, that scene did show us that Sonic’s indomitable spirit wasn’t the wreaking ball it once was. Sonic’s spirit was so incredible that we often make him out to be invincible, that wasn't the case here. That is a pretty significant building block in of itself.

Here, it wasn’t going to be enough to save the day. The Knights knew it. Sonic was fully aware that he was pushing his luck. That was the tragedy. Even though the situation was completely impasse-ed, he couldn’t turn away. He couldn’t strategize. He was stuck in a futile struggle with the world on the line.

For the first time in a long time, the dude was powerless.

But I never felt Sonic's cause was broken. Regardless of the hopelessness of the situation, he still never wavered. He still never lost hope. But the Knights sure did, telling him to run away,

His cause in the status quo had to be considered broken. He needed a miracle to save himself, but once the miracle appeared, the situation becomes completely different. Up until that point, Sonic’s cause had no chance at a happy ending, despite his never-say-die mentality.

which only reflects on the severity of the situation and not Sonic's own development.

True.

If nothing else, this scene probably best exemplifies the whole issue. Had Sonic not stuck it out and took one or two or twenty for the team, Merlina would have won. But we knew he wasn't going to do that, because that's not Sonic's character, and it doesn't really matter how much you grind the little guy into dust. Eventually, something is going to win out from his unshakable spirit, a breakthrough of some sorts- like maybe a set of magical Deus ex Machina swords that transforms him into the best Super form ever!- that will cause him to save the day.

Can we technically consider Excalibur a triumph of Sonic’s spirit? The Chaos Emerlds get away with the whole thoughts into power shtick, but I’m not sure the sacred swords ever attempted to ape that.

Edited by The Arcane Arceus

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You could somewhat rectify this by shifting the focus of the plots to another character, while keeping Sonic as the hero. I mean it doesn't really help Sonic's character, but it does help the audience empathize with the conflict nonetheless.

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All of my likes.

Take them.

Your offering pleases kitty. =D

Vicious beating aside, that scene did show us that Sonic’s indomitable spirit wasn’t the wreaking ball it once was. Sonic’s spirit was so indomitable that we often make him out to be invincible.

Here, it wasn’t going to be enough to save the day. The Knights knew it. Sonic was fully aware that he was pushing his luck. That was the tragedy. Even though the situation was completely impasse-ed, he couldn’t turn away. He couldn’t strategize. He was stuck in a futile struggle with the world on the line.

For the first time in a long time, the dude was powerless.

I think it's moreso Sonic's own abilities and training weren't the wrecking balls we've come to know them as. It is only Sonic's ethics that kept the situation stalled long enough for the Lady of the Lake to remind the Knights that "Hey, your swords can help him out, so toss them into the water, would you?" Had he broken mentally and gotten away from the situation as the Knights- the ones who had actually lost hope in his cause- had instructed him to do, Merlina would've surely won anyway. It basically plays out like every serious Shonen situation ever: Even when the character is physically outmatched and on their death march, their hope will effectively will the solution into existence for them. This, in turn, only strengthens the idea of hope of perserverance as effective weapons in and of themselves, but it doesn't really make for a great arc for a character to follow.

His cause in the status quo had to be considered broken. He needed a miracle to save himself, but once the miracle appeared, the situation becomes completely different. Up until that point, Sonic’s cause had no chance at a happy ending, despite his never-say-die mentality.

The cause was broken to everyone else but Sonic, which is the issue in and of itself. Sonic doesn't mentally break under the stress of the situation, he never loses faith; everyone else does. In effect, because he won anyway, his beliefs are effectively strengthened even more. Don't give up, and you'll win, even if you're going to diiiieee.

Heck, even if you do die and the world is swallowed up into dimensional nothingness and a god is going to eat all of time past, present, and future, you'll come back if you're awesome enough.

Can we technically consider Excalibur a triumph of Sonic’s spirit? The Chaos Emerlds get away with the whole thoughts into power shtick, but I’m not sure the sacred swords ever attempted to ape that.

Sure, that's probably more accurate. xP

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You could somewhat rectify this by shifting the focus of the plots to another character, while keeping Sonic as the hero. I mean it doesn't really help Sonic's character, but it does help the audience empathize with the conflict nonetheless.

But that would be side-stepping the very topic regarding Sonic. He's the one fighting the conflict, or spearheading the fight. And given how he's the central character, while it wouldn't be a bad thing to allow other characters into the spotlight, he is the one that should be focused on and the one who should be just as faulty as other characters.

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But that would be side-stepping the very topic regarding Sonic. He's the one fighting the conflict, or spearheading the fight. And given how he's the central character, while it wouldn't be a bad thing to allow other characters into the spotlight, he is the one that should be focused on and the one who should be just as faulty as other characters.

Well if we're talking strictly in how to make the audience feel sympathy, then it works fine. If we're talking about Sonic himself, then that's a whole different can of worms.

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Well if we're talking strictly in how to make the audience feel sympathy, then it works fine. If we're talking about Sonic himself, then that's a whole different can of worms.

I thought this whole topic was about Sonic himself regarding the audience feeling sympathy?

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I think whether or not any changes to any character would look like writer ineptitude or changes for the sake of the medium would ultimately depend upon the quality of the film as a whole,
Well of course the quality of the movie as a whole is going to color people's perception of the things that happen in it, but if they're watching the movie and thinking Sonic is acting weird and OOC, that's going to hurt their opinion of the movie. If it didn't, being OOC wouldn't even be a concern in the first place. By setting up the changes to Sonic's character beforehand, people won't see it as OOC when he's like that in the movie, which means one less thing that could tank people's opinions of it. Video game movies are pretty risky business, so I think it'd be good to stack the deck in our favor as much as possible.

j8uAF.gif

It's true, y'know. If the series rebooted, there'd be no need to explain why Sonic acts a bit different from before, because there isn't really a "before" anymore.

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