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Can a good Sonic anime be made?


Ryannumber1gamer
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After so many streams of Sonic X, I began wondering something. Could a good Sonic anime be made? There's been at least two attempts at creating an anime for the Blue Blur, and each had their issues, and each had their positives. I think if we're gonna get to the bottom of the question, we should look at the other two attempts, and see what worked, and what didn't work.

THE OVA

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Technically, the OVA is a two-part anime that later got compiled into a one hour movie for other countries, and while it isn't a full on anime, it's still worth discussing it. The OVA was created in 1996, two years before Sonic's 3D debut, the OVA replicated the art style of Sonic CD's cutscenes, and featured a loose-adaption of Sonic CD in general, replacing Amy with a new character Sara, adding Tails & Knuckles into the fray, and featuring a story where Robotnik creates a robotic clone of Sonic named Metal Sonic in order to destroy the planet. At the time, it was the closest adaption of the Classic series to date.

Positives: 

To begin with, the animation in the OVA is really good, taking the animation of CD, expanding it, giving it more of a budget, and the CD art style works extremely well as an anime film. The film's atmosphere is also the best representation of the classic era has gotten, it's the main character dynamic of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, no Freedom Fighters, no Scratch and Grounder, no Sonia and Manik, it's just the three main characters finally together, something that hadn't happened on any previous Sonic shows before this point. On top of that, the film had a really good sense of humor about it, things like Tails' exaggerated fear of lightning, Tails' grabbing of Sara, and many other moments. On top of that, it added a lot more personality aspects to the characters, which felt like it fit with the game's version of the characters. Sonic is a cocky, smartass who is a bit lazy, and grumpy when it comes to those who annoy him, something that fitted Sonic's promotional material around that time that showed him off as a serious hero. Tails retains his genius, but he has a little kid aspect to him. He annoys Sonic to do things with him, and doesn't know when to stop, and that especially shows the brotherly friendship of the two, much like a little brother, he annoys his big brother from time to time. 

Knuckles' more serious personality that would become the norm for him seems to have started here. While Sonic 3 & Knuckles displayed a character who was a bit serious, he was also a trickster who got sheer joy out of ruining the day of Sonic/Tails at every single turn of the adventure. Here, he also gained his treasure hunter role, something that would later become official in Sonic Adventure(2). The music was also pretty good, something that fits pretty well for the Sonic series, Lookalike being one of the lesser known songs that's pretty damn good. The world building in the film was also really good.

Negatives:

There was a few issues with the OVA though, such as the original characters. While it's nowhere near as bad as what Sonic X did, and they thankfully didn't steal the show from the main trio, however these original characters still don't really have much lasting appeal. Sara is just a teenager designed to be kidnapped by Eggman, and to have a crush on Sonic, while whining along the way. Fair enough there's a few funny moments, but even then that's because of the main cast interacting with her, like Metal Sonic crashing through Robotnik's spaceship, Robotnik playing against her on a game, Sonic's "linked" memories to Metal Sonic to see *everything* he's currently seeing, and more, but in general, the original characters range from eh, to boring/annoying. On top of that, there are some plot points that aren't explained very well, like for example, there's a part where Metal Sonic returns to Sonic's home from some reason (It's implied it's due to his connection to Sonic), and it doesn't really lead to much, other than Old Man Owl revealing that Sonic wears clothes. A smaller complaint is Sonic's attitude at the beginning of the movie can be a little annoying, but even then it doesn't remain for long (As in where he starts getting seriously angry at Tails, and being extremely reluctant to helping people). However, overall it was a really good first attempt at a OVA and an adaption of the classic era of games.

SONIC X 

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Sonic X was the next attempt at an Sonic anime, one that aimed to represent the game's universe better than any previous Sonic adaption, as shown by the use of modern designs, and having Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Cream, Big, and Rouge right off the bat. The show is the biggest example as wasted potential among Sonic fans, and it's where we'll see a lot of information

Positives

Yes, surprisingly, even this show has some positive aspects to it, as few as there is. Let's start with the obvious, it has managed to pull off the best game adaption Sonic has had (Excluding the OVA due to it being extremely loosely based around CD). Sonic X did three adaptions of the games, those being Adventure 1, Adventure 2, and Battle. Two of these were meh and rushed. The other, Sonic Adventure was everything I expected from an adaption. It retold the story of Sonic Adventure 1, changed some of the plot details that didn't make much sense in the original, and expanded on the story line in a beneficial way. 

On top of that, there was a few good original characters, like Chuck, Tanaka, cosmo and Helen who were either funny in their own right, or more sympathetic and fleshed out....than other characters.

Negatives: 

I think it's obvious what the first negative is gonna be. The original characters. Apart from the exceptions above, every other original character are nothing but show stealing idiots that are unlikeable beyond a doubt, the king being Chris. Chris is a selfish prick of a character. That's how I can put it best. They try to show him as a sympathetic character who's neglected, but it's nothing more than bullshit. He is filthy rich, he has a group of friends, he has his grandfather, his bodyguard, and a maid, and as soon as their parents get a free moment they come straight over to spend time with him. He steals roles from the other actually interesting characters, like stealing Amy's vital character moment in Adventure 2, and he ended up stealing the show from Sonic himself, pulling the biggest of dickhead moves by stopping Sonic from returning to his world, placing both worlds in complete danger, and they still think Chris is sympathetic? I'd say that's more pathetic. 

The animation is also incredibly lacking, only the season openings and finales seems to get the good budgets and therefore having good animation. On normal circumstances, it's usually off model, stiff, and reuses animation very often, even when it doesn't match, like certain characters wearing a different outfit, only to revert to their normal design because of reused animation. The music is also incredibly generic, a massive fucking downside in a series like Sonic the Hedgehog, with the worst being Rouge's themes as it's the same generic jazz theme over and over again. There's also an incredible amount of filler episodes, and quite a few character personalities are gone. 

And while it's exclusive to the dubs, we might as well mention 4Kids, who was responsible for a good few issues in the dub, including a massive amount of censorship which makes certain jokes fall flat (for example, there was an joke in Rouge's intro episode where she takes the piss out of Topaz, and asks her if she's into S&M when Topaz attempts to arrest her with handcuffs, leading to everyone else in the squad snickering and laughing. In the 4Kids dub, the joke is changed to Rouge calling her an old lady, which is much more childish, has no particular reason to cause the other police officers to laugh, and gives Topaz no reason to begin blushing out of embarrassment). There's other idiotic changes, like cutting out Live & Learn out of the adaption of Sonic Adventure 2, replacing it with a much more generic theme, and there's other censorships that either ruin jokes, or just makes no sense.

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Is it even worth making a new anime?  

In my opinion, I do think it's worth giving an anime another shot, but if it's to be done, there needs to be some control here to ensure that Sonic X doesn't occur once again. I think there's a series of steps that SEGA could take to make a decent anime of the series.

Having Faith in their Characters: 

This is something that the OVA understood, but Sonic X really didn't. SEGA don't seem to realize that Sonic and his cast of characters are interesting characters, and have fun personalities that would be actually good to see in a full on anime, but instead of relying on these characters. However, for some reason they decided that Sonic the Hedgehog wouldn't be enough to hold a series and created terrible characters like Chris to put at the forefront of the series, these characters being complete messes from a personality viewpoint that just served to steal the show from the characters we actually wanted. If SEGA wants to successfully pull off a good anime, they need to have faith in these pre-existing characters because at the end of the day, we're here for Sonic and the characters who stood the test of time, not characters like Chris who are only known for being annoying and useless additions.

Adaptions:

This is something that I feel should really be done in a new Sonic anime, as the games' plots have a really good creative potential in my eyes if they were expanded on, and having the plot points fixed up, and there's one anime that released recently that did this perfectly.

 

The recent Ace Attorney anime does basically everything I expect from a game-adapted anime. Take the plots of the games, expand on the details, change a few things up, and fix some of the stupider plot points, kind of like how Sonic X's adaption of Sonic Adventure was handled. For example, Ace Attorney's anime fixes issues like in Case 4 in the game where

Spoiler

Phoenix and Maya go and retrieve decisive evidence that outright proves Edgeworth's innocence. What you would expect is Phoenix and Maya making a run for it while they have the one piece of evidence to win the case. What they do instead is go up to the rival prosecutor, Manfred Von Karma, rub the evidence in his face despite knowing he'll do anything for a perfect case, and what do they get from it? Von Karma uses a taser to knock them both out and steal the evidence.  

The anime fixes this

Spoiler

The sub plot about the evidence is cut and Edgeworth fakes fainting in order to buy them time to get evidence that proves the real murderer of the case. Maya agrees to sneak into Von Karma's office, and finds the evidence while Phoenix, Edgeworth, and Larry attempt to buy time in the courtroom. Maya gets tasered by a security guard that Von Karma placed in his office just in case someone were to steal evidence, meaning Maya barely recovers and grabs one piece of evidence, slipping past the guard, and running to the courtroom.

That's basically how I'd imagine a good Sonic anime going, maybe having one or two original plots, while adapting the games, and expanding and fixing story elements.

Making use of pre-existing OSTs:

A small thing, but the OSTs in the Sonic series are iconic, and I think a lot of people would love hearing Live and Learn, or Open Your Heart be the themes of some spectacular pieces of animation. Again, something that the Ace Attorney anime pulls off very well by building up the moment when the iconic Cornered theme plays.

Good Animation:

This should be a no-brainer but I think there should be a certain standard of animation. It doesn't all need to be amazing, but it should be nowhere near the lackluster level that was X's animation, where only the finales and openings were done very well, and the rest was done to a mediocre standard of off-model characters, stiff animation, and reused animation. That's something I expect from shit like the animated Titanic movie, not the anime of Sonic the Hedgehog.

So what do you think?

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Well, maybe its nostalgia because Sonic X got me into Sonic,but you kinda exagerated  with the new characters beign a bad idea. Yes, Chris is a mistake they should never do again but the rest were ok since they were minor characters and were pretty funny.

Wait a sec, did you just call Naruhodo, Misturugi and Mayoi by their english names?!

But i would love another Sonic anime. It would be like a mix of Dragon Ball /Z/ GT/ Super(for the action, adventure and transmormation parts) and Ace Attorney( good cliffhangers and great music placing).

And they better not make Sonic run like the Ace Attorney characters.

 

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I'm sure a good Sonic animé is possible; maybe something like Boom, except more adventure-oriented with a greater sense of continuity.

Also, something about X you didn't mention: the designs for all the non-G.U.N. robots and machines really don't fit Sonic. I mean, we see Eggman using discount Gundam mechs every week, the Tornado gets blasted up about five episodes in and replaced with a generic animé jet fighter, and by the time Season 3 and the Metarex show up with nary a Motobug, Orbinaut or even an Egg Pawn in sight, you really have to wonder if the production team just wanted to make an original super-robot series, but had to make a Sonic series and only had the budget for one series, so they took their mech designs and applied it to Sonic.

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Just now, Diogenes said:

Of course it's possible to make a good Sonic anime. The OVA already exists, it's Sonic, it's anime, and it's good. That doesn't mean it's perfect, of course, but its problems are fairly minor and don't really get in the way of enjoying it.

I guess when I say anime, I mean a proper anime series. Don't get me wrong, the OVA works well as a good anime, but I consider it more of an anime movie rather than full series.

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9 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

I guess when I say anime, I mean a proper anime series. Don't get me wrong, the OVA works well as a good anime, but I consider it more of an anime movie rather than full series.

It's actually meant to be a 3 episode pilot to a series that never took off, so there you go.

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I don't think the question should be whether or not a good Sonic Anime can be made, but whether or not it will be made, and I don't think so. The problem at its core is that Japan is just completely uninterested in blue hedgehogs. Sonic's chief success has been outside of Japan and SEA in general in just about... Everywhere, even in South American markets.

Given that the overwhelming majority of anime comes from Japan, I don't see why a Sonic anime would ever get made. Sonic X happened at the sheer whimsy of Yuji Naka, and we don't know the circumstances that made the OVA, and as nice as the OVA was it's pretty apparent that it wasn't even close to being a commercial success.

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I'd like to believe that Sonic can have a good anime (outside of the OVA) and I really want to see a new Sonic anime that is truer to the source material and isn't bogged down by original characters who are either annoying, take too much screen-time, or both.

But unfortunately, there's one big obstacle that will get in the way of that and has been a problem with the previous two anime: the Japanese audience. I don't mean at all to offend any Japanese people who come across this but, let's face it, the majority of Japan don't care about Sonic. Pretty much the only place where Sonic finds true success is in America and Europe, fitting since Sonic was made to appeal to us in the first place. This is the exact reason why we got the OVA instead of the anime series like it was planned to be and the reason why Sonic X had limited animation; the Japanese audiences weren't interested at all. Sonic X focusing on humans was most likely an attempt to gain their interest, since (for some reason) Japanese audiences only relate with human characters (which in itself is a major reason Sonic doesn't appeal to them), but even then Sonic X didn't get high rating and still suffered from low budget. Heck, we wouldn't have even gotten a Season 3 of Sonic X if it weren't for the very high ratings from the Western countries. Of course, that begs the question of why Western audiences apparently don't matter that much for either anime's success. Regardless, however, it's apparent that a Sonic anime relies on the audience of the home country to "live", in a manner of speaking, but due to the relatively insignificant audience for Sonic in Japan, an anime will never reach its full potential.

I think the only possible way we can get a Sonic "anime" is if it's created and funded entirely within America or Europe, but then it wouldn't be a true anime but more of an "anime-esque" cartoon like "Avatar: the Last Airbender".

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I don't think Sonic is limited in terms of what mediums the series can work with.  The problem is that Sonic, and by extension many video game adaptations in general, tend to be put in the hands of companies that frankly don't give a toss.  With a bit of focus and attention to how the games actually work, I think there's a lot you could do with Sonic, story-wise.  Sonic Boom, I think, pretty much shows that a good cartoon is possible.  Even if you don't like Sonic Boom, you have to at least commend that it's not only accurate to the Boom games in terms of aesthetics as well as mechanics and overall theme.  It really feels like a show based on the games, or vice versa if you prefer.  Classic and arguably Adventure Sonic never really got a show with that kind of consistency and care, and I feel like rather we're looking at an anime, a western cartoon, a comic book, a novel, or whatever else, having a quality product is possible, but Sonic's track record makes it very unlikely.

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I actually really liked pretty much all the original characters in X, aside from Chris himself. I liked Grandpa Chuck, Ella, Mr. Tanaka, Topaz, The President, Gerome Wise, Danny, Helen, Francis, Scarlet Garcia, Mr. Stewart, and Sam Speed. Episode 50 worked as a really sad goodbye because of all the relationships they had struck together past the two seasons. In fact, I'd say that the actual problem was that Chris was such an incredibly bad character that it ended up bringing down the human cast in general despite the rest of them being particularly entertaining and well-meaning people. The show could have easily been great with them all still there as support so long as they had found a way to either get rid of Chris, turn him into a villain, or re-write him so that he didn't end up stealing the spotlight. Episode 50's goodbye would have still worked with his role subdued. I know a ton of people who found it really heart-breaking when they all had to leave and then instantly got super angry when Chris shut off the machine. I think the only real problem between the humans and the Sonic cast was that they weren't able to find a correct balance between them all.

On top of that, not all of the Sonic cast were completely wasted. Despite what anyone says, I really do think Knuckles was a badass throughout the majority of that show. He was a loner who only cared about protecting the Master Emerald, deliberately keeping his distance from the group that was staying at Chris's place for the sake of finding his own way out of the situation and he almost viciously detested any notion that he and Sonic were or could possibly have been friends. At least this persisted well up until the 3rd Season where the development of his character stripped a few of those aspects away and made him stupider. Eggman in that show was also the reason he became my favorite character in the franchise. I feel as though, in that point of the franchise's life, I had yet to be exposed to the fun side of being evil from Eggman's perspective and that really hit it home for me in a way that had me bouncing off the walls whenever he would appear on screen as a kid. 

I also really liked the music. I'm talking about the original Japanese version here of course. A lot of it was soft and atmospheric and a few of the tracks I could remember, mainly a lot of the Eggman themes and the one from the first episode that plays when Sonic invades Eggman's base. 

With a lot of tweaking, Sonic X easily could have been something that the majority on the internet could consider a great show. It was certainly the most successful. Combine what Sonic generally brings in from just being Sonic with something of high quality and you've got a legend in the making when it comes to video game anime adaptations. Of course, that's only if they give it an actual try.

I wanted to say more then just "Yes" as an answer to the question since it seems like that'd be the obvious answer regardless of what's said. 

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Since good is subjective, the more accurate term would be universally liked anime. And seeing how Sonic bombs with the Japanese audience, prolly not gonna happen.

Also, while Sonic X's animation was overall low quality, the amount of good animation doesn't fall down to the season openers and finales.

But you know, if you're looking for a well received 2D Sonic cartoon, you don't have to pin your hopes on an anime adaption. There's plenty of well received American cartoons out there.  

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Funny how you use the Ace Attorney as a positive example, cause while it does do some things right it also does a lot wrong. While it's a pretty straight adaptation of the games, it ruins some moments by unnecessarily changing them and a lot of the time the animation is terrible or barely there. With it sometimes just being barely moving still images. Also sometimes it just looks plain ugly:

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Gross.

As an example of it changing moments, for example: the scene in which Phoenix wants to cross-examine the parrot. In the game, Von Karma mocks him by saying maybe Phoenix should cross-examine the parrot for laughs. Phoenix then plays it straight and seriously says he wants to do the cross-examination, along with intense background music and visuals.

In the anime, Maya suggests cross examining the parrot and Phoenix just asks the judge if he can. Silly music plays and the judge and Von Karma just go "oh that's a bit silly".

Oh also no Von Karma headbanging

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Like yeah it fixes some plot stuff, but that's not really what makes the Ace Attorney games so great. What makes them great is the characters.

Also, that video you used of the Ace Attorney anime had the cornered music added in by the uploader. The anime actually barely ever uses the game's music and instead goes for a far less memorable score.

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10 minutes ago, TimmiT said:

Funny how you use the Ace Attorney as a positive example, cause while it does do some things right it also does a lot wrong. While it's a pretty straight adaptation of the games, it ruins some moments by unnecessarily changing them and a lot of the time the animation is terrible or barely there. With it sometimes just being barely moving still images. Also sometimes it just looks plain ugly:

CkrAYjGUoAA6qIj.jpg

Gross.

As an example of it changing moments, for example: the scene in which Phoenix wants to cross-examine the parrot. In the game, Von Karma mocks him by saying maybe Phoenix should cross-examine the parrot for laughs. Phoenix then plays it straight and seriously says he wants to do the cross-examination, along with intense background music and visuals.

In the anime, Maya suggests cross examining the parrot and Phoenix just asks the judge if he can. Silly music plays and the judge and Von Karma just go "oh that's a bit silly".

Oh also no Von Karma headbanging

3lsGTHq.gif

Like yeah it fixes some plot stuff, but that's not really what makes the Ace Attorney games so great. What makes them great is the characters.

Also, that video you used of the Ace Attorney anime had the cornered music added in by the uploader. The anime actually barely ever uses the game's music and instead goes for a far less memorable score.

20120420021547

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True, the second, and third versions used in the video are fanmade alterations placing the original theme into the anime. HOWEVER, the first one that plays is the original version of the anime, so Cornered does play! And furthermore, it's played multiple times in the anime, as I've seen all of the episodes thus far!

As for the frame, I've seen the exact same thing happen with Dragon Ball Z, as in individual frames are used for examples for ugly animation, despite the fact that quite a lot of these frames are only used for a brief second, or as transitional shots into another animation.

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Furthermore, while some of the game's funnier moments have been taken out, plot points that were rather stupid, or new jokes have been added that base itself on aspects of characters we didn't see originally, case and point, Sal's Fanservice fantasy of Maya as the Pink Princess, Larry's """attempts""" at impersonating Edgeworth to buy time, and more. The parrot scene may have some of the comedy removed, but I find that the anime places in original jokes that take full advantage of the animation, and are funny in their own right.

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Haven't watched more than the first few episodes of the Ace Attorney anime, but I was kind of fed up with how hard they tried to hammer in the point home that it's a video game adaptation, with things like the same blocks of text that appear in the games, which doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of a series where the characters aren't actually in a video game.  If Sonic took a similar route, I'd half-expect them to start talking about the wonders of extra lives and expect a jingle every time Sonic collects 100 of them.

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3 minutes ago, Tara said:

Haven't watched more than the first few episodes of the Ace Attorney anime, but I was kind of fed up with how hard they tried to hammer in the point home that it's a video game adaptation, with things like the same blocks of text that appear in the games, which doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of a series where the characters aren't actually in a video game.  If Sonic took a similar route, I'd half-expect them to start talking about the wonders of extra lives and expect a jingle every time Sonic collects 100 of them.

I don't know, it's only really used when introducing new locations/characters in order to set up the locations up for the viewer.

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Adding to Sonic X's flaws, a lot of the mechanical design used in the show was recycled from some forgotten anime TMS made a few years prior.  I think it was supposed to be some kind of throwback anime in the vein of Tatsunoko's work, but from what I saw just came off an an anime out of time.  Notably, Deco and Boco were lifted directly from it, and I think they used the same voices and names.

In the games, It typically goes that Sonic more or less on his own is just getting to the boss and beating the boss.  There's typically little useable tension in that format, and and actually adapting it into something watchable would take way more money than TMS had to work with... But the way TMS worked around it was so weird.  Sonic spends most of the time absent so that something resembling tension can build up, then shows up at the last moment to solve the problem... And just like SatAM, the rings are more or less treated like Popeye's spinach.  

That said, someone made a Manga out of Mario that the Nostalgia Critic liked and he made a good argument for it, so a good Sonic anime can probably be made.  

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2 hours ago, Phos said:

In the games, It typically goes that Sonic more or less on his own is just getting to the boss and beating the boss.  There's typically little useable tension in that format, and and actually adapting it into something watchable would take way more money than TMS had to work with... 

I think that would make a better argument for DiC's attempts at a Sonic cartoon pre-Sonic Adventure, honestly.  TMS had no excuse when two of Sonic's most pivotal and plot-centric games had already been released with another shortly on the way.  Granted, none of those games were particularly amazing in the story-telling department, but they at least had a starting point beyond "Sonic is a blue hedgehog that runs fast," which is a lot more than can be said for AoSTH, DiC, and maybe Underground as well.  Of course, some changes and creative liberties would have to be taken, but the fact that it strayed so far from the established plot and settings of the games at the time (similar to the way Archie completely butchered the Adventure adaptation, but at least they had an excuse in that they had to try to find a way to tie it into a universe where it simply didn't work) is... mind-boggling.

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But a lot of the liberties that DiC's cartoons took ended up being recurring and endearing elements throughout the course of the franchise. Sonic and Tails bromance? Chili dogs? I tend to take the burnt pizza perspective. Yeah it sucks, but you can still pick out the toppings you like and they're good.

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1 hour ago, Tara said:

I think that would make a better argument for DiC's attempts at a Sonic cartoon pre-Sonic Adventure, honestly.  TMS had no excuse when two of Sonic's most pivotal and plot-centric games had already been released with another shortly on the way.  Granted, none of those games were particularly amazing in the story-telling department, but they at least had a starting point beyond "Sonic is a blue hedgehog that runs fast," which is a lot more than can be said for AoSTH, DiC, and maybe Underground as well.  Of course, some changes and creative liberties would have to be taken, but the fact that it strayed so far from the established plot and settings of the games at the time (similar to the way Archie completely butchered the Adventure adaptation, but at least they had an excuse in that they had to try to find a way to tie it into a universe where it simply didn't work) is... mind-boggling.

I almost feel like the Adventure games made it harder, they created the expectation, or at least the precedence of a level of self seriousness, but they still had video game stories.  By that, I mean the plot, in movie terms, is basically just a set up for a several drawn out action scenes. Sonic X was at its best when it mostly just ignored that and did stuff like having Sonic try to get off a ship by spreading a web of lies that almost immediately gets discovered, so Chris's father sends a helicopter full of old people to try and teach Sonic to calm down... even though he spends a lot of his time in the show sleeping in trees. Well, I guess if Sonic X can choose between funny and consistent, might as well go with funny.

1 hour ago, shdowhunt60 said:

But a lot of the liberties that DiC's cartoons took ended up being recurring and endearing elements throughout the course of the franchise. Sonic and Tails bromance? Chili dogs? I tend to take the burnt pizza perspective. Yeah it sucks, but you can still pick out the toppings you like and they're good.

The chili dogs went away for a long time, they came back with Unleashed, my best guess is that Sega felt like superficially pandering to older fans with a character trait that wasn't really a good idea in the first place. The teenage mutant ninja turtles had pizza, Garfield had lasagna, so Dic made sonic like chili dogs and Tails does machines. 

Oh yeah, making this post made me realize: when I first started watching Sonic X, I assumed it took place after adventure 2 if not 1, because otherwise it basically takes place after Sonic 3, and that just seems weird. 

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