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ShadowSJG

Have Sonic characters been given more stereotypical personalities?

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I was wondering as I've noticed this in two characters. For example, Knuckles now in the games is shown as being the stereotypical hot headed braggart and Shadow is now shown as the harsh and cold rival. Like in previous games like Sonic 06, he was calm and collected and did acknowledge Sonic, but look at this quote here:  

http://www.mariowiki.com/File:ShadowCopacabanaBeach.jpg

 

So I was wondering, have Sonic characters in general regressed in terms of character?

 

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1 minute ago, ShadowSJG said:

I was wondering as I've noticed this in two characters. For example, Knuckles now in the games is shown as being the stereotypical hot headed braggart

1 minute ago, ShadowSJG said:

and Shadow is now shown as the harsh and cold rival. Like in previous games like Sonic 06, he was calm and collected and did acknowledge Sonic, but look at this quote here:  

http://www.mariowiki.com/File:ShadowCopacabanaBeach.jpg

So...not really. Not nearly as much as some people act like the have, anyway.

Truth is, most characters in the series have always hovered around certain archetypes. What changes they've made to the characters lately, I feel, has had more to do with reestablishing their character traits after a period of bland characterization than of making them stereotypical or "flanderized" or whatever buzzword people want to use.

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I think on Sonic Team's part, yes, there have been a lot of problems with flanderization which have resulted in the characters being less entertaining to watch. But this isn't new-- if you're defining flanderization as the exaggeration of one aspect of a character at the expense of the character's other traits, the earliest I can pinpoint it where it had any sort of influence is Sonic X, which began airing all the way back in 2003.  Sonic X relished in shallow archetypes, making preconceptions like "Knuckles the Chump", "Shadow the Edgelord", "Sonic the Generic" a reality with its poor writing and bad understanding of what made them work. (Though Heroes did have some foreshadowing, since a lot of the characters were pretty flat, but it was at least entertaining sometimes with plenty of good moments for the characters.) Then had Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 06... and well, do I even need to explain what was wrong with the characterization in those games at this point? That dead horse has been beaten for years!

Really, you could argue that the new games are just trying to do the best they can with these shallow archetypes and embrace their cheese factor. Unless Sonic Team surprises me and decides to pull a Boom TV and try to flesh out some of the characters a bit more, we'll probably be stuck with these archetypes for a long time. But yeah, its nothing new.

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Flanderization is not a recent problem. From Sonic X (Knuckles, Shadow, Amy in particular), to Sonic Battle (Amy), to Shadow & 06, flanderization has been around when it comes to writing Sonic characters for a long time.

I'm not a fan of how the characters have been portrayed in the games lately (plenty of the charcters in Free Riders, Tails in Lost World, etc.) but it's not anything new.

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Even as a fan of modern Sonic, I have to agree that a big problem with the writing has a lot to do with the characters being broken down into the more basic core personality traits.  As stated, this isn't really a new problem, but the differences in tonality as well as the scope of the narrative made the cliche character archetypes a lot less noticeable to many.  I don't really feel like these characters have ever been overflowing with complexity or originality for that matter, but I do think they have the propensity to be given more depth.  That is, if Sega would focus more on actually creating compelling characterization instead of just emulating whatever's popular at the time.

Yes, I'm aware that this is something they've always done, but that doesn't necessarily make it good to me.

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On 9/18/2016 at 4:10 PM, Diogenes said:

So...not really. Not nearly as much as some people act like the have, anyway.

Truth is, most characters in the series have always hovered around certain archetypes. What changes they've made to the characters lately, I feel, has had more to do with reestablishing their character traits after a period of bland characterization than of making them stereotypical or "flanderized" or whatever buzzword people want to use.

The issue with your shadow quote is that his character strait up changes.

 

Heck some people only like the sa2 version of shadow because of the changes.Flanderization isn't  a buzzword, its a common trope for a reason.

That said the problem is the tone of the games nowadays. The idea of having variances in tone based on character is a foreign concept to them. And ends up ruining other characters. 

That said this is a problem for some characters less than others. Shadow changes....to this day, but they decided on what knuckles was going to be...in heroes. 

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On 18.09.2016 at 10:10 PM, Diogenes said:

So...not really. Not nearly as much as some people act like the have, anyway.

Truth is, most characters in the series have always hovered around certain archetypes. What changes they've made to the characters lately, I feel, has had more to do with reestablishing their character traits after a period of bland characterization than of making them stereotypical or "flanderized" or whatever buzzword people want to use.

I see your point, but ask yourself this: Did Shadow smiled during SA2, Heroes, Sonic X period?

Yes he did http://img12.deviantart.net/b5b1/i/2012/074/6/a/shadow_the_hedgehog_smiling__by_sonic319fire-d4svi7n.png

Now, did he ever smiled since then?

 

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14 minutes ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

Now, did he ever smiled since then?

Yeah, sure.

But I don't really see what that has to do with anything. He was never much the smiling type, and he hasn't had many significant roles since '06; you shouldn't expect to see many smiles out of Mr. Unsmiley.

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3 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Yeah, sure.

But I don't really see what that has to do with anything. He was never much the smiling type, and he hasn't had many significant roles since '06; you shouldn't expect to see many smiles out of Mr. Unsmiley.

That is actually weird to look at...

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2 hours ago, ShadowSJG said:

That is actually weird to look at...

Yes is does. Shadow proper smile would be more smug, with a little "I;m your superior" way.

My point is that in the start Shadow was kinda broody looner, but with the time he became THE broooooooooody loner.

In his first appearance he liked hammy speeches and claiming "I'm the coolest"., but now fun is for BABIES, and everyone around him SUCKS. I know, everyone agrees that Boom Shadow is weird, but that screenshoot from in the first post isn't helping Heck, Sonic Colors DS had a more proper Shadow. than this. And I know that he didn't appeared in anything big lately (I guess only Free Riders and Chronicles) but google "Shadow Hedgehog smile" and you'll get 2 results: people laughing that Shadow can't smile and screenshoots from Sonic X when he does exactly that. Even if that much of a brood loner, community sees him differently.

I actually wanted to make topic about this, but I felt I need to rethink the subject more before making any statements. Those are still loose thoughts.

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2 minutes ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

In his first appearance he liked hammy speeches and claiming "I'm the coolest"., but now fun is for BABIES, and everyone around him SUCKS.

Man hasn't just about everyone pointed out how that "I'm the coolest" line feels ridiculously out of character for him though? And I can't remember any game where Shadow shows any interest in having fun or much appreciation for the people around him.

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2 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Man hasn't just about everyone pointed out how that "I'm the coolest" line feels ridiculously out of character for him though?

Well, it's a weird, cheesy, and overly casual way to phrase it, maybe, but by the standards of like SA2-Heroes Shadow specifically, I honestly don't think it's quite that far out of character. In general, he was a lot more smug and a lot less brooding back then. I mean, from the dude who mocked Sonic in a borderline playful way ("Ha! You're not even good enough to be my fake!") and said cheesy stuff like "It'll be a date to DIE for!", it doesn't really seem completely out of the blue, does it?

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And that's especially considering that he said that in his debutting game, which is where people look at him more favorably. So no, hardly anyone has actually called that line of his out of character for him, especially given how people mocked the character only after Heroes.

Hell, the sheer fact that he was more smug, callous, and machiavellian than broody  in SA2 really highlights how that skew in his character worked against him - those very traits took center to where people had no ground or mind to misuse the word "emo" toward him as often as they did around ShTH. So that brings into question which facet of him is more out of character, and I'd argue it's the excessive brooding. 

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Shadow's personality is hard to the describe, because there are 3 periods in his life: Post 06 "we don't  give a damn about Shadow", 2005-2006 "Dark and gritty" and everything before this. You would think it's obvious that's no brainier then, SA2-Heroes-Sonic X period is true Shadow, right?

Except Sonic Heroes has little story. Sonic X is a spin off cartoon. And SA2 Shadow is a villain, who has a change of heart in very end of the story. Oh, and in each of them Shadow has amnesia to certain extent.

Over all we must ask philosophical question: what is character's "true" personality. His first appearance? Most current apperance? Trying to mix it into a one? What majority associates with character?

5 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Man hasn't just about everyone pointed out how that "I'm the coolest" line feels ridiculously out of character for him though? And I can't remember any game where Shadow shows any interest in having fun or much appreciation for the people around him.

He likes beating people up and proving how awesome he is (his opinion, can be argued with).

Sonic Colors DS? Rivals 2 towards Metal Sonic? Any interaction with Team Dark? Emerl? The point is there he might like being alone, but he has respect for Sonic or Eggman (probably for Silver and Amy), not scowling at everyone around him. Then again, what I wrote above.

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2 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

 

 

He likes beating people up and proving how awesome he is (his opinion, can be argued with).

 

I dont think thats true as smug as shadow can be ruthless, but fighting seems to be a means to end. With the added bonus of his inhibitor rings being a giant claring "hes hold back" sign...hearly he doesnt wanna kill people. What his goal is changes with the day, but fighting for shadow seems very much like a waste. A lot of times him flexing is him telling you to get out of the way. 

Quote

Over all we must ask philosophical question: what is character's "true" personality. His first appearance? Most current apperance? Trying to mix it into a one? What majority associates with character?

There is is a consistant characterization throughline with all of his characterization though. I wouldn't call it smugness but a sort of disconnect. Hes tunnel vissioned and ruthless. Thats his character.Yeah he says cheesy lines in sa2, but he has a goal and actually achieves it in sa2. Whether hes joking about fakers or or brooding about maria one character description is consistent. He will do anything to the goddamned nth degree to get what he wants to do done. Hes determined ruthless and will go to dark lengths to see goal achived. Thats who shadow is. Whether hes smug about it or soft spoken depends on the situation...which is the benifit of his characters. So real secret answer:

Smug as fuck shadow and cold and contemplating are both shadow. Much like real people his attitude is tailered to the situation. Thats sort of the benifit of his character. He cant be pigeoned holed into one characterization. Thats why everytime someone makes a shadow joke someone else is quick to correct both interpetations of the character are correct.

5 hours ago, Conquering Storm's Servant said:

And that's especially considering that he said that in his debutting game, which is where people look at him more favorably.

You will find quite a number of shadow fans like him cold and ruthless. This is a common argument amongst the base because of how people want him to be, primarly now in the comic books

Quote

 

 So no, hardly anyone has actually called that line of his out of character for him, especially given how people mocked the character only after Heroes.

 

They mocked him because he picked up real human weaponry and started shooting and swearing. If shadow the hedgehog was a better game, even with the brooding it would have been fine. Shadows also smug and says dumb lines in that game.

Quote

Hell, the sheer fact that he was more smug, callous, and machiavellian than broody  in SA2 really highlights how that skew in his character worked against him

I dont think so, again shadows pretty smug in his own game. And shadow is pretty mopey in sa2. I think the fact that he can be multiple people is the appeal.

Quote

- those very traits took center to where people had no ground or mind to misuse the word "emo" toward him as often as they did around ShTH. So that brings into question which facet of him is more out of character, and I'd argue it's the excessive brooding. 

Or a bad video game. If shadow was good and had no human guns, game would looked upon as more cheese than emo. But it was bad so negativity. But its the game, people still love that interpretation of his character.

7 hours ago, Diogenes said:

Man hasn't just about everyone pointed out how that "I'm the coolest" line feels ridiculously out of character for him though? And I can't remember any game where Shadow shows any interest in having fun or much appreciation for the people around him.

It does. Because he wasnt suppoused to be around that long, there were different expectations for the character. When they found out everyone loved him for being multi faceted. Something to this day is rare in sonic. I dont thibk his characterizaton is ever a problem. Outside of specific extremes. 

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Honestly, I think Shadow's personality should be something akin to like Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho if you guys have ever seen it. He's brooding and prefers to be alone, but he will be there for the others, and won't admit it thought.

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1 hour ago, Shadowlax said:

I dont think thats true as smug as shadow can be ruthless, but fighting seems to be a means to end. With the added bonus of his inhibitor rings being a giant claring "hes hold back" sign...hearly he doesnt wanna kill people. What his goal is changes with the day, but fighting for shadow seems very much like a waste. A lot of times him flexing is him telling you to get out of the way. 

Thats sort of the benifit of his character. He cant be pigeoned holed into one characterization. Thats why everytime someone makes a shadow joke someone else is quick to correct both interpetations of the character are correct. (...) I think the fact that he can be multiple people is the appeal.

1 Poor choice of word on my part. I didn't mean "he enjoys hurting people", rather "he enjoys combat as form of challenge, competition". Just at him in Heroes when he meets Team Sonic.

2 I can't agree with 'multiple interpretation = automatic appeal'. Yes there is dark and broody batman and cartoony and cheesy batman, so he has 'bigger appeal'. But that's two edged sword. Fantastic Four had 3 different movies and last cartoon, each so different, each sucking in it's own way.

The difference here is that Nolan's Batman and Adam West's Batman aren't the same person, they in different universes, so it's less of a problem. SA2 Shadow and Shadow...Shadow  is suppose to be the same guy, so in the next game he can stay true to only to one interpretation.

The funny part is that "Smug" Shadow and "Broody" Shadow aren't all that different. Unlike Sonic, Eggman or Knuckles, Shadow changed very subtly. It just that he is this cool stoic, who in the past would be 90% time serious stoic 10% show other emotions, and later he was 100% serious stoic (and in modern games he's mostly just a jerk). it's not a huge change, since 90% of time they act the same,  but that makes him one note, thus more stereotypical.

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Sonic characters are generally a combination of several stereotypes, as are most people and fictional characters really. However, I would say most Sonic characters have interesting base personalities and are good concepts, but are bogged down by silly mistakes that Sega make. Blaze The Cat is a good example of a good modern Sonic character who has a balanced, human personality who is likeable. She has pretty good development in the Rush games and her relationship with Sonic is quite good. However her character interaction with most characters (outside of Sonic) is poor and quite shallow, making her appear shallow. Another problem is that Percival and Sonic 06 Blaze cannot be connected to Rush Blaze because they are different characters, despite having consistant characterisation, and some development. Blaze is one of my favourite characters though, so I am quite biased with my praise for her. 

Amy is another example of a character that should be well developed and fleshed out, but because her personality varies so much between so many of the games, it makes it seem like her persoanlity keeps on changing instead of deepening and becoming more fleshed out.  They make huge changes to her character without explanation. Amy was a sensible, but naive and stalkerish hero in SADX and SA2 who Sonic ignores, but becomes a hardcore stalker with delusional issues in Sonic Battle who Sonic avoids at all costs and than becomes Sonics friend(?) in Lost World and is actually not stalking him?! It looks like a cacophony of random stereotypes rather than a constant development and exploration of Amys personality. It's a shame. 

While Cream is actually one of the more well developed characters, who also had an unique and interesting side to her (in Sonic Rush), her character development with Blaze and Amy feels very off screen. I can't pinpoint the part where Cream passes being annoying and becomes friends with Blaze in Rush. Cream goes from "sister like relationship" with Amy in Sonic Heroes to never talking to Amy in Sonic Generations and Sonic Chronicles. They even had some distance in Sonic Rush. There's clearly some reason to this, but all we get is some brief hint in Sonic Battle that Cream is getting tired of Amy forcing her to train with her. Combine this with her consistantly shallow dialogue and her representation in Sonic media, and she just appears so shallow and boring. 

Characters like Knuckles and Shadow have similar problems. Ranging from shallow dialogue, to disjointed characterisations. I think out of all the Sonic characters, Metal Sonic has the best development and characterisation. For whatever few times that has happened anyway. It's remarkable how Sega managed how to screw up their own characters up in the silliest of ways. Nevertheless, I wouldn't call all Sonic characters bad, boring or unlikeable.   

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13 hours ago, Shadowlax said:

 

You will find quite a number of shadow fans like him cold and ruthless. This is a common argument amongst the base because of how people want him to be, primarly now in the comic books

They mocked him because he picked up real human weaponry and started shooting and swearing. If shadow the hedgehog was a better game, even with the brooding it would have been fine. Shadows also smug and says dumb lines in that game.

I dont think so, again shadows pretty smug in his own game. And shadow is pretty mopey in sa2. I think the fact that he can be multiple people is the appeal.

Or a bad video game. If shadow was good and had no human guns, game would looked upon as more cheese than emo. But it was bad so negativity. But its the game, people still love that interpretation of his character.

1) I wasn't talking about him being cold and ruthless, I was talking about him brooding and being restricted to just that. His incarnation in the comics is a lot more flexible than how he is in the games, which is actually the characterization I'd like Shadow to have all around.

2) Human weapons, shooting and swearing are completely besides the point regarding his characterization. And considering how even Heroes was noticably scrutinized for their stories (mostly in hindsight, but there was some discussion not too long after its release that people were questioning it), it is highly doubtful people would have been fine with his character even if ShTH was a better game if the script carried the same narrative problems - and that's regardless of whether or not being a "better game" meant it did without human weapons, shooting, and swearing.

Such pigeonholed characterization has been the growing discussion point over the narratives for quite a while, and Shadow isn't the only character suffering from it. But let's not go about ignoring the criticism and backlash of his character post-SA2 in favor of solely what the Shadow-fans see and praise, because even they're as diverse in opinion as the fandom itself.

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1 hour ago, Conquering Storm's Servant said:

1) I wasn't talking about him being cold and ruthless, I was talking about him brooding and being restricted to just that. His incarnation in the comics is a lot more flexible than how he is in the games, which is actually the characterization I'd like Shadow to have all around.

Isn't that how it generally is these days? I mean, everyone is clearly built off of core, central character traits, but they're allowed to be a bit more rounded beyond that. It gives them a strong sense of identity, while keeping them flexible. Can we think of a Sonic game where, for instance, Tails acted like an indignified brat for half of an arc (in a way that's actually relatable, NOT Sonic Lost World?).

I mean, I get that part of that is because as a comic it can get away with more of these things, but in general I read everyone who is in the comics these days "as they should be".

 

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2 minutes ago, VEDJ-F said:

I wouldn't say I read the comic as "how they should be", because to be quite honest there are a few contradictions between there and several traits of their game portrayals, even core ones. 

Hence in general. And I should emphasis that this mostly is about the post-reboot material, shit like House of Cards and #222 obviously need not apply.

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Ah, okie doke, that makes sense.

That said, my two off-the-top-of-my-head examples are post-reboot anyway (Espio having a gambing issue is funny in the comic but wouldn't fly with the super discipline-obsessed game self who is reluctant to even take up Rouge's challenge in Rivals 2, Espio would not have stopped Vector from charging in #283 since he's not indicated to have any issue with that. In fact, Vector's the overly generous one of the team despite his greed so he'd most likely take issue with charging the most), because pre-reboot is a whole different kettle of fish in how wildly different the takes were. 

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