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How strong is Dragon Ball's influence on the Sonic series?


EzSonic01
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I've never really liked Dragon Ball, but I think there is a lot of stuff and elements the Sonic franchise borrows from these cartoons, and the one that comes to mind right now is the "Super" transformation ability that Sonic (and some of his friends, such as Tails and Knux) can use, turning sparkly and changing from blue to gold, basically being invincible to most hazards and damage. I mean, even I (who despised that TV series as a kid) knew Dragon Ball innovated this and how unoriginal it was, even if it felt as an awesome reward for one hard's work collecting all the 7 emeralds. Even listening to the "Super" theme that plays when transforming in the games feel like they came from Dragon Ball (To put a clear example, the theme that plays in Mania when going Super). But what other aspects Sonic has that are at least somewhat similar to Dragon Ball? 

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I would say it is really strong. Shadow for example is actually nothing more than a hedgehog version of Vegeta and Silver was also a very big inspiration from Future Trunks of the Cell Saga. But it doesn't end here. Sonic always takes influences from pretty much everything that is popular at the time. Sonic never really established an own universe with it's own lore like Mario or Crash Bandicoot did, he always has chased down trends.

The art style of Sonic Unleashed was taken from Pixar and the Werehog gameplay from God of War. Shadow the Hedgehog (game) was created because a lot of kids were into shooter games back than. Sonic Chronicles was created because the Mario series had a lot of RPG spin-offs. Chris from Sonic X looks like Sora from Kingdom Hearts and Princess Elise looks like a grown up version from Kairi also from KH + Elise seems to taken a lot of influence from Princess Peach from Super Mario and Princess Zelda from the Zelda series. The whole Sonic 06 game felt more like a Square Enix game like FF rather than a Sonic game. The whole Sonic Boom show just tried to copy popular western shows like Fairly OddParents and Spongebob Squarepants. Actually all shows did that. Sonic X felt more like Pokémon or Digimon and TAoStH tried to copy Looney Tunes with the art style and surreal humor of Ren & Stimpy. The Chao were created because Tamagotchi were really popular at that time. The Level design from Sonic Lost World got inspired by Super Mario Galaxy and the Deadly Six are pretty much the Bowser and the Koopalings of the Sonic universe. And so on. I'm pretty sure their is are more.

Sonic was always like that. The series never tried to be it's own thing. It always took ideas that were popular at the time. 

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Shadow's game and entire existence is the android saga 

Like the name Dr.Gerald Robotnik to the whole experiments, them suggesting he was quite literally an android for quite sometime. Like they made andriod 17 a hedgehog and his name is shadow. And while they other two aren't androids rouge and omega are clearly 18 and 16

 

a lot i would say

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Sonic stole a few ideas wholesale from Dragon Ball but Dragon Ball inspired so many things it's hard for me to really hold it against them. There are a lot of archetypes taken from Shonen in general, which kind of leads back into Dragon Ball, I guess?

I think the only one that really bothers me is that Silver is quite literally a shitty version of Future Trunks. That's his whole thing. He doesn't really have his own thing going on to separate him from aside from treating the heroes like shit just because he's simply dumber than Future Trunks.
 

Otherwise yeah how archetypal the characters got during the dreamcast era bugged me a bit but I don't think you can tie all that into Dragon Ball. That's not giving enough credit to the other stuff they ripped off, like how Shadow and Mewtwo are close enough to having the same backstory. How a lot of the machines and villains and stuff give up hard in Sonic X when it comes to looking like anything from the series and just look like gundam or something. The Deadly Six. It goes on.

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23 minutes ago, Josh said:

I think the only one that really bothers me is that Silver is quite literally a shitty version of Future Trunks. That's his whole thing. He doesn't really have his own thing going on to separate him from aside from treating the heroes like shit just because he's simply dumber than Future Trunks.

I think read somewhere about one of the creators saying to think of Trunks when concerning Silver. How would you have Silver's character be more creative?

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I would say that Dragon Ball's influence over Sonic is exaggerated by fans. Sonic parodied a few elements from Dragon Ball such as the Super Transformation and 7 magic stones, but so many other elements that fans credit to Dragon Ball are just standard tropes used in many other works of fiction. Shadow is just a standard brooding, tragic character that is used frequently in anime and western fiction - heck I see more similarities to Batman in his background than Vegeta and his occasional rivalry with Superman over who is right, or a number of other comic / manga characters like Sasuke, or western characters many who were created in the 80s-90s and have "blood" or "dead" or "death" in their name but not all (Deathstroke, Daredevil, Punisher). Time traveling characters like Silver are also popular, look at X-men which has 2 major time travelers (Bishop & Cable). Androids? Come on! I can name so many different fictions using androids - hell back to Batman and the 90s animated series with its Terminator-like androids, one of which is an awesome Batman rip-off that made for one of the greatest cartoons I ever watched.

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8 minutes ago, Darth InVaders said:

Time traveling characters like Silver are also popular, look at X-men which has 2 major time travelers (Bishop & Cable).

Nah, Silver was legit inspired by Trunks' tho.

According to Sonic Retro:

In SEGA's Sonic '06 game script spreadsheet file[2], there are character profiles written in corresponding English and Japanese that talk of their personalities and some of their origins. At the end of Silver's English profile, it says "(The below is all temporary) Essentially, think Trunks from Dragon Ball Z."

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Pre-1998 Sonic has little to nothing to do with DB/Z, besides Super Sonic which is intentionally shameless.

When character archetypes became more obvious in how generic they were in the Adventure era, that's when Sonic started to resemble Shonen stuff. 

Shadow's origins I don't think are really inspired by Vegeta as if you've seen the old concept art and old SA2 stories, you'd know that he came more from a monster movie kinda place as he seemed more mutated and nightmarish. Only his final design really draws parallels with Vegeta, and to be fair his final role and personality, although you can compare those to a number of different things meanwhile. Silver is a different story. 

I think the parallels started in the Adventure era, as besides Super Sonic there really isn't much in common with DB/Z originally. Classic Sonic is more inspired by American cartoons and late 80s pop culture than anything.

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35 minutes ago, Darth InVaders said:

I would say that Dragon Ball's influence over Sonic is exaggerated by fans. Sonic parodied a few elements from Dragon Ball such as the Super Transformation and 7 magic stones,

The difference became when they stopped being parodies and started just being the same thing, but with Sonic characters. Of course, when fans say "DBZ" a lot of the time they mean "shonen."

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1 hour ago, RedFox99 said:

I think read somewhere about one of the creators saying to think of Trunks when concerning Silver. How would you have Silver's character be more creative?

I like the original concept for Silver where they weren't deadset on making him a  saiyanhog a lot more than what we got, for starters. Make him a different animal. I'd also ditch the future angle entirely because time travel is just too much of a mess to write around to have him appear.  If you really want to tie him to Blaze, just let him be from that dimension.

I think a villain/rival who has the power to literally stop sonic in place isn't a bad concept, though.

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I think it has more to do with Sonic being a very "shonen" style series that the similarities exist. The concept of going super isn't exclusive to Dragon Ball, even if it's what popularized it, as examples of a "golden warrior" existed in a few cases before Dragon Ball (and even in Dragon Ball it was created as a cost cutting measure so they wouldn't have to ink hair). Just about all manga and anime aimed at young boys and teens contain at least one rival character (Pokemon, Naruto, etc.).

The Chaos Emeralds do appear very similar to the Dragon Balls, with there being seven and all, but I feel enough differences exist between them that they're not necessarily the same: Chaos Emeralds are useful individually and Dragon Balls are useless alone, Chaos Emeralds don't grant wishes and are only power sources (I know they were called wish granting jewels at one point, but I don't believe it's ever been shown that they've granted anything to the equivalent that a wish on the Dragon Balls could), Dragon Balls aren't the catalyst for the protagonists going Super, and the Dragon Balls don't have any way to nullify their power like the Master Emerald. Besides the number of them the only other similarity I can think of would be when they separate after use, but while Dragon Ball makes that explicitly clear that that always happens, Sonic doesn't and as far as I'm aware the only time it's been shown that the Chaos Emeralds scatter after use is Super Smash Bros.

Of course I won't deny that there wasn't direct influence from Dragon Ball, Silver was created with the explicit purpose of being similar to Trunks after all, but most of the similarities can be accounted for this series being almost obligatorily shonen. Not that that's a bad thing in my book, Sonic at least has the benefit having been created at a time where shonen tropes weren't completely overused, so the series having overt elements of shonen don't seem too egregious to me.

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I'm just wondering, I know the Shonen parallels are obvious post SA, but where exactly are they in the classic series? I really don't see much similarity between classic Sonic (especially United States/ European) and Shonen tropes.

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Sonic is Goku with a more laid backed demeanor, more intelligence and a obsession with Freedom than Fighting

Shadow is Vegeta with more brooding, no inferiority complex, and a bigger ego(he still believes he's stronger than Sonic even though Sonic has defeated him constantly, must be self denial or Shadow's pride won't accept Sonic hurting his ego).

Knuckles is Picolo(same ancient orgin theme of people he never grew up with/guards mystical artifacts and honors gods) with a brash dislike of Sonic, mostly sociable with others, a love interest and is pretty much a naive idiot.

Tails is Bulma without the sex appeal, the vainty and the actual genius that could beat the entire Briefs family. Also Gohan in being the second best hero of the team after Sonic and has the skills to save the world himself, but doesn't due to lack of confidence and prefers inventing than fighting.

Amy is ChiChi, more energtetic, less uptight, and more into keeping her love interest on a ball and chain (so she can have him) than letting him do as he pleases.

Silver is Trunks if he were more naive, more unprepared, and more a burden to Sonic and Shadow.

Rouge is probably Bulma without the genius smarts and more the vain and seductive side, plus greedy and vain about jewels.

Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik is Dr Gero, even build Androids from Metal Sonic and the E series to kill Sonic personally.

 

 

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