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Legendary Emerald

SatAm "Sea3on" Project

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(Apologies if this topic needs to be moved elsewhere.)

So I was informed this morning of another attempt at creating the mythical Season 3 of the Saturday Morning Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, and found this article by our very own Sonic Stadium.

https://www.sonicstadium.org/2019/05/dedicated-satam-fans-crowdfund-season-3-production/

Long story short, old fandom standby Fans United for Satam is attempting to crowdfund a fully animated, fully sound-tracked, fully professionally voiced Season 3 of a  beloved show that has been cancelled since 1994. The route they have chosen for this is to ask for funding via Patreon and they produced the following image and trailer to advertise it.

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Now, I have some rather... strong feelings about this idea, but I'll save my full thoughts for a little bit later. What does everyone else think of this?

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I think it sounds like a fine idea and a case of why not? However it seems kinda questionable to crowdfund a project that is using a IP they don't own... Am I misunderstanding something? Do they even have SEGA's permission? If not then they should be very careful.

And I am aware it says the promo trailer is not proof how the final quality of art style and animation will look... But regardless the art style shown is REALLY off and not executed great. A concept trailer should do it's best to sell hard a idea in order to get people to back it... and it is not doing it correctly for me nor does it fill me full of confidence personally. Which is a shame that it doesn't showcase itself better as I do love the idea of a season 3 of Sonic SatAM getting made.

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I'm not a fan of SatAM to begin with but that teaser is really not selling me on the idea. The animation's too smooth in some ways and too jerky in others, and the characters squish and distort in unpleasant ways. Even if the plan to up the polish for the actual episodes this isn't enough for me to believe they can pull it off. The poster looks better, but a single static image doesn't say much about how a full animation is going to turn out. And I get that the main goal is to appeal to fans of the original but the teaser doesn't do much to draw in people who aren't still obsessed with this particular 25 year old children's cartoon.

...also wouldn't "3eason" be better than "sea3on"? "Threeson" vs "seathreeon"? I mean it's still pretty bad either way but...

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Oh, that's really, really rough. They look fairly on-model, but the animation isn't like the cartoon it's trying to emulate, the colors are a tad too bright and.. yikes, there's just no way they're going to be able to sell me on this. I resent the cliff-hanger at the end of Season 2, they had a satisfying ending right there. Now we see attempts to "finish" it crop up every so often, and it's always sub-par.

I sympathize with those who loved SatAM, I really do; I gave it a second watch a month or so ago and enjoyed it, but it's best to leave it alone. I haven't seen anything (fan-made or otherwise) that can live up to the hype. 

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Gonna echo Indi's sentiments and say that it doesn't really properly emulate the show it's trying to continue.

I also have to echo Lord's question and ask if crowdfunding is REALLY the best idea for this? Sure, Sega may be willing to let your '06 remakes slide, but the difference is, those aren't asking for funding. This is, and that's been the death of several fan projects before this.

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3 minutes ago, Tarnish said:

Here I am wondering does SEGA even owns the rights to Sonic SatAM to begin with.

They do, as well as the rights to the characters featured in them. However, SEGA's vision of Sonic has long since moved on from AoStH, SatAM, Underground, or even X, and that's why they barely acknowledge it, outside of the rare re-releases.

As for this...ehhh. Everyone else's criticisms about the animation and such holds true for me as well. I'll also say that while it's a neat idea, I'm not really sure how to feel about it, because in general - SatAM had a decent enough resolution. Just ignore Snively, and that's it. On top of that, with Hurst having passed away, we'll never know for sure what the true plans for Season 3 was, other than the details we've already gotten, like Knuckles being in it, Tails getting a bigger role, Nicole having a honestly grimdark origin that I think is pretty bad for a Sonic show, and just an attempt to make Robotnik far more of a total psycho than he already was, and Naugus rising up as the villain. 

I mean, I suppose you could say the same thing about Sonic the Comic Online, or Archie Sonic Online, both being fan-made follow-ups to their retrospective storylines, but then they're also not asking for crowd-funding to make it a reality, and that's not even getting into the sketchiness of the project itself (It's pretty infamous that crowd-funding projects for established IPs from fan creators usually end up cancelled due to legality issues). There's too many issues that stick out in my mind that make it seem difficult to pull something like that off. It also helps that StCO and Archie Sonic Online's follow-ups don't cover anything near as "controversial" as the plans for SatAM Season 3 was gonna be.

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I don't want to be stick in the mud, but does Satam needs season 3? Why?

Story arc? Show ended on perfectly satisfying conclusion. Main threat that was looming from first episode defeat, Sonic and Sally are together. Things like King in Void or Snively's plans are rally superfluous.

Quality? If you want to see same quality of writing (not that I ever liked Satam that much), then fan project can't assure you'll get it.

Nostalgia? If you just want to see your favorite characters again, then you have 200+ of Archie Comics, they even got King from void and Nicole had origin, what else do you want? (Not to mention seweral fanfics or fancomics)

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Arguably after all these years for a season 3 to be worth it the animation & art style needs to not only match the quality of the original... but it also kinda honestly needs to surpass it for it to be worth the investment. This looks like a flat-out downgrade with no proof they will be able to do better later. Regardless I highly doubt this project will get anywhere much farther... so I guess it doesn't matter.

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The instant I saw the head-line and the poster my gut reaction was a tiny bit of second hand embarrassment and a little bit of a "Richard Kuta, is that you?" vibe. I'm not entirely sure how best to say my piece without sounding like a bit of a jerk so I guess I'll just be as honest as I can without going overboard with any condescending rhetoric. Fuck me, here I go.

I couldn't finish the video. I had to stop it like 50 seconds in because I was... I don't wanna say "cringing" but I guess there's no other word. So yeah, I was doing that. The thought occurred to me just how useless this kind of is. Especially today. I certainly get it. I understand wanting to make a continuation of a series you once loved. If it's a passion project born through something genuine and you have the chops to pull it off, than by all means. I'm not gonna look down on you should you manage to get it working. 

However, the thing that sticks out to me the most is just how overly ambitious this all feels right out of the gate. Like, I can understand making a comic continuation of SatAM or Sonic Underground or whatever Sonic show you wanted to see have a proper ending but going for a fully animated, fully "professionally" voice-acted, fully scored third season of a show that ended 2000 years ago seems a bit much. 

Also it sounds impossible. I'm just gonna flat out say that I don't at all believe for a second that this is happening. I don't believe they'll make the money necessary to see this project to its conclusion. Even if a ton of SatAM fans donated, the niche sub-section of one particular fandom managing to draw in enough money to get this produced is a fantasy. I don't want to outright accuse anyone of trying to scam people but any normal person would no doubt take that into account too. There's Sonic fans who don't give a shit about SatAM so you're not going to get their money. There's fans of SatAM who don't give a shit about a third season so you probably won't get their money either.

We live in a world where Star Wars fans won't even go see a Han Solo movie during a time where Star Wars is trying to take over the Earth. I can't see too many people donating to resurrect this dinosaur from the 90s. A show that came to be and ended before Sonic got his re-design. 

I'm also not saying this as someone who doesn't care about SatAM. I love Sonic X and I'd probably read a fan comic or two about it's continuation (if it were any good) but I sure as shit wouldn't donate to the production of a Season 4. I was one of the people wondering why the outcries for a Season 4 wouldn't stop long past the point of it being possible for one. I even remember seeing the Wikipedia page for Sonic X, edited to say that there was a Season 4 coming in 2010. Come on now folks...

I don't have a problem with fan projects continuing stuff in ways that seem reasonable but I feel this kind of skirts the line in a way that makes me feel there should be more tolerance and acceptance for when something has run its course.

God, I hope I wrote all that correctly. 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Meta77 said:

This will get shut down on legal reasons alone. You can't create something like this via crowdfunding without Sega's say

I don't think so. Chakra-X the creator of Nazo Unleashed is making a sequel to his animation through his patreon and it's been up for 3 years. 

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The description of the video does say that the animation was "in-house, and not representative of the final product" but...no? I feel animation isn't one of those mediums where you can use the "not representative" safety net. For your debut announcement, especially if you're asking for funding, you need a sample of the absolute best you have to offer in order to justify why people should be interested, let alone giving you money. If they'd shown an animatic instead then MAYBE I'd be a little more open-minded, although not by much. Look at any announcement / teaser trailer for an animated movie, the quality isn't going to be far off the level of detail and fluidity that the final film will offer.

And then there's the whole legal problems with this. SEGA are possibly the most relaxed big-name games publisher I can think of and are quite happy for the community to do its thing but even they'll draw the line when money gets involved, and rightfully so. The only loophole I can potentially see is that, because its on Patreon, there's an argument that supporters are just financing the artist themselves rather directly funding the SatAm project. Since they've branded their Patreon around the project though I'm really not sure.

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I think the best complement I can give this is that Sally's VA is actually pretty close to the actual original VA, but Sonic's VA...no. Like, if you want my frank opinion, and no offence to the guy - Jaleel White - I never liked his Sonic voice, especially when he came back for the fanfilm, where he sounded completely out of practice on top of it all, and an impressionist of that Sonic just made that 50 seconds a bit too obnoxious. 

Speaking of which, maybe it's because I haven't seen SatAM in about two years, or whenever Motobug was showing it, but Sonic just seems...really annoying and hyper in this. I honestly can't remember if he was like that in SatAM, although I'm nearly sure at the very least he had some level of development as he went through the first two seasons, but here, his voice is constantly running too fast, and he's trying so hard to put speed into his voice, like Sonic is talking fast near constantly, despite that not being a trait of his. Especially by the end of it, it seems incredibly rushed, because both Sonic and Sally are talking as fast as they can and skimming through the details.

And the animation, I don't know, it's just either too jerky, or too stretchy, I'm no animation master, but I just feel like something is off, Sonic and Sally feel off-model at points, Sonic's expression shifts incredibly quickly, and movement just jerks around. It doesn't really replicate the DIC SatAM style much at all, which is kind of telling, given that DIC shows are infamous for being horribly animated, and given low budgets. 

And don't get me wrong, I don't like criticising artists and animators like this, at least - fan animators, because they're usually working with no budget, and a passion project, but if you're asking for funding for this thing, I mean to be frank - I'd expect better animation. Like fucking hell, Sonic Paradox has pulled off better, even if they take longer for their projects:

Like, all of the animation is pretty good, but especially the art-styles for Team Dark and Team Rose just look so nice, and animate really well. And this was done as a passion collab project, like all of Sonic Paradox's stuff.

I think this is the major problem - this isn't just a passion project, it isn't something done on a little to no budget - it's being used to advertise a project that somebody wants money donated to make. If you're going to ask for that, you need to seriously step your game up and show off some great animation. 

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9 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

and no offence to the guy - Jaleel White - I never liked his Sonic voice, especially when he came back for the fanfilm, where he sounded completely out of practice on top of it all, and an impressionist of that Sonic just made that 50 seconds a bit too obnoxious.

Personally I always liked Jaleel White's Sonic voice best. It had a far more iconic character and sound to it then any of the modern Sonic voices all of which I never been a huge fan of. I also think Sonic is at his best when he sounds little obnoxious and talks fast instead of trying to make him sound like some generic hero guy.

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It just seems how to put it, a bit of a tall order? A case of being a nice idea but just way too unrealistic in terms of its goal.

Besides who would this appeal to? The fanbase for SatAM is declining over the years as many of the fans have moved on and some have even passed away. The younger generation will pass on it because they don't know the characters, would look too old (sadly a criticism that does exist) and completely different in style to what Sonic has been for the past 10-15 years or so. Even the comics that were the last part of its legacy completely changed over with a new company, new characters and a style more closer to the current Sonic. Taking another example, while I might be an AoSTH fan I wouldn't want a 2nd season as that time is over and many of the people who worked on that aren't around anymore.

If they got permission from Sega (doubtful), then it is a case where they haven't done a proper plan of the whole thing. All we know is that they have one of the composers and 11 episodes have been written. The money needed to raise for a high quality cartoon is hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars and that's if they outsourced the animation to South Korea or where ever, that's per episode too. Voice Actors want money, animators want money, all of the other staff associated with animation want money.

If they haven't then this project will get shut down just on the grounds of using an IP. It doesn't say Sonic but has his mug on it. It is also ironic where it says that this is a non-profit thing when they have a patreon for funding.

As for the trailer itself. Looking at the animation, could tell within 5 seconds that it looks off even though Sonic and Sally look like they did back then. Can definitely tell that it has tweening like it really wants to try but the emulation of the whole thing is off. It feels too mechanical. If this was a fan thing, then would give it some slack and would have been half decent but if this was a pitch to a cartoon, it would have been turned down and I would have done the same. Some moments it looks more like a parody of AoSTH in terms of its animation regarding Sonic (even the that's no good moment was lifted there).

Sally sounds close to her original voice actress Kath Soucie and did a good job but Sonic? He doesn't sound close to Jaleel White, he speaks too fast. Sure sometimes Sonic did say things quickly but not all the time. It is perhaps to mask the inexperience of the voice actor or perhaps even a different voice actor to take the role. This is also the problem here. We don't know what the other characters are going to sound like. SatAM was more than just Sonic & Sally after all.

It reminds me of those recent reboots that are on Youtube that have an extremely low budget rather than a successor to 26 year old cartoon.

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It's also worth noting that this project currently has 19 backers at a rate of $201 dollars a month. When I tried digging for information on who's behind this sad show, I found that one of the admins of the FUS website, "Shadow," has himself backed it for $90. This means only $111 dollars has been raised from outside sources thus far, unless there are even more FUSers in the background inflating this number. Y'know, it's still not too late to return everyone's money and chalk this one up as a mistake, Sea3on team.

This is all pretty depressing for me as a fan of SatAM. Is this what has become of my first fandom? I grew up reading fanfiction by Robert Brown, Francis Tolbert, Dan Drazen, Red Sonic/The Rune Reverend, and Netraptor. The first time I could watch the show was on postage-stamp sized Real Player videos. I've beaten Sonic Epoch multiple times despite all the glitches. The 2012 full series DVD collection is one of my most prized possessions. I even have an account on the FUS forum, though I doubt I could remember how to log in.

SatAM's time has come and gone. Fans can keep making their fanfictions and comics, and that's great, but the time for a season 3 or "Sea3on" past by decades ago.

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5 minutes ago, Legendary Emerald said:

 This means only $111 dollars has been raised from outside sources thus far, unless there are even more FUSers in the background inflating this number.

I wish my Patreon got $111 per month!

That's actually not too bad assuming all the payments go through at the end of the month. 

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Wait, FUS is still a thing? Huh. They just keep on keepin' on, don't they?

I liked the voices well enough. Definitely rough around the edges, but I'd wager with time they'd get pretty good. Jaleel White has a pretty distinct voice that's hard to imitate, so I gotta give Sonic's actor some props.

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Just now, StaticMania said:

The project itself is fan-fiction...

So...should they just not bother?

Fan-fiction refers only to written work; this would be considered a fan animation. And yes, if they cannot afford to fund it themselves, they should not waste other people's money on a passion project for an IP that they don't own.

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