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Tails: between success and disservice of the character

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An argument I used to see thrown around a lot by Shadow haters for why he should disappear is that his arc was concluded in ShtH and he therefore had nothing  of value to keep him relevant going forward. Ironically, while post-ShtH Shadow immediately carved out a solid niche with his new role as a GUN agent and his strong team dynamic with Rouge and Omega the argument is, I think, a fairly accurate description of the problem facing Tails post-Adventure.

Tails learned to stand on his own in SA1SA2 reaffirmed that development. After that the writers just seem to have no idea what to do with him and either ignore his development, like Heroes, or leave him as a generic smart-guy who occasionally does smart-guy thing but is otherwise just kind of there for the sake of being there, like '06. Attempts to spice up the latter characterization, like the sass machine of the Pontaff games, just tend to lose the traits that made Tails endearing in the first place.

Riders and Chronicles managed to give him some more character through his dynamics with Wave and Eggman respectively, but both are rather situational and don't work for building an interesting new status quo for Tails. For my money though, the game which best utilizes Tails post-Adventure is Sonic Battle. Unlike other games Battle treats the conclusion of Tails' story in Adventure as the beginning of his growth rather than the end of it. In Battle we see a Tails who has realized he can't rely on Sonic forever and is actively trying to become more independent (such as by requesting that Sonic not accompany him when he takes Emerl to the Central Lab). Still, he's not fully self assured yet and has moments where he becomes demoralized or gets in over his head and needs to lean on Sonic or Knuckles for help. He hasn't become fully self-sufficient yet but he's trying to get there.

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5 hours ago, Diogenes said:

"Immediately", in this case, meaning at some unknown point across a several month span where his best friend is missing and possibly dead and Eggman has effectively taken over the world.

And it's not really fair to compare Tails in his mech vs Eggman in a functionally identical mech against Tails, unarmed, against 5 guys who just effortlessly beat the shit out of Sonic.

The main point is that Tails was willing to step up before, even when he fully thought Sonic was dead.

Compared to literally giving up all hope and not even trying to do anything until Classic Sonic comes into the picture.

 

If Tails has to have a breakdown that he has to overcome, fine. But Forces doesn't really justify itself very well because it half asses everything about its narrative.

 

Tails watched Sonic get the shit beat out of him...fine. How is that any worse than watching Sonic get blown up? Well the story doesn't really care to explain that, so it just is...because reasons I guess.

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30 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

The main point is that Tails was willing to step up before, even when he fully thought Sonic was dead.

Compared to literally giving up all hope and not even trying to do anything until Classic Sonic comes into the picture.

 

If Tails has to have a breakdown that he has to overcome, fine. But Forces doesn't really justify itself very well because it half asses everything about its narrative.

 

Tails watched Sonic get the shit beat out of him...fine. How is that any worse than watching Sonic get blown up? Well the story doesn't really care to explain that, so it just is...because reasons I guess.

He also faced down a massive Eggman piloted mech alone, and without any gadgets or inventions that was hell bent on destroying Station Square as well, and without Sonic to help, so the fact he was in a mech in SA2 is moot, he faced down Eggman alone before when the odds were massively stacked against him.

Not to mention I could accept being a bit worried about a 5v1 fight after seeing Sonic beaten down, I could even get that maybe he tried to save Sonic and it wasn’t focused on. But Tails didn’t even bother to help fight Infinite and co when they were literally 5v1 against Sonic, when Tails could’ve at least tried to help even the odds by helping him, or even the aforementioned cowering in front of bog standard badniks, there is literally zero excuse for Tails to be afraid of them when he wiped them out plenty of times in the past.

and there’s also the fact that by Chaos and Shadow both being present, they practically spotlight the fact that both SA and SA2 happened, so it is pretty much the same person who was capable of destroying gigantic Eggman mechs alone and facing down his greatest enemy after said enemy supposedly killed his best friend due to his accidental slip about their plan, is now the exact same person cowering in fear of basic badniks.

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44 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

The main point is that Tails was willing to step up before, even when he fully thought Sonic was dead.

Compared to literally giving up all hope and not even trying to do anything until Classic Sonic comes into the picture.

 

Quote

If Tails has to have a breakdown that he has to overcome, fine. But Forces doesn't really justify itself very well because it half asses everything about its narrative.

 

Tails watched Sonic get the shit beat out of him...fine. How is that any worse than watching Sonic get blown up? Well the story doesn't really care to explain that, so it just is...because reasons I guess.

This is my problem. Tails having to overcome his fears is one thing. Tails breaking down despite nothing in this situation being really that different besides " we really want to push this bad guy" to the degree in which he's cowering and can't function with out A sonic, sucks.

They didn't have to dunk on tail's character to make shadow look good in sa2 and it sucks they think they have to make tail's...this to make infinite and sonic look good now. Tail's can be a competent person even with a new bad guy around.

I guess in a meta sense what might make the situation worse is that infinite might not even last, so they choose to have this be the representation of the character for a bunch of people, for a character who is so bad they might not even stay around.  GREAT!

So I guess I approach this situation a lot differently from you all I guess. You all are looking at this from a narrative standpoint, but I think the issue where this stems from and all the tail's problems are purely corporate ones.

 

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3 hours ago, Kuzu said:

The main point is that Tails was willing to step up before, even when he fully thought Sonic was dead.

Compared to literally giving up all hope and not even trying to do anything until Classic Sonic comes into the picture.

We don't know what all happened in the months between Sonic's beating and Classic appearing. Considering that even at his apparent worst Tails is out there in the still-smoldering ruins of a now-Eggman-controlled city trying to fix Omega it seems like a bit much to assume he never tried to do anything. He's clearly in a bad state but he didn't enter a permanent fetal position the moment Sonic went down.

3 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Tails watched Sonic get the shit beat out of him...fine. How is that any worse than watching Sonic get blown up? Well the story doesn't really care to explain that, so it just is...because reasons I guess.

It's the difference between being in the heat of the moment and being beaten down by months of tragedy.

2 hours ago, Ryannumber1Scarer said:

But Tails didn’t even bother to help fight Infinite and co when they were literally 5v1 against Sonic, when Tails could’ve at least tried to help even the odds by helping him,

What's going to help Sonic more, someone who's not primarily a fighter throwing themselves into the fight, or figuring out what the deal is with this impossibly fast guy and his inexplicable posse? Even Sonic wants Tails to figure out what's going on in that scene, not jump in and start swinging.

2 hours ago, Ryannumber1Scarer said:

or even the aforementioned cowering in front of bog standard badniks, there is literally zero excuse for Tails to be afraid of them when he wiped them out plenty of times in the past.

Forces' Egg Pawns look like chumps but they're still meant to be at least moderately dangerous, and he's put himself between them and a group of innocents. He doesn't have a lot of options at that point that wouldn't end with someone being turned into swiss cheese.

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Then that's a failure on the story for not explaining shit then. If I'm supposed to assume that Tails is beaten down from months of tragedy after Sonic is captured, then that's something you need to show for it to have the proper impact, rather than just having us infer what happened through a text box. 

Because the entire thing happens so abruptly, that it comes off as comical and has been mocked across the internet.

 

Imagine if in Sonic Adventure, after Tails is separated from Sonic, we just get a textbox of what he did to upgrade the Tornado and never actually got to see any of it or his flashback to his first meeting with Sonic was completely omitted; that final fight with Eggman would have nowhere near as much weight.

 

I'm all for having characters experience certain types of hardship, but it needs to be done with respect to what's occurred before and properly conveyed to have the necessary impact you intend.

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I think that was more a result of only really throwing Classic Sonic in last minute for the vague Generations resemblance (and tie-in to Mania) than Tails. It's Classic that's genuinely a non-entity in the story. In fact it kinda reminds me of how Tails' stages in SA2 are uh...often thinly justified story-wise.

The main theme literally says "the TWO of us."

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3 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Then that's a failure on the story for not explaining shit then.

On that we agree. I'm certainly not going to argue that anything in Forces is well-told, just that the game was trying to set up something with Tails and wasn't just shitting on him out of ignorance or malice.

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2 hours ago, Diogenes said:

On that we agree. I'm certainly not going to argue that anything in Forces is well-told, just that the game was trying to set up something with Tails and wasn't just shitting on him out of ignorance or malice.

Yea, I don't know if I agree with this lol. It definitely feels like not doing pretty basic research.

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20 hours ago, Ryannumber1Scarer said:
  1. There's also him immediately facing down Eggman in SA2 after Eggman launches Sonic to his death. Tails in Forces immediately goes into a despair that the other characters say is Tails going nuts, Tails in SA2 immediately rises to the occasion, and decides he's going to be strong to save Amy and fulfil Sonic's last wish to stop Eggman no matter what, and save the planet.That's not even pointing out the fact that Sonic being knocked out by Eggman and co is a lot more ambiguous than seeing Sonic placed into an exploding capsule and sent out to a mocking death in front of his friends, only escaping via the power of chaos control,
  2. and then in Forces where Sonic is imprisoned for a few days/weeks, and then escaping due to Illusion Zavok being a complete idiot. 
  3. Or we could also point out the fact that Tails practically had a hand in Sonic's near-death in SA2 was because he didn't have Sonic's poker face and he fell for Eggman's trick and revealed that the emerald Sonic was placing down for the ransom was a fake, confirming something that Eggman only lightly suspected and bluffed about.
  4. And even then, Tails stood his ground to fight Eggman as the planet hanged in the balance, while in Forces, in pretty much the same situation where Eggman was going to gain control of the planet, Tails did nothing, was afraid of a few mooks, and didn't even try to save Sonic. Like, screw fighting, or being scared, you'd think at the very least, Tails would've made some kind of effort to airlift Sonic out of there, even if Infinite quickly shot him back down. The level of character inconsistency here is absolutely ridiculous, not helped later by Tails immediately jumping back to smug rival when he and Classic meet Eggman in later levels. 

Gonna just number these so I don't have to edit:

1. There is technically a difference in stopping Eggman himself right then and there vs. saving Sonic from five villains who have mostly proven themselves capable of countering him.

2.That's what I thought during the initial stream of the game, but he was actually there because Eggman realized the Resistance discovered Sonic was alive and so tried to get rid of him.

3. Which arguably gives him more reason to fix things then and there.

4. This sorta falls into sort mix of power creep, the stakes being escalated so many times, "overdeveloping" things, and of course somewhat loose storytelling. The character already hit that second high years ago in the climax of an epic story, so it can or will be awkward to appropriately carry through with that energy at the very beginning of the newest one.

 

 

18 hours ago, Bowbowis said:

An argument I used to see thrown around a lot by Shadow haters for why he should disappear is that his arc was concluded in ShtH and he therefore had nothing  of value to keep him relevant going forward. Ironically, while post-ShtH Shadow immediately carved out a solid niche with his new role as a GUN agent and his strong team dynamic with Rouge and Omega the argument is, I think, a fairly accurate description of the problem facing Tails post-Adventure.

True.

To make another comparison, Amy at the very least got her own sidekick and Team framework to lead and further develop with going forward, even if it didn't quite do so while panning. And some of the other characters hypothetically have enough of a basis or connection with other things to potentially gain ground on if giving the chance.

Tails doing things without Sonic and being the tinkerer capable of countering Eggman's latest scheme is about as far as he's gotten, with Tails Adventure retroactively being the closest to a normal step forward.

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uhh... I hate Tails in Lost World, he’s like, “sonic why u work with baldy mc nosehair, I made a Wii u gamepad out of toothpaste and lego, u don’t trust me”, like at least in forces, Tails has every bit of personality sucked out of him, but it makes him more boring than anything 

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I think him and Amy actually both serve really well as POV characters and kind of would like it if more stories actually liked at it from that stance. Of course I'm also like the only person I know who prefers to see Sonic as a larger than life teenager through the eyes of grade school children as that was how he was for me back in the early nineties. That and him being a childrens' book like character but infinitely cooler.

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16 minutes ago, Sonic Fan J said:

I think him and Amy actually both serve really well as POV characters and kind of would like it if more stories actually liked at it from that stance.

Really now?

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3 hours ago, DabigRG said:

So I was listening to the latest episode of Pizza Party Podcast and one of the guests suggested that Tails usually a POV character. Anyone agree with that assessment?

If you mean for how we view the story. I dissagree. The narrative is often focused around who you are playing as at the moment. If you mean , for younger members of the audience. I would say yes, but I would also say every sonic character or at least most of the core ones, are POV's. The series IMO i kinda built for you attaching yourself with the ones you vibe with best. Sonic if tails is your pov in whatever scenario he can be. So can sonic, knuckles, amy , shadow, blaze, silver, even eggman in sa2. 

 

Now should he POV for a film? I don't know if I want that to be honest, but I feel like the issue with tails now is that he needs more agency and forcing him to be the vector for the audience in this sort of scenario removes it

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On 12/6/2019 at 7:30 AM, DabigRG said:

Really now?

A lot of it stems from my viewpoint of Sonic himself, but yeah. I just find it weird at times humanizing a larger than life character through their own POV than through someone who isn't larger than life. Just my take though.

On 12/6/2019 at 10:33 AM, Shadowlax said:

If you mean for how we view the story. I dissagree. The narrative is often focused around who you are playing as at the moment. If you mean , for younger members of the audience. I would say yes, but I would also say every sonic character or at least most of the core ones, are POV's. The series IMO i kinda built for you attaching yourself with the ones you vibe with best. Sonic if tails is your pov in whatever scenario he can be. So can sonic, knuckles, amy , shadow, blaze, silver, even eggman in sa2. 

 

Now should he POV for a film? I don't know if I want that to be honest, but I feel like the issue with tails now is that he needs more agency and forcing him to be the vector for the audience in this sort of scenario removes it

I'm probably misinterpreting your point here, but a lot of it reads as though the second person narrative has been thrown out without due consideration. I'd use Dr. Watson as a fine example of a well known and distinctive second person narrator but arguable Tails' role does require actual breakdown and study of his character and role to use him as an effective second person narrator. Unfortunately, outside of Ian Flynn no one seems willing to reconcile Tails' disparate personality facets back into him being one character. Though perhaps putting him in the position of a second person narrator would help to rectify that by actually putting us in his head and allowing us to the world and Sonic's story from his POV.

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2 hours ago, Sonic Fan J said:

A lot of it stems from my viewpoint of Sonic himself, but yeah. I just find it weird at times humanizing a larger than life character through their own POV than through someone who isn't larger than life. Just my take though.

I'm probably misinterpreting your point here, but a lot of it reads as though the second person narrative has been thrown out without due consideration. I'd use Dr. Watson as a fine example of a well known and distinctive second person narrator but arguable Tails' role does require actual breakdown and study of his character and role to use him as an effective second person narrator.

I'm not saying you can't consider it at all. To be blunt I would love stories where you are in the eyes of others seeing how they feel about them. Would love it for a few characters. What I am saying however is that sonic narratives tend to be very strait foward. Your perspective is who you play at the time.

The idea is that they want you to identify with the character you identify with. So everyone is a POV character, just for yourself. Kinda. Sonic characters and often video game characters in general talk as if they are selling themselves to you

2 hours ago, Sonic Fan J said:

Unfortunately, outside of Ian Flynn no one seems willing to reconcile Tails' disparate personality facets back into him being one character. Though perhaps putting him in the position of a second person narrator would help to rectify that by actually putting us in his head and allowing us to the world and Sonic's story from his POV.

Different branches of sega have very different ideas about sonic and wont reconcile. This is unfortunately the norm

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Hugely unpopular opinion here, but I kinda liked his character progression from Colors and Generations to Lost World. He was bratty, arrogant and a bit of a jerk, but that's only logical for his age as a growing preteen, plus his role model is Sonic so he'd obviously try to emulate his 'tude, which leads to him taking it too far and becoming a jerk. He even realizes this in the story and somewhat goes back to his original nice personality while still keeping some of the 'tude. Sure, it's not handled all that well, but I got what they were going for and personally, I liked it. Made Tails less one-dimensional at least.

I think Tails gaining some of Sonic's cockiness while still remaining pure hearted, polite and cheerful at heart makes him less bland. (his one-liners from Team Sonic Racing and his subtle jabs in the Twitter Takeover like saying Eggman fails at long walks along the beach are great bits of characterization for him IMO). His personality in Sonic Colors and the OK-KO Crossover event is Modern Tails at his best IMO, occasional snark here and there, a bit of tude, but overall being the smart, friendly, helpful and heroic ball of sunshine we all know and love.

His "characterization" in Forces on the other hand is just plain garbage. He's never been cowardly or overly dependent on Sonic, even standing up to Eggman back in SA1 despite his fears (Just me, but I love the Luigi parallels). Glad he's not that way anywhere else so far and has gone back to normal as of TSR.

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