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Female representation in Sonic

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I’ve been curious about some of the characters in the franchise, especially when it comes to female characters. While there are a large variety of characters, I do wonder how this series approaches those of females, and if they are represented well.

How do you see the representation of females within the characters in the franchise? Is it good, or are there things that could be improved?

It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of others on this.

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Overall?

I would say that it's been largely fine as far as reception goes.

People have complaints about Amy (always) but that hasn't stopped her from being the most popular female character in the franchise. Rouge is generally well-liked even if there's a sub-group of people who find the "come hither" angle a bit daunting. To each their own on that one. Blaze, I never hear a bad word about. Cream is pretty much adored on one end and considered largely irrelevant and easily ignored on the other. Not much in terms of hate. Wave... hmm. I.. think she's hated. Most don't seem to really love her but, then again, her personality is purposefully more on the abrasive side so that might be partly intentional. 

For the ones that matter, I think we're largely okay.

As for the less important females we have:

Sticks, who feels like she's gotten a bit of a mixed reception. I'm not too sure. I see a lot of love for her at times but I also recall a lot of people saying they found her annoying. Then again, most of that was during the lead up to Sonic Boom the TV show and what they could make of her during previews. Mostly, when Sticks is mentioned in passing, I don't see TOO strong a resistance against her but not a ton chomping at the bit to see her return either.

Marine is largely hated but she also hasn't had a single appearance worthy of note since 2007's Sonic Rush Adventure; a game that "coincidentally" also happens to be the game she debuted in. Fancy that. A few side appearances in the Archie comics where someone as niche as Breezy and Honey can be given a beefy role is faint consideration. There's also the costumes of her in the Olympics, her one sticker in Brawl, and her background appearance in one of the Sonic Channel comics. What a character. 

Vanilla is Cream's mom. She's interesting because she's a mom. The series has a severe lack of those. In fact, she's literally the only one. I've never heard a bad word said about her and to be honest I'm not sure there even IS a reason to hate her.

Elise is garbo. Almost everyone hates her and, in my opinion, for good reason. Never do this again, SEGA. Or Sonic Team. Whoever's fault it is.

Shade is a character so out of the way and so forgotten that I literally couldn't remember her name for the first two minutes after remembering to talk about her. She's unnecessary and makes Knuckles' unique "Last of the Echidnas" thing a no-go. Can't say I found her all that interesting either. There's the occasional ask for her return, once in a blue moon, but I feel like the majority largely don't care. 

Zeena is pretty bad. She has some good reactions to the characters she's supposed to bounce off of but her general personality isn't enough to be interesting on its own. She's just the girl of the Deadly Six and that's it. Granted, her traits aren't supposed to be endearing. She's a villain after all. However, that's not an excuse for being so basic. No one seems to like her.

Merlina is a character who often gets praised for being a well-done twist villain with an extremely unique motivation to boot. I don't think she's hated at all.

Sharha is also a character who doesn't seem to be hated. Her vague past with Erazor and the way she interacts with Sonic makes her a little charming and slightly interesting. Although, more could have been done to push it a bit further.

The Female Avatar character in Forces is Sonic's buddy. She's like the 4th little buddy Sonic's got, right after Cream, Charmy, and the Male Avatar but right before KO. She's good because she's little buddy material. We all want to be little buddy material.

Fuck Julie Su.

I'm done.

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I like a lot of things about them but more so than other aspects of the series I feel like there's a lot of potential just waiting on the table. 

Amy is one of my favorite characters but it's easy to fall into lazy writing habits with her. She has a pretty solid arc about not letting Sonic's feelings for her  define her which the series kinda forgets about. That was a surprisingly mature lesson to teach that I wish the games stuck with. I'll be fair and say that newer Sonic games do tone down her crush but this runs the risk of just making her bland instead. An easy solution to this is to just flesh out her feelings about other characters besides Sonic. Only the comics really do this all that well. I thought she was great in archie but IDW has gone down the game route of making her a little too bland in trying to make her cool and capable. I like her best when she's wacky and a little on the naive side with a heart of gold. I like that She's a scrapper that's also able to get to someone's heart if given the oppourtunity.

Rouge is one of the best additions to the cast on paper imo due to her morally ambiguous nature. I can't really imagine a better foil to Knuckles than a sharp free wheeling gem thief. I'm just frustrated with her because I feel like she was made an accessory to Shadow when she would be way more interesting if she was driven by her own motivations. 

 

Blaze was my favorite Sonic character for a long time but you have to confront some awkward truths about her: Sonic Team never really got together and decided what they wanted from her. Rush and 06 came out close together and portray what I consider to be two seperate character: The cool, clear headed mentor Blaze and the hotheaded and stubborn one from the Rush games. Rush is obviously way more interesting to me as the first female Sonic character to really headline a game and be the emotional core of it's story. Blaze in 06 on the other hand mostly exist to be a catalyst for Silver's development and I think that misunderstands the appeal of the character and sidelines her unnecessarily. You really could have put a new character in her place and things would have gone over better. We'd have another female Sonic character that was chill and I can keep dumbass Blaze. 

There are a lot more female characters when you count one-offs and bit parts. Tikal is pretty far in the background for most of Sonic Adventures run but I found her story genuinely moving for the little screen time it had. Shahra and Merlina were both pretty good foils to Sonic for different reasons. Wave is just a nasty, petty person with no real justification and I LOVE that. Marine is a lot of fun and actually had a good arc.

On the other hand, Maria is more of a plot device than a character which is kind of a shame because she's the most interesting part of Shadow's backstory imo. Elise is similarly pretty bland even if I don't mind her as much as most do.

Zeena is horrible but we all know that.

There's a pretty consistent thread of the main female heroines being sidelined and that's probably the main thing that frustrates me about the series representation wise. You could argue that every character is sidelined nowadays but I still think that with Tails, Knuckles and Shadow all having multiple games worth of focus along with Sonic himself that it's not really even-handed in the wider context. It's a shame, because this is actually a pretty solid and varied female cast as far as action games aimed at young boys go. They just don't get enough oppurtunities in the driver's seat. I wish that would change. I want to play as them and experiences stories from their perspectives more.

There could also...stand to be a few more of them too considering there are only 3 mainstays really. Stop being afraid of making new characters someday soon please

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I forgot about Tikal. 

You know, she's actually pretty popular. I can see why too. She occupies that space of a character that carries an interesting connection to the history and backstory of one of the most popular characters in the series that's unfortunately still largely kept hush-hush aside from the most basic and important details outlined in her debut game. 

There's something neat going on there that hasn't been fully capitalized on and I can see why that would be so alluring. 

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1 minute ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

I forgot about Tikal. 

You know, she's actually pretty popular. I can see why too. She occupies that space of a character that carries an interesting connection to the history and backstory of one of the most popular characters in the series that's unfortunately still largely kept hush-hush aside from the most basic and important details outlined in her debut game. 

There's something neat going on there that hasn't been fully capitalized on and I can see why that would be so alluring. 

I actually don't really want a whole lot more Tikal. I thought what they did hit home pretty well and as a pacifist she can't really do a whole lot more in an action series without betraying the point of the character. If they find a way to bring her back without it feeling obligatory I'd be game, of course, but I couldn't come up with much myself. 

If they remade Sonic Adventure or revisited that piece of lore for one reason or another I'd be open to fleshing her out, but It's not something I'm itching for.

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All things considered, the females of this series are actually pretty good...at least when Sega give them time to shine.

 

Amy's not my favorite character, but I actually liked how she was less motivated in having Sonic return her feelings and more just wanting him to respect her as a fellow hero and joining him the same way Tails and Knuckles do.  It's a surprisingly poignant message in a world where young female characters in children shows are relegated to token minor roles...that sadly gets ignored more often than not. I appreciated that she's not badly written as she was by Sonic X, but the flipside is that she's kind of boring now due to a combination of them toning down her feelings and her just not really doing anything of importance anymore.

Rouge is one my favorites, so it kind of disappoints me that she's mostly just a supporting character for Shadow centric stories. I love Shadow and Rouge's dynamic, but she never really gets a chance to interact with other characters because any time she appears nowadays, it's just to support Shadow.  It's gotten about as stale to me as Sonic & Tails have, especially since she hardly teases Knuckles anymore. Their whole...thing in Sonic X was so enjoyable to watch and there has been nothing like it ever since.

Blaze definitely had it the best, being the co-star in her own game along with Sonic, but I don't think Sega really had anything else for her planned past Rush. Then there's the entire mess with 06, which just confuses things even further. So now she's just lumped together with the rest of the cast in doing absolutely nothing besides existing. 

 

The rest of them range from "good" to "Zeena". Anybody that's not Zeena gets a pass from me. Cream I think is a character they never really had a defined purpose for; first they tried to play her off as Amy's sidekick...then Blaze's sidekick, and then they just said "Fuck it". Wave is a pretty good foil to Tails, especially if you look at his post-Colors characterization. Something funny about a character who knows how smart they are and lords it over their peers, but not to the extent that Eggman takes it. Tikal has probably the most tragic story of any character in the series, which I never really thought about it until recently. Merlina is a great antagonist with a solid motivation, Shahra's a bit undercooked in her relationship to Erazor that caused her to betray Sonic, but she's fine too.

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It's...eh. Maybe clearing the low bar set for "games for boys", but it is a low bar so that's not saying much.

The series is clearly nowhere close to parity in terms of raw numbers. Nor in terms of power levels; nearly all of the series' heavy hitters are guys, or presumably genderless monsters, the exceptions being Blaze, Merlina (once she gets the scabbard), and...maaaaybe mother wisp? It's still got better numbers than some stuff out there, but it's far from equal.

It's harder to judge the execution because the writing in the series is so inconsistent and aside from a few lucky one-shots every character's been written badly at some point. Amy has her moments but she can easily fall into being a stereotype, either the whole "stalker" bit or just being "the girl" of the group. Rouge I think has huge potential as a character but they never really use her for much, and what she has done has unfortunately largely been overshadowed by her being "the sexy Sonic character". Blaze was great in the Rushes but 06 was as much a disaster for her as for everything else in it and she hasn't had a major role since all that. Most others don't get much screentime so it's hard to talk in detail about them. It's always a mixed bag, but again it's hard to separate what's "not writing female characters well" and what's just "not writing well" in general. I'd guess it's probably more general problems, though.

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42 minutes ago, Kuzu the Boloedge said:

Blaze definitely had it the best, being the co-star in her own game along with Sonic, but I don't think Sega really had anything else for her planned past Rush. Then there's the entire mess with 06, which just confuses things even further. So now she's just lumped together with the rest of the cast in doing absolutely nothing besides existing. 

 

 

37 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Blaze was great in the Rushes but 06 was as much a disaster for her as for everything else in it and she hasn't had a major role since all that.

I guess Rush Adventure isn't a thing.

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Outside of Elise, the female representation we have are all good characters. We could have more, sure, but it is what it is.
Amy has her ups and downs, but she's usually fine, for the most part.
Blaze is a consistently good character, mostly because she hasn't appeared much. Even her 06 appearance wasn't the worst if you ignore the canonicity stuff.
I think Wave is a super underrated character, and I like her personality a lot. She's abrasive, and I love it.
Sticks can get annoying at times, but she's a good character, and I like a lot of her portrayals.
Lmao Zeena.
Rouge is like Amy, with a bit of ups and downs. In most games, she's fine, has a cool personality and motives, but she has the Vector problem where all her other traits will be ignored to talk about Jewels. Free Riders had a big problem with this. Other games emphasize the sexual stuff way too much (I'm looking at you TSR), which can also be a problem.
Tikal hasn't appeared in a while, but she'd never had a bad appearance, and is a good character overall.
The one-off females are also good for the games they appeared in.

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2 hours ago, Wraith said:

I actually don't really want a whole lot more Tikal. I thought what they did hit home pretty well and as a pacifist she can't really do a whole lot more in an action series without betraying the point of the character. If they find a way to bring her back without it feeling obligatory I'd be game, of course, but I couldn't come up with much myself. 

If they remade Sonic Adventure or revisited that piece of lore for one reason or another I'd be open to fleshing her out, but It's not something I'm itching for.

If they did bring her back, I can only see it being done tastefully through flashback. I don't think it's necessary to push her back into the forefront of an actual modern day story.  

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The girls are fine, they rarely get time to shine, and are often saddled to other male characters... cuz reasons. So the characters overall... well except for early amy are fine. The people making the games  don't really do much with them. I figure they think its a boy brand so focus on the boy characters, but from my understanding sonic has a large girl fanbase. Why not play to that more and have the girls be more prominent. but sonic team actively fighting its base is what it does so , nothing new

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I'd say for the most part they've been pretty good about female characters more often than not.

The biggest problem they had was Amy and just how disturbinglyobsessed with Sonic she was, Like threatening someone to marry you with violence is not a healthy relationship ok, but in recent years with Boom, Forces and both Archie and IDW they've worked to give her more character traits than just wanting to bang Sonic's brains out. 

Before Amy really got to grow out of that pretty much all the other girls were capable and able to stand on their own. Rouge and Blaze are absolutely fun and enjoyable characters and Wave is easily the Babylon Rogue I can actually tolerate. 

In numbers though sadly the men do unfortunately out number the girls. It'd be nice to see more female Sonic characters but even still the ones we currently have are all really good characters. 

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1 hour ago, Wraith said:

I like a lot of things about them but more so than other aspects of the series I feel like there's a lot of potential just waiting on the table. 

Amy is one of my favorite characters but it's easy to fall into lazy writing habits with her. She has a pretty solid arc about not letting Sonic's feelings for her  define her which the series kinda forgets about. That was a surprisingly mature lesson to teach that I wish the games stuck with. I'll be fair and say that newer Sonic games do tone down her crush but this runs the risk of just making her bland instead. An easy solution to this is to just flesh out her feelings about other characters besides Sonic. Only the comics really do this all that well. I thought she was great in archie but IDW has gone down the game route of making her a little too bland in trying to make her cool and capable. I like her best when she's wacky and a little on the naive side with a heart of gold. I like that She's a scrapper that's also able to get to someone's heart if given the oppourtunity.

I disagree actually? I really like amy but I feel like she's at her best when she's capable. She she shares a weird trait with shadow when written that way, and its her ability to tell you about yourself. And there moments in the comics in particiular when she speaks where she seems like far more of a capable leader than everyone else in the room. And that's genuinely interesting for that character.. to me at least. But I guess we have very different views, I would personally like if they dropped the crush thing entirely think she can survive with out it and be better for it personally.

I do think fleshing out how she feels about others would be interesting though, a moment in archie that was cool was when she has a conversation with knuckles and encourages him to keep going. Its a moment where I don't agree with what the character is saying but it doesn't matter it fits for the moment and shows she's genuinely cool and caring and understands how to listen and talk to people. Traits that are...pretty rare in sonic land.

1 hour ago, Wraith said:

Rouge is one of the best additions to the cast on paper imo due to her morally ambiguous nature. I can't really imagine a better foil to Knuckles than a sharp free wheeling gem thief. I'm just frustrated with her because I feel like she was made an accessory to Shadow when she would be way more interesting if she was driven by her own motivations.

 

That last bit is even more confusing because word from god dictates that team dark isn't really a team. Why not have her do her own thing, its contradictory and limiting for all parties involved. The sad thing is, if they ever do pull the trigger and make shadow full lone wolf, I don't think it would result in lone rouge... just less rouge because that's how sonic team works. It sucks.

1 hour ago, Wraith said:

 

 

Blaze was my favorite Sonic character for a long time but you have to confront some awkward truths about her: Sonic Team never really got together and decided what they wanted from her. Rush and 06 came out close together and portray what I consider to be two seperate character: The cool, clear headed mentor Blaze and the hotheaded and stubborn one from the Rush games. Rush is obviously way more interesting to me as the first female Sonic character to really headline a game and be the emotional core of it's story. Blaze in 06 on the other hand mostly exist to be a catalyst for Silver's development and I think that misunderstands the appeal of the character and sidelines her unnecessarily. You really could have put a new character in her place and things would have gone over better. We'd have another female Sonic character that was chill and I can keep dumbass Blaze. 

 

This is always a source of contention there are fans who suggest there was some giant ass plan from rush and 06 to create some large cohesive story when in reality 06 was rushed and they kinda didn't know what to do and threw her in to push a new character and didn't know.. or didn't care what they wanted to do with blaze exactly. I like blaze from rush more personally but unfortunately the 06 cool mentor blaze is the one that wins out. It kinda seem like girl characters in sonic are relegated to being " sensible " a lot of the time. Which sucks, and why I found sticks as weird as she was a breath of fresh air in that regard.

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9 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

Where's that happen?

Cause in the games it's definitely the other way around.

Free Riders was the example I gave because in that game, both her and Shadow were super out of character. And she was really focused on prize money, which was what a decent chunk of her dialogue was about.

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20 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

Well, there was no real story in that game...so why else would be in racing comp?

The story being thin doesn't mean her character had to go down that direction. Compare it to her next racing game appearance, and it's day and night. TSR Rouge's biggest problem was weird in-game voice clips, but story mode Rouge was fine.

 

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3 minutes ago, thumbs13 said:

TSR Rouge's biggest problem was weird in-game voice clips, but story mode Rouge was fine.

Because there was more to actually do and even then she wasn't in it much.

Free Riders...even including the Metal Sonic thing, might as well just be considered a standard sports episode.

Pure fluff.

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Sonic has a lot of variety when it comes to female characters when its compared to other series.                                   

Amy is the cheerful girl with a intense love for Sonic and she's the best female out of the group. Recently Sega has been making her more dull but sometimes I can still see a glimmer of a girl that still likes boys and girly things.

Don't see Zeena much in the games but caring mostly about her looks and moving at her own pace makes her more interesting when compared to other females. 

Blaze I don't find all that interesting she's just normal in personality.

Sticks is to random for me.

i really like Sonia's personality, motives and voice she takes it the hardest when Eggman takes over.

The other females are also nice in their own type of ways.

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I think female characters DO get overshadowed by the male cast often, but they are also really popular when it comes to the Sonic franchise.

Sure, Amy was hated like 10 years ago, but would you really say she is hated now? Probably because they toned down her obsession for Sonic, I assume, now she is quite high on the fan favorite list in my opinion, from what I could observe in the fandom, as for her characterization, I REALLY really don't want her to be a token girl who represents feminism, I want her to be… Amy Rose, full of energy, passion and emotion, but also social and sensible.

Cream got hated too because she is a moe type, but also popular for that very reason, now she's been dropped by SEGA and fans have been really vocal into wanting her back, so that's good, I guess? Not a fan of Cream personally. I even assume the little nod to Cream in the OK KO! crossover was made for those who keep asking for her recently. I would say she is liked more now because she is a forgotten character people grew up with, so… nostalgia reasons.

Wave is a spin-off character and a bully to Tails, which I really can't stand. So I don't care about her popularity.

Rouge and Blaze are both very strong types (Amy is strong as well), they can put up a fight and are smart ladies, which made both of them really popular, Rouge is a satellite character for Shadow sadly, aside from Forces though she manages to mantain her cool attitude, not in Forces but that's a problem with the majority of characters in that game. 

I think Amy, Rouge and Blaze are great, definitely fan favorites.

Then there is Tangle and Whisper, who have proved to be really popular as well, and people even want them in the games, they get drawn a lot, etc.

So I definitely think females are represent well in the Sonic series, they are strong and active types aside from Cream who is still young, the problem is that... they are severely underused in the games, but that is actually an issue with most of the cast, IMO.

Now…. wanna talk about representation for people with mental issues? Because I really feel represented by Sticks, not kidding, she really needs to return...

 

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"Good" is a bit of a loaded term.  "Good" in relation to what specifically?

Generally, any problem I have with the female cast are usually the product of poor writing, as opposed to unintentional sexism or demographic pandering.  While most of the characters in the series, male and female, have shown propensity for three dimensional portrayals, it rarely ever sticks.  Similarly, while there's a whole plethora of diverse female characters in the series, only one (Amy) has ever had any staying power.  For much of the mid-to-late-2000's, the characters in the games were just one-dimensional cut outs of existing character traits ripped from popular anime shows of the time.  Today, most of the cast is still one-dimensional, but in different ways, and largely a result of Sega attempting to play it safe with laid back stories and minimal stakes.

The only character I ever really took issue with was Cream, and that's mostly due to her voice.  They give her this high pitched voice that most people use when they're trying to make fun of girls, but portray her entirely straight and unironic as a character.  Not helped that her first playable role is essentially a "so easy you don't even have to do anything half the time" route.  I don't know; she always just came across as cynically designed to me.  That being said, I thought she was a great supporting character in Rush, acting as a timid, worldly anchor to Blaze's fiery and boisterous personality, so under the right direction even she has good potential.

If we had an iota of good writing, and if Sonic Team would stick to developing their existing characters for once instead of creating new ones every single game, then I think many problems in this department could be improved significantly without any real conscious effort given to improving female representation specifically.  Otherwise, it's really hard to properly gauge the state of one demographic when all of them are sort of in a rut.

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