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What is it about Sonic that makes so many wish to disconnect him from non-Eggman humans?

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The recent news of the Sonic movie made me think of this thread.

As you might already know, Yuji Naka said that after the Genesis games happened Sonic moved to human territories (hence the Adventure games with their humans not named Eggman). This works well enough with both the signs of humanity in the Genesis era  (like those hieroglyphics in Sandoplis Zone) and all of the Adventure era games. And also goes in line with Sonic's primary source of inspiration (Western animation starring funny animal characters like Bugs Bunny)

Come Sonic Colors and we learn about Two Worlds. Much of the problems this brings into past lore (like where this puts the Echidnas as depicted in the Adventure games) have been pointed out plenty of times. Izuka and Co. doubled down on this, to the point Ian Flynn has to write around it in the IDW comic (see how he's careful to have a character say Shadow tried to destroy "a planet", not naming the planet). 

I'm sure at least part of it is that they must have really digged Sonic X (or at least elements of its setting). Which was from all legit evidence the first time a Japanese source (rather than a Western one) tried disconnecting Sonic from humans (Eggman besides). I'm also sure that this had something to do with the direction the Sonic movie has taken with how it too has Sonic as some traveler from another dimension or something.

From the fandom side, I've seen this attitude in old discussions too. Talking about out how weird it somehow is to see humans besides Eggman.

My question is, is there something about being a talking hedgehog that makes so many refuse to accept he could live in the same world as humans with it not treated as a big deal? Is it that he's not a flat-out comedy character like the Loony Tunes or Gumball's cast? Something I'm missing?

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I was under the assumption that this thread was referring to the fans.

That Sonic X theory isn't bad considering, unlike the other shows, it was made by Sonic Team or at least Chris was, with the show itself still being very much under their watch. Thus, it's possible that the format of the show proper was based on the earlier establishment of the two different worlds.

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There are some who are against having humans at all and there are some who are against the photorealistic Final Fantasy-esque humans. Humans are okay, as long as they look like the ones from Unleashed.

As for the question itself, many of those people grew playing the classic games (where storytelling/worldbuilding was minimal) or watching the SATAM cartoon (where Robotnik and Snivley were the only humans).

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25 minutes ago, Splash the Otter said:

I'm just not a fan of humans in the Sonic series. Most of them are boring or unlikable. Prof Pickle is like the only exception.

...and making them animals would help somehow? That's more down to how they're written than anything. It's not like making them anthros in Forces did much - they were arguably even more generic there. At least Unleashed's humans had character.

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There are some people that are upset that Sonic Team didn't honor their headcanons about the classics from 20 years ago. That's all it is really. 

 

The team has an enthusiasm for the real world and culture that shines through in a lot of sonic  games. I always thought that was cool enough to offset the artstyle being a little jarring or the lore not being the most consistent. 

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If anything I feel the series has historically shied away from animal NPCs than human ones. It took until Forces to get any sight of Sonic-like citizens hanging around the main Sonic world, and Sonic X only featured them in the international pilot. It's really weird and makes me wonder why anthro characters aren't ever seen hanging around Station Square or in any of the continents in Sonic Unleashed.

"why are there humans" is a question that never entered my mind, rather it's been "why are there only humans (except in Blaze's world and Forces)"

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50 minutes ago, Wraith said:

There are some people that are upset that Sonic Team didn't honor their headcanons about the classics from 20 years ago. That's all it is really. 

 

The team has an enthusiasm for the real world and culture that shines through in a lot of sonic  games. I always thought that was cool enough to offset the artstyle being a little jarring or the lore not being the most consistent. 

I don't really think it's to do with the Classics - I mean, Classic Sonic even showed up alongside other humans on occasion: 

wgn09RC.png

To be honest while I've seen people with preferences, I've never really seen people call for the total end of humans in Sonic besides Splash in here. Preferences, sure, but I dunno. 

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2 minutes ago, Tracker_TD said:

I don't really think it's to do with the Classics - I mean, Classic Sonic even showed up alongside other humans on occasion: yqBrk0H.png

To be honest while I've seen people with preferences, I've never really seen people call for the total end of humans in Sonic besides Splash in here. Preferences, sure, but I dunno. 

I'm aware that the humans were in supplementary material but the games never featured them. A lot of people assumed they weren't around based off of that despite manmade structures being everywhere in those games.

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Yeah, but the games had almost no friendly NPCs until Sonic Adventure, so we never really got to see any townsfolk until then, human or otherwise.

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Most early Sonic media didn't give much focus to humans aside from Eggman. He was the only human in the (non-spinoff) games until SA, SatAM and early Archie were just him and Snively IIRC, AoStH may have had one or two randos but they were a clear minority. Compared to all of the heroes, most of the innocent bystanders, and the few other villains all being animals, it was easy to get the impression that the few humans were outliers in an animal-dominated world...until SA came about and made that very clearly not the case.

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21 minutes ago, Wraith said:

I'm aware that the humans were in supplementary material but the games never featured them. A lot of people assumed they weren't around based off of that despite manmade structures being everywhere in those games.

Mmm, what about Witchcart?

WitchcartDarkcastle.png

Or the humanoid angel statue in Sonic CD?

hqdefault.jpg

Or the humans in the hieroglyphs in Sonic Blast?

142251-sonic-blast-sega-master-system-sc

 

Looks like non-Eggman humans have always been around to me. We don't see them much in the classic games because they were action games - ergo, we don't see many townspeople or NPCs in general. But the idea that Eggman is the only human in Sonic's world is flat-out contradicted by in-game evidence to the contrary.

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Honestly, I don't blame anyone for thinking back then that humans weren't around back in the Genesis games. You never really got to see them and the western branches really played up the pro-green interpretation of the series, because Eggman remained the only human while more and more anthros got introduced. Aside from the games, the main version(s) of Sonic that were in the public eye were the various western cartoons and comics, which featured few to no humans, and certainly no main human characters. The way I see it, SA1 introducing them as interactable NPCs was more of an addendum rather than a contradiction, it simply updated our knowledge of what the games' world was like.

Stuff like Man of the Year and Tails Sky Patrol/G Sonic are so obscure that I can't really use those as a "see? you should have known there were humans all along" type of rebuttal. And things like paintings and statues are typically representative of stuff that existed in the past, so...

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I always liked the ideas of humans in Sonic. I mean, Eggman is a human.

I remember when Sonic Adventure was first announced I liked the idea of Sonic running around a real world enviroment. (That one screenshot of Chaos attacking the police officers in the rain REALLY piqued my interest) I don't know why, but that, coupled with the edgy buttrock made Sonic seem a little more grown up and less cutesy than if he was just hanging around cute animals and loop-de-loops all the time.

(Yes, I'm aware the dialogue in Sonic Adventure was cringy as heck, but I like THE IDEA of Sonic hanging with humans. One of the reasons I'm so excited for the Sonic Movie is to see him in the human world once again)

And I like the idea of Eggman terrorizing human populated cities. The Egg Carrier looming over Station Square was pretty darn cool.

I really don't like Sonic living in an anthro world. It just makes Sonic seem really infantile and for furries.

Maybe i'm just weird.

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Well, given how Sonic himself and nearly the entire supporting cast are anthropomorphic animals of some kind, It'd be pretty weird to think his world didn't have a reasonable population of animal people. I'm honestly surprised it took us this long to see anthro settlements.

On the other end of the spectrum, I've always been weirded out by people who act like the introduction of humans other than Eggman was some kind of out-of-left field lorebreaker. Not only because Eggman himself must have come from somewhere, but because the whole premise of "main cast of anthro animals in a world populated mostly by humans" is actually a really common thing. For example: Looney Tunes, Sam & Max: Freelance Police, The Muppets, Yogi Bear, Top Cat, 60s Hanna-Barbera cartoons in general, the list goes on. It's not that unusual of an idea.

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It always bothered me that Eggman was treated basically as an afterthought in these conceptions, rather than being treated as the second most important character in the series after Sonic himself.

Sonic X did that and it created a nova of plot holes that were never addressed.

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At least as far as the classic continuity goes, I feel that differentiating Sonic and friends as "anthropomorphic" animals as opposed to simply "animals" is where the interpretation goes awry.  I've always felt that aside from their particular characteristics and special powers, i.e. Sonic's speed, there's nothing really that sets Sonic apart from a normal animal.  His design being more human-like and detailed is to indicate his status to the player as an important character, but otherwise, the animal friends such as Flickies and those that appear in Eggman's robots are painted as being on an equal level to Sonic, rather than Sonic existing as an anthropomorphic, human-like animal in a world where these sort of things otherwise don't exist.  Thinking about it this way, it becomes less a matter of Sonic being an alien in his own world, and simply becomes an old-as-time story about human and animals being able to talk to each other, no different from the number of fairy tales and folklore of equal premises.

This does naturally create some contradictions, though, as does any work involving animals.  At some point, it creates a Goofy and Pluto conundrum.  But I feel that's not only unavoidable but also easy to ignore.

For that reason, Sonic doesn't seem "disconnected" from humans to me.  Just that there was never really any reason to show more humans aside from Eggman until Sonic Adventure.  Sonic is a woodland critter, canonically no different than any other (again, barring his speed) but is stylized for the sake of the audience, trying to protect his home from destruction, Eggman is a human intruder that's causing such destruction.  It's not a particularly new premise.

The best comparison I can make is probably Once Upon a Forest.  See the trailer below.

You'll notice the characters are stylized to look, talk, and move more like humans, but the story revolves them fulfilling distinctly animal like roles with humans being... well, very human.

Of course, again, I'm only referring to the classic continuity.  From SA2 onward, it seems they sort of strayed from this type of world.  So... whatever, I guess.

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I feel like The whole "Sonic kissed a human" is very overblown in the internet

Did anyone care when planet of the ape had a Human and a female anthro ape kiss? Or the interspecies stuff in many  scifi Fiction? 

 

Yet people act like 2006 was the only time in all of fiction where an anthro and a human kissed

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6 hours ago, Tara said:

Of course, again, I'm only referring to the classic continuity.  From SA2 onward, it seems they sort of strayed from this type of world.  So... whatever, I guess.

I disagree that Sonic & gang in the classic games were meant to only feel anthro yet technically be on the same level as all tiny animals. Especially when you look at old character info saying he is over 3 foot tall even back then, and how the Echidna race were a ancient tribe that built a city and whatevers. I doubt Sonic-Team bothered hard with consistent solid world building lore on everything back then, but I don't feel Sonic was ever suppose to be anything other then a cartoony anthro.

---

Going back onto the main topic. I agree with others that it feels more strange then anything that it took Sonic-Team ages to showcase anthro NPCs & towns much within the game series. Because of that it made Sonic & gang feel kinda like aliens or something along those lines during the Sonic Adventure up-to Sonic 06 era. Furthermore I don't blame the fans who dislike the humans in the series outside of Eggman... not only have they not been interesting in story telling, but also their designs were boring and/or out of place... Sonic Unleashed thankfully tried to make humans not look like they were ripped outta a different art style/series anymore, they kinda fixed it to match Eggman's style somewhat, even if not perfectly. Personally I feel the Billy Hatcher style would be better for humans honestly.

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10 minutes ago, Lord-Dreamerz said:

I disagree that Sonic & gang in the classic games were meant to only feel anthro yet technically be on the same level as all tiny animals. Especially when you look at old character info saying he is over 3 foot tall even back then, and how the Echidna race were a ancient tribe that built a city and whatevers. I doubt Sonic-Team bothered hard with consistent solid world building lore on everything back then, but I don't feel Sonic was never suppose to be anything other then a cartoony anthro.

The problem with this line of thinking is that we have no sense of scale to compare.  Is being a 3-foot talking hedgehog normal in this world or not?  For that matter, are those traits given to the character as part of the aforementioned stylization or a result of him being on a separate plain than the other animals?  I agree that nothing about Sega's world-building and lore are consistent, so I don't think we can ever get a proper answer to that.  But I tend to lean on the former.  The animals that Sonic rescues are often referred to as his friends and companions, rather than mere woodland critters.  The ending cutscene for 3D Blast even has them talking to Sonic, presumably with the same level of intellect as Sonic himself.

04fb6e0908e7426ae1c1d4783d71bbd2.jpg

To me, that indicates that Sonic's design was merely... well, a design choice, rather than something that makes him a different entity than the creatures he rescues altogether.

As for the echidna tribe, the aforementioned Once Upon a Forest and The Secret of NIMH are both examples of regular animals forming societies outside of human reach.  It is also not a trope unique to Sonic.

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9 minutes ago, Tara said:

To me, that indicates that Sonic's design was merely... well, a design choice, rather than something that makes him a different entity than the creatures he rescues altogether.

I don't think we'll agree on which it is. But I do think it is a possibility the tiny animals could be thought of as technically anthros too, but are merely designed to look like basic animals in order to showcase how they are less important characters. I seen anime do this where background characters are even drawn as cardboard cutouts.

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Just now, Lord-Dreamerz said:

I don't think we'll agree on which it is. But I do think it is a possibility  where the tiny animals could be thought of as technically anthros too, but are designed to look more basic animals in order to showcase how they are less important characters. I seen anime do this where background characters are even drawn as cardboard cutouts.

What exactly would be the difference in that case, then?  It's the same general concept.  That anthropomorphic creatures are still normal but are given different designs so that they blend more in the background still means that Sonic isn't an alien in his own world as is often posited.  It just changes whose design is changed for the sake of the audience.

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It's because of the cartoons and comics.

Before Sonic Adventure when the Japanese lore became the primary one, just about everyone had to fill in the blanks that the games left. In the cartoons, save for Snively and a few other oddballs in SatAM/Archie/AoStH, the main cast always consisted of animal creatures/Mobians or some other non-human entity. With the exception of the Sonic Jam cartoon (which I assume few people ever got to see), human characters were such a rarity in the West that it was just assumed that Dr Robotnik was the only one (or one of the very few), and it helped feed the environmental undertones with a "man vs nature" edge to it, so I don't think many people gave it much thought.

Enter Sonic Adventure, where characters like Sonic and crew are suddenly a minority. Pair that with the confusing changes to "Eggman" and "Earth" and the introduction and codification of the Japanese continuity and Western fans begin to associate the "good ol' days" with the era when the villain was the pollution-loving Dr Robotnik and he was the lone human oppressing a bunch of innocent animals and Mobians. 

These days, you don't see that as a common complaint anymore. A lot of the early fans who liked that interpretation of the Sonic series have since moved on with their lives or congregate to more subtle corners of the Internet to petition for a third season of SatAM. As someone who grew up with Sonic since the beginning, I didn't mind those changes as much, but did find it strange and a little annoying that SEGA never bothered to flesh out the anthro animal races in favor of humans. Nowadays it's something that I still think they could do better with, and Sonic Forces was a step in the right direction, lazy designs aside. But it seems now that there are 'two worlds' with a human populated planet and a "Mobian" planet where the main cast swaps between depending on whatever setting suits the story best, which I personally think is confusing and unnecessary. 

It'd be nice if they spent some time explaining the interactions between humans and 'mobians' a bit better. Do they live on their own special continents or islands? Are they integrated with the humans? Or is it really just that there's an Earth and a Mobius with no crossover? At the very least they could bother to explain it better.

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