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I know Sonic has been portrayed differently in most media all over the world but I wonder if our cultural values and norms affect how he is portrayed? 

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Sonic has always been aimed at an American audience, so it's likely that American values and customs affect how he's portrayed not just in the US, but pretty much everywhere outside of Japan.

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1 hour ago, Piko said:

Sonic has always been aimed at an American audience, so it's likely that American values and customs affect how he's portrayed not just in the US, but pretty much everywhere outside of Japan.

True, but even so, the Japanese typically haven't been able to completely rid their incarnations of Sonic from their Japanese-ness. In most older western versions of the character (SatAM, AoStH, early Archie, various commercials, ect) Sonic was very hungry for attention, always bragging about how cool he was. In most incarnations written by Japanese writers however, Sonic isn't nearly as concerned with making sure that others adore his coolness. This is obviously a result of the cultural difference between the American "look at me!" mentality and the Japanese more socially reserved behaviour. Sonic is still cocky in Japanese versions, but in a very different way to the socially pro-active American way.

For many years I've often heard it said that when The Simpsons premiered in Japan back in the days when Bart was essentially the series main focus of attention, Japanese viewers were put of by the character to the point where Japanese advertising for the show started to focus more on Lisa of all characters. I'm not sure to what extent this story is factual, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it's true. It demonstrates how an attention-whore (if you excuse the term) like Bart Simpson and western Sonic comes of in Japan.

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On 2/23/2021 at 10:47 AM, Guergy said:

I know Sonic has been portrayed differently in most media all over the world but I wonder if our cultural values and norms affect how he is portrayed? 

Considering all the crying I still see mostly American fans do that "StC Sonic is too mean!", absolutely.

 

The world and cultural values don't just divide between Japan and US, people.

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2 hours ago, The KKM said:

Considering all the crying I still see mostly American fans do that "StC Sonic is too mean!", absolutely.

 

The world and cultural values don't just divide between Japan and US, people.

Ngl, to maybe of us in the US (lol), Euros in general seem mean and cold af. Just very unfriendly and like they lack sympathy.

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22 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

I'm amused that while Japan tends to place a higher value on reverence, Japanese Sonic is the one who swears and smokes.  Or at least, he's been depicted as such.

The smoking thing was more just a drawing meant for internal usage. As for the swearing that is due to Japanese not really having swearing as much as more "rude" or blunt words. 

I think the important thing to understand is that Japanese people are still people at the end of the day (I am not implying you said otherwise). Even if the average Japanese person is more reserved than the average American, I have also met a lot of Japanese natives who are very outgoing, or some who use more vulgar/coarse ways of speaking especially informally. When Japanese males are together in particular they can be very blunt. I think the main difference I noticed is more at a public level. 

But yeah, Japanese creators have given us a bunch of snarky characters that go against what most people think is traditionally "Japanese". Even if Sonic was designed to appeal to Americans, his personality (heroic, confident) also appeals to Japanese audiences. 

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4 hours ago, mitsunari88 said:

The smoking thing was more just a drawing meant for internal usage. As for the swearing that is due to Japanese not really having swearing as much as more "rude" or blunt words. 

I think the important thing to understand is that Japanese people are still people at the end of the day (I am not implying you said otherwise). Even if the average Japanese person is more reserved than the average American, I have also met a lot of Japanese natives who are very outgoing, or some who use more vulgar/coarse ways of speaking especially informally. When Japanese males are together in particular they can be very blunt. I think the main difference I noticed is more at a public level. 

But yeah, Japanese creators have given us a bunch of snarky characters that go against what most people think is traditionally "Japanese". Even if Sonic was designed to appeal to Americans, his personality (heroic, confident) also appeals to Japanese audiences. 

Not very widely, from what I've seen.  I'm aware some such things do get big in Japan--Kunio Kun remains popular enough that his games sell even with backwards graphics and rehashed premises--but for whatever reason Sonic isn't popular.

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9 hours ago, The KKM said:

Considering all the crying I still see mostly American fans do that "StC Sonic is too mean!", absolutely.

This is admittedly anecdotal, but I've seen plenty of British fans who still think Fleetway Sonic was an unlikable jerk. I feel like even in the UK he's kind of a contentious depiction of the character.

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52 minutes ago, Scritch the Cat said:

Not very widely, from what I've seen.  I'm aware some such things do get big in Japan--Kunio Kun remains popular enough that his games sell even with backwards graphics and rehashed premises--but for whatever reason Sonic isn't popular.

When I said that Sonic's personality also appeals to Japanese to audience I didn't mean that as Sonic is popular in Japan. I just that meant that most Japanese people would admire Sonic's traits of confidence.

Basically, Sonic isn't popular in Japan for other reasons, but in terms of as a character, there isn't anything that would make most Japanese people react badly to his personality and get turned off from the series from that alone. I was more just pull away from the narrative that "Sonic isn't popular because he acts like a boisterous American".

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3 hours ago, Dr. Mechano said:

This is admittedly anecdotal, but I've seen plenty of British fans who still think Fleetway Sonic was an unlikable jerk. I feel like even in the UK he's kind of a contentious depiction of the character.

Sonic in general is kind contentious unless you literally suck all of the grit out of the character

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I think from now on any discussion of "Sonic isn't popular in Japan!" needs to be reminded both that merch sold well enough in the 90s in arcades and also that the Megadrive was the least sold console of its generation in Japan, and same with the Dreamcast, while the Saturn had very little Sonic.

 

There's all these fandom theories about "Japan doesn't like animal characters" and so on but at the end of the day I'd say a much bigger factor is "Japan's love of Sega is for the Saturn and Arcades, the specific platforms Sonic didn't have a good representation on"

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On the STC version of Sonic I read like the first 100 issues or so and frankly I gotta agree I don't really care for his portrayal. I get it Kitching was having his whole cool guy thing be a cover so he didn't have to show any feelings or some other shit but I just doin't get how "Cool"=Complete dickhead who openly insults everyone.

It's kinda the problem I have with SatAM where I feel the writers though Cool meant dribbling moron. Sonic is not heartless and he isn't an idiot and I can't stand either of these versions as a result.

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This isn't a perfect example, but here's some Famitsu polls where Sonic is listed to give a tiny bit of insight about how he and his games are perceived there. You can also see what kinds of characters and titles Japanese gamers like:

Famitsu's Top 50 Favorite Video Game Characters (2010):

famitsu_top_50-10.jpg

https://nintendoeverything.com/famitsus-top-50-favorite-video-game-characters/

Sonic took the 10th place here. The complete list:

Spoiler

1. Snake (Metal Gear Solid)
2. Mario
3. Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)
4. Slimes (Dragon Quest)
5. Sora (Kingdom Hearts)
6. Link (Zelda)
7. Yuri Lowell (Tales of Vespersia)
8. Amaterasu (Okami)
9. Pikachu (Pokemon)
10. Sonic
11. Kazuma Kiryu (Yakuza)
12. Kirby
13. The Felynes (Monster Hunter)
14. Toro
15. Professor Layton
16. Yuna (Final Fantasy X)
17. Sakura (Sakura Wars)
18. Luigi
19. Tifa Lockheart (Final Fantasy VII)
20. Tidus from (Final Fantasy X)
21. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)
22. Mega Man
23. Dante (DMC)
24. Aerith from (Final Fantasy VII)
25. Shiren (Mystery Dungeon)
26. Chocobo (Final Fantasy series)
27. Zidane (Final Fantasy IX)
28. Roxas (Kingdom Hearts)
29. Squall Leonhart (Final Fantasy VIII)
30. Ryu (Street Fighter)
31. Leon S. Kennedy (Resident Evil)
32. Vivi from (Final Fantasy IX)
33. Auron from (Final Fantasy X)
34. Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII
35. Bayonetta
36. Kuro
37. Zack (Final Fantasy VII)
38. Adol (Ys)
39. Chihaya Kisaragi (The Idolmaster)
40. Chris Redfield (Resident Evil)
41. Shantotto (Final Fantasy XI)
42. Raiden (Metal Gear Solid)
43. Ryu Hayabusa (Ninja Gaiden)
44. Locke (Final Fantasy VI)
45. Miku Hatsune
46. Nene Anegasaki (LovePlus)
47. Alena (Dragon Quest IV)
48. Yuffie Kisaragi (Final Fantasy VII)
49. Luke (Tales of the Abyss)
50. Rikku (Final Fantasy X)

Famitsu's Top 100 Best Games of All time (2017):

https://nintendoeverything.com/famitsu-readers-choose-the-top-100-best-games-of-all-time/

Both SA2 and SA2: B are there. 

85 - Sonic Unleashed

57 - Sonic Adventure 2: Battle

29 - Sonic Adventure 2 

Complete List:

Spoiler

100. Zelda: Majora’s Mask
99. Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer
98. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
97. Super Smash Bros. Melee
96. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Arcade
95. Kowloon Youma Gakuen Ki
94. Arc The Lad II
93. Final Fantasy VIII
92. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
91. Lufia
90. Valkyrie Profile
89. Shiren the Wanderer 2
88. Tengai Makyo II: Manjimaru
87. Seiken Densetsu 3
86. Final Fantasy Tactics
85. Sonic Unleashed
84. Phantasy Star Online
83. Shadow of the Colossus
82. Final Fantasy IV
81. Shadow Hearts II
80. Kirby Air Ride
79. Dragon Quest II
78. MAG
77. Romancing SaGa 2
76. Steins;Gate
75. SaGa Frontier
74. Bloodborne
73. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
72. Wizardry
71. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
70. Metal Gear Solid 3
69. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
68. The Legend of Zelda
67. Pop’n Music
66. Ico
65. Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner
64. Machi
63. Phantasy Star Online 2
62. Demon’s Souls
61. Valkyria Chronicles
60. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd
59. Final Fantasy V
58. Kirby Super Star
57. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
56. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
55. Dragon Quest IV
54. Kantai Collection
53. Sakura Wars 2
52. Dragon Quest VIII
51. Romancing SaGa 3
50. Final Fantasy VI
49. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
48. Final Fantasy XIV
47. Pokemon Red/Blue
46. Kingdom Hearts
45. Persona 4
44. Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair
43. Final Fantasy IX
42. Sakura Wars 3
41. NieR
40. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X
39. Final Fantasy XV
38. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Arcade Future Tone
37. Dragon Quest X
36. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai Deluxe
35. moon
34. Kingdom Hearts II
33. Super Mario Bros.
32. Persona 3
31. Fate/Grand Order
30. Tactics Ogre
29. Sonic Adventure 2
28. Monster Retsuden Oreca Battle
27. Xenogears
26. Final Fantasy X
25. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
24. Dragon Quest V
23. EarthBound
22. Danganronpa
21. Danganronpa 2
20. Final Fantasy XI
19. Suikoden II
18. Xenoblade Chronicles
17. Okami
16. Persona 4 Golden
15. Otoca D’Or
14. Yakuza 0
13. Hatsune Miku Project Diva Future Tone
12. Shenmue 2
11. Danganronpa 1.2 Reload
10. Shenmue – 217
9. Sakura Wars – 223
8. Chrono Trigger – 231
7. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony – 257
6. Final Fantasy VII – 287
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – 350
4. NieR: Automata – 369
3. Splatoon – 411
2. Dragon Quest III – 612
1. Persona 5 – 835

Japan's Most Memorable Games on Each Console (2016):

https://kotaku.com/poll-japans-most-memorable-games-on-each-console-1780043369

Just 2 Sonic games on 2 different consoles:

Mega Drive: 

Spoiler

 

10. Outrun - 45 votes

9. Altered Beast - 57 votes

8. Powerball - 75 votes

7. Landstalker - 84 votes

6. Ghosts ‘n Goblins - 93 votes

5. Gunstar Heroes - 105 votes

4. Streets of Rage - 123 votes

3. Puyo Puyo - 168 votes

2. Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention - 201 votes

1. Sonic the Hedgehog - 371 votes

 

Dreamcast:

Spoiler

 

10. Soulcalibur - 42 votes

9. Jet Set Radio - 51 votes

8. Sakura Taisen 4 - 60 votes

7. Sakura Taisen - 72 votes

6. Crazy Taxi - 117 votes

5. Atsumare! Guru Guru Onsen - 144 votes

4. Sonic Adventure - 189 votes

3. Sakura Taisen 3 - 210 votes

2. Shenmue - 211 votes

1. Phantasy Star Online - 241 votes

 

 

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13 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Sonic in general is kind contentious unless you literally suck all of the grit out of the character

I think Sonic's 'tude kind of needs to be aimed at an aggressor for it to be endearing rather than obnoxious, and timing also counts.  This is demonstrable even when he's not an outright jerk.  His "Someone order a beatdown?" monologue from Sonic Colors is a drag not just because based on something that isn't all that funny, but because he's talking to a robot off-camera, so instead it comes off as him mugging to the audience for way too long.

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9 hours ago, Cayenne said:

Famitsu's Top 100 Best Games of All time (2017):

 

https://nintendoeverything.com/famitsu-readers-choose-the-top-100-best-games-of-all-time/

Both SA2 and SA2: B are there. 

85 - Sonic Unleashed

57 - Sonic Adventure 2: Battle

29 - Sonic Adventure 2 

Complete List:

  Reveal hidden contents

100. Zelda: Majora’s Mask
99. Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer
98. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
97. Super Smash Bros. Melee
96. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Arcade
95. Kowloon Youma Gakuen Ki
94. Arc The Lad II
93. Final Fantasy VIII
92. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney
91. Lufia
90. Valkyrie Profile
89. Shiren the Wanderer 2
88. Tengai Makyo II: Manjimaru
87. Seiken Densetsu 3
86. Final Fantasy Tactics
85. Sonic Unleashed
84. Phantasy Star Online
83. Shadow of the Colossus
82. Final Fantasy IV
81. Shadow Hearts II
80. Kirby Air Ride
79. Dragon Quest II
78. MAG
77. Romancing SaGa 2
76. Steins;Gate
75. SaGa Frontier
74. Bloodborne
73. Animal Crossing: New Leaf
72. Wizardry
71. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
70. Metal Gear Solid 3
69. Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
68. The Legend of Zelda
67. Pop’n Music
66. Ico
65. Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner
64. Machi
63. Phantasy Star Online 2
62. Demon’s Souls
61. Valkyria Chronicles
60. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd
59. Final Fantasy V
58. Kirby Super Star
57. Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
56. Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
55. Dragon Quest IV
54. Kantai Collection
53. Sakura Wars 2
52. Dragon Quest VIII
51. Romancing SaGa 3
50. Final Fantasy VI
49. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
48. Final Fantasy XIV
47. Pokemon Red/Blue
46. Kingdom Hearts
45. Persona 4
44. Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair
43. Final Fantasy IX
42. Sakura Wars 3
41. NieR
40. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X
39. Final Fantasy XV
38. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Arcade Future Tone
37. Dragon Quest X
36. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai Deluxe
35. moon
34. Kingdom Hearts II
33. Super Mario Bros.
32. Persona 3
31. Fate/Grand Order
30. Tactics Ogre
29. Sonic Adventure 2
28. Monster Retsuden Oreca Battle
27. Xenogears
26. Final Fantasy X
25. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
24. Dragon Quest V
23. EarthBound
22. Danganronpa
21. Danganronpa 2
20. Final Fantasy XI
19. Suikoden II
18. Xenoblade Chronicles
17. Okami
16. Persona 4 Golden
15. Otoca D’Or
14. Yakuza 0
13. Hatsune Miku Project Diva Future Tone
12. Shenmue 2
11. Danganronpa 1.2 Reload
10. Shenmue – 217
9. Sakura Wars – 223
8. Chrono Trigger – 231
7. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony – 257
6. Final Fantasy VII – 287
5. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – 350
4. NieR: Automata – 369
3. Splatoon – 411
2. Dragon Quest III – 612
1. Persona 5 – 835

 

 

Wow, the only Mario game on the list is #33... Sonic got ahead of Mario. That would never happen in North America, for a list like this.

And damn, Earthbound at #23!

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8 hours ago, Scritch the Cat said:

I think Sonic's 'tude kind of needs to be aimed at an aggressor for it to be endearing rather than obnoxious, and timing also counts.  This is demonstrable even when he's not an outright jerk.  His "Someone order a beatdown?" monologue from Sonic Colors is a drag not just because based on something that isn't all that funny, but because he's talking to a robot off-camera, so instead it comes off as him mugging to the audience for way too long.

 

That's true, but it doesn't really have much punch if he's abrasive to people that deserve it. 

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