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Speedi [ スピヂ ]

Does Sonic Really Hate Authority?

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17 minutes ago, Wraith said:

If this was true the series would be suggesting most authority is inherently corrupt, which would be a pretty clear cut anti-authority position to take. 

 I don't think Sonic paints every authority as corrupt, though. It just leans into the basic idea that there are good and bad ways to lead people. Simple characters, simple world, simple perspective. 

That's true, I just think more could be done with it than we have. 

But yea, simple series, simple concepts, can't really expect much more. 

 

 

Just realized something to; some people are opposed to SATAM/Archie for not properly reflecting Sonic as an anti-authoritarian figure. But the literal premise of the series is that Sonic leads a small group of resistance fighters against an oppressive government.

SATAM establishes Sonic more as a rebel than the games ever did, because Sonic is part of an actual resistance force in SATAM at least lol. 

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32 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

But like I said, it calls into question if that's actually anti-authoritarian or if just stopping the generic evil empire from doing evil things.  Mario constantly beats Bowser's kingdom back, does that make him anti-authoritarian? 

Well Mario fights one kingdom to protect and support another so I think it's pretty clear that he's not anti-authority. Sonic never allies himself with any particular authority beyond immediate convenience against a particular threat.

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16 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

Well Mario fights one kingdom to protect and support another so I think it's pretty clear that he's not anti-authority. Sonic never allies himself with any particular authority beyond immediate convenience against a particular threat.

I feel like a true anti-authoritarian figure wouldn't support any type of authority and would just act on their own, especially if they felt like they could handle the situation on their own as opposed to being with allied with another political power. 

That's why I want there to be a non-evil authority figure in the games for once; you could even make them a potential new rival to oppose Sonic, somebody who embodies following the rules and serving their liege and probably defending themselves from whatever Eggman is doing, while Sonic is constantly being disrupted by both sides....wait, that's Blaze isn't it...shit. 

Something I THOUGHT they were going to do with Team Dark joining GUN, but then nothing ever came from it and now GUN doesn't even exist anymore...

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1 hour ago, Kuzu said:

That's true, I just think more could be done with it than we have. 

But yea, simple series, simple concepts, can't really expect much more. 

Your logic seems to be Sonic can't be anti-authoritarian because the series is simple and isn't allowed to go further with that. 

And I mean sure Sonic wouldn't respond much to an authoritative stance that isn't doing anyone any harm. But that should be said about anti-authoritarianism in general, shouldn't it? Why would anyone care if it weren't impeding on you or other's freedoms or desires?  

Sonic picks and chooses his battles depending on how involved his stance is. And in almost all situations he is, they're an opposing force, not an ally. It's not reading too much into it to come to the conclusion that although Sonic isn't going tooth and nail against The Man he's certainly not on their side either. And it shouldn't be a surprise or seen as purism to see people not a fan of when he's written that way.

1 hour ago, Kuzu said:

Just realized something to; some people are opposed to SATAM/Archie for not properly reflecting Sonic as an anti-authoritarian figure. But the literal premise of the series is that Sonic leads a small group of resistance fighters against an oppressive government.

SATAM establishes Sonic more as a rebel than the games ever did, because Sonic is part of an actual resistance force in SATAM at least lol. 

SatAM's stance on it is answered in Diogenes' answer about Mario. Mario is fighting one rule in favor of another. Sonic in SatAM is doing the same.

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6 minutes ago, azoo said:

Your logic seems to be Sonic can't be anti-authoritarian because the series is simple and isn't allowed to go further with that. Like.. okay, but just because you can't see it doesn't mean it can't exist. 

And I mean sure Sonic wouldn't respond much to an authoritative stance that isn't doing anyone any harm. But that should be said about anti-authoritarianism in general, shouldn't it? Why would anyone care if it weren't impeding on you or other's freedoms or desires?  

Sonic picks and chooses his battles depending on how involved his stance is. And in almost all situations he is, they're an opposing force, not an ally. It's not reading too much into it to come to the conclusion that although Sonic isn't going tooth and nail against The Man he's certainly not on their side either. And it shouldn't be a surprise or seen as purism to see people not a fan of when he's written that way.

No, it's more like it won't go further, not that it can't. I would very much love seeing a story where Sonic is firmly anti-authoritarian in a way that has impact on the story beyond it being a generic "good vs. evil" that's generally been the status quo of the series. I just think its highly unlikely that's ever gonna happen because as I said, that's not the portrayal of Sonic that Sega wants. 

And like hey, if you see Sonic and the series an anti-authoritarian, fine. As said, there's enough to interpret from the general descriptions about the series to come to that conclusion, but as I said, the premise of the OP's topic is that they felt Sonic WASN'T anti-authoritarian and felt  people were reading too much into the character, and that's the stance I'm taking here. 

6 minutes ago, azoo said:

SatAM's stance on it is answered in Diogenes' answer about Mario. Mario is fighting one rule in favor of another. Sonic in SatAM is doing the same.

He's still directly opposing an actual political force though. Like, it's the most active rebelling the character has actually ever done across almost any medium. 

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1 hour ago, Kuzu said:

Just realized something to; some people are opposed to SATAM/Archie for not properly reflecting Sonic as an anti-authoritarian figure. But the literal premise of the series is that Sonic leads a small group of resistance fighters against an oppressive government.

SATAM establishes Sonic more as a rebel than the games ever did, because Sonic is part of an actual resistance force in SATAM at least lol. 

I've said this for years, but Sally is technically royalty so it doesn't count I guess. 

18 minutes ago, azoo said:

 

SatAM's stance on it is answered in Diogenes' answer about Mario. Mario is fighting one rule in favor of another. Sonic in SatAM is doing the same.

Sonic has fought on behalf of monarchs, governments and even GUN in the games before. He's about as interested in protecting the status quo as Mario is. Even if you argue that he "had" to do those things, he had even less of a choice in SATAM  given the circumstances. 

I think portraying Mario as fighting on behalf of the crown is a stretch anyway. Bowser doesn't have any political ambitions beyond forcibly marrying Peach, and Peach is Mario's friend, not an obligation. 

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13 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

He's still directly opposing an actual political force though. Like, it's the most active rebelling the character has actually ever done across almost any medium. 

That's not what being anti-authoritarian is, though. Like, that's literally not the definition. He is opposing the evil ruler to put in the good ruler. That is an example of good and evil being his sole motivator, and not the idea of whether someone rules over you. This is actually a big reason of why I've never been keen on the "Freedom Fighters" concept, because of how.. not freedom-based it is? It's a weird, Disney-clean idea on good and bad.

Archie tried to do deeper stuff with it, as CSS mentioned, but the involvement at that point was too deeply tied to politics for me to care. As you said, Sonic is simple. 

Quote

Sonic has fought on behalf of monarchs, governments and even GUN in the games before. He's about as interested in protecting the status quo as Mario is. Even if you argue that he "had" to do those things, he had even less of a choice in SATAM given the circumstances.

I already mentioned I found him helping GUN in ShTH to come off like bad writing (like ShTH as a whole) since it's just kinda clumping them all as the "good guys" (a strange take when SA2 goes out of it's way to paint how dubious GUN is). The rest seemed less like him fighting on behalf of governments and more like helping friends. Sonic's completely uninvolved in Soleanna's politics, he's just here to watch a festival and save some girl's life from being ruined I guess.

13 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

And like hey, if you see Sonic and the series an anti-authoritarian, fine. As said, there's enough to interpret from the general descriptions about the series to come to that conclusion, but as I said, the premise of the OP's topic is that they felt Sonic WASN'T anti-authoritarian and felt  people were reading too much into the character, and that's the stance I'm taking here. 

And I feel like you're not reading enough into his character.

That's all I've got left to contribute to the convo at this point, lol.

 

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9 minutes ago, azoo said:

That's not what being anti-authoritarian is, though. Like, that's literally not the definition. He is opposing the evil ruler to put in the good ruler. That is an example of good and evil being his sole motivator, and not the idea of whether someone rules over you. This is actually a big reason of why I've never been keen on the "Freedom Fighters" concept, because of how.. not freedom-based it is? It's a weird, Disney-clean idea on good and bad.

Archie tried to do deeper stuff with it, as CSS mentioned, but the involvement at that point was too deeply tied to politics for me to care. As you said, Sonic is simple. 

I don't see how you can have an issue with the "Disney-clean idea" of how SATAM presented it's conflict, but then praise the games as being anti-authoritarian, while simultaneously admitting the series is simple.  That's like three contradictory ideas right there. 

11 minutes ago, Wraith said:

I've said this for years, but Sally is technically royalty so it doesn't count I guess. 

I've watched Game Apologist's video about Sally, and the idea of somebody "taming" Sonic is a huge turn off to a lot of fans of the game. But its like...the point? I don't even see it as Sonic being "tamed" either, his character is just put under a different context to better serve the story the series wanted to tell. 

I understand it because I used to feel that way too until I was able to separate my personal biases and just judged SATAM on its own merits. Its not my ideal version of Sonic, but the spirit of the series is still there despite what many think. 

But eh, can't really expect fans of either side to see eye to eye on this stuff. 

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Because they're completely different means of being simple.

SatAM's is more reductive, where there's good rulers and bad rulers and Sonic is for the good one. It's cleaner; easier to digest, but not really the same as the game's version of "simple".

The strongest most of the games get in that regard is apathetic, or the issue is unrelated to whatever Sonic thinks of them; as Sonic's game stories are more about him being free of worry from even the good authority, and actively fighting the bad authority. 

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3 minutes ago, azoo said:

Because they're completely different means of being simple.

SatAM's is more reductive, where there's good rulers and bad rulers and Sonic is for the good one. The strongest most of the games get in that regard is apathetic, or the issue is unrelated to whatever Sonic thinks of them; as Sonic's game stories are more about him being free of worry from even the good authority, and actively fighting the bad authority. 

I honestly think that's even more reductive, because there's not even a good authority figure for Sonic to have conflict with either in that case. And its not like Eggman controls the entire planet like he does in SATAM, so Sonic only really acts when Eggman is causing trouble, as opposed to actually being proactive about taking him down. 

The whole idea of being a "rebel" is that you're being proactive in rebelling , not just sitting around and waiting for the conflict to come to you. Being a passive good guy is the least rebellious thing a good guy could be, and that's definitely most Sonic stories as the conflict generally doesn't start until Eggman makes the first move. 

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Oh, whatever. Will you be satisfied if you just 'win' the argument, man? lol 

Here, take it. I feel like my argument shouldn't be hard to understand, and it's exhausting to break things down to such pedantic levels only to get them given to me in even smaller and more pedantic pieces to respond to. Like a spider web of "why".

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If you really think I'm trying to "win" an argument about something as petty as Sonic the Hedgehog, then that says more about you then it does about me. If you were so tired of this, you could have just agreed to disagree and bow out at anytime, so don't make it seem like I'm being the unreasonable one here simply because I refuse to bend on my stance. That's not how debates work. 

The punchline to all of this is that you were the one who first responded to me lmao. 

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1 hour ago, Kuzu said:

I've watched Game Apologist's video about Sally, and the idea of somebody "taming" Sonic is a huge turn off to a lot of fans of the game. But its like...the point? I don't even see it as Sonic being "tamed" either, his character is just put under a different context to better serve the story the series wanted to tell. 

I understand it because I used to feel that way too until I was able to separate my personal biases and just judged SATAM on its own merits. Its not my ideal version of Sonic, but the spirit of the series is still there despite what many think. 

But eh, can't really expect fans of either side to see eye to eye on this stuff. 

The only thing I have to say about that whole debate at this point is that almost every time they tried to come up with a deuteragonist for Sonic it was a character that had some sort of strong obligation, anchor or responsibility. It's the natural opposite of living free. They even eventually landed on a literal monarch with Blaze. Since Sally/the FF were made before Knuckles they were actually ahead of the curve when they came up with them. It makes me wonder if they would be so controversial if they had simply been in the games to begin with. 

But I don't want to make this topic about Satam.

To me, being anti-authority means going against the established authority in some way. Sonic isn't fighting against the corporate compartmentalization of the galaxy like Ratchet and Clank and he isn't living on the fringes committing crime for sport and delivering vigilante justice like Sly Cooper. He's fighting Dr. Eggman in a conflict that seems deliberately removed from most political concepts. There was some enviromental commentary in the older games that they've mostly shied away from now.  Eggman definitely gives off a dictator vibe but they don't even lean into that as hard as SATAM does. 

In general, Eggman in the games has never represented authority that well to me. He's a weird outsider on the fringes trying to pull hostile takeovers. Almost everyone in the world hates him and loves Sonic. This makes Sonic come off less like a rebel and more like a superhero defending that status quo.

When Sonic's morality or competence is called into question, it's almost always painted as a misunderstanding rather than him making a controversial call or going against the grain to do what's right. Sonic Adventure 2 is probably the sole exception in the main games, and he explicitly tries to stay on GUN's good side afterward. 

So Sonic as a character doesn't really represent being anti-authority to me. I've come to feel like that's giving the games way too much credit. I don't think he really...cares, to be honest. He doesn't like being told what to do, but what teenager does?

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On 3/10/2021 at 4:30 PM, azoo said:

That's not what being anti-authoritarian is, though. Like, that's literally not the definition. He is opposing the evil ruler to put in the good ruler. That is an example of good and evil being his sole motivator, and not the idea of whether someone rules over you. This is actually a big reason of why I've never been keen on the "Freedom Fighters" concept, because of how.. not freedom-based it is? It's a weird, Disney-clean idea on good and bad.

Just wanted to say that considering how Robotnik was enslaving people through roboticization, I don’t see how that isn’t freedom-based when they were fighting to end that kind of rule. That detail alone is why they called themselves “Freedom Fighters” in the cartoons.

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"hate" is a very strong word. It's more that it's not his style. He's not tied down by anything, including global allegiances. The matter might have been diluted by the pseudo-cop Archie Sonic, but the games have never gone down that path.  

It's also why I wasn't sold on the movie before it came out, but that's only kind of related.

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I wish they allowed to Sonic to be more than just a goody two shoes mascot to explore this angle more. It's just kind of weird for a character built on defying the Status Quo, he ended up becoming the very thing he fought against. Not that Sonic is as nondescript as Mario in personality, but his edges have certainly been sanded down  outside of the occasional snarky line or two. 

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12 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

I wish they allowed to Sonic to be more than just a goody two shoes mascot to explore this angle more. It's just kind of weird for a character built on defying the Status Quo, he ended up becoming the very thing he fought against. Not that Sonic is as nondescript as Mario in personality, but his edges have certainly been sanded down  outside of the occasional snarky line or two. 

Idk, I've never felt like Sonic at his core was meant to be a particularly chaotic character. Yeah, he's got a mouth, lives by his own rules and makes people earn his respect. But he's always been a pretty friendly guy who enjoys helping people and sharing his wisdom with whoever needs it. If anything I'd argue some of his edges have gotten too much focus to the point that he feels like kind of a jerk in a lot of recent media. Though, depending on who you ask this is a good or bad thing I guess.

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29 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

I wish they allowed to Sonic to be more than just a goody two shoes mascot to explore this angle more. It's just kind of weird for a character built on defying the Status Quo, he ended up becoming the very thing he fought against. Not that Sonic is as nondescript as Mario in personality, but his edges have certainly been sanded down  outside of the occasional snarky line or two. 

I think he's limited by being a corporate mascot. Sonic being perceived as anti-authority certainly helps with social media cred (kind of like the Philadelphia Flyers' Gritty, funnily enough), but if they were to actually explore him rebelling against authority in-universe, that would require SEGA to take definite political stances. I'd be very surprised if anything out of a large corporation said, for instance, "Yeah, all cops are bad."

As far as I know, Sonic and the Black Knight is the closest he's ever been shown taking a definite stance on anything in the games, but even then, his "I don't mind playing the bad guy" is mostly talk, and while his "Every world has its end" speech is a pretty bold statement to make in the context of Western values, it's also a common anime trope.

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He's anti-authoritarian in that he disrespects authority, not that he actively acts against it, since he doesn't actively act against anything- he just chills, and if he sees something go wrong, he stops it, then goes back to chilling. He's a reactive character.

 

Bringing up him fighting Tails in Archie, if CSS meant to reference House of Cards, feels a weird point to bring up here considering he was fighting Tails in that Tails and family were against the crown. It's one of the most "Archie Sonic isn't actually anti-authoritarian" moments; even if you want to argue the whole setup isn't overall anti-authoritarian (which is arguable in either way- the message is clearly not meant to be authoritarian, it's meant to be "when good king rule it's good", like with One Piece, but the way Penders took it further in Archie did definitely step into outright "no, Sonic wants a dictator in anyway, just has to be the one he grew up with"), that specific moment definitely is.

 

EDIT: adding in of course that you have to willingly remove specific cultural and political contexts from the table- if you find monarchies in and of themselves to be tyrannical, SatAM's premise of course is utterly broken, and thus so is Archie's. There's also some nuance to be had in the difference between Archie minisseries setup (Sonic's a stranger stepping in to help fight Robotnik) vs the final Archie/SatAM setup (Sonic's trying to bring back the regime of his parents' generation). Either case, House of Cards is a low point in its entirety for Sonic's character.

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5 hours ago, Speedi said:

Idk, I've never felt like Sonic at his core was meant to be a particularly chaotic character. Yeah, he's got a mouth, lives by his own rules and makes people earn his respect. But he's always been a pretty friendly guy who enjoys helping people and sharing his wisdom with whoever needs it. If anything I'd argue some of his edges have gotten too much focus to the point that he feels like kind of a jerk in a lot of recent media. Though, depending on who you ask this is a good or bad thing I guess.

Like I said, he was designed to subvert the status quo that was established by Mario. One of the main sources of his powers are literally called the CHAOS Emeralds. Like come on, I may agree that Sonic isn't exactly anti-authority, but chaos is literally built into his character. 

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3 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

One of the main sources of his powers are literally called the CHAOS Emeralds.

Eh I feel that's a bit of a stretch, the emeralds aren't exactly "his", they're what both sides fight over.

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1 minute ago, Diogenes said:

Eh I feel that's a bit of a stretch, the emeralds aren't exactly "his", they're what both sides fight over.

Yea, but Sonic is the primary one who can bring out their true power. 

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