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Why Aren't Sonic's Arms Blue? - A Thread About Character Design


BubbleButt TV
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well this is a weird topic for a thread but I thought it'd be nice to have a contained thread where we go nuts over character design. I feel like this could be used to learn more about design philosphy.

I'll start with the age old question, why does Canon Sonic have "Tan" arms? Of all the characters, Sonic and Amy are the only ones to have arms that are a different color from their base. What is the reason for this?

sonic is a very well designed character and his design is a big part of his success but the little quirks make you wonder what the thought process was behind it.

if anyone else has little things they love about the character design in this series/things they hate, feel free to share

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I agree with @Diogenes line of thinking. But I can't figure out why only Sonic makes it look good.

Go ahead, google "Knuckles tan arms". He looks so goofy.

I theorize that arms must go with tan belly (or when girl, clothing). Having arms and belly tan gives precedence, just tar arms look like someone shaved them. But from Recurring Cast, Sonic is only mammal with "bare" belly.

(Ironically many girls have tan arms to some degree. Amy and Rouge definitely, Cream has basically tan colored fur and we never seen Blaze arms till one of Olympic games).

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10 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

I agree with @Diogenes line of thinking. But I can't figure out why only Sonic makes it look good.

Go ahead, google "Knuckles tan arms". He looks so goofy.

image.thumb.jpeg.623e77006e1a17e87792bd7a7b218199.jpeg

this is the only one I could find and it does look weird, but I wonder if that's just because we're so used to how he normally looks? like, if you really look at it long enough it's not so bad I guess

I thought blue arms on Sonic looked weird but I'm actually kinda warming up to it more nowadays. 

also I made a mistake in the OP. I forgot Mighty also has tan arms, but he was always just based on Sonic's sprite so it's kinda expected there.

image.thumb.jpeg.0ef6861ce4f588addb3297c9278996ad.jpeg

this is peak Sonic design though. face it, it doesn't get better than this.

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2 hours ago, BubbleButt TV said:

image.thumb.jpeg.0ef6861ce4f588addb3297c9278996ad.jpeg

this is peak Sonic design though. face it, it doesn't get better than this.

It's funny; this design almost works!  But the vibe it gives off is less "video game protagonist" and more "laundry detergent mascot"...

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I think Diogenes is on the money, but it also comes down to color balance in character design.

Knuckles or Shadow don’t have tan arms, but the center of their torso is white, a color that is balanced across the color of their gloves, shoes/socks, and eyes (Tails even moreso, since his muzzle and inner ears are too). Sonic’s tan on his body, meanwhile, takes up the torso and nowhere else. So when the rest of the body is blue, it feels really wonky to look at because there’s none of that color distributed around the limbs or hands/feet to even it out. 

Sonic with blue arms, because of this, just looks like a guy wearing a chest-baring onesie. Combine that with something like, say, movie Sonic’s more humanoid proportions, and it really makes Sonic look like a small man in a costume. lol

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33 minutes ago, Razule said:

A lot of this feels like it boils down to "it isn't usually like this, so when it's different, it's weird". 

That’s a pretty dismissive way of looking at the points being made.

43 minutes ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

What about Boom Sonic? I'm not sure if he would look better with tan arms.

Or take Metal Sonic. He doesn't has silver-ish arms to match his mouth. All he has are TIN arms.

Boom Sonic would look better without blue arms, but for what it’s worth they tried to balance the design out more by putting the bandages on him, to have more white across his arms/legs so there’s a more even color palette.

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figured this might also be worth talking about. A lot of people wonder if Sonic wears socks or not but according Naoto Ohshima himself it's all one connected piece

to me this makes a lot of sense when you look at early sonic artwork and his shoes kinda bend in a way that suggests it's connected to the sock thingy

D20BB0ED-AA47-4A5F-B001-CFDCB8EBD32E.jpeg.9192e981eb644dc7c7861295c5a4aab1.jpeg

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Sonic's arm, or rather the non-existent shoulder area makes it possible to not look too off tan-colored. That area is pretty abstract and is honored still today.

I'd say that the boom design with tan arm would have looked as odd as the tan-arm Knuckles concept depicted up there. Its design is more grounded, similar to the movie design.

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I’m certain the reason Sonic has tan arms is the same reason Mario wears overalls - to differentiate their arms from their body when looking at their original game sprites. 
 

I’m not sure why Tails and Knuckles didn’t get similarly designed arms (maybe Tails’s arms are too short to matter, and Knuckles’s arms are mostly covered by his dreads anyway). 

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