2014 will mark the return of Sonic the Hedgehog in animated form in the tentatively titles CGI cartoon Sonic Boom on Cartoon Network. As such, since I am the FTN resident Sonic expert, I felt I would take you back on a retrospect of Sonics’ many animated incarnations.
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (1993)
The first of Sonic’s animated outings was in 1993 with the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. This series, which ran for 65 episodes and 1 Christmas special was created and produced by DIC entertainment.
I remember when this show first aired on channel 20 where I lived. It would be on every afternoon when I would get home from school and I was so ecstatic that my favorite video game was now a daily cartoon that I could watch. I would come home, drop my bags and sit in front of the TV and just immerse myself in the madcap antics of Sonic, Tails and Doctor Robotnik. I never missed an episode of this show and while at the time I loved every second, today I look back at my box sets and wonder if I wasn’t on something.
The show had a very non-linear storyline, as there were no real story arcs that connected one episode to the next. It was very much a story of the day type of show. Sonic and Tails would zoom through Mobius meeting many insane looking characters on their never ending quest to stop Robotnik and chow down on chili dogs. There was no rhyme or reason really to what was going on and it was a show where anything was possible. There were no laws of physics or anything of the sort, in a way it was almost like a Looney Tunes cartoon as the characters could pull anything out of thin air and the simplest costume would fool everyone.
The animation style was also very simplistic and it seemed the animators didn’t have the time or budget to render full backgrounds for the episodes. They were very plain and most of the times were just line drawings instead of fully colored and drawn sets. Even the characters, with the exception of the main ones, were pretty simplistic in design and never ones you would have seen in the games. I will say this episode did introduce characters that left a mark on my childhood.
The first were the S.S.S.S.S Squad (Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad), Scratch and Grounder. These were the comedic foils for Sonic and Tails each episode. They were the classic cliché of bumbling henchman as every plan they would concoct to try and stop Sonic ultimately backfired and would lead to either them getting blown up or destroyed, only to come back the next show. These characters along with the unofficial third member of the team Coconuts would always be given the task of taking out the blue hedgehog and ultimately fail miserably. However they are not throw away characters as all three have made appearances in the Sonic the Hedgehog comics by Archie.
The other character that would stick out in my mind was that of Breezie a robotic hedgehog created by Robotnik to seduce and destroy Sonic. She would make two appearances in the cartoon, once in “Lovesick Sonic” and then in “Sonic the Matchmaker”. She was a departure from the normal looks of the other characters as she was an actual proportionate female with what seemed like subtle nods to Jessica Rabbit. She was tall, curvy and well not what you normally saw in most of the episodes. She actually became such a popular character that there are a lot of fan art of her floating around the net. In fact she was popular enough to make a second appearance in the show instead of just being a one-episode plot point.
Probably the most remembered part of the AOSH was the public service announcements at the end that were called “Sonic Says”. These short announcements would cover a wide range of topics from sharing and remembering your phone number to sexual harassment and not climbing into clothes dryer. These announcements were always kind of weird as while some made sense other you had to say, even at a young age, do kids really do that? The not getting into the clothes dryer is the one that sticks out in my mind the most as I remember calling my mom into the room and asking why a kid would get in a clothes dryer.
While not the best adaptation of Sonic there has ever been, this show does warrant a place in history as the first Sonic cartoon. It was goofy, insane and never had a true ending, but it was fun for young kids who were excited to see their favorite hedgehog on the screen every weekday afternoon. Now while the show does not hold up all that well today, it is still a fun show to relive nostalgia. You can find the complete series on DVD today from SHOUT! Factory and it is worth the pick up if you want to introduce your little ones to the zaniness that was Sonic.
Be sure to check back next time as I take you back to what many consider the best Sonic cartoon of all time, Sonic the Hedgehog or as the fans call it Sonic SatAM.
Until then this is Spin Dash saying TIME TO JUICE IT LOOSE!