The Evil Doctor Eggman has gathered the seven Chaos Emeralds for his latest dastardly scheme, but like a bolt from the blue, Sonic the Hedgehog arrives to save the day! Only this time, an accident triggers Chaos Control, Hurling everyone into a different world, a world that looks an awful lot like our own. To get home, Sonic together with Tails, Amy, Knuckles, and all the gang must find the Chaos Emeralds. But he’s not the only one looking for them! Doctor Eggman has come to this world as well, and while the other might just want to return, Eggman sees a new land ripe for making part of his Eggman Empire! The race is on, and when it comes to speed, there’s no way Sonic can lose! Don’t blink and don’t think, because Sonic X is out of this world!
(Warning: Spoilers in this review!)
Saturday Morning on 4Kids, Second Attempt in Anime
Imagine this: you wake up early in the morning, eat a bowl of cereal, you have no school today and you decide to lounge around and watch cartoons. One of the shows you watch was Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) and Loonatics Unleashed. One of these shows, you definitely remember by the catchy intro song “Gotta Go Fast” and the sight of a blue speedy hedgehog. The show was called Sonic X. It’s no surprise that Sonic the Hedgehog is well-known whether you experience the video games, watched the cartoons in which was voiced by Steve Urkel’s actor Jaleel White or read the Archie comics. Sonic the Hedgehog made his first debut in the Sega Genesis home console in 1991 as a mascot rival to Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. Throughout the years, Sonic the Hedgehog has been through a lot of video games from the Genesis, to Sega’s last console Dreamcast and to the modern consoles. Sonic X is actually not the first time Sonic jumped into the anime world. In 1996, Studio Pierrot and anime director Kazunori Ikega would team up and create a two episode OVA for Sonic called Sonic the Hedgehog or the internet called it Sonic OVA. The anime would get an English Dubbed format, but the voice for Sonic was done by Martin Burke rather Jaleel White and the OVA featured Tails, Knuckles, Dr. Robotnik/Eggman and Metal Sonic. In 2003, Sega, Sonic Team and TMS Entertainment got together and created a brand new Sonic anime series and called it Sonic X. Around this time, the English license company 4Kids Entertainment would be the one to license the anime in English Dub and localize it on TV. This is where we also get an updated voice cast for the anime and the voices would carry on even to the video games up until which includes Jason Griffith, Dan Green and the longest Sonic voice actor Mike Pollock. Sonic X is probably one of the most popular Saturday morning anime on TV in America and sometimes on Jetix for those who watched it on day times.
Sonic X broken into three seasons, but into two series
According to Wikipedia, there is a total of 78 episodes of the Sonic X anime. The first 52 episodes is referred to “Series 1” and the remaining episodes is called “Series 2”. However, in the English version done by 4Kids, the episodes was divided into three seasons, whilst the first two seasons had 26 episodes.
Plot: Original story plots with game twists
For the sake of this review, I am going to be talking about the anime in seasons to better describe each of the plots. Season 1 starts with Sonic in the middle of trying to save his friend Cream the Rabbit and Cheese the Chao from the evil Dr. Eggman also retrieve the stole Chaos Emeralds. While fighting, Sonic and Eggman accidentally trigger a Chaos Control and ends up warping everyone through time and space into a new world filled with humans. In this confusing world, a human boy named Christopher Thorndyke takes Sonic for refuge as he tries to get adjusted to this world and find his friends. Chis comes from a rich family in which his father is the CEO of technology business and his mother is a movie celebrity. Later on, these two do find the rest of Sonic friends and they work together find their way back home to their world. In order to do that, they have to find the rest of the seven Chaos Emeralds which was scattered after the fight with Dr. Eggman. However, not only Sonic’s friends arrived in this world, but so did Eggman and his robot lackeys Bocoe and Decoe and the childish exploding messenger Bokkun. In this new world, Dr. Eggman wants to gather the Chaos Emeralds and establish his Eggman Empire. Season 1 introduces a new adventure for Sonic and his friends and their quest to return home and also preventing Dr. Eggman from conquering this world.
Continuing off from season 1, season 2 mixes in with some video game stories based off from Sonic Adventure 1, Sonic Adventure 2 and a minuscule plot of Sonic Battle. After defeating Dr. Eggman and saving Chris, the Chaos Emeralds once scatters and goes missing. This is where we get to see Big the Cat who first made an appearance in the beginning of Sonic X, but holds no value of the plot of season 1. Sonic and friends once again tries to live in peace after defeating Dr. Eggman. However, Dr. Eggman is not ready to give up and he is willing to do whatever it takes to defeat Sonic. Dr. Eggman destroys Knuckle’s Master Emerald and would unleash the ancient monster Chaos. Dr. Eggman plans to gather all the Chaos Emeralds and feed them to Chaos and become the ultimate living weapon. Helping him, he creates his robot minions and one of them is named E-102 Gamma. A portion of Chaos is consumed by Big’s pet friend Froggy and he goes missing which leads to Big getting involved with the crossover. While Sonic and his friends try to stop Eggman from gathering the Emeralds, Knuckles is having his own story and trying to gather the shards of the Master Emeralds. However, we get pieces of the history of the monster Chaos and the fate of his ancestors.
After the devastation from Chaos, Sonic and his friends move away to a different while the home town of Station Square recovers. After failing, Dr. Eggman sneaks into Prison Island owned by the military named GUN in search of a hidden secret weapon. Upon discovery he learns that this secret weapon is actually a hedgehog named Shadow the Hedgehog and he was made by Eggman’s grandfather Gerard Robotnik. Robotnik created Shadow at a secret space station called the Space Colony Ark and Dr. Eggman wants to use it to bring fear to Earth and create his Eggman Empire. The introduction of Shadow creates an identity crisis as people believes that Shadow is Sonic and he became evil. Sonic and his friends must stop Eggman and also help clear their names.
After the events with Shadow, Sonic and his friends goes back to normality and have mini adventures. We to meet the Chaotix, Cream’s mother Vanilla and the copycat robot Emeral. Season 2 ends with the government informing Chris and his family about the current situation with Sonic and his friends and Dr. Eggman. It turns out due to the Chaos Control from season 1, Sonic and the human world were once on whole Earth, but since Sonic and his friends appeared into the Human World, time will cease to continue unless Sonic and his friends return home, including Dr. Eggman. Chris has to choose between keeping Sonic and never letting time progress or saying goodbye to him and fixing time.
In this final season, Sonic and his friends encounter a mysterious robot army called the Metarex. The Metarex plots to steal the Chaos Emeralds and steal every planet’s “Planet Egg” in order to repopulate their desolate home planet. However, Sonic, in his Super form, sends the emeralds across the galaxy preventing the leader of the Metarex from stealing them. However, this doesn’t stop them from Stealing’s Sonic home world Planet Egg. With the help of the mysterious plant girl Cosmo, Sonic and his friends learns about their enemy and must work together to save not only their world, but other planets. Returning to join Sonic, an adult Chris builds a machine to replicate Chaos Control and enters Sonic’s world, but this leads him to returning to his kid appearance; nonetheless, Chris wants to help Sonic reclaim the emeralds and Planet Eggs. Joining them we the comedic group the Chaotix helping Sonic, and Dr. Eggman joins in the space adventure to steal the Chaos Emeralds for himself.
Review: Sonic’s adventure with twists and turns
After finally watching the anime from start to finish, I can finally give you my feedback. As a Sonic fan myself, it’s evident that Sonic has his fair share of ups and downs in his adventures. Sometimes he’ll have a great game like Sonic Generations and Sonic Unleashed, sometimes he will have bad games like Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. In this anime, I want to say Sonic X falls in the mediocre rating. Let me start off the pros and the cons. In the positive side of Sonic X, we get some original adventures with Sonic and his friends. As much as it was cool to see the anime adaptations of the games Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, I was mostly entertained by the original stories. Season 1 had many original adventures such as Sonic racing against Chris’ speedster uncle Sam or Sonic playing baseball against Eggman. Season 3 was also entertaining, but it felt like I was watching Dragon Ball GT since it involved the characters trying to find 7 powerful items in a limited time. I speak for many other fans, but the scene with Sonic turning into Dark Sonic and having Dr. Eggman stand up against the Metarex and proving to them that he was a threat was iconic in season 3. I felt like season 3 had fun and serious storyline.
There are some negatives in Sonic X where I have my gripes. In season 2, I mentioned that this is the season where the anime focuses on the Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 story. Despite getting an anime adaptation, the episode arcs don’t last long; it takes an approximate of 6 episodes to complete them. I was able to able finish both the arcs within a couple of days. Emerl from Sonic Battle does appear in the later episodes but doesn’t stick around very long and he gets dealt with shortly. This brings up the next topic which is the characters. The main focus of the anime is mostly Sonic and his group including Chris and his family and Dr. Eggman. There are some side characters like Rouge and the Chaotix, but their roles are minimum. Rouge mostly appears whenever an episode is about claiming treasure or the emeralds and The Chaotix is there for pure comedy. Characters like Big the Cat, Gamma and Shadow the Hedgehog are greatly reduced prior to their Adventure arcs, however, Shadow does appear again in season 3. Overall, these Sonic characters have minor roles in the overall anime and they’re only important until the plot gives them purpose. Ironically, the one character I didn’t care about was Chris. Despite him being one of the main characters of the show, I felt like Chris was a bit overbearing. Throughout the anime, Chris always wants to be part of Sonic’s adventure and get involve in the action even if it means risking his life. We do get to see his friends in the adventure too, but they don’t much attention unfortunately. From fans, some people really don’t like Chris due to his selfishness. Happened twice, when the plot as Sonic and his friend ready to return home, Chris, despite wanting to help Sonic and his friends, has second thoughts and wants Sonic to stay and be part of his life. This kind of act shows like Chris is immature and is not willing to grow up. I mentioned in season 3, Chris creates a device to warp to Sonic’s home world during the Metarex crisis. I liked Chris a little because he matures in the adventure, but it got annoying how he always wanted to be involved with Sonic and his friends.
Whether you like or dislike it, the English Dub was decent. The dub for this was done by 4Kids Entertainment who are well known for shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh. I heard the Japanese version has a better Dub and uncut scenes that wasn’t present in the American version. Even if you bought the homevideoes, you will still get the edited, censored English versions. Unless you like tamed dialogue from the people who worked on your favorite Saturday morning shows, some of the dialogue can be cheesy. I like the voices actors and I do miss Jason Griffith’s voice of Sonic and Shadow and Mike Pollock is still the best voice for Dr. Eggman.
Was Sonic X a good anime? From my experience and as a fan of Sonic, Sonic X feels like a mixed bag of pros and cons. As a kid, this was my favorite show growing up and I looked forward to watching every episode. Now as an adult, this anime does hold some happy, nostalgic memories of my childhood, but I do notice some flaws. If you have time to kill, Sonic X does provide some entertaining episodes. The show offers some original story plots which strays away from the games and even it does go off from the games, they make the adventure unique and different and blend it to the anime. However, sometimes the arcs can either be moderately paced or super fast. Having Chris be one of the main characters for Sonic can either improve the plot or just make him unbearable. The English Dub is passable and it can be entertaining for children. The voice actors were good, but I think it needs better writing.
So what do you guys think about Sonic X? Comment down below on your opinion.
Until then, sayonara!