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Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック★ザ★ヘッジホッグ, Sonikku za Hejjihoggu) is a two-episode 1996 Japanese anime OVA series based on the video game franchise by Sega. Produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Kazutaka Ikegami, the OVAs were released from January 26, to March 22, 1996. The anime features Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Dr. Eggman (Dr. Robotnik in the English release), Metal Sonic and a few supporting characters created exclusively for the OVA.

Sonic the Hedgehog
SonicanimeVHS.jpg
1999 North American VHS cover
ソニック★ザ★ヘッジホッグ
(Sonikku za Hejjihoggu)
Original video animation
Directed byKazunori Ikegami
Produced byKōichirō Sugie (ep 1)
Akinori Ōno (ep 2)
Takayuki Sugisaki
Naoji Hōnokidani
Written byMayori Sekijima
Masashi Kubota
Music byMitsuhiro Tada
StudioPierrot
Licensed by
Released January 26, 1996 March 22, 1996
Runtime27 minutes (1st segment) 28 minutes (2nd segment)
Episodes2 (List of episodes)
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Contents

SettingEdit

Unlike other Sonic the Hedgehog media, the setting of the series is the world of Planet Freedom, which is split into two distinct realms: the Land of the Sky and the Land of Darkness.

The Land of the Sky consists of an unknown number of continents that drift high in the stratosphere of the planet, all of them connected to a massive ice formation which also serves to anchor them to the planet's surface below. According to Knuckles, if this ice network was destroyed, Planet Freedom's rotation would hurl the Land of the Sky into outer space, undoubtedly killing everyone on it.

The Land of Darkness is the actual surface of Planet Freedom, a post-apocalyptic wilderness with Robotnik as its sole living inhabitant. The Land of Darkness can only be accessed in one of two ways: by a whirlwind-like "portal" in the Land of the Sky, or via a warp zone, an extradimensional link between two points on Planet Freedom. Most of its terrain is untamed and mountainous, but a crumbling city serves as the location of Robotnik's empire. The city and terrain strongly imply that Planet Freedom is a post apocalyptic Earth that was built upon with floating islands, with certain landmarks suggesting that the ruins are those of New York City.

Cast and charactersEdit

Original charactersEdit

Sara (セーラ, Sēra)
Voiced by: Mika Kanai (Japanese); Sascha Biesi (English)
President (大統領, Daitōryō)
Voiced by: Yuzuru Fujimoto (Japanese); Edwin Neal (English)
Steward (執事, Shitsuji) / Old Man Owl
Voiced by: Chafurin (Japanese); Charles Campbell (English)
Secretary (秘書, Hisho)
Voiced by: Akimitsu Takase

Recurring charactersEdit

EpisodesEdit

# Title Japanese release date English release date
1"Journey to Eggmanland"
"Eggumanrando e Mukae" (エッグマンランドへむかえ)
January 26, 1996 (1996-01-26)March 29, 1996
Sonic the Hedgehog is relaxing on the beach with Miles "Tails" Prower, when Old Man Owl arrives with a message from the President asking Sonic to come to his office. Once there, they discover Dr. Robotnik has taken the President and his daughter Sara hostage. According to Robotnik, a giant mecha named Metal Robotnik ("Black Eggman" in the original) has exiled him from his utopian city of Robotropolis ("Eggmanland" in the original) and sabotaged the Robot Generator, which will explode in less than a day. He asks Sonic to head to the Land of Darkness to stop it in exchange for the President and Sara's freedom. Once there, Metal Robotnik tries to stop them from reaching the generator. Knuckles the Echidna arrives and saves them both, and all three team up to destroy the mecha. Unbeknownst to them, Metal Robotnik is revealed to have been controlled by Robotnik, with Sara unwillingly in tow. The episode ends with the three heading to Robotropolis.
2"Sonic VS Metal Sonic!!"
"Sonikku VS Metaru Sonikku!!" (ソニックVSメタルソニック!!)
March 22, 1996 (1996-03-22)June 11, 1996

After entering Robotropolis, Knuckles tries to fend off enemy robots while Sonic and Tails try to stop the generator at heart of the city. They arrive just in time, but when Sonic pulls the lever, the machine traps him and scans his body. Knuckles frees Sonic just as the machine crumbles to the ground, revealing Dr. Robotnik's newest robot, Hyper Metal Sonic. Dr. Robotnik appears in Metal Robotnik's remains and reveals he lured Sonic to copy his memories, personalities, and knowledge for Hyper Metal Sonic. Sonic and Metal battle, but Metal soundly defeats Sonic. Tails and Knuckles return to the Land of the Sky, where Tails learns that Metal is out to destroy the planet by digging into the ice caps that hold the Land of the Sky together, allowing lava to emerge and melt the ice. Sonic wakes up in Green Lake City and returns to the Presidential Palace, learning of Metal's goal from the President.

Sonic, Tails and Knuckles go to the ice caps, where Sara is being held captive by Robotnik, planning to marry her so the two will rule over Planet Freedom after the Land of the Sky's destruction. Sonic encounters Metal, and the two have a long rematch. Tails manages to corrupt Metal's data, and Sonic critically damages him. During the clash, the President and Old Man arrive and are trapped in their aircraft, but Metal saves them. Sonic realizes that Metal does have emotions, as he was programmed with Sonic's personality and thoughts. Metal gets blown into a crack and falls into a subglacial volcano. Sonic reaches out his hand to save him, but Metal rejects it, telling him "there is only one Sonic" before being destroyed by the rising magma. Robotnik states he still has Sonic's DNA and can re-build Metal Sonic, but one of his missiles from the fight inadvertently blows up the disc containing Sonic's DNA. Knuckles hits Sonic on the head as revenge for Sonic accidentally stepping on him during the fight, and the two get into a chase, with all the others following behind.

Production and releaseEdit

The OVA series was produced by Studio Pierrot, Sega Enterprises and General Entertainment and directed and storyboarded by Kazunori Ikegami, with Mayori Sekijima and Masashi Kubota handling the story structure and script, Tsuneo Ninomiya designing the characters and Mitsuhiro Tada composing the music. It was originally distributed by Taki Corporation in Japan on a rental-only basis between January 26 and March 22, 1996 before being released for retail sale on May 31 of that same year. The series was licensed by ADV Films and first released in North America between March 29, 1996 and June 11, 1996 in two VHS volumes, each containing a single episode with English subtitles.[citation needed] The English-dubbed version was later released as a single direct-to-video film as Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie on September 7, 1999, on VHS and DVD. It was later re-released on DVD on January 13, 2004. Due to ADV Films being dissolved and spun off into Section23 Films, one of its clients being Sentai Filmworks, both releases are now out of print.

Censorship rumorsEdit

The Following scenes are commonly believed to have been edited or removed from the 1999 VHS release of the film:

  • A scene showing Sonic giving Metal Robotnik the finger. However, it is actually his Index finger in all versions.
  • A daydream when Robotnik proposes to Sara, where she is shown pregnant and breastfeeding one of their future children.
  • A scene where Robotnik is heard violently groping Sara by mistake off-screen.
  • A scene of Metal Sonic accidentally looking up Sara's dress when he crashes through the bottom of Robotnik's ship, resulting in Sara repeatedly kicking his head, calling him a "pervert". Sonic, being synched with Metal Sonic, experiences it as well.
  • During the second fight against Metal, Tails, after the Tornado is shot out of the sky, falls down a hill and starts to roll into a snowball and crashes into Sara and Knuckles. When the snowball clears, Tails is revealed to be holding on to Sara's breasts. Knuckles notices this, and thinks Tails did it on purpose.

However, the Japanese VHS, US VHS, and DVD releases include all the above scenes and are regarded as fully uncut, although the US releases do not include the episodes in their separate formats.

Critical receptionEdit

The March 1996 issue of the DieHard Magazine gave the OVA a positive review stating that "all in all, the artwork looks amazing, plus it's an O.V.A., so the artists have been given quite an extensive budget. The animation is much cleaner than you could ever expect from a TV show, but the characters on-screen presence is what really makes Sonic so cool. It's like playing the game, but in anime form. After the U.S. Sonic cartoon has been canceled, this Anime is definitely a good choice."[1][unreliable source]

Henry Gilbert of GamesRadar approved of the concept of a colorful, fast-paced anime adaptation of Sonic, noting the fights between Sonic and his evil counterpart, Metal Sonic, as "cool." This is unfortunately accompanied by "scenes of slapstick humor, anime cliches, and childish voice acting" as well as the "perpetually annoying" Sara.[2]

Chris Shepard of Anime News Network praised the OVA for its non-traditional action and said it was "good for the Sonic fans". He called the English dub poor, and said the story "strayed from the video games a little too much" and it was "very basic".[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Sonic Anime". DieHard Magazine.
  2. ^ Gilbert, Henry 2014-08-01 (25 January 2013). "15 esoteric game-to-anime adaptations worth discovering". GamesRadar+. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  3. ^ Shepard, Chris (2 July 2013). "Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie DVD". Anime News Network. Retrieved 27 March 2013.

External linksEdit