Going back to reviewing a TV show adaptation of a video game series – I was planning to keep this for a Sonic Month, but then I realized I’d have too much planned for said month. Two Sonic Wii games, maybe Episode 4 on WiiWare… I got Generations on Steam… Well, I have to make choices.
So… Sonic Boom. This new spin-off line of the Sonic franchise was announced in February 2014. I can’t remember all of it, but I’m certain some reactions were, “they’ve only now started using that stupid pun?” The reveal of the character designs didn’t help matters, in particular the much bulkier Knuckles the Echidna, a design which has been on the receiving end of all the jokes. Even Brawl in the Family joked about it!
|For the record, Sonic is saying|
"Bad timing, Knuckles..."
|I mean, no Sonic game will ever be as|
bad as Sonic '06, but there are quite a
The 3DS title that followed, Shattered Crystal, was received with a bit more warmth from fans, lacking many of the awful bugs of Rise of Lyric, although the reception was lukewarm at best. Listening to the fans, SEGA delayed the release of Fire & Ice, making sure to take criticisms of the spin-off so far into consideration. Thus the third game came out, also to lukewarm reception. We’ve yet to know if the games will go back to the Boom-verse (as I feel like calling it) following these three entries that were far from stellar. At the moment, a regular-universe Sonic game is in the works for release on the Switch. Sonic Forces actually looks very promising! And we even have a classic 2D adventure, Sonic Mania!
But I’m here to discuss the TV show tie-in. Actually, no; the TV show was planned first, the games were added to the equation later. Doesn’t really matter, in the end. Let’s just focus on the show, shall we? Sonic has had a long history on television. Of course, there’s the anime movie released in 1996, but we have, in order of appearance:
-Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, a silly, Looney Tunes-esque adaptation that never took itself seriously.
|Who's having nostalgic flashbacks right now? Sadly,|
not me, because I didn't grow up watching this show.
-Sonic Underground, which introduced Sonia and Manic, Sonic’s siblings, and made them into rock stars or something. I’ll admit, this is the iteration I’m the least interested in. Also, something something royalty.
|They're all pretty great. Except that human kid. He sucks.|
|Example of "slice-of-life": Sonic is late to return a book|
to the library to avoid late fees. Spoiler alert: Despite his
speed, he fails.
Showing Sonic and friends in a relaxed, slice-of-life environment, isn’t what you’d expect. The Blue Blur is often depicted as having a need for running that borders on a pathology, and here he seems to spend most of his time just lazing off and spending time with friends. To be fair, when you’re the fastest thing alive, it’s not like you need a lot of time to deal with threats, so the rest of your days has to be pretty uneventful. Although, just because the show goes the more comical route doesn’t mean that it won’t deliver in adventures. Eggman is still around, causing mischief and chaos and attempting to
kill defeat his longtime nemesis. Sometimes he takes out
his ire onto the rest of the village. Orbot and Cubot are there, too, so if you
enjoyed their interactions from Sonic Unleashed onwards, you’ll be happy to see
them here again as supporting characters on Eggman’s side.
-Sonic or one of his friends encounters a situation, usually one that real-life folks can relate to, and will try to find a solution – in typical comedic fashion, because that's the kind of show that Sonic Boom is;
-Or it’s another attack from Eggman that the characters have to fend off, although it’s not always Eggman behind the villainy.
|The Sonic Boom TV series: The only place where you'll ever|
see Sonic defeat Eggman... at BINGO.
And so we have our main characters: Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knuckles, Sticks and Eggman. I count him in as a main character because, like I said, he’s in almost every episode, and not always as a villain. I believe it would be a good idea to finish this first part by discussing the design and personality changes of each character, before I can move on to explaining the setting and the episode plots in Part 2. Let’s get to this right away.
|Speed'as his name, blue's his game! ...Wait.|
I got that mixed up.
Personality-wise, he’s still the smartass we know, overly confident in his abilities, able to beat up anything Eggman sends his way and crack jokes while doing so. In the end, not much has changed, though he’s a lot more laid-back outside of doing heroics and seems to be appreciating just lazing around here and there. He’s still cocky, reckless, and slightly egomaniacal (especially about his speed), which can lead to problems when he’s interacting with the townspeople. In normal games canon, he’d just blast through everything without as much as a word.
|Of course he's seen piloting his plane. Thankfully we|
dn't see him crashing it. Oh wait, we do, a few minutes
into the first episode, no less.
That panel never gets old, I swear.
Tails also seems to exhibit nerdy traits, like a sort of social awkwardness outside of his circle of friends. And of course, much like the kid he still is, he tends to be joyful but naïve.
|I always wondered why it was called a Piko Piko Hammer.|
No, really; that's such a weird name!
Unlike Sonic, Amy’s hair quills haven’t changed much. She also lacks the athletic tape on the hands and feet as worn by some of her friends, but makes up for it with a sarashi – this band of cloth around her waist, originally worn by samurai to sustain injury, likely an added measure by Amy to avoid getting hurt when swinging her hammer. Also of note, she still wears a red dress, but one much more different than the one the original Amy wears. And I’m thankful for that, because the original Amy’s dress was open wide at the bottom, making some camera angles show off more than they should. And I’ll live a lot better without seeing surprise panty shots on a character who’s supposed to be twelve years old. That’s just creepy.
|How many cartoon characters can you name who can|
cause an eruption by just smashing the ground?
|She went by too fast on the English theme song, so I|
cheated a bit. But that's alright. This one's better tham
any screenshot I could have taken.
|It's not Eggman if he isn't surrounded by an army of robots.|
|This Eggman is definitely friendlier with the main cast than his original|
game version. Almost as if villainy is a 9-to-5 job for him, and outside
of "work hours" he doesn't mind hanging out with some of them.
Of course, there’s also Orbot and Cubot, but those… haven’t changed at all. Orbot is still the smarter one, Cubot is still an idiot. And the “smart-and-stupid” routine they have together makes for pretty great comical moments. They often get their own episodes to shine, which helps in developing their characters, probably moreso than the games ever would. I guess that’s all I had to say about them.
Alright, see you in Part 2 as I start discussing the plot of the show!