A teenage boy named Chiro was exploring the outskirts of Shuggazoom City and discovers a giant and abandoned Super Robot. Chiro's life changes when he discovers the Power Primate and becomes a leader of five bionic monkeys to save the city from the Skeleton King!
Kevin Michael Richardson,
Codename: Kids Next Door follows the escapades of five eager, yet bumbling, ten-year-olds as they join forces against adulthood to fight for the right to enjoy all the fun things in life. ... See full summary »
Sonic returns, YET AGAIN, in something a little different.
It was quite a stomach-turning thought, to hear that yet another Sonic Hedgehog how was airing. The spikey blue 'cooler' version of Speedy Gonzalis kept me happy as a kid. The first few shows had been very enjoyable for me as a kid, and I would definitely play to kids, and I must admit I still watch some myself, not just for the nostalgia, but also for the chuckles, but they took the character on a really strange turn as things progressed. DiC entertainment pulled the characters right out of the videogames, did their own little makeover on them, and bought an adorably cute and fun piece of comedy, "The Adventures of Sonic", which admittedly even gives me the occasional belly laugh when I catch it on UK Sky TV nowadays(Doesn't quite live up to Spongebob there though, sorry Sonic).
As a kid that show made me collect merchandise, the comic books, and the games. When I caught the second show airing(ingeniously titled "Sonic the Hedgehog") I jumped for joy, what more could a kid want, than a higher budget, more serious show with his favourite character in! This show didn't have such replay value to a more mature audience though, instead it gives me the same sort of cringe I'd get from any kid's shows which try to be dramatic and teach them a lesson at the same time. Then there was that anime title, the hour long one, which was supposedly 2 OVA(Straight-to-video animation, "Original Video Animation") episodes in Japan. Very entertaining, apart from the rather nasty voices. Lastly followed "Sonic Underground", which was just poor on so many levels that I don't even want to go into it.
I think it's about time I got to the point and started reviewing THIS show now! I wasn't expecting much from this show. I saw a few previews and learned that it was another Japanese anime, and set amongst humans, in the real world. ...Well at least it's better than singing songs on lethal magical guitars. Hearing that it was anime at least assured me that I wouldn't have to put up with DiC entertainment's growing obsession with drama and tears.
This time we are treated to a cast of animal characters already known from the videogames and comics, an annoying little kid, and a bunch of other humans who seem to want to capture Sonic. It's more clever than it sounds. The new setting amongst the humans keeps the characters in a sort of stealthy status, hiding away and trying to keep their actions a secret whilst at the same time defending the world from the infamous(and ever varying in design) Dr. Robotnik(Now simply known as "Egg Man" o_o; Which comes from the Japanese name). The stealthy idea is surprisingly thoughtful, in that, if a friendly blue spikey THING that talked appeared out of nowhere, the sad truth is that it'd be in the clutches of scientists, being studied in no time. In a way it goes to show that the humans aren't always the good guys(especially egg shaped ones with oversized moustaches).
After the first couple of seaons, inspiration from the (in)famous "Pokémon", another videogame based anime series, begins to show, mainly in the relation between cartoon and game, how the events which you played through in the game begin to happen in the show, with more characters thrown in and the inability to actually control it. Whether this is a great idea or a sigh that the writers can't think of their own story is the decision of the viewer and fan. If the game's events work well as a story(and that they did in Pokémon, surprisingly well) then who am I to complain? In fact, I'd quite like to see some of the events from the end of "Sonic Adventure 2" in an animation, especially Japanime like this.
The artwork is smooth, crisp and colours are bright. There is the occasional use of CGI special effects and such, which tend to look really out of place, but are impressive nonetheless. The animation appears to be slightly lower framerate than your usual cartoon, a sacrifice worth making for such bright, sharp artwork. As with usual Japanese animation, corners are cut everywhere, although I'm surprised at how rarely any animation cels are re-used over different backgrounds and such.
The story layout works in one of my favourite ways a TV series can work. The whole series has a long running story behind it(The transition to the human world, and getting back home), each series handles a story of it's own which takes place during this, and each individual episode counts as an 'event' which took place along the line, some episodes continuing on directly, whilst others appear to stand alone. This way you get full story satisfaction, yet are still left wanting to see the next episode.
I'm quite fond of the English voices. Sonic is probably the best he's ever sounded. Since the original series in which Sonic's voice was that of Steve Urkel from Family Matters(Jaleel White), all of the blue spiney mouse-like-thing's followup voice actors have given it their all to try and sound like him, resulting in nasty whiney nasal voices. This guy just goes for the attitude and forgets about trying to be someone else, and ends up suiting Sonic more than any of the Jaleel White impersonators ever did. Many of the other voices are squeaky and annoying, as can be expected from a TV-broadcast anime, but it's a treat to hear Lisa Ortiz(The wonderful voice actress behind Lina Inverse of Slayers) as Amy, and a very deep, agressive Knuckles.
Overall it's not too bad a series, especially after it's got into things a little. The earlier episodes may test your patience, especially when the overused anime cliché "my very best friend in the world" motto keeps weaving it's way in in the first few episodes, and it really does make you wan't to shoot yourself or something, I don't think even kids enjoy that stuff. Either way, worth a watch if you're a kid at heart, or you actually are a kid, or if Sonic just gives you that nostalgia attack which we all need to keep us sane. This is probably the best show for fans of the videogames too, as it pretty much stays within the guidelines of the games' stories, and adds more details, even fills in plotholes which fans of the games complained about.
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