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Before the Japanese trailer was released at the World Hobby Fair (January 2003), there was already a three-minute teaser existing that was created sometime during early 2002, as the collaboration preview between SONICTEAM and TMS Entertainment. Cream the Rabbit was stated as a new character (due to the trailer being released before her video game debut, Sonic Advance 2 (2002), was completed) and Cheese is plainly referred to as "CHAO." This trailer was narrated in English, probably done most to market in some TV network sales pitching. Scenes from the two trailers have been used for the anime's first opening. See more »
This new anime is certainly a few steps up from the American cartoons, especially the awful Sonic Underground. However, for hard-core anime and Sonic fans, you can't judge a book by its cover.
The basic story is that Sonic and his friends have been stranded in a new world. They befriend a little boy named Chris who aids them in their quest to stop Dr. Eggman from ruling the world, all the while trying to get back home. As interesting as the story sounds, it falls short because of the repetitiveness in each episode. Sonic's hanging out, Eggman shows up, he runs and destroys a robot. That's it, most times saving the little boy in the process. And it seems that the creators try to develop Chris a whole lot more than realizing Sonic's potential to entertain us with his stunts and attitude. Don't get me wrong, there are several episodes that had me in stitches or crying like a baby, but mostly, it's the same old thing. Also, character development is almost non-existent (not counting humans), mostly because the show was intended only for Sonic fans who know the blue dude well. And for those who are familiar with the games, the voice acting is quite good. It sounds like normal conversation, with the exception of a few of Sonic's one-liner's and the unimportant humans.
Not only does the story suffer, but the animation suffers as well. In the first episode, it was beautiful. Sonic's running through tunnels, on walls, on the highway, bullets flying, cars chasing him, all in smooth animation you expect from a Japanese action anime. But as the story progresses on to later sagas, the animation suffers a huge downfall. Frames skip or characters will sometimes look weird, all the while you wondering how the animation got bad and the artists didn't realize, however they do straighten their act up in special episodes, like Sonic's long-awaited transformation to Super Sonic.
All in all, it's not what I expected when I saw the raw Japanese version of episode one. This anime is quite predictable and the art gets bad as the story goes on. However, one good thing is that this story has some good humor and a lot of heart, expressed mostly in Sonic and Chris's growing love and friendship. It's no Dragonball Z, but it's definitely a step up from the American shows and has enough appeal to keep the interested interested. Maybe, just maybe, when the new episodes are produced and aired this fall, fans will get what they asked for and Sonic will get the true adventure he deserves.
EDIT: Hmm... ya know... the more I watch this show, the more I can't get enough of it. While waiting for the extremely-longed-for Season Three to be produced in Japan, I figured I might as well watch the old ones while I'm waiting. If you really look inbetween the lines of this show, it speaks one important thing very loudly: love. Not only is Sonic a funny and cool person to be around, but the hedgehog is wise beyond his years, and he constantly teaches the new kid what true friendship is all about in a non sugar-coated way, like like Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon do for example, and it's very satisfying. Now, I really don't like this new kid that much as some other people do. In fact, I don't care what happens to him, but I like to see a character grow throughout a movie or show. It's heart-warming, and it should be to the other people who('ve) realize this, even though it does like a cheap, one-shot kid's fare on the surface. Maybe Sonic did get his adventure after all, or maybe it's all waiting right around the corner in April....
Gotta change the rating: 4/5. Good job, Sonic.
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