Sonic Boom (TV series)
|Created by||Sonic Team|
|Directed by||Natalys Raut-Sieuzac|
|Composer(s)||Michael Richard Plowman|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||24 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||11 minutes|
|Distributor||Lagardère Entertainment Rights|
|Original channel||Cartoon Network (U.S.)
Canal J & Gulli (France)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||November 8, 2014 – present|
Sonic Boom is a French-American CGI-animated television series, produced by Sega of America, Inc. and OuiDo! Productions in collaboration with Lagardère Thématiques and Jeunesse TV, respectively for channels Canal J and Gulli. Based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise created by Sega, the series is the fifth animated television series based on the franchise (plus the second one to be co-produced in France following Sonic Underground), and the first to be produced in computer-generated animation and in high definition.
The series premiered on Cartoon Network in the United States on November 8, 2014 and on Canal J and Gulli in France on November 19. An international release is expected to follow by late 2015. The series is a part of the Sonic Boom spin-off franchise, which also consists of two video games, Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal, a comic series by Archie Comics, and a toyline by Tomy.
The animated series was first announced in October 2013, revealing a teaser image featuring Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy, in silhouette form. The series, which consists of 52 eleven-minute episodes, was developed by Evan Baily, Donna Friedman Meir, and Sandrine Nguyen, with Baily and Bill Freiberger as showrunners, under the supervision of Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka. On February 6, 2014, Sega revealed the first trailer for the series, showcasing the new designs for the characters.
The series features returning voice actors from the video game series, including Roger Craig Smith as Sonic, Travis Willingham as Knuckles, Cindy Robinson as Amy, Mike Pollock as Doctor Eggman, and Kirk Thornton and Wally Wingert as Orbot and Cubot respectively, while voice actress Colleen Villard succeeds Kate Higgins in the role of Tails. The series also introduces a new character named Sticks the Jungle Badger, a somewhat-delusional hunter who has been living alone in the wilderness for many years before meeting Sonic and his friends, who is voiced by Nika Futterman. In an interview with Polygon, Iizuka stated the series came about as a desire to appeal more to Western territories, following the 2003 Japanese anime series, Sonic X, with Iizuka also stating that the franchise will run in parallel with the 'Modern' series of Sonic games. Baily stated that the series would be a mixture of action and comedy, featuring an episodic structure. On October 4, 2014, Sega announced the air date of the series in the United States to be November 8, 2014.
On February 19, 2015, Cartoon Network announced in a press statement that Sonic Boom, along with 10 other shows, will return for the 2015-2016 TV season. This was subsequently confirmed by executive producer Bill Freiberger in a fan commentary to not be an indicator of a renewal or second season at this time.
Sega confirmed various cast and characters for Sonic Boom on February 25, 2014. On May 29, 2014, Sega announced that Nika Futterman will play the role of Sticks, a jungle badger, who joined the franchise as a major character. Several new characters were also created for Sonic Boom, such as Mayor Fink, Fastidious Beaver, and Perci. Jack Fletcher works as the show's voice director, a role he has also held for the video game series since 2010.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Roger Craig Smith) - The leader of the heroes of the series, a blue hedgehog with super speed. Unlike most incarnations, Boom Sonic has blue-furred arms and wears a brown scarf.
- Miles "Tails" Prower (voiced by Colleen Villard) - Sonic's sidekick who sports goggles and a toolbelt, and serves as the group's mechanic and technology expert. Tails' inventions do not always work out as intended, though he's highly confident in his abilities.
- Amy Rose (voiced by Cindy Robinson) - A girl hedgehog who is the peppiest member of the group, and who wields a giant hammer in battle. As in other series, Amy has a crush on Sonic, but seems to be more cautious about it than other versions of herself.
- Knuckles the Echidna (voiced by Travis Willingham) - The muscle of Team Sonic, whose redesign for Boom is the most drastic of any Sega character altered for the series: Boom Knuckles is considerably taller than most versions of the character, appears more muscular, and wears sports tape around his hands as opposed to spiked boxing gloves. Whereas other versions of Knuckles have a history of being gullible, Boom Knuckles is clueless and often annoys his teammates.
- Sticks the Badger (voiced by Nika Futterman) - A jungle badger skilled in the use of boomerangs. Sticks is a paranoid individual of wild habits, who enjoys digging through garbage and looking at shiny objects. While she may at times seem insane, her madness does occasionally stray into genius, allowing her to find solutions that no one else could have thought of.
- Doctor Eggman (voiced by Mike Pollock) - A mad scientist and the constant nemesis of Team Sonic and the inhabitants of Bygone Island. In this series, Eggman is typically portrayed as being rather buffoonish, with his schemes usually being considered annoying rather than threatening. At times he even appears to be on friendly terms with the heroes, though this usually leads to some scheme in which he tries to defeat them.
- Orbot (voiced by Kirk Thornton) - Doctor Eggman's orb-shaped robot henchman. He is the more formal and blunt of the two, often being totally honest even at Eggman's expense.
- Cubot (voiced by Wally Wingert) - Doctor Eggman's cube-shaped robot henchman. He is the more slow and dimwitted of the two, often misunderstanding the meaning of other characters' statements.
- Comedy Chimp (voiced by Bill Freiberger) - A chimpanzee and resident of Bygone Island who hosts his own comedy TV series.
- Dave the Intern (voiced by Roger Craig Smith) - An anthropomorphic rodent who is Doctor Eggman's biggest fan. He worked at a fast-food restaurant called Meh Burger before being taken on as an intern by Eggman. Dave was later fired after he proved too ambitious.
- Fastidious Beaver (voiced by Mike Pollock) - A beaver and resident of Bygone Island who works as the village librarian. He has a tendency to correct other characters' grammar.
- Mayor E. Pluribus Fink (voiced by Mike Pollock) - A mouse who is the mayor of the village on Bygone Island. He often prioritizes maintaining his own political position above all else.
- T.W. Barker (voiced by Kirk Thornton in a British accent) - An unspecified anthropomorphic animal who is the ringmaster of T.W. Barker's Circus of Wonders which holds its performers against their will.
- The Gogobas - A tribe of chinchillas who live in Gogoba Village on Bygone Island. They make up for their small size with devious manipulation.
- Pepper - A hippopotamus and sea captain. He is Salty's twin brother, though the two have a longstanding sibling rivalry.
- Perci (voiced by Cindy Robinson) - A young woman who lives on Bygone Island. In Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, she is depicted as the latest in a long line of the island's protectors.
- Salty - A hippopotamus and sea captain. He is Pepper's twin brother though the two rarely get along.
- U.T. (voiced by Roger Craig Smith) - Short for "Universal Translator," U.T. is a robot built by Tails who not only translates languages into understandable English, but translates statements made by people into what they're actually thinking-often with consequences for the speaker.
A pair of video games that serve as a prequel for the series were released for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems in November 2014. The Wii U version, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, was developed by Big Red Button Entertainment, and the 3DS version, Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal, by Sanzaru Games. The games were announced alongside the TV series' first trailer on February 6, 2014 and serve as prequels to the series. Rise of Lyric sees players alternate control between Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. The game utilizes each of their abilities—Sonic's speed, Tails' flight, Knuckles' strength, and Amy's agility—allowing two players to play cooperatively and four players competitively. Shattered Crystal lets players control Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Sticks and places more emphasis on platforming and puzzle-solving than the more adventure-oriented Rise of Lyric. On June 20, 2014, it was confirmed that both games will be released on December 18 in Japan under the name of Sonic Toon.
Critical response aggregator Metacritic assigned Rise of Lyric an approval score of 33%, based on 21 reviews, indicating "Generally unfavorable reviews". Shattered Crystal received an aggregate score of 46%, based on 16 reviews.
A comic based on the new franchise was created by Archie Comics with Ian Flynn as the writer and Evan Stanley handling the art, similar to Archie's long-running Sonic the Hedgehog comic series. Jesse Schedeen of IGN rated the first issue of the comic a 7.2 out of 10. He commended Flynn for not having relied on trendy, modern humor or dialogue in the comic's presentation, and also appreciated the fourth-wall humor and "clean, expressive" art style. Schedeen did, however, find the plot "fairly disjointed" and possessing little coherent structure, and he criticized Sticks, whom he considered a needless exposition device.
The Sonic Boom comics will be featured alongside Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Universe, and Mega Man comics, as well as elements from the Mega Man X video game series as part of the 2015 Sonic/Mega Man crossover "Worlds Unite".
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