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Sonic Underground title card
|Also known as||Sonic le Rebelle|
|Created by||Jean Cheville|
|Directed by||Marc Boreal
|Voices of||Jaleel White
|Theme music composer||Robby London
|Opening theme||"Sonic Underground"|
|Country of origin||France
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||40 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Andy Heyward
|Running time||20–22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||DIC Productions L.P.
Les Studios Tex
Sega of America, Inc.
|Distributor||Bohbot Kids Network
Buena Vista International (1999–2003)
|Original channel||TF1 (France)
First-run syndication (U.S.)
|Original run||August 30, 1999 – October 22, 1999|
|Related shows||Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic Underground is an animated series that follows the adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and his siblings, Sonia and Manic. The cartoon follows a main plot separate from all other Sonic the Hedgehog media and it first premiered in France on January 6, 1999 on TF1. Then it premiered in the UK on May 2, 1999 on ITV1 and finally in the US in syndication on August 30, 1999. The series ran only for one season, consisting of forty episodes. As of June 11, 2012, re-runs of the series began airing on Disney XD.
The show takes place in a separate canon and continuity than any other Sonic the Hedgehog media. Queen Aleena, the kind and fair ruler of Mobius, was overthrown by Dr. Robotnik and his robotic armies. Robotnik seized control of the planet and forced her into hiding. To preserve the dynasty, Queen Aleena separated and hid her three children: Sonic, Manic, and Sonia after the Oracle of Delphius told her of a prophecy: one day they would reunite with their mother to form the "Council of Four," overthrow Robotnik, and become the rightful rulers of Mobius once more. Meanwhile, Dr. Robotnik did his best to set up an autocratic government, and legally turned anyone who stood against him in robots devoid of freewill, and forced the nobles into paying large amounts of money to him as tribute.
When Sonic, Manic, and Sonia grew up, the Oracle of Delphius revealed the prophecy to them: So Sonic, Manic, and Sonia decided to go on a quest, searching throughout Mobius for Queen Aleena. Dr. Robotnik, with the assistance of the bounty hunters Sleet and Dingo, tries constantly to capture the royal family and prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled.
The three siblings have powerful medallions that can change into musical instruments, and also weapons when the triplets are in perfect harmony with each other. Sonic's medallion is an electric guitar, Sonia's medallion is a keyboard that functions as a smoke machine, and Manic's medallion is a drumset that can be used as an "earth controller" with cymbals that can deflect laserfire. All of the medallions can be used as laser guns. The three use the amulets not only to fight Robotnik's forces but to also as instruments for their underground (illegal) rock band, "Sonic Underground."
- Sonic the Hedgehog: The world's fastest hedgehog and leader of the Sonic Underground. He is the lead singer of Sonic Underground. His medallion turns into a guitar, which can fire laser blasts. As fast as the speed of sound, Sonic can easily outrun danger. He is a big fan of chili dogs. He also has hydrophobia, being terrified of water as he cannot swim. Sonic wears anti-gravity sneakers that allow him to hover over the ground while running. His voice was provided by Jaleel White. His singing voice was provided by Sam Vincent.
- Sonia the Hedgehog: The only female member of the Sonic Underground and the sister of Sonic and Manic. Unlike her brothers, she was raised by an aristocratic foster family, giving her an upper class mentality. She hates getting dirty, is skilled at gymnastics and karate, and possesses superhuman strength, a photographic memory, and the ability to spin in a cyclonic manner similar to the Tasmanian Devil and Espio the Chameleon. Her medallion turns into a keyboard, which can fire laser blasts from one end, or create a pink mist when the keys are played. Sonia has a pink motorcycle which can travel as fast as Sonic (it was destroyed in the 36th episode). Of the siblings, Sonia is the only one to be seen involved in any romance, displaying feelings for her childhood friend Bartleby, despite his snobbishness, as well as other men encountered in her travels. Among these is Knuckles, whom she develops an attraction to during the series' Flying Fortress saga. She was also played by Jaleel White. Her singing voice was provided by Louise Vallance.
- Manic the Hedgehog: Manic is a cool and calculating hedgehog and was raised by thieves, and is a master of their trade. When Manic met his siblings, they disapproved of his thieving tendencies, but his skills as a lock-pick were greatly appreciated. Manic possesses neither Sonic's speed nor Sonia's spin-attack, thus making him the only member of the Sonic Underground who relies on entirely on his medallion for superpowers of his own. Despite his lack of superpowers, his thieving skills proves himself extremely useful to the group from time to time. Manic is the drummer of the Sonic Underground. His medallion turns into drums, which can cause earthquakes; the Oracle of Delphius claims that his drums are the most powerful instruments of the three. His medallion's string is blue. Like Sonic and Sonia, he was voiced by Jaleel White. His singing voice was done by Tyley Ross.
- Queen Aleena Hedgehog: The mother of the Sonic Underground group and former ruler of Mobius before Robotnik's takeover. She had to give them up in order for the prophecy to become true. She spends the series on the run from her own children, until the time is right to reveal herself. Her character has many allies, including the Oracle of Delphius and Knuckles. She also does a bit of narrating in the start of every episode.
- Knuckles the Echidna: The guardian of the Master Emerald and the Floating Island, and an acquaintance of Queen Aleena's. He is very protective of his island home, and has set many traps about the island. He has a pet dinosaur called Chomps, and like his game incarnation is shown to be somewhat gullible. His great-grandfather Athair warns him that he must stay on the island in order to play his part in the freedom of Mobius. He turned against the Hedgehogs twice-first being tricked into thinking they were thieves and later thinking that it was the only way to save their planet-but came around and worked with them against the threat of Robotnik and his henchmen. During the Flying Fortress arc, he showed signs of a growing affection for Sonia, including a particular guilt over the prospect of betraying her. He was voiced by Brian Drummond.
- Oracle of Delphius: An odd, wart-covered, reptilian anteater in a cloak. The Oracle prophesied that when Robotnik invaded Mobius, Aleena and her children would form the Council of Four to overthrow Robotnik and free Mobius. The Oracle lives in a cave somewhere in a cold region of Mobius, and is quite good at making chili dogs.
- Bartleby: A posh, cowardly mink who is one of Robotropolis' richest aristocrats. Bartleby is Sonia's former fiancé. He dislikes her brothers and is often forced to fund Robotnik's schemes - although in secret he still supports Aleena. He speaks with an upper-class English accent.
- Cyrus: Cyrus is a lion and a technician for the Freedom Fighters. He is an old friend of Sonic. In his first appearance he was working as a spy for Robotnik, but quit upon discovering that the Freedom Fighters' Sanctuary was a hideout for their children. Cyrus's father was roboticized. His voice was provided by Ian James Corlett.
- Trevor: Trevor is a mouse who is a friend of the royal siblings and Cyrus. He dresses like a hippie. He is an ace pilot and helps build and fix mechanical equipment. He is voiced by Matt Hill.
- Dr. Robotnik: Robotnik is the ruler of Mobius, renamed Robotropolis under his rule, having conquered it with his army of Swatbots. He captures and roboticizes anyone who opposes him, transforming them into robotic servants. Though he is depicted as a bumbling villain, one of his goals is to find Sanctuary - where Freedom Fighters hide their children - and exterminate all the children in it. Robotnik's primary minions are Sleet and Dingo, two bounty hunters that will do anything to capture Sonic and his siblings. His voice was provided by Gary Chalk.
- Sleet: One of Robotnik's canine bounty hunters. This cunning wolf leads the bumbling Dingo about on missions to capture the hedgehogs. Sleet has a morphing device that can transform Dingo into anything Sleet wishes. Sleet is constantly being crushed by Dingo and is usually the one who suffers the most from their combined failures. Sleet was voiced by Maurice LaMarche.
- Dingo: One of Robotnik's canine bounty hunters. Dingo is a huge, muscle-bound blonde canid with an Australian accent, and is also very ignorant. He is partially roboticised in his hands and his left leg from the knee down, which is never explained. Dingo has a relentless crush on Sonia, but remains fiercely loyal to his partner, Sleet. Dingo was voiced by Peter Wilds.
It is often said that SEGA contacted DiC Entertainment to make a new Sonic cartoon, which would help gain interest in buying their new console, the Dreamcast. Sonic Underground started production in early 1997, around the same time the development of both the Dreamcast and Sonic Adventure had started.
The show was developed at a rushed pace. Two episodes per week were produced, and the writers were not given enough time to "tie everything together" in the plot, being limited to a "three-part origin story" for coherency. DIC used "cattle calls" to generate episode plots: periodically, about twenty unaffiliated writers were brought into the studios to learn about the established characters and brainstorm possible plots for episodes, after which about one or two would be selected.
While it was believed for a while that 65 episodes were made of which only 40 aired (since there were supposedly 65 planned), Ben Hurst, a main writer from Sonic the Hedgehog (dubbed SatAM by fans), who was also involved in Sonic Underground's production, stated in a chat at the Sonic Amateur Games Expo 2008 that only 40 were produced.
Sonic Underground ran for one season in 1999 in syndication on the Bohbot Kids Network block.
Currently (As of 2009), reruns of Sonic Underground are airing on Firestone Communications' Sorpresa, a Hispanic children's station (Channel 850 on Time Warner Cable) in the United States. All of the audio has been translated into Spanish. In the United Kingdom, it airs on Pop, which has also aired Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, and its sister station Kix!. Between 2005 and 2006, it was also aired on ITV2 on the Action Stations! block.
Re-runs of the series started airing on Disney XD as of June 11, 2012. This makes it the second time a Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon airs on a Disney-themed channel with the first being Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog on Toon Disney.
The complete Sonic Underground series, comprising all 40 episodes on 10 DVDs, was released by Anchor Bay in the UK, compatible only with region 2 players. The entire series was re-released by Delta, who released a 4 disc DVD set with a 5th DVD containing bonus features for region 0 players. the return entire series was re-released by GO Entertain, in the UK, compatible only with region 2 players.
Shout! Factory and Vivendi Entertainment have released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 (NTSC) in two volume sets. Volume 1, simply entitled Sonic Underground, was released on December 18, 2007. It contains the first 20 episodes of the show on three discs; a bonus fourth disc is an audio CD containing eight songs from the series, including the opening theme. The fourth episode is missing from volume 1, but was placed on volume 2. Sonic Underground: Volume 2 was released on June 17, 2008, featuring the remaining 20 episodes. In May 2013 NCircle Entertainment released Volume 1 along if many of the older SEGA and Nintendo cartoons that were already released by Shout Factory. Most of the newer NCircle's releases are 100% clones of the Shout Factory versions.
The show met with mostly negative reviews. David Cornelius of DVD Talk said "While many Sonic fans did not take too well to all the changes, preferring the original "Sonic" cartoon to this stranger, sometimes darker, sometimes sillier incarnation, the series did win a small but loyal cult following. I fall more on the side of disappointment - for all the cleverness that went into crafting an all-new backstory, the episodes themselves are uninspired - but acknowledge the simple fact that it scores well with its target audience." GamesRadar called the show as one of "the absolute worst Sonic moments", criticizing the more characters and the complex plot.
The Sonic the Hedgehog comic from Archie Comics featured a story in one of its special issues in which the Sonic Underground continuity was featured. According to the comics' plot, the reality in which Sonic Underground takes place is one of many parallel universes that share elements with Sonic's own. In the story, Sonic Prime-hailing from the main universe in the comic series-joins forces with his counterpart and siblings to stop Dr. Robotnik, who has managed to assemble a monstrous battle machine known as the Giant Borg. Robotnik obtained the pieces for this machine due to being mistaken for one of his own counterparts by Evil Sonic, an evil counterpart of Sonic's who later came to be known as Scourge the Hedgehog.
The Sonic Universe spin-off comic was originally scheduled to feature an epilogue to the unfinished Sonic Underground for its 50th issue. However, for unknown reasons this was replaced with a story focusing on one of Sonic's long-running enemies, Metal Sonic. The Underground Epilogue has apparently been put on hold indefinitely, possibly due to its lack of relevance to current Sonic games and the comic series as a whole.
Sonic Underground is available on Netflix with a TV-Y7 rating for Fantasy Violence.
- Developing the Underground
- PorpoiseMuffins (August 6, 2014). "Ben Hurst on SatAM". Saturday Morning Sonic. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
- "SAGE - Sonic Amateur Games Expo 2008". Sagexpo.org. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
- According to Hong Ying Animation works of 1998, the animation studio who animated Sonic Underground list 40 episodes which is the complete series.
- "Sonic Underground, by Anchor Bay". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
- Sonic Underground
- "Sonic Underground: The Series : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
- Sonic Underground at DHX Media
- Sonic Underground at the Internet Movie Database
- Sonic Underground at TV.com