Tails (Sonic the Hedgehog)
|Sonic the Hedgehog character|
|First appearance||Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992)|
|Created by||Yasushi Yamaguchi|
|Designed by||Yasushi Yamaguchi (Sonic the Hedgehog 2)|
Yuji Uekawa (Sonic Adventure)
|Full name||Miles Prower|
Miles "Tails" Prower (Japanese: テイルス, Hepburn: Teirusu) is a fictional character in Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series, and the title character's best friend, sidekick, and most recurring ally. Tails also appears in his own spin-off series, comic books, cartoons, and films. He is the second character to consistently appear by Sonic's side in the series.
The name "Miles Prower" is a pun on "miles per hour", a reference to the famed speed of Sonic the Hedgehog. He is a two-tailed fox  hence the nickname. A mechanical genius and skilled pilot, he is able to fly due to his two tails being able to rotate and can be seen flying in multiple games and TV shows created by SEGA.  He debuted with the release of the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in October 1992. In the mid-1990s, he was featured as the main character in a number of spinoff games: Tails and the Music Maker for the Sega Pico, and Tails Adventure and Tails' Skypatrol for the Game Gear. Tails was rated the third most popular character in the franchise, behind Sonic and Shadow, in an official poll from Sega in 2009.
Concept and creation
Yasushi Yamaguchi, originally the main artist and zone designer for Sega's Sonic Team, designed Tails for an internal competition for a sidekick to the speedy hedgehog. The character was based on a native folklore fox, a creature from Japanese folklore that could over time grow multiple tails. The character was also meant to hold a "deep admiration for Sonic."
While Yamaguchi's entry won, Sega of Japan wanted to name the character "Miles Prower", whereas the American subsidiary Sega of America preferred the moniker "Tails". Sega of America crafted a compelling backstory for the character to convince the Japanese parent company and Sonic Team to have him named "Tails". Yamaguchi ended up with a compromise, using "Miles" in as the character's real first name; "Tails" would be his nickname, giving the character the full name of Miles "Tails" Prower.
The character debuted as Sonic's tag-along partner in the franchise's second game and has remained an important player since. However, the character's uniqueness was not established until Sonic the Hedgehog 3 when players were given the power to control his flying (although the AI would make Tails fly when he would get off-screen).
Tails was redesigned (along with all of the other Sonic characters) by Yuji Uekawa for Sonic Adventure. His fur changed color to a more yellow shade as opposed to the orange in his early appearances, and he gained blue irises.
In the American Sonic comic book, along with the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons, he was originally dark brown, but the comic artists and cartoon artists eventually decided to change this to match his in-game appearance.
The character of Tails is portrayed as a very sweet-natured and humble fox who, before he met Sonic, was often picked on because of his twin tails. Sonic however, saw Tails' special talents and cheered him on, causing the fox to have some admiration towards the blue hero. As a long time friend, he admires Sonic and dreams of being just like him. Though he lacks much courage, he wants to prove that he can be counted on, and has fought Dr. Eggman and his robots without the aid of Sonic before. He loves mint candy, tinkering with machines, and flying mechas. Despite overcoming most of his fears and becoming very bold, Tails also has a fear of lightning.
Tails has been described as a mechanical prodigy who rivals Dr. Eggman but has not yet realized his full potential. He is also a skilled airplane pilot, and uses a biplane nicknamed the Tornado to assist Sonic on their adventures. Additionally, by spinning his two tails like a helicopter rotor, he has the unique ability to push himself through the air to catch up with Sonic. However, when he takes to flight he tires quickly. Unlike Sonic, Tails has the ability to swim. Like Sonic, he can transform into Super Tails, but he requires Super Emeralds to transform. Also, when in this form, a swarm of Flickies circle Tails, this is often referred to by fans as the "Flicky Army". This was seen first as what seemed to be a one-time appearance in Sonic 3 & Knuckles and then again in Sonic Heroes, where alongside Team Sonic members Sonic and Knuckles, would transform themselves into their super forms. However, Tails is again able to utilise his super form in the 2017 video game Sonic Mania.
In video games
Tails debuted in Sonic 2 for the Sega Master System before being made playable in its Genesis version, playing the part of Sonic's sidekick. He was a playable character from the second controller and could be chosen as player one for the main game. Sonic Chaos (1993), on the Game Gear/Master System was the second game where the player could control Tails and the first time the player could control his flight. Tails also made a minor cameo in Sonic CD for the Sega CD, appearing in the debug mode unlock screen. Tails makes an appearance alongside Sonic in the little known arcade game, SegaSonic Popcorn Shop, a Japanese arcade game which also dispenses popcorn.
Tails made his third major appearance in the 1994 game, Sonic 3 (& Knuckles), with the ability to pick up Sonic and use his tails to fly him to other areas, rotating his tails like a helicopter. He also gained the ability to swim under water, something Sonic has never been able to do.
Tails has also starred in games without Sonic, such as Tails' Skypatrol, which is a side-scrolling score attack like game for the Game Gear released exclusively in Japan. This was followed by Tails Adventures later the same year, which is a Metroid-esque platformer with RPG elements. Tails is also the star of Tails and the Music Maker for the Sega Pico.
In later games, Tails had roles that require unique modes of play including Sonic Adventure, where he appears as one of the six playable characters. His gameplay is based around standard platforming stages, but the goal of each stage is to get to the Chaos Emerald before Sonic, or to the missile dud in the final race against Eggman. In Sonic Adventure 2, he is featured in third-person shooting segments, seated in his "Cyclone" mech. These stages, along with Dr. Eggman's shooting levels in the same game, were very similar to the E-102 Gamma levels of Sonic Adventure. In Sonic Adventure, he was given a theme song "Believe In Myself", of which another version appeared in Sonic Adventure 2.
Tails also appeared either as a playable character or in a supporting role in many later Sonic titles and still often resumes his role flying other characters around, such as in Sonic Heroes, where Tails appears on Team Sonic as their flight-type character, being capable of carrying both Sonic and Knuckles the Echidna. He also appears as an 'amigo' character in the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game.
Tails is seen in the background of Green Hill Zone along with Silver and Knuckles in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and also appears as a trophy, he makes an appearance in the game's two sequels as well. He is the third character the player unlocks in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, where he acts as a team medic.
Tails takes a supporting role in Sonic and the Black Knight, portrayed as a local blacksmith who helps players craft goods from the items Sonic collects.
He appears as a playable character in all of the Mario & Sonic titles, as well as in Sega Superstars Tennis, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, and Transformed. He also appears in Sonic Colors as a non-playable character.
Tails celebrates Sonic's birthday along with his friends by setting up a party in Sonic Generations, but when the Time Eater appears, it warps them through various time holes, sending Tails to Green Hill. After Sonic frees him, Tails meets his classic counterpart (Classic Tails) and concludes that they were traveling through time and space. They accompany both Sonics throughout the game, later discovering that Eggman and Robotnik are controlling the Time Eater. Both Classic and Modern Tails, along with all of Sonic's friends, help motivate the 2 Sonics to defeat the Time Eater.
The feature to play as Tails was added to the 2011 enhanced port of Sonic CD. He later appeared as a co-op character in the second episode of Sonic 4.
Tails was added as a playable character in the enhanced port of Sonic the Hedgehog released in 2013 for mobile devices. The port also has the option to play the "Sonic and Tails" mode as well.
Sonic and Tails end up facing a group of villains allied with Dr. Eggman, called the Deadly Six when they were shot down while chasing him in the Tornado in Sonic Lost World. They run into Eggman and notice him wielding a Cacophonic Conch to control the Deadly Six. Despite Tails' warnings, Sonic knocks away the conch, causing the Deadly Six to betray him. Eggman reluctantly teams up with Sonic and Tails to stop them. This causes numerous conflicts between Tails and Eggman and increases tension with his friendship with Sonic since Sonic believes Eggman is their only hope in defeating the Deadly Six. Eventually, Tails gets captured in a trap intended for Sonic, and the Deadly Six plan to use this to their advantage by turning Tails into a robot. However, Tails manages to reprogram the computer that would control his mind. The seemingly-roboticized Tails confronts Sonic at the game's final stage, but by retaining his free will, he takes the Deadly Six by surprise and attacks them. Later on, after Sonic defeats Eggman at the game's climax, Sonic apologizes to Tails for doubting him. Tails forgives him and the two return home.
He is a playable character in Sonic Mania (Plus), playing like his older incarnations... along with Sonic, Knuckles, Mighty and Ray.
Tails also was featured in the Sonic the Hedgehog Level Pack of Lego Dimensions. He is also playable if the player uses the Tornado as Sonic to fly around. In the story mode for the Sonic level titled "Sonic Dimensions", Tails assists Sonic using the Tornado and his technological knowledge. In the hub world, Tails has a side quest for the player to aid him in disabling all of Eggman's roboticizers.
Tails is a supporting non-playable character in Sonic Forces, finding Classic Sonic and joining up with a resistance opposing Eggman/Modern Robotnik.
In other media
Tails has appeared in four animated television shows: Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic X and Sonic Boom. He has also appeared in several Sonic series of comic books and a feature film.
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
He's only 4 and a half years old in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog while in the games, he's 8. As with the game canon, his real name is Miles Prower, though his fur is brown. Before Tails met Sonic, he was apparently an orphan who thought he was a bird because of his ability to fly; it was his being kicked from a nest that introduced the two and led to Miles receiving his nickname "Tails".
Sonic the Hedgehog
Tails' role in the Saturday morning Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon had him in a supporting role, quite low-key compared to the games and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon series. Though clever he was too inexperienced in combat to be a Freedom Fighter. Tails is Princess Sally Acorn's protégé, and was in training to become a Freedom Fighter in Season 1. He became a member of the Freedom Fighters near the end of Season 2, after finally proving himself capable.
Sonic the Hedgehog OVA (1996)
In the 2-part episode Sonic the Hedgehog OVA, Sonic and Tails were occasionally at odds with one another but were still best friends. The two reluctantly agreed to help Dr. Robotnik outwit Metal Robotnik, who kicked Robotnik out of the city of Robotropolis, and deactivate a bomb.
Throughout most of the animated series Sonic X, Tails mirrors his game role in various stories and game adaptations, though he often plays a smaller role in the series due to the presence of Chris Thorndyke. Later in the series, Tails develops strong, and reciprocated, romantic feelings for the alien, Cosmo, with the on-going arch regarding their secret shared interest in each other being a focus of several episodes, and an ongoing background focus of Season 3. Tails ultimately confesses to Cosmo just before he is forced to sacrifice her life to defeat Dark Oak.
Sonic the Hedgehog (comic)
In the Archie Comics-produced comic series, Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails is the son of Rosemary and Amadeus Prower; Sonic was present at the time of Tails' birth, and the two immediately bonded. After being separated from them by Dr. Robotnik, he grows up in Knothole Village with Sonic the Hedgehog and the other Freedom Fighters. He joins the Freedom Fighters, though he is unable to work in some of the more dangerous missions; when he does work in them, he mostly serves to pilot the group's escape vehicle and stays on board during that time.
Sonic the Comic
Tails also appears in the British Sonic the Comic, published by Fleetway. Here, he first met Sonic when the latter saved him from drowning. In this series Tails was older than his other incarnations, and was frequently the butt of many of Sonic's cruel jokes, most often being called "pixel brain". He is initially portrayed as a bit of a push-over, who constantly allows Sonic to insult him, but becomes more competent and heroic as time goes on.
The 3D-animated television series Sonic Boom was released in 2014, and saw Tails playing a major role in the series. His personality and design is left mostly the same as his mainstream counterpart.
Tails makes a guest appearance in the OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode "Let's Meet Sonic". Tails makes his theatrical debut appearance in the 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog film during a mid-credits sequence, emerging from a ring portal onto Earth in search of Sonic.
Reception and legacy
|“||Tails holds a place in the hearts of the kids of the Nineties as the very definition of ‘side-kick’. Players of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will remember the option to play as Sonic & Tails at the same time, with Player 2 being able to control the two-tailed fox.||”|
|— 20 Top Video Game Sidekicks Of All Time, WhatCulture.com|
Reception to Tails has been widely positive. He was awarded "Best New Character" in Electronic Gaming Monthly's 1992 video game awards, stating "not only is he as cute as Sonic, but he actually serves a major purpose in the game." IGN editor Lucas M. Thompson listed Tails as one of the Sonic the Hedgehog characters who should be in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, citing his importance in the series and his abilities. IGN editor Levi Buchanan stated that the fan response to Tails' introduction was favorable, which led to further introductions such as Knuckles. Unlike most Sonic characters, Tails has received consistently positive opinions from the Sonic fanbase over the years.
Tails is remembered for symbolizing sidekicks and two-player gameplay in the 1990s, and as helping Sonic 2 become the second highest-selling game for the Genesis through allowing a second player to join the game. He has been featured on many "Top Sidekicks" lists. ScrewAttack listed him as the greatest sidekick in gaming. Maximum PC listed him as their third greatest sidekick, WhatCulture listed Tails as the 10th greatest sidekick out of a field of 20, Machinima.com ranked him fifth, and Maxim listed him as the eighth most underrated sidekick. Dorkly listed him as the greatest sidekick in gaming. Ranking him as the sixth greatest, Mashable stated that Tails "pretty much embodies the definition of 'sidekick'". Sonic and Tails were together ranked as IGN's ninth greatest gaming duo. Morgan Sleeper of NintendoLife called Tails "one of Sega's most beloved mascots".
However, IGN staff writer Levi Buchanan stated that when Sega noticed the popularity of Tails, and later, Knuckles, they "just kept stuffing new faces and names into the game, pulling attention away from their hero." GameDaily listed the "annoying sidekick" in their top 25 video game archetypes list, citing Tails as an example of this. Cracked ranked him in Sonic 2 as the 14th most annoying video game characters in otherwise great video games, stating that his ambition far outweighed his abilities. GamesRadar listed him as number one on their list of cutesy characters they wanted to beat up, stating that while he started out as interesting, he led to the creation of other characters who "choked the life out the franchise." They cited him being a "know it all" in later games as to why they hate him so much. Official Nintendo Magazine listed him as the second best Sonic character.
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- Tails at Sonic Channel (in Japanese)