Sonic the Hedgehog (OVA)

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Sonic the Hedgehog
SonicanimeVHS.jpg
North American VHS cover.
ソニック★ザ★ヘッジホッグ
(Sonikku za Hejjihoggu)
Genre Action, Science fiction, Comedy
Original video animation
Directed by Kazunori Ikegami
Produced by Naoharu Hokutani
Akinori Ohno
Koichiro Sugie
Takayuki Sugizaki
Written by Masashi Kubota
Music by Mitsuhiro Tada
Studio Sega
Pierrot
General Entertainment
Licensed by
Released January 26, 1996February 4, 1996
Runtime 30 minutes per episode
Episodes 2 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック★ザ★ヘッジホッグ, Sonikku za Hejjihoggu) is a two-episode 1996 Japanese anime OVA series based on Sega's best-selling franchise Sonic the Hedgehog. The anime features Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Dr. Eggman (Dr. Robotnik in the English release), Metal Sonic and a few supporting characters created exclusively for the OVA.

Setting[edit]

Unlike other Sonic the Hedgehog media, the setting of the series is the world of Planet Freedom, which is split into two distinct realms: The Land of the Sky, and the Land of Darkness.

The Land of the Sky consists of an unknown number of continents that drift high in the stratosphere of the planet, all of them connected to a massive ice formation which also serves to anchor them to the planet's surface below. According to Knuckles, if this ice network was destroyed, Planet Freedom's rotation would hurl the Land of the Sky into outer space, undoubtedly killing everyone on it.

The Land of Darkness is the actual surface of Planet Freedom, a post-apocalyptic wilderness with Robotnik as its sole living inhabitant. The Land of Darkness can only be accessed in one of two ways: by a whirlwind-like "portal" in the Land of the Sky, or via a warp zone, an extradimensional link between two points on Planet Freedom. Most of its terrain is untamed and mountainous, but a crumbling city serves as the location of Robotnik's empire. The city and terrain strongly imply that Planet Freedom is a post apocalyptic Earth that was built upon with floating islands, with certain landmarks suggesting that the ruins are those of New York City.

Cast and characters[edit]

Original characters[edit]

Recurring characters[edit]

Sara (セーラ, Sēra)
Voiced by: Mika Kanai (Japanese); Sascha Biesi (English)
President (大統領, Daitōryō)
Voiced by: Yuzuru Fujimoto (Japanese); Edwin Neal (English)
Caretaker (執事, Shitsuji) / Old Man
Voiced by: Chafurin (Japanese); Charles Campbell (English)
Secretary (秘書, Hisho)
Voiced by: Akimitsu Takase

Episodes[edit]

# Title Japanese release date English release date
1 "Welcome to Eggmanland"
"Eggumanrando he Mukae" (エッグマンランドへむかえ) 
January 26, 1996 March 29, 1996
Sonic the Hedgehog is relaxing on the beach with Miles "Tails" Prower, when Old Man Owl arrives with a message from the President asking Sonic to come to his office. Once there, they discover Dr. Robotnik has taken the President and his daughter Sara hostage. According to Robotnik, a giant mecha named Metal Robotnik ("Black Eggman" in the original) has exiled him from his utopian city of Robotropolis ("Eggmanland " in the original) and sabotaged the Robot Generator, which will explode in less than a day. He asks Sonic to head to the Land of Darkness to stop it in exchange for the President and Sara's freedom. Once there, Metal Robotnik tries to stop them from reaching the generator. Knuckles the Echidna arrives and saves them both, and all three team up to destroy the mecha. Unbeknownst to them, Metal Robotnik is revealed to have been controlled by Robotnik, with Sara unwillingly in tow. The episode ends with the three heading to the generator. 
2 "Sonic VS Metal Sonic!!"
"Sonikku TAI Metaru Sonikku!!" (ソニックVSメタルソニック!!) 
February 4, 1996 June 11, 1996

Knuckles is fending off enemy robots while Sonic and Tails try to stop the generator. They arrive just in time, but when Sonic pulls the lever, the machine traps him and scans his body. Knuckles frees Sonic just as the machine crumbles to the ground, revealing Robotnik's newest robot, Hyper Metal Sonic. Robotnik appears in Metal Robotnik's remains and reveals he lured Sonic to copy his memories, personalities, and knowledge for Hyper Metal Sonic. Sonic and Metal battle, but Metal soundly defeats Sonic. Tails and Knuckles return to the Land of the Sky, where Tails learns that Metal is out to destroy the planet by digging into the ice caps that hold the Land of the Sky together, allowing lava to emerge and melt the ice. Sonic wakes up in Green Lake City and returns to the Presidential Palace, learning of Metal's goal from the President.

Sonic, Tails and Knuckles go to the ice caps, where Sara is being held captive by Robotnik, planning to marry her so the two will rule over Planet Freedom after the Land of the Sky's destruction. Sonic encounters Metal, and the two have a long rematch. Tails manages to corrupt Metal's data, and Sonic critically damages him. During the clash, the President and Old Man arrive and are trapped in their aircraft, but Metal saves them. Sonic realizes that Metal does have emotions, as he was programmed with Sonic's personality and thoughts. Metal gets blown into a crack and falls into a subglacial volcano. Sonic reaches out his hand to save him, but Metal rejects it, telling him "there is only one Sonic" before being destroyed by the rising magma. Robotnik states he still has Sonic's DNA and can re-build Metal Sonic, but one of his missiles from the fight inadvertently blows up the disc containing Sonic's DNA. Knuckles hits Sonic on the head as revenge for Sonic accidentally stepping on him during the fight, and the two get into a chase, with all the others following behind. 

Production and release[edit]

The OVA series was produced by the animation studio Pierrot. The OVA series was originally released as a two-episode original video animation (OVA) in Japan between January 26, 1996, and February 4, 1996. The series was licensed by ADV Films, and it was first released on two VHS tapes in 1996 in North America, each containing a single episode with English subtitles. The subtitled VHS versions were released between March 29, 1996, and June 11, 1996. The English-dubbed version was later released as a single direct-to-video film as Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie on September 7, 1999, on VHS and DVD. It was later re-released on DVD on January 13, 2004. Due to ADV Films being dissolved and spun off into Section23 Films, one of its clients being Sentai Filmworks, both releases are now out of print.

Censorship[edit]

Due to the number of scenes that were perceived to be offensive to Western audiences, the following scenes were edited or removed from the 1999 VHS release of the film:

  • In a daydream when Robotnik proposes to Sara, she is shown pregnant and breastfeeding one of their future children.
  • Robotnik is violently groping Sara.
  • Metal Sonic accidentally looking up Sara's dress when he crashes through the bottom of Robotnik's ship, resulting in Sara repeatedly kicking his head, calling him a "pervert". Also, Sonic is synched with Metal Sonic and essentially what he feels; he even blushes.
  • During the second fight against Metal, Tails, after the Tornado is shot out of the sky, falls down a hill and starts to roll into a snowball and crashes into Sara and Knuckles. When the snowball clears, Tails is revealed to be holding on to Sara's breasts. Knuckles notices this, and thinks Tails did it on purpose.

Both the Japanese and original U.S. VHS releases include all the above scenes and are regarded as fully uncut, although the original U.S. DVD release does not include the episodes in their separate formats. All versions include the scene with Sonic flipping off Metal Robotnik.

Critical reception[edit]

The March 1996 issue of the DieHard Magazine gave the OVA a positive review stating that "all in all, the artwork looks amazing, plus it's an O.V.A, so the artists have been given quite an extensive budget. The animation is much cleaner than you could ever expect from a TV show, but the characters on-screen presence is what really makes Sonic so cool. It's like playing the game, but in anime form. After the U.S. Sonic cartoon has been cancelled, this Anime is definitely a good choice."[1]

Henry Gilbert of GamesRadar approved of the concept of a colorful, fast-paced anime adaptation of Sonic, noting the fights between Sonic and his evil counterpart, Metal Sonic, as "cool." This is unfortunately accompanied by "scenes of slapstick humor, anime cliches, and childish voice acting" as well as the "perpetually annoying" Sara.[2]

Chris Shepard of Anime News Network praised the OVA for its non-traditional action and said it was "good for the Sonic fans". He called the English dub poor, and said the story "strayed from the video games a little too much" and it was "very basic".[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sonic Anime". DieHard Magazine. 
  2. ^ Gilbert, Henry (2013-01-25). "15 esoteric game-to-anime adaptations worth discovering". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2014-10-31. 
  3. ^ Shepard, Chris. "Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 

External links[edit]