Sonic the Hedgehog (OVA)
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|Sonic the Hedgehog|
North American VHS cover.
(Sonikku za Hejjihoggu)
|Genre||Action, Science fiction, Comedy|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Kazunori Ikegami|
|Produced by||Naoharu Hokutani
|Written by||Masashi Kubota|
|Music by||Mitsuhiro Tada|
|Released||January 26, 1996 – February 4, 1996|
|Runtime||30 minutes per episode|
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) and a few supporting characters, such as the human catgirl Sara.
The first episode, Welcome to Eggmanland (エッグマンランドへむかえ Eggumanrando he Mukae?) begins with Dr. Robotnik (or "Eggman" in the original) creating "Hyper" Metal Sonic, or "Metal" for short, who is still in the process of collecting the life data from its counterpart. Meanwhile, Sonic the Hedgehog is relaxing outside the ruins of a crashed Boeing 747 and USS Enterprise, along with a Saturn V rocket, while Miles "Tails" Prower tries out his new Jet-Propelled Bodyboard. While relaxing, Sonic saves Old Man Owl, who seems to have a message for them, from the President. When the President's message comes telling Sonic to come to his office. Once there, they find out that Doctor Robotnik has kidnapped the President and his daughter, Sara, to get Sonic to take care of a problem: a giant mecha appeared named Black Eggman (called "Metal Robotnik" in the English dub) in Doctor Robotnik's utopian city of Eggmanland (called "Robotropolis" in the English dub) and exiles the doctor and sabotages the Robot Generator, which will explode in less than a day. He asks Sonic to head to the Land of Darkness to stop it. Once there, they encounter Black Eggman, who tries to stop them from reaching the generator. Knuckles the Echidna becomes involved near the end and saves them both, and all three team up to destroy the mecha, who turns out to be Robotnik himself who lured Sonic to his base to copy his memories, personalities, and knowledge for his new robot, Hyper Metal Sonic, a Sonic-shaped robot who shares his memories and feelings, and essentially lives the same life as Sonic himself. This episode ends with the three heading to the generator, where trouble awaits them.
The second episode, Sonic VS Metal Sonic!! (ソニックＶＳメタルソニック！！ Sonikku TAI Metaru Sonikku!!?) begins with Knuckles going off to fend off the enemy robots while Sonic and Tails try to stop the generator. They eventually reach the generator, but now have to overcome a conveyor belt and a timer. Knuckles comes back in the nick of time, but when Sonic pulls the lever, his life data is retrieved by Eggman.
The crumbling husk of the mecha crashes through the floor, and a badly beaten Black Eggman warps to the trio's location. The robot crumbles, revealing Eggman and Sara in the cockpit. Knuckles falsely accuses Sara of being part of his scheme, and in reply she starts bawling and points the finger of blame at Robotnik, which he does not deny. He shows Sonic a metal version of himself, Hyper Metal Sonic (constantly called 'Metal' throughout the film), and the two get into a fight. Metal wins, and Tails and Knuckles go back 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 (a heavenly shrubbery), and thinks about Metal knowing everything he does, or has done. Returning to the Presidential Palace, Sonic hears all about the ice cap dilemma from a conversation between the President and Knuckles.
Sonic, Tails and Knuckles go to the ice caps, where Sara is being captive by the Doctor for marriage at the North Pole (his main goal is to destroy the Land of the Sky, leaving only he and Sara to rule Planet Freedom). Sonic encounters Metal, and the two have a long rematch. Tails corrupts Metal's data with the navigation watch Robotnik gave him before, and Sonic is able to critically damage him. In the process, the President arrives and is trapped in his aircraft. Metal saves the President and 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 down into a subglacial volcano, where Sonic tries to save him by lowering himself down and getting Metal to grab his hand to pull him out, but Metal pushes Sonic's hand away and tells him that "there is only one Sonic" before he is destroyed by the rising magma. After Robotnik states he still has Sonic's DNA and can re-build Metal Sonic, one of his missiles from the fight returns, blowing up the disc containing Sonic's DNA. Afterward, Knuckles hits Sonic on the head (as Sonic stepped on Knuckles' head by accident during the fight) and the two chase each other. Everyone is seen following behind Sonic before he races off, ending this episode.
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 of this continuity, 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 title used to address the actual surface of Planet Freedom, a post-apocalyptic wilderness where only one known individual lives: Robotnik. Most of its terrain is untamed and mountainous, but Sonic and Tails eventually reach a very modern city, where they see that the ruins of buildings are crumbling into the sea. This is where Robotnik's empire is located. The Land of Darkness may earn its name because the thick clouds that block out most of the sun's light. Despite its gloom, the Land of Darkness is quite verdant, though all of its regions are littered with deadly booby-traps and killer robots designed by Robotnik. 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 by chancing into a warp zone; an extradimensional link between two points on Planet Freedom. The city and look of the land strongly imply that Planet Freedom is a post apocalyptic Earth that was built upon with floating islands known as the Land of the Sky. The look of certain landmarks imply that the city resides in former New York City (or is New York City, due to the Empire State Building & Chrysler Building being seen).
Cast and characters
- Sonic the Hedgehog, Voiced by: Masami Kikuchi (Japanese); Martin Burke (English)
- Miles "Tails" Prower, Voiced by: Hekiru Shiina (Japanese); Lainie Frasier (English)
- Dr. Eggman/Robotnik, Voiced by: Junpei Takiguchi (Japanese); Edwin Neal (English)
- Knuckles the Echidna, Voiced by: Yasunori Matsumoto (Japanese); Bill Wise (English)
- Hyper "Metal" Sonic, Voiced by: Masami Kikuchi (Japanese); Gary Dehan (English)
Production and release
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 A.D. Vision in North America, and it was first released on two VHS tapes in 1996, 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 on September 7, 1999, on VHS and DVD.
Due to the number of scenes that would 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 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 feels 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.
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.
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".
- Gilbert, Henry (2013-01-25). "15 esoteric game-to-anime adaptations worth discovering". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2014-10-31.
- Shepard, Chris. "Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-03-27.
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