Guest Post -James M's Sonic Underground Review & Retrospective

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Salutations friends, James M here and we shall be going over another Sonic cartoon, the one, the only... SONIC UNDERGROUND!

"Game over, Robuttnik."
-Sonic in "Virtual Danger"

In 1998-1999, as the release of Sonic Adventure (which saw SEGA's beloved mascot make the jump to 3D) got closer, the world saw the airing of a 3rd Sonic cartoon. The cartoon in question? Sonic Underground. The show lasted about one season and forty episodes before being cancelled without it getting a proper ending to the show's main plot, leaving fans disappointed and upset. Despite its abrupt ending, Underground has left behind a lasting legacy and is well respected by fans, even though a handful of people hate the show for various reasons.

So what is the show about?

Its very simple, Sonic the Hedgehog is a prince and has siblings, a brother named Manic (who is a green hedgehog) and a sister named Sonia (who is freaking gorgeous and pink just like Amy). Together they tour Mobius, fighting off the influence of the evil Doctor Ivo Robotnik and helping the resistance as they seek out their mum Queen Aleena. That's right, Sonic has family and is royalty. Remember, this well before SEGA established the whole "SEGA-Sonic characters cannot have family relatives" mandate some time after the Archie Sonic comics rebooted, so of course those who made Sonic comics and cartoons had creative freedom and could give the SEGA cast a family. Also, it wouldn't be Sonic without his nemesis Doctor Ivo Eggman Robotnik himself.

However, Sonic, his siblings, their mum and Doctor Robotnik aren't the only characters in the show. Knuckles the Echidna from Sonic 3 & Knuckles makes his appearance a few times throughout the series, his grandpa Athair from Archie does show up as well. Sonic's Uncle Chuck from SatAM and Archie does show up for in the first episode and he does adopt a younger Sonic, who loses his foster parents to Robotnik's forces. There's also Cyrus, who actually very briefly works for Robotnik due to being blackmailed until he really does join the resistance. As for Doctor Robotnik? He deploys Swatbots and roboticized Mobians to do his bidding. He also uses two bounty hunters named Sleet and Dingo to try and take out or capture the hedgehogs.

Now Sleet and Dingo are Robotnik lackeys and are considered the Scratch and Grounder of Sonic Underground, so expect the two of them to be comedic relief. As for the backstory of the show's plot? Its simple... Mobius was once peaceful until Robotnik took over, turned the city of Mobotroplis into Robotroplis and began roboticizing most of the population just like in SatAM. Sonic, Manic and Sonia were babies when that happened and their mum was soon visited by the Oracle of Delphius who spoke of a prophecy that one day the hedgehog royal family would become the Council of Four and overthrow Robotnik's regime. Until then, the queen must separate her babies and go into hiding.

Sonia is brought up by Madame Windmire, an aristocrat, and is athletic/acrobatic, great at the piano and has quite a personality. Manic ends up being raised by a thief named Ferrel. As for Sonic? You already know he was raised by a couple before being adopted by Uncle Chuck after said couple was captured. When both siblings are old enough, they reunite and join up with the resistance before setting out to find their mum and save Mobius from Robotnik, while getting into some crazy adventures along the way, not to mention doing some musical numbers here and there. In the final episode of the show, Virtual Danger, they thwart Robotnik's plot involving virtual reality and, after that one, the show is over. Robotnik's defeated, but will the triplets reunite with their mama?

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In the years following the show's cancellation, fans have clamored to see a proper conclusion, to see what will happen next. In 2012, at Comic-Con, people were in for a surprise when Archie announced that the TV series would be concluded in the pages of Sonic Universe Issue 50. However, things changed. Due to behind the scenes complications and the upcoming crossover between Sonic & Mega Man, the Sonic Underground story was scrapped and replaced with a Metal Sonic story. Not long after, the Archie Sonic reboot happened and hopes for a Sonic Underground Epilogue seemed to fade when SEGA increased their mandates and labeled material from that show and others such as Sonic X off-limits. Even worse, there was the "Sonic can't have family" mandate.
A few years later, the Archie Sonic era ended and it seemed the possibility of Sonic Underground getting any proper conclusion are null and void. However, there is still hope. Many fans have taken it upon themselves VIA fanfiction to give the cartoon the conclusion it deserves. As for the comic-style epilogue to Underground, the folks at Archie Sonic Online have taken matters into their own hands and we are soon to get the long-awaited ending to Sonic Underground. As for the solicitation?

In 1999, the world was introduced to a very different version of our heroic, blue blur. As prince to the kingdom, and armed with the power of music, Sonic and his sister Sonia and brother Manic sought to find their mother, Queen Aleena, and defeat the evil dictator, Dr. Robotnik. Now, 20 years later, the story concludes in “Swan Song”! Robotnik has the royal siblings right where he wants them, with roboticizion a foregone conclusion. Who can save the young resistance leaders? It’s our first issue of Sonic Universe Online, and the milestone no Sonic Underground fan can miss! Featuring cover art by Riggo!

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This is super promising and I cannot wait to read it as well as review it.
As for Sonic Underground's legacy? It is an honorable one, even though the show is long gone, at least we can all see it on DVD. As for the characters, their legacies will live on in reruns, fan art and many fan-made Sonic works such as fan fiction, fan comics and fan videos. As a Sonic fan, I intend to honor that legacy too and happily include anything related to Sonic Underground in some of my fan art and my fanfics as long as I continue to do any of that stuff until the day I decide I'm done.

I started watching Sonic Underground in 2012 and after watching the "Wedding Blue Bells" episode, I went on a Sonic Underground hiatus for almost a year before I dove back into the show and finished it. The show is still enjoyable and I often watch some of its episodes from time to time, I actually took it upon myself to write a little Sonic Underground Epilogue fanfic of my own in 2015-2016, but I also made it tie into another story I've yet to fully finish (as of this) known as Percy Jackson And The Legend of Zelda 2: Worlds Unite, which involves Sonia from Sonic Underground. Given that I have changed a bit as a writer, I need to edit my Sonic Underground epilogue a little bit, get rid of some... questionable stuff.

Anyways, I happily close out this review and I say thank you to Sonic Underground for being awesome. Bye guys...

-James M the CrazyGamerHistorian1999

4 comments:

  1. Nice review, though I wonder if BEHIND THE SCENES COMPLICATIONS even includes the Ken Penders lawsuit/dispute.

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  2. Including Knuckles in Sonic Underground was DIC's way to make up for not going into production for a 3rd. Sonic Sat AM Season 3 that would have included Knuckles in at least one Season 3 episode.

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