don't click here

Characterization in the Sonic Franchise

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Beamer the Meep, Apr 2, 2021.

What style of characterization do you prefer?

  1. Classic Era Characterization

    70 vote(s)
    56.0%
  2. Adventure Era (SA1 - SH) Characterization

    67 vote(s)
    53.6%
  3. Dark Era (ShTH - SU) Characterization

    17 vote(s)
    13.6%
  4. Modern Era (SC - SF) Characterization

    14 vote(s)
    11.2%
  5. Other

    14 vote(s)
    11.2%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Nova

    Nova

    Misfit
    3,713
    136
    43
    Personally I disagree. I think he's just confident in his abilities and is later understandably miffed that Sonic doesn't trust him. If there's one thing I didn't have a problem with in Lost World, it was everyone's characterization. I think everyone worked pretty well, even the Deadly Six, though that's not to say I still don't think they were uninspired run-of-the-mill cartoon villains. They at least all put across what they were about well.
     
  2. Laura

    Laura

    Brightened Eyes Member
    I actually like Tails being a bit more arrogant in Colors onwards. I know opposites attract, but I think it makes sense for Sonic and Tails to have similar personalities considering they are supposed to be best friends.
     
  3. Nova

    Nova

    Misfit
    3,713
    136
    43
    Agreed. Tails learned to be more confident by trying to be more like Sonic, so it makes total sense he'd at least be a little bit like him. Sort of like how little brothers can sometimes emulate their older brothers a bit.
     
  4. Laura

    Laura

    Brightened Eyes Member
    Sonic doesn't want to work with Eggman initially because they are enemies. He then sees that Amy and Knuckles are in trouble and Eggman tells him it is because the machine is malfunctioning because of the Zeti using it. Sonic mocks Eggman but agrees to work with him because he thinks only Eggman can fix it. He never questions working with him from this point onwards. Tails doesn't disagree with the decision when they agree to work together but I think it's very believable that this would annoy him considering his role as the gadget guy. He's hardly enthused when Sonic agrees to work with Eggman.

    Also, in the scene where Tails gets mad shortly afterwards, he has just fixed Orbot/Cubot (I forgot the name lol) and mocks Eggman's mechanical skills which shows he knows how to do such engineering. If I just fixed something and thought about how Sonic is underestimating my mechanical skills I'd proabably get annoyed too. This makes his outburst more warranted. I do think it all comes across as very melodramatic and abrupt because it happens so suddenly. There's little build up to it, so the execution is wonky, but it's logically sound.

    Tails is supposed to be overreacting a little bit even though he's right (as I say he can turn off the machine on his own): he does later develop a respect for Eggman as the story progresses when the latter saves him from Orbot/Cubot.

    So it's fairly complicated. Sonic doesn't trust Tails to turn off the machine because he thinks Eggman might be the only person to be able to do so because he made it and so much is at stake. Tails gets annoyed because Sonic's decision is underestimating his mechanical skills and he's acting very jealously but he's also right.

    And as @Nova has often said, at the end of the day, they are just friends arguing. When Sonic apologises to Tails for doubting him, he says "it's cool" because he knows Sonic didn't really mean it and it was just a friendly squabble. They aren't supposed to be jerks genuinely holding grudges against each other.

    Yeah, I'm going to be honest, I don't get why Sonic and Tails' characterisation annoys people at all, I find it very believable. I think the Deadly Six are a far, far, far bigger narrative blunder.
     
  5. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

    size of a tangerine Member
    595
    276
    63
    US
    Tails having a smug superiority complex isn't who Tails is. It's just lazy writing to tell the audience that he has brains.
     
  6. At this point, it's kind of obvious some of us are looking at two completely different narratives when it comes to Lost World, so I don't see a point in continuing this particular tangent. Some people are fine with what Lost World did, and others aren't. I said my piece and I stand by what I said about it how it mishandles both Sonic and Tails. Any more than this, and we're just going in circles of restating our points.


    I wanna talk about Eggman, because he seems to be the only character that generally doesn't garner the same divisive and controversial reactions that almost every other main character gets.
     
  7. Aerosol

    Aerosol

    Not here. Moderator
    11,027
    389
    63
    Not where I want to be.
    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    Probably because you're not meant to root for him in the first place. He's a villain. As long as he's "the bad guy" his characterization will be inoffensive at worst. Everyone has their favourite Eggman (mine is actually Lost World's) but I don't think anyone *hates* any individual portrayal.
     
  8. Not just "hate", but Eggman is generally considered the best part of the modern games and has all of the best lines. It might be a byproduct of people not really feeling Sonic & Tails' portrayals lately, but in my opinion, it feels like Pontac and Graff are much more comfortable writing for him than the others.

    True, Eggman is much more flexible in a way that the hero character aren't in most cases.
     
  9. Boxer Hockey

    Boxer Hockey

    Member
    289
    538
    93
    Sonic and Tails haven't felt right ever since they lost the "big brother/little brother" dynamic, imo. Tails is so smart and capable that it feels like he has no real reason to admire Sonic anymore. He just feels like a know-it-all tagalong now.
     
    • Agree Agree x 9
    • Like Like x 2
    • List
  10. ChaddyFantome

    ChaddyFantome

    Member
    213
    80
    28
    Fair enough.
    In general, I find Eggman the sort of character that's generally harder to really "mess up" so to speak, however I will say the writers do tend to have mild issues balancing the more comedic and menacing elements of his character.
    While Eggman is a threat and can be dangerous, it's important to remember that he is still pretty much a manchild at the heart of it all. And while he is a manchild at heart, we still need to take him as a threat seriously even though Sonic himself takes him lightly. Not, much else for me to say on that front personally.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  11. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    458
    179
    43
    For those who are more familiar with the Japanese portrayal of Eggman, does voice acting have any effect on how he's perceived or is he pretty much the same across either medium? Pollock has been voicing the character for a very long time and perhaps he's savvy enough to know how to weave what he knows of Eggman's characterization with the lines he's given. If it's more the writing though, I have to say I'm impressed he's managed to stay fairly consistent.
     
  12. Japanese Eggman generally sounds like a stereotypical "old man scientist". If you've watched any amount of Anime with old Mad scientists, then that's how Eggman sounds. By comparison, Mike Pollock goes way more into the over the top, and hamminess of the character.

    Eggman is generally overlooked in Japan though, so I don't think they hold him in as high regard as say, Sonic, Shadow or Tails who are much more popular.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • List
  13. ChaddyFantome

    ChaddyFantome

    Member
    213
    80
    28
    I'd say Japanese Eggman is more consistently on the "wacky old man scientist" angle even in his more serious portrayals. I do agree that Pollock really does have a good grasp of the character and does a good job handling him in both serious and wacky scenarios all around. It's definitely something that works in Eggman's favour in regards to how he has been handled over time.
    By contrast, a lot of the voices that came around in the recent games also came around when simultaneously with the arrival of Pontac and Graff.
    It's actually something I occasionally consider. These voice actors are accustomed to voicing the characters under a given direction and thus form their ideas of what the character is as a result of that direction.
    Especially given the direction of things like Boom, of which the voice actors spent more time on, it stands to reason that their perception and thus performance of the character is more in line with that kind of portrayal. Of course, I can't know for sure. It's just speculation.
     
  14. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

    Better than Sonic Genesis... Member
    458
    179
    43
    Well in the case of Amy I completely agree. Following the more serious Amy in Boom, Cindy Robinson started playing Amy that way in the mainline series. Before that she had this incredibly grating high squeaky voice and (at least personally speaking) it greatly affected the perception of Amy between Lost World and Forces.

    Bringing this back to Eggman though, perhaps that's part of the reason why he feels a lot more consistent to the English-speaking audience. That and a wacky if evil scientist is a lot easier to translate between western and eastern cultures. I have the feeling that P&G and/or SoA higher-ups were trying to bring characterization more in line with what they thought the American audience wanted and would respond better to, but again that's just speculation. With Eggman, not much tweaking had to be done in that regard.

    In any case, the consistency (or lack thereof) of voice acting in the franchise is something we may want to consider when it comes to characterization.
     
  15. The voice acting definitely plays a role in people's perceptions and expectations about the characters.

    Eggman has had the most consistent voice, so its easier to form a consistent idea about who he is, and he adjusts his performance accordingly; just compare Eggman in recent games to the ones a decade prior. Its easier to see Eggman as consistent as opposed to Sonic, who has had three voice actors and about to go onto his fourth.

    Constantly swapping actors really isn't helping in the perceptions of these characters for people. I think Boom only worked as well as it did because the actors essentially started from scratch; Boom!Sonic was a clean slate compared to Sega!Sonic, so Roger and crew had much more leeway and creative freedom that probably doesn't exist in how they portray the cast in the games.

    Its very annoying because every voice actor is going to just splinter people's opinions even more. Can guarantee that we'll get even more debates about Sonic's characterization once his new voice actor is formally announced.


    Might be why the Japanese cast and writing tend to be more fondly remembered. The cast have had the same actors for 30 years now, consistency is key.
     
  16. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

    Arriving four years late. Member
    5,172
    299
    63
    Lincs, UK
    TurBoa, S1RL
    The villain is always the most important character in a cartoon franchise. Wacky Races is great because of Dick Dastardly. The Smurfs is great because of Gargamel. TMNT is great because of Shredder and Krang. He-Man is great because of Skeletor.

    The best Sonics (in terms of cutscenes or adaptions, not gameplay or story per se) have the best Eggmans. This is probably true regardless of which you feel is best. I like AoStH and Unleashed, and I like AoStH's Eggman and Unleashed's Eggman best. (as a counterargument, I also like Sonic '06's Eggman, so maybe that's not a hard rule)
     
  17. Blastfrog

    Blastfrog

    See ya starside. Member
    If we're going to include adaptations, then Eggman was probably the least consistently portrayed, at least early on. AoStH went all-in on the silliness, and SatAM went all-in on the malice, with very little balance. Season 2 of SatAM tried to force some silliness in, but the whole thing had a strange tone shift (presumably trying to target a younger demographic) that didn't work well anyway.
     
  18. I dunno; I feel this is only true if the main characters are extremely one note and boring, which I don't think can apply to Sonic. Especially since this series goes out of its way of fleshing out its protagonists to give them actual motives and personality. Eggman actually took a huge backseat in most games before the Modern games, SA2 notwithstanding and even then, the game is more about Shadow as an antagonist to Sonic than Eggman.

    But granted, the modern incarnations of the cast have downplayed a lot of those motivations and personality traits to the point where everyone is pretty one note and flat nowadays, so I guess it has the side effect of letting Eggman shine more without being upstaged by a new character of the week.
     
  19. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

    Member
    2,292
    455
    63
    True, I mean I do think writers often have an easier time making a compelling villain, but by HOW much they steal the show tends to depend on how much they still TRY to make the hero hold their own as well.

    Like Eggman was miles more compelling than Sonic in Sonic X, but that was largely because Sonic was kept in a very understated role in the anime. He was an almost in universe Mary Sue that everyone idolised and had few flaws or weakspots so naturally just wasn't as colourful as Eggman was, or most other supporting characters for that matter. Boom however keeps up a similar even more whimsical Eggman, but Sonic is the same and a lot of Eggman's spotlight is still revolved around his two way chemistry with Sonic. Hell some episodes don't even HAVE Eggman and instead focus on some misadventure with the heroes.
     
  20. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

    Member
    2,292
    455
    63
    True, I think SatAm tried a bit too much to 'have their cake and eat it too' by Season Two, having really silly stories but trying to maintain the same threat level, if not MORE. Hurst made clear he wanted a truly scumbagish take on Robotnik, but all the same made him scumbagish TO A FAULT, being very arrogant and unable to resist puppy kicking for two seconds. He also wanted Robotnik to be far more intergral to the earlier lives of the Freedom Fighters through how early he took over and how threatening he was, but still played him off as incompetent at holding back his crueller vices, to the point he lost just as much from them as he did the Freedom Fighters in the end.

    Even in the first season you saw this problem shift in. Sonic Boom (the episode not the show) for example tries to maintain the seriousness of Robotnik's threat level by having the heroes fail to save a redshirt in time. The main issue however is that a lot of the episode is actually the heroes wasting time getting into antics and bantering. Hell even the whole reason the redshirt got captured was due to Antoine's buffoonery (actually HALF the time a mission failed in Season One was due to Antoine tripping over the same way and exposing them, WHY do they bring him along???). It really blended together badly and actually made the heroes look rather unlikeable, like they knew this guy wasn't important and were in no rush to help, just another zany adventure for them.

    I think this is an occasional problem when you have writers who want to do primarily serious stories but still try to pepper on SOME amount of whimsy, rather than naturally meshing the two moods together well and having them complement each other, they tend to just strawman the 'Jar Jar Binks' approach to comedy where everyone acts doofy and useless and the tone becomes ridiculously juvenile for a few minutes before they go back to deadly serious, causing a HUGE mood whiplash. The same happened in other serious takes like the 2000 games series (the same writer who wrote SA2 - Black Knight also wrote Heroes, I think he even admitted he wasn't much for the earlier cartoony mythos).

    (Sorry for double post, can't delete it)
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2021