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)
    56.5%
  2. Adventure Era (SA1 - SH) Characterization

    66 vote(s)
    53.2%
  3. Dark Era (ShTH - SU) Characterization

    16 vote(s)
    12.9%
  4. Modern Era (SC - SF) Characterization

    14 vote(s)
    11.3%
  5. Other

    14 vote(s)
    11.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Boxer Hockey

    Boxer Hockey

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    Pengi said basically everything I came here to. There is some real reaching going on trying to salvage Amy's Heroes writing. Heroes was the moment where everyone collectively started to peg Amy as one-dimensional and it wasn't some mass hallucination. She talks about Chocola and Froggy by virtue of being the team leader but her eyes are on Sonic for the whole game in the worst way. Heroes was also the beginning of the end for Knuckles, starting the trend of him just leaving the Master Emerald and the island with no good reason. Almost 20 years later it still remains my least favorite mainline game...
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2021
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  2. I kind of feel bad for Amy tbh; out of every character barring maybe Shadow, she's easily the most misrepresented and easily misunderstood character in the series.

    Because I'm almost positive that she's not meant to come off as one-dimensional and obsessive. But fan perception matters more than actuality.


    Its a shame too because I find Amy pretty bland nowadays ever since they downplayed all of her defining traits in an attempt to move away from her controversial aspects.
     
  3. ChaddyFantome

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    That's.... exactly what happens though in that scene? Amy had been preoccupied with getting Chocola and Froggy back for the last 4 or so zones and was wrapped up in the fact they successfully got them back.
    It's not as if she was like "Here are your pets, now lemme go find Sonic". Cream has to be the one to point his presence out to her.
    I didn't mean to imply "she forgot Sonic existed". That would be silly. I mean that her pursuit of Sonic took a backseat to finding Chocola and Froggy. Which it had. In RailCanyon/Bullet Station onward, its pretty much the focus of all the cutscenes.
    No one is saying Amy doesn't love Sonic, and I really, I wouldn't want it any other way. It's a core part of the character.

    But the events of the game very much have her focus in that game be helping Cream and Big, with Sonic being secondary. In the opening cutscene, she mentions wondering where Sonic is, but she talks to Cream and Big about how she will make sure they find Chocola and Froggy and not to get down in the dumps.
    Grand Metropolis, comments on how Amy can feel Sonic is in the area and in the actual bossfight, she tells Sonic to give Chocola and Froggy back.
    Casino Park cutscene has her be miffed that he got away but they wont give up finding him.
    Rail Canyon, focus is on how Amy believes Chocola and Froggy's kidnapping must actually be because of Eggman.
    From here Sonic ...pretty much doesn't come up until she tells "Eggman" off in the bossfight as you mentioned.
    Hang Castle has her cheering them up so they don't lose hope. The Robot Storm fight has her call out "Eggman" for having kidnapped Chocola and Froggy.
    Egg Fleet has her talk about how they will definitely take "Eggman" down and wont let him get away with it.

    Yea, she comments on Sonic every once in a while, but her actual priority throughout the game is much more helping Cream and Big. Pretty much from Casino Park onward really.
    I'll be honest in saying that I would go the opposite route and say that instead I find it rather... disappointing that Amy expressing interest in Sonic to any capacity, especially in a disproportionately fewer amount of instances than her focus on helping her friends is not only somehow a "bad look" but also somehow invalidates this aspect of the character.
    How is it "dated" exactly?

    Amy is the team leader precisely because she took it upon her to help Cream and Big. She doesn't have an obligation to do so let alone require them in order to find Sonic. In fact, she has to be the one to convince Cream that her senses are right and that he is in Grand Metropolis. To put it simply, if Amy's priority wasn't helping them, she would have ditched them long before the end of the game.

    As for Knuckles,...this might be a bit of a hot take, but I would say that Heroes is actually the last mainline game to respect the Master Emerald. While he is not guarding it, it is still mentioned and his job towards it is still respected unlike later games where it is just outright ignored. If we really wanna blame a game for this though, I find it unfair to blame Heroes. It's kind of like blaming your son for him having the car when it eventually broke down.
    The distancing or lack of relevance of Knuckles' job is more a consequence of the dev team always feeling the need to use the character due to popular demand rather than it is squarely an issue with how he was used in Heroes as some form of precedent. Even in the Genesis and Saturn days, his duty to the Master Emerald was tenuous in most of the games he starred in. Outside of Sonic3&K and I suppose Chaotix, all the games Knuckles was in forwent any mention of it. It's more a problem with Knuckles as a character than any one game. Knuckles' character was too firmly written around the scenario of Sonic 3&K, and so the excuses to use him again always need to revolve around the Master Emerald or him getting duped again because those are the elements that contextualized his character in juxtaposition to Sonic in his debut game.
    With that in mind, I don't actually think him becoming more of a friend to Sonic was a bad call, because really the only reason they fought each other was due to misunderstanding. The issue of his job though just comes down to them wanting to make the call of being content to not have Knuckles appear in every game or not, because involving the Master Emerald in EVERY game really isn't a reasonable expectation.

    Sorry for the long post.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2021
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  4. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    ...when? Not being a smart mouth, I'm legitimately asking: at what point in the game is the Master Emerald mentioned?
     
  5. E-122-Psi

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    While I admit that Amy crushing on Sonic as her main motive is a bit one note and I'd like her to get some more developed ambitions (Boom was a decent attempt without dullifying her or taking away the crush completely for example), I do question why people find Amy dated or sexist.

    Granted maybe it's simply because I find it hypocritical when there's plenty of tired tropes from the opposite gender like the boy being a dependent imbecilic manchild that their female counterpart has to baby all the time, which is still going fresh in plenty franchises. It's like saying girls are more sacred than boys in depiction and always have to be more competent and 'normal' and have their priorities straight with no jokes at the expense of their personalities. Characters should be allowed to be flawed or have petty or comical goals, especially in light hearted stories. There's plenty other girls without petty goals in the Sonic series now anyway, so it's not like Amy is botching female representation with her schoolgirl crush.

    Now the X era turning Amy into a violent stalker I admit was kinda drawing the line, but more because they still wanted Amy to be remotely sympathetic instead of just a crazy asshole.
     
  6. ChaddyFantome

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    Of the top of my head, it is brought up when Rouge passes by Knuckles mentioning it before knuckles gives chase. I think a few more mentions of it and Angel island are also made in the game. But that's the one I remember.
     
  7. Laura

    Laura

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    You can treat Amy's characterisation on its own and that's fine. It's blatantly apparent that she's had a history of a sexist portrayal. In CD she was just a damsel and contributed virtually nothing to the game besides being cute. In Heroes and Sonic X she has little else to her character except stalking Sonic.

    The reason why these portrayals are lame is because she has been done better. Boom is a better example but even Adventure was decent. It showed her having to stand on her own and defeat the bad guys by herself. Hardly profound stuff but decently executed and better than what came before and after.

    But if we are going to talk about male representation, then yeah, the series has both succeeded and failed. I think the series has fucked up less with male stereotypes but Shadow is sometimes presented as little more than a badass violent edgelord at his worst depictions

    I'm contrast, Shadow in SA2 is a cautionary tale against bottling up emotions and not trusting others. Shadows heroism comes from him accepting the loss and remembering Maria's true intentions. Moreover he comes to this change through empathy with the female characters. So they do masculinity pretty well there. Shadow even cries when realising his mistake and its played straight as a moment of heroism.

    So the series has done better for both masculinity and femininity. Can't see why we can't expect better for both.
     
  8. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

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    Every time I see references to Boom Amy being a "better portrayal" I refuse to take any of these arguments seriously. Boom Amy is a terrible character that lacks virtually everything that made Amy a likeable character in the past. It's especially weird when people bring up Boom Amy in contrast to the "crazy stalker Amy" nonsense, since Boom Amy seems to actually be a crazy stalker.
     
  9. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

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    Yeah I don't mind Amy being fleshed out, it's just the whole 'that's a demeaning trait that girls can't have' thing. Amy having a comical crush on Sonic isn't the issue, it's that it was Flanderized into almost all she had at one point, and let's be fair, Flanderization is a widespread thing right now. Amy isn't really top priority because she's a stereotype, otherwise we can point out stuff like Knuckles just being the whole 'musclehead boy' stereotype as well.

    I feel like every Sonic character is a stereotype to some level. Stereotypes aren't COMPLETELY bad, they often pepper a character in a funny way, it's just when the character is NOTHING BUT and isn't allowed to be three dimensional. I feel like current depictions have missed the point with Amy, thinking her stereotype was the problem and not the fact they didn't flesh her out and use her properly for years (much like NEARLY EVERY idea they toss, it wasn't their lack of effort or poor execution, no no, it was just a bad idea, no point trying to improve it, just toss it completely). Thus we now have a bland Amy with what I guess is a more positive personality but still barely any agency or characterisation.

    I don't think Boom Amy is straight transition or development of the original (besides maybe the first few episodes where they seemed to borrow from the games incarnations more) but more she's a good example of giving more nuances to a stereotypical female character without just making her a dull flawless token that's always better than the dumb boys (basically still discrimination but in the hypocritical ass kissing sort of way).

    She's still part of the comedy and still has loads of vices like being egotistical and bad tempered (things that were to some degree part of her old character as well), just there's a bit more drive to her besides chasing after Sonic. She has moments of wanting to be an entrepreneur for example and wants to play part in team dynamics besides just to be around Sonic. She isn't ineffectual about it all the time either, she is sometimes the voice of reason, just not to the point of being the clear straight man who never acts up herself. I also think generally Boom Amy is more tolerable in her obnoxiousness because, not only is she not as feral about it as X era Amy but she actually pays for it a lot more. She actually kinda reminds me of Sally but if they actually made fun of her for being a self righteous ass sometimes.

    I don't think a good idea would be to copy Boom Amy 1:1 into the games, but it is at least an okay example of giving her other depths and not pandering too much to one extreme. Like give Heroes-styled Amy some of Boom Amy's delusions of grandeur instead of always having Sonic as her personal goal and you'd have a good character I believe.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2021
  10. Except, you know... the time she literally screeched at Barker like a wild animal for being inconvenienced.
     
  11. Laura

    Laura

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    I'll admit I'm not an expert on Boom since I've only seen a few episodes. I'm not exactly the target demographic and it's a bit too kiddy for me.

    But from what I have seen, it seems to be far better to me. They play Amy's crush in a less obnoxious manner and have it more as a 'will they or won't they' dynamic. There's evidence to suggest Sonic is interested to some extent. At the very least they are actually friends who have different hopes for their relationship.

    While in CD and Heroes it comes across much more as Sonic doesn't want to be around her really and she's just stalking him. Adventure is better but is much the same in this respect. Which is why her being not much more than a weird stalker is a much more serious issue in those representations. Adventure is better because it doesn't make her stalking her sole character trait.

    Also I'm not exactly that knowledgeable about Boom but I'm pretty sure Boom Amy actually does stuff and has aims beyond Sonic.
     
  12. Roller

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    My journey with Heroes has evolved over the years, from being the first Sonic Team game I ever played, having the luster fall off as I got more experience and tried other titles, and then growing to understand the cultural context it was created in and what it *meant* for the series going forward. That last stage of that evolution was really precipitated by me starting to read it as a kind of tournament arc!

    It's immediately obvious to read as fanservice, with its immediately obvious surface-level excuses to bring literally everyone and acknowledge every location they had continuing interest in back. But in the real world context, they were trying hard to re-establish Sonic's identity for those who'd never owned a SEGA console before, and needed to reset the stakes a bit before they could continue things. This situation echoes the idea anime production catching up to the manga and needing to allow a buffer to build back up again, even if ironically Heroes was the one Adventure-era title that never actually got adapted into Sonic X.

    So it's intended to be a cute little jaunt that maintains their status quo with a bit of interesting action... but in order for that to happen it needs to inject some character-driven conflict, for better or for worse - and it's pretty much the latter for Amy, sad as it is.
     
  13. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

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    Okay yeah, fair enough, Amy still flies off the handle. I guess I mean they don't play her 'scary psycho girl' element non-stop like they did in previous incarnations. Like in Sonic X, the Dimps games and even the Archie comics for while they basically made it her whole character that she's a violent terrifying berserker that EVERYONE is afraid to drop a pin around, which I feel really dehumanized her. She'd went from arguably the most grounded character concept of the main lot to a borderline unstoppable psychopath gag. I suppose it's more than just annoying characters like Sonic but still not really rounding dynamics.

    Boom Amy still has that temper but it's treated more ineffectually, more like a childish tantrum (something that was true about Adventure and even Heroes Amy really, remember Vector being able to call her a 'lil' brat' without getting his skull brutally hammered?

    I suppose it's why I also find Knuckles' temper less obnoxious since while it gets kinda feral and overboard sometimes, it doesn't really overpower a lot of chemistries like Amy's gag did. Most of the time he's the butt monkey for it in fact.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2021
  14. I'd hardly call Sonic the most progressive series out there given its 90's roots, but its also a 30 year franchise that have all had different writers with their own interpretations of the cast, sometimes for better or worst.

    Its kind of like the weird shit you see in Comic books, including Archie itself ironically enough.


    I feel like Amy gets it the most because I'm assuming the primary demographic of people who engage with Sonic are young boys, so of course a female character who's defining trait is comically fawning over the protagonist just isn't going to be popular. It's why Sakura Haruno from Naruto is such a meme, for the same exact reason.

    By comparison, Knuckles looks a stereotypical tough guy, and even Shadow's overly edgy traits generally appeal to that hyper masculine trait of most young boys.

    Because let's be real, there are children who unironically think Shadow's game is cool; its why he got the game to begin with, Shadow is the prime example of a character who appeals to the series' main demographic.

    Amy does not.
     
  15. Aerosol

    Aerosol

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    It's a bit of a tangent, but Sakura is a meme more because readers were baited with some actual development for her (she took down Sasori!!!) and it was switched out with Turbo Sasuke Fawning. A lot of Shippuden-era writing took a nosedive :vv:

    Amy in Boom is great. She's obviously interested in Sonic but it's not her entire character and it's great. It's one aspect of her Boom character I'd like to see come to the mainline series.
     
  16. ChaddyFantome

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    ...Female characters being cute is sexist now?
    That.... odd statement aside, I think you are selling Amy just a tad short in that game. Sure she shows up and gets kidnapped, but Amy got to Little Planet on her own and went there of her own initiative. That's something worth commending. And while not things that happen IN CD, Amy becomes a more active and hardworking character in all the proceeding games between CD and her eventual redesign in SA1, taking initiative to want to participate in the adventures such as Sonic R and Sonic The Fighters. Her initial game had her be a damsel in distress but she certainly didn't stay as such, and pretty much immediately her focus went towards wanting to be a part of the action too and be a part of Sonic's adventures. I think it's worth giving the character merit in this regard as it shows that they wanted more of her pretty much immediately after her debut than simply being that pink hedgehog Sonic save that one time.

    Quite frankly, I'm not sure with this "stalker" narrative started, but it never made sense to me. In Sonic X in particular, Amy isn't ever "chasing Sonic around". She lives at the Thorndyke's residence and is most of the time minding her own business, only getting involved with the action when she is crossed or someone she cares about is crossed. She is a part of the core friend group in the show. Where does this "stalker" thing come from?

    I can get it more in the games, where Amy is often looking for Sonic's location, but it really seems unfortunate to me Amy is singled out for this. Sonic is a guy that is always on the move and is comfortable leaving his companions behind in search of more adventure. Pursuing Sonic isn't this thing Amy does exclusively. Tails and even Knuckles and crew have done it as well because, well, that just kind of comes with the territory with wanting to hang out with a guy that doesn't sit still.
    And yet, Amy seems the one exclusively accused of stalker behavior in this regard. If I had to guess it would be precisely because of her affection for him, but...why does it matter? Amy enjoys hanging out with Sonic and going on adventures with him just as Tails or other tagalongs he has had over the course of the series. And to do that, she has to find where he is. It just comes with the territory. Her dynamic with Sonic simply differing from Tails in this respect in that unlike him who sees Sonic as a big brother and role model, Amy wants more out of the relationship. And I don't see why this is wrong or invalid or what the issue with that is. Its certainly less cookie-cutter and a lot more interesting. It's not really something you see too often in big media icons, and comes with a lot of unique flavor.

    What I would presume is what it fundamentally comes down to is the individuals preexisting opinions of the characters' presence in general acting as a sort of lens through which the character is viewed, as I've seen quite a few people who have described Amy as such but like her anyway (even though I would disagree with given descriptions of her). And why that lens would exist can come down to a multitude of things.
    I'm not gonna try to attribute any to anyone as that would be rather incendiary and would be missing the point of my post, but I would say that a notable one would be people's understanding of the nature of Sonic's avoidance of Amy in general. After all, people have a tendency to side with the protagonist by default on things, so it would be easy for people to see Sonic's avoiding her meaning something is fundamentally bad about Amy or that we are meant to view her as bad or wrong in her pursuit of Sonic. (Even though we aren't supposed to see it that way based on multiple statements and source material).
    The writers I would say might not have always done the best job of showing the audience that Sonic doesn't hate Amy or that we are meant to see her as a good person and an ally to Sonic in spite of him being uncomfortable with her flirting. But I would also say that a part of it is also just a couple sectors of the fandom just seemingly having a predisposition to not wanting to liking her. Reasons can vary, (not liking her gameplay for example), but I have observed a tendency for certain sections in the fandom to go to rather... questionable lengths to be uncharitable with interpreting the character, even going as far as to claim behaviors or actions of the character is "inconsistent" or "illogical" for not matching this negative perception of the character they seem to have.

    What I can say About Amy though is I would be remise to go along with any statement ever made that claims Amy is somehow a "sexist character", when one of her core traits is her taking charge and making the moves on the guy she likes as opposed to just being a trophy to be won. That just seems very backwards to me. Historically, Amy being a strong, active, having backbone and taking charge were always the things people commended about the character in regards to that whole discussion, or at least, that's always how I remember it growing up, particularly when people would compare her to characters such as Princess Peach.

    Yea, that exactly. That ticked me off. Early Shippuden Sakura actually made me really like her, but then she went off a cliff.

    I hear this said by people and yet when asked to describe what Boom Amy's character is even supposed to be, I rarely get an answer. Really if I had to be charitable, I would say the most she really gets as any sort of plus is just that Boom Sonic makes his friendship with her more overt, so the audience (who are predisposed to go along with what Sonic thinks as I mention above) just goes "Oh well Sonic likes her around so I should too".
    I'd argue Boom Amy actually displays far more overtly "creepy stalker" tendencies than Amy has in any of the games or shows prior, such as having a life-sized Sonic doll or secretly fawning over a picture of him she keeps stashed in her purse. Whereas Amy's pursuit of Sonic in the games was always depicted as earnest and innocent along with her openness about it.
    I personally find Boom Amy very....boring. She just seems like a stock female western cartoon lead you could pick out of any other cartoon in Boom. Though I did like some things with her like her playing that one fuzzy puppies board game with Eggman or the episode where she forms a bond with the Buzzbomber.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2021
  17. Dek Rollins

    Dek Rollins

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    Boom is probably the most sexist portrayal Amy has had, honestly. At worst she acts like a straight up "karen" stereotype or an actual stalker creep. Otherwise she's simply obnoxious or fairly uninteresting as a character most of the time. The majority of her existence in the show is just whatever the writers need the "girl" character for at any given time. Which is a far worse look in my opinion than Amy's innocent crush of old.

    This entire reading of her character is placing constant emphasis on the idea that her crush on Sonic is all she had before Boom saved her from the pits of sexism, which is just not true. You're also implying that Sonic and Amy weren't legitimately friends in the Adventure games and Heroes, which also isn't true. It just looks like you're trying really hard to see Amy's past portrayals in the absolute worst light possible on purpose. Amy was never a stalker in the Adventure games.
     
  18. Anyone else find it a bit problematic that we're so quick to accuse Amy of being sexist?
     
  19. Really, I think I know why this entire discussion is happening, and it's all because of a singular moment in Sonic Heroes that happened to not be written well.

    "This time there's no way outta marrying me!"

    "Sonic, give up! This time you're mine... <3"

    Remove those two lines, or even just swap them with the fight's Chocola and Froggy dialouge and suddenly Amy doesn't come across as creepy in the moment anymore.

    Boom Amy is awful, I've watched the show a ton and I hate how much they feel the need to rely on female stereotypes and outright Karen behaviors to make her "funny".

    No, I never have once. Never once did I see Pre-Boom Amy as negatively stereotyping females. In fact, it was Boom Amy that got called out by Knuckles for "undermining gender equality". Show me where Pre-Boom Amy got called out for shit like that and I will redact everything I have said.

    P.S. My stance here is that sexism/sexist stereotypes should not be glorified with cartoon portrayals such as Boom's depiction of Amy, and that equality is very important, and I don't think Pre-Boom Amy negatively affected that to the extent that Boom Amy did. Boom Amy was awful anytime she was onscreen- I do not like her.
     
  20. I mean, it goes both ways? Like, maybe I'm just fucking dumb, but I legitimately cannot see why Pre or post Boom Amy are deemed by "sexist" by a large portion of the community. Maybe she's not the most interesting character and a large part of her personality does indeed revolve around more important figures around her, but Jesus Christ we're treating her like she's setting woman back to the 50's with how some people are describing her.

    She's just a girl with a, sometimes overly affectionate, Crush on the main character. Even in Boom, all they really did was just give her other traits besides that and made the attraction more mutual but the foundation is there.