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. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

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    Again I feel like ultimately it's hard to dodge stereotypes because the Sonic cast are so prominently cartoonish (and in fairness often taking away those details tends to make them boring and lacking a 'core' per se). I really feel Amy is no more stereotypically sexist in its depiction of girls than say, the 90s Archie females were, who were maybe glamorised as competent at face value, but still largely existed as tokens or love interests, and actually tended to play old tropes perfectly straight while the likes of Amy and Peach at least make fun of a lot of them. I'd rather have a stereotypical shell but with a developed substance to them, over a progressive shell but with no real substance to back it.

    I feel like Heroes Amy was the 'franchise original sin', it started a lot of bad trends and had some worrying signs of bad character directions, but largely she was handled okay, if anything she got some natural development in that game.

    I feel like Sonic X and the spin off games that followed it tended to hinge on those bad ideas over the good too often, along with some other characters like Knuckles. What were originally quirks moderated to pepper their characters and give them whimsy were dominating their personalities and their dynamics. The gag focus also got a bit too mean spirited. Amy and Knuckles' roles in the main group often seemed reminiscent of a Cartman or Zoidberg type, that one obnoxious, pathetic character no one in the group really likes and only keeps around because they either feel obligated or because they make a fun punching bag (or in Amy's case, because they'll murder them if they don't :P). Even Cream is reflexively insulting them in Rush. Say what you will about the eras before and after, but it felt like for all their arguing and quirks, they successfully shown the cast LIKED each other to some level, even super bungling Knuckles in Boom was not just the unpopular butt monkey like his X era counterpart.

    I feel like they often miss the point about Amy, she never really felt like an 'AMY SMASH!' type originally, nor a smart computer girl like she is now. Amy was resourceful, her hammer was not a super weapon, but something she utilised in a clever way to keep up with everyone. She was the 'mortal' of a bunch of super powered characters, almost a super peppy Batman if you will. Amy weaponised her childlike bubbliness and her smarts with her toy hammer to be an efficient heroine and even a team leader. That side of her doesn't have to be homogenised.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2021
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  2. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    Another aspect we have to keep in mind about Amy is that she consistently sees the good in people. In some ways, one could argue she's the moral compass of the group.

    In Adventure she sees the good in this Eggman robot which up until that point had been depicted as mindless machines you were to destroy or be destroyed by, terrible creations that housed kidnapped woodland creatures and furthered the pursuit of world domination. Still though, she sees that somewhere deep down, this robot might be redeemable, that he may have a heart buried away inside him, and that he deserves a chance to pursue that. She goes so far as to stand in the way of Sonic actively destroying Gamma and Sonic stands down because he trusts Amy's judgment.

    I think this trait is a bit more overt in her scene with Shadow in Adventure 2. Yet again, she views this black hedgehog who has seemingly framed Sonic for his crimes, who is carrying out the genocidal machinations of a twisted "mad scientist" as someone who has a kind spirit deep down. She doesn't care that he's done all of these terrible things (especially to the guy who she's supposedly psychotically, axe-crazy about) she cares about the good see sees inside him that could be cultivated. Even more so, she appeals to him by claiming that while humanity can be ungrateful, selfish, and vindictive like Gerald claimed, they're good deep down inside so long as they "try their best and never give up on their wishes". She intrinsically, perhaps naively, believes that deep down humanity is full of good people who just need and deserve the opportunity or the chance to be happy, to have the opportunity to "live for their dreams".

    I think a good way to explain it is that she's someone who won't judge a book by its cover and will give people a second chance in order to see them redeem themselves. She's not to be crossed lightly and she won't go easy on those who refuse that chance or take that chance away from people like Eggman, but she wants to give people the chance to be happy. In some way, that philosophy of always pursuing your dreams in order to be happy is why she keeps chasing after Sonic, and perhaps that's why Sonic allows her to chase him (because let's face it, he can totally ditch her if he wanted to) even if she can go overboard at times. Amy is an idealist.
     
  3. almeda

    almeda

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    Amy is definitely one of my favourite characters. A lot of people tend to overlook her abilities and the good things about her because of her crush on Sonic and the way she was characterised at some moments in the series. I feel like the IDW comics and some moments in Sonic X is where her character really shines. She’s a hopeless romantic, but she’s a hot headed, determined, fearless fighter at heart. She is willing to do her best when faced with a challenge, and believes heavily in herself. These are the sides of her people don’t tend to notice about her, which is why I liked her characterisation in the show and in the IDW comics (particularly in the last two seasons). She believes that anything is possible if she puts her mind to it; she managed to make a robot see reason. She jumps in to rescue Sonic from Prison Island because she allows her immense love to push her forward and give her the motivation to do so (insert Normani reference here lol). She makes new friends with a lost civilisation and decides to help them get their world back. There’s definitely a lot of misogyny placed on her because she’s a female character; female characters are not able to express romantic desires without being seen as one dimensional by people.
     
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  4. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

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    I feel this is another reason I felt Boom Amy worked okay, since the writers even outright stated accurately how they thought Amy worked, that Amy was usually the first to voice sympathy for even characters like Eggman, but would show her wrath if they bit the hand that fed them. That good balance of her compassionate insightful side and her quirky temperamental one, and where one chains the other.

    I feel like a problem with some takes is they don't mesh those two elements great. I always felt the Adventure 2 moment with Shadow felt a bit out of nowhere for example, maybe because I was so used to the bratty berserker rage Amy of X (likely why they omitted that part from the anime, though even for Adventure 1, I feel X era Amy would have just tried to turn Gamma into a scrap pile). Meanwhile current Amy just barely has energy to her at all. The rare times they get the balance right shows she has all the pieces for a well rounded character, just they aren't often pieced together well.

    This is something I question with Knuckles as well. Very often he is hot headed and distrusting, yet the running gag of him being gullible around Eggman has been kept. There's a potential for an interesting dynamic there, but it's not really meshed together, so it just looks like an isolated idiot ball Knuckles always holds.
     
  5. Sonic characters are generally written around the plot and what the writers are attempting for at the time, as opposed to characters being written by building off existing traits of there's.

    So Amy tends to vary on being an obnoxious brat, am empathetic girl who sees the good in people, or whatever the hell she's supposed to be nowadays, depending on what the writers want.

    That's why I think there's no sense of balance; Amy (and most Sonic characters for that matter) are treated as plot devices first and characters second.


    The same is especially true for Boom, given its slice of life, sitcoms style. Amy's hobbies and temperament depends on the joke.


    To put it simply, she suffers from a bad case of Depending on the Writer.
     
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  6. Boxer Hockey

    Boxer Hockey

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    No. Her goal is to find Sonic. Yes, she is also helping her friends but her PRIMARY goal is to find Sonic. Even if she joins the fight later her impetus to track down Eggman is literally: "Find Eggman and I'll find MY Sonic."
    Your argument is that is her main goal wasn't Sonic she would have DITCHED her friends? That's absurd. She's not a villain, ffs.
    The JP manual entry for Amy is literally: "An energetic girl in love with love who chases after Sonic. It's hard to get him to look back at her, but she runs around without a care in the world. She is an action-oriented girl, and today she is wielding a Piko Piko Hammer as she searches all around for Sonic."
    Her first line in the script is wondering where Sonic is, and her last line in the script is yelling after him. She is also helping her friends along the way, but Sonic is her PRIMARY goal and focus in the story. Cheese wants Chocola, Big wants Froggy, Amy wants Sonic. It's literally that simple. All their wants are conveniently intertwined, but they each have their own. Again, from the JP manual: "Amy is still very much in love with Sonic, but she hasn't heard from him in a while and is worried about him. When she was troubled by the lack of clues to find him, she happened to see a picture of Sonic in a newspaper article! Amy visits the newspaper company to get more information and meets Cream and Big there, who were also at the company to ask about the same photo. Big is looking for his friend "Froggy" and Cream is looking for Chocola, the twin of Cheese the Chao, who is always with her.
    Thus, the three members who came together because of one photo formed a team and began to search for their missing friends."

    Again, no. An apt metaphor would be blaming the ember for starting the fire. It wasn't some coincidental breaking down of a car, it was intentional and negligent to the character. Just because other games went further doesn't absolve Heroes because it had the courtesy to throw in a whopping one line mentioning the emerald. Heroes arbitrarily divorced Knuckles from one of his primary traits to fit the game mechanic of "teams of 3" and then ST chose to never go back.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2021
  7. E-122-Psi

    E-122-Psi

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    I do agree with this, and it's why I don't think Heroes is a full demonstration of Amy as a character, but at the same time, maybe that's why I kinda liked Team Rose in Heroes, since they felt the most character motivated individually. Not just one team all with the same motives (Team Dark is sort of similar though they do genericify in later entries).

    At the same time, while they are a 'round up the spares' team, I like the bond and synergy they get throughout the story that makes clear they have grown to care for each other. Big becomes protective of Cream, Amy's exuberance perks up the team on several occasions, etc. It sorta works to make them the team that start off with the least advantage and make the best of it. They're not an established team yet, but they are flexible.
     
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  8. Pengi

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    I don't see it. Amy, Cream and Big's relationships at the end of the game are the same as they were at the start of the game.
     
  9. ChaddyFantome

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    I don't see how any of this counters to my statement? Yes, Amy wants to find Sonic on a personal level, but her primary focus throughout the game is helping Cream and Big as evidenced by the fact she spends more time tending to that and prioritizes it over trying to find Sonic, and when Sonic stops aligning with what their collective interest is, she shifts to helping them instead of trying to keep it focused on Sonic. When she is looking for Sonic in the story, it is when she believes all 3 of their goals lie with finding Sonic, but once she clues into the fact "Eggman" is actually behind it, she squarely focuses on Cream and Big finding Chocola and Froggy because Sonic is secondary. Off the top of my head, she has a line where she says "Let's go find Chocola and Froggy now" (no mention of Sonic) after defeating the Egg Albatross. She talks about Eggman being responsible for a kidnapping them in the following cutscenes, Frog Forest to Robot storm, no mention of Sonic. Only of Chocola and Froggy. I.. dunno what to tell you more in this regard.
    As for the "Amy isn't the villain" comment, Amy doesn't have to be a "villain" for her to act logically within the context of her "supposed primary goal being to find Sonic". Sonic himself is content to leave his friends behind for his interests. And Amy leaves them behind at the end of Sonic Heroes itself in the last story. It is also something she has done in other games when they didn't have a reason to stick by people to help them. It's in stark contrast to say, Sonic 06, where Amy agrees to help Silver find who he is looking for, but first prioritizes finding Sonic overtly.
    There isn't a point in Heroes' story where Amy's supposed primary fixation on finding Sonic creates a conflict of interest with her or the team by comparison. Again, she squarely shifts to primarily helping Cream and Big throughout the story as soon as they start suspecting Eggman has em instead.
    I..dunno what else to say beyond giving the playthrough another go?

    I couldn't disagree more. The reality is unless every story going forward was going to revolve around Knuckles, the Master Emerald and Angel island, it was always going to cause issues and already HAD caused issues well before the games even went 3D, let alone when we got Heroes. Why is Knuckles on Flicky Island? Why is Knuckles in Triple Trouble? Why is Knuckles fighting in the Sonic The Fighters tournament? Why is he racing in Sonic R? Where is his duty to the Master Emerald factor in in those games? It's a complication with Knuckles as a result of his character as opposed to strictly being a result of "neglect adopted in Heroes". A complication characters such as Tails, Amy, Metal Sonic, Rouge or Shadow do not share.

    I think Knuckles has comments about missing his island and not feeling comfortable in some of the locations? But I digress. I don't see the logic in singling Heroes out as some problem child here when it was neither the first, most egregious or the game strictly at fault for any perceived shift with the character, especially when it does have the courtesy to acknowledge and respect the fact he does have a job he should be doing, giving the player the sense at least that he is leaving his post temporarily to contribute to a greater cause. I also don't see the sense of trying to diminish the merit of the game going out of its way to acknowledge it via claiming "its just 1 line" when Heroes as a whole has much less focus on story in general. It would have been quite easy for it to have not been acknowledged to any capacity, much like games prior and after did. Heroes was a game notoriously made with the gameplay structure first and story second unlike the prior entries, so it's telling that there was an effort to respect Knuckles' character by including it in the game in whatever way they could.

    First off, he wasn't divorced from it as stated earlier the game goes out of its way to acknowledge both the Master Emerald and his island in the dialogue/flavor text. The nature of his relationship with it simply became more nuanced.
    Secondly, I find it odd to blame the team mechanic here. The team mechanic exists in service to Knuckles' inclusion by design as opposed to the other way around. They started with the desire to use Sonic Tails and Knuckles, bring back every character, and then put them into Teams to allow them all to play in the same base gameplay.
    Thirdly, there are in fact games after Heroes where the Master Emerald is involved, such as Sonic Battle, Sonic Advance 3, Sonic Rivals, and if you really wanna count them, the Allstar games as it is used in his AllStar move.
    Then of course you have things such as Sonic Mania that has it or it being featured in the Sonic Forces tie-in comic, but those are an aside.
    Again, this isn't some trend Heroes started that ST just went along with without a care in the world. For example, even the Sonic OVA has Knuckles not even have the maste Emerald so much as mentioned. The real issue is Knuckles' popularity means they felt compelled to include him constantly in some fashion and this is something that started WELL before Heroes. SA1's story involved the Island and the Master Emerald so that works. SA2's story involved the Master Emerald, but it was rather divorced from the rest of the story. Were it not for Knuckles using it to stop the cannon's core in the last story, it would be completely unrelated. It's obvious that by that point they realized doing so with the Master emerald and his island is just too much baggage to have to include in a meaningful fashion on every one of his appearances and that he would need more freedom to be allowed to be used more, so the character shifted to still having his job, but being willing to leave his post for given reasons he deemed. Now, how THAT was handled from game to game has varied in quality, but that is an issue with those individual instances as well I would argue coming down to them feeling the need to constantly include him to begin with. If Knuckles were a less liberally used character, the integrity of his job would be preserved much more. But then you will run into the issue of Knuckles fans missing him, so it still isn't even really a perfect solution.

    An example of a character with a similar issue is Blaze, since she comes from another dimension. Do you just have Blaze show up and do nothing important just to say she is here? Or do you involve her entire dimension every time just to justify her presence?

    In a series about a guy that is always on the move from one adventure to the next, characters like Knuckles, a character specifically designed to be the opposite of him, to stay put in one place like a mountain, naturally cause issues when it comes to their continued use in future titles.

    Sonic Mania had to involve Angel island again in order to validate Knuckles' presence. But every game cannot take place on or involve Angel Island forever. Not in a series about moving forward.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2021
  10. John Chrysler

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    I like Sonic. His personality is way past cool. Sonic was the best in Adventure 2 & Unleashed. Sonic CD's intro is best intro, same goes for its ending. It gives me happiness.
     
  11. Everything I like to hear :D
     
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  12. Amy is the type of character who I feel would put her friends' goals above her own, but I think Heroes' writing muddles the waters a bit, because most of her lines are revolving around finding Sonic. Like, saying she wants to help her friends over finding Sonic is a charitable interpretation...but I can see why Amy's negative reputation started in Heroes since the writing doesn't really support a positive portrayal of her.

    Heroes' writing is juvenile in writing, so I'm not too surprised it missed the mark.


    As for Knuckles; he's a catch-22 as described. Yes, Heroes was the game that set the trend of him being included without nary a mention of the Master Emerald, but who else are gonna use in a team based game with Sonic and Tails? Had they created a new character, Knuckles' fans would have hollered to the moon about it. Its a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario with Knuckles.

    If you want to use him, then writers literally need to always write around the Master Emerald since its such an integral part of his character but realistically speaking, the Master Emerald isn't always gonna be relevant and trying to artificially make it so is gonna stick out. But then if you exclude Knuckles as a result of that, fans would start complaining about him not showing up.


    As said, Angel Island has no relevance to Mania at all, but had to be included to justify Knuckles' presence and that's the type of stuff writers don't always want to deal with.
     
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  13. Boxer Hockey

    Boxer Hockey

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    seinfeld-nope.gif

    That's the problem with what Heroes did to Knuckles and the series at whole. It started the trend of just not committing to story choices. Outside of non-canon spinoffs, something as big as a character's whole mission in life had never been so casually tossed aside. If we can't commit to Knuckles being the gaurdian of the M.E. then write about him leaving the duty behind, or passing the torch. If Silver wants to keep showing then write a reason for him to just come and stay in the present. If Blaze wants to be around then write a reason for her to leave her world for awhile. These aren't story shackles, they're story possibilities that ultimately go unexplored because it's easier to just assume no one cares.
     
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  14. Josh

    Josh

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    Does anybody remember when we used to talk about slope physics? :V
     

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  15. I do! But this isn't the proper thread lol:V
     
  16. Linkabel

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    Just have Big The Cat become the second guardian of the Master Emerald so Knuckles can go on adventures.
     
  17. Sid Starkiller

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  18. From a creative standpoint, I get the developers want to be able to craft video games without having to adhere to the story. Its why Mario keeps its story lite after all. But then I have to question why would you create such an intricate setting with characters who have somewhat unconventional motivations if you didn't want to write around them????

    Its like you can easily tell where the priorities of the series shifted after a point.

    Id rather do that tbh, but this isn't the topic for it.
     
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  19. Wraith

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    My best guess is probably just a conflict of interest. Sega/Sonic Team isn't one person. There are probably some people that plan these characters to be more intricate and others that consider them more like Mario characters that just play their part on their stage in this goofy little serial.

    SEGA assumes no one cares because there's probably very few people internally that care. The other kids brands just do whatever, what's wrong with us doing it?
     
  20. Boxer Hockey

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