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

    57 vote(s)
    58.8%
  2. Adventure Era (SA1 - SH) Characterization

    51 vote(s)
    52.6%
  3. Dark Era (ShTH - SU) Characterization

    13 vote(s)
    13.4%
  4. Modern Era (SC - SF) Characterization

    13 vote(s)
    13.4%
  5. Other

    12 vote(s)
    12.4%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. I voted only classic haha.

    The problem I have with the adventure sonic and the 2000s in general has been mentioned by others. Sonic turns into a generic do-gooder hero type and his general attitude is largely transferred into Shadows character. Half the reason I liked Sonic as a kid was because of his impatience (and he was a slight a$$hole), it made him do cool stuff without being a try hard and acting cool, like he's trying to convince us constantly in the post classic era. Sonic is just dull here in general though, too many characters get shine and the stories aren't focused enough as a result.

    The problem I have with the modern era is that the rest of the cast is useless and tails in particular is annoying. He was somewhat annoying in the classic era but only in the cute little brother type that gets on your nerves sort of way. In the modern games he's just cringey. Knuckles is also dumb and in the classic era I never got the impression he was stupid, just naive because he didn't have interactions with other people often. In fact in sonic 3, knuckles outwitted Sonic virtually the entire campaign until the end.

    I pretend the dark age doesn't exist.
     
  2. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    Sonic in Adventure spends most of the time complaining about Tails, Knuckles or Eggman and spends significant time dissing all three (and even Amy and Gamma a little). He's mad he can't just enjoy a nice moment of peace and quiet, and by the end of his campaign is just straight up "I hate Eggman" and has had enough of everyone's noise, even Tikal's (like half the reason he fights Perfect Chaos is because he has beef with Tikal's way of resolving things). Maybe he's a bit lighter-hearted and more carefree in SA2, but even then he's kind of a "run from the cops" punkass who's more caught up in the philosophy of who he is than some righteous morale, haha.

    Hardly a straight edge do-gooder by any stretch, more of just a bullheaded heart-of-gold anime protag. It's only Heroes where he starts to become laser focused on "lets be heroes" (I mean it's in the name), and that leads into the actual place where he's like as you describe: "the dark age" or whatever we should call it.
     
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  3. The interpretations about Sonic's characterization in the series is why this fandom will never be at peace lol.


    He's either accused of being "obnoxious" or "a generic do gooder" and it feels like there's no in between.

    A more nuanced take is that he's somewhere in between. Sonic can be very obnoxious when he's in your face, but he's still not as staightlaced as the likes Shadow or Knuckles. I think people try too hard to see their idealized image of the character as opposed to just taking him as he is. Which is understandable because Sonic's personality varies depending on who is writing him.
     
  4. ChaddyFantome

    ChaddyFantome

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    I mean, he refers to themselves as "Sonic Heroes" but that's really the short and long of it.
    In terms of his actual behavior, he is still very much the same "I do what I want" guy that stops bad people more because he doesn't agree with it and likes a challenge more so than out of some sense of duty and responsibility.
    Throughout Heroes, he is constantly talking about Eggman's newest plan like its a party or event he doesn't wanna miss out on. And when he defeats Metal Sonic, he tells him to come at him again better next time, welcoming the challenge.
     
  5. Blastfrog

    Blastfrog

    Cranky Cynic Member
    Credit where it's due, it seems that the SA2 English script made a strong effort to stay faithful to the Japanese original. SA1 on the other hand, not so much.

    The opening of the OVA embodies this as well. I find it strange how people take issue with it, it seems fitting to me.
     
  6. Gestalt

    Gestalt

    Sphinx in Chains Member
    Not just the character himself, but his theme song as well. All Hail Shadow just ain't it. :V I know a character shouldn't be restricted to something like a theme song, but damn, I just love how well Throw It All Away fitted the tone and mood of Shadow's character arc in SA2.
     
  7. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    Is it possible it's the difference between how Izuka views Shadow vs how Maekawa viewed Shadow? The game that seems to have done the most damage to the character is ShtH which Izuka wrote, while the games more faithful to Shadow as a character have been written or partially written by Maekawa. I'd hate to throw the guy under the bus since I think he's actively trying to maintain consistency despite Sega's higher-ups, but it does have me curious.
     
  8. Gestalt

    Gestalt

    Sphinx in Chains Member
    Iizuka-san, Maekawa-san and Hoshino-san should have a nice long chat about this. :V
     
  9. ChaddyFantome

    ChaddyFantome

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    I'm gonna have to disagree with you here. All Hail Shadow is a perfectly fitting song that makes perfect sense for his character. And while Throw It All Away gives a lot of insight into him, a lot of that insight is restricted specifically to SA2.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
  10. Gestalt

    Gestalt

    Sphinx in Chains Member
    Haha, no worries. The only thing that I find mildly off-putting about All Hail Shadow is that it sounds like a biker song or something.
     
  11. Well SA2 was also directed by Iizuka sooo.

    I think Iizuka just portrayed Shadow as what he thought many Americans liked at the time.
     
  12. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    Much as I like Throw It All Away, my personal favorite characterization of Shadow's was 06 (about the only thing that game did right): He's dealt with his past, put it behind him, and is free to just be a badass. All Hail Shadow definitely fits that version of Shadow better.
     
  13. ChaddyFantome

    ChaddyFantome

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    I've seen this idea of this supposed dissonance between Maekawa's take on Shadow vs Iizuka's, but I think a lot of people tend to forget that Iizuka is, well, Japanese, and that the original Japanese is a more accurate take on what Iizuka had in mind.
    And for my money, that script really doesnt betray Shadow's character at all.
    Most of people's issues seem to stem from changes and choices made in localization.

    For instance, all the swearing Shadow does is noticeably absent, as are the more crass remarks
     
  14. Laura

    Laura

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    I think it's also easy to get too caught up on who wrote/directed a game. Someone can work on something good and then seemingly go against everything against what it stood for shortly afterwards. A good example in my opinion is Final Fantasy 7, where the writer Nojima also went to work on Advent Children and the Remake: I think both are trainwreckss which completely fail to caputre what made the original great.

    I think the same can be said about Life is Strange 2. I was baffled by how awful it was that I looked up the development team, and sure enough, it was made by the same key people who made Life is Strange 1. The director Michel Koch, who was one of the main brains of LiS1 seems to genuinely believe LiS2 is a far superior game. I have no idea why, but he clearly does.

    So Iizuka could have made Shadow a compelling character in SA2 and then continue to have completely messed him up in future installments.
     
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  15. BadBehavior

    BadBehavior

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    Besides, it doesn't matter who wrote them back then, what matters is who's writing him now. And no matter who it is, it's not good.
     
  16. True, things change with time, and unfortunately for the worst.

    I don't know who decided on Shadow's modern characterization, but I honestly have to wonder the intent; his fans aren't happy and nobody outside his fanbase seems to care one way or the other.

    So I have to wonder, who are they trying to appeal to?
     
  17. Forte

    Forte

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    I don't know how accurate that Japanese translation is, but... damn. In Colours and Lost World, English Sonic sounds like an asshole, while Japanese Sonic is more consistent with his earlier characterisation.
     
  18. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    I was about to respond with "No one's writing him now at all!", and then I remembered Shadow is in Forces.
     
  19. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    To be honest, my point was more to do with the fact that Izuka is likely the one who issued the recent mandates about how these characters are portrayed and may have developed the current view of Shadow while writing for ShtH. Again, not sure if there's merit to that or not, but I think it's something we should consider.