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Sonic the Hedgehog & Dragon Ball – Influences and Inspiration

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by YuTwo, Jun 2, 2024.

  1. YuTwo

    YuTwo

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    Hello folks of Sonic Retro! I have finished up my fourth article now. This one is about how Akira Toriyama and his Dragon Ball series influenced aspects of the Sonic series.
    This wasn’t an article I was originally planning on doing but with Toriyama passing away there has since been information revealed that I think is worth compiling together.

    No, I will not do character comparisons in this article (I will briefly touch on the subject but it will not be the focus of it) as I think most of them are so superficial by just taking surface level traits between two characters from each series. This excludes Shadow and Silver from this because they both have actually been at least confirmed to have been influenced from Dragon Ball characters.

    I will write about actual confirmed statements on how Dragon Ball influenced Sonic. Here are examples of what you will learn from the article:

    -Yasushi Yamaguchi, a designer for Sonic 2 and the character creator of Tails, has said that Sonic and Tails relationship was modeled after Piccolo and Kid Gohan.

    -I will provide posts Yamaguchi also made in regards to the creation of Super Sonic. I will show two new pieces of artwork he made of Super Sonic. Along with all that I will show a post he made where he seemingly confirms Super Sonic was based off the Super Saiyan form.

    -A Sonic CD staff member saying that the team requested for Toei to get the Dragon Ball animators.

    -The Sonic 3 Blue Spheres special stages being based off King Kai’s planet. Most people know this information off of the Shmuplations website but it didn’t provide an exact source so I went ahead and messaged the site to ask them for it and through that I found the true source to the info so people can cite it.

    -Concept art for Shadow showing bullet points for character keywords and one of them turned out to say Vegeta.

    -Silver being described as Trunks within a document that was leaked. Most people know about this from that document but Shiro Maekawa, the writer for several Sonic games including Sonic 06, had also made a statement on it.

    -Information on Hyper Sonic and how it was pitched to be in Sonic Frontiers but was rejected. The reasoning being that Sonic Team does not want power creep to occur and one statement made by Aaron Webber, a social media brand manager, alluding to Dragon Ball in regards to this.

    I will also show other things the Sonic series may have been inspired by from Dragon Ball but have not had exact confirmations on, though I think are still worth bringing up.

    Not only will I talk about how Sonic was influenced by Dragon Ball but I will also talk about how Toriyama himself was influenced by other media such as Star Wars, Terminator, Superman, Journey to the West, and Jackie Chan films. I think it is interesting to share and to demonstrate that artists and creatives will pull from other sources and put them into their own creations.

    Okay now here is where I ask for help from the Sonic community. I have three requests that I would like to get investigated further that I write about in the article.

    1 - There have been claims that the green eyes in the Super Sonic sprites from Sonic 3 were unintentional. The claim seems to have originated from a tweet that has since been apparently deleted as I was not able to find it:
    https://ia800301.us.archive.org/34/items/sonic-db-ref/TWT-Sonic3-Green_Eyes1.png

    If anyone else here is knowledgeable in ROM hacking can they please verify if this claim is true.

    2 - Currently the Sonic Fandom Wiki page says that the Sonic Riders Extreme Gear called “Hovercraft”, the one that is a rideable cloud, has the Japanese name of “きんとうん” which is apparently the same Japanese name of the Flying Nimbus from Dragon Ball
    https://web.archive.org/web/20230320231804/https://sonic.fandom.com/wiki/Hovercraft

    https://dragonball.fandom.com/wiki/Flying_Nimbus

    If anyone can get a Japanese copy of Riders and get a screenshot of the “Hovercraft” possibly showing that name then I would like to see it.

    3 - I saw a Twitter post where it said that within the filenames of Sonic Frontiers it says Spirit Bomb albeit spelled “spritBomb” for one of the attacks done by “Supreme”
    https://twitter.com/DatSquishyFello/status/1766316047312035928

    https://archive.ph/o87mK

    https://web.archive.org/web/2024060...m/media/GIM3AMXbEAAi_Yz?format=png&name=small

    I would like to see if anyone else can verify this.

    If no one wants to look into any of these three subjects then I will understand as well.

    If you enjoyed this article then check out my previous three articles if you would like to read them as well
    https://forums.sonicretro.org/index...oshi-okano-his-influence-to-the-series.41046/

     
  2. Kilo

    Kilo

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    S1 - Metal Sonic's Challenge, Sonic 1 Rev01 ASMX Disasm
    Not sure where the claim of "earlier palette data" comes from. As this is Sonic's palette in both the final version and the November 3rd 1993 prototype.
    upload_2024-6-2_12-2-27.png
    The green is right in the middle of the palette, not in the 0x0 or transparent index. Or 0x1 where black used to be in Sonic 1/2, and nowhere near the black colour used in S3.
    Super Sonic's eyes are supposed to be green. But I'd wager the example there was just a case of some weird artifacting from scaling the sprite down.
     
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  3. Brainulator

    Brainulator

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    Relevant video, courtesy of @Chainspike:
     
  4. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    We can't necessarily prove it's a direct reference to Dragon Ball, as the Kinto'un comes from Journey to the West. But its description in the English game is interesting.
    Depending on what the Japanese description says, this could be a reference to the first anime opening of Dragon Ball, "Makafushigi Adventure". Try as I might, I couldn't find a Japanese playthrough on Youtube that shows the cloud. But the next best thing is the official strategy guide:
    [​IMG]
    Or something like that. This isn't what the description in the game says though, so I have no idea unless someone can play the game up to that point.
     
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  5. BlackHole

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    Since this is a thread about it, a common comparison between Dragon Ball and Sonic the Hedgehog that I feel like we shouldn't be including the Chaos Emeralds just because there's seven. Seven is a significant number in Japanese culture, and Buddism, and is considered extremely lucky, to the point the 7th of July, 2007, was the busiest wedding period. Hence elements like the Shichifukujin, or Seven Gods of Fortune and the tanabata star festival that happens on the 7th of June every year.

    It's honestly just so ingrained in the culture, so the number of seven could very well just be because of seven being a significant number. And before it's noted there were six Chaos Emeralds at the start, the US Bible mentions the seventh Chaos Emerald (of South Island, different thread topic), and was written before Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega Drive) released: still wondering if they were just extremely lucky (heh) or if they had a document from SEGA of Japan that mentioned a missing seventh Chaos Emerald, but either way better to play it safe.

    Beyond that, the Chaos Emeralds operate very differently to the Dragon Balls.
    The Dragon Balls are one wish (later two) deals that enable any power or act (with a few limits, like multires and turning cyborgs back to humans for some reason?). The Chaos Emeralds are more passively active constantly, while the Dragon Balls need to be actively engaged.

    This is just one of those things that's always bothered me. That's not to say Dragon Ball elements were later added, like Tails' Jewel Radar to track them in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and the rumour that they could grant wishes in Sonic Adventure: Navigation Guide, though I think the only wish we've seen them grant is "revive the main character" in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), but I digress...

    The Super Form is definitely a Dragon Ball reference, though.
     
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  6. Ch1pper

    Ch1pper

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    Wait, what's this? It isn't ringing any bells for me.
     
  7. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    In the Japanese manual, it mentions Tails having invented a Jewel Radar that was picking up a powerful Chaos Emerald signal (the Master Emerald).


    Presumably, it's either the basis of or the same device he uses in Sonic Riders.

    [​IMG]

    Which does look like the Dragon Radar Bulma invented.
     
  8. Ch1pper

    Ch1pper

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    Ah, right, that.
    It's such an odd little thing to mention in the S3 manual and nowhere else (until Riders).

    How was it never branded with the obvious title of Chaos Radar?
    "Homage" DB yet again and with more of the Sonic series' "Chaos ____" naming scheme to boot. Win-win!
     
  9. HEDGESMFG

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    Something I'd like to bring up that we've been discussing in the "Truth of 50 years ago" thread...

    A lot of the fandom assumes similarities between Shadow and Vegeta, mostly due to them both occupying a rival trope of sorts, as well as Shadow's status as a villain turned anti-hero, and a bit of the attitude he displays in the various english dub versions.

    But that attitude honestly isn't seen much in Japanese Shadow's characterization at all. He's generally a very soft spoken, quiet, observant individual who only tends to display aggressive emotions in battle. Compared to Vegeta, who is almost the polar opposite of this, and often uses bravado to intimidate his opponents in both Z and Super. His latest form in the manga is literally named "Ultra Ego", because it closely syncs with the prideful traits he's known for displaying. That's not to say he doesn't have quieter more sombre moments himself, but rather, it's a very, very sharp contrast to how Maekawa era Shadow was written and originally intended to be. I don't doubt that Vegeta was at one point an inspiration for the character, but only in an extremely loose trope inspired sense, related to all the other ways being discussed in this thread where DB inspires Sonic material.






    The Shadow the hedgehog that Japan knows is different in many ways from the one western fans came to know. I'm not making any judgement here over those who prefer him one way or another, I'm just pointing out how much can get lost in translation sometimes. Personally speaking, I picked up on this when I worked on the early fansubs for the SA2 arc of Sonic X many years ago, and it's one of the reasons I still have a hard time watching the dub of Sonic X now, even if I really like the majority of the english cast. These same localization changes applied to games like Shadow 2005 as well, which was in numerous ways radically different from its original script. Nearly all of the hilarious memes we laugh at now just weren't there.
     
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  10. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    It's not an assumption; it's literally confirmed as an inspiration for the character.
    [​IMG]

    But yes, it's not as if Shadow follows Vegeta's character to a T, it's just the more basic surface-level stuff. Looks kinda like the protagonist, same race, evil, came from space, emerged from a pod, thinks he's the chosen one, shoots laser beams, "I am the ultimate lifeform/Prince of all Saiyans", etc. And keep in mind, this was written when the character was first concepted, and that art makes him out to be more cocky and brazen like Vegeta was during his first arc.

    It is rather suspicious though that both SA2 and Sonic 06 have new hedgehogs, who have development material saying they're "basically [DBZ character]", and both of them were written by Maekawa, so I'm pretty sure the idea of Shadow and Silver being similar analogues to DBZ characters was Maekawa's and not some higher-up chasing a trend. Silver is much more similar to his DBZ counterpart, though. Funnily enough, Sonic Team seemed to understand the implications of this, and attempted to avoid them in 06 by having Shadow persecuted and sealed away between Iblis's awakening and Silver's birth.
     
  11. HEDGESMFG

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    When I said "assumes" I wasn't denying that the design document mentioned vegeta (that already came up early in this thread and is an established fact, as you said), I just noticed that the similarities gradually disappeared after that early design phase, particularly if you followed Meakawa's original JPN interpretation of the character. The English Dubs make the character a bit more overtly emotional, rash and quick to anger, which I think is one additional reason western fans would often compare the 2 characters.

    I just wanted to further clarify how different the final depictions of both characters ended up being in Japan, not state that they have 0 similarities whatsoever or claim that Vegeta was never an inspiration for Shadow.
     
  12. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    Ok, I misunderstood your post then. But still, I think the interpretation of Shadow being Vegeta doesn't just come from the dub versions of those 2000s era games, it comes from games like Generations, Boom, Forces, IDW, and probably the upcoming movie will continue that personality as well. And while the original pre-2011 Japanese characterization of Shadow might be wildly different, the same cannot be said for the more modern titles, where you can tell the Western localizations of these characters have been bleeding into the Japanese scripts for quite a while now. It doesn't help that 2000s era flash movies and YT videos pushed the Vegeta thing too, which spread like wildfire throughout the fandom.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2024
  13. Vegeta might have been an early concept for Shadow, but he clearly diverged into something else later in development.

    That being said, the Western marketing really leaned into Shadow's more aggressive traits, which made it a lot easier for audiences to see where the influence came from.


    I think the tipping point is when Shadow's original story from SA2 to 06 concluded and Sega decided to slot him as Sonic's rival primarily.
     
  14. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    Indeed. Vegeta as an inspiration is different to Vegeta as a characterisation.

    Shadow and Vegeta share the backstory of being embittered by their 'people' (those on the ARK and those of the Saiyans) being wiped out by a larger organisation (the Planet Trade Organisation and G.U.N.), but Shadow diverges in action: he mourns Maria, and as soon as he remembers Maria's final wish, immediately regrets, repents and goes to stop his actions. Vegeta, meanwhile, outright kills one of the last of his people outside himself and Goku (Nappa) and is fairly unrepentant about his past actions, while obsessing over surpassing Goku's strength.

    Very different actions, but similarities enough to see the inspiration.

    Still, probably best to leave that be there, since this topic tends to get... heated.
     
  15. Cooljerk

    Cooljerk

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    Kintoun in this context is 100% a reference to dragon ball. This is because Kintoun is a japanese pronunciation of Jin Dou Yun from the chinese Journey to the West, except they don't refer to the same thing. Jin Dou Yun is a *technique* that allows one to ride on *any* cloud, it means "somersaulting off clouds" roughly. In Journey to the West, Son Wukong summersaults off of multiple clouds at a time, bouncing from one to another, to travel great distances, instead of having a singular, flying cloud. Kintoun, refering to a specific, singular, flying cloud, is a very Dragon Ball thing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2024
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