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The Sonic SatAM Animation Archive Thread

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Fieryfurnace, Dec 4, 2022.

  1. When was SatAM’s pilot actually made, anyway? (A contextual post)

    I’m making this post to explore the general dates the SatAM pilot was produced in, to provide some context for the new scans I show in my next posts over the week.

    SatAM has an unusual and difficult to piece together production cycle for its pilot episode, called “Heads or Tails”. It first aired on the 27th of November 1993, as episode 13 of the show’s first season. This episode has the internal production code “238-213” associated with it in the Library of Congress and DiC’s own (2006-era) archives; to break this down, it shows that it’s a Sonic episode (238), part of SatAM Season 1 (-2), and episode 13 (13).

    Well, it’s the first episode made for SatAM, but it aired as episode 13 – there’s nothing too unusual about episodes airing out of order, right?

    That’s true, but practically EVERYTHING about SatAM’s pilot is strange:

    - It’s a pilot episode (and not a short, like AoStH’s much more typical seven-minute-long pilot)
    - It’s a pilot that aired on TV (since ABC made an unusual “on-the-air commitment” when they greenlit the pilot)
    - It had its own opening animation, which was shown in July 1993 at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show, but is now lost media
    - It aired in November 1993, but all the production media preserved for it is from 1992
    - It aired as a 22-minute-long episode, but has several scenes cut out and edited down – once you notice the cuts, they start appearing everywhere throughout the episode
    - It had two directors, with one (John Grusd) being replaced mid-way through production before animation began, but the second director (Dick Sebast – the Season 1 director) goes uncredited
    - The production code associated with it in DiC’s internal archives and the Library of Congress isn’t the code it was actually produced with – all of the pilot’s model sheets have the code “238-010”, and so…
    - It’s the only DiC Sonic episode with two different production codes
    - It’s referred to as an “animated special” in both 1992 newspapers and DiC’s Season 1 prop model sheet folder, where it has its original “238-010” code. In fact, the “238-213” code doesn’t appear anywhere in Season 1’s preserved production media
    - It was announced in a British magazine to be a “one-off animated special” with an airdate of March 1993, independent of Season 1 (which began production in February 1993), but it never aired then
    - Mark Ballou (Season 1’s Rotor voice actor) recently released his audition tape for Rotor – in it, he reads lines for “Hooked on Sonics” (S1 episode 7, written in April 1993 at the earliest) – so who originally voiced Rotor for the pilot, which was supposed to be fully completed by March 1993? Was the pilot even completed by then? If it wasn’t, then it took nearly 2 years to make, which is insane, considering the entirety of Season 1 and Season 2 were both completed in around 6-7 months apiece. In the TV animation industry, and especially for DiC, two years is an eternity
    - Robby London, an executive producer of AoStH and SatAM and the vice president of DiC Enterprises at the time the show was made, remembers absolutely nothing about the pilot’s production – not in 1992, not as an animated special, nothing. In his memory, based on what is typical for the industry, he places SatAM’s production as starting in February-March 1993, which is the case for Season 1, but not the pilot/animated special. John Grusd, the first director, wasn’t around for the second half of the pilot’s production, so he doesn’t know anything about when the pilot was completed either – Len Janson (chief showrunner) and Dick Sebast (S1 director) are, as of yet and will probably remain, uncontactable.

    So when was it actually made? First – the concrete timeframe:

    Earliest concrete date: 21st of February 1992 (first revision of the series bible printed)
    Earliest concrete date of preserved media: 11th of March 1992 (second – and last – revision of the series bible printed for the pilot. Any later revision is Season 1-related.)
    Last concrete date: 30th of September 1992 (backgrounds were drawn on this date after the storyboard was completed)
    At this point, the trail runs cold. When was it animated and voice acted?

    The bulk of SatAM’s scenario, character, and setting development occurred between the above concrete dates. The pilot’s script spent almost four months being revised, much longer than a typical episode. Basically, Sonic 2 and SatAM’s pilot were in development concurrently.

    An additional note:

    Series bibles don’t just appear out of thin air. A lot needs to happen for a series bible to be printed in the first place. Before the 21st of February 1992, the following events needed to occur:

    - DiC needed to develop pitch material for a Sonic cartoon to show to Sega
    - Sega needed to approve of their pitch and allow DiC to purchase the Sonic license
    - DiC needed to show their pitch material to ABC Network
    - ABC needed to approve of this pitch and give DiC a funding commitment (not necessarily a commitment to air, although that’s what they did, which isn’t typical)
    - ABC needed to have requested Len Janson to be the showrunner
    - Len Janson needed to fully write the first revision of the series bible

    Depending on how long you expect these earlier steps to have taken, the seeds for SatAM’s scenario could have been sown as early as late 1991.

    But as to when the pilot was finished? God knows. Anyway, February to September 1992 is the general timeframe for the next materials I post about.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2023
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  2. David The Lurker

    David The Lurker

    For some mysterious reason... Administrator
    Just a quick note - "Heads or Tails" was the 11th episode that aired, on November 27th, 1993.

    Robby London has a lot of stories he tells, most of them I don't doubt. But, as is the case with everyone, human memory isn't perfect. I was perplexed for a bit about a story he tells about the development of the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon shows, about "giving the finger" to Sonic.

    That story has nothing to do with the first season of SatAM, since throughout both seasons Sonic only has three fingers and a thumb. I've seen some people attribute that story to Sonic Underground, since Sonic definitely has five fingers in that show. But I think the story is actually about Sonic Christmas Blast. In that special, Sonic has five fingers - mostly. There are definitely moments where he still has four fingers.

    My guess is that, if you've worked in the industry as long as he has, on as many projects as he has, and three of them were about Sonic the Hedgehog? Things can just merge in your memory. His memories of the pilot might just be combined with everything else that led into the development of the first season of the show. I'm sure there are contracts that exist which would help clarify if the pilot was meant to be a stand alone special before it became a full series order, but I doubt we'll be able to see that sort of paperwork. I dunno, maybe someone who worked at ABC at the time might have some memory regarding the origins of the show being on their schedule.

  3. Damn, that's what I get for quickly looking at Sonic fan wikias instead of checking lol. I went back and edited it.

    Yeah, we're talking about things that happened 30 years ago, so nobody's memory is going to be entirely reliable. To be fair to Robby London, he does repeatedly emphasise that his memory isn't perfect, and if it contradicts the production media, should just be discounted. He told another version of that "giving the finger" story to GamesTM Magazine in March 2011 (I assume there's a printed version of this somewhere; the online version was only partially preserved on the Wayback Machine):

    For all I know, the next page of that article could have said which timeframe London was talking about - he might have remembered more in 2011 as opposed to 2020 to 2022. But it's not in the Wayback Machine so oops. The main thing is that he doesn't attribute this issue to any particular project in that earlier interview.

    I do think you're right that he was probably referring to Sonic Christmas Blast. I can tell you for a fact that he doesn't remember Sonic Christmas Blast even existing as of 2022, which is probably where the confusion comes from. I do find it funny that only Sonic has five fingers there, and not Tails. I assume this is because SoJ only saw Sonic's model sheet, so the request was Sonic-specific, but it should have applied to every character. (Then again, it's not like Japan edits Mickey Mouse to have five fingers or anything. Yoshi has four fingers too. Maybe they didn't care about Tails having four fingers, because he's not their mascot character).

    As an aside, a situation like this really shouldn't happen during animation production. Once you approve the finalised model sheets, those are the designs you use. "Go back and re-animate all the scenes you've already worked on - thousands of frames - because we didn't tell you about this issue when you showed us the model sheets" is a wild request, and I'm surprised DiC even attempted to honour it. Especially for a cel-based production - you'd need to either re-draw (and potentially re-paint) the scenes entirely, or layer "correction cels" on top of the existing cels and re-shoot the entire thing, depending on how far along they were in animation. Speculation on my part: in Christmas Blast's case, the hands were probably re-drawn for scenes where cels hadn't yet been painted. In the final animation, for the shots where Sonic has four fingers, those would have been shots cels had already been completed for at the time Sega made their request. (It was a miscommunication between SoA and SoJ, so it couldn't be helped unless the two branches communicated better, but for an outsider looking in, DiC's perspective would have been "how does something like this even happen?")

    Sometimes, animation can begin before the model sheets are finalised if you're running a very tight schedule. Here's an example with Bunnie, where her leg design was changed late in the production of the second introduction sequence (they decided to use a non-finalised model sheet, probably to start animation earlier to meet a deadline), so they layered correction cels over the top of the originals. Her upper legs would be easy to correct. Forgive my crappy edit lol:

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  4. A box of SatAM pilot materials – newly scanned:

    Tracing the evolution of DiC’s Tails design – Part 1: Sega of America sends the reference material (new Yasushi Yamaguchi, Moore & Price Design, and Greg Martin Tails discovered!) (Here's a quick Twitter post if you just want to see the new scans with no comparisons or commentary).

    Over the past six or so months, a company called Animation Legends had been selling pieces of concept art and storyboard pages made for Sonic SatAM’s pilot, but they had mistakenly been calling them “Sonic Underground” pieces. I reached out to their (awesome!) customer support and, after some time searching, helped them sort through a mixed-up box in their warehouse over email to see which sheets belonged to which show. (Between SatAM and Underground – there was no AoStH in there.)

    I definitely don’t have enough money to purchase these materials myself, but I do have enough money to compensate Animation Legends for their time in having the papers scanned for digital preservation. So that’s what I did – I paid £350 for around 400 scans of DiC Sonic materials, which I’ll gradually incorporate into Dropbox when I finish cropping and re-naming them.

    Around half are SatAM related (to the pilot, S1, and S2), and around half are Sonic Underground layout and storyboard pages. There are quite a lot of materials missing – namely, most of the pages of SatAM’s corrected pilot storyboard – but I’m holding out hope that the rest of the corrected pages are lurking in another box somewhere in AL’s warehouse. The other concept art was sold by Pop King on eBay in 2015 and about half wasn’t saved by anybody – they’re likely permanently lost.

    The sheets we do have help elucidate SatAM’s early development timeline, and there are even a few sheets here sent by Sega of America during Sonic 2’s development! So here’s my small contribution to the Sonic 2 research scene lol

    22nd of April 1992 – Sega of America (definitely) sends SoA designs for Tails to DiC for SatAM’s pilot, and (probably) sends Yasushi Yamaguchi early art on the same day

    To accommodate these items, I’ve made a new folder in the SatAM Dropbox archive called “Material Sent by Sega of America to DiC”. I won’t just include any old Sonic stuff in here – it has to be material that was definitely provided to DiC. There’s quite a bit of reference material for Tails in the box (two pages of which appear to be missing – unless those pages were text and thus thrown out), but nothing for Sonic or Eggman (the singular piece of JP Sonic art was included as a size comparison for Tails).

    Sega sent DiC three different designs for Tails on the 22nd of April 1992 – if the Japanese art was sent on the same day as the others. Anyway, the general timeframe for sending Yamaguchi’s stuff would be April 1992.

    Design 1 – Yasushi Yamaguchi:

    The most exciting here for me are the Yasushi Yamaguchi photocopies. Only one of these sheets has previously been scanned by Craig Stitt – and to my knowledge none have been released by Sega. Here they are, most for the first time:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    One striking thing about this early Yamaguchi art is how inconsistent Tails’ proportions are between drawings. In some, his feet are extremely long. In another, his forehead is massive. In some, he has a furry outer body. In one, he has one tail by mistake. Yamaguchi(?) later went back to these early drawings and re-made some of them. I’ve made a comparison below showing Yamaguchi’s re-drawn Tails art from various sources (the spindash one isn’t an exact re-draw, but I thought I should include it for the shape difference):


    Going back to these newly scanned sheets, you can see the drawn concept for Tails’ yawning idle animation. You can also see the earliest drawn concept for his spindash, which is slightly different from how it appears in-game. There are lines in his ball form (which could delineate different shades of orange for shading, or orange and white?) and the ball looks more “spiky” than “furry”. Actually, the shape reminds me of DiC’s Sonic spin, which would make sense:


    One confusing omission here is that none of the reference sheets Sega sent to DiC show how Tails is supposed to fly. Usually, reference material will show a character from multiple angles and performing any signature actions associated with them. But the only core action shown here is Tails’ spindash.

    If this really is all the sheets DiC were provided, perhaps that’s why, in an early example of a potential communication breakdown between Sega and DiC, somebody at DiC (Len Janson?) has annotated SatAM’s second series bible (11th of March 1992 revision) at the part where it states “[Tails’] twin tails roll up like twisted rubber bands [to fly]” with “will not appear in the game – he rolls up instead”. (With “he rolls up” being this person’s interpretation of the spindash they saw on the references?)


    Or maybe this wasn’t a miscommunication, and this ‘tails roll up and unwind – then he shoots forward’ was an early intended animation/gameplay mechanic, but Sega just decided it was easier/quicker for Tails to transition straight from jumping (“he rolls up”) into his flying animation.

    The written ‘twisting like rubber bands then unwind’ motion for Tails’ tails was probably based on an early description provided by Sega. It seems too specific to be something Len Janson would come up with himself, especially with the ‘will not appear in the game’ annotation, but that’s my own speculation.

    Design 2 – Moore and Price Design Group Turnaround for Tails:

    The second design for Tails sent by Sega of America to DiC on the 22nd of April 1992 is a turnaround produced by Moore and Price Design Group on the 7th of April. (Unless I’m completely misinterpreting this – I’m Gen Z I dunno how fax machines work lol). Here it is:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Right away, I can recognise the forward-facing Tails on this turnaround. Greg Martin re-drew this illustration with five fingers instead of four, different shoe buckles, and slightly different proportions on his fur. (I know he was a freelancer, but did he do contracted work for Moore and Price Design Group? If so, then this is an earlier version of his work, rather than him re-drawing somebody else’s art). I’ve made a comparison below:


    This turnaround isn’t the only example of Sega of America art portraying the characters with four fingers – there are other examples, which were eventually redrawn, as well. Were those early covers also produced by Moore and Price Design Group...?

    Design 3 – Greg Martin’s Tails:

    Finally, here’s a more typical example of Greg Martin’s Tails design sent with the others, with the smaller ears and forehead:


    Here’s the final version comparison. It’s difficult to tell, but the shape of Tails’ eyes was made more round in the final, and his mouth and shoe buckle were re-drawn. Sonic looks the same.


    So, that’s all three Tails interpretations sent by Sega of America to DiC. In the next post, I’ll explore DiC’s early concept art for Tails (and Sonic and the FFs), which were sent to Sega not long after this reference material was provided, and I’ll try to sort them. Hopefully will be done this week, but who knows lol
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  5. Tracing the evolution of DiC’s Tails design – Part 1.5: Sega of America sends a colour reference to DiC (earliest(?) Tails sprite for Sonic 2 re-discovered – here’s the Twitter post)

    This is an addendum to my previous post about the three Tails designs which Sega of America sent to DiC as visual references in April 1992. I’m still busy sorting through the rest of the scans, but these are quick to share.

    Animation Legends scanned another SatAM pilot folder in their warehouse a few days ago, and in that folder were a few more pieces of reference material for Tails (again, nothing for Sonic or Eggman). There was another set of Yamaguchi’s early Tails drawings – most are copies of the sheets I’ve already shared, but there was one additional sheet. Here it is:


    Both sets of scans are in the online archive. Now that I’ve seen two separate sets of these same Yamaguchi sheets, I feel more confident in saying that DiC were likely never sent drawn references for how Tails was supposed to fly.

    More interestingly, the folder also included the only colour reference DiC was sent which I’ve found so far (again, I’m assuming this would be late April 1992 based on the dates for the other Tails sheets and DiC’s character design timeline). It’s an early (perhaps the earliest?) sprite sheet of Tails for Sonic 2. This Tails is burnt orange/brown with a peach snout, chest fur, and inner ears. The tips of his tails are white, the same colour as his gloves:


    This peach Tails with white tail tips was depicted in other official Sega media in 1992 and 1993 – on the side of an official Sega bus (along with other early Yamaguchi art, as pointed out to me by @_WarpFormat_), as a PVC figure, and as a Burger King toy. I’ve made a compilation of this early Tails colour-scheme merchandise below:


    We can see the origins of DiC’s colour schemes for Tails in that sprite sheet, but there were a few changes made to it. Here is another sheet from the folder – this time, a Yamaguchi reference photocopy painted with water-colour/filled in with marker (?):


    We have the same design for Tails here, albeit a lighter orange. His snout, chest, and inner ears may look golden here, but look at Sonic’s mouth and chest – they’re the same colour. They’re supposed to look tan/peach. The material Sega of America provided to DiC would be faxed, or mailed photocopy sheets, so I don’t actually think this is from SoA. They likely wouldn’t send the original painted sheet to DiC’s offices, but would keep it for themselves to provide to any other licensees. I would say it’s more likely to be an artist at DiC experimenting with a less overt shade of peach for Tails, basing his colour-scheme on the early sprite-work they were provided. Of course, I could be totally wrong and it was sent directly by SoA…

    So, how were DiC’s Tails designs influenced by these early materials? I’ve made a comparison between DiC’s shows (including SatAM’s Season 1 model sheet for Tails, as his pilot model sheet cel hasn’t been preserved, only a faded marker turnaround), and the early sprite and water-colour work showcased above (and as a bonus, early Japanese material with the same colour scheme):


    Colour-wise, AoStH Tails is obviously a darker brown, resembling the colours of the sprite. SatAM Tails is burnt orange (he only appears strictly brown in night scenes, where his night-palette is used). Both have the tan snout, chest, and ears (with his tail tips changed, to homogenize his colour scheme).

    Finally, I thought I should include some officially published versions of the early Yamaguchi art I shared a few weeks ago. These were brought to my attention by @_WarpFormat on Twitter, who found them in a Sonic 2 strategy guide called “Sonic 2: Solid Gold Guides”. I noticed the shape of Tails’ eyes were re-drawn to be more oval shaped in the published versions (and buckles re-drawn on both). That, and the dark shade of grey here makes it likely that the original, coloured versions were a dark brown or burnt orange:


    Anyway, that’s the end of the colour materials. I’m still sorting through, re-naming and categorizing the other scans. Hopefully I can write some contextual information for the concept art in the coming weeks.
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  6. McAleeCh


    Wild to see how many previously unseen Sonic 2 development sketches have surfaced as part of this - that printout of the early Tails sprite is the icing on the cake! Incredible stuff. I always thought the peach muzzle and chest on Tails in some early merch and images was just the licensees making mistakes - it's crazy to realise it's instead likely due to them working from reference materials so early we've never seen them until now...!
  7. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    All of the stuff you've been posting has been interesting, but that early Tails sprite is the most interesting of all. I never thought I'd see such a thing!
  8. ashthedragon


    Sonic Paradise Researcher
    Sonic Paradise & Sonic Ages
    This is absolutely amazing!!!!!! So DIC was not being a DICk but following tails early design all this time!! This is blowing my mind!!!!
  9. Azookara


    yup Member
    This is a really big discovery, and explains a lot about Tails' design in the DiC shows. Major kudos!

    Knowing they had development screens, concept art and digitized sprites at their disposal though, it makes the differences between the games and the shows even weirder. I imagine they must've also had tons of things on hand for Eggman, the badniks and the environments too, right? It seems less and less like they were working off scraps and more like they cherrypicked what they thought was worth keeping and thought what they were doing was better. Strange.
  10. Ura


    "Crimson Angel - Honey the Cat" on AO3 (on Hiatus)
    I always believed that's exactly what they were doing for a number of reasons, so I feel somewhat vindicated to see that they did in fact had this much reference material
  11. This seemed to always be the case regarding SatAM.

    For those unaware, SatAM was originally pitched by DiC sometime in late 1991/very early 1992, and Sega of America provided their SoA story bible. In the original pitch artwork, it can be seen that the show was based very heavily on the story bible created by Sega of America, as seen by the inclusion of characters like Johnny Lightfoot, Porker Lewis, Joe Sushi, etc. Not to mention, Sally Acorn. This pitch was likely created by Phil Harnage and shows a lot of where SatAM's original concepts originated, such as making Sally a princess, having Robotnik robotizing people, and having Sonic being a part of a Freedom Fighter like group.

    When ABC gave the show an on-air commitment, they requested that Len Janson and Chuck Menville be made the showrunners. While Chuck was sadly too sick to be apart of it, Len was brought on board, and while keeping elements of the original pitch, he reworked a ton of it.

    According to Ben Hurst, story editor on season 2 and a good friend of Len, "He was fed things to put into the series. Some of which he included, some of which he ignored. Thus the power rings. And other elements. He also shielded us from interference in the storylines - and defied the powers-that-be on numerous occasions. To Len, story was first, executives and other opinions were second. Actually, story first, character first and other things second."

    Tom Kalinske also said this on why the show was given so much freedom:
    Jacob Berkley: "Was DiC just given more creative freedom in terms of, uh, the TV Series?"
    Tom Kalinske: "I think it's more ABC. Um, The ABC Folks, you know obviously, it's on their network. They want to have a great deal of control over that, uh, creative process, and so they felt the need to make certain changes to, for whatever reason, just for their creative reasons. And uh, I think that, and we were so anxious to get the show on obviously, and being on a national network is a friggin’ big deal. (laughter) So we were willing to go along with what they wanted done."

    It seems some design elements from the original pitch carried over, such as the design of Robotnik, which looks strikingly similar to the final design, colors aside. Although it should be noted that they made a ton of other design concepts which were much crazier. Other characters similarly received other out there designs, such as a few human Sally concepts.
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  12. Ch1pper


    Fighting the Battle of Who Could Care Less Member
    Is it weird that, as different and out there as these Robotnik concepts are, I can still hear Jim Cummings' vocal performance bellowing through?
  13. muteKi


    Fuck it Member
  14. The entire submitted storyboards for SatAM’s pilot/animated special “Heads or Tails”, along with its unaired opening – scans by the artist Lane Raichert (here's the tweet with quick direct links, but there's links here too).

    This has little to do with the SatAM pilot materials scanned by Animation Legends – it’s something else I’ve been sorting through over the past three weeks or so.

    The August 1992 storyboard for “Heads or Tails”, and the September 1992 storyboard for its unaired opening, together form the very first boards for a full-length episode ever created for Sonic as a franchise. The unaired opening depicts the original version of Robotnik’s (recent) takeover of Mobotropolis, before the takeover was retconned to happen 10 years prior to the events of the show in Season 2’s “Blast to the Past”. The boards were drawn by freelance artist Lane Raichert.

    Last year, I reached out to Lane and asked if he kept any of the work he did for SatAM over the years. He was credited as both the pilot’s storyboard artist and as a storyboarder for Season 2, but none of the S1 or S2 storyboarders are credited for specific episodes, only in a list.

    Lane Raichert’s submitted storyboards for Heads or Tails and its intro – almost 200 pages:


    In fact, in the early 1990s, Lane made photocopies of all his Sonic artwork before he sent it off to DiC, knowing there was a strong possibility that DiC would destroy the originals once production on the show was completed, as was common practice:

    You can now find all of Lane Raichert’s submitted storyboards for SatAM’s pilot and its unaired opening in the Dropbox archive, as “01 – Submission Copy” in the two episode 0 folders. (Page 30 is missing for Heads or Tails' submission, but luckily the director's version is preserved). His Season 2 work – which is less sheets – will likely be added at the weekend in a separate post.

    Contextual Information:

    You should keep three things in mind looking that these scans.


    1. These are photocopies Lane made before he submitted the sheets to DiC. Visually, this means that any blue construction lines won’t be visible – but more importantly, the pages as you see them are missing any edits, additions or retractions made independently by the showrunner and director or requested by Sega and ABC. This would be showrunner Len Janson, and either John Grusd or David Sebast in the directorial role (as the pilot changed director half-way through storyboarding). I’ve tried, wherever possible, to make comparisons between Lane's submitted copies and the director’s copies (which DiC actually didn’t destroy – for the pilot anyway – but DiC’s internal archive is scattered to the winds now). Sometimes the sizes of the characters change, or events occur differently, or lines differ between copies. Unfortunately, most pages of the director’s copy for the Heads or Tails main board are missing, and when Shout Factory made their 2007 DVD release featuring the unaired opening’s storyboard, they zoomed in on the panels – so we can’t see any changes made to the opening’s script. I’ve had to screenshot and ‘reconstruct’ the opening’s edited board from Shout Factory's video.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    2. The designs provided to Lane for these boards include the non-finalised character designs of Sally, Bunnie and Antoine. Sally still has the hair and three pieces of “pointy fur” at the back adapted from Ricky’s design, which Lane appears to have interpreted as spikes akin to Sonic’s mid-way through the Heads or Tails main storyboard (although he later switches to less spike-like hair in the final pages, and all throughout the unaired opening’s boards). Antoine still uses his earlier hair design, before a decision was made to change it to “slicked and parted”. Bunnie still has a roboticized chest. You can see these earlier designs in concept art, but also on the above sheets (here, somebody has noted that Sally should have “more body hair” – as in, her arms should also have fur and not be tan like Sonic’s in the illustration).

    3. As a freelance storyboard artist, Lane’s job was to adapt the script written by Len Janson using the (incomplete) model sheets provided by DiC. The earliest revisions of Janson’s script (from April 1992 onwards) were written before any of the characters or environments were designed. So you’ll find, as hold-overs, unusually long written descriptions of the characters as they are introduced (which were originally written to give an idea of what Janson was looking for to the concept artists) that are sometimes inconsistent with their actual designs. Hence there’s oddities like a Swat-bot being described as having “a pair of electronic eyes”, etc. These inconsistent descriptions were edited out of the director’s copy, and some long descriptions of environments were replaced with names before the sheets were translated/localised into Korean for Saerom Animation.

    Miscellaneous observations:

    The art of Lane’s boards is very expressive and vibrant, but it doesn’t reflect an “earlier art-style” for the show – it’s Lane’s personal art-style. The purpose of a storyboard isn’t to be strictly “on-model”. The angles, character actions and poses are what’s most important, not the exact proportions of the characters. Often, storyboards will be drawn much more loosely and sketch-like than this. Lane tried to vary the characters’ posing to reflect their personalities – this also applies to his Season 2 work as well:

    His approach for Sonic’s posing may have also been influenced by the original Sonic game, which he did play before working on the pilot (it would have to have been that one, since no other mainline games were released at the time):


    Dr Robotnik is described as wearing hi-tech “sunglasses” that can fade on and off in the annotations of the submission copy, which caught me off guard – I never considered that those black eyes of his were originally stylised sunglasses. While most pages haven’t been preserved, the director’s copy probably removed any references to the glasses fading off and on.


    There’s two panels with swears in the written directions. They’re obviously in the original script as well – some of Ben Hurst’s Season 2 scripts have swearing in the action descriptions too. Kids will never see those, so they can be a way to make the voice actors laugh - it occurs in other children’s media scripts too, but they usually don’t get publicly released.

    Some of the scenes you see in the Heads or Tails storyboard may not have been animated, but its very likely that most, if not all of them, were. Heads or Tails wasn’t a regular length episode, but was cut down to fit a regular time-slot when its March 1993 "standalone animated special" airdate was scrapped. All scenes with Rotor’s “breath-ray” gag were mercifully edited out of Season 1 release lol

    Finally, a MASSIVE thank you to Lane for scanning all these sheets and making those photocopies all the way back in 1992! His Season 2 work is less extensive, but still pretty interesting! I'll hopefully have those ready to share this weekend!
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  15. Pengi


    Has anyone been asked who designed each of the characters for the pilot?

    The pilot credits the character designers as Denise Shimabukuro, Gary Paul Terry and Creative Capers, but it's unclear who did what, especially with the Creative Capers credit.

  16. I'll ask you to wait on that, because I do have sheets from the AL box that will clarify some things. "Character design" also sometimes isn't as simple as "this person designed this character and this person designed this one". It's impossible to know for most characters - some people responsible for SatAM's pilot design work weren't even featured in the credits.
  17. Eggomaticwaffles


    That early Tails sprite is WILD to see. Someone should definitely update the Wiki and include in the Sonic 2 Development / Lore threads, as it's quite remarkable. Amazing work documenting this stuff!
  18. Jucei


    I actually much prefer the storyboarder's artstyle than the final's. I even like Sally's design more than the final's, I just wish the game characters (and the others) were more in line with the games; they even had buzzbombers here, and I don't remember them being in the final SatAM. I think I'd prefer this show over the two we eventually got.

    Also, Robotnik used to wear glasses?
  19. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    Does that mean that western Robotnik had sunglasses like Japanese Eggman, despite them being drawn more like eyes?

    Buzzbombers were in the pilot. As were the cuter and more colorful early designs of the Freedom Fighters, which were better and more Sonic-esque IMO. The show got retooled after the pilot to be more "dark" and serious and have less game elements.
  20. kazz


    16-bait Member
    Satam/Aosth Robuttnik is wearing sunglasses?! Mfs must be airtight which sounds horrifying to wear. Always thought they were cyborg eyes or something.