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Thoughts on the 90s Cartoon(s)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Xhojn, Aug 21, 2022.

  1. Xhojn

    Xhojn

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    My eldest is now getting into TV and I have been trying to show him the shows I used to watch. I’ve been wondering if the old Sonic cartoon holds up or has it aged poorly?
     
  2. DigitalDuck

    DigitalDuck

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    Which old Sonic cartoon?

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    You'll get several different answers regardless. Personally I still rate Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and never liked SatAM, but plenty of people feel the opposite. The OVA is also good. Sonic Underground exists.
     
  3. Yuzu

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    I last watched SatAM as a kid so I have no idea if it holds up today but I thought that it was great for the time.

    Seen AoSTH in more recent years (but still like a decade ago) and I think that show still holds up relatively well for the kind of show that it is?

    Underground is pretty bad, but I loved it as a kid.
     
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  4. Xhojn

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    My bad, it was Adventures of I was referring to specifically but I guess AM as well thinking about it. Underground was…….something and still haven’t seen the OVA.
     
  5. MathUser

    MathUser

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    I like all of them.
     
  6. Flare

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    Guess it depends on vibe? Never watched SatAM but trailers always gave it a darker serious vibe... AOSTH is silly which as a kid I loved because it was basically Sonic as Bugs Bunny.
     
  7. Forte

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    Adventures is worth watching just for Robotnik :V
     
  8. Swifthom

    Swifthom

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    Showed my 5 year old SATAM recently, as he enjoyed the movies and sonic boom. He had a bad reaction at first, finding robotic a bit intimidating, but he came to actually quite like what he calls 'old Sonic'.

    I tried to show him adventures a year ago but he was barely interested at all back then. Cartoon just a bit too zany and violent for him to grab compared to what he normally watches.
     
  9. Palas

    Palas

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    They're all good except Underground.
     
  10. Blue Spikeball

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    The old western cartoons were about on par with the typical 80s/90s DIC game adaptations IMO. Poor animation and writing, nonsensical plots, over the top cheesy dialogue and characterizations. I suppose they can be ironically enjoyed in a B-movie way, though.

    AOSTH was zany nonsense with a Ren & Stimpy-esque style.

    SatAM was part of the early 90s fad of cartoons trying to ape the darker and more serious tone of Batman: The Animated Series while ignoring the fact that the reason it worked was it had competent writing. I appreciated that SatAM had an actual plot unlike AOSTH, but its first season was all over the place, with disjointed plots and tone. Its second season was more continuity-heavy, but it suffered from the flanderization of its already over the top characters. I didn't like it making Sonic even more of an insufferable manchild than his season 1 characterization, or flattening Sally's character into Miss Always Right. I liked that the season ventured outside of the Great Forest, but I could have done without the ugly post-apocalyptic environments.

    Underground had a bizarre premise and couldn't decide whether it wanted to be serious or not. Sonia's characterization was all over the place. Sometimes she was a snobbish rich girl, other times she was spoiled but likable, other times she was Sally 2.0. The episodic format also means that the plot gets nowhere. The terrible songs didn't help. Though I appreciated that Sonic was somewhat less over the top than in SatAM, and it actually showed him traveling all over the place, rather than being confined to a boring generic forest. I also felt that Manic was more entertaining and three-dimensional than any of SatAM's Freedom Fighters.

    As for the OVA. When I first watched it I disliked it for making Sonic a bit of a jerk, but it has grown on me since then. I'd say it's the best animated Sonic adaptation we've had so far. Unlike SatAM, Underground and Sonic X, it doesn't suffer from adding too many unnecessary original characters at the expense of the main game characters.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2022
  11. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    I've recently binged all the 90s shows for Deep Dive Zone (shill shill) and I've gained an appreciation for some parts of them and agony for others.

    Adventures of Sonic is sometimes fun, with a lot of zany hijinks and slapstick. The problem is that it's 65 episodes long, and has enough ideas for less than a fourth of that. Around seven or eight minutes of every single episode is taken up by the same beating up of Scratch and Grounder (sometimes Coconuts) over and over again. Sonic is mostly infallible, Robotnik flickers between humorously-pathetic and hammy, and Tails is probably the only relatable character in the show. The four chaos emerald episodes are pretty cool, but the vast majority of the show just feels like noise. Baldry's Robotnik is easily the highlight, I recommend just looking for compilations of him, honestly. The animation is kind of bad, but the stylistic character designs and backgrounds are so unhinged and bizarre that what could be a mistake fits in well visually.

    SatAM is good. Not amazing, but good. The Freedom Fighters are all mostly likeable, Sonic isn't nearly as invincible as he is in SatAM, Robotnik is disturbingly scary, and the general tone and worldbuilding are a lot more grounded and well-defined than in Adventures. My main criticisms would be that a lot of Season 1 feels like mid-tier filler, with characters who never reappear and locations or plot elements that aren't really that important. Meanwhile, Season 2 is almost nonstop good episodes, intercut with two random asides to short comedic episodes that totally kill the mood and have nothing to do with fighting Robotnik and are generally boring. Thirdly, the show was clearly setting things up for later seasons that never happened, and while that alone is not a sin, it makes it hit all the harder when it does drag its feet a bit. Finally, Antoine is awful in this show. He's almost never portrayed sympathetically, and is more of a liability than anything else. He doesn't even make for good comic relief, he mostly just annoys me. I appreciate that the Archie comics exist just for my coyote boy being more well-rounded.

    The Sonic OVA is a lot of fun. It's colorful, has (maybe?) the best visuals of any 2D Sonic cartoon, gets the designs for Robotnik right, and has Knuckles, and Sonic fighting Metal Sonic. It embodies the spirit of the Japanese side of the series in a way no American material would for another decade. I wouldn't say it's got a lot of depth or complexity going on in the plot department, but it's paced well-enough and has such good music and animation that it's not a big deal. My main gripes are that A. I have no idea what the worldbuilding is supposed to be here (Floating Islands? New York ruins? Warp Zones?), B. Part of the story revolves around Eggman apparently trying to marry a teenage girl, and I don't think that fits with him as a character, and C. The dub is so overacted and cheesy that if you want to take anything about this thing seriously (especially the last Metal Sonic scene) you gotta watch it in Japanese.

    Sonic Underground is a disappointment. Having seen all of it, I didn't hate about seven episodes of it as much as I thought I would, but the damn thing is forty episodes long, and it does NOTHING with about thirty-three of those. Manic and Sonia aren't awful, and the show's constant willingness to forgive Manic's thievery is nothing short of praxis, but the show is so formulaic and the consequences of each episode matter so little that it's hard to feel much of anything when watching it. Unlike SatAM, this show feels like it kind of deserved to be cancelled, because with fifteen more episodes and a third as many episodes actually worth watching, I can't imagine another season would've actually gone anywhere. The animation is clunky and often broken, in a way that the "cleaner" aesthetic can't cover up, but even without that, the color palette is gross and the character designs are hideous. Watch the three starting episodes, then watch the four Knuckles episodes, and ignore the rest. Use youtube's live thumbnail to skip the songs, since they all have stupid music video effects over them which you can see.
     
  12. Jason

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    AoStH knowledge has been completely supplanted by YouTube Poops. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

    SatAM is remembered fondly by the fans, and I had a few VHS tapes, but I never cared for the greater narrative.

    Underground was the only show I caught during its original airing. by the time I got into Sonic in late 1996, the other shows had finished their initial runs. I would get up at 5am an turn on UPN to watch it. Not a problem for a 3rd/4th grader at the height of my fanboyism. After about two dozen episodes, I wrote it off as nonsense, like the Archie comics (I didn't even find out an Archie character was in it at the time) and stopped caring about it.

    The OVA is absolutely the best Classic Sonic animation to date. nothing comes close in scope, production value, and respect for the source material. I broke that white VHS and regret it to this day. It was my nephew's favorite film until the Paramount films came about.
     
  13. Pengi

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    Manchild is a term used to describe an adult man who behaves in an immature and childish manner. Sonic is a teenager, not an adult. He literally hasn't grown up yet. He doesn't act like an adult because he isn't an adult.
     
  14. E-122-Psi

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    I think it's more relative dynamics that cause it. Nearly everyone else in the Freedom Fighters group was....functional I guess in Season Two while Sonic kept screwing everything up by being childish or arrogant. Besides Antoine who they REALLY amped up as a brainless liability to make Sonic look better. Even Dulcy was kinda sensible and in the background despite her annoying qualities, she never really developed any flaws or pathos. She and Sally and everyone else were the smart competent 'good kids' and Sonic and Antoine were stupid trouble causing 'bad kids' that ruined everything.

    In Season One there was a more even focus on every Freedom Fighter and their vices and vulnerabilities, Rotor was a dork, Sally was huffy and competitive around Sonic, so forth and so forth. In Season Two however it felt like 99.9% of the time a mission went wrong it was because of Sonic or Antoine being stupid and everyone else warning them not to be. In fact a large amount of the conflict felt reliant on either those two starting it and Robotnik or Snively fixing it by being idiots themselves. I don't mind these sort of vice driven plots when they flesh out the characters, but Season Two had a real 'Gilligan' sort of dynamic with these particular guys while everyone else was, you know, suffering because of this serious war they were upkeeping.

    Blast to the Past in particular hinges the whole premise on an idiot plot. Sonic ruins the whole time travel scheme in a really dumb way, and it's revealed the whole takeover relied on Uncle Chuck and the King being utterly careless with dangerous technology. I wouldn't mind if this were a character element of Chuck, him feeling guilty about all the suffering his complacency caused and wanting to atone, but it's never really painted that way, he and the king are always treated as wise and cautious.

    It's something that kinda put me off Archie as well, too many times the status quo was kept because Sonic and Sally were careless or overconfident, though it was seldom painted that way, and most characters that called them out on it or wanted someone else to have power over how they deal with enemy forces was a strawman. These felt less like character development moments like say, Sonic's moral conflict in bringing back Eggman in IDW, and more just moments of stupid to keep the plot going no matter what.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2022
  15. Blue Spikeball

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    I meant manchild is in someone who acts below their age. To me SatAM Sonic didn't act like a teenager, but a 10-11 year old trying to be cool. I even recall Ben Hurst once describing him as a "big overgrown kid" (actual words).
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2022
  16. E-122-Psi

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    I think the problem was he only saw one half of the dynamic he had with Sally. He saw Sonic as the careless hubris driven one and Sally as the sensible mediating one. That's PARTIALLY true, but only half the dynamic, since a lot of the time in Season One things could switch over to Sonic actually being the experienced guy who knows what he's doing and Sally being the petty 'knows it all' one who thinks following her by the book strategy perfectly means assured victory.

    Even when Sally is right I struggle to call her reasonable sometimes, she almost always lathers her argument with insults and snide, she 's an acerbic hothead, which doesn't help getting anyone to listen to her. I think Hurst and many later writers for the SatAm dynamic just saw that as a bit of peppered sass to her straight man character but I think the fact it was always simplified to that one note dynamic of 'Sonic the careless childish one vs Sally the modest sensible one' regardless of how either acted was what made their chemistry so damn divisive.

    I really think BOTH of these characters needed to be humbled regularly and kept on the same footing, realise their hypocrisies and how similar they actually are. I think only Season One of the show got it right that they could BOTH act like competitive little brats at times (even if this again didn't always make them sympathetic in an ACTUAL WAR, Sonic Boom failed to call them out or even show them as remorseful after their banter cost one of their comrades their life).
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2022
  17. Mecha Sally

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    AoStH is good if you want something goofy/full of slapstick. Reminds me a lot of Tex Avery/Looney Tunes, and the show itself is the origin of many Youtube Poop videos/memes so you gotta respect it a bit for that.

    SatAM was my personal favorite as a kid but I have been reluctant to revisit it as an older adult, because I'm sure I will notice its flaws. It's still good if you want something with a stronger narrative/character development as it was the most developed universe for the character at that time. As others have said it does set up things that are never resolved due to its cancellation, but there is a fan-made third season in production that looks promising, albeit a long way off.

    Underground... I couldn't finish. It has an interesting premise but it just drags and the characters are really annoying. Not to mention that the songs in it are awful. Like SatAM it sets up stuff that never gets officially resolved. Also like SatAM, there's a fan-made conclusion that was made so at least there's somewhat of an ending.

    The OVA is pretty fun. Of all the animated Sonic stuff in the 90's it's the closest to the original, pre-Adventure games in terms of characters and style. I do wish we got to see more of this universe but we probably never will. Avoid the English dub, though; it's shit.
     
  18. biggestsonicfan

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    ALWAYS Sonic the Fighters
    Sonic merely "existed" in my life until AoStH. I had a Gamegear with Sonic games, I had a comic or two, and I realized they were the same character, but it was just another thing in the sea of things at my young age. After seeing an episode of the show, Sonic was "cool", and I wanted to be cool too, so being the impressionable young kid I was, my love for Sonic grew. AoStH wouldn't come on until after I Ieft for school, so I would start a tape recording on my mono tv/vcr combo and come home to a rewound tape (it would rewind itself when it ran out of space) and fast forward to a different episode every weekday.

    I finally got to meet Jaleel White at an event a few years ago and thanked him for his work in AoStH. The mention of it seemed to bring a smile to his face.
     
  19. Overlord

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    AoStH is good, Underground is fine so long as you mute the songs, Sonic the Movie is great but only a single hour. SatAM isn't a Sonic show. =P
     
  20. SatAM was a major part of my childhood, and would still be my favourite western adaptation if not for Boom. I will always love that show, even if it watching it these days ain't the magical experience it once was.

    AoStH was always second to SatAM. The Looney Toons vibe works well, and makes it the easiest to just enjoy any random episode since there's no continuity, just bonkers adventures.

    Sonic Underground appealed to me as a kid, but honestly I can't even make it through a single episode anymore.