Ray the Flying Squirrel
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|Ray the Flying Squirrel|
|First seen: SegaSonic the Hedgehog (1993)|
|Species: Flying squirrel|
|Created by: Manabu Kusunoki|
Ray the Flying Squirrel (レイ・ザ・フライングスクイレル Rei za Furaingu Sukuireru) is an anthropomorphic yellow squirrel with a long tail, and was introduced as one of three playable characters (alongside Sonic the Hedgehog and Mighty the Armadillo) in the Sega System 32 arcade game, SegaSonic the Hedgehog, released in 1993. He was created by Manabu Kusunoki.
For years, Ray only had a major role in one Sonic the Hedgehog title, in which he was captured by Dr. Eggman and imprisoned somewhere on an island fortress. Together, with the help of Sonic and Mighty, he avoided Dr. Eggman's traps and escaped, only never to be seen or heard from again. Despite his name, Ray is never seen "flying" (or gliding, as is the case with real world flying squirrels) in SegaSonic the Hedgehog, and from what little personality the game is able to convey, Ray is depicted as more of the comic relief character and the more fearful of the trio.
After 25 years of absence, Ray finally returns as a playable character alongside Mighty in Sonic Mania Plus, a definitive version of Sonic Mania. His design has received a slight modification, giving him double-striped blue sneakers; a change carried over from his appearance in the Archie comics. In this game, Ray is finally able to live up to his species' name by performing the Air Glide. In Encore Mode, he is trapped in a capsule with Mighty in Angel Island Zone and has to be rescued by Sonic.
The character has seen a small number of cameo appearances, including in the Sega Saturn title, Gale Racer, in which he and several other Sonic universe characters were seen hanging from a car mirror, and in Sonic Generations where he can be seen on a "missing" poster as part of the City Escape stage.
Personality and traits
Due to his single game appearance at the time in SegaSonic the Hedgehog and the nature of the game, not much would be explained about Ray's personality apart from being more of the comic relief character. When he finally returns in Sonic Mania Plus, he was further fleshed out. He is slightly younger than his best friend Mighty and is far less stronger than him, but he makes up for the lack of strength with pure enthusiasm and excitement. He has a love for adventure, often gliding to high places to get a view of the land below.
In other media
Ray has been seen in the Archie universes where he has a greater role as an old and close friend to Mighty. In the original universe, Ray ended up getting trapped in a time warp when he grabbed the Power Gem in Robotnik's prison, but was eventually rescued by Mighty years later, and together they joined the Chaotix. In the Post-Super Genesis Wave universe, Ray and Mighty became an adventuring duo under the tutelage of Moss the Sloth with ties to—but not membership in—the Chaotix or the Freedom Fighters.
Ray has also been featured in Sonic Mania Adventures, where he comes to Angel Island to search for Mighty, even asking Knuckles about his whereabouts. It's not until Metal Sonic attacks him that he is finally reunited with his missing friend, and together they made their way to Eggman's base and helped Sonic and Tails fight a supercharged Metal Sonic.
- Hiroko Yoshino (Japanese, SegaSonic the Hedgehog)