The original Sonic the Hedgehog animated video, referred to as Sonic the Movie, or Sonic OVA by some, features Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, Dr. Eggman, Hyper Metal Sonic (ハイパー・メタル・ソニック, Haipā metaru sonikku,) and a few original characters, such as the human Sara (セーラ, Sēra), her father the President of South Island (サウスアイランド大統領, Sausuairando daitouryou,) Old Man Owl (オールドマン・ザ・オウル, Ōrudoman za ouru,) also known as Old Man (おじさん, Oji-san,) and Black Eggman (ブラック・エッグマン, Burakku egguman.)
In Japan, where it was simply titled Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ, Sonikku za hejjihoggu,) the film was released on May 31, 1996 and presented on two different VHS episodes, each about 30 minutes in length and were titled Welcome to Eggmanland (エッグマンランドへむかえ, Eggumanrando he mukae) and Sonic VS Metal Sonic （ソニック VS メタル・ソニック, Sonikku VS Metaru Sonikku.) An English dub was first released on September 8, 1999 by ADV Films, titled Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie as a single VHS. This release date was chosen to closely coincide with the release of Sonic Adventure which was released the next day on September 9th, 1999.
The main setting of the film is Planet Freedom, which is composed of two distinctly different worlds. The story begins on the outer world, which is comprised of interconnected floating continents, called the Land of the Sky, and eventually moves to the surface of Planet Freedom, which is referred to as the Land of Darkness. In the opening scenes of the film, we see Sonic and Tails on their small, unnamed home continent. This continent is part of a larger group of interconnected continents which are referred to as South Island, this group of continents is a country governed by the President of South Island. It is presumed that other country boundaries exist within Planet Freedom.
Sonic is relaxing on the beach when Tails comes out to test a new jet-propelled surfboard and asks Sonic to give it a try. Sonic declines, and Tails starts to surf. As he is surfing he encounters small airplane piloted by the President of South Island's messenger, Old Man Owl. Unbeknownst to Old Man, the engine of his small aircraft begins to fail and has caught on fire, which Tails attempts to fix mid-flight but to no avail, leaving them on a collision course with the oncoming cliffside. Sonic hears Tails' cry for help and runs to save them, barely rescuing them from danger moments before impact.
Shortly after, Old Man informs Sonic that he has been urgently summoned by the President to the Presidential residence. Leaving Old Man in charge of their abode while away, Sonic and Tails board the Tornado and fly to the Presidential house to answer the call. Once they arrive, it appears that the President and his daughter Sara are being held against their will, and Sonic is forced to listen to what Dr. Eggman has to say as a result. As it turns out, Dr. Eggman says he is in need of Sonic's help to rid the Land of Darkness of a mysterious being known as Black Eggman who has taken over his city, Eggmanland, on the surface of Planet Freedom. He explains that Black Eggman has sabotaged the Egg Generator at the center of the city, and if Sonic does not shut it down it will cause a giant explosion which will destroy the entire planet.
Once Sonic and Tails have left, the charade is dropped and it is revealed that Eggman has somehow bribed Sara and the President to pretend to be his hostages. Sara and Eggman enjoy several rounds of a fighting video game which Sara keeps losing but demands that Eggman continue playing the game with her or she will stop being his hostage. Sara continues to lose several rounds of the game before announcing that she wants to be taken for a drive. As if on cue, the curiously empty shell of Black Eggman crashes through the roof and Eggman and Sara climb in despite her father's plea for her to stay.
After some time flying, Sonic and Tails come across the storm eye-like entrance to the Land of Darkness. They swoop down into it, the winds so strong that Sonic is nearly blown from the wing of the bi-plane. Finally, they exit the eye and crash land, the Tornado taking heavy damage. They set off once again to find Eggmanland, traversing many perilous paths and facing a barrage of Eggman's robots on the way before entering a warp zone which takes them to the ruins of an ancient abandoned city.
Black Eggman finds them and congratulates them for making it so far, but Sonic and Tails promptly mock and attempt to evade him in order to continue to Eggmanland. Black Eggman pursues them while using a barrage of weaponry, causing them to nearly fall into the ocean below a bridge. They make sounds as if they are taking in water and so they believe they have tricked Black Eggman into thinking they have drowned. They find that the mechanical giant was simply waiting to ambush them once they tried to sneak away, and attacks them with huge globs of a superglue-like substance, adhering Tails to a nearby fence. Sonic attacks Black Eggman with his own hedgehog-seeking missles by riding them back towards him, causing slight damage. Sonic then finds that he has accidentally stepped in a pile of the superglue which has effectively adhered him to the pavement. It starts to rain and as Black Eggman's massive weight cracks the pavement with each step towards them, the water begins to encroach Sonic. With the water nearly above Sonic's head, Black Eggman aims a laser gun at him, preparing to shoot Sonic just as Knuckles swoops in, knocking Black Eggman off balance. Tails pulls Sonic from his impending watery grave and the trio launch a team-attack on Black Eggman, causing it to explode in mid-air, presumably destroying it, and then move on to locate the entrance to Eggmanland.
Sonic, Tails and Knuckles travel warily into the core of the city, finally finding the Egg Generator in the center of the massive base, which looks on the brink of exploding. Sonic shuts it down in the nick of time but finds himself quickly magnetized against it, unable to escape the eerie green glow of the force field-like device. It eventually releases Sonic and the entire machine begins to collapse. Tails saves Sonic, and the three watch curiously as something that was previously in the center of the Egg Generator begins to come to life. Sonic is suddenly faced with his robot twin, Hyper Metal Sonic.
Black Eggman seems to return from beyond the grave but falls to pieces again only moments later as it is still completely damaged from earlier. As noises of shouting are heard from the rubble, Sonic realizes that Sara was working with Eggman, but she pretends that she had been coerced to do so, though still does not want harm to come to Sonic. In a fit of rage, Sonic runs at Eggman, but Metal Sonic beats him there, blocking him, causing much shock and worry to Tails and Knuckles, having never seen anything move faster than Sonic before. A battle between Sonic and Metal Sonic ensues as Tails and Knuckles travel back through the warp zone to find the Tornado and return back to their home. In combat high above the ground, Metal Sonic knocks Sonic off of a mountainous peak, presumably killing him, as Metal's heart pulse monitor for Sonic quickly flatlines.
In the night, because Sonic is presumed dead, Metal Sonic travels to South Island before Tails and Knuckles have arrived. Metal Sonic approaches Old Man, and having all of Sonic's feelings, thoughts and motivations, curiously dresses him in Sonic's favorite clothes. In the morning, Tails and Knuckles arrive and begin repairs on the Tornado while Tails modifies Eggman's navigation device, turning it into a locator to find Metal Sonic, and by association, Sonic. Afterward, they receive a call from the President who has been getting reports of a Sonic-like figure destroying several cities in the Land of the Sky. They quickly deduce that it is Metal Sonic causing the destruction, and that his next target is the glacial bridge at northernmost tip of the interconnected continents, which if destroyed, the centrifugal force of the planet would hurl the outer continents into space. After Tails urges the President to not breathe a word of this information to Sonic, Sonic reveals that he had been listening in the entire time, and rushes northward to stop Metal Sonic.
Sonic arrives to find that Metal Sonic is already working quickly to force magma to the surface, causing a giant geyser of molten rock which erupts precariously close to the ice bridge. The two face off once more, each predicting the other's actions move for move. Sara and Eggman appear from a warp zone just as Metal Sonic goes flying upward, his head bashing through the underside of Eggman's ship. Sara is thrown from the ship but is saved by Knuckles before she hits the ground. Knuckles then attempts to redirect the flow of the magma away from the ice bridge by digging tunnels beneath it. Metal Sonic grabs Sonic and chokes him, so Tails uses the modified locator device to overload the robot even more Sonic's emotion data causing him to malfunction and release Sonic, giving him the chance to damage him. Immediately following this, the President's ship crashes into the ice bridge, jarring shut the door to the ship and trapping him and Old Man inside. As Tails flies Sonic to their aid, Metal Sonic appears again knocking them both out of the sky and effectively blocking their way to the ship which has now begun to catch fire. Eggman sniper-shoots Tails' device from above, destroying it before he can use it to overload Metal Sonic again.
Sonic and Metal Sonic continue their fight until eventually a strike from Sonic sends his robotic twin flying into the President's ship causing the entire ship to explode. Metal Sonic emerges from the smoke holding the President and Old Man, having saved them from the explosion. Metal Sonic drops them to the ground before a large chunk of debris knocks him down into a deep crevice filled with magma. Sonic, seeing that Metal Sonic has some good in him, like Sonic himself, immediately jumps down the incline, sliding down to try and save the horribly damaged robot. He reaches a hand out to Metal Sonic who slaps it away, realizing that he must perish as there can only be one Sonic in the world. Sonic is incredibly distraught, Knuckles having to restrain him as he watches Metal Sonic melt away into the magma.
Later, everyone is overlooking the ice bridge which has been saved from destruction. Sonic is lost in thought, presumably still saddened at the loss of Metal Sonic. Tails and Sara attempt to cheer Sonic up, but are interrupted by Eggman appearing behind them, touting the fact that he still possesses the CD containing Sonic's data. He explains that he plans to create an even more powerful version of Metal Sonic which would omit the part of Sonic's data containing his personality, so that he would have no weakness. Too caught up in his egotistical speech to notice, the slow, turtle-like projectile that Eggman had released earlier finally shows up, grabs the CD in its mouth and explodes, destroying it. Everyone laughs and then Knuckles hits Sonic on the head, claiming it was payback for earlier when Sonic accidentally stepped on him while fighting Metal Sonic. Knuckles runs off and Sonic chases him, with Tails following both of them. Sara, Old Man and the President all pile into Eggman's ship and demand that he catch up with Sonic. Eggman obliges and as they fly up behind Sonic, they all grab for him, Sara shouting that she wants to marry him, and Eggman claiming that he will eventually get Sonic's data again. Sonic announces he is getting out of here, and races away.
|“||All in all, the artwork looks amazing, plus it's an O.V.A, so the artists have been given quite an extensive budget. The animation is much cleaner than you could ever expect from a TV show, but the characters on-screen presence is what really makes Sonic so cool. It's like playing the game, but in anime form. After the U.S. Sonic cartoon has been cancelled, this Anime is definitely a good choice.||„|
—DieHard Magazine, March 1996
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|Role||Voice Actor (English)||Voice Actor (Japanese)|
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Martin Burke||Masami Kikuchi|
|Miles "Tails" Prower||Lainie Frasier||Hekiru Shīna|
|Knuckles the Echidna||Bill Wise||Yasunori Matsumoto|
|Dr. Eggman/Robotnik||Edwin Neal||Junpei Takiguchi|
|Sara||Sascha Biesi||Mika Kanai|
|Black Eggman/Metal Robotnik||Edwin Neal||Junpei Janikuchi|
|President of South Island||Edwin Neal||Yuzuru Fujimoto|
|Hyper Metal Sonic||Gary Dehan|
|Old Man Owl||Charles Campbell||Chafūrin|
|President's aide||Akimitsu Takase|
|File||Date||Source||Article type||Title and comments||Writer(s)||Review score|
|2001-01||Computer and Video Games #230||Review|| "Games vs Hollywood: Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie - 1999"
Short review of the film, criticising the voice acting and describing it as forgettable.