Sonic the Hedgehog (anime)
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|Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Studio: Studio Pierrot|
|Distributor(s): Taki Corporation (JP), ADV Films (US/UK)|
|Number of episodes: 2 (JP), 1 (World)|
|Running time: 27–28 minutes|
Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック★ザ★ヘッジホッグ), referred to as Sonic the Movie, or Sonic OVA by some, is a two-episode original video animation, produced in Japan by Sega Enterprises, General Entertainment and Studio Pierrot. Largely inspired by Sonic CD, it 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 (大統領 Daitōryō), the steward owl (執事 Shitsuji), also known as Old Man Owl (おじさん Oji-san), and Black Eggman (ブラック・エッグマン Burakku Egguman).
In Japan, the animation was released as two separate VHS tapes on a rental-only basis on January 26, 1996 before being released for retail sale on May 31, 1996. The episodes are about 30 minutes in length and are titled Welcome to Eggmanland (エッグマンランドへむかえ Eggumanrando e 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 7, 1999 by ADV Films, titled Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie as a single VHS and DVD, with the two episodes combined into one to make it flow more like a movie. This release date was chosen to closely coincide with the Western release of Sonic Adventure, which came out two days later on September 9, 1999.
The main setting of the film is Planet Freedom (惑星フリーダム Wakusei Furīdamu), which is composed of two distinctly different layers. The story begins on the outer layer, which is comprised of interconnected floating continents, called the Land of the Sky (天の大地 Ten no Daichi), and eventually moves to the surface of Planet Freedom, which is referred to as the Land of Darkness (闇の大地 Yami no Daichi). 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 of their South Island home when Tails comes out to test a new jet-propelled surfboard and asks Sonic if he wants to give it a try. Sonic declines, and Tails starts to surf. As he is surfing, he encounters a small airplane piloted by the President of South Island's steward, Old Man Owl. Unbeknownst to Old Man Owl, the engine of his small aircraft begins to fail and catches on fire, which Tails attempts to fix mid-flight but to no avail, leaving them on a collision course with the oncoming cliff side. Sonic hears Tails' cry for help and runs to save them, rescuing them from danger moments before impact.
Old Man Owl informs Sonic that he is being urgently summoned by the President to the Presidential residence. Leaving the kind but bumbling owl 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. Dr. Eggman says he is in need of Sonic's help to rid the Land of Darkness of a mysterious being known only 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 that sits 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 into pretending 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 more rounds of the game before announcing that she wants to be taken for a drive somewhere. As if on cue, the curiously empty shell a flying robot crashes through the roof and Eggman and Sara climb in despite her father's plea for her to stay.
After flying for some time, Sonic and Tails approach 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. After a turbulent descent they 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 which appears to resemble our own New York City.
Black Eggman appears ominously, congratulating them for making it so far. 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 until they fake their own drowning below a highway bridge. In waiting for Black Eggman to fall for it before sneaking away, they find that the mechanical giant was simply waiting to ambush them and attacks by shooting huge globs of a superglue-like substance, adhering Tails to a nearby fence. Black Eggman deploys hedgehog-seeking missiles at Sonic, who rides on top of them back towards their source, exploding on impact with Black Eggman and causing slight damage. Sonic accidentally steps in a pile of the superglue, adhering him to the pavement and leaving him unable to run. Rain begins to pour and as Black Eggman's massive weight cracks the pavement with each step towards them, the waters begin to encroach Sonic. With the water nearly above Sonic's head, Black Eggman aims at him, preparing to shoot. Just then, Knuckles swoops in and knocks Black Eggman off balance and causing the shot to miss. Tails pulls Sonic from his impending watery grave and the trio launch a team-attack on the flying robot, causing it to explode in mid-air, destroying it. They move on together to locate the entrance to Eggmanland.
The three friends travel warily into the core of the city, finally finding the Egg Generator in the center of the massive base which looks to be on the brink of exploding. Sonic shuts it down in the nick of time but finds himself trapped, unable to escape the eerie green glow of the force field surrounding the generator. Once it finally releases Sonic, the generator starts to collapse. Tails saves Sonic from falling, 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 face-to-face with his robotic twin, Hyper Metal Sonic.
In a dramatic entrance, Black Eggman seems to return from beyond the grave but the charade and Black Eggman itself falls to pieces again only moments later, as it is still badly damaged from earlier. As noises of shouting are heard from the rubble, Sonic is shocked to see Sara working with Eggman. The rotund villain mocks Sonic for falling for his trap and in a fit of rage Sonic runs at Eggman, but Metal Sonic beats him there, blocking him and causing much shock and worry to Tails and Knuckles, having never seen anything move faster than Sonic before. Even though she has played a part in Eggman's plan, Sara was unaware of his intent to use Metal to destroy the real Sonic. A battle between Sonic and Metal Sonic ensues, their speeds nearly matched. Visibly concerned, Tails carries Knuckles back through the warp zone to find the Tornado and return to South Island. 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 appears to flatline.
Sonic presumed dead, Metal Sonic travels to South Island before Tails and Knuckles have a chance to arrive. The robotic hedgehog duplicate approaches Old Man Owl, 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 hone in Metal Sonic's signature, and by association, Sonic's. Afterward, they get a call from the President, who has been receiving reports of a Sonic-like figure destroying several cities in the Land of the Sky. They quickly deduce that Metal Sonic is the source of the destruction, and that his next target is the glacial bridge at northernmost tip of the interconnected continents. Which, if destroyed, would cause the Land of the Sky to be hurled into space by the centrifugal force of the planet. 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 to erupt 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 attempts to redirect the flow of the magma away from the ice bridge by digging tunnels beneath it. Metal Sonic grabs Sonic and begins choking him, prompting Tails to make use of the modified locator device to overload the robot with Sonic's emotional data causing him to malfunction and release Sonic, giving him the chance to damage him. The President arrives, but his 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 thing to explode. Metal Sonic emerges from the smoke holding the President and Old Man Owl, 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, having seen that Metal Sonic is capable of empathy for other beings, 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 from trying to save his robotic double as Metal Sonic becomes submerged, lost under the magma.
Later, as everyone is overlooking the ice bridge which has been saved from destruction, Sonic is lost in thought. He is presumably still saddened at the loss of Metal Sonic. Tails and Sara attempt to cheer him up, but are interrupted as Eggman appears behind them touting the fact that he still possesses the CD containing all of 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 weaknesses. 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 Owl, 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 try to 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.
Trivia & Censorship
- In the original Japanese version, Sara refers affectionately to Knuckles as Mr. Mole (モグラちゃん Mogura-chan) when he saves her, presumably as a joke because she does not know what sort of animal Knuckles is. This occurs only once, but was correctly translated, and so is present in the English translation.
- The only actual censorship in the English dub is the omittance of quite a few curse words which were present in the Japanese version that were replaced with more mild-sounding language.
- A soundtrack for the film was to be released but was canceled due to the series' lack of popularity.
- Executive Producer: Haruki Nakayama
- Production Manager: Kyōichi Mori
- Producers: Kōichirō Sugie (Episode 1), Akinori Ōno (Episode 2), Takayuki Sugisaki, Naoji Hōnokidani
- Supervisors: Sonic Team, Yuji Naka, Naoto Oshima
- Music Producer: Junji Fujita
- Music: Mitsuhiro Tada
- Story Composition: Mayori Sekijima
- Script: Masashi Kubota
- Storyboards: Kazunori Ikegami
- Character Design & Animation Director: Tsuneo Ninomiya
- Assistant Animation Director (Episode 1): Fumie Muroi
- Mecha Design (Episode 2): Haruo Miyagawa
- Key Animation
- Episode 1: Fumie Muroi, Minoru Kibata, Junichi Hayakawa, Toshiya Washida, Masaru Yoshioka, Hiroharu Itō, Nobutake Itō, Shirō Kudaka, Hideaki Sakamoto
- Episode 2: Fumie Muroi, Fujio Oda, Junichi Hayakawa, Masaru Yoshioka, Masahiko Matsuyama, Tadashi Abiru, Minoru Kibata, Hiroyuki Yoshimura, Junichi Takaoka, Hideaki Sakamoto
- Art Director: Seiko Akashi
- Backgrounds: STUDIO UNI
- Masaru Amamizu, Takashi Nakamura, Akira Suzuki, Reiko Ikeda, Kaori Nishikawa
- In-between Animation Check: Reiko Yamada
- In-between Animation
- Episode 1: Anime World Osaka, Tezuka Productions, SEONG BO YANG HAENG, Studio Pierrot Fukuoka Annex, Studio Pierrot Animation Room
- Episode 2: Tezuka Productions, SEONG BO YANG HAENG, Studio Pierrot Fukuoka Annex, Studio Pierrot Animation Room
- Color Coordination: Yoshiko Takiguchi
- Episode 1: Anime World Osaka, Tezuka Productions, Studio OM Aomori Works, SEONG BO YANG HAENG, Studio Pierrot Fukuoka Annex
- Episode 2: Studio Runrun, Tezuka Productions, Studio OM Aomori Works, SEONG BO YANG HAENG, Studio Pierrot Fukuoka Annex
- Digital Animation (Episode 2): Junya Koshiba
- Special Effects: Kenji Ikeda
- Finishing Check: Toshio Kaidō, Izumi Murasaki, Yoshiko Shimizu
- Director of Photography: Motoaki Ikegami
- Photography: Studio Cosmos
- Katsunori Maebara, Noriko Suzuki, Tetsuo Ōfuji, Yōichi Kuroda, Hiroshi Noguchi, Shinji Ikegami, Naohisa Haishima, Takashi Shimada
- Recording Director: Fusanobu Fujiyama
- Mixing: Akiyoshi Yoda
- Sound Effects: Daisuke Jinbo (Swara Production)
- Recording Studio: Studio Echo, Jinnan Studio
- Sound Production: Jinnan Studio, Hiromi Kikuta
- Editing: Seiji Morita (Morita Edit Room)
- Film Processing: IMAGICA
- Titles: Maki Productions
- Production Advance: Hiroyuki Fujiwara, Daisuke Nishioka
- Production: General Entertainment Co., Ltd.
- Animation Production: Studio Pierrot Co., Ltd.
- Executive Production & Original Work: Sega Enterprises, Ltd.
- Director: Kazunori Ikegami
English Language Version
- Presented by A.D.V. Films
- Project Translator: Keisuke Okamoto
- International Coordinator: Toru Iwakami
- Executive Producer: John Ledford
- Produced & Directed by: Gary Dehan
- English ADR Script: Jennifer Presto, Gary Dehan
- Production Manager: Lisa J. Miller
- Sound Design: Paul Killam
- Art Director: Laura Attwell
- Logo Design: Kevin Hinnant
- Production Coordinator: Janice Williams
- English ADR Recorded at: Monster Island
- English ADR Recording Engineer: Charles Campbell
- Production Assistants: Kelly Beard, Maki Nagono, Akiko Yoshii
- Production Secretary: Anna Bechtol
|File||Date||Source||Title and comments|
|"Games vs Hollywood: Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie - 1999"|
Short review of the film, criticising the voice acting and describing it as forgettable.
- http://pierrot.jp/title/list_ova.html (archived: 2009-12-14 19:26)
- File:ODCM US 01.pdf, page 66
- File:CVG UK 216.pdf, page 59
- http://www.advfilms.com/advhome/catalog/news.html (archived: 1999-11-15 14:43)