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Robotropolis, sometimes known as Mobotropolis, is a location appearing in many pieces of Sonic media, most notably in DiC's Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Underground animated series, Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series and in Studio Pierrot's Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie (where it is known as Eggmanland in Japan).

Commonly depicted as a dark and dangerous industrial city, it serves the role of Dr. Robotnik's base of operations in most of its appearances.

Conceptual history

Early SatAM concept art of Robotropolis, featuring a large, robotic bat.

Robotropolis was originally conveived by Len Janson, Bruce Shelly and Reed Shelly in 1992 for the SatAM series Bible. Said Bible contains a monologue written from the perspective of Sonic the Hedgehog, where he describes it as Robotnik's scary, dark, dirty and ugly city full of polluting factories and junkyards that's constantly growing larger, likening it to the environments of the 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner. He also explains the city's origins before Robotnik, disclosing that Robotropolis, formerly known as Mobotropolis, was once an eco-friendly city full of tall buildings, recreational venues, restaurants and vegetation, all while being powered entirely by renewable energy.Media:SonicTH-SatAM Revised Bible 1992-03-11.pdf[1]

While most subsequent depictions of the location are based on this description at least partially, the idea that the dystopian city of Robotropolis had formerly been a utopian city of Mobotropolis is notably absent from certain incarnations. Notably, neither Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog or Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie do anything to imply that the city had ever been anything other than Robotropolis. Conversely, Archie Comics writer Ian Flynn has explained that Mobotropolis had never been turned into Robotropolis in the comic series' rebooted continuity, first introduced in issue #252.[2]

Appearances

Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)

Robotropolis as seen in "Harmonic Sonic".

In SatAM, Robotropolis is a dark, industrial city on the planet Mobius, located by a bay connected to a sea. Formerly a technologically advanced city known as Mobotropolis, it was populated by animals who lived in harmony with nature. The city's transformation into Robotropolis began when its ruler, King Acorn, was banished into a dimension known as the Void by Dr. Robotnik, the leader of the city's War Ministry. Subsequently, Robotnik took control of the city, used a roboticizer taken from Sir Charles Hedgehog to transform 85 percent of its population into robot workers[3] and used an aircraft known as the Destroyer to both wipe out all flora in the city as well as transform its buildings into industrial facilities.

Mobotropolis as seen in the SatAM opening.

Mobotropolis was characterized by its light-colored buildings, futuristic architecture, ubiquitous water features and an overwhelming amount of greenery. Notable landmarks included the ziggurat-like Royal Palace, Palace Fountain, Sir Charles Hedgehog's laboratory and a chili dog kiosk. What appears to be the structure of an elevated railway can also be seen in the episode "Blast to the Past (Part 1)".

Robotropolis, on the other hand, is abundant with dark, metallic edifices, including factories and power plants. Other types of structures include large pipes, junkyards and prison facilities. Due to excessive pollution, the skies over Robotropolis are always dark, with little sunlight making it through the smog. Under the city is an extensive network of tunnels that even Robotnik isn't fully aware of.[4]

Robotropolis' most notable landmark is Robotnik's egg-shaped headquarters, which was converted from the former Royal Palace. The headquarters acts as the residence of Robotnik and Snively and houses the war room where the two humans operate from.

Seemingly no organic beings live in Robotropolis aside from Robotnik and Snively, with most of the inhabitants being either SWATbots or robot workers. While the SWATbots, who serve as the city's military force, are constructed in factories, the robot workers are the city's former animal residents, roboticized and enslaved by Robotnik. They mainly work in logistics and maintenance in and around Robotropolis.

Like many other aspects of the series, Robotropolis' appearance slightly differs from its depiction in the rest of the series in "Heads or Tails", the pilot episode. In it, the city's smoggy skies appear yellow rather than dark blue, there are a lot more active smoke stacks and Robotnik's headquarters is depicted as a gaunt tower structure rather than an egg-shaped citadel.

Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie comics)

Original Robotropolis

The city was orignally known as Mobotropolis and was once been ruled by the House of Acorn, until King Acorn had been dethroned by his treacherous War Minister, Dr. Robotnik. The king was sentenced to exile in the Zone of Silence. As soon as Dr Robotnik took over, he roboticized roughly 85% of the city's population, the remaining 15% had escaped. The city was then rechristened Robotropolis.

Robotropolis was the seat of Robotnik's power, acting as his empire's capital city. After numerous engagements against the Knothole Freedom Fighters, Robotnik was eventually killed by his own weapon, the Ultimate Annihilator (due to tampering from his nephew Snively). The Mobians then retook the city and began trying to restore the city to its former glory. However, an alternate universe version of Robotnik arrived and was able to retake the city with relative ease. He distracted the Freedom Fighters by leading them to his satellites in orbit, while launching hordes of Shadowbots to reclaim the city. He then rechristened the city Robotropolis once again.

Robotropolis was later destroyed in a nuclear strike by Station Square. The harmful fallout is currently kept within the former site of the city by a shield originally designed to protect the city.

In the miniseries Mobius: 25 Years Later, Mobotroplis appears to have been retaken and rebuilt, as Rotor the Walrus was seen disembarking from a ship that had departed from Mobotropolis when he arrived on Portal, Angel Island.

New Mobotropolis

Mobotropolis was later reborn when the 'city' created by A.D.A.M.'s nanites was transformed into a exact recreation of it and then christened 'New Mobotropolis'.

New Mobotropolis is a completely computerized city which has a defense system revolved mainly around energy shields. The city also has teleportation technology, which can be used to send individuals from one place to another. Presumably, as the controlling intelligence of the city, NICOLE also has virtually unlimited power within its boundaries.

Following his campaign on Angel Island, the new Enerjak made his way to New Mobotropolis with the intent of ridding it of all technology. He was stopped in this objective by the arrival of first Sonic and then Shadow the Hedgehog, whom engaged him in a battle that left the city badly damaged. Enerjak was then captured by the Egg Fleet, leaving the inhabitants of New Mobotropolis to begin repairs.

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

Robotropolis makes its only appearance in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog in the special Sonic Christmas Blast.

Sonic Underground

In series Sonic Underground, the former ruler of Mobotropolis had been Sonic's mother, Queen Aleena Hedgehog. The city in this cartoon was attacked and conquered by Robotnik, and the queen fled the city. Sonic himself, along with his siblings Manic and Sonia, were heirs to the throne, and fated to one day form a council of four with their mother and take back control of Mobius.

In look and design, Robotropolis in Sonic Underground is exactly like it was in "SatAM"; however, the Robotropolis in Sonic Underground is still inhabited by Mobians, possessing a run-down slum for the underclasses and more upscale areas for the aristocratic elite.

Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie

In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Robotropolis is the massive techno-city constructed by Robotnik in the Land of Darkness and is near or is in a post-apocalyptic city which resembles New York City, called Ancient Ruins. In the original Japanese version Mobotropolis is not referred to and the name for the city is Eggmanland. It was changed to Robotropolis in the English dubbed version to tie it in with the American continuity.

References