Thursday, 13 December 2012

Sonic Christmas Blast

Sonic Christmas Blast

Sonic Christmas Blast was a 20 minute special produced a few months after the end of AoStH. It was probably produced to help promote the release of “Sonic X-treme” a 3D Sonic game for the Saturn. The game was intended for release that year but sadly never saw the light of day as it was cancelled midway through production.
The idea that the special was intended to promote this game comes from the title under which it was originally promoted, An X-tremely Sonic Christmas. Also, at the end of the episode Sonic wishes the viewers “an extremely cool Christmas” which further suggests the connection between the two.
Instead, somewhere during production the title was changed to Sonic Christmas Blast probably to liken it to the Saturn version of Sonic 3D Blast which was released in place of the cancelled Sonic X-Treme.

The special itself is an odd thing, despite being clearly set in the AoStH universe, as seen by it using the AoStH model Robotnik, Scratch, Grounder and the same opening animation, it also makes use of various elements from SatAM. It features the only AoStH appearance of Princess Sally (who appears at the beginning and end of the episode but does not speak), the term swatbots, here used just to describe various generic badniks and Robotnik’s base is located in Robotropolis (here pronounced, Robot-tropolis). Despite these brief nods to SatAM however, the series is AoStH through and through.

Christmas Blast opens with Santa Claus announcing both his retirement and his replacement, Robotnik Claus.
Robotnik attempts to ruin Christmas by demanding that, instead of delivering each child a gift, each child much deliver a gift to him, or be thrown in prison.
Sonic and Tails discover that the Santa who announced his retirement was a robot imposter and free the real Santa before attempting to save Christmas.

The special is great fun and it’s good to see the gang get one last chance to shine. The animation is superb, clearly a lot more time and money was thrown at this compared to what AoStH was used to. The art is crisp, the backgrounds detailed and the whole thing has a much more solid feel than the wishy washy art of the series.
The animation also feels a lot more suited to SatAM suggesting that members of the SatAM staff probably worked on it.
The plot takes a little while to get going and feels a little  rushed towards the end and, sad as it is to say, Robotnik is hardly in it, appearing only briefly at the start and again toward the end. Instead we’re given a large amount of Santa, no bad thing but he just doesn’t have the personality to replace Robotnik.
Despite these small flaws however, Sonic Christmas Blast is a great little Sonic oddity, one well worth seeking out.

Best Moment: It’s cheesy as hell but, the ending made me smile. Sonic replacing Santa as Sonic Claus. How can you not love that?

An honourable mention goes to a line delivered by Scratch, possibly his best in the whole series.
While pointing to a large gift wrapped block with spikes on the bottom, “This is yours, MERRY CRUSHMAS!!!”

BONUS: The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog Pilot
This seven minute cartoon was used to get funding for the AoStH series as well as a promotional item for various publications to preview the series.

The film is basically a series of unrelated scenes of Sonic foiling various schemes of Robotnik and escaping traps. Scratch and Grounder appear but only briefly.
The most obvious thing about the short is how much better the animation quality is compared to the finished product, the colour palette is a lot darker too.
Seeing as AoStH spun off from the discussions that led to the creation of satAm it’s not too unlikely that they originally planned the series to be much shorter than the 65 episodes that made up the final series. This would have allowed the team the chance to make animation the quality of this film but it simply wasn’t possible for such a large series.
It’s also noteworthy that the pilot seems much more heavily influenced by the games, it’s well documented that the team had little or no knowledge of the games but they clearly made an effort for this promotional piece.

The pilot lacks a soundtrack and some of the dialogue is missing but it’s still a lot of fun. Robotnik isn’t voiced by Long John Baldry but instead his part is played by Jim Cummings, the man responsible for many of the current Disney voices (Pete, Winnie the Pooh) and who ended up playing Robotnik in SatAM.
As much as I love Jim Cummings work, I don’t think his voice suits this Robotnik and I can’t imagine a better choice than Long John Baldry. 

This is such a brilliant little gem, it’s great to see Robotnik as he was drawn on Milton knight’s model sheets as he constantly slipped off model during the series.
It’s a neat little video, check it out below and let me know what you think. 

"If you enjoyed this review, why not check out the others in the series?"
(01-05) (06-10) (11-15) (16-20) (21-25) (26-30) (31-35) (36-40) (41-45) (46-50) (55-60) (61-65) (Xmas Blast)

"Or  check out these reviews of the other Sonic series'"
Sonic The Hedgehog
(01-05) (06-10) (11-15) (16-20) (21-26)
Sonic Underground
(01-05) (06-10) (11-15) (16-20) (21-25) (26-30) (31-35) (36-40)

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