Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Sonic the Hedgehog (satAM) Episodes #11-15

Sonic the Hedgehog (satAM)
Episodes #11-15

Ep11: Sub-Sonic
While drilling for oil, Robotnik wakes up a….giant…pink…walrus…monster, yeah, I have no idea what this thing is meant to be, it later reveals that it’s the last of a race that was destroyed by Robotnik’s pollution but that still doesn’t explain what it’s actually meant to be.
Anyway, Sonic and co travel to the creatures underground kingdom where they discover a green water that can instantly revive plant life, the monster kidnaps sonic and it’s up to Rotor to save the day for a change by getting a power ring to the blue blur.

After locking heads with the monster Sonic is able to convince it he is friendly and defeat Robotnik.
This episode is one of the less subtle examples of SatAM’s green is good message. It’s mentioned pretty blatantly that pollution is what killed both the plants and the whole pink walrus thing population. It’s by no means in your face but it’s pretty inescapable.
The episode itself is fun despite an ear shattering vocal performance by Jaleel White on a song that would put Sonic Underground to shame. 

Ep12: Sonic Past Cool
After Tails befriends a baby Terrapod (triceratops like dinosaur creatures) the freedom fighters  help rescue its herd from Robotnik who plans to roboticize them.
This episode is great because we finally get some time spent on Tails, I’m not a massive Tails fan but you can’t deny that he’s probably the third most important character to the series (behind sonic and robotnik) so satAM’s decision to exclude Tails for the most part was a very odd one indeed.
For the most part Tails has only been a background character, giving a couple lines every couple of episodes but he’s never featured in the proper action of an episode due to the writers reworking his character to be younger than he appears in the games.

Tails fans will love this episode but there’s still plenty of Sonic action running through it too. The Terrapods could come off as cheesy additions to the series but they’re handled pretty well leading to a very enjoyable, much more light-hearted episode even if the title has absolutely nothing to do with the plot.

Ep13: Heads or Tails
Heads or Tails was shown on TV as the last episode of SatAM’s first series (airing the day after the final episode of AoStH), in actual fact however it’s actually the pilot episode and therefore technically the first episode….following me?

This is obvious for several reasons as the episode goes on but most notable is the art style, characters look a lot different, it’s harder to tell on Sonic and Tails but Antoine’s head is huge compared to his body, Bunny looks quite different and Sally is totally different, her fur is pink, her hair in a ponytail and her face a much different shape.
 The colour scheme of the show is also radically different, much lighter, even Robotropolis is rendered in light browns as opposed to the dark dark greys of the rest of the series.
The lighter colour scheme works well with the tone of the episode which is much closer to AoStH, not surprising as AoStH was the first show  commissioned, executives at ABC didn’t like the childish tone and asked for something a bit more serious, the result, this pilot, sits somewhere between the two shows. Sonic has a lot more fun with the badniks and leads a hedgehog seeking missle (a scratch and grounder plan if ever there was one) in a roadrunner-esque chase.
 There are still fairly dark moments, the scenes where Sonic leads Tails through Robotropolis explaining why the city is the way it is (this is also strange when watching the pilot as the season finale, the episode is filled with exposition, twelve episodes too late).
There’s an encounter with Muttski, Sonic’s roboticized dog similar to Sonic’s encounter with Uncle Chuck in episode three.

It’s a fun episode and an interesting piece of satAM history too. It’s weird to see how the show could have been had they not down down such a humourless dark route. I’m not saying it’s better than how the series did turn out, but it is interesting.

Ep14: Sonic Conversion
Season 2 starts off with a bang, delivering a five star episode up front.
We’re quickly reintroduced to the freedom fighters, many sporting new looks, Antoine and Rotor have gone through pretty major redesigns (with Rotor getting anew voice actor) while Sally gains her trademark blue vest. We’re also introduced to new character Dulcy the dragon though we’re given no explanation as to where she comes from.
 The freedom fighters have developed a de-roboticizer and test it on Bunnie whose robot legs and arm return to normal.
Thrilled by this invention Sonic captures his uncle Chuck and de-roboticizes him. Chuck returns to his normal self and gets to work helping the freedom fighters again.
Sadly, the effects are short lived and both Bunnie and Chuck return to their robot selves.

The episode swaps the darkness a little in favour of emotional impact, Bunnie is overjoyed when she is freed from her robot parts and clearly devastated when changed back. We also learn that roboticized people are still sentient, just unable to move of their own free wills which is pretty messed up when you think about it.
 The episode ends with Chuck regaining control of himself, able to fight his programming without the aid of a power ring. He offers to stay in Robotropolis in order to secretly work on a new improved de-roboticizer.
The episode seems to have a much clearer direction than the episodes of the previous series, it’s a standard that remains for the rest of the series.

Ep15: Game Guy
This episode serves as the SatAM equivalent of AoStH’s Attack on Pinball Fortress both episodes were created in an attempt to raise interest in Megadrive title Sonic Spinball which featured characters from both series.
 The episode features Sonic lured into a trap by a freedom fighter forced by Robotnik to capture Sonic in exchange for his friend’s lives.
Sonic is encased in a ball and must battle against robotnik in a giant game of pinball to avoid being sucked into a portal to another dimension.
This sort of plot flies pretty well in AoStH but here it feels kooky and a little out of place. It’s a fun enough episode but for a series that tries to take itself so seriously it’s a bit too cartoony.

There are still moments of gravitas however, Ahri, the freedom fighter tricked by Robotnik, finds out that Robotnik has gone back on his word and roboticized the very people he was trying to save, he is later sucked into the portal, seemingly to his death, while trying to rescue Sonic.

It’s an odd episode, it’s cartoonish plot makes it stick out, and really, much like pinball fortress, it has little to do with the actual game it’s intended to promote. Storyline and style are totally different, the only thing they have in common is pinball…

"If you enjoyed this review, why not check out the others in the series?"
(01-05) (06-10) (11-15) (16-20) (21-26

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

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