Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sonic the Hedgehog (satAM) Episodes #21-26

Sonic the Hedgehog (satAM)
Episodes #21-26

Ep21: The Void
The d├ębut of Naugus (I told you we’d be hearing that name again). We learn he is a sorcerer, trapped in the void by Robotnik before he rose to power (when we are given a flashback, Robotnik doesn’t have his  robot arm)
 Naugus traps Sally and Bunnie in the void in an attempt to use Sonic’s speed to free himself.
In previous episodes we’ve seen two other characters sucked into the void, the first was Ari, the freedom fighter sucked in during Sonic’s pinball battle with Robotik, the second being King Acorn during blast to the past.
Both characters appear in this episode when Sonic rescues the king from the void but finds him to be Naugus in disguise.
 After freeing Ari and the real King Acorn it is revealed that Naugus and the King have been in the void too long and begin to turn to crystal. The two must return to the void until they can work out a way to free themselves.

By this point in the series the overall continuity was just ramping in awesomeness, the reappearance of minor characters giving a great sense of realism to the series and showing how much thought went into the story telling.
This is a great episode, linking so many other episodes together and hinting at the future, it is in this episode that Sonic  learns of the doomsday project and gets the hint that robotnik is working on something big.

Ep22: The odd couple/ Ro-becca
Another double header similar to the fed up with antonie/ghost busted episode. Instead of the normal format this one is split into two shorter stories.
The first story sees Sonic’s hut destroyed and our hero forced to bunk up with Antoine who is driven slowly mad by Sonic’s carefree nature as opposed to Antoine’s cleanliness obsession.
This story is actually pretty funny, one gag especially where we see Antoine talking in his sleep about sonic

The second story sees rotor build a robot in a parody of Frankenstein, complete with a dark and stormy night and Antoine screaming “it’s alive! It’s aliiivvveeee!!”
This one is less enjoyable, in an extremely AoStH feeling move, the robot falls in love with Antoine and sets about chasing him through Knothole.

For the most part this is enjoyable but it’s placement in the series feels off. At this point the show is building slowly to a very dramatic finale and this only serves to distract us from it. Both this episode and the other double feature feel like they should be part of series one. If they were featured there they would work a little better at expanding on Knothole life and showing the character interactions. Here they just feel like interruptions to the brilliant plot that’s building in the background.

Ep23: Cry of the wolf
Following the list given to sally by king Acorn, the freedom fighterslearn of another group known as the Wolf Pack.
They travel to meet with their leader Lupe and help them destroy a machine of Robotnik’s that has been terrorising them in an attempt to recruit them to the fight against Robotnik.
It’s a good episode in further setting up the mystery of the Doomsday project which is mentioned a little more here.
 It doesn’t much go into the Wolf Pack however, we’re given a back story but it’s incredibly brief (literally two sentences), we’re also giving the slightest hints at their culture but You’re left with the feeling that they could have done more.

Even the battle against the machine features them only briefly, overall you’re left feeling this episode exists only to beef up the cast of the final episode.

Ep24: Drood Henge
The hype for the doomsday project continues to build as Robotnik hunts for the Deep power stones to power the project.
Upon hearing this  I was expecting the chaos emeralds to make an appearance but instead we learn the Deep power stones are actually a weird piece of jewellery that  joins with a partner to….um…I dunno….do something…powerful?

Anywho, this is a great episode for one big reason, we finally get to see Tails take part in the main storyline, not just some small filler episode.
In this episode we see Sonic and Tails working together and even Tails taking matters into his own hands to destroy a spy camera and coming up with the plan to get the stone from Robotnik.
The relationship is much closer to their relationship in the games and was probably intended to be used to imply the relationship growth that was intended to feature in the doomed third series.
It’s nice that they at least got to touch on the game relationship in the series, however briefly and the final scene where they proudly welcome Tails as a true freedom fighter will melt your heart.

Ep25: Spyhog
As the doomsday project heads into its final stages Robotnik begins to suspect there is a spy working for the freedom fighters. After some snooping he uncovers a bug placed by Uncle Chuck and Snively manages to capture him.

The episode does a good bit of ramping the tension before next episode’s season finale, the capture of Uncle Chuck and his reprogramming feel really serious as it means the freedom fighters have lost one of their only alies. Robotnik very nearly finds the location of Knothole also, there’s a sense that things are finally reaching the endgame.

There are also some funny scenes with Snively torturing Antoine by deliberately cooking badly in front of him, butchering delicious French dishes turns out to be more than our cowardly comrade can bear.

The episode ends with Chuck getting a new base in Robotropolis and showing he’ll disguise himself as another robot to go undetected.
The reason for this is never made fully clear, Sonic clearly wants them to bring him back to knowhole but they just don’t do it, with no real explanation given.
A bit of a shame as having Chuck return to knothole would have been an awesome conclusion to an otherwise awesome episode.

Ep26: The Doomsday Project
So this is it, the doomsday project. And what an episode it is, seriously it’d be hart to picture a better ending to the series.
The doomsday machine is finally completeand is revealed to be a factory building hundreds of Doomsday pods (the machines first seen in the wolf pack episode) and distributing them around the world.
The episode opens with on pod attacking knothole and destroying Rotor’s home, the gang destroy it then immediately round up all the other gangs of freedom fighters for one final battle against Robotnik, during the assault all the other freedom fighters are captured and sonic put in a roboticizer, escaping only at the last minute.
He steals the second deep power stone from Robotnik (luckily Robotnik left it out on his desk) and combining their powers Sonic and Sally destroy the doomsday machine.

Wow, that’s a lot to cram into twenty minutes, perhaps a little two much. Certain aspects  feel a bit rushed and the episode might have worked better as a two parter, nonetheless it’s a brilliant episode from start to finish, able to convey a great sense of danger very effectively in a way that never feels cheap or cheesy.

The ending sees the Doomsday machine destroyed, Robotnik defeated, seemingly dead and Sonic and Sally sharing a triumphant kiss, what’s not to love. It has all the hallmarks of a brilliant finale, what more could you want?
 Well, I’m sure a lot of people could have done without the cliff hanger, the episode really ends with Sniveley (after being abandoned by Robotnik and forced to find his own way out of the machine) emerge from the rubble. He leaves his escape pod in a new outfit. Complete with long purple cape, cackling maniacally.
He says that now that Robotnik is gone, that it’s his turn to deal with the freedom fighters, and that he’s not alone. With that he walks off, revealing a large set of glowing red eyes behind him.
Who? What? Where? When? Why? The cliffhanger drove fans of the show crazy for years as the show was swiftly cancelled and the conclusion never made.

Despite this I feel the episode still works brilliantly with the cliff hanger, if anything it adds a sense of mystery rather than just have the victory be so cut and dry. Little twists like this ran throughout the series so there’s really no reason that the final episode should be any different.
The doomsday project is a brilliant episode cliff hanger or not and ends the series with a bang. It’s the dramatic finale that the series deserves.

And so, what next?.....
After the   cliff hanger ending of  season two, fans would wait for years for an explanation. Sadly, this never came in the form of another series but we do know what would have happened.

The glowing read eyes belong to Naugus, the wizard trapped in the void. Snively apparently would try to gain control of Robotropolis but fail, he would then free Naugus from the void (where he was bust torturing Robotnik).
While freeing him, Snively would accidently free both Robotnik and King Acorn from the void as well.
Naugus would then take control with Robotnikas his lackey, Snively would defect to the freedom fighters and Sonic and the gang would use the rest of the series to free King Acorn from Naugus.
During this series it has been said that Tails would take a bigger role, his relationship with sonic growing to reflect what was hinted at in episode 24.

Sadly, the third season was cancelled before any work was done on it and there’s virtually no chance we’ll ever see it picked up now, over the years there have been a few fan efforts to actualise the series but unfortunately these are the closest we’ll ever get.

SatAM: A summery
SatAM as I mentioned in my intro, has never been my favourite Sonic show though it’s clear to see why people love it so much.
Personally I like the cartoony style of AoStH a little better, as well as the variety between episodes, SatAM, the first series especially feels too repetitive, a bumbled plan in the beginning of the episode leading to a successful plan by the end.
That said, the over arcing storyline of SatAM is brilliant and I respect their efforts to produce a darker take on the Sonic story. The second series is all but perfect in it’s execution with a plot line running across multiple episodes rather than each episode being a one shot.
It was a bold, dark, risky series and one that many still love today. I never seen the series in it’s entirety until my early teens and I think it’s ashame I never got to see it much during it’s original broadcast, had I seen it more in my childhood I’d probably have liked it more.
All in all though, it’s a great series and one you should definitely look up if you get the chance.

So that’s all for my SatAM review, I’ll be returning later in the year with a review of the Sonic movie and every episode of sonic Underground (wish me luck with that one)
So until next time.

Gotta juice.

"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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