Sunday, 31 March 2013

Sonic Underground Episodes #36-40

Sonic Underground
Episodes #36-40

Ep36: Sleepers
The hedgehogs team up with Cyrus to shut down a mine Robotnik is using to fuel his new inventions. Missiles with sleeping gas that are being used to capture freedom fighters for Roboticiseation.
This one was really good. The tone is a little more serious than the past couple of episodes and there’s a sense of danger that’s so often absent from this series as Robotnik manages to roboticise over thirty freedom fighters.
There’s also a fairly sad moment where Cyrus meets up with his father again and he helps destroy the sleepers.

Song: Have it all again
Not a great one, this song feels particularly shoehorned in. It’s got nothing to do with the plot of the episode and kind of ruind the tone of what is otherwise a fairly serious episode. It’s almost as if the writers couldn’t be bothered to think of an episode specific song and just had this one lying around.

Ep37: Bartelby the prisoner
Bartelby is tried for treason, meanwhile the hedgehogs hatch a plan to destroy a ruby mine that Robotnik is using to fuel incredibly powerful lasers.
The best part of this episode is the trial, Bartelby refuses help to escape from Sonia in order to protect her and changes his plea from innocent to guilty. He’s finally seen to stand up to Robotnik and show that he is against the regime.
It’sa shame therefore that the writers decided to focus the episode on the plan to destroy the mine, yep, despite the title of the episode, the trial is only fleetingly witnessed. It has potential to be one of the most interesting episodes in the series but sadly the opportunity is wasted.
Had I been in charge I would have dropped the hedgehogs from the episode almost entirely and leave it to focus on Bartelby’s character development.
As it is, it makes for a mildly entertaining filler episode and it’s a damn shame.

Song: Justice Callin’
A pretty good hard rock song. Music and lyrics both work well which is rare for the series. Yeah it’s a good one…not much else to say….

Ep38: The art of destruction
Robotnik builds a small robot named A.R.T. who can absorb matter to get stronger. He goes up against the hedgehogs and learns from his mistakes, coming back stronger for the next encounter.
After hearing the hedgehogs play however he learnsabout music and they teach him about freedom.
A.R.T.’s a good character, I love his totally mellow voice and he makes a great addition to the freedom fighters. There’s a good amount of action and humour in this episode and there’s a good mix.
It also has what is possibly the creepiest moment in the series when Robotnik gives Sleet the job of cleaning his toilet and sleet stares into the camera and just…..breaks….it’s creepy as hell….
Song: The sound of freedom
An awesome pounding powerhouse of a rock track. This one’s absolutely great. Love it.

Ep39: The pendant
While trying to stop a frankly ridiculous plan by Robotnik (disguising Dingo as a leprechaun and luring people onto a prison ship) Sonia finds a magical amulet that starts to make his disappear piece by piece.
This episode feels…just…out of place. It’s got such a stupid plot andfeels pretty inconsequential, especially seeing as this is the penultimate episode.
The idea of Robotnik making mystical creatures and the notion of people falling for it is such a ludicrous concept and the fairytale magic just doesn’t fit in with thisseries. An AoStH episode in disguise.

Song: Liberty’s gonna rock
A weird little marching song, the kind you expect on the civil war battlefield, it’s a really weird one in this context.

Ep40: Virtual Danger
So here we are, the final episode and frankly, it’s pretty disappointing. The episode starts with the hedgehogs and Cyrus stealing cargo from robotnikusing the samemachine Sonia was seen piloting in the debutante ball episode. After the mission sonic and Manic unwind playing video games but it is revealed that the person they’re playing with online is Robotnik (stranger danger) who proceeds to suck them into the game.
So we end the series with an episode in which sonic has to escape a video game. Weak.
Even discounting the fact that this is the finale episode this would still have been a weak entry in the series.
The episode ends with the hedgehogs escaping the game and flying the stolen cargo ships into Robotnik’s fortress, destroying it. This could almost suggest an actual ending to the series but it feels more like the kind of damage that Robotnik would have magically repaired by the next episode if this were earlier in the series.
Even if you do think of it as the end of Robotnik there are still too many unanswered questions, do the hedgehogs take the throne? Do they find their mother? What happens to Robotnik? The fact that none of these are even hinted at shows that this isn’t a real conclusion to the series and sadly, Sonic Underground goes out, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Song: Don’t let your guard down
A cheesy pop ballad. It’s not great, not unlistenable but I doubt you’d want to listen to it more than once. Personally I’d have swapped it for “We are Sonic Underground” which I feel would have made a much better conclusion to the series.

As I mentioned in my introduction to the series, I’ll always carry a flame for Sonic Underground. I loved the show as a child and my love hasn’t waned.
I can of course see the faults in the series, the new backstory for the characters is unusual ad feels out of place in a sonic series, the music is at times completely unlistenable and the general tone and story of the show is pretty poorly realised, especially when compared to shows like SatAM.
Despite these flaws though I find it impossible to hate this show. They tried something different with this series which should be commended and the new characters are interesting and pleasing additions to the series and while I’d not want them in the main series, I wish I could have the chance to see Sleet and Dingo, Manic and Sonia again in some form.

Sadly the series was never picked up for a second series. The ending was left deliberately open in hopes of being re-commissioned but of course it never happened. The characters did make one brief appearance in a one off special of the Archie comic series but aside from that they have never been seen again…until that is…

Recently, Archie released a teaser image of issue fifty of their series Sonic Universe which they said would be a special offering a closing of the Sonic Underground series. The announcement took fans by surprise but it seems now that the story has either been pushed back to a later issue or dropped completely.
So it looks like we may never know what happened to the three hedgehogs but hey, they made a vow their mother would be found…so you never know.

"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)

"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 the Hedgehog
(01-05) (06-10) (11-15) (16-20) (21-26

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