Jeff’s Musings: Sonic Retrospective – Amy Rose vs. Sally Acorn

Friday, October 18th, 2013

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Amy vs. Sally | Sonic the Hedgehog

When I did the first of my trips down memory lane with Sonic the Hedgehog, I got some comments regarding how Sonic Team didn’t share the same vision for story as Ben Hurst’s Sonic the Hedgehog show or even Archie comics’ Sonic the Hedgehog comic. While I did say that Sonic Team went with something different, I didn’t really go into too much depth about it. So, this time around, I’ll make up for it.

The cartoons were in fact created by Americans. While Adventures takes its inspiration from the first couple of games on the Genesis, the SatAM cartoon–with lead writer Hurst–was a completely original story. Unfortunately, none of the main Sonic Team people really gave it much thought. This really started to show with the video game Sonic Adventure when Takashi Iizuka really started to put his mark on the series.

But it wasn’t just Iizuka not wanting the stories of Hurst or Ian Flynn (currently head writer for the comic). The creators of Sonic the Hedgehog didn’t even agree on where the story should go from the beginning. Yuji Naka and Hirokazu Yasuhara went to America after the first game to escape from Sega of Japan’s policies, bringing along a number of Sonic Team members to work at the Sega Technical Institute (which was run at the time by Mark Cerny, one of the leads of Sony’s PS4). It was here that they developed Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as well as Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Through this vision, we were introduced to sidekick Miles “Tails” Prower and rival Knuckles the Echidna.

Naoto Ōshima, the man who first designed both Sonic and Dr. Robotnik/Eggman, stayed in Japan with a separate team. His vision of the series lead to the time traveling adventure known as Sonic the Hedgehog CD (or simply Sonic CD). It’s this vision that gave us Metal Sonic (who is kind of cool) and created my biggest problem with the Sonic series (aside from not using the stories of Hurst or Flynn for anything): Amy Rose.

Sonic CD - Amy

For those that don’t know about this character’s origins, Amy Rose was basically created as a damsel in distress. She was kidnapped by Metal Sonic and subsequently saved by our hero—after which he took off in the end credits and wanted nothing to do with her.

The strange thing is that—out of the major mascot franchises from my childhood—she is the only damsel in distress I hate with a passion. Why not Princess Toadstool? Probably because Mario was never given a fully fleshed out second option as a love interest. Pauline kind of disappeared after Donkey Kong, Daisy is more or less considered Luigi’s love interest, and Rosalina was more of a plot expository than a love interest in the Galaxy games.

Besides, they’ve actually started giving reasons as to why Bowser kidnaps her. And she has even started to show up as a playable character in a number of games, including the upcoming Super Mario 3D World.

Sonic Advance - Amy

…Wait… Amy Rose has been a playable character already, hasn’t she? Well, let’s go with that other argument then.

Why is Amy Rose kidnapped often? Because… she’s another hedgehog? She’s an easy target? She doesn’t have any power so Robotnik/Eggman doesn’t go after her because of that. And frankly, if Robotnik/Eggman wanted Amy Rose for the same reasons that Bowser wants Peach, we’d have more than just a twelve year old fangirl to talk about.

Actually, that’s the perfect reason why I hate Amy Rose: she is a fangirl. If she were a real life person, we’d be shunning her like she was a Bieber fan (not the ones who like him ironically but the ones that consider him “teh gr8est musishion evar”). Heck, she pretty much gets tossed aside by the Archie comics. The only time Sonic ever considered going out with her was to get back at Sally for one of the times she dated another guy (we’ll get to that in a moment).

Sonic X - Amy Rose

But she’s more than just a fangirl. Amy Rose takes it to the next level and goes beyond just being an uber-fan of Sonic. She follows him around the world to profess her love for him.

There’s a word for people like that: STALKER!

I don’t remember when exactly I was first introduced to Amy Rose. It was either Sonic Adventure 2 Battle or Sonic X (I think it was the latter). All I knew was that she was annoying and I wanted to slap her. I didn’t pay much attention to Sonic X, so I figured that she was just a way for Sonic to have a “no girls allowed” type of group with Tails and Knuckles.

But then, I stumbled across this little tidbit in the original Japanese version of Sonic X.

Amy | Sonic X

Sonic X

Sonic’s inaudible “I love you.”

Sonic X Sonic and Amy

And now, the chorus of NOs that followed.

Star Wars - Obi-Wan: NO!Star Wars - Luke: NO!No Star Trek PicardNostalgia Critic - NO!

Suffice to say, I was about ready to give up on Sonic right then and there. I traded in nearly all my non-Genesis Sonic games and completely wrote off any games that had this character. It’s probably why I like Sonic Colors so much.

I will never understand why people hate the Sonic SatAM cast. These are well-developed, well-rounded characters. The character I feel exemplifies that is Princess Sally Alicia Acorn. She goes through the gamut of emotions and development as she has to deal with her feelings for Sonic, her home being taken over, her father’s strict orders, her family being ousted by a charlatan, and the natural confusion that comes with being a teenager. And to top it off, (SPOILERS) she became roboticized within the past year (END SPOILERS).

Sonic the Hedgehog - Sonic and Sally

So why is it that people don’t like Sally Acorn? “Well,” as they say, “she is a Mary Sue. She acts like a goody-two-shoes while telling Sonic that what he’s doing is dangerous. Moreover, she was a character who was created primarily to lead as well as be love interest for our main hero, which is one of the key tropes of a Mary Sue.”

You know who else is a Mary Sue? Captain James T. Kirk of Star Trek.

With all the personalities that populate the Freedom Fighters—as well as Sonic not really being one for responsibility—there needed to be a character that was the emotional center as well as the voice of reason within the group. This was something that was needed for storyline to be taken seriously, which is something that both Hurst and Archie Comics wanted. And frankly, if you needed someone to be a love interest for a speedy blue hedgehog that needs a voice of reason and loves chili dogs more than a regular at a Coney Island, then all I can say is this: mission accomplished.

Sonic, Sally, and the Freedom Fighters

“But what about all those times that they broke up and dated others?” Yeah, that does bug me that they did that so many times. Once is fine. Do it twice and you’re pushing it. I’d like to blame it on uninspired writing but then I would have to say the same for Amy Rose—along with bad direction and a designer who was feeling left out from the rest of the team.

Truth be told, these characters are teenagers, with all the emotional drama that goes with it. We used to have a saying in high school where you could start going out with someone at the beginning of the day and be broken up before lunch time. My high school couldn’t have been the only one that was like that.

But in all seriousness, fights happen. And from what I read—before the current storyline—they seemed to have made up and found a balance where they can do their things while being together.

Sonic and Sally

“Well, what about the fact that she was just a Princess? Why didn’t she take the title of Queen when they couldn’t find her father?” That’s missing the point. Sally always felt like she was an honorable character. She and her family lost their kingdom to Robotnik in a coup and she feels like she needs to get it back before she can go by any title. She’s not someone that would just declare herself Queen of some random village when her home gets taken over.

The ultimate thing is this: there were a bunch of teams working on trying to develop the Sonic lore early on. From this came two distinctly different characters that vie for our hero’s affection. And while I’d like to say that it is clearly obvious which one is better, the truth is that there isn’t a clear consensus.

I think you guys know where I stand. If you’re one of those that think that Amy Rose is better, please explain to me why you believe that. And do so in a manner where I’m a child that doesn’t understand. I don’t think you’ll convince me that Amy is better but you can at least get me to a point where I can understand where this argument is coming from.

Until then…

Sonic the Hedgehog comic - Sonic and Sally

Sonally forever.

Chorus of NOs come from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek: First Contact, and Nostalgia Critic: The Odd Life of Timothy Green Review.

About Jeff Neuenschwander

Jeff has been a supporter of the website and campaign since the beginning. Joining in for E3 2012, he worked his way up the ranks quickly, making it to the Editing Manager post at the beginning of 2013. Jeff has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to gaming and pretty much likes anything that is quirky, although his favorite genres are Action, Platforming, and RPG. Outside of gaming, Jeff is a musician, being trained as a trombonist for Jazz and Classical music, and holds a degree in Sound Recording.

  • Points out that Amy is 11.

    • dbclick

      Point’s out she’s been 11 for the past 17 years. It’s time to shake things up at least a bit. 🙂

    • Roberto Ruiz Contreras

      Just like Ash Ketchum, he’s been 10 since 1997, so he’s been 10 for the last 16 years

    • dbclick

      Yeah – you would think either he or his mom would have noticed by now. Maybe he has a hormone deficiency.

    • Thedude3445

      Only 11 in the comics.

  • dbclick

    Great piece, Jeff! Love the way you built up the reasoning for the different cannons, the prior piece lacked a bit of that glue to mesh it together for me.

    I agree – Sally is a much better character than Amy, hands down. I’d be all for a better girl and/or love interest in the Sonic game continuity (the comics aren’t my forte), but all we got out of that was Princess Elise (and the less said about that, the better).

    There is one thing Amy has going for her (and this has nothing to do with her character). Her gameplay missions in Sonic Adventure, although few in number, are the only 3D Sonic gameplay that comes to mind where momentum is an important factor. People say Sonic is about speed, but I contend the best Sonic gameplay champions momentum instead. If you look past the annoying switch puzzles, awkward level gimmicks and design, being chased by and fighting Zero, there is actually a fun element there.

  • skawesome

    but Amy’s… well..

  • Terry Torres

    Interesting. I learned a lot about Sonic in this opinion piece I did not know, in particular the main players creative-wise and their whereabouts.

  • RagunaXL

    can’t happen! alternate universes. they COULD NEVER meat up :/

  • Darrell Coasey

    disagree, I think Amy is perfect for Sonic, mostly because she will chase him (literally) forever. Sonic is meant to be on the move, no need to put his hand in the field of an overly dramatic range of emotions. Sonic is supposed to be simple, something SEGA had lost track of along the way (and you can see now as they try to rectify it by simulating past games in hope to relocate the trail they have left off). Mostly the reason I don’t take comic Sonic into consideration often is that it over personifies him, when Sonic’s simple-mindedness is supposed to be the hope of the world (at least to me). In parallel, Sonic & Amy’s relationship is simple. Despite Sonic showing displeasure for her constant advances towards him, they are friends. Even knowing this, I do not expect them to be in a romantic relationship at any time. I’m aware that they never will be (even Yuji Naka said she will chase him forever) and honestly prefer that things stay this way. It would be the same as Sonic aging. Sonic is still an icon in my eyes, he will always be Sonic, so the change that comes with age (or that is expected) does not work for him. As for Amy as a character, I respect her for being resilient as well as simple-minded. She’s been humorous (not to mention crazy) enough to make a fan out of me for at least the past 10 years (though then again I am an over-zealous fan of the games’ continuity who knows a little too much about even the slightest details of the most abandoned spin-off games, but I digress). Even so, I can’t answer the question of which of the two are “better” because it’s not specific enough. I can’t choose which of two people is better than the other(they are cartoons, but still I can’t do it).I can say that I like Amy more though, as she seems like more of a joy to be around, rather than someone to sit down and talk about the weather with. Only thing I really have left to say is no offense, but if you really gave up all your classic “Sonic the hedgehog” games because he told someone he loved them in a spinoff show (which is seperate from the actual game canon despite the show having referenced a few arcs from the games, and a show that was released 12 years after that line of games began) then you really didn’t care about them all that much in the first place.

    In conslusion
    (classic) StH & Sonamy ftw

  • jake

    she’s 12 sonic should be 15 not a huge difference and at least she exist in the real sega world while sally is just a character made up by the comics have you actually played seen or done anything with Amy she has a great personality and she’s not a fan girl she would give her life for sonic and shown it multiple times she’s a skilled fighter and she has a kick ass hammer what does sally have and yes sonic pushes her away at times but he also shows her affection sure we may never have your cheesy sally love but ours isn’t cross species but finally sega is considering taking this direction with sonic pairing him with amy it’ll be canon suck on that you know nothing about amy just as I know little about sally so why are we fighting they take place in different universes stay out of my sonic I’ll stay out of yours but if you need personality traits she really does love sonic and will do anything for him need I say more that’s my defense of amy and if you want round 2 I’ll be happy to show up

    • Braktheman

      I think you veered a tincy bit on the bad mannered side sir

  • Athesies

    I Think the reason I don’t like Sally is because that’s not the sonic I love, not to mention I grew up with cartoons that either ripped sat am off, or that love interest scenario is quite common, I like Amy rose cause she’s a nice spin off the regular damsel, where sonics reluctant to save her, I’d like to imagine some day Amy will grow and mature and just be content to be a friend, and that’s a new charecter arc for me, finally, while you seem to have come to love a completely different sonic to me, one that will actually settle down

  • David

    i have no hard facts that can support whether amy or sally are better than the other, but after watching and playing all these sonic games and movies, i just feel inside that somehow it would just be better if for just once amy got sonic to love her. BUT the twist is, i dont think the love should last. What i mean is i think if they kissed ONCE and after that amy went back to hopelessly chasing Sonic it would at least satisfy my feelings towards that relationship. Like i said i dont why i feel this way but…. Amy should have her shot

  • David

    Also on a side note i hope they bring back Christopher and his friends along with Chuck in the new Sonic Boom series. Could you imagine Chris as a grown up? now that sonic is a teenager? I’ve followed Sonic since i was really young and im kinda excited!

  • Dave

    Oh baw. Basically reads: I saw SatAM when I was 5 and haven’t seen it since and only saw a few shit screenshots and thus Amy is a stalker. FFS. Then your rant immediately goes “Sally does these bad things but it’s okay because bad writing” but when Amy does it it’s just a bad character? Where the FUCK is your logic? Sally full on stalked Sonic after their breakup and even forced other characters into dangerous situations in order to force them preferably into death (Mina, Fiona and Amy were all sent out by Sally into dangerous missions) Despite Mina being proved time and again to be fucking useless but since she’s a love interest, she has to die. Also she went as far as faking an identity to further her chances to having Sonic all to herself and wrote a letter in herself so everyone would feel sorry for her! Now that is twisted fucked up logic she used there. It’s never brought up again and she faces no repercussions, at least when Amy does something bad, someone immediately says it is wrong in the show or comic and it’s SHOWN it’s wrong, when Sally does something wrong, every fucking character praises her no matter how ridiculous it is. Like when she commands everyone to dogpile scourge like a fucking idiot, or going to the Death Egg with just herself and Sonic and leaves all the COMPETENT fighters outside.

    You can have your own opinion but when you start spreading your shit like fact, that’s when there’s problems. Keep your hater bullshit to yourself.

  • LumpSum

    Amy Rose is one of my favorite characters in the sonic series, and one of my fav characters of all time, so there will be some bias in my argument. Also, i dont personally like archie comics either so this will be an opinion straight from a fan of the games.

    My reasoning as to why Sally gets a lot of hate in the sonic fanbase is because many fans dont know who she is. She is only existent in the cartoons (which are too old for new fans to get into) and the comics (which have a very big reputation for poor writing). As much as you love the archie “lore”, it suffers greatly when compared to the mainstream sonic franchise and is generally ignored by all other fans. For example, sonic is a prime a-hole in the comics, and it puts a lot of us game fans off to see him make out with 3 other girls when his game counterpart could not care less about romance.

    Back on point, Sally Acorn. When i really stop and think about Sally, i dont dislike her at all. When it comes to archie characters shes definitely one of the most interesting and fleshed out. But because the writers have such a biased opinion they have made her better. The writers deliberately went out of their way to make Sally the greatest most unique and interesting friend of sonic and the most desirable woman you could imagine. I also noticed you said they wrote her off in the comics, which is extremely immature and again tries to make sally seem ssooooo much better than those “game characters”.

    Now onto Amy Rose, who i dont find “superior” or better… why is that a thing fans fight over? its gross, and it sends a very sexist message to young girls. Amy Rose is just a more unique character addition to a more unique series. Like sally, she has been at the hands of poor writing choices (and because she is in the comics as well, she has suffered from both sides).

    Im not going to list off specific traits about amy rose that make her “the greatest most unique and interesting friend of sonic and the most desirable woman you could imagine” …

    Rather, based on game canon i will tell you why i enjoy Amy Rose so much, and what i think she uniquely brings to the series. For one, she shows a new side to sonic that is rarely seen by fans. Whether you think this is him being shy, or just flustered, it is still a special characteristic and interesting way of developing his personality without flat-out stating it. (also important to note that a lot of the games allow the fans to decide whether or not to pursue amy’s romantic inclinations..) Being asexual myself, its nice to see a series that doesnt prioritize romance, but instead makes it humorous.

    Her personality is also a point i’d like to bring up, which i think gets lost sometimes depending on the writer. Amy is very sweet and motherly, but also a fighter. I believe she is an excellent model for young girls to look up to, because she is true to herself. A girl can wear dresses and go on dates and still fight for herself and follow her dreams. A prime example of game writers completely ruining this aspect of her personality is Sonic Lost World. While she definitely shows her motherly instincts, the writers for some reason made her very whiney and frightened when all goes bad. Comparing this to her cameos in Sonic Unleashed (my fav sonic game), when everything begins to go wrong she is still upbeat because she believes in sonic. When written well, Amy Rose is an endearing and truly unique character that rounds out the sonic series very well.

    To end, id like to clarify that i dont hate sally. I also dont think amy rose is superior. Rather, i believe this hatred stems from the divide in the sonic fanbase, and the belief that winning sonics affections somehow makes a character superior.

  • Daniela

    to Sally 20 points and Amy 0

  • Forblaz3

    You actually sold every game that had Amy Rose in it? All because of a NON CANON/SPINOFF cartoon based on the games? What in the actual… FUCK? Who the hell even goes to those extremes? That’s fucking ridiculous. Here i thought i was gonna get an actual fair comparison between them rather than a huge one sided shit talk. You sound more as if you were one of Sonic’s past women, pffft.

    • Dude

      what the fuck dude why you hate women so much

  • Dude

    “I hate little girls when they act like little girls”
    -30 year old furry dude

  • Dude

    Also you literally couldnt say a single nice thing about Sally you made it all about romance or shitting on Amy. Men fucking suck. Never open your mouth about women again dude please.