By Jeff Neuenschwander / October 18th, 2013
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.
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.
…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).
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.
And now, the chorus of NOs that followed.
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).
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.
“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.
“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.
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.
Amy RoseSally AcornshippingSonic the Hedgehog