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Sonic the Hedgehog (character)

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Background Information

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Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog as he appears in Sonic Unleashed.
First game Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Created by Naoto Ōshima
Yuji Naka
Hirokazu Yasuhara
Designed by Video games
Naoto Ōshima (Sonic the Hedgehog)
Akira Wantabe (Sonic the Hedgehog)
Yuji Uekawa (Sonic Adventure)
Voiced by (English) Video games
Ryan Drummond (1999-2004)
Jason Griffith (2005-Present)
Jaleel White ( AoStH, SatAM, Sonic Underground)
Samuel Vincent ( Sonic Underground singing voice)
Martin Burke ( OVA)
Jason Griffith ( Sonic X)
Voiced by (Japanese) Video games
Takeshi Kusao (1993)
Junichi Kanemaru (1998-present)
Masami Kikuchi (OVA)
Junichi Kanemaru (Sonic X)
Fictional profile
Species Hedgehog
Skills Supersonic Running Speed, Chaos Control, Super Transformation

Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ Sonikku za Hejjihoggu), trademarked Sonic The Hedgehog, is a video game character and the protaganist of the video game series released by Sega, as well as numerous spin-off comics, cartoons and books. The first game in the franchise was released on June 23, 1991 in order to provide Sega with a mascot to rival Nintendo's flagship character Mario (see 1991 in video gaming). Since then, Sonic has become one of the world's best-known video game characters, with his series having sold 45 million copies. In 2005, Sonic was one of the first game character inductees into the Walk of Game, alongside Mario and Link.

Artist Naoto Ōshima, designer Hirokazu Yasuhara and programmer Yuji Naka are generally credited with the creation of the character, a blue 15-year-old anthropomorphic hedgehog, who has the ability to run faster than the speed of sound. This is a major part of the gameplay of the series.

Conception and creation

Sega wanted a game capable of selling over one million copies and a character to replace Alex Kidd as the company's mascot. Several character designs were submitted by its AM8 research & development department, including an armadillo (which then developed into Mighty the Armadillo), a dog, a Theodore Roosevelt look-alike in pajamas (which would later be the basis of Eggman's design), and a rabbit (intended to use its extendible ears to collect objects; these aspects were later incorporated into Ristar). Eventually, Naoto Ōshima's spiky blue hedgehog, initially codenamed "Mr Needlemouse", was chosen as the new mascot. Sonic's blue pigmentation was chosen to match Sega's blue logo. A group of fifteen started working on Sonic the Hedgehog, and renamed themselves Sonic Team. The game's soundtrack was composed by Masato Nakamura of the band Dreams Come True. Sega sponsored the group's "Wonder 3" tour, painting Sonic on the tour bus, distributing pamphlets advertising the game, and having footage of the game broadcast above stage prior to its release.

Sonic's appearance varies greatly depending on the medium and the style in which he is drawn. In the video games, Sonic's original design by Oshima was quite short and round, with short quills, white sparkling teeth, a round body and no visible irises (see artwork at left). Artwork featuring this design and drawn by Akira Wantabe was displayed on the package artwork for Sonic the Hedgehog, and most subsequent Sonic video games featured similar designs. Beginning with Sonic Adventure in 1998, Sonic was redesigned by Yuji Uekawa as a taller character with longer legs and a less spherical body, longer and more drooping spines, perfect white teeth, and green-colored eyes. Further subtle changes to the character's design have been made in subsequent games. Spin-off media such as comics and cartoons have featured variations on all these video game designs, with restrictions set by the standardized model sheets.

Actor portrayal

  • Japanese Games: Takeshi Kusao (1993 - 1993) and Junichi Kanemaru (1998 - Present)
    • Japanese Sonic X: Junichi Kanemaru
  • American Games: Ryan Drummond (1999 - 2004) and Jason Griffith (2005 - Present)
    • American Sonic X: Jason Griffith


Video games

Sonic's first appearance in the gaming video was in the platform game Sonic the Hedgehog (sometimes referred to simply as Sonic 1) for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, which also introduced his nemesis Dr. Ivo Robotnik (named Dr. Eggman in Japan, and, since Sonic Adventure, also in the West). His two-tailed fox friend Miles "Tails" Prower joined him in the game's 1992 sequel Sonic 2. Sonic CD, released in 1993, introduced Sonic's self-proclaimed girlfriend Amy Rose and his robotic doppelgänger Metal Sonic (not to be confused with Mecha Sonic an alternate model made later by Dr. Robotnik) as Sonic traveled through time to ensure a good future for the world. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and its direct sequel Sonic & Knuckles, both released in 1994, saw Sonic and Tails battle Dr. Robotnik again, with the additional threat of Knuckles the Echidna, tricked by Robotnik into thinking Sonic was a threat to his home.

Other two-dimensional platformers starring Sonic include Sonic Chaos (1993), Sonic Triple Trouble (1994), Sonic Blast (1996), and Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (1999). Sonic Advance in (2001), Sonic Advance 2 (2002), Sonic Advance 3 (2004), Sonic Rush (2005) and Sonic Rush Adventure (2007).

Sonic Adventure (1998/1999) was Sonic Team's return to the character for a major game. It featured Sonic returning from vacation to find the city of Station Square under attack by a new, very powerful foe named Chaos, under the control of Dr. Robotnik. This was also the first Sonic game to have a complete voice-over. Sonic Adventure 2 (2001) placed Sonic on-the-run from the military ( G.U.N) after being mistaken for a new enemy, Shadow the Hedgehog, the Ultimate Life Form. Sonic Heroes (2004) has Sonic teaming up with Tails and Knuckles (along with other characters) against the newly rebuilt Metal Sonic, who had betrayed his master. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) features Sonic in the city of water, "Soleanna", where he must rescue Princess Elise from Dr. Robotnik while trying to avoid a new threat to his own life, Silver the Hedgehog. Sonic and the Secret Rings (2007) features Sonic in a story book world of the "Arabian Nights" where he must help a ring genie regain the seven World Rings in order to defeat the evil genie.

Sonic has also been featured in games of many genres other than 2D and 3D platform games. The first of these was a pinball game, Sonic Spinball (1993), which expanded upon the pinball sequences in the first three platform games. Sonic has also appeared in the " 2.5D" isometric platformers Sonic Labyrinth (1995) and Sonic 3D Blast (1996), the racing games Sonic Drift (1994), Sonic Drift 2 (1995), Sonic R (1997), Sonic Riders (2006), Sonic Rivals (2006), Sonic Rivals 2 (2007) and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (2008), and the fighting games Sonic the Fighters (1996), Sonic Battle (2003), and has made an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008). Sonic will be appearing in his first console role-playing game Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (2008). He will also appear in the upcoming game Sonic Unleashed (2008). A Nintendo Power cover scan was released spoiling a new Sonic game titled Sonic and the Black Knight. Soon after, Sega confirmed that it was, in fact, real, and was going to be the second title in the Sonic Storybook spinoff series, making Sonic and the Secret Rings the first.

Video games such as Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (1993), Knuckles Chaotix (1995), Tails' Skypatrol (1995), Tails Adventure (1995), and Shadow the Hedgehog (2005) starred supporting characters of the Sonic series, although Sonic himself generally cameos in most of these titles.

Non-Sonic appearances

He has made cameo appearances in numerous other video games such as...

  • Rad Mobile - Sonic appears as an air freshener that dangles from the cars rear mirror. This was Sonic's first ever appearance in any game.
  • Daytona USA - Sonic is carved into the mountain in one of the tracks
  • Christmas Nights - unlockable bonus feature
  • Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg - Appears as a special unlockable egg creature.
  • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games - Sonic all-stars appear as playable characters.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Sonic appears an unlockable character and is the second third party character to appear (the first being Konami's Solid Snake). He appears at the end of Brawl's Adventure mode, where he attacks the final boss, Tabuu, and breaks both his wings.
  • Samba de Amigo - Sonic appears in the Wii version.
  • Sega Superstars - Sonic is playable.
  • Sega Superstars Tennis - Sonic is playable.
  • Formula One (Sega video game) - Sonic billboards can be seen along the sides of the first track
  • Phantasy Star Universe - On June 23 2007, the lobbies were decorated with Sonic and Tails statues to celebrate Sonic's 16th birthday.
  • Art Alive - Sonic can be seen as "paste".
  • OutRunners - Giant Sonic billboards can be seen alongside the road in the first area.
  • Tom and Jerry: The Movie - Sonic appears as a poster on a bookstore window.
  • Ultimate Soccer - Sonic appears in some icon graphics in the main menu.
  • Wacky Worlds - Sonic acts as your guide through some screens.
  • Bug! - You can race up against Sonic.
  • Last Bronx - In Cross Street, a poster of Sonic can be seen on one of the buildings.
  • SpikeOut - In one of the levels, Sonic can be seen standing near an elevator.
  • Toy Commander - In some levels, Sonic Calenders can be seen in the background.
  • Illbleed - One of bosses is a gaint monster named Zodick the Hellhog that resembles Sonic. Whenever the monster took damage, it would spout gold rings.
  • Beach Spikers - In the last stadium in arcade mode, a gaint Sonic statue can be seen on the corner of the stadium.
  • Virtua Striker 3 - Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and Dr. Eggman are a hidden team called "F.C. Sonic".
  • Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II - In the world championship mode, Sonic runs across the bottom of the screen at the rival select menu.
  • Sega Game Pack 4 in 1 - Sonic is the referee in the Tennis game.


Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog was the first animated series to feature Sonic, where he was voiced by Jaleel White. It had a very comical take on Sonic and Tails's adventures and battles against Robotnik. Pierre De Celles, an animator who worked on Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, described the show as "fun and humorous."

In the darker and more serious series Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic was again voiced by Jaleel White. In this universe, he lives on Planet Mobius in Knothole Village, where he belongs to a band of Freedom Fighters that fight to free their world from the iron-fisted rule of the evil dictator Dr. Robotnik.

Sonic Underground featured the introductions of Sonic's siblings Sonia the Hedgehog and Manic the Hedgehog, as well as his mother Queen Aleena, the four of whom were destined to defeat Robotnik and rule Mobius as the "Council of Four". Jaleel White returned to voice Sonic for the third time as well as voicing Sonic's siblings, with Samuel Vincent providing Sonic's singing voice.

Additionally, there was a Sonic the Hedgehog anime OVA in Japan, which featured Sonic, Tails, Robotnik, Knuckles and Metal Sonic. Sonic was voiced by Masami Kikuchi in Japan, and Martin Burke in the United States.

Sonic X, was an anime in which Sonic is teleported to Earth by Chaos Control, caused by the Chaos Emeralds. In this series, he is voiced by Jun'ichi Kanemaru in the Japanese version, and by Jason Griffith in the English version


Sonic's first comic appearance was in a promotional comic printed in Disney Adventures magazine (which was also given away as a free pull-out with a copy of " Mean Machines" magazine), which established an origin for Sonic involving the transformation of kindly scientist Doctor Ovi Kintobor into the evil Dr. Ivo Robotnik. Numerous British publications, including "Sega handbook" Stay Sonic (1993), four novels published by Virgin Books (1993–1994) and the comic book Sonic the Comic (1993–2002) used this premise as their basis.

The American comics published by Archie Comics, Sonic the Hedgehog (1993–) and Sonic X (2005–) are based on the settings established by earlier animated TV series, the ABC " SatAM" cartoon and the Sonic X anime respectively. The former series is currently the second longest-running licensed comic series in the history of American comic books, second only to Marvel's Conan series (first issue released in 1970). In France two comic books named "Sonic Adventures" were published by Sirène in 1994.

Sonic has also been featured in two different manga. One series was simply called Sonic the Hedgehog, and featured a story about a normal boy named Nicky Parlouzer who can change into Sonic. The other series was a compilation of short stories and was separated into two volumes, the first being called Dash and Spin, and the other called Super Fast Sonic!!.


According to various official materials from Sega, Sonic is described as a character who is "like the wind": a drifter who lives as he wants, and makes life a series of events and adventures. Unfortunately, this often leads to feuds with Knuckles the Echidna. Sonic hates oppression and staunchly defends freedom. Although he is mostly easy-going he has a short temper and is often impatient with slower things. Sonic is a habitual daredevil who is honest, loyal to friends, keeps his promises, and dislikes tears. He took the young Tails under his wing like a little brother, but is uninterested in the marital proposals from Amy Rose. In times of crisis, he focuses intensely on the challenge as if his personality had undergone an astonishing change.

Sonic is known as the world's fastest hedgehog. Sonic's greatest strength is his running speed, which is faster than the speed of sound. Many of his abilities are variations on the tendency for hedgehogs to roll into tight balls for protection with the addition of spinning his body. Since his introduction in 1991's Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic's primary offensive maneuver is the basic "Spin Attack" (or "Sonic Spin Attack"). Later games in the series expanded on this basic attack and two of these enhancements have become mainstays of his: the Spin Dash which was introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and involves Sonic spinning on the spot before blasting off at full speed, and the Homing Attack, officially introduced in Sonic Adventure, in which Sonic dashes in midair toward a target. However, Sonic's weakness is that he can't swim.

When seven Chaos Emeralds are collected in most Sonic games, Sonic can initiate a super transformation into Super Sonic, a faster and invulnerable version of himself that can fly. In the 2D games, he enters Super Sonic mode after collecting an additional 50 Rings; in the 3D games where Super Sonic is playable, he starts off in the form with additional 50 Rings. While transformed, Sonic loses a Ring for each second he is in the form and returns to normal when all Rings are used up; the player can collect more Rings during this time to keep him as Super Sonic.

With the announcement of Sonic Unleashed, Sonic is able to transform into a new darker form know as the Werehog. In this new form Sonic is much slower, but he is considerably stronger and has arms that act like elastic and can stretch out to either grab ledges or attack from afar.

Reception and legacy

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As Sega's mascot and one of the key reason's for the company's success during the 16-bit era of consoles, Sonic is one of the most recognizable video game characters in the world. In 1996, Sonic was the first video game character to be seen in a Rose Parade. Sonic is also one of two video game characters to have a balloon in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (the other being Pikachu). Sonic was one of the three game characters inducted on the inaugural Walk of Game class in 2005, along with rival Mario and Link. One of a class of genes involved in fruit fly embryonic development, called hedgehog genes, has been named " sonic hedgehog" after the character.

As Sega's mascot, Sonic has also been used as a symbol for the company's various sponsorships. Between 1993 and 1997, Sega sponsored the JEF United Ichihara Chiba football team, during which period Sonic appeared in the team's uniform. During the 1993 Formula One championship, Sega sponsored the Williams Grand Prix team, which won the Constructors' Championship that year, as well as the team's lead driver, Alain Prost, winning the Drivers' Championship. Sonic was featured in the cars, helmets, and rival McLaren used to paint a squashed hedgehog after winning races over Williams. The 1993 European Grand Prix featured a Sonic balloon and Sonic billboards, and the race's trophy was in the shape of a hedgehog.

Sonic has made over fifty video game cameo appearances.

In 1994, Sonic made his way into a Honey Nut Cheerios Commercial, featuring footage from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and a little bit of animation.

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