Anime / Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie

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"You might know everything I'm going to do, but that's not going to help you, since I know everything YOU'RE going to do! Strange, isn't it?!
Sonic the Hedgehog during his final face-off against Metal Sonic.

An hour-long anime OVA starring everybody's favorite blue hedgehog. It was originally released in Japan in 1996 (initially as the two half-hour VHS tapes Journey to Eggmanland and Sonic vs. Metal Sonic); the English dub by ADV was released on September 7, 1999, two days before Sonic Adventure internationally hit the shelves.

Sonic and Tails are chillaxing on the beach when they receive a dispatch from the President of South Island: he and his daughter Sera are being held hostage (for a given value of "hostage") by Dr. Robotnik. Oddly enough, what Robotnik wants is Sonic's help: he's been forced out of his base by the evil(er) Metal Robotnik, who has overloaded the power generator of Robotropolis. In less than a day, the generator will explode and cause the end of Planet Freedom as we know it. Sonic and Tails fly off to the city; along the way, they're joined by the free-roaming treasure-hunter Knuckles (and his hat), who just happens to be in the area.

However, when the trio finally reach the generator, they find that the story was a ruse to extract Sonic's DNA and enable the completion of Hyper Metal Sonic: a robotic dopplegänger who not only has Sonic's speed, but Sonic's personality as well. Also, it turns out that Robotnik actually has no compunctions about blowing up Planet Freedom, since he'll then rule it by default — followed by a life of undisturbed marital bliss with Princess Sara...brrr.

Sonic the Hedgehog is widely regarded as that rarest of rarities: a video game movie that doesn't suck. The voice acting in the English dub is debatable, and it holds only a superficial resemblance to the events of the games, and yet the plot, art, and characterization still do an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the classic games. In any case, at time of release, the Sonic series had far less canon to take into account.

ADV Films released two different versions of the movie on DVD, although they are both the same dub: the original 1999 version which edited out/censored several bits of the movie, and a 2004 version which is completely uncut.

This film is not to be confused with the anime series, four western animation shows or the upcoming film adaptation also based on the Sonic character.


Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Metal Robotnik's glue gun, which happens to be located in is... nether regions.
  • Accidental Pervert: Sonic can apparently see through Metal Sonic's eyes due to Metal being a copy of Sonic; this explains why Sonic was blushing when Metal got a good look up Sera's skirt. Tails also grabs hold of Sera after being scared and one of his hands mistakenly grabbing onto one of her breasts. Knuckles reads him the riot act.
    Knuckles: TAILS! Get off!
    Tails: [Immediately leaps off her with an embarrassed look] I'm so sorry!
    Knuckles: I never thought you'd stoop that low!
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Sonic is more easily annoyed and angered than his portrayal in the games.
  • Truer to the Text: Compared to the other animated versions of Sonic in the 90s, this was the most accurate interpretation of the canon characters at the time.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: The end point of Robotnik's scheme: himself and Sera married, and the only remaining inhabitants of Planet Freedom.
  • Affably Evil: Robotnik. When he isn't acting up the part of hostage-taker for Sonic, he gets along pretty well with Sera and the President. One of his robot minions can be seen cleaning up the President's office.
  • After the End: It appears this is where Sonic and everyone lives, as seen in the desolate city (among other things) that Sonic and Robotnik fight it and the fact that there's not a lot of other people/creatures/characters aside from the ones we see.
  • Alternate Continuity: On this planet, watching this movie, you'll notice, you'll notice, many things that look alike:
    • The OVA has its tone, music and art style rooted directly in the original Genesis titles (Sonic CD in particular), but the explanation for the urban environments found in those games (post-apocalyptic Earth populated with anthropomorphic mutants who live in a sky kingdom ruled by...cat people, we guess) is completely different from anything else found in the series. Some exclusive characters pop up here and there, and there is no mention of the Chaos Emeralds anywhere. In addition, Knuckles is also depicted as a treasure hunter who lives for the thrill of his job, rather the guardian of the Master Emerald.
    • Later games such as Sonic Unleashed did away with all ambiguity by calling it "Earth" and showing Sonic traveling from city to city, Kino-style, and interacting with humans. Would that the OVA thought up such a mundane solution!
  • Alien Sky: A planet with Saturn-like rings is visible in the sky.
  • Animation Bump: The fight scenes. The rest is more limited despite the designs being (somewhat) similar to those from Sonic CD
  • Apocalypse How: Robotnik's plans to sunder the link keeping the Land of the Sky attached to the Land of Darkness, which will result in the destruction of all sapient life on the planet bar himself and Sara, is an Invoked case of Class 4.
  • As You Know: Lampshaded.
    Robotnik: As you both well know, Planet Freedom is made up of two separate dimensions. The outer world, the one you live in, is known as the Land of the Sky!
    Sonic: Tell us something we don't know!
    Robotnik: SHUT UP! HEED ME!
  • Badass Adorable: Tails.
  • Badass Bookworm: Dr. Robotnik, the creator of Hyper Metal Sonic!
  • Baby Talk: Tails sounds like he has this in the dub, despite his ability to create a jet-propelled bodyboard, fly the Tornado, and modify Eggman's navigator into a signal jammer.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Sera during the first half of the movie shows off her middle, but not so much after she dons her dress later.
  • Bash Brothers: Taking the characters directly from Sonic 2 and 3 gives us Sonic and Tails, moreso that any other adaptation and even many of the games - a good amount of the movie is huge action scenes where Sonic and Tails engage in coordinated asskicking so effective only the most powerful enemies stand a chance.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Knuckles' entrance.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": SHUT UP, TAILS!
  • Bittersweet Ending: The world is saved, but Metal Sonic (who had then formed a mental bond with Sonic) deliberately allows himself to perish in a glacial volcano. Why? Because "There is only one Sonic."
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: After crashing their plane upon entering the Land of Darkness, Sonic and Tails crash their plane, the Tornado. Then before departing for Eggmanland, Tails comments that he's "worried about the Tornado". The translators were apparently unaware that this was the name of their plane, as they translated that line as "I'm worried about that tornado".
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Robotnik is clearly one of those grandiose super villains who doesn't want to simply kill his foe, but first defeat him in something resembling a fair fight. Hence the scene where Robotnik, taking advantage of Sonic's and Tails' distraction, whips out a handgun and shoots Tails' wrist-radar: even though Tails' head must have been an equally clear shot.
  • Brick Joke: Eggman launches two bombs at Tails' plane, one modeled after a tortoise, the other a hare. The hare bomb blows up the plane instantly while the tortoise one crawls away from his hovercraft. Much later, the tortoise bomb crawls towards Eggman and explodes.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Sonic, particularly in the opening scene, where he doesn't move a finger to help Old Man Hoot until it becomes clear that Old Man and Tails are in grave danger.
  • The Cameo: A lone Crabmeat, a swarm of Buzzbombers, A Caterkiller-colored Crawlton, and a recolored Snail Blaster all make appearances throughout the movie.
  • Canon Foreigner: Sonic and Tails are enjoying a relaxing day on the beach when they're visited by "Old Man Hoot" (Hoot is he?), who's carrying a message so urgent that he doesn't notice his airplane is on fire. The President and his daughter are among the other newbies.
  • Cat Girl: Sera.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Sera falls out of Robotnik's aircraft, and Knuckles catches her in mid-air.
  • Catch and Return: Sonic rides a missile right back into the robot that shot it.
  • Cement Shoes: Sonic's two weaknesses are combined as he gets glued to the ground in a fissure that is filled by the rain. He's saved by Knuckles and Tails.
  • Chair Reveal: Sonic and Tails show up for their appointment at the Presidential manor, but are instead greeted by a reclining Robotnik and his huge Dr. Claw chair.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: With the day saved, Sonic runs for the horizon. Tails and Knuckles follow, then everyone else piles into Robotnik's Eggmobile and flies after. Sonic realizes that everyone is following him, and he puts on a burst of speed before the credits roll.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Robotnik's extremely-slow-moving turtle missile. It pops up later just in time to destroy the CD Robotnik has with Sonic's DNA data that he could use to make another Metal Sonic.
  • Compilation Movie: The western release of the OVA consists of both episodes of the OVA played as an hour-long movie.
  • Composite Character: The OVA made Knuckles a treasure hunter just like Fang the Sniper, and gave him a hat similar to his.
  • Cool Old Guy: Old Man Owl.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Sonic is almost effortlessly beaten by Metal Sonic in their first fight, and only survives because Metal Sonic loses track of him. Interstingly, their final fight was also turning into a curb stomp battle before Tails interferred, as Sonic didn't have the stamina to keep up with Metal Sonic for more than a couple of minutes. If Tails hadn't stepped in and corrupted Metal Sonic's programming, Sonic would have been killed.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Sera.
  • Darker and Edgier: Well, compared to the older games, it could be.
  • Death Course: The path to Robotropolis, though Sonic and Tails make short work of it.
    Sonic: I bet Robotnik purposefully picked the route with the most traps for us!
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: Quite literally, as Metal Robotnik "appeared out of nowhere!" before kicking Robotnik out of his home. It's signposted very early on that Metal Robotnik is under the Doc's power, but it's remarkable that he couldn't think up a more plausible threat.
  • Distressed Damsel: Sera... sort of. She plays the role of hostage when Sonic's around, but she treats Robotnik like a friend the rest of the time.
    (Sera and Robotnik are playing a fighting videogame. Sera loses.)
    Sera (hysterical): No no no no no it's not fair you always beat me every time! (abruptly regains her composure) Alright, one more!
    Robotnik: Just give up! We've played a hundred times!
    Sera (devious): I'll stop being your hostage...
    Robotnik: Alright, start it again.
  • The Ditz: Old Man Hoot didn't even realize his rocket was on fire!
  • The Dragon: Metal Sonic.
  • Dub Name Change: The official English dub renames Dr. Eggman to Dr. Robotnik for one of the last few times (as it was released in 1999). To go along with it, Eggmanland was renamed Robotropolis (as a Shout-Out to the Saturday morning cartoon) and Black Eggman was renamed Metal Robotnik. In addition, Sera was renamed Sara; her and Eggman's names are still displayed clearly in the fighting game gag, however. The official subtitles included in the DVD release go with the Japanese terminology and retranslate the script more accurately to boot. Cue Subbing vs. Dubbing.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Since the movie was released only five years into the franchise's life, there are some moments that would nowadays be considered majorly out of character, such as Sonic telling Tails to shut up, and Knuckles describing himself as "Sonic's best friend". While Knuckles clearly respects Sonic, and they get along (most of the time), he's much too gruff to say something like that. Sonic is also depicted as somewhat quick-tempered, contrasting his cool and laidback portrayal from later games, who is described as being "always cool under pressure" by official bios.
  • Egopolis: Robotropolis, aka Eggmanland. At night, the city's lights form a picture of Robotnik's face.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Two different schemes are mentioned. Metal Robotnik's exploding generator turns out to be fake, but Hyper Metal Sonic's attempt to shatter the continents is very real.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The President.
  • Evil Knockoff: Metal Sonic, natch.
  • Expy: Sera is pretty much a humanoid Amy Rose. The presumed reason for Amy's absence is that her being the president's daughter as well as Eggman's 'interest' would not have worked well for several reasons.
  • Face Fault: Sonic and Tails do this simultaneously when Old Man Owl starts to convey his message before stopping abruptly, having a minor fit... and starting all over again.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: After being dismembered over the course of his fight with Sonic and even moreso after the President's rocket explodes, Metal Sonic basically commits suicide by letting himself sink into lava.
  • Fastball Special: Used twice in a row to defeat Metal Robotnik.
  • Finger Wag: Sonic to Metal Robotnik. Often mistaken by fans for another gesture entirely. To be fair, it is the case in some edits of the film.
  • Fear of Thunder: Tails. "I'm afraid of lightning!"
  • Fearful Symmetry: Portions of Sonic's fight with Metal Sonic.
  • Flash Step: Sonic, Tails, and Metal.
  • Floating Continent: Between the plethora of floating landmasses and the cloud cover, the surface of Planet Freedom is largely shrouded in darkness; hence why it's called "the Land of Darkness". This is probably also the reason that the entire population lives on the outer layer, "the Land of the Sky".
  • The Fool: Old Man Hoot.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Tails. He builds a hover-surfboard in his spare time, disassembles one of Robotnik's radars, and later reassembles it as a device that can track Metal Sonic: and wirelessly interfere with Metal's programming. This movie appears to be where Tails' mechanical tendencies come from, in fact.
  • Gag Dub:
    • Reputable Dubbing's Sonic The Other Movie is a comedic rewrite of the movie, made by Sonic Paradox's Smegerama. Though most of it is the same story, the dialogue and various visual gags change it into a mostly comedic experience.
    • Fireball 20XL's Sonic Bastardized is a redubbed adaptation in which Robotnik Eggman wants Sonic to go shut off a bomb he planted in Blizzard Entertainment's mainframe (in retribution for his World of Warcraft losses), and Metal Sonic is a robot named Hyper Metal Jason (after Jason Griffith) that Eggman intends to use to replace Sonic's voice.
      Sonic: Pansy-ass blood elf!
      Robotnik: SHADDAP! Blood elves are cool!
    • Then comes The Rollan Nolan's Sonic the Abridgehog.
  • Get Ahold Of Yourself Man: Sonic attempts to knock some sense into Old Man Hoot by making a Crabmeat pinch him, with limited success.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Dr. Eggman is seen playing around with the president and his daughter in several scenes.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Sera can't seem to decide whose side she's on.
  • Here We Go Again: Averted. Eggman reveals after the final battle that he still has the data of Sonic's DNA via a CD, which he'll use to make another Metal Sonic to combat Sonic again...only for the missile turtle Robotnik fired away earlier to arrive on time and destroy the CD by accident.
  • Humongous Mecha: Metal Robotnik is actually a giant robot piloted by Robotnik.
  • Human Snowball: Happens to Tails after Eggman blows up his plane in the mountains.
  • In a Single Bound: Sonic and Metal Sonic in particular are seen pulling off several massive jumps over the course of the film, often when traveling at speed or fighting. It's most notably seen in their second fight scene, where the two are moving so quickly that they're only visible as streaks of coloured light.
  • Infodump: Eggman's speech to Sonic at the White House.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sonic.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Metal Sonic. Before him most of the film played most everything humorously, Eggman barely even qualify for much a threat due to the Go-Karting with Bowser above. Then Metal Sonic shows up and BOOM, we have a villain that's actually dangerous and for the most part, nothing about him is played humorously.
  • Left for Dead: Subverted! Metal Robotnik shoots the bridge from underneath Sonic and Tails; they grab bridge girders just out of sight and make gurgling sounds to convince Metal Robotnik that they're drowning. Just when they think he's left..."I see you! You didn't think I'd fall for a stupid trick like that, did you?"
  • Last-Second Chance: Hyper Metal Sonic rescues the President and Old Man Owl from an exploding rocket towards the end of the film, but having been dismembered in his fight with Sonic and then by the resulting explosion, he falls into the magma pit below and is melted on-screen, refusing to be rescued by Sonic on the grounds that "there is only one Sonic".
  • Mood Whiplash: The scene where Metal Sonic dies is really stuck in utter contrast to the previous scene, which was a comedic albeit intense action-packed battle. Heck, it sticks out in utter contrast with the rest of the film's tone and mood in general.
  • Motivational Kiss: Sera gives one to Knuckles.
  • Mythology Gag: Throughout the Land of Darkness, Sonic and Tails are shown avoiding various spikes on the ground, followed by Sonic jumping onto a spring.
  • Neck Lift: Metal Sonic does this to Sonic whilst simultaneously throttling him.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • Averted. "When you awaken... KILL him!" (cue Evil Laugh)
    • Also averted when Robotnik meets Sonic at the Generator.
    Robotnik: You fell for my trap! You came all the way here and now you'll die here. Good job, Sonic!
  • Nice Hat: Knuckles has one. If just for the Rule of Cool. Used for a Crowning Moment of Funny later when it gets set on fire in the climax of the film.
    Knuckles: MY HAT'S ON FIRE, HELP!
  • Noble Demon: Hyper Metal Sonic.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Robotnik is set up as a bumbling, buffoonish idiot who is actually being bullied by his supposed "hostage" in several scenes. Then comes the last third of the film, where it reveals Metal Sonic is the key to his latest plan, which itself consists of the complete genocide of all sapient life on the planet.
  • Ocular Gushers
  • Only One Name: Sera.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Dub Sonic will sometimes switch back and forth from sounding like a southern teenager to a British Bifauxnen when the voice acting gets particularly energetic.
    • Robotnik will also occasionally slip into an indeterminate European accent, noticeably when he shouts "FINE! DON'T BLAME ME WHEN THIS HAPPENS!"
  • Our Presidents Are Different: He's both President Target and President Buffoon.
  • Panty Shot: During the climactic battle, Metal Sonic's head gets knocked through the bottom of Robotnik's hovercraft, right under Sera's dress. While we don't actually see anything, Sera is unsurprisingly pissed and starts kicking him in the face.
    Sera: Back, no no no! Don't look there, you pervert!
  • Personality Chip: Thanks to the wristwatch Tails received from Eggman that he managed to dismantle, he is able to wirelessly mess with Metal's personality programming, and this gives Sonic a crucial advantage in the fight.
  • Pet the Dog: After winning his first fight against Sonic, Metal Sonic tracks down Old Man Hoot and...gives him Sonic's favorite clothes.
  • Pilot: The film was originally released as two separate half-hour pilots in Japan, but due to Sonic's lack of popularity there the potential anime series never got off the ground. When it was dubbed, the two specials were merged together and released in the US as what we call Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: In the climax, Sera wears a white dress trimmed with feathers.
  • Poke the Poodle: Among Metal Sonic's acts of evil he randomly decides to steal Sonic's favorite clothes and give them to Old Man Hoot.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: In S3&K, Knuckles could glide through the air. Here, it gets upgraded to the ability to jump ridiculously high, hover in midair, and possibly fly outright. Like Tails' propensity for mechanical shenanigans, this movie seems to be the start of a trend of non-game media to upgrade Knuckles' gliding to full-fledged flight.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: As Metal Sonic dies, he says, "THERE. IS. ONLY. ONE. SONIC-NIC-NIC-NIC-NIC."
  • Psychic Link: Between Sonic and Metal Sonic.
    Sonic: You might know everything I'm going to do. But that's not going to help you, since I know everything you're going to do! STRANGE, ISN'T IT?!
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Sonic's aforementioned "favorite clothes" include a pink shirt.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sonic is the Red Oni to Tails and Knuckles' Blue Oni's.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Metal Sonic
  • Ret Canon: A few elements from this incarnation were carried over into the games:
    • The terms "Eggmanland" and "God of Destruction"
    • The idea of Knuckles being a treasure hunter
    • The depiction of Station Square as a flooded city in ruins at the end was likely inspired by the ancient ruins in the OVA, even using much of the same imagery
    • Several of Tails' game bios mention that he's afraid of lighting. The earliest known mention of this trait in the context of the games was Sonic Jam, which came out a year after this OVA, so it's likely another example of the trope.
  • Riding the Bomb: Sonic, on one of Metal Robotnik's missiles.
  • Robo Cam
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: The "ancient relics" on the outskirts of Robotropolis/Eggmanland resembles an abandoned New York City.
  • Scenery Porn: Damn, Planet Freedom looks pretty cool.
  • Shattered World: Planet Freedom.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the derelict aircraft on Sonic's island looks suspiciously like the USS Enterprise.
    • Sera's wedding dress is reminiscent of Neo-Queen Serenity's outfit.
    • During the view of the city of the Land of the Sky, there's a building with a design that looks suspiciously similar to the classic Rareware logo.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Robotnik gets a whack from an annoyed Sara when he gloats about how Sonic will face an even greater threat than his just-defeated Metal Robotnik.
  • Silent Antagonist: Metal never talks until the end, when he sinks into lava.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: The OVA is a Type 2 (Recognizable Adaptation).
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Her name is Sera in the original Japanese, and Sara in the English dub. "Sarah" is right out.
  • Spoiler Opening: The very first scene is Dr. Robotnik talking about acquiring Sonic's life data for Metal.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: Knuckles' explanation of how exactly Metal Sonic is capable of destroying the planet.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Planet Freedom, Planet Freedom, they conquered Planet Freedom. We're going to the North Pole, North Pole, North Pole. That means Tails finally found the point of Planet Freedom, yes!
  • Surprisingly Good English: The ending song, "Look Alike", is sung (and spoken for a bit) in, for the most part, note  well-pronounced and grammatically correct English.
  • Take My Hand: Sonic to Metal when the latter is about to sink into lava. Metal declines, saying "There is only one Sonic..." and then dissolves.
  • There Can Be Only One: This, rather than Robotnik's order, is Metal Sonic's real motivation for trying to kill Sonic. And ultimately, his reason for declining his Last-Second Chance after losing to Sonic.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Sonic insists that he has to defeat Metal alone. Initially.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Sera.
  • Translation Train Wreck: One DVD version of the movie has subtitles that, for example, call Knuckles "Knucklus," Eggman "Machine King," and Tails "Dillus". The character section of the DVD also misidentifies Knuckles as a mole.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Sonic will never again be a pain in my egg!"
  • Wall Jump: Sonic, of course.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Unique?: The reason Metal Sonic allows himself to fall into the lava near the end.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Sonic's voice in the English dub has a very bizzare, indeterminate accent.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: The lyrics to "Look Alike," the ending tune of the film. While look-alikes are a theme in this movie, the rest of the lyrics are a bit... stream of consciousness.

Alternative Title(s): Sonic The Hedgehog

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