Western Animation: Sonic SatAM
In case you didn't get the memo, he's the fastest thing alive.
Blue streak, speeds by; Sonic the Hedgehog Too fast for the naked eye, Sonic the Hedgehog Sonic - He can really move! Sonic - He's got an attitude! Sonic - He's the fastest thing alive! Look out when he storms through, Sonic the Hedgehog Don't doubt what he can do, Sonic the Hedgehog Sonic - He can really move! Sonic - He's got an attitude! Sonic - He's the fastest thing alive! He's the fastest thing alive! He's the fastest thing alive!Sonic the Hedgehog
is the more serious Sonic the Hedgehog
cartoon adaptation made in the 1990s. Produced by DiC Entertainment
, it inspired the Archie Comics series
that's still ongoing (though the comic book came to the consumers first
). It is a very sharp contrast to its contemporary and much more comedic weekday counterpart
where Sonic was a drifter traveling the planet with Tails
. Also known as SatAM
(as in Saturday Morning
, when it aired on the American ABC
network), to distinguish it from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
(which was in syndication on weekdays) and the games alike. It premiered on September 18, 1993, replacing Goof Troop
on the 9:00 AM time slot. It was bumped to the 8:30 AM time slot for season two, which ended with the show on December 3, 1994.
The series featured Sonic as a resistance commando, fighting against Dr. Julian Ivo Robotnik, a dictator
who has already enslaved most of the planet Mobius and turned it into a cold, urban, metal nightmare
. Unlike other versions of the character, Robotnik's armies are comprised of factory-assembled robot shock troops
rather than from animals trapped in robot shells; said trapped animals underwent Unwilling Roboticisation
and served as forced laborers instead. Also, Sonic is not the actual leader of the resistance group, but serves as their most reliable soldier
. The leader, Sally Acorn, lost her father, while Sonic lost his uncle as one of the mindless robots. The show dealt with much more mature subject matters than other parts of the Sonic
franchise, (as well as most mainstream Western cartoons in general) such as coping with loss and the trials of war.
The series fell victim to the demise of Saturday Morning Cartoons, cancelled after two seasons with a Cliff Hanger
ending. Even when it was originally aired on the air on ABC, it was pre-empted in many markets. Some didn't see it until it was re-aired on USA Network
. Despite being an In Name Only
adaptation, the series is still highly regarded by its fans and is critically acclaimed, though to a degree that in recent years has caused a great deal of friction within the notoriously broken
fanbase over how much of its style (if any) should be adopted by modern Sonic
Poetically enough, the one time Sega tried to make this series into a SpinOff game
, it was cancelled
Of course, just because the show ended didn't mean the story had to as well. Archie comics picked up the slack and kept going with the series. Similarly, a group of dedicated fans decided to make the third season a reality in the form of a faithfully adapted web comic.
In addition to the aforementioned Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
, this show also should not be confused with the other western animated
series Sonic Underground
, the Anime Sonic X
, the OVA Sonic The Hedgehog The Movie
, Sonic Boom
, or the upcoming film adaptation based off the character
The show provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Bunnie, Sally, and Dulcy.
- Faux Action Girl: Bunnie is demoted into this in the second season. Sally and Dulcy are such half the time as well (Sally's abilities are mostly intellectual rather than physical, while Dulcy's main utility is usually acting as a flying vehicle than actually going into missions).
- Lupe is boasted as a capable and wise leader of the Wolf Pack, however she and her team spend both of their appearances as The Load, left in the sidelines in the first and getting captured in the second.
- Adaptation Name Change: Several. Thanks to the heavy overlap of themes and characters between SatAM and the Archie Comic series, the names are used somewhat interchangeably (and, thanks to the comics' much longer run and more developed storyline, the comic names have often overtaken the official show names to the point where many fans are unaware that the show HAS different names for some characters).
- "Robotnik" is revealed to be a pseudonym - his real name is Julian. Contrast this with other Sonic media, where he is either given the name Ivo, Eggman, Ovi, or simply "Robotnik" without any mention of a pseudonym.
- Antoine Depardieu, known as Antoine D'Coolette in the comics (though the latter seems to originate from early conceptual notes for the show, as does Sally's unmentioned surname of Acorn).
- The sorcerer Naugus, known as Ixis Naugus in the comics
- Adaptational Villainy: Dr. Robotnik was already a villain in the games, but even in installments at the time was portrayed as somewhat clownish and whimsical (despite the West's best attempts to harden him up). In the show however, he is a sadistic overlord of Mobius and, for the most part, taken dead seriously. He leans slightly closer to his original counterpart in later episodes, but is still a much more repulsive character.
- Affably Evil: Naugus.
- Aliens Speaking English: Along with some instances of Antoine speaking French.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: The Nasty Hyenas from "Fed Up With Antoine."
- And I Must Scream: Roboticized victims remain fully aware of everything they do while under Robotnik's control. As Uncle Chuck states when restored: "we just can't do anything about it."
- Apocalypse How: Type 2, steadily progressing to type 4, with Mobians replacing humans.
- Arc Words: At the end of "The Void", King Max tells Sonic "Take care of her" when he refers to Sally. In "Spyhog" Uncle Chuck tells Sally "Take care of him" when he refers to Sonic.
- Argument of Contradictions: Some arguments between Sonic and Sally devolve into this.
- Armies Are Evil: General (Dr.) Robotnik and his initially "defensive" army of SWATbots.
- Art Shift: Many character designs were changed for the second season, if even just slightly (like giving Bunnie pupils) or drastically (looking at Rotor, you wouldn't recognize him from season one to season two).
- Also, while during season 1 the animators seemed much more concerned with their artwork keeping with the show's "realistic" physics. In season 2, although the characters seem more artistically complete, the focus on smaller details falters. Not quite Off Model, more like Off-Scenery. Shading, actual muscle movements, and realistic ("gritty") fragmentation effects on the backgrounds as lasers hit walls are all examples.
- Ascended Extra: Three of the original Freedom Fighters are based upon the small animals released in Sonic 1: Sally Acorn is a squirrel and Rotor is a walrus, both found in Marble Zone, while Bunnie Rabbot is a rabbit (found in Green Hill Zone), though both Bunnie and Rotor had different names and one of them a different gender from the original cast Sally was in.
- Ascended Fridge Horror: Done with the concept of roboticization.
- Badass: Most of the Freedom Fighters.
- Badass Adorable: Bunnie and at the end of the second season, Tails.
- Badass Mustache: Dr. Robotnik.
- Bad Boss: Robotnik.
- Badbutt: Sonic and Bunnie, completely with some "fake cursing".
- Battle Couple: Sonic and Sally.
- Big Brother Mentor: Sonic, for Tails.
- Big Eater: Sonic. Often chili dogs.
- Big "NO!": Sally getting roboticized (in Sonic's bad dream) in "Sonic's Nightmare". Robotnik also gives these out a couple odd times he is foiled.
- Bond One-Liner: Sonic, occasionally.
- Boobs of Steel: Bunnie.
- Bragging Theme Tune: The opening theme song.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The end of the season 2 premiere episode ends by Sonic grabbing the iris-out.
- Breather Episode: "Fed Up With Antoine"/"Ghost Busted" and "The Odd Couple/Robo-Becca".
- Broken Aesop: The show despite being known for its refreshing lack of preachiness, has a broken Family-Unfriendly Aesop in the episode "Game Guy." In this episode, the heroes meet a strange freedom fighter called Ari. Although Sonic wants to trust him, Sally wants to err on the side of caution. Eventually Ari leads Sonic into one of Robotnik's traps in exchange for the freedom of his own teammates. When it becomes apparent to Ari that Robotnik has no intention of honoring his end of the deal, he "proves" himself trustworthy by freeing Sonic from the trap, sacrificing himself in the process. At the end of the episode Sonic gently chides Sally for not being trusting enough, and Sally admits she was wrong despite the fact that everything that happened in the episode proved that she was right. Granted he is lightly hit with karma since she also playfully mocks his recklessness and he gets an electric shock from sulkily messing with her device.
- Punctuated by a role reversal in "Warp Sonic". Sally is also made wrong for not listening to Sonic and Antoine's claims of Griff being untrustworthy. While this was true, the only reason they disliked Griff in the first place was petty jealousy rather than any valid suspicion. It's kinda easy to see why Positive Discrimination took over since the rare times Sonic was "right" were skewed by his Jerk Ass tendencies.
- Brother Chuck: Cluck and Muttski
- Brought Down to Normal: "Super Sonic".
- Bullet Seed: Roboticized Muttsky.
- Butt Monkey: Antoine and Snively. Definitely whipping-boys existing solely for comic relief.
- Can't Catch Up: Antoine to Sonic, both literally and figuratively. He was nowhere near as fast or competent as Sonic, and despite his efforts, he couldn't make Sally admire him as much as she does Sonic.
- Captain Crash: Dulcy.
- Card-Carrying Villain: While not as frequently so as the AoStH Robotnik, he is inclined to boast about his evilness as if it's something to be proud of, especially in the company of those he believes are evil.
Robotnik: I want the location of Lazar's lair. Name your prize.
Lazar's guardian: You intend harm to my master.
Robotnik: Oh, you wound me dear guardian! I merely want to wake the grand wizard and honor his evilness! We have much in common.
Lazar's guardian: ... yes. I can see that.
- Cassandra Truth: Tails in "Sonic and Sally".
- Sally after she travels back in time and tries to convince her father than Julian is evil.
- A less serious example in "Spyhog". Antoine genuinely did rescue Sally during a mission, but he plays up the story so much as he's retelling it that it's no wonder Sonic didn't believe him.
- Catapult Nightmare: Sonic's nightmare has him waking up like this in the beginning of the selfsame-titled episode.
- Catch Phrase:
- Characterization Marches On: Most of the cast were at least moderately goofier in the pilot episode. Some reverted back in Season Two however.
- In early episodes, Sally was more pompous and competitive towards Sonic, and suffered similar Break the Haughty moments. "Sonic And The Secret Scrolls" is a role reversal of later episodes' standard formula, with Sonic playing The Straight Man to a blundering plan of Sally's.
- Snively was actually a sincere Yes-Man to Robotnik in Season One, even taking pleasure in what rare praise he received from his Bad Boss. In Season Two he blatantly loathes Robotnik and plots behind his back.
- In the pilot and odd early episodes, Rotor was more clumsy and dorky, a role that was associated more with Antoine and Dulcy afterwards.
- Chaste Toons: this continuity introduced Uncle Chuck and Snively Robotnik, meaning that Sonic has an uncle and Robotnik is an uncle. Neither Sonic nor Snively's actual parents are ever referenced.
- Chekhov's Gun: Most Stealth Orbs (floating security cameras) in Season 1.
- Also in Season 1, one episode has the Freedom Fighters discover a species of "metal-eating" plants that instantly corrode metal into dust upon contact. The plants' harmless seeds are harvested before the episode is over, but they aren't ever brought up again directly. However, come the final episode of the series, we discover that Rotor's been developing metal-eating balloons (water balloon-like tossable projectiles). Arguably, the chemical inside the balloons could have come from the aforementioned plants.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Season 3 would've made Naugus into this if the series hadn't been cut short.
- Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: Post-Retcon Antoine.
- Child Soldier: The Freedom Fighters.
- Cliff Hanger: The Season Finale to Season Two was also The Series Finale. While the Freedom Fighters celebreate their triumphant victory, Snively is still around and planning to take over where Robotnik ended. And we see glowing red eyes from his accomplice who remains in the dark, unseen.
- Cool Big Bro: Sonic to Tails.
- Cool Big Sis: Sally and Bunnie to Tails.
- Cool Old Guy: Uncle Chuck.
- Covers Always Lie: The art promo of the series on Netflix. It's the dvd boxart of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog volume 1, which also has that show's version of Robotnik, Scratch and Grounder on it. The only thing there from this show is the logo and Lazaar's guardian in the background.
- Criminal Amnesiac: Sonic is this in "No Brainer."
- Cursed with Awesome: Bunnie Rabbot, who lost half of her body and gained super strength in the process.
- Cute Bruiser: Bunnie.
- Cut Short: The series ended on a cliffhanger in which Dr. Robotnik appeared to have died but his increasingly dissatisfied henchman Snively has plans to usurped his place as the series' primary antagonist, revealing a threatening new foe, shown out of the darkness with menacing red eyes. Whoever this new character was, viewers never found out, as the series was abruptly cancelled. Writer Ben Hurst revealed his plans for a third season where the mysterious red eyes belonged to Naugus, a minor villain featured earlier in the series and a former partner of Dr. Robotnik. The intended story was adapted by the Archie comics, but because the comic strove to merge the other (often conflicting) versions of the franchise, it fell short of serving as a pseudo-conclusion for Sonic SatAM.
- Another thing that Hurst revealed is that Knuckles was supposed to appear at the end of that never to be made third season and was going to be more of a main character for an also never made fourth season.
- Cyber Cyclops: The SWATbots.
- Cyber Punk: The world has become a industrial nightmare, and cybernetics has transformed society. Young streetwise punks flaunt the law, conducting guerrilla raids to overthrow a corrupt government. Coming off the heels of the 1980's, it's no surprise that this show would feature these themes.
- Post-Cyberpunk: Despite how bad things have become, the heroes are trying to save the world. About as far as the anti-heroes of cyberpunk can be.
- Darker and Edgier: There were only two games, four counting the Game Gear ones, so there wasn't much to adapt. The writers took certain ideas from the games and ran with them.
- Watching the pilot episode makes the series itself seem like this. Much of the animation in the pilot (particularly Sally and Bunnie) had a much brighter, softer look than the actual show and the story tone is slightly more whimsical.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most characters have their moments of this, but Sonic, Sally, and Snively were the most prominent examples.
- Degraded Boss: The Doomsday Test Pod in "Cry of the Wolf" proved itself to be almost indestructible and a robotic version of the Implacable Man, only destroyed when it was coerced into a lightning storm. In "The Doomsday Project", the pods are one-shotted by balloons filled with some kind of corrosive chemical.
- Demoted to Extra: Since this show has a full cast of characters, soon-to-become iconic sidekick Tails is reduced to minor character status. Also, Bunnie and Rotor get smaller roles in season 2. However, Tails may have become an Ascended Extra in a couple of episodes of the first season and toward the end of the second season.
- Depending on the Writer: Writing duties for the first season were handed to several people, meaning occasional slight inconsistancies in character portrayals and what not (particularly Sonic himself). For the second season, most episodes were written by Ben Hurst, meaning a more consistent depiction (if still one occasionally rather different to previous writers).
- Despotism Justifies the Means: Robotnik has turned most of Mobius into an industrial waste and a huge amount of it's population into unsentient drones so as to maintain his power over the planet.
- Determinator: Antoine, Sonic, Sally, and Robotnik have traces of this.
- Deus ex Machina: A glaring one appears in the Doomsday Project. After Robotnik successfully traps Sonic in a customised roboticiser, the hedgehog tries to overpower the machine with a power ring. Robotnik just laughs and presses a button to increase the power. Then, Sonic pulls out two more power rings, even though previous lore states they can only acquire a single ring every 12 hours. Needless to say, as the machine overloads, Robotnik gasps "This can't be happening" before screaming HEDGEHOG!! and slamming the power button over and over again as Sonic breaks free.
- Disappeared Dad: Sally's father King Max, who is trapped in the void.
- Distressed Damsel: Though a competent Freedom Fighter, Sally falls under this role on a few odd occasions (she is a princess after all). Antoine also plays a comical male variant on occasion.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Occasionally, Tails seems to be rather easily diverted. See link at 8:34...
- Dodge the Bullet: Sonic throughout Season 1.
- Doomed Hometown: Mobotropolis.
- The Ditz: Dulcy. Bunnie to a lesser extent on occasion as well.
- Downer Ending: "Ultra Sonic", and "The Void".
- Bittersweet Ending: Both end with the team stopping Robotnik's current scheme and some small ray of hope of retrieving their lost companion.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Sally, Bunnie and Antoine do this in one episode in Season 1, to less-than-desirable results. They do it again in season 2 with better results.
- Dumb Muscle: Dulcy. She's kind of a thick-head.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The pilot episode, "Heads or Tails", has several noteworthy differences from the series proper:
- Sally has pink fur and black hair, rather than the brown fur and hair she has in the rest of the show.
- NICOLE is a computer monitor on a wheeled stand, rather than a handheld computer.
- Buzzbombers appear in this episode, attacking Knothole, making them the only actual enemies from the games to appear in this series. They are never seen again.
- The overall coloring and animation is brighter and lighter.
- The episode's title doesn't have the word "Sonic" in it (though that naming scheme was dropped in the second season anyway).
- Rotor is purple rather than blue. Archie Comics would keep Rotor purple for their adaptation.
- It also contains an example of Earth Drift. Sonic mentions Axl Rose while playing the guitar, and the show takes place on Mobius in the 33rd century. No more references to real life places or people are made after this.
- Egopolis: Robotropolis, formerly Mobotropolis.
- Epic Fail: Antoine's martial arts training.
- Episode Title Card
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Sally.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: This is the reason Ro-becca is so obsessed with Antoine.
- Evil Counterpart: Naugus to Lazar.
- Evil Laugh: Snively gave an crazy one when he believed that Robotnik died with the Doomsday Project, and the being with the red eyes in the end also gave a creepy chuckle too.
- Robotnik has a series of evil laughs, ranging from low, menacing chuckling to full on deranged cackling. The fact that he's voiced by Jim Cummings certainly helps matters.
- Evil Overlord: Robotnik.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Robotnik.
- Expository Theme Tune: Quoted above.
- Family of Choice: The Freedom Fighters are clearly a tightly-knit group of friends, all of whom have lost their actual families and so turn to each other for that kind of support; Tails even considers Princess Sally his "Aunt", and she treats him very much like her own son at times. Likewise, Sonic and Tails have a very brotherly relationship.
- Fan Of The Underdog: Tails is the only one who can bear Antoine's self aggrandizing stories. Sally also seems to defend Ant at times, if more out of pity.
Sally: Come on Sonic, Antoine has his good points.
Sonic: You mean besides his head?
Sally: *thinks desperately* Errrr...he has a nice haircut.
- Fat Bastard: Dr. Robotnik.
- Faux Affably Evil: The show's rendition of Robotnik is for the large part far more menacing and horrific than his more whimsical games counterpart. He retains a sarcastic wit however and goofy traits do seep through every now and then.
- Fiery Redhead: Sally has her moments of this.
- Fighter Launching Sequence: Stealth Bots.
- Five-Man Band
- Flanderization: Antoine was originally rather pompous and cowardly, but had some amount of lucidity and nobility. By Season Two however he is more or less a full time Straw Loser for Sonic, barely able to spend five seconds without saying or doing something stupid or narcissistic and acting like a full blown Dirty Coward.
- In response to this, Sonic's originally more playful rivalry towards Antoine evolved into flat out naked contempt. While Depending on the Writer came into play for a lot of his other aspects, he also became more cocky and incompetent in the Second Season. More than half the episodes are devoted to Sonic making some sort of error out of recklessness and needing to be bailed out by the rest of the team.
- Sally in contrast had her positive aspects exaggerated, starting off as a Not So Different Foil for Sonic in season 1 and then practically acting as his Hyper Competent Sidekick in season 2 to accommodate his increased recklessness.
- Forbidden Zone: Simply labelled as such, it's a hazardous slum of Robotropolis where the wizard Lazaar rested.
- The Friends Who Never Hang: Regarding a case affecting Spotlight-Stealing Squad, Sonic rarely interacted with Bunnie, while Sally replaced Rotor as his confidant and foil, making them more this. As such the two ended up Demoted to Extra in Season Two. This is also evident in the Archie comic series, albeit to a lesser degree.
- Functional Magic: Lazaar and Naugus. Arguably Sonic, through his use of the Deep Power Stones and Power Rings.
- Furry Fandom: At least partially due to the Parent Service, this is popular among the subculture. Particularly the character Sally Acorn, who is the subject of a lot of fan art.
- Genius Bruiser: Rotor, who was the smartest and one of the strongest members of the Freedom Fighters.
- Genre Savvy: Robotnik, especially when compared to his other-continuity counterparts. At one point, Sonic attempts to "surrender"; Robotnik instantly smells a rat, and immediately orders him into the roboticizer.
- In "Sonic's Nightmare" Robotnik tries to shoot Sonic and the gang with a missile launcher from his cloaked stealthpod after his main ship crashed. If it wasn't so damaged from Sonic weaponizing an oil derrick against the ship, he could've won.
- In "Spyhog", Robotnik immediately realized that Sonic's presence was just to distract his troops so that the other Freedom Fighters could sabotage the fuel convoy they had been guarding.
- In "Cry of the Wolf", Robotnik is able to spot the wolf pack's tendency to disguise the entrances to their hideouts within seconds of getting a video feed of the area.
- Gilligan Cut:
Sonic: Well this hedgehog's never giving up!
- Good Bad Girl: Bunnie is the Y-7 version of this. She's flirty and wears a revealing outfit, but she's as kind-hearted as they come.
- Goshdang It To Heck: Bunnie, frequently.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Dulcy and Lupe's names, which mean "sweet" and "wolf" respectively.
- Great Offscreen War: The Great War mentioned in "Blast to the Past part 1". No reference is ever made to it outside of one line from King Acorn.
- Green Rocks: The Deep Power Stones and the Power Rings. As well as The Time Stones.
- Gross-Up Close-Up: Only one example, but a memorable one, found in "Sonic Conversion".
Robotnik: Snively, what color is my heart?
- Hair Today Gone Tomorrow: Snively used to have long wavy hair before a time-traveling Sonic accidentally blew it off.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Most of the good guys are missing clothing in some way.
- Hartman Hips: Sally, depending on the artist.
- Headbutting Heroes: Sonic and Antoine, constantly snarking or arguing with each other or competing for Sally's affections. As Sally once pointed out, should one get captured, the other likely wouldn't even lift a finger if she didn't lecture them enough.
- The Heavy: Robotnik. With very few exceptions, he drives the plot of nearly every episode, typically in the form of him doing something to obtain a powerful artifact, create an unstoppable weapon, and/or destroy the Freedom Fighters.
- Heel-Face Turn: Snively was going to become this and join the Freedom Fighters in the lost third season.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Princess Sally Acorn.
- Heroic BSOD: In "Ultra Sonic", Sonic and the team convert Uncle Chuck back to their side, but by the episode's end, his robotic programming reverts him back into a mindless drone, and the team are forced to abandon him. The normally overconfident and optimistic Sonic completely breaks down into tears as a result.
- Sally has a similar, albeit more subtle one after her father returns to the title vortex of "The Void".
- Heroic Sacrifice: Cat in "Sonic Boom", Ari in "Game Guy" and Uncle Chuck in "Blast To The Past Part 2."
- Heroic Willpower: After several brief periods of freedom thanks to the Power Rings, Sir Charles (or "Uncle Chuck") ultimately breaks free of Robotnik's control this way.
- Higher-Tech Species: Humans to Mobians.
- Hollywood Cyborg: Bunnie was in the middle of undergoing the roboticization process before being rescued; as a result both her legs and one of her arms are robotic. However, she retained her free will and gained Super Strength in the bargain.
- Honorary Uncle: Tails calls Sally "Aunt Sally," Bunnie "Aunt Bunnie", and everyone calls Sonic's uncle "Uncle Chuck."
- Humanoid Female Animal: All of the females except Dulcy.
- Humans Are Bastards: Robotnik is pretty damn evil. Snively isn't any better.
- Humble Pie: Sonic several times over after his arrogance screws up a mission. Sally is made to accept this at least once too. Usually subverted for Antoine, who never learns, though he accepts his mistakes in "Hooked On Sonics".
- Hypocrite: Griff in "Warp Sonic" finds out about the Freedom Fighters power ring source. He declines a comrade's suggestion to ask for their help since he believes they can't be trusted, so instead starts an elaborate plan to trick Sally and steal it from them instead.
- An Ice Person: Dulcy, who can shoot ice beams through her nose.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode in Season 1 (except for the pilot, "Heads or Tails") had "Sonic" in the title. Super Sonic, Ultra Sonic, Hooked on Sonics, etc.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Bunnie Rabbot.
- Implied Death Threat: Sums up Robotnik's relationship with Snively. In one episode, he threatens to turn Snively into a paperweight.
- In a Single Bound: Sonic, more than once.
- In Name Only: The only thing the show has in common with the games is Sonic, Tails, the rings, Buzzbombers, and Robotnik who, even then, barely resemble the games characters in personality and in Robotnik's case both personality and appearance.
- In the Hood: Sonic wears a red hooded cloak in "Sonic Racer" when he arrives in Robotropolis to race against the robotic cheetah.
- Insult Backfire: When Robotnik orders Bunnie shot with a paralyzing ray in "Super Sonic":
Sally: You are a miserable creep, Robotnik.
Robotnik: Why, thank you, princess.
- And again in "Blast To The Past":
Chuck: You're pure scum, Julian.
Robotnik: I relish the thought.
- Interspecies Romance: Sonic and Sally, a hedgehog and a chipmunk/squirrel hybrid, respectively.
- Also attempted with Ro-becca and Antoine, a robot cat and a coyote.
- Impossibly-Low Neckline: Bunnie.
- I Surrender, Suckers: Sonic does this a few times in the series, at one point even saying the line verbatim.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Antoine has his moments.
- Kid-Appeal Character: Antoine has his moments of this, although it mostly falls to the role of Tails.
- Killer Robot: Every robot built by Robotnik.
- Lack of Empathy: Robotnik in spades. Snively, while mostly only following orders, isn't exactly resentful about sending a good few Freedom Fighters to the robotocizer either.
- La Résistance: The Freedom Fighters.
- Last Fertile Region: The Great Forest.
- Last of His Kind: Thanks to Robotnik, the suburban monarch in "Sub Sonic" is the sole survivor of his kind. Also, Dulcy is close to becoming this.
- Let Them Die: In a couple of instances, Sonic's hatred of Antoine actually reached such a level that he seriously considered leaving him at the mercy of a villain. Sally goaded him into rescuing him however.
- Lighter and Softer: Season 2, compared to Season 1. Robotnik became more comical in tone, Antoine became much goofier than his season 1 persona: see the infamous Margarine! scene. Dulcy, a comical dragon, is also added to the main cast. It did, however, manage to keep dramatic storytelling intact, especially prior to the final episode.
- Also the pilot episode (the one where Sally was pink and the Freedom Fighters fended off a squadron of Buzz Bombers with water balloons) when compared to the rest of the first season.
- Lightning Bruiser: Dulcy is both very strong and very fast, especially when she "Cracks The Whip".
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Planet Mobius has both anthros and humans living on it. Much more the former than the latter, though.
- The Load: Antoine. He is incredibly cowardly and almost never contributes anything of value, yet for some reason they frequently bring him along on action missions.
- Lovable Coward: Arguably what Antoine was aimed towards, though Flanderization leaned him more along the lines of a Jerk Ass Dirty Coward and an Upper-Class Twit.
- Loveable Rogue: Sonic.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Robotnik.
- Magic Countdown: In the opening, even.
- Malaproper: Antoine.
- Meaningful Echo: Near the end of the Season 1 episode "Sonic and Sally" , after stopping Robotnik's current plot, Sonic smugly tells him that he came close, "but close only counts in Horseshoes." One season later, toward the end of "Blast to the Past, Part 2", Sonic and Sally argue about whether or not going back in time was a total waste:
Sonic: We still didn't stop Robuttnik!
Sally: But we came close!
Sonic: Sal, this ain't Horseshoes!
- Meaningful Name: Dulcy's name is Spanish for "sweet", and she is a very nice dragon.
- Also Lupe who's name means "wolf".
- Sonic himself.
- It's more a coincidence than anything else, but Sally's name comes from a Hebrew word meaning "princess".
- Ari from "Game Guy". He's a ram, which is often associated with the zodiac symbol Aries.
- Missing Mom: Sally and Dulcy.
- Myth Arc
- The Napoleon: Snively becomes this at the end of the series.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: In "Blast to the Past", Sonic and Sally travel back in time and meet their past selves. Nothing bad happens from this and the past selves don't know who they really are.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Dulcy, despite displaying some incredibly powerful abilities such as ice breath at pivotal moments, rarely acts outside a mode of transportation for the heroes.
- Nice Hat: Rotor's Cap.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sonic and Antoine (and Sally on much rarer occasions) destroy a plan multiple times due to their bumbling or arrogance. Uncle Chuck was also the pivot for Robotnik's takeover of Mobius by creating the robotocizer and leaving it's blueprints out open.
- Nice, Mean and In-between: Especially in the second season. Princess Sally is gentle and rational, Antoine is a pompous Dirty Coward, while Sonic is altruistic but arrogant and hot headed. Antoine and Sonic sometimes interchange, Depending on the Writer (in some episodes Antoine is more just harmlessly stupid, with Sonic as a bullying Greek Chorus to his antics). Sally can also sometimes be snarky and easily agitated, but usually still maintains the 'nicer' role in comparison
- The Nicknamer: Sonic, Bunnie, and Dulcy all were this at certain times.
- Non-Lethal Warfare: Used only in the first episode; the Freedom Fighters use water balloons to deter incoming robot armada. Afterwards, it's just smashing and blasting.
- Non Sequitur Thud: Basically Dulcy's defining characteristic. She acts like she's being scolded by her "Ma" every time she crashes.
- No Respect Guy: Antoine, sometimes to the point of making him The Woobie of the episode.
- No Sympathy: After Antoine performs a reckless stunt that gets him kidnapped by Robotnik, Sonic labels him an idiot and earnestly refuses to save him until Sally goads him into it. Keep in mind the inevitable fate from getting captured by this incarnation of Robotnik is being sentenced to living death as a robotic slave.
- Not Blood Related: Tails refers to Sally and Bunnie as "Aunt Sally" and "Aunt Bunnie".
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Snively is treated as a worthless toady by Robotnik, and something of a laughing stock to most of Freedom Fighters (except Antoine). However he has came closer to invading Knothole than his uncle ever did and in the planned Third Season would have briefly taken over as Big Bad during Robotnik's absence.
- Ominous Floating Spaceship: Inverted. Dr. Robotnik is a human, and his Cool Spaceship wipes out nearly everyone in Mobotropolis.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Sally supplies mainly in computer knowledge and hacking, but is also shown to have archeological knowledge and is implied to be as profound a mechanic as Rotor, not to mention the most dominant Only Sane Man of the team. Given a lot of this was expanded as her role became larger, it may also count as The Main Characters Do Everything.
- Only Sane Man: Most characters take turns at this, but Sally is usually the best candidate.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Unlike other lore, the resident dragon Dulcy is a complete klutz with a child-like mentality, and while she retains flight and other mythical powers, only once do we actually witness her breathe fire (to destroy an antenna).
- Out of Focus: Despite playing a big part in the games, Tails is more of a background character who is given the occasional Day in the Limelight.
- Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females: Notably averted with Sally in Season 1 (she gains a vest in Season 2), but played straight with everyone else.
- Parental Abandonment: Most of the Freedom Fighters have had this happen to them.
- Parenting The Boyfriend: Sally occasionally has blatant treatment of this to Sonic, especially in the second season.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Sonic and Sally.
- Pet The Robotic Chicken: Robotnik is a sadistic monster of the highest order, but he will affectionately pet and dote over his beloved Cluck endlessly. Curiously, however, Cluck disappears in the second season, thus eliminating Robotnik's one redeeming aspect.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Villified: Subverted with Naugus.
- Phrase Catcher: "Shut up, Antoine!"
- Playing with Fire: Dulcy, who is a fire breathing dragon.
- Poke the Poodle: The infamous Margarine! scene.
- Polluted Wasteland: Robotropolis is depicted as being a dark, polluted, and industrialized city, and its immediate surroundings are fittingly littered with garbage and toxic waste.
- Positive Discrimination: A criticism occasionally issued towards Sally, who was of the strong independent woman type frequent in the early 90s. While toned down in the First Season, where her role was smaller and she was still prone to flaws in judgment or occasionally being as arrogant and stubborn as Sonic, the Second Season seemed to emphasize her more and more as the Only Sane Man and the main entity keeping the team alive (not to mention an Omnidisciplinary Scientist). Sally did play the Distressed Damsel role on more than a few occasions, however.
- Post-Kiss Catatonia: Subverted. In the episode, "Hooked on Sonics" it looks like Sonic has fallen to this after being kissed by Sally... but he gets back up, says he was just kidding, and that the kiss wasn't that great. He then "shows" her what a real kiss is, much to Tails' disgust.
- Power Loss Makes You Strong: "Super Sonic" involved Sonic losing his speed and saving the day without it.
- Punny Name: Bunnie Rabbot
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Freedom Fighters, obviously.
- Ray Gun: The primary weapon of everything. Unlike most Western examples they were portrayed as very fast-moving, potentially deadly weapons throughout Season 1, and they usually exploded on contact, or reduced things to ash.
- Reality Warper: Naugus.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Uncle Chuck and Robotnik; this is how the latter was introduced actually. There's also the glowing red eyes in the final scene of the series, which Word of God revealed as belonging to Naugus.
- Subverted with Uncle Chuck after he breaks free of Robotnik's control, after which he only uses this to blend in with the other roboticized Mobians.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sonic and Sally. Ironically, "Red Oni" Sonic has blue fur, while "Blue Oni" Sally has red hair.
- Red Shirt: At the beginning of Blast to the Past Part 1, along with Sonic and Sally, we are introduced to two freedom fighters we've never seen before - guess who get promptly roboticised!
- Remember the New Guy: Dulcy the Dragon. She just suddenly appears in the second season premiere as if she was one of the Freedom Fighters the whole time.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: For defecting along with his Uncle Julian and assisting in the coup and robotocization of millions of innocent people, Robotnik promotes his nephew Snively to his personal toady and punching bag.
- Also Ari, after capturing Sonic for Robotnik in return for releasing his Freedom Fighters. He sticks to his word and hands them back...robotocized, Ari himself barely avoiding the same fate.
- Right-Hand Cat: Cluck for Robotnik, although he's more of a Right Hand Mechanical Chicken.
- Right Way/Wrong Way Pair: Sonic and Sally, originally a more even handed contrast of meticulous and spontaneous approaches, slowly evolved into this as a result of Flanderization, with Sonic becoming more reckless and Sally usually being portrayed as more tactful. There was still the odd subversion however.
- The Rival: Antoine for Sonic in terms of winning Sally's affection. At one point, it's also another Freedom Fighting goat named Griff.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Sonic.
- Riddle for the Ages: The identity of Snively's mysterious ally at the end of the final episode was this for years after the show was Cut Short and was debated about for years (the most popular assumption was that it was supposed to be Metal Sonic). Years after the show ended Word of God finally answered this particular riddle: it's Naugus.
- Right-Hand Cat: Cluck.
- Robo Cam: Stealth Pods.
- Robot Girl =/= Fembot: A mean one appears in "Sonic and Sally".
- Ro-Becca, from the selfsame-titled episode.
- Robot War: Dr. Robotnik only uses robots in his military.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Princess Sally.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Cat in "Sonic Boom."
- Say My Name: Robotnik always refers to Sonic as "the hedgehog" or degradory names such "rodent". Oddly he gladly refers to other foes such as Sally and Chuck by their first names alone.
- Scenery Porn
- Science Fantasy: The episode "Super Sonic" has a literal Magical Computer, for one thing, and it's impossible to tell if phlebotinium like the Power Rings are Magitek or Magic from Technology.
- Science Is Bad: Subverted; the Roboticiser in itself is not an evil device. It was created by Uncle Chuck to allow the elderly and the injured to live longer: and when he realized it also had the side effect of making them into mindless automatons, he immediately shelved it with the intent of not using it at all until and unless he could figure out a way to remove that side effect. Things only went bad when Robotnik stole it and began deliberately using it to conquer the world by converting every Mobian he could get his hands on into a robot slave.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Robotnik steals a computer of magic spells from the formerly evil wizard Lazar, and Sonic attempts to get it back. When asked why he can't just destroy the computer, Lazar says that would release all the evil it contains.
- Sealed with a Kiss
- Servile Snarker: Snively in the second season.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The premise behind the Blast to the Past two-part episode. Sonic and Sally fail in their attempt to stop Robotnik's takeover in the past, but do succeed in preventing the capture of Sally's nanny.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Antoine.
- Sheep in Wolf's Clothing: Uncle Chuck, post Unwilling Roboticisation.
- She's a Man in Japan: Sally Acorn started as Sega of America and Europe's name for the tiny squirrel Sonic would rescue from badniks in Sonic 1. In Japan, the tiny squirrel was male and named "Ricky".
- Shout-Out: Nicole looks like the tricorders used in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- Silence, You Fool!: Issued a few times to Snively, especially in the second season.
Robotnik: Shut up, Snively.
- Sketchy Successor: Robotnik gets the job of dictator of Mobius by kicking the previous ruler into another dimension. He then proceeds to turn Mobius into a polluted, mechanical wasteland where he alone gets to live in luxury (barring his nephew Snively, who while being regularly put down is at least not actively hunted.)
- Skunk Stripe: Lupe has one in her hair.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Antoine. Sonic and Robotnik as well, even if they have far more valid reasons for it.
- Played with at the end of "Drood Henge", when Sonic was playing up how great the Batman Gambit that stopped Robotnik's plan of the episode was. When Sally calls him out on being egotistical, Sonic simply points out that plan wasn't even his, it was thought up by Tails.
- Smooch of Victory: Sally gives these all the time.
- Smug Snake: Dr. Robotnik in the second season, as his overconfidence and increasing obsession with Sonic begins to hinder his plots (as well as becoming slightly more comical and bumbling in tone). His nephew, Snively, also counts.
- Smug Super: Sonic likes to talk about his amazing speed and stealth a lot.
- Southern Belle: Bunnie.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Variation: In the episode "Game Guy" Ari gets sucked into The Void. A book called Sonic: Friend or Foe was made based on this episode, and in it Ari escapes with Sonic unharmed.
- Spell Book: Subverted by Lazaar, who used a computer of magic spells, which is functionally identical beyond the user interface.
- Spiritual Antithesis: To other Sonic cartoons and most of the games. In most continuities, Sonic is just in for a thrill, and Dr. Robotnik/Eggman is pretty incompetent. In this show, Robotnik is extremely menacing, has already conquered most of the world, and Sonic is one of the few people who stand between him and total world domination.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Sally and Antoine join Sonic in the large majority of missions in the second season.
- Spotthe Imposter: The episode "Sonic and Sally"
- Stalker with a Crush: Ro-becca.
- The Starscream: Snively constantly grumbles over having to serve the Doctor, but doesn't actually attempt to harm him. By the Second Season he has blatantly come to resent his uncle's abuse and makes a few shrewd plans behind his back (he once attempted an attack on Knothole while Robotnik was gone, as well as making alterations to his base that would ultimately save his life when it was destroyed). He simply plays along until Robotnik is electrocuted in the final episode, then is seen donning his uncle's trademark yellow cape. He does, however, resemble Starscream in voice, especially considering his voice is done by Charlie Adler.
- Straw Loser: All the Freedom Fighters have noticable flaws, Sonic in particular is incredibly arrogant and prone to endanger the team in his recklessness or lack of tact. Antoine however, is a bastion of negative human qualities and has few redeeming ones to compensate. In general, if one character has a flaw, Antoine has it tens times more.
- Stupid Evil: Robotnik. While much more Genre Savvy in the first season, later on, his sadistic tendencies seem to get in the way with many of his plans.
- Suddenly Always Knew That: Bunnie's treatment in "Sonic and Sally", as before this she seemed to not be a fighter.
- Super Soldier: The SWATbots in season 1.
- Super Speed: Sonic. Sally in the last episode, as she used the Deep Power Stones along with Sonic.
- Super Strength: Bunnie.
- Tagalong Kid: Tails to a degree, but not to the extent he was in the games.
- Begins to be averted in "Drood Henge", in which he revealed that Sally taught him some hacking skills, and he proved himself to be resourceful, clever, and great at coming up with plans.
- Talented Princess, Regular Guy: Played with. While Sonic's Super Speed make a big difference on his side, he is somewhat average in terms of intellect and talent without his powers to back him up (though he can get down with the electric guitar). Sally on the other hand is a Badass Normal with incredible hacking and computing skills, almost as good a mechanic as Rotor and a trusted tactitian. As a final insult she actually outdoes the "Regular Guy" in snarkiness too.
- Teen Genius: Sally and Rotor.
- Teens Are Short: Most of the main teenage group of Freedom Fighters are dwarfed by other older groups. Granted species may apply to this, but even then King Acorn is almost twice as the size of his sixteen year old daughter.
- The Friends Who Never Hang: Antoine doesn't get along with the Freedom Fighters very much, especially Sonic.
- Tempting Fate: In Blast To The Past, after Robotnik's successful takeover of Mobotropolis, Snively informs him of present day Sonic's activities. With some careful contemplation, Robotnik dismisses him as a minor inconvenience, believing he's not worth the trouble.
- That Man Is Dead: From Blast To The Past part 2:
King Acorn: You can't win this, Julian.
Robotnik: The name is no longer Julian; from this day forward, I am Robotnik.
- Theme Music Power-Up: The theme that plays when Sonic uses a Power Ring.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- This Cannot Be!: Robotnik says something to this effect when Sonic breaks out of the specially-built roboticiser with the combined power of three power rings.
- A heroic example occurs when Sonic says "What, I don't believe it!" when after trashing the Doomsday test pod multiple times, it still reactivates and continues attacking them.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: Sally, more than once.
- Time-Shifted Actor: Tahj Mowry as young Sonic in a few episodes.
- Time Travel: In the two-parter "Blast to the Past", Sonic and Sally have to both think of the place they want to be while joining the Time Stones. Sonic's mind wanders, placing them just in time to re-live the very holocaust they were trying to prevent.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Inverted. Girly-girl Bunnie is the more badass of the two, while tomboy Sally is the leader and often a Distressed Damsel.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Sonic's chili dogs.
- Trap Door
- A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: The form of almost all of Sonic's Idiot Balls in the series (as well some rarer ones committed by other Freedom Fighters such as Sally).
- Troubled Abuser: While still implied to have been a monster beforehand, Robotnik was constantly intimidated by his former master Naugus. In turn Robotnik is extremely abusive and domineering to his subordinates (especially Snively, who frequently laughed at Naugus' treatment of him). Word of God has it that upon Naugus' return in the planned Season Three Robotnik would have been reduced to a sniveling toady for him much like Snively before.
- Try Not to Die: Heavily inferred every time the Freedom Fighters mobilize.
- TV Genius: Rotor and Sally, in the first season at least.
- Two Girls to a Team: Bunnie and Sally, before Dulcy showed up.
- Two Shorts: The two Breather Episode pairs mentioned above.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: The series is set after Robotnik succeeds in enslaving Mobius.
- Underside Ride: "Spy Hog" has the Freedom Fighters sneak into Robotropolis by way of riding beneath a hover vehicle with magnets strapped to their hips.
- Unexplained Accent: Antoine has a French accent for no reason, besides the fact that he's a coward. Bunnie's southerner dialect and Robotnik and Snively's British accents may also count.
- Unwilling Roboticisation: The Trope Namer.
- Villainous Breakdown: Dr. Robotnik, in the last episode:
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: To say that this version of Robotnik is scarier than other versions is probably the biggest understatement in human history. That's not even getting into the episode that quite literally implies that ''he doesn't have a heart''.
- Villain World
- Weaksauce Weakness: In one episode, Antoine is being held captive and interrogated by Snively. Antoine insists that Snively can visit whatever horrors he wants upon the beleaguered coyote — his lips are sealed. Then Snively nearly breaks him... by preparing French cuisine incorrectly (making escargot with margarine?!).
- We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: Type 2, with humans as the aliens.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Sally, to Sonic.
- We Need a Distraction: Sonic's role in missions often boils down to this. Robotnik hating him so much that all of his robots have Sonic listed as "Priority One" tends to help.
- Will They Or Won'tThey: Antoine and Bunnie. It was hinted that Bunnie had a small crush on Antoine, yet she put no effort whatsoever into winning his heart. Probably because she was too insecure about her partially roboticized state and Antoine was too busy flirting with Sally anyway.
- Wham Line: There is one that stands out as a whole:
Uncle Chuck: "The roboticiser, I know. I invented it."
- What Does She See in Him??: Antoine asks this of Sally and Sonic.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Where exactly did Cluck go in season two?
- What the Fu Are You Doing?: Antoine tries to learn martial arts ("King Fu") from Bunnie in "Fed Up With Antoine", and clumsily epic fails at it for the most part, spouting Funny Bruce Lee Noises and making a mess of things. Subverted temporarily late in the episode when he flying kicks an enemy that was sneaking up on Sonic and subsequently demonstrates how he did it. But then he mistakes Bunnie's praise of the latter for the opposite, fumbles Demonstration #2, and lands on Dulcy's foot. Distracted by the pain, she wrecks the hut they're in.
- With Due Respect: Snively to Robotnik, often with the same expected result.
- Women Are Wiser: Sally, to Sonic and to an extent the rest of the Freedom Fighters. While balanced with occasional Not So Above It All moments in the First Season, it is played more or more gratingly straight later on, to the point of almost becoming Surrounded by Idiots. Bunnie and Dulcy are somewhat ditzier, though still carry the Idiot Ball a lot less often than Antoine or even Sonic.
- The Worf Effect: Bunnie was most liable to be the powerhouse in a group mission gone wrong in Season One, and thus usually overpowered by forces. In Season Two they just skip the formalities and make her a Faux Action Girl. Sonic suffered this a little in Season Two as well, especially during the first half.
- You Have Failed Me: Said by Robotnik to an ill fated Swatbot in "Hooked On Sonics".
- He arguably does this to Snively at the climax of The Doomsday Project: Enraged at his defeat, he kicks his nephew out of the only escape pod and leaves him to die in the detonating base. Snively had predicted this would happen and had created his own means of escape, while Robotnik's pod ironically got caught in the implosion of the base.
- Your Worst Nightmare: "Sonic's Nightmare".