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! He's the fastest thing alive! He's the fastest thing alive!
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.
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.
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 quiteOff 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.
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 incompetence and Jerk Ass tendencies.
Butt Monkey: Antoine and Snively. Definete 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Fake Frenchman: Antoine, as voiced by Rob Paulsen. His character is a collection of insulting French stereotypes: mispronouncing so many words of English, misspeaking famous quotes, always scared, especially clumsy, constantly getting captured, obsessing with fine cooking and cleanliness, enving the hero and quick to surrender.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heel-Face Turn: Snively was going to become this and join the Freedom Fighters in the lost third season.
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
Pet The Robotic Chicken: Robotnik is 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.
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.
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 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.
Riddle for the Ages: The identity of Snivley'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 Ixis Naugus.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sure, Why Not?: The SatAM nickname made it onto the cover of the DVD boxset.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Robotnik suffers a more minor one in "Blast to the Past, Part 2." During this time travel adventure, it turns out that Sonic accidentally caused Robotnik's left arm to be unwillingly roboticised. (He spun him around and tripped him up near the Roboticiser, you see.) Robotnik was not happy.
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?!).
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.
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.