Reviews: Sonic Boom
Season 2- Improvement!
I've made it up to episode 11 of Season 2 and it's not the best but better than season 1! - The plots are significantly better, no more "Guy brainwashes girls into liking boybands" or "Amy and Eggman play Fuzzy Puppies" or "Knuckles tries to restore the luck balance of the universe". Out of the 11 episodes i've seen so far only "Nutwork" and "In The Midnight Hour" have had bad plots. - Characterization significantly improved as well, no more buddy buddy Sonic and Eggman antics. Sticks is still annoying and Knuckles is still dumb, however. - Also it had it's first GOOD episode of the show, in the form of "The Biggest Fan" a great satire on the Sonic fandom with good laughs throughout. However, the show still isn't too good. The humor is still bad for the most part, and action scenes still one-sided and lame. However if those things change we can have a perfectly servicable show on our hands.
One of the worst shows i\'ve ever seen
I've watched all of season 1 of this show, and it's one of the worst i've ever seen, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. - The characters were massacred. Sonic and Tails are fine, but Amy's now a female stereotype, Knuckles has an IQ of 0, and Eggman... oy. He's supposed to be the villain, right? But now, he isn't threatening in the SLIGHTEST, and is Sonic's best bud. - Old Eggman: "I don't care if the world's destroyed, as long as Sonic's destroyed with it!" - New Eggman: "Hey, Amy, wanna play Fuzzy Puppy Buddies?" And Sticks... Sticks is possibly the worst Sonic character ever. "Annoying to the extent I want to tape her mouth shut" is a massive understatement. - The plots are dumb as can be. Sonic returns a library book? A boy-band producer brainwashes people into liking his music? Knuckles tries to restore "the luck balance of the universe" by just doing stupid stuff for 11 minutes? Lame, lame, lame. - The action scenes are horrific. Every one has no excitement, drama, tension, or anything! All they are are just "Sonic smashes robots". - The humor is abysmal. I only laughed about a half-dozen times in the whole show, and the amount of jokes that made me bang my head against the wall was through the roof. So overall, a horrible show. 2/10.
Slapstick Sonic Is Best Sonic
Most of the shortcomings in the Sonic series can be traced back to the clumsy attempts at drama. But take a look at Lost World - I'm not saying that script is destined for any hall of fame or something, but it works so much better. Even at its corniest, it still works. With Sonic more comedy-oriented, it just feels so much more natural. Sonic was off-the-cuff from the very beginning - there's little more than an Excuse Plot in his very first game, which is designed to give the feeling that you're racing at heretofore unimaginable speeds through every level. Totally ingenious, and yes there are some dramatic overtones, but the game emphasizes Sonic's triumph over Dr. Robotnik (as he was then known in the West). You're not supposed to dwell on the drama too much - see the light at the end of the tunnel. Everything will be okay in the end. Which is why right now, it's all about his 'tude, his snark, and his speed. And Sonic Boom has all of that. Sonic Boom in general would have been way more successful were it not weighed down with Obvious Beta games to support it. If they'd just skipped the games altogether, who knows? (I've heard Fire & Ice was okay, though.) That being said, this show was off to a rocky start. It seemed to settle into a groove as things went on, but at first things can be a little... out of left field, so to speak. For instance, Comedy Chimp. He's actually the host of a late night show. Okay, I'm fine with that. Totally fine. But his very first appearance is a total non sequitur. Did they intend for that one to air after he was shown on his talk show for the first time? As it stands, he shows up with no context, and I have no idea what the joke was even supposed to be. As with any first season, Season One of Sonic Boom is a bit klutzy at times. It is a bit scatterbrained with its focus on side characters, but fortunately Sonic and his crew remain front & center for the majority of it. Even as a part of that crew, Sticks, as I recall, doesn't get any more attention than anyone else and makes a more than welcome addition to the cast. It's refreshing to see a conspiratoid nut rather than another straight man character, especially since she's a girl who's not in love with anyone (at least that we know of yet). Anyone who loves Taxi will feel right at home with her. Iggy lives on! There is also some meta humor, as the show is very well aware that it could become another cliché save-the-world-every-week show. It doesn't take itself very seriously, and neither should anyone else.
It Takes A Village To Defeat a Hedgehog
This is a review of the best episode of the show so far. First off, this is definitely the first moment of the show I've genuinely been interested in the sitcom-esque plot. Why? 2 things: 1) Character Development for Eggman and Co. 2) Shadow. (Yes, that's right, Shadow was Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.) Effectively, the plot focuses on Eggman's attempts to initiate a Villain Team-Up, realizing that teamwork is the way Sonic is defeating him, interspersed with comedically-timed attempts by Team Sonic to build a shelf. Eventually, Shadow pops in to Eggman's meeting (Sadly, with some vocal issues, but I'm sure Kirk Thornton can fix those.) and basically gives them a Screw This, I'm Outta Here!. The Villain Team-Up goes as planned, except without Shadow, and they attack the team. What happens is pretty cool. But what I'd like to praise is the writers here. They managed to make us be Rooting for the Empire, and not just because each member of the team can occasionally be a Designated Hero. (Though not to the extent of some of the crap out there on CN.) Team Eggman is written to be hilarious and awesome at the same time, and they very much manage that without a hitch. And Shadow manages to be an Ensemble Darkhorse despite living in the shadow of his Rise of Lyric version. Overall, the best episode. I think we should get more like it.
Best Sonic cartoon to date
As the title says, Sonic Boom is the best Sonic cartoon to date. Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog was good, SatAM was ok but way too grimdark and everyone besides Sonic was pretty much useless, Sonic Underground was enjoyable but made me cringe and Sonic X was just disappointing most of the time. Sonic Boom has it's flaws sure (Like Sticks being an annoying one note raccoon and almost every minor character being an ungrateful asshole towards Sonic and his gang), but it's hilarious, makes me laugh on repeated viewings and I can't get enough of it. The CG animation is spectacular (Some of the best I've ever seen), the voice acting is some of the best Sonic franchise voice acting and the writers make use of the 11 minutes per episode that they get. I hope that the Sonic Boom cartoon continues for many years to come and hopefully the games will too after much improvement.
This isn't a Sonic cartoon, it's a sitcom with Sonic in it!
When the redesigns of the characters first came out, many complained, but I accepted them. Then the trailer came, and at first I thought it was pretty funny. Then the series came, and I saw the show for what it really is. You can honestly remove Sonic and Co and Eggman and replace them with other sitcom groups and not much would change. I don't think Eggman is even trying to take over the world in this. Many have compared this show to Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. I'm not sure that's a fair comparison. At least in AOSTH Robotnik is activelly trying to Take Over the World, even if he is being incompetent in doing so. Some episodes were actually pretty serious by the show's standards, like the Chaos Emerald Saga (which includes Robotnik almost winning, Robotnik almost erasing Sonic from history...), Mass Transit Trouble (banned on some networks due to terrorist themes), Sonic Breakout (Robotnik kidnaps a cartoonist for drawing unflattering images of him. Considering that Muslims don't look highly on those who dare to draw Muhammad in real life...) etc. Sonic Boom begins with Eggman trying to become Sonic's sidekick and goes downhill from there. ...but are the jokes funny? In my opinion, not really. While there were a couple things that I chuckled at, for the most part it wasn't funny. While AOSTH isn't immune from stupid moments, it tries a little harder. All in all, the best thing I can say about the Sonic Boom cartoon is that it's just as good as the Sonic Boom Wii U game.
Lots of Potential but Lacking Polish
Let me just start by saying that I've never really been a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog. I've never played any of the games beyond watching Let's Plays, and I've only seen a few episodes of the previous two TV shows. I would like to like Sonic, don't get me wrong, but looking at the Sonic series as a whole, it feels like his creators just don't know what to do with him. Every incarnation of Sonic over the last several years has been wildly different in tone, setting, and art style, resulting in a big, jumbled mess of uncoordinated ideas that are never given time to breathe or flesh out. It's like they just don't care. "Sonic Boom" is no different. It certainly has its moments- Orbot and Cubot are adorable, the new character designs are a nice change of pace, and the art style is clean and colorful. The plot itself, however, has a lot to be desired. There are no stakes whatsoever in this show. Dr. Eggman has no big goals or motivation for villainy beyond "destroy Sonic and his pals", and even then he's never a real threat. At least his previous incarnations had aspirations of world conquest. Eggman's less of a villain and more of an annoying neighbor or school bully with a robot army. It's like he's just playing "the villain" without any real villainy, and he's boring because of it. The other characters are no better. Their personalities can all be summed up in one word: Sonic=Asshole, Tails=Smart, Amy=Girl, Knuckles=Dumb, Sticks=Crazy. While the jokes are genuinely funny more often than not, they're delivered like they're being read off of cue cards. Facial animations are stiff and rarely ever exaggerated beyond their resting face. The opening theme is generic and forgettable. In fact, everything from the writing, the acting, and the animation all feel half-baked. Sonic doesn't even run all that fast; they just animate him running at normal speed with blurring effects. Also, Sticks' constantly-cracking voice is extremely annoying. Overall, it's a decent show with a lot going for it, but sadly lacks the compassion and energy of others shows before it. If it just had a bit more polish, it'd definitely be a welcome breath of fresh air for an otherwise mediocre franchise. I can sit through most episodes alright, but I wouldn't put it in my top ten cartoons if given the choice.
By Us, For Us
A lot of people were complaining that Sonic Boom would be bad because it wasn't made for Japanese audiences. They clearly forgot what happened the last time that happened. The fact is that Western and Eastern senses of humour are completely different, as are their senses of what's okay (which is why we saw big chunks of Sonic X episodes cut down). Eastern gags are often visual, while Western humour in kids shows involves dirty wordplay, which translates horribly between the languages. "Now's your chance to get some". Then Amy's juggling balls while auditioning as Sonic's sidekick. Those aren't jokes you'd get from a Japanese-made show. From the first episode I was pleased. The sense of humour is developed especially for us. This new, Western portrayal of Knuckles as big and dumb is deeply entertaining - and big and dumb is another Western thing. Amy has a personality that goes beyond chasing after Sonic. After all, Eastern schoolgirls with a crush go chasing after terrified guys. Western schoolgirls hide it and giggle a lot. And it really doesn't take that long to get used to the new character designs, because they picked the voices to suit them. Eggman has been stupidified back into a corny Saturday Morning villain whom we haven't seen since T Ao St H, while still having a plan every time. New character Sticks doesn't get in the way, but helps round out the group. Fortunately, the makers have understood who the heroes are, and Sonic and Tails have zero changes to their personality. Additionally, though Shadow hasn't shown up yet, by watching cutscenes from the games it looks like he has been completely rewound to his original personality of "I am a loner asshole who thinks Sonic is a douche". True, the episodes are only 10 minutes long, but since the series revolves entirely around humour it's probably better that way, hitting younger audiences with snappy humour. You know what's annoying me? Penny Arcade thought this would be crap, with a comic showing Gabe shooting a Sonic Boom Sonic in the head. They had better apologise for that.
Pretty Funny So Far. Could Use Some Work Though.
Okay. This is kinda hypocritical for me considering I don't read reviews myself, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents. After watching the third and fourth episode of the show, I'm kinda impressed so far. The show is pretty funny with some good lines at times (though some of the comedy tends to get a bit cheesy), though I do think that they could add a little more action to it. Like for example, the "fight" with Buster in episode 4 was pretty lame as Sonic and the gang were practically useless. I know this is supposed to be a comedy series, but there's nothing wrong with having some intense action from time to time. Now for the character redesigns. At first, I was a bit taken aback by them, but after a while, I started getting used to them. Particularly Sonic, Tails, and Amy as they don't look that altered. Admittedly though, it's still taking a while for me to get used to Knuckles's design as I prefer seeing him as the Pintsized Powerhouse in the mainstream games. But while I'm not up in arms about Knuckle's new design, I am a bit upset at his new personality. While it's nice to see Knuckles get in on more of the action, I do not like that they made him a meathead. You don't need to make a character a total dumbass to make him likeable. (I'm looking at you, Omniverse) And then there's the intro. While the intro as a whole is pretty cool, the same cannot be said for the music. Now Sonic is widely recognized for its badass music over the years, so I think that the intro music could have been so much more than a 17 second Instrumental Theme Tune. Instead, they should have done something like, oh I dunno, use the Sonic Boom song from Sonic CD. That would have been perfect. But it's just a minor thing and I'll probably get used to it. Finally, Sticks the Badger. While I think she's pretty funny due to her paranoia and I find her to be the source of much of the humor in the show, I kinda prefer Marine the Raccoon better. Marine was annoying, but she was cute and annoying. Sticks... is a little too crazy in the head to be cute. But, who knows? She might grow on me as the show goes on. Overall, The show's pretty cool and while it does have its faults... it's much better than Rise of Lyric.
Color me impressed...and maybe blue.
Early speculation about Sonic Boom was sketchy, full of doubt and unsettling feelings that Sega was determined to reengineer the spiky blue speedster. This was compounded by the reveal of those infamous silhouettes◊. Finally, Boom was being touted as a multimedia play by Sega, which suggested they were unfocused in their efforts and simply wanted to blast the market with as much Sonic merch as they could muster. So a few months on and we arrive at the world premiere of Sonic Boom's TV series...and what a surprise it turned out to be. The show doesn't dwell on any of the nuances of the world the characters inhabit or their rivalry with Dr. Eggman. Instead it just drops the viewer in right away and gets the action moving. The scene from the original TV series trailer is repeated in the opening moments of the first episode, with Sonic running around a canyon chasing after Dr. Eggman then running afoul of the doctor's new creation "Burn Bot". Sonic finds the name unfitting as the robot contains no incendiary features and suggests some alternate names before engaging the bad robot with the help of air support from Tails. Things go haywire as Burn Bot manages to nick Tails's wing and, unable to eject from his failing aircraft, sends the fox into a crash landing. From there the episode continues on with Sonic dismissing Tails from continuing on as his sidekick and proceeds to offer the position to anyone else who can fill the role. The whole tone of the show is not unlike the classic Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog series from The Nineties, particularly the dynamic between Sonic and Eggman (think "dysfunctional neighbors"). The snappy dialogue is show's most prominent hallmark and what won me over. It's lighthearted but also well-written and, most importantly, written in such a way that it doesn't feel like it's condescending to anyone who's watching, regardless of their age. The characters are lively and the humor hits you from unexpected angles (such as Sonic's quipping that the name "Mt. Safety" might not have been the right choice for the perilous peak). Definitely worth giving a look.