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Anime / Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie

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On a Sunday, riding my bike
I notice, I notice
Different things that look alike

"Finally! The only thing left to be done is to capture the essential life data from your counterpart, then you'll be complete, my Hyper Metal Sonic! When you awaken... kill him!"
Dr. Robotnik, Opening Monologue

An hour-long anime OVA starring everybody's favorite blue hedgehog. Produced by Studio Pierrot and Sega, it was originally released in Japan in 1996 initially as the two half-hour VHS tapes Journey to Eggmanland and Sonic vs. Metal Sonic. While one of the original previews of the OVA was featured in 1997's Sonic Jam in all regions, a proper English dub by ADV Films was released on September 7, 1999, two days before Sonic Adventure internationally hit the shelves.

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

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

Being co-produced and supervised by Sega and Sonic Team respectively, and both Yuji Naka and Naoto Oshima being production directors, this anime possibly served as the true vision of what they had intended the series to be at the time, a feat that couldn't be fully realized with the hardware limitations of the Sega Genesis. As such, it's suggested the many key elements found in later games like Sonic the Fighters, the aforementioned Sonic Adventure, and Sonic Mania were likely inspired by this anime.

This film is not to be confused with the live-action movie released in 2020, or the Sonic X anime series.

Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Metal Robotnik's glue gun, which happens to be located in is... nether regions.
  • Accidental Pervert: Sonic can apparently see through Metal Sonic's eyes due to Metal being a copy of Sonic; this explains why Sonic was blushing when Metal got a good look up Sera's skirt. Tails also grabs hold of Sera after being scared and one of his hands mistakenly grabbing onto one of her breasts. Knuckles reads him the riot act.
    Knuckles: TAILS! Get off!
    Tails: [Immediately leaps off her with an embarrassed look] I'm so sorry!
    Knuckles: I never thought you'd stoop that low!
  • Acrophobic Bird: When trying to reach the unstable power generator, Sonic is caught on a treadmill that prevents him from running closer. Tails rushes in and becomes stuck running on the same treadmill until Sonic reminds him that he can just fly over it.
    Sonic: Tails, come on, fly!
    Tails: Oh, you're right!
  • Adaptational Heroism: Downplayed with Metal Sonic. While he is still an antagonist for most of the film, he does end up making a Heel–Face Turn and sacrifices himself to save the President and Old Man Owl in the end, something that Metal Sonic would never do in the games.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Sonic is more easily annoyed and angered than his portrayal in the games.
  • Adaptational Job Change: In the games and most media, Knuckles is portrayed as the guardian of the Master Emerald on Angel Island. In the OVA however, Knuckles is portrayed as an wandering treasure hunter with no mention of his guardian role.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In contrast to his usual depiction in the games and comics, Knuckles is far more friendly towards Sonic and isn't nearly as ill-tempered or hostile.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Sonic and Knuckles are portrayed as being far less vitriolic to each other compared to their relationship in the games and other media and there's no mention of them being rivals.
  • Adam and Eve Plot: The end point of Robotnik's scheme: himself and Sera married, and the only remaining inhabitants of Planet Freedom.
  • Affably Evil: Robotnik. When he isn't acting up the part of hostage-taker for Sonic, he gets along pretty well with Sera and the President. One of his robot minions can be seen cleaning up the President's office.
  • After the End: It appears this is where Sonic and everyone lives, as seen in the desolate city (among other things) that Sonic and Robotnik fight it and the fact that there's not a lot of other people/creatures/characters aside from the ones we see.
  • Alternate Continuity: On this planet, watching this movie, you'll notice, you'll notice, many things that look alike:
    • The OVA has its tone, music and art style rooted directly in the original Genesis titles (Sonic CD and Sonic 3 in particular), but the explanation for the urban environments found in those games (post-apocalyptic Earth populated with anthropomorphic mutants who live in a sky kingdom ruled by... cat people, we guess) is completely different from anything else found in the series — the post-apocalyptic angle would also be used by Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), but the World in the Sky aspect is unique. Some exclusive characters pop up here and there, and there is no mention of the Chaos Emeralds anywhere. In addition, Knuckles is also depicted as a treasure hunter who lives for the thrill of his job, rather the guardian of the Master Emerald.
    • Later games such as Sonic Unleashed did away with all ambiguity by calling it "Earth" and showing Sonic traveling from city to city, Kino-style, and interacting with humans. Would that the OVA thought up such a mundane solution!
  • Alien Sky: A planet with Saturn-like rings is visible in the sky. In addition, the sky in the Land of Darkness is always partly occluded by the Floating Continents overhead, and the actual sky is only visible through the occasional gap or hole.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The covers for both volumes of the OVA in Japan are bright and colorful, much like the Japanese covers of the games. Conversely, the western VHS cover, as seen at the top of the page, features Sonic against a dark black-and-blue background with an angry Tails and Knuckles badly edited behind him. The western DVD cover averts this, however, with a simple image of Sonic against a brighter blue background.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Robotnik wants to destroy Land of the Sky so he and Sara will be the only survivors, leaving her no choice but to marry him. Sara doesn't take this revelation well.
  • And That's Terrible: Tails says it almost verbatim when Sonic runs to Metal for the first time: "This is terrible!"
  • Animation Bump: The fight scenes. The rest is more limited, despite the designs being (somewhat) similar to those from Sonic CD
  • Apocalypse How: Robotnik's plans to sunder the link keeping the Land of the Sky attached to the Land of Darkness, which will result in the destruction of all sapient life on the planet bar himself and Sara, is an Invoked case of Class 4.
  • As You Know: Lampshaded. Robotnik starts his evil spiel by outlining how, "as you both well know", the world is divided between an outer layer of Floating Continents and a gloom-shrouded surface. This is useful info for the audience, who needs to be introduced to the setting, but rather less so for the characters, who know all this perfectly well, as an annoyed Sonic points out.
    Robotnik: As you both well know, Planet Freedom is made up of two separate dimensions. The outer world, the one you live in, is known as the Land of the Sky!
    Sonic: Tell us something we don't know!
    Robotnik: SHUT UP! HEED ME!
  • Axis Mundi: The Land of the Sky is connected to the Land of Darkness and kept secured to the rest of the world by a giant glacier at the northern pole. The second half of the movie's plot centers around Hyper Metal Sonic trying to destroy those points and cause the Land of the Sky to be hurled off into space.
  • Badass Bookworm: Dr. Robotnik, the creator of Hyper Metal Sonic! Also Tails, keeping his Gadgeteer Genius persona from the games.
  • Baby Talk: Tails, especially in the first half, sounds like he has this in the dub. Or really like he has a very stuffed up nose. Despite his ability to create a jet-propelled bodyboard, fly the Tornado, and modify Eggman's navigator into a signal jammer.
  • Bash Brothers: Taking the characters directly from Sonic 2 and 3 gives us Sonic and Tails, moreso than any other adaptation and even many of the games — a good amount of the movie is huge action scenes where Sonic and Tails engage in coordinated asskicking so effective only the most powerful enemies stand a chance.
  • Batman Gambit: Robotnik lures Sonic to Robotropolis by claiming a villain named Metal Robotnik had taken over, and that Robotropolis' generator was set to overload. In reality, it was a ruse to lure Sonic there to copy his data and activate Metal Sonic.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Knuckles shows up to keep Metal Robotnik from blasting Sonic.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The world is saved, but Metal Sonic (who had then formed a mental bond with Sonic) deliberately allows himself to perish in a glacial volcano. Why? Because "There is only one Sonic."
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Robotnik is clearly one of those grandiose super villains who doesn't want to simply kill his foe, but first defeat him in something resembling a fair fight. Hence the scene where Robotnik, taking advantage of Sonic's and Tails' distraction, whips out a handgun and shoots Tails' wrist-radar: even though Tails' head must have been an equally clear shot.
  • Brick Joke: Robotnik launches two bombs at Tails' plane, one modeled after a tortoise, the other a hare. The hare bomb blows up the plane instantly while the tortoise one crawls away from his hovercraft. Much later, the tortoise bomb crawls towards Robotnik and explodes.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Sonic, particularly in the opening scene, where he doesn't move a finger to help Old Man Owl until it becomes clear that Old Man and Tails are in grave danger.
  • The Cameo: A lone Crabmeat, a swarm of Buzzbombers, A Caterkiller-colored Crawlton, and a recolored Snail Blaster all make appearances throughout the movie.
  • Canon Foreigner: Old Man Owl, the President, and Sera aren't from the games, and were invented for the OVA.
  • Cat Girl: Sera has cat ears and a tail but is otherwise human.
  • Catch a Falling Star: Sera falls out of Robotnik's aircraft, and Knuckles catches her in mid-air.
  • Catch and Return: Sonic rides a missile right back into the robot that shot it.
  • Cement Shoes: Sonic's two weaknesses are combined as he gets glued to the ground in a fissure that is filled by the rain. He's saved by Knuckles and Tails.
  • Chair Reveal: Sonic and Tails show up for their appointment at the Presidential manor, but are instead greeted by a reclining Robotnik and his huge Dr. Claw chair.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: With the day saved, Sonic runs for the horizon. Tails and Knuckles follow, then everyone else piles into Robotnik's Eggmobile and flies after. Sonic realizes that everyone is following him, and he puts on a burst of speed before the credits roll.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Robotnik's extremely-slow-moving turtle missile. It pops up later just in time to destroy the CD Robotnik has with Sonic's DNA data that he could use to make another Metal Sonic.
  • Compilation Movie: The western release of the OVA consists of both episodes of the OVA played as an hour-long movie.
  • Composite Character: The OVA made Knuckles a treasure hunter just like Fang the Sniper, and gave him a hat similar to his.
  • Copied the Morals, Too: Ultimately Metal Sonic's downfall. He was made using an exact copy of Sonic's DNA. While he follows Robotnik's orders, he also shows signs of Sonic's old personality. Most notably, he gives Old Man Owl Sonic's old clothes when he thinks he had killed the original and rescues Old Man Owl and the president at the cost of his own life. Really, him fighting Sonic ultimately boiled down to wanting to prove himself superior to the original.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Sonic is almost effortlessly beaten by Metal Sonic in their first fight, and only survives because Metal Sonic loses track of him. Interstingly, their final fight was also turning into a curb stomp battle before Tails interferred, as Sonic didn't have the stamina to keep up with Metal Sonic for more than a couple of minutes. If Tails hadn't stepped in and corrupted Metal Sonic's programming, Sonic would have been killed.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: The second battle between Metal Sonic and Sonic. Metal Sonic still has a very clear edge and is the one in control for a majority of the fight, but being better prepared this time, Sonic is able to put up a much better fight than in their first battle.
  • Damsel in Distress: Sera... sort of. She plays the role of hostage when Sonic's around, but she treats Robotnik like a friend the rest of the time. She also gives the doctor a very hard time in spite of her and her father's predicament.
    (Sera and Robotnik are playing a fighting video game. Sera loses.)
    Sera (hysterical): No no no no no it's not fair you always beat me every time! (abruptly regains her composure) Alright, one more!
    Robotnik: Just give up! We've played a hundred times!
    Sera (devious): I'll stop being your hostage.
    Robotnik: Alright, start it again...
  • Darker and Edgier: In terms of the classic series, this like both Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) and Sonic 3 & Knuckles was the beginning of the series pushing the bar on how dark and serious it could get, especially compared to most of the other continuities at the time. Some of the fight scenes are brutal, Sonic is nearly killed several times, and Robotnik now wants to destroy the planet instead of simply conquering it.
  • Death Course: The path to Robotropolis is filled with traps and hostile robots, although Sonic and Tails make short work of it.
    Sonic: I bet Robotnik purposefully picked the route with the most traps for us!
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: Invoked; Robotnik explains that Metal Robotnik "appeared out of nowhere!" before kicking him out of his home. It's signposted very early on that Metal Robotnik is under the Doc's power, but it's remarkable that he couldn't think up a more plausible threat.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Metal Robotnik is defeated by Sonic about a fourth of the way through the film. Also justified, as the whole thing was a ruse set up by Robotnik so he could lure Sonic into a trap and finish creating Metal Sonic.
  • The Ditz: Old Man Owl didn't even realize his rocket was on fire!
  • Doom Magnet: South Island, apparently. There is a positive library of crashed and derelict vehicles piled up on the island, including a plane, a train, and the USS Enterprise.
  • The Dragon: Metal Sonic is the primary enforce for Robotnik once Metal Robotnik is vanquished.
  • Dramatic Irony: Downplayed; attentive viewers will know Eggman is actually piloting Metal Robotnik when Sonic and Tails don't. The pod that comes to collect Robotnik and Princess Sarah shows is actually Metal Robotnik's torso, but the OVA puts in a token effort to keep from making it too obvious by having it crash through the ceiling so that only Metal Robotnik's jaw is exposed.
  • Dub Name Change: The official English dub renames Dr. Eggman to Dr. Robotnik for one of the last few times, as it was released in 1999. To go along with it, Eggmanland was renamed Robotropolis (as a Shout-Out to one of the Saturday morning cartoons), and Black Eggman was renamed Metal Robotnik. In addition, official marketing spells Sera's name as Sara, though in practice they're both pronounced the same; her and Eggman's names are still displayed clearly in the fighting game gag, as well. The official subtitles included in the DVD release go with the Japanese terminology and retranslate the script more accurately to boot.
  • Dub Species Change: The English dub refers to Knuckles as a mole rather than an echidna. Granted, this could just be Sera (the only person who calls him "Mr. Mole") mixing up his species.
  • Early Adaptation Weirdness: Since the movie was released only five years into the franchise's life, there are some moments that would nowadays be considered majorly out of character, such as Sonic's irritable demeanor with Tails (most notably ignoring his scared cries and yelling at him to shut up), and Knuckles describing himself as "Sonic's best friend". Setting aside the fact that Tails is meant to be Sonic's best friend, while Knuckles clearly respects Sonic, and they get along (most of the time), he's much too gruff to say something like that. Sonic is also depicted as somewhat quick-tempered, contrasting his cool and laidback portrayal from later games, who is described as being "always cool under pressure" by official bios. The setting itself is also unusual, with society living on floating islands while the ground level of the planet is a desolate wasteland.
  • Effective Knockoff: Compared to his usual portrayals, Metal Sonic is almost frighteningly efficient at taking down Sonic. The first battle between the two is a complete Curbstomp Battle in Metal Sonic's favor, and the second confrontation was starting to go south for Sonic again shortly after it started. The only reason the trio manages to squeak by is that Tails was able to hack into Metal Sonic's programming and Metal Sonic also copied Sonic's morals.
  • Egopolis: Robotropolis, a.k.a. Eggmanland. At night, the city's lights form a picture of Robotnik's face.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Two different schemes are mentioned. Metal Robotnik's exploding generator turns out to be fake, but Hyper Metal Sonic's attempt to shatter the continents is very real.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: When Robotnik's CD containing Sonic's DNA data is destroyed, the entire cast gets a chuckle out of it.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The President is never given a full name.
  • Evil Knockoff: Metal Sonic, natch, serves as a near-exact duplicate for the blue hedgehog.
  • Expy: Sera is pretty much a humanoid Amy Rose. The presumed reason for Amy's absence is that her being the president's daughter as well as Robotnik’s 'interest' would not have worked well for several reasons.
  • Eyelid Pull Taunt: Tails does this towards Metal Robotnik.
  • Eye Lights Out: Metal Sonic's eyes slowly fade out right as he is completely consumed by rising magma, confirming him to be truly dead. Before that, as he tries to crawl up to Sonic, they're seen flickering repeatedly.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Metal Sonic, oddly enough, gracefully sacrifices himself to save Old Man Owl and the president, rejecting Sonic's offer to help with "there can only be one Sonic".
  • Face Fault: Sonic and Tails do this simultaneously when Old Man Owl starts to convey his message before stopping abruptly, having a minor fit... and starting all over again.
  • False Flag Operation: Robotnik’s entire scheme is a ridiculously transparent ruse that one of his robots has gone amock and has taken over his empire, asking for the aid of Sonic and Tails to help defeat it, but in reality its just a trap so he can lure Sonic to his base so he can scan and transfer his life data into Hyper Metal Sonic.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: After being dismembered over the course of his fight with Sonic and even moreso after the President's rocket explodes, Metal Sonic basically commits suicide by letting himself sink into lava.
  • Fastball Special: Used twice in a row to defeat Metal Robotnik.
  • Finger Wag: Sonic to Metal Robotnik. Often mistaken by fans for another gesture entirely, to the point where they firmly believe it is the case in some edits of the film.
  • Fear of Thunder: Tails reveals his astraphobia in a very brief moment. "I'm afraid of lightning!"
  • Flash Step: Sonic, Tails, and Metal all do this during fight scenes, demonstrating their agility.
  • Flipping the Bird: Sonic gives a downplayed or implied version to Metal Robotnik, as it looks more like he used his index finger than his middle.
  • Floating Continent: The skies of Planet Freedom are filled with dense clusters of floating islands, most of them large enough to hold good-sized mountains, lakes or cities on their surfaces. This layer, referred to as "the Land of the Sky", is home to most of the planet's inhabitants, who mostly get around with flying machines. Between the plethora of floating landmasses and the cloud cover, the surface of Planet Freedom is largely shrouded in darkness; hence why it's called "the Land of Darkness".
  • The Fool: Old Man Owl spends his life in a perpetual daze and is very absent-minded.
  • Foreshadowing: Knuckles tells the President if the tip of the ice caps' glaciers were punctured by an explosion, the magma would melt the ice. This foreshadows Metal Sonic's attack on the ice caps.
  • Forgiving the Accidental Pervert: Tails clings to Sera and accidentally grabs one of her breasts. Knuckles yells at him, but Sera doesn't get mad at him, unlike all the other times she thought people were trying to creep on her (presumably, she knows it was an accident and that Tails is much more innocent).
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Tails. He builds a hover-surfboard in his spare time, disassembles one of Robotnik's radars, and later reassembles it as a device that can track Metal Sonic: and wirelessly interfere with Metal's programming. This movie appears to be where Tails' mechanical tendencies come from, in fact.
  • Gag Dub:
    • Reputable Dubbing's Sonic the Other Movie is a comedic rewrite of the movie, made by Sonic Paradox's Smegerama. Though most of it is the same story, the dialogue and various visual gags change it into a mostly comedic experience.
    • Fireball 20XL's Sonic Bastardized is a redubbed adaptation in which Robotnik Eggman wants Sonic to go shut off a bomb he planted in Blizzard Entertainment's mainframe (in retribution for his World of Warcraft losses), and Metal Sonic is a robot named Hyper Metal Jason (after Jason Griffith) that Eggman intends to use to replace Sonic's voice.
      Sonic: Pansy-ass blood elf!
      Robotnik: SHADDAP! Blood elves are cool!
    • Then comes The Rollan Nolan's Sonic the Abridgehog.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Sonic attempts to knock some sense into Old Man Owl by making a Crabmeat pinch him, with limited success.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: While Sonic and Tails journey to Robotropolis, Dr. Robotnik is seen playing video games with the president and his daughter in one scene.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Robotnik programmed Sonic's DNA and life data into Metal Sonic to make him as formidable a fighter as the real Sonic. This also leads Metal to manifest some traits of Sonic's personality, leading to him pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save Old Man Owl and the President.
  • Gratuitous English: The ending song, "Look-a-like", is sung (and spoken for a bit) entirely in English by a Japanese singer, Riyu Konaka. For the most part, the grammar and pronunciation are pretty solid, note  but the actual meaning of the lyrics is a bit obtuse.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Sera can't seem to decide whose side she's on.
  • Here We Go Again!: Subverted. Robotnik reveals after the final battle that he still has the data of Sonic's DNA via a CD, which he'll use to make another Metal Sonic to combat Sonic again, without the hedgehog's original personality getting in the way...only for the missile turtle Robotnik fired away earlier to arrive on time and destroy the CD by accident.
  • Hive City: Robotropolis is a squat, conical mass of industrial buildings, metal frameworks and machinery towering high above the skyscrapers of the modern city whose ruins it's built among. Passage through is done through tunnel-like passages rather than through streets.
  • Humongous Mecha: Metal Robotnik is actually a giant robot piloted by Robotnik himself.
  • Human Snowball: Happens to Tails after Robotnik blows up his plane in the mountains.
  • In a Single Bound: Sonic and Metal Sonic in particular are seen pulling off several massive jumps over the course of the film, often when traveling at speed or fighting. It's most notably seen in their second fight scene, where the two are moving so quickly that they're only visible as streaks of coloured light.
  • Infodump: Robotnik’s speech to Sonic at the White House basically serves as a lengthy introduction to the setting before getting into the meat of the plot.
  • Internal Deconstruction: Of the franchise's famous Evil Knock Off, Metal Sonic. The OVA dives into several aspects of him that are normally glossed over. Sonic has to fight an Elite Mook robot just as fast as him, but has the added benefit of never tiring as he does? He gets his ass handed to him, both times he tries to fight him, pure and simple. Metal Sonic being an exact robotic clone of Sonic? Also means he has aspects of Sonic's personality, too, which interferes with Robotnik's plans. The most effective way of beating him? No, it's not Heroic Willpower; it's messing with his programming!
  • Knight of Cerebus: Metal Sonic. Before him most of the film played most everything humorously, Robotnik barely even qualify for much a threat due to the Go-Karting with Bowser above. Then Metal Sonic shows up and BOOM, we have a villain that's actually dangerous, nearly succeeds at killing Sonic, and for the most part, nothing about him is played humorously.
  • Layered World: Planet Freedom consists of two concentric layers. The Land of the Sky is a shell of lush Floating Continents where most of the planet's natives live. Beneath it is the surface of the planet proper, which is permanently shrouded in gloom by the floating islands above it and is thus called the Land of Darkness.
  • Left for Dead: Subverted! Metal Robotnik shoots the bridge from underneath Sonic and Tails; they grab bridge girders just out of sight and make gurgling sounds to convince Metal Robotnik that they're drowning. Just when they think he's left..."I see you! You didn't think I'd fall for a stupid trick like that, did you?"
  • Last-Second Chance: Hyper Metal Sonic rescues the President and Old Man Owl from an exploding rocket towards the end of the film, but having been dismembered in his fight with Sonic and then by the resulting explosion, he falls into the magma pit below and is melted on-screen, refusing to be rescued by Sonic on the grounds that "there is only one Sonic".
  • Makes Us Even: At the end, Knuckles socks Sonic on the head as payback for Sonic jumping on his head in an earlier fight sequence, and says that this makes them even.
    Sonic: Thanks a lot, pal! I owe you one!
    Knuckles: I think we're even.
  • Mood Whiplash: The scene where Metal Sonic dies is really stuck in utter contrast to the previous scene, which was a comedic albeit intense action-packed battle. Heck, it sticks out in utter contrast with the rest of the film's tone and mood in general.
  • Motivational Kiss: Sera gives one to Knuckles.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Throughout the Land of Darkness, Sonic and Tails are shown avoiding various spikes on the ground, followed by Sonic jumping onto a spring, in a condensed version of the series' usual level design.
    • Tails has a severe case of astraphobia in the movie. This is a reference to his astraphobia mentioned in his character bio in Sonic Jam. Interestingly, Sonic Jam came out after the OVA, so it may be that the concept was retroactively made canon.
    • The robots used to hold the President and Sera hostage are cartoonishly lopsided SWATbots with EggRobo physiques and extra Spikes of Villainy.
    • When Metal Robotnik grabs Knuckles, Sonic transforms into a buzzsaw to slice through Metal Robotnik's hand so he can rescue Knuckles.
  • Neck Lift: Metal Sonic does this to Sonic whilst simultaneously throttling him.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Metal Sonic. When he's first introduced, he nearly beats Sonic to an inch of his life. Even during the rematch, he has Sonic on the ropes for pretty much the entire fight.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Sera. Unlike the other characters in the film (who blend in well with the stylistic and simpler animation), she's drawn much more realistically and would not feel out of place if she were in a Magical Girl anime.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted, as Dr. Robotnik actually did have the foresight to make a backup copy of the data he copied from Sonic. Unfortunately for Robotnik, the disc containing the backup copy ended up being destroyed by a defective Badnik. Though it's never explicitly stated whether or not this was his only backup copy.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Tails states that because Robotnik uploaded Sonic's bio-data into Metal Sonic, Metal is capable of having the same interests and personality as the real Sonic. While there are a few signs of this even when fighting each other, the biggest one was during his Heroic Sacrifice to save Sara's father and Old Man Owl. Sonic lampshades this during his rematch against Metal:
    Sonic: You might know everything I'm going to do. But that's not going to help you, since I know everything you're going to do! STRANGE, ISN'T IT?!
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Robotnik is set up as a bumbling, buffoonish idiot who is actually being bullied by his supposed "hostage" in several scenes. Then comes the last third of the film, where it reveals Metal Sonic is the key to his latest plan, which itself consists of the complete genocide of all sapient life on the planet.
  • Ocular Gushers: Sara's fountain of tears after Knuckles claimed that both she and Robotnik were both controlling Metal Robotnik.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Tails when he and Old Man Owl are about to crash into a cliff face on the island.
    • Robotnik when Sara falls from his ship.
    • Tails when Robotnik's missile is about to make contact with the Tornado.
    • The President panics when his crashed plane catches on fire. Seconds later, Sara has one when the plane finally explodes.
    • Robotnik when his CD containing Sonic's DNA data is destroyed by his tortoise robot.
  • Only One Name: Sera.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Dub Sonic will sometimes switch back and forth from sounding like a southern teenager to a British Bifauxnen when the voice acting gets particularly energetic. Odd considering he was voiced by a Texan man, Martin Burke.
    • Robotnik will also occasionally slip into an indeterminate European accent, noticeably when he shouts "FINE! DON'T BLAME ME WHEN THIS HAPPENS!" and when he gives Tails a navigator watch.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: He's both President Target and President Buffoon. Despite trying to get into the action towards the end, he only makes things worse when his rocket crashes into the glacier.
  • Personality Chip: Thanks to the wristwatch Tails received from Robotnik that he managed to dismantle, he is able to wirelessly mess with Metal's personality programming, and this gives Sonic a crucial advantage in the fight.
  • Pet the Dog: After winning his first fight against Sonic, Metal Sonic tracks down Old Man Owl him Sonic's favorite clothes.
  • Pilot: The film was originally released as two separate half-hour pilots in Japan, but due to Sonic's lack of popularity there the potential anime series never got off the ground. When it was dubbed, the two specials were merged together and released in the US as what we call Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: In the climax, Sera wears a white dress trimmed with feathers.
  • Poke the Poodle: Among Metal Sonic's acts of evil he randomly decides to steal Sonic's favorite clothes and give them to Old Man Owl.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: In S3&K, Knuckles could glide through the air. Here, it gets upgraded to the ability to jump ridiculously high, hover in midair, and possibly fly outright. Like Tails' propensity for mechanical shenanigans, this movie seems to be the start of a trend of non-game media to upgrade Knuckles' gliding to full-fledged flight.
  • Properly Paranoid: When Robotnik tells everyone what is happening in the Land of Darkness that requires Sonic's help, Sonic shrugs it off, believing he knows Robotnik is lying. Everyone tries to encourage him that it might not be the case. However, the generator melting down was eventually proven a hoax.
    Sonic: ​Someone tell me why I should trust Robotnik when, 99 out of 100 times, he's lying?
    Tails: But what if this is that one other time?
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: As Metal Sonic dies, he says, "THERE. IS. ONLY. ONE. SONIC-NIC-NIC-NIC-NIC."
  • Psychic Link: After learning that Sonic and Metal Sonic aren't that different, Tails modifies Robotnik's navigator watch as a remote to invoke this. When Metal gains the upper hand, he used the watch to paralyze the robot long enough for Sonic to attack. Robotnik later destroys the watch.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Sonic's "favorite clothes" include a pink shirt.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sonic is the Red Oni to Tails and Knuckles' Blue Oni's.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Metal Sonic saves the President and Old Man Owl from an exploding hovercraft, only to be smashed into a lava pool he had opened up a few minutes ago.
  • Ret-Canon: A few elements from this incarnation were carried over into the games:
    • The idea of Knuckles being a treasure hunter, which is first seen in Sonic Adventure and more thoroughly explored in Sonic Adventure 2.
    • The depiction of Station Square as a flooded city in ruins at the end of Sonic Adventure was likely inspired by the ancient ruins in the OVA, even using much of the same imagery.
    • Several of Tails' game bios mention that he's afraid of lightning. The earliest known mention of this trait in the context of the games was Sonic Jam, which came out a year after this OVA, so it's likely another example of the trope.
    • Metal Sonic Power Copying from scans of the other characters would return in later games.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Sonic accuses Robotnik of kidnapping the President's daughter to force them to comply with his demands, the latter faux-innocently asks if Sonic thinks he's capable of something that underhanded. Sonic, Tails, and Robotnik's own robots immediately answer with a resounding "Yes!"
  • Riding the Bomb: Sonic, on one of Metal Robotnik's missiles.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age:
    • The island where Sonic and Tails live is covered in a pile of wrecked, rusted and vegetation-covered machines such as a passenger airplane, a train, and communications towers.
    • The "ancient relics" on the outskirts of Robotropolis are recognizably those of modern architecture, covered in vines and with derelict cars lining the streets. When Sonic and Tails climb a skyscraper, the skyline is recognizably that of Manhattan, complete with the Empire State Building and one of the Twin Towers.
  • Save the Villain: At the ending, Sonic makes an effort to save Metal Sonic as he's being consumed by magma, but Metal refuses his help.
  • Scenery Porn: The movie includes a lot of scenic shots showing off the Land of the Sky's drifting, forest-covered floating islands, the dark and foreboding mountains and wastes of the Land of Darkness, the huge ringed planet glowing in the sky, and the elaborate ice formations of the frozen north.
  • Shattered World: Planet Freedom is split into an "outer dimension", the peaceful Land of the Sky, and an "inner dimension", the ruined Land of Darkness.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Robotnik builds missiles designed after a tortoise and a hare. The hare reaches its target and explodes right away. The tortoise... takes a bit longer.
    • One of the derelict aircraft on Sonic's island looks suspiciously like the USS Enterprise.
    • Sera's wedding dress is reminiscent of Neo-Queen Serenity's outfit.
    • During the view of the city of the Land of the Sky, there's a building with a design that looks suspiciously similar to the classic Rareware logo.
    • The game that both Robotnik and Sara are seen playing is reminiscent of Sega's 1992 arcade game, Holosseum. The difference is that the game is being played on a Sega Saturn-esque console and has a monochrome color similar to that of the Game Boy.
  • Shows Damage: Metal Sonic, over the course of the movie, becomes increasingly damaged by various things; starting with part of the shell on his head being broken away, and by the time of his death from melting in magma, ends up with his entire lower half torn off, his head completely broken open, and him visibly shorting out and smoking; his eyes flickering as he slowly drags himself over to Sonic.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Robotnik gets a whack from an annoyed Sara when he gloats about how Sonic will face an even greater threat than his just-defeated Metal Robotnik.
  • Silent Antagonist: Metal never talks until the end, when he sinks into lava.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: The OVA is a Type 2 (Recognizable Adaptation).
  • Spell My Name with an S: Her name is Sera in the original Japanese, and Sara in the English dub. "Sarah" is right out.
  • Spoiler Opening: The very first scene is Dr. Robotnik talking about acquiring Sonic's life data for Metal.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: Knuckles' explanation of how exactly Metal Sonic is capable of destroying the planet.
  • Take My Hand!: Sonic tries to grab Metal and save him when the latter is about to sink into lava. Metal declines, saying that "There is only one Sonic..." and is then submerged and slowly melted.
  • There Can Be Only One: This, rather than Robotnik's order, is Metal Sonic's real motivation for trying to kill Sonic. And ultimately, it also his reason for declining his Last-Second Chance after losing to Sonic.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Sonic insists that he has to defeat Metal alone. Initially.
  • Translation Train Wreck: One DVD version of the movie has subtitles that, for example, call Knuckles "Knucklus," Eggman "Machine King," and Tails "Dillus". The character section of the DVD also misidentifies Knuckles as a mole.note 
  • Truer to the Text: Compared to the other animated versions of Sonic in the 90s, this was the most accurate interpretation of the canon characters at the time, in addition to having more faithful character designs and featuring more game elements.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Sera is the hot daughter of the weighty president of South Island.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Sonic will never again be a pain in my egg!"
  • Victory by Endurance: Sonic and Metal Sonic are evenly matched throughout their final fight due to their Psychic Link, but Sonic eventually starts wearing down, allowing Metal to get the upper hand and nearly kill him.
  • Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia: Robotnik and his robot minions live in an industrial sprawl surrounded by overgrown ruins in the gloomy depths of the Land of Darkness. The heroes instead live in the lush, tropical islands floating in the sky high above them.
  • Wall Jump: Sonic demonstrates the ability to bounce from walls in the same way as the opening of Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Unique?: The reason Metal Sonic allows himself to fall into the lava near the end.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: You could point out that this was before the characters actually had voices in the games. Even so Sonic's voice in the English dub, provided by Martin Burke, has a very bizarre, indeterminate accent. It sounds like a cross between a vague southern accent and a British falsetto, with the latter being obvious in the more frenetic scenes. Alternatively, it can be described as a Texan trying to put on a surfer dude accent, which is a bit closer to the reality.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: The lyrics to "Look-a-like," the ending tune of the film. While look-alikes are a theme in this movie, the rest of the lyrics are a bit... stream of consciousness. They start to make more sense when you connect the theme, things that are related but not identical (ice and water, steak and cow, autumn this year and last year).


Video Example(s):


A "rowboat"?

When Metal Sonic appears, Tails says "It's a robot that looks exactly like Sonic!", but because of Tails's weird voice, Ian mishears it as "rowboat".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / MondegreenGag

Media sources: