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"If the world chooses to become my enemy, I will fight like I always have."

Voiced by: Koji Yusa (Japanese), David Humphrey (English, 2001-2004), Jason Griffith (English, 2005-2010), Kirk Thornton (English, 2010-present)
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An artificially created hedgehog made by the late professor Gerald Robotnik. 50 years before the start of the series, Gerald made a deal with an alien named Black Doom that he'd create the ultimate weapon for Doom in exchange for his immortal blood to cure his ailing granddaughter, Maria. G.U.N. caught wind of Project Shadow and had the entire project shut down - but not before the project in question could come to fruition. They stormed the ARK and Shadow was sealed away until Dr. Eggman released him during the events of Sonic Adventure 2. Over the course of the game, Shadow reveals he was carrying out Gerald's will and worked to destroy the planet as revenge for Maria's death. However, Amy manages to convince Shadow to help, and he remembers Maria's wish to protect humanity. He and Sonic team up to destroy his own prototype, and he apparently dies in the effort.

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Later it is revealed that you can't assume you killed the Ultimate Lifeform just because you saw him burning up through the atmosphere, and he returns with a case of amnesia and a distinct uncertainty as to whether he's a robot or a clone, eventually going on to confront his genetic donor Black Doom and save the planet.

Shadow is a very straightforward individual; he's aloof, taciturn, and ambitious. Because of his attitude, he is extremely hard to get along with and has a very independent nature, preferring to work on his own more often than not. While he's often ruthless and extremely pragmatic, he can show both empathy and compassion when the situation calls for it. He prefers a straightforwards, rather blunt approach to problems, and tends to handle situations in a fist-to-face, foot-to-groin, head-to-knee kind of way, regardless if those are his orders or not.

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     A-E 
  • The Ace: One of the prominently best examples in the series. Even outstripping Sonic in fighting versatility.
  • Above Good and Evil: When it comes to his goals, he will achieve them at all costs.
  • The Ageless: Most likely due to the genetic material contributed to Project Shadow by his biological "father," Black Doom. The reason behind this was that Shadow's creator, Professor Gerald Robotnik, wanted to study immortality and use the fruits of his research to find a cure for his granddaughter (and Shadow's surrogate sister) Maria, as she was terminally ill and suffering from a fatal disease known as Neuro-Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The only thing that shows ages are his shoes, with the soles' paint flaking off in most 3D artworks of Shadow.
  • Alleged Lookalikes: It's often stated he looks like Sonic, but he really doesn't,note  at least not any more than any other hedgehog in the series (Amy or Silver) does.
  • Aloof Ally: He helps his teammates and even assists Sonic and his friends on occasion, but that doesn't exactly make him a big fan of team spirit.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • The main reason why Sonic considers him his rival. He was this to Sonic from his first appearance, seen getting the upper hand on Sonic the first time they fought. However, it is taken even further in Shadow the Hedgehog, where Shadow beats Sonic without much effort (though the endings where he fights Sonic are non-canon). In more recent games, though, it's Sonic who tends to win. It generally comes down to who the player is controlling at the time.
    • He's this to Infinite as well. As "Episode Shadow" of Sonic Forces showed, Infinite considered himself the "ultimate mercenary," until Shadow whipped Infinite's butt with hardly any effort, even making Infinite shake in fear of Shadow. Not only did this fuel Infinite's Inferiority Superiority Complex, but he vowed he'd never lose again, especially not to Shadow.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: You won’t earn his respect an opponent unless you can match in combat. He only started to take Sonic seriously when he used the fake chaos emerald to survive falling from space.
  • Amnesiac Hero: His fall to Earth at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 caused him to lose his memory for a time.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: A rival variant, although he's a frenemy to Sonic and not an antagonist.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, as he watches the escape capsule Sonic was trapped in explode, he commented about how he isn't a "fake" hedgehog after all in a slightly disappointed tone.
    Shadow: I guess he was just a regular hedgehog after all.
  • Anti-Antichrist:
  • Anti-Hero: The most prolific example in the series. He is also known for achieving his goals by all means necessary, even it means playing the villain's game on occasions. But he does have moments of heroism, like sacrificing himself to save the world and helping Silver realize that Mephiles has used him as a pawn.
  • The Anti-Nihilist/Screw Destiny: His response to Mephiles's Hannibal Lecture; the day may come when humans turn on him out of fear, but that's not going to stop him from continuing to do what he believes is right.
    Shadow: If the world chooses to become my enemy, I will fight like I always have.
  • Anti-Villain: Shadow was driven by the loss of his surrogate sister in his debut appearance.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Black Doom in Shadow the Hedgehog, Mephiles the Dark in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), and temporarily Infinite in Sonic Forces, although Infinite eventually turned his attention to Sonic and the Avatar.
  • Artificial Hedgehog: Created by Dr. Gerald Robotnik on the Space Colony ARK from the cells of Black Doom.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Was the badass to Maria's child, before she died.
  • Badass Armfold: His usual pose.
  • Badass Baritone: With the exception of David Humphrey and Kirk Thornton, Shadow's voice tends to be very low and booming.
  • Badass Biker: In Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, he can use the Dark Rider motorcycle.
  • Badass Boast: He's very fond of these, to the point of being this Trope itself for the Sonic series:
    • From Sonic Adventure 2:
      "My name is Shadow. I'm the world's Ultimate Life Form. There's no time for games, farewell!"
      "Behold the true power I possess!"
      "Before this is over, I'll show you the true power of Chaos Control!"
    • From Shadow the Hedgehog:
      "Behold, the ultimate power!"
      "Death to all who oppose me!"
      "I am Shadow the Hedgehog. I and only I, know what is best! No one can tell me what to do. This is who I am!"
      "I am Shadow the Hedgehog. And now... I am the most powerful hedgehog in the world! The power of these Emeralds make me invincible I am the ultimate hedgehog! THIS IS WHO I AM!"
      "I am Shadow the Hedgehog. I've left the past behind me. No one can tell me what to do now! I will destroy you, Black Doom!"
    • From Sonic the Hedgehog (2006):
      "If the world chooses to become my enemy, I will fight like I always have."
  • Badass Driver: The trailers for Shadow the Hedgehog emphasized him driving his motorcycle, sometimes to the exclusion of any of his other abilities.
  • Bash Brothers: Often with Sonic, when the two put aside their differences. Sonic has at least come to respect Shadow's capabilities, even if he still mocks Shadow's attitude.
  • Berserk Button: There are a few things that set him off.
    • Getting in the way of his goals.
    • Hurting his friends, namely Rouge, Omega, or Maria.
  • Big Bad: He's this in his debut in Sonic Adventure 2. His manipulation of Eggman and his single-minded pursuit of helping to complete Gerald Robotnik's revenge drive the plot and result in an impending Colony Drop. While he pulls a Heel–Face Turn and helps clean up the mess, he's still the one who caused the whole thing to begin with.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Has pulled this off on occasions.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, he manages to teleport Rouge (and three of the Chaos Emeralds, of course) off of Prison Island mere seconds before the whole island explodes.
    • In Sonic 2006, he was the second person to rescue Sonic from being killed by Silver (the first being Amy).
    • In Sonic Forces, he rescues Sonic again, this time by defeating his clone who was going to charge into him.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Shadow will follow and break rules based on furthering his own goals and objectives. Morality-wise, he's constantly in flux, striking an odd balance of achieving missions by sparing opponents out of genuine mercy and killing them for standing in his way only as a result of his ruthless beliefs about doing what he feels is right.
  • Breakout Character: Got a Story Arc centered around him even though he was originally meant to die at the end of his debut appearance. He was even initially considered to have his own franchise.
  • Broken Ace: He has skills and capabilities that rival Sonic's, and never has to worry about aging due to his immortality. All of this comes with deep-seated emotional scars as a result of his creation and subsequent loss of his surrogate family.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Before she died, Shadow and Maria were a non-romantic version of this.
  • Brutal Honesty: He doesn’t hold back on his opinions.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Often is the case towards anybody who tries to manipulate or persecute him. It never ends well for them.
    • This happened to Infinite too, when he picked a fight with Shadow and was very self-assured that he could beat him, which resulted in Shadow beating him with no effort.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: A perfect case happens in Sonic Forces: Episode Shadow. For Shadow, it was just another day taking out Dr. Eggman's minions during an infiltration mission. But for Infinite, it was his Start of Darkness as Shadow killed the members of his mercenary group and gave him a Curb-Stomp Battle that he took very personally. Afterwards, he was infused with the Phantom Ruby and became the tool necessary for Eggman to finally Take Over the World, but not before toying with Shadow, who, as he predicted, doesn't even remember him.
  • Byronic Hero: A family-friendly version, anyway. He's cynical, brooding, and spiteful, but he's also passionate, fiery, and does have a few close relationships, such as with Rouge and Omega.
  • Canon Immigrant: The Inhibitor Rings (see Power Limiter for more info), first seen in Sonic X, became canon as of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
  • Carpet of Virility: Well, he's a hedgehog, and covered in fur, but his coloration invokes this.
  • Catchphrase: He does have a few of these.
    • "I'm the ultimate life form!"
    • "I don't have time for games."
    • "No one tells me what to do."
    • "This is who I am!" - After every ending of Shadow the Hedgehog.
  • Challenge Seeker: Shadow never turns down a chance to test his abilities against potentially strong opponents like super-dimensional beings, dragons, and of course, Sonic himself.
  • Character Development:
    • Shadow originally only cared about avenging the loss of his old friend and didn't even care if his own memories were fabricated into doing so. About two games later, he has accepted Maria's death and wishes to protect the world that she loved in honor of her memory and live his own life unshackled by past transgressions.
    • He forms a genuine bond with Rouge (who he wanted nothing to do with in his debut) and Omega, even calling them his friends.
  • The Chessmaster: Was clearly making use of Eggman's world-dominating ambition throughout Sonic Adventure 2 in order to further his own goal (and Gerald's) in wiping out humanity in revenge for the murder of Maria Robotnik. The only reason he didn't succeed was that Amy convinced him to not go through with the plan. This also happened in the Pure Dark - Hero ending, where he takes Black Doom's orders in order to get the Chaos Emeralds to remember his past, then later he ends up turning on him to take revenge against humanity on his own.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Despite his natural power, his own game shows that he'll use guns, swords, or pretty much anything as a weapon if the situation calls for it.
  • The Comically Serious: His overly serious demeanor is sometimes played for laughs, particularly when juxtaposed with Sonic. Once in a while, he makes a few wits and one-liners.
  • Conjoined Eyes: Like most Sonic characters.
  • Consummate Professional: In Sonic '06 and Sonic Forces, he always shuts down any attempts to make small talk in order to focus on the mission at hand.
  • Contrived Coincidence: His resemblance to Sonic is only a coincidence, seeing as he was created many years before Sonic was born.
  • Cool Bike: In Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, his vehicle, the Dark Rider, is a motorcycle.
  • Cool Shades; Wears some in the Sonic Riders series.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Did this (accidentally) with Infinite.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Has these, though they're very hard to see.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: In his first ever scene, he's seen using his air shoes to fly. Not once in any game has he been able to replicate this feat, with the closest exception being his titular game, where he'll temporarily hold himself in the air while shooting a sub-machine gun or variations.
  • The Cynic: In contrast to Sonic’s carefree nature.
  • Daddy Issues: With Black Doom. In the majority of his self-titled game, Doom attempts to take advantage of Shadow's memory loss and use him to destroy the planet. After he learns the truth about his past, though, Shadow rebels against Black Doom and destroys him for good.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In Sonic Adventure 2. Blames himself for what happened to the Robotnik family and other citizens of Space Colony ARK and swears brutal justice for them. However, later on, his story becomes so convoluted that it pretty much overshadows this piece of his past.
  • Darker and Edgier: Designed as such from the start, invoked in his own game.
  • Dark Is Evil: At first in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog depending on the player's choice.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: At the end of Sonic Adventure 2 and games beyond.
  • The Dark Side: In Shadow, he can draw on the power of evil and unleash his Chaos Blast.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • At the height of his popularity, he got his own game.
    • He also had his own campaign in Sonic Forces titled Episode Shadow, set before the events of the main game.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He responds to most things with a snarky comment, even in catastrophic situations.
  • Death Glare:
    • Gives off this a few times, such as one in the intro of Shadow the Hedgehog and one in a fight against Sonic in Sonic Forces. The second example was given by a Phantom Ruby illusion rather than the real Shadow himself, however.
    • He also gave one to Infinite when confronting him the first time, and again after beating him and telling him not to show himself around him again.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: In Sonic Adventure 2 back on the ARK, struggling with finding out why he was created. And then again in Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, due to his amnesia.
  • Determinator: He will always fight on even if it's the world against him; also, in any goal he wants to carry out, he is near unstoppable.
  • Deuteragonist: For a while after his debut, he had a major role in almost every main title alongside Sonic himself.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: His initial appearance had him attempting to destroy the earth to avenge the murder of Maria Robotnik. He gets better.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: In both Adventure 2 and Heroes, he's little more than a Moveset Clone of Sonic. By Shadow the Hedgehog, he finally gets to use his own Chaos abilities in-game, and eventually gets a completely different playstyle than anything Sonic has ever done in 06.
  • The Dragon: To Black Doom in Shadow the Hedgehog Dark and Semi-Dark Story. Also this to Eggman, in Sonic Adventure 2, the first Sonic Rivals game, and in Sonic Forces.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: To Eggman in Sonic Adventure 2, the agenda being annihilating the entire world as part of Professor Gerald's reprogramming before he was sealed.
  • The Dreaded: Almost all media portrays Shadow like this, with him being possibly the most intimidating and fear-invoking character in the series. Sonic himself treats him more seriously than any rival and enemy he has fought and acknowledges him as a dangerous obstacle that he must take on without holding back.
  • Energy Ball: He uses these in Sonic Battle and Sonic Riders.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Sonic, at first. Then Character Development happened, and he became more of a Neutral Counterpart to him; not evil, but not entirely good either.
  • Evil Laugh: Does these in the Dark endings of his game.

     F-O 
  • Fake Memories: Gerald altered Shadow's memories so that he could carry out Gerald's plan to take revenge on humanity. Fortunately, Shadow's actual memories of his promise to Maria shone through despite this.
  • Fantastic Nuke: His Chaos Blast, which generates an explosion that destroys anything in the immediate vicinity.
  • Flight: When using his air shoes, Chaos Control, or if he's Super Shadow.
  • Fatal Flaw: Wrath. Shadow has a hard time letting go of his grudges, and his desire for vengeance often clouds his judgment. Also, he's far more cynical than Sonic, which leads to him taking more violent options, and also typically fights to the death, whereas Sonic would just disable his opponents.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Develops this with several characters.
    • When Shadow first met Rouge, the two had quite a Teeth-Clenched Teamwork. Shadow was annoyed by Rouge's unserious and flirtatious personality and Rouge would often complain about Shadow's grumpy attitude and apathy. Over time, however, the two of them have grown more accepting of their differences and have become more caring about the well-being of one another.
    • Was also this with Omega. They were hostile to each other when they first met; however, with time, they grew to care a lot about each others's well-being.
  • Foil: He serves as one to Sonic. Whereas Sonic is the friendly, adventure-seeking hero, Shadow is the cold, deadly serious Anti-Hero. While they may be on the same side, often their methods of taking action can lead them to clash with one another.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Supine.
  • Forgot About His Powers: In Sonic Heroes, he doesn't assist Super Sonic in the final battle, despite having a super form himself as the previous installment, Sonic Adventure 2, demonstrated. Justified as he had amnesia at the time, but it doesn't explain why everyone else doesn't remind him of it.
  • Fragile Speedster: When balanced, he's usually some combination of this and Glass Cannon, generally offered as an alternative to Sonic. Notably in Sonic Battle, where he's very strong and very fast, but has the absolute worst healing skills of all the playable characters.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Develops one with Sonic in later games. Despite his annoyance with the blue hedgehog, Shadow still acknowledges and respects Sonic as a Worthy Opponent, which Sonic finds mutual. He even showed up at Sonic's birthday party in Sonic Generations, after fighting him.
  • Genius Bruiser: Though not at Tails's level and mostly downplayed, Shadow is also cunning, strategic and occasionally displays some degree of scientific and technological know-how.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: See that page image? It's his official Adventure 2 picture, and it might be his index finger he's pointing, but from the look on his face, you'd think he was Flipping the Bird. You know, for kids.
  • The Gloves Come Off: In Sonic 06; when Mephiles uses the Chaos Emeralds in his possession to create an army of clones and has Team Dark on the ropes, Shadow decides to break out the big guns and takes off his inhibitor rings. A few minutes later, Mephiles and his army have been reduced to a big puddle of ooze.
  • Golden Super Mode: A different, lighter shade of gold than Sonic's, but still gold of some description.
  • Good Is Not Nice: His heart is in the right place, but his attitude could definitely use some work. His aloof and somewhat apathetic nature makes him come off as cold and uncaring towards people and his ego and violent tendencies also make it hard to get along with him.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Has no compunctions against lethal force when against an evil foe. The Black Arms learned the hard way that this also means no compunctions against genocide when dealing with exceptional evil. And if the heroes get in the way of his current goals, they're as much of a target as the villains.
  • Grumpy Bear: Even if he's put his past behind him and moved on to better things, there's no way Shadow will ever cheer up. Even on a good day.
  • Hates Small Talk: When Shadow is focused on a mission, friendly conversations or the like are out of question for him.
  • Haughty "Hmph": He's a frequent user of this trope. It's his way of expressing how arrogant and disapproving he is towards others.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Although it was familial love and he doesn't express it often, Maria's death hit him hard.
  • The Heavy: In Sonic Adventure 2, while he pretends to act as The Dragon to Eggman, it's his presence that drives the plot, and he is in fact manipulating Eggman for his own purposes.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: According to his backstory, he was a face, then after a tragic incident, he became a heel. He later became a face for the ending of Sonic Adventure 2. After his revival, he was neutral before settling on being a face.
  • Heroic RRoD: It's implied at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 that he was overwhelmed by the power of his Chaos Emerald-induced Super Mode, which may be part of why he lost his power and fell into Earth's orbit during the Heroic Sacrifice mentioned below.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of Sonic Adventure 2, he helps save the world from the Final Hazard, but uses up all of his power before he falls from space towards the Earth. He was initially believed to have died, but Sonic Heroes reveals that he survived, but amnesiac.
  • Hidden Depths: According to the November 2017 Twitter Takeover, he's a fan of classic rock, eats coffee beans, and watches anime (with Kill la Kill being his favorite).
    • The May 2019 twitter Takeover also reveals he donates to charity, supports indie companies, and that he desires to open a cat orphanage one day.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: He's a violent, egotistical Jerkass whose actions border on out and out villainy on occasion, but he's always on the side of justice and he genuinely cares about others and only acts cold and distant to others because he doesn't want anyone to get close to him, so he doesn't lose them like he lost Maria.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: His initial attitude, regarding the humans as heartless due to the tragic incident on the ARK. Despite this, Shadow still put it aside to give them a chance as he promised to Maria.
  • It's All My Fault: How Shadow felt in the Slightly Hero ending, when the GUN commander falsely accused him for being behind the murder of the ARK.
    Shadow: "I am Shadow the Hedgehog. A research experiment gone deadly wrong... I caused so much destruction... I should have never have been created... This is who I am."
  • Image Song: He has more than any character in the series. Throw It All Away, All Hail Shadow, Rhythm and Balance, The Supernatural, Supporting Me, I Am (All of Me), Almost Dead, Waking Up, Chosen One, Never Turn Back, Who I Am.
  • Immortal Immaturity: He's technically over 50 years old, but is physically the same age as Sonic, and although he's clearly a lot more mature and cautious than Sonic, he can act somewhat young in comparison to his psychical age. Justified, he's been in suspended animation for most of those years, and didn't have very much time to mature as a consequence, though the question of whether he can mature is something of an open one.
  • Immortality Begins at 20: Or at somewhere in the teens, at any rate. He generally is portrayed is being of an age to Sonic (who is 15-ish) but thanks to Gerald Robotnik's research, he is ageless and immune to disease. Despite being 50+ years old, however, he technically spent most of that time in stasis, so it's ambiguous if his body really has stopped aging.
  • Ineffectual Loner: He is used to being a lone wolf, since he doesn't put a lot of value in teamwork when getting things done. It also doesn't help that he doesn't seem very fond of anyone's presence that much.
  • Informed Ability: He tends to be fragile, despite his Immortality. Considering the nature of Gerald's research, it's more of a "absolute immunity to age and illness".
  • Irony:
    • Shadow hated GUN for killing Maria Robotnik; he now works for them.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow acknowledged Sonic as the real ultimate life form after seeing him use the fake Chaos Emerald. After he lost his memory, he went back to referring to himself as the ultimate life form and viewing himself superior to Sonic.
    • He is introduced as Sonic's impostor. Since then, he's had to deal with impostors on three separate occasions.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: Whenever Shadow helps or saves someone, he will state that it is linked to his personal goals.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, he saves Rouge by using Chaos Control before Prison Island explodes, and then claims that he didn't come to save her, he came for the Chaos Emeralds.
    • In Shadow the Hedgehog, after helping Sonic eliminate a number of Black Arms soldiers in Westopolis, he tells him that he didn't come to save him, although Sonic expected him to say that.
  • Jerkass: Arrogant, egotistical, self-serious, and violent. Sonic doesn't consider Shadow a "friend" as much as he considers Shadow a rival who might work with him if their goals happen to align.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his aloof, arrogant, and violent tendencies, he's always at the front lines whenever a new threat arises and is capable of working with the heroes too when they're on the same page. He has also shown genuine care for several characters, such as his late surrogate sister, Maria, Professor Gerald, his friends/partners, Rouge and Omega, Amy (who he opened up to after making him remember his true promise to Maria, and helped her find Cream in Shadow the Hedgehog), and even his arch-rival Sonic.
  • The Juggernaut: Simply put, once Shadow gets started on something, he is nigh-unstoppable. Barriers, walls, entire armies are nothing but doorstops to him. Nothingnote  is going to slow him down, much less stop him. Best seen in the ending to his story in 06, where after being swarmed with Mephiles clones, he removes his Power Limiter rings, grabs his teammates, and runs through them all.
  • Ki Attacks: His ability to manipulate Chaos energy allows him to do these.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: He eventually becomes this after the events of Shadow the Hedgehog. Pretty much his only reason for fighting for the world is because Maria told him to before she died. This was best demonstrated in Sonic 2006 when Mephiles tries to bring Shadow over to his side by telling him that the word will turn on him one day, Shadow simply responds by saying he'll fight like he used to.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Was never a villain (even at his debut) but he is most certainly this for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Almost anything concerning Shadow is grimly serious and a harsh turn away from the jovial attitude the main protagonist embodies.
  • Knight Templar: In some iterations in the franchise, he is this, and will use any means to ensure his own sense of justice is carried out, and will kill anyone to illustrate how far he will go.
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: Over time, he develops a genuine friendship with his partners, Rouge and Omega.
  • The Lancer: Even though he's the most recognizable of Team Dark, he functions as this to Rouge, at least in Sonic Heroes.
  • Large Ham: Mostly in Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). He engages in some Ham-to-Ham Combat with Mephiles in the latter.
  • The Leader: Of Team Dark, it was Rouge, but later Sonic games put Shadow in the front seat of the team's ultimate objectives and tasks, he's pretty much the leader to Rouge and Omega in loyalty and active team-based demolition.
  • Leitmotif: His original one is Throw It All Away from Sonic Adventure 2. Lately, however, it's been All Hail Shadow used as the hero ending theme in Shadow the Hedgehog, as his main theme in '06, and as his Theme Music Power-Up in Sonic Generations.
  • Lightning Bruiser: When he's not balanced, he's usually this. He's fast enough to keep up with Sonic thanks to his Hover Shoes. And his sheer natural power and skill alone is enough to make the option of fighting him virtually suicide.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • A Sonic Channel comic suggests that Maria thought up the name Shadow, with a meaning in mind.
    Maria: Darkness can be anywhere you go, but a shadow represents the direction in which the light is shining!
    • Other sources have suggested his name comes from the program that created him, "Project Shadow," which was named as such because of how likely it was to succeed.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: He starts as this in Adventure 2, though it's somewhat justified as humans created him and then just sealed him away when they no longer needed him. After Amy gives him a Patrick Stewart Speech near the end he decides humans aren't so bad after all.
  • Moveset Clone: Plays identically to Sonic in Adventure 2 and Heroes.
  • Multicolored Hair: He has black fur with red stripes.
  • Mysterious Past: Was first presented as being a doppelganger of Sonic with a mysterious past involving the loss of a loved one. Ironically, this is subverted at the end of his own Story Arc; more about his past has been revealed than any other character in the series, including Sonic himself!
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: While he couldn't've known at the time, Shadow beating Infinite up and calling him worthless sparks Infinite giving himself the powers of the Phantom Ruby, and that leads to Sonic being defeated and Eggman taking over the world. Cue Sonic Forces. Even then, however, Infinite and his group of mercenaries were already working under Eggman anyway.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: In-Between. Usually pretty cynical, aggressive, and dark overall. Underneath it all, however, he does have a caring side to him and remains on the side of justice.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: He never fully played this trope, but he's always sort of leaned on it (his name and color scheme being pretty harsh and a vengeful personality). He shows more traits of this for his own game, though (guns, swearing, and motorcycle riding galore).
  • Noble Demon: He's neutral by alignment, seems willing to achieve his goals at all costs and acts with a dark and cynical attitude, but he risks his life to save the world and cares deeply for his only friends.
  • Nominal Hero: Subverted. In Shadow The Hedgehog, where even after the player clears the hero missions, Shadow is mainly focused on regaining his memories. However, in the Pure Hero and Canon ending, Shadow puts that goal behind him to save the world as he promised Maria.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Once a misguided nemesis to Sonic, who is now his serious and bitter arch-rival.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: G.U.N. accuses Shadow for being evil and blame him for Maria's death. In reality, Shadow tried to save Maria from them, and strives to protect the planet despite their judgments and mistakes.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Although he's far more dark and serious than the other characters, he can sometimes embed the cockiness of Sonic, like when he called himself "the coolest".
    • There are numerous times where he breaks his stoicism and banters back and forth with Sonic, usually when the two are about to go toe-to-toe.
    Sonic: Didn't you know? We've got a date with Eggman too!
    Shadow: Is that so? Well then... it'll be a date to die for!
    Sonic: Hey, That's My Line!
    • Despite being very distant and solitary, he does sometimes show up at events with the other heroes, such as the racing challenges, and even at Sonic's birthday party.
    • Despite being just as Comically Serious as ever when he appears in the 2017 Twitter Takeover, he definitely has his moments:
      • When they get a question about Amy that makes Sonic uncomfortable, he joins Eggman in teasing Sonic over it.
      • He starts to think that they're stalking a fan when they start reading his profile, clearly not that familiar with how social media works.
      • When someone asks what Eggman would do if he wasn't an evil genius, he starts eagerly describing a scenario where Eggman starts knitting and becomes a Crazy Cat Lady.
      • When one question states that he and Eggman are technically cousins due to Gerald Robotnik contributing to Shadow's creation, he is quick to point out that genetics don't work that way.
      • He's clearly amused at the thought of a Metal Shadow.
      • He starts taking notes when Sonic describes how to grow a personal brand... and is clearly taken aback when he mentions making a game that gets slammed by reviewers.
      • Finally, when all is said and done, he decides that the fans want a new game starring him... and Big the Cat.
  • Not So Different:
    • Him and Sonic, particularly in Sonic Adventure 2. While Shadow is more focused and serious, him and Sonic share a lot of similarities, namely their Super Speed, impatience, an extremely high opinion of themselves, are devoid of showing or talking about their own feelings, and a strong sense of doing what they feel is right. In the aforementioned game, the two spend the entirety of it accusing the other of being the "faker".
    • Also to Silver to a lesser extent. Although Shadow is way smarter than Silver and is far more comfortable with being alone, he shares a few similarities to him. They're both determined in doing what they believe is right and are ruthlessly focused, doing whatever it takes to get things done. They also both act as rivals to Sonic and are some of the few to beat him in battle, have white chest fur, and a Dark and Troubled Past. Both also like to mock their opponents in combat.
  • Not So Similar: He and Knuckles are often compared to each other due to their supposed similarities. Both are major foils to Sonic who started off as his enemy before eventually becoming his ally. However, Knuckles maintains a rather Friendly Rival relationship with Sonic while Shadow plays the distant, dissenting rival. Their temperaments are pretty at odds, too; despite both being serious-minded individuals, Knuckles is rather Hot-Blooded and easily angered while Shadow is far more calm and composed.
  • Not So Stoic: He does show his vulnerable side at times.
  • One-Man Army: Has decimated entire armies single handily. In Shadow the Hedgehog, depending on which ending a player gets, he could take out the highest members of G.U.N, Black Doom's army, and Eggman's forces, all by himself.
  • Only Mostly Dead: His reappearance in Sonic Heroes confirmed he survived his apparent death in Sonic Adventure 2.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He seemingly pulls this off by intervening in a fight between Sonic and Silver, saving Sonic from a potentially fatal blow, offhandedly making sure he's okay, then fighting Silver in his place. That time, he had a very good reason besides this trope to save Sonic, as he deduced that Mephiles is intending to eliminate the past. Later on in the same game, he expresses silent remorse at Sonic's death, but once he finds out that the Chaos Emeralds can undo this, immediately takes on the toughest challenges in order to retrieve the gems.
  • Out of Focus: In his heyday, he had more plot and character focus than Sonic himself. In later games, he made mainly cameo and boss appearances, up until Sonic Forces where he's one of the main enforcers in Eggman's army, and even has his own campaign taking place before the game starts.

     P-W 
  • Perpetual Frowner: You'll only see him either frowning, indifferent, or smirking. That is, until Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, where you can catch him smiling if he does well at an event. Also averted in Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, where he'll occasionally fist pump in excitement with a decidedly Out of Character look on his face before starting a race.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: He's a walking mini nuke with the power (depending on the number of Chaos Emeralds he has) to devastate cities and fortresses.
  • Pet the Dog: He was in attendance for Sonic's birthday party in the end of Sonic Generations and instead of doing whatever he was doing, he decides to stick around.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: He's the same size as Sonic and can take out towering monsters and giant robots with nothing but the shoes on his feet.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • A lot of Shadow's conflict with everyone else comes from his inability to just talk with them and accept their help instead of acting like a lone wolf.
    • In Shadow the Hedgehog, he apparently never thinks to ask any of his friends about his past, even though every single one of them both know him well as well as found out about his past in Adventure 2.
  • Power Incontinence: The first time he used his Super Mode, he couldn't control it very well and was gradually losing energy. He was able to hold out long enough to help Sonic put the falling Ark back into orbit before ultimately succumbing and falling towards the planet.
  • Power Limiter: His Inhibitor Rings on his wrists and ankles. The rest of this article's description of his power is what he's like with them on. When he takes them off, the increase is substantial enough to allow him to thrash bosses like they were the weakest of mooks. On the other hand, he cannot control such strength and causes massive unintentional destruction with it, so he's hesitant to take them off.
  • Power of the Void: As shown in Sonic Battle (Chaos Nightmare), he is capable of distorting space-time around him to damage enemies.
  • Pragmatic Hero: What sets him apart from the rest of the cast, Shadow will Shoot the Dog as many times as he needs to if it means saving the world.
  • Quest for Identity: His entire Story Arc from Sonic Adventure 2 to Shadow the Hedgehog.
  • The Quiet One: He was never the type to talk much. Particularly in Heroes and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
  • Really 700 Years Old: Much due to being an immortal. Despite appearing to be the same age as Sonic, he was created 50 years ago.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Though the "evil" part depends on the game.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Both in his default state, and when he's in super form.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Inverted when it comes to him and Sonic. Shadow has a partially red color scheme, but is reserved and collected most of the time in contrast to the blue, but very extroverted Sonic.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Even if he's fighting along the side of good since Sonic Adventure 2 and aside from having amnesia after his Heroic Sacrifice, Shadow still remains stoic, deadly serious, and quite cold towards everyone around him and maintains his rivalry with Sonic.
  • Replacement Flat Character: Shadow had taken the role of the stoic and deadly-serious rival from Knuckles who was becoming more of an ally to Sonic over time.
  • Reverse Grip: As Lancelot in Sonic And the Black Knight.
  • The Rival: He's not the first of Sonic's rivals, or even the last, but he's by far the most recognizable. He still retains this role even after his Heel–Face Turn. He also had some bouts with Silver in Sonic '06 and the Rivals series.
  • Rival Turned Evil: He becomes this in his own game if the player completes the last dark missions.
  • Rollerblade Good: He moves using rocket skates.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: He was held in suspended animation in Prison Island after GUN raided the ARK. True to form, Eggman releases him.
  • Sealed Good in a Can:
  • Sanity Slippage: In a few of the "evil" endings, he will go insane after learning more about what GUN put him through, either setting himself to destroy the world or conquer the universe, with an Evil Laughter to demonstrate.
  • Shadow Archetype: Pun aside, Shadow is this to Sonic. He is what Sonic would be if he was willing to go through some extremes to get the job done.
  • Ship Tease: This happens surprisingly often with Rouge in later games.
  • Shock and Awe. His Chaos Blast, in which he either makes an explosion of Chaos Energy from his body *  , or shoots out a concentrated version through his hands *  .
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: He pulled this on both Black Doom and Mephiles, when they tried to get him to join their respective causes.
    Black Doom: You still don't understand, do you? The future we offer is the only option for these humans.
    Shadow: I've heard enough! You're boring me to death, Black Doom! You're going down!
  • Signature Move: Chaos Control. It's not exclusive to him, but he's the most proficient user, and even has several other Chaos attacks exclusive to him. Its uses include: Teleporters and Transporters, Time Master (although actual time travel requires two users), and Flash Step.
  • A Sinister Clue: His left-handedness could be seen as an indicator of his Anti-Hero nature.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Only in his own game and even then, it's considerably mild in comparison to most examples. That said, he does curse with nearly every sentence he speaks.
  • Smarter Than You Look: This is only really noticeable in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and it shows how dangerous Shadow can be. He was the only person in the entire game who was aware of what was really going on and sought to put a stop to it. He even convinced Silver that he was being deceived by Mephiles. Unfortunately, Shadow's plan was only 99% effective, as one fragment that escaped caused the Last Story.
  • Smug Super: Despite frequently admitting how impressed he is with the combat abilities of his foes and rivals, he remains assured of his superiority in the end. Sonic also rivals him in terms of sheer arrogance.
  • Smug Smiler: He sometimes smirks out of smugness or confidence.
  • The Southpaw: He holds his weapons in the left-handed manner in Shadow the Hedgehog and if you know what to look for, you'll see he still leads with his left in his body-language in a great deal of official art. Not so true in Sonic and the Black Knight, though, as he uses his right hand for his sword.
  • Spirited Competitor: Shows this with Sonic recently. It was even mode apparent that even god like beings like Solaris excite him.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: A rather infamous example of this. From his debut to 2006, he had just as much, if not more focus on his character arc than Sonic himself. A lot of people easily forget that it's Rouge, not Shadow, who led the team in Sonic Heroes.
  • The Starscream: In the Pure Dark - Hero ending of Shadow the Hedgehog, where he turns on and usurps Black Doom and plans to conquer the universe.
  • Stock Shōnen Rival: One of the most archetypal examples of this trope, and almost as known as one of the trope codifiers. Contrasting Sonic's upbeat and carefree attitude, Shadow is dour and soft-spoken and tends to prefer solitude than socializing with people. Notably, it wasn't being defeated by Sonic that triggered his Heel–Face Turn, but coming to terms with his past transgressions and learning to move forward with his life.
  • The Stoic: He very rarely emotes, but he does let it slip at times, which leads to times when he is Not So Stoic.
  • Story-Breaker Power: He can stop time using Chaos Control, and this comes with his ability to teleport. Needless to say, he never seems to use this ability to its fullest potential. This does require a Chaos Emerald, but Shadow often has one on him anyway and can still warp short distances even without one.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Eventually develops into this over the course of his character arc, forming a strong bond with his teammates and even mellowed down his rivalry with Sonic to an extent.
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Unlike Sonic, he has no qualms using any firearms he can get his hands on.
  • Super Mode: Super Shadow.
  • Superpower Lottery: Considering he was made to be the perfect weapon, this is hardly surprising.
  • Super Speed: Enough to rival Sonic's. Although unlike Sonic, he relies on his Hover Shoes to propel himself at fast speeds.
  • Super Strength: In his self-titled game, he can overturn buses and giant slabs of concrete that fell off highways with one hand, as well as punch through solid steel and concrete.
  • Tsundere:
    • After his return, Shadow still acts somewhat cold towards pretty much everyone, and borders on a destructive nature. Despite this, he's shown to care about others deep down, also developing a bond with his partners, Rouge and Omega.
    • Although Sonic is still his rival, he does respect him to a degree and always shows up to help him when he needs it the most. Lampshaded in Sonic Colors.
    Shadow: Looks like I don't need to be worried.
    Sonic: What was that?
    Tails: Were you worried if we would get hurt, trying to save the wisps?
    Shadow: Hmph!
    Sonic: I'll take that as a compliment.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine:
    • Eggman, who Shadow duped into activating Gerald's scheme in Adventure 2, attempts to inflict this in Shadow, exploiting Shadow's amnesia to trick him into thinking he is an android created by him. By the end of the respective story branches, however, it's Gone Horribly Right.
    • Infinite, whose Start of Darkness was pivoted by Shadow's handy defeat of him, also starts upon this in Forces, giving him one hell of a Mind Screw in Episode Shadow before starting upon Eggman's conquest in the main game.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: In Shadow the Hedgehog, the commander accuses Shadow of being responsible for the murder on the ARK, and is judged to be evil by GUN and most of humanity. In the "evil" endings, after learning only the gruesome parts of his past, Shadow goes to take revenge against humanity, believing that Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • Time Master: While he's not the only character in the series capable of warping time and space with Chaos energy, he is the most proficient in its usage.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Appears to take a step in Sonic Free Riders, where he seemed to have no problem with helping Rouge steal the cash prize from the World Grand Prix, and regarded E-10000B as Just a Machine, which is pretty different from the bond he has with Omega, as seen in ''Sonic the Hedgehog 2006'.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Compared to Sonic's style of eyes.
  • Ultimate Life Form: Trope Namer. He is ageless and has a perfect immune system. If he's never killed by outside forces, he will live forever. And that never happens either, since he's basically able to beat anyone.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • To Maria, keeping his promise to her at all cost, even if it means protecting the humans he despises. He also develops this to his partners, Rouge and Omega.
    • Depending on which path you take, Shadow can also have this to Eggman.
      Shadow: I cannot betray the doctor.
  • The Unfettered: The key difference between him and Sonic. The latter wears his heart on his sleeve and always acts on how he feels; Shadow, on the other hand, will not let his personal feelings get in the way of getting the job done.
  • Universal Driver's Licence: He can pilot hang gliders, humvees, motorcycles, and alien hovercraft. He doesn't even own any of this himself, he just finds them lying around!
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Shadow does what he can to protect the Earth and his people. His intentions are good, but at the same time, he doesn't care what he has to do in order to achieve his goals, which leads to aggressive and often destructive acts. He also doesn't care what others think of it, which is what separates him from Sonic and his friends.
  • Unwitting Pawn: In Shadow the Hedgehog, he this to both Doom and, to a lesser extent, Eggman.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • He and Rouge tend to snark at each other on occasion.
    • He also displays this with Sonic as evident in Shadow the Hedgehog where he is irritated of the blue hedgehog's friendly attitude and adventurous nature.
  • Vocal Evolution: Kirk Thornton's take on Shadow in Generations and the Boom sub-franchise was rather deep and gruff, and almost sounded villainous (which fits the latter, as Shadow is much more evil in his Boom appearances). By the time he voices Shadow in Forces and the 2017 Twitter Takeover, he's hit a voice that's more similar to David Humphrey or Jason Griffith's take on the character, downplaying the deepness in his voice.
  • The Voiceless: In Sonic Forces, the Shadow virtual constructs never talk or even vocalize a sound during the main campaign. Considering the Zavoks can do both, it makes the Shadows' lack of speech odd.
  • With Friends Like These...:
    • He and Sonic's rivalry seemed to have become slightly more friendly over time, but he's still annoyed of the blue hedgehog's unserious attitude, and their rivalry is still rather intense and aggressive when not putting it aside.
    • Shadow and Rouge to a lesser extent. They are pretty good friends, but Shadow is rather shown to try to avoid talking to her when they're on a mission, and Rouge doesn't seem to be able to fully accept it, remarking him several times in Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. They also have no problem with fighting each other if they are in the way of each other's goals, as shown in Sonic Rivals 2. Despite that, though, they get along.
  • With Us or Against Us: He doesn't fully play with this trope, but if he feels that you're hindering him from reaching his objectives, he will assume that you're against him and will stop at nothing to attack you. He states this in his game after clearing a mission.
    Shadow: Anyone who's against me is my enemy.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In Sonic Adventure 2, his initial goal was to end humanity after G.U.N killed off his family, Maria and Gerald. In general, those experiences are the reason why Shadow is so isolated and reserved. And depending on which path you take in the Shadow the Hedgehog game, he can also be this. Both in the evil ending where after learning his Dark and Troubled Past, goes back to his revenge quest in his debut, or in the Slightly Hero ending where he feels so guilty about letting Black Doom use him to destroy the humans that he feels like he should never have been created.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • To Sonic, but also considers Sonic this. In Sonic Adventure 2, he seemed pretty upset when it looked like Sonic died in Eggman's trap and was impressed when not only he survived, but managed to use Chaos Control with a fake Chaos Emerald. It was at this point Shadow acknowledged Sonic as his equal and how dangerous he is. From then on, Shadow seems to enjoy the occasional bouts he and Sonic have.
    • One of the endings to Shadow the Hedgehog invokes this as well. The route makes Shadow pretty much a complete hero, but if you chose to do the dark mission right before the Final Boss, you'll be fighting Sonic (and a mech powered by the GUN Commander) and he asks why Shadow is siding with the Black Arms. Shadow claims he doesn't really care about the Black Arms and just wanted a chance to fight Sonic, and winning has him boasting about being the "Ultimate Hedgehog".
  • Would Hurt a Child: Simply put, there's no one he won't beat up. Gender or age is no deterrent. If you're the target or a hindrance to his goals, then you're just as eligible for a beatdown as the villains.
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