Sonic the Hedgehog refers to a 1992-1994 manga series based off the Sonic the Hedgehog games. It ran in several Shogakukan spinoff magazines.
This manga stars a bookish 10-year old hedgehog named Nicky who lives in Hedgehog Town. Nicky can transform into his alter ego, the much cooler Sonic the Hedgehog. As Sonic, Nicky fights the evil Dr. Eggman alongside his sidekick Miles "Tails" Prower. No one besides Tails knows that Nicky is really Sonic, not even Nicky himself.
Despite being only one of many Sonic manga, this early manga is the most well-known because it gave rise to two long-standing characters: Amy Rose and Charmy Bee.
The manga is rare and has never reprinted into volumes, but a work-in-progress collection of online scans can be found in this Sonic Retro thread.
This manga provides examples of:
- Age Lift: Sonic is a teenager. His age was somewhere between 15 and 18 in the Mega Drive days. In this manga, however, he (or Nicky at least) is only 10.
- Canon Foreigner: Nicky, his parents Paulie and Brenda, his 7-year old sister Anita, his best friend Little John, the lizard brothers Anton and Mad, and likely several other characters.
- Canon Immigrant: Amy (surname Rose) and Charmy Bee were later added into the games starting with Sonic the Hedgehog CD and Knuckles Chaotix respectively.
- Depending on the Artist: The manga was run in several Shogaku magazines. Sango Morimoto of the Shogaku Ninensei magazine drew them in the well-known "manga original" Amy and Charmy style, while other artists drew them more similar to how Sonic fans associate the characters.
- Early Adaptation Weirdness: The manga has the bare minimum to do with Sonic the Hedgehog. It focuses on a predominantly OC cast in a World of Funny Animals. The story uses Sonic's earliest backstory and it also features prototypical versions of Amy and Charmy.
- Early Installment Character-Design Difference:
- Amy is not pink and Sango Morimoto's version of Amy generally looks nothing like her classic video game design (or the other artists). Sango Morimoto's version also appeared in promotional manga for Sonic called Sonic the Hedgehog Book.
- Charmy wears a jacket that he lacks in Knuckles Chaotix.
- Face Your Fears: Nicky unknowingly transforms into Sonic when he's filled with self-doubt, but the finale involved Nicky realizing he shouldn't rely on others after mistaking Metal Sonic for the real Sonic, finally transforming into a confident blend of both of his personas.
- Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: Every character but Sonic and Tails.
- Inconsistent Coloring:
- Whether Amy's fur is brown or blonde depends on the issue.
- Anita is brown in some issues and pink in others.
- Ironic Nickname: "Little John" is very large due to his weight.
- Kid Hero: Nicky/Sonic is 10 and Tails is 8.
- Loves My Alter Ego: Despite being Nicky's girlfriend, Amy can't help but be infatuated with Sonic.
- Mythology Gag:
- Sonic's backstory in this manga is based on the supposed original one Sonic Team had for him, where Sonic magically comes to life after the death of a human Ace Pilot who had him as a mascot.
- In one issue, Tails rides a Lotus Super Seven. Yasushi Yamaguchi gave Tails a "favourite car" because he had heard that Sonic's favourite car was the Lamborghini Countach (which explains why Tails rides a Lotus Super Seven in one piece of classic artwork).
- Non-Standard Character Design: The Canon Foreigner characters wear clothes, which makes Sonic and Tails stand out as they only wear socks and shoes.
- Official Couple: Nicky/Sonic and Amy are a couple.
- Origins Episode: One chapter gives Sonic's origin. 20 years ago Nicky's dad Paulie was riding in a plane when it began to crash. Out of nowhere, the legendary Sonic popped up and told him how to fly safely. Sonic disappeared out of thin air.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The token reptile characters Anton and Mad bully Nicky.
- Secret Identity: No one but Tails knows that Sonic and Nicky are the same person. Not even Nicky does. He gets amnesia as Sonic. It's implied that Sonic is some sort of mystical being who temporarily takes over Nicky's body.
- Spell My Name with an "S":
- Fan translations have been inconsistent with the character names due to being somewhat unusual. Is it Nicky or Nikki? The former is a better play on Sonic, but the latter is a more common rendition of the Japanese. Is his father Paulie or Polly? "Roly Poly" is the most likely reference. What about his rival's last name? The jacket in his first appearance had the initials "AB" which stood for Anton Beruka, but it's probably a reference to a plantar wart (also known as verruca). One translation even renamed Sonic's little sister Anita to Tania!
- Not even the raw Japanese version is safe, as Amy (エミー) is occasionally spelled as "Eimy" (エイミー) earlier on (which may have been her original name as she was originally seen in a shirt labeled "E"), and Tails' last name was literally spelled as "Perhour" (パーアワー) instead of Prower (パウアー)!
- Token Minority: Hedgehog Town is predominantly full of hedgehogs, but it's also inhabited by non-hedgehogs such as Charmy Bee and Vector the Crocodile.
- Superpowered Alter Ego: Nicky is a normal hedgehog but Sonic is super fast and is stronger than Nicky.