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Manga / Sonic the Hedgehog (1992)

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Sonic and his alter ego, Nicky.

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, and thanks to Early Adaptation Weirdness.

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. He was 16 years old in the Mega Drive days. In this manga, however, he (or Nicky at least) is only 10.
  • Alternate Identity Amnesia: Nicky doesn't remember his time transformed into Sonic, or even that he does so in the first place.
  • 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 most characters not named Sonic, Tails, Eggman, Amy or Charmy.
  • Canon Immigrant: Amy (surname Rose) and Charmy Bee were later added into the games starting with Sonic the Hedgehog CD and Knuckles Chaotix respectively.
  • Cool Car: Tails' (based on the Lotus Super Seven), and Anton's car.
  • Depending on the Artist: The manga was run in several Shogaku magazines. Sango Morimoto of the Shogaku Ninensei (Second Grade) 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 original cast of Canon Foreigners in a World of Funny Animals that mostly have never appeared since the manga ended. 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. Later issues though would eventually adopt her classic game design.
    • 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, Tails and Nicky.
  • Future Self Reveal: In the October 1992 issue of Shogaku Ninensei, there is a blurb during the issue’s Sonic the Hedgehog story that explains how Nicky’s “transformation” into Sonic the Hedgehog works. The blurb explains that it actually isn’t a transformation at all and that Sonic is actually time-traveling from six years in the future to replace his younger self in times of crisis.
  • Inconsistent Coloring:
    • Whether Amy's fur is brown or blonde depends on the issue.
    • Anita is brown in some issues and pink in others.
  • Inconsistent Spelling:
    • 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).
    • 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)!
  • 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.
  • Love Triangle: Nicky is in one with himself as Amy, despite being his girlfriend, is also in love with Sonic.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Sonic's backstory in this manga is based on the 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, and is shown next to one in one of the hidden screens in Sonic the Hedgehog CD).
  • 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.
  • Split Personality: Sonic in this manga serves as another identity of Nicky.
  • Sudden Name Change:
    • The manga by Kenji Terada, Hirokazu Hikawa and Koichi Tanaka refer to Nicky's sister as Tania (タニア). However, the manga by Sango Morimoto refers to her as Anita (アニタ).
    • In at least one late story, Amy was shown with the last name Rose (and apparently developed an interest in fortune telling), which she received from Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
  • Superpowered Alter Ego: Nicky is a normal hedgehog but Sonic is super fast and super strong.
  • Token Minority: Hedgehog Town is predominantly full of hedgehogs, but it's also inhabited by non-hedgehogs such as Charmy Bee, Vector the Crocodile and the Veruca family.