Sonic Dissected is an animated web series that takes an analytic look at the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, be it the games, animations or anything Sonic related that gets announced, (like Sonic Boom) and discusses them about its narrative, its flaws, its characters and gameplay and how we can improve them and see these games and characters from another point of view. The Sonic series can be quite controversial and are not there to just criticize the games or its audience. They just want to give you a better and deeper understanding of the games from a narrative perspective as well as to inform and educate you about them.
The series was launched in 2012, created and hosted by Roger van der Weide (of Sonic In X Minutes, Kingdumb Hearts and International Moron Patrol fame) and co-hosted by Luke the Fox (real name Luke Wholey), A British Sonic fancharacter who also voices in some of Rogers animations. They also have a third guy, Captain Theory (voiced by SalaComMander) who would sometimes pop in and explain a hypothesis on why certain things in Sonic work that way or why Sega/Sonic Team have done it.
Over the series they have discussed various games, its characters, had random guests that want to say their piece on certain Sonic Games and Roger has also done various Dissections on games such as Shenmue and Megaman.
The series can be found here
The videos were originally labeled as episodes 1 and 2, with a series of chapters, but now their episodes are more specific, talking about a certain theme. Here is a list of themes they have talked so far.
- Chapter 1: Too many characters is the wrong complaint.
- Chapter 2: Sonic, from zero to hero to Mary Sue... ero.: Roger and Luke talk about Sonic's flanderization into becoming a Mary Sue.
- Chapter 3: Colorful exposition: They talk about storytelling rules, and how the franchise follows it.
- Chapter 4: Why Sonic Adventure 2 is AMAZING: they give an analysis on the game's structure, narrative, and how it made it one of Sonic best stories. Also, gushing.
- Chapter 5: Why Sonic Unleashed bores me: They discuss in how Sonic Unleashed's story tried to be like Sonic Adventure 2, only to fail in this regard.
- Chapter 6: Colorful art design. Roger explains his issues with the cutscenes of Sonic Colors, and how lifeless they feel. Roger, despite not being the best animator or artist, talks about how he feels Sonic Colors loses its opportunity to play with the background.
- Chapter 7: The degradation of Amy Rose. They talk about Amy's flanderization and the surprising complex character arc she used to have in the Adventure series.
- Chapter 8: Counter Adventure 2: They talk about Sonic Adventure 2's flaws, after so much gushing. This is Frobman's first appearance in the series.
- Chapter 9: Identity Crisis: They talk about Knuckles apparent Loss of Identity due to how he's written, and then go on to talk about other characters such as Tails and Dr. Eggman.
- Aborted Arc: Luke mentions how Sonic Colors brings subplots, only to make nothing out of them, and waste his time.
Roger: This is like if Sonic and Amy suddenly married between games
- Luke noticed how Eggman actually managed to create Robotnikland/Eggmanland, his life goal in the series in Sonic Unleashed, only for no one, not even Eggman himself to notice, only for him to sit around his chair and complain.
- How and why Sonic is turned into a werehog is never fully resolved, it just happens. (Unless you have read the manual, as Captain Theory points out.)
- Accidental Misnaming: Luke once called Captain Theory Captain H due to the H emblem on his chest, not aware that it stands for Hypothesis, another word for Theory.
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Why Luke enjoys Sonic Adventure 2's story.Luke: There is momentum. It's going up and down, up and down, like a roller coaster. Many Sonic games have this thing going on where you beat a level, and you get a scene in a room explaining things, then a level, more explaining, level, more explaining, they`re always explaining things. In Sonic Adventure 2, things happen, there is a balance, between action and talking in a story. Even the talking is more balanced. They are not only explaining things, they are not only boasting on how awesome they are, they have a little heart to heart moment, friendly banter, all sorts of conversations.
- Action Prologue: Praised with Sonic Adventure 2, disliked it with Sonic Unleashed. For the role reversal and mystery tone and how the plot carefully increases in the first, and how meaningless and without consequences is on the latter. While in the first game we have Sonic arrested, we later see him in jail, moon gets destroyed and people reacting and commenting about it. In Unleashed, Eggman just jokes about Sonic turning into a werehog, and Sonic hardly reacts to the destruction of the planet. It doesnt help that after all the drama, the next scene is Chip having an orgasm with the chocolate ice cream or laughing like idiots.
- Alcohol Hic: Luke becomes very drunk during the Things..Dissected episode, but still manages to act like himself..apart from the swearing & vomiting.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Roger & Luke compare & contrast the various versions of Sonic & friends and how their personalities keep changing in each game.
- Anticlimax: Demonstrating the writing of Pontac & Graff In 'Pontac & Graff Bingo', Steph appears that she is about to murder Roger then she disappears and Luke appears at the end with no explanation given.
- Artistic Age: A point made in "Sonic Dissected 6" is that Sonic characters rarely act their age or do things people their age would do.
- Badass Beard: Roger has one which goes well with his badass expression when talking about something epic related in a Sonic Game.
- Berserk Button: Luke nearly loses it in episode 2 over the cartoon sound effects used in Sonic Unleashed.Luke: Cartoon Sound effects? CARTOON SOUND EFFECTS?
Roger: What the hell do you mean all Sonic games have dark storylines? Maybe Sonic Battle, maybe Sonic Unleashed. When talking about the Shadow game and 2006, Im pretty sure those games have bigger issues than just the dark story.
- Roger hates it when someone says that all Sonic games after Sonic Adventure 2 were dark, trying to follow them since the only games that tried to be dark were Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), only two games compared to the others released at the time.
- Roger gets tired when people make the assumption that a story is good or not depending if it's dark or not.
- Although Roger usually discusses his grievances with certain aspects of Sonic calmly, the writing of Pontac and Graff tends to get his dander up.
- As for Captain Theory, the existence of Modern Shadow will quickly set him off.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In-Universe, At one point in Sonic Adventure 2, Amy is trying to take Knuckles out of the sewers only for that to go nowhere, and being forgotten. Roger has always been weirded out by this scene.
- Captain Obvious: The reason they didn't talk about Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) for a long time, is that most of the problems were already talked about by other reviewers. And even then, it was pointless to complain. Roger compared this with a train competition, with the judges dissecting how the trains worked, but in the case of 2006, it would be a train that is a giant mess that everyone can notice.
- In a more literal take of the trope, there is another superhero character that is actually named Captain Obvious, who appears in Kingdom Hearts Dissected, and is the arch-enemy of Captain Theory. Whereas Captain Theory is more into speculation and interpretation, Captain Obvious is into observation and facts.
- Catapult Nightmare: In episode 8, Roger dreams about the announcement of Sonic Lost World and woke up reacting to Lost Hex.Roger: AGGH BLOCKS! HORRIBLE PENTAGONIAN BLOCKS!
- Caustic Critic: Luke, being more prone to anger, and hating things like Sonic 06 and characters like Cream, Charmy and Big, is also the guy more prone to make fun of the fandom.
- Central Theme: Sonic Dissected wants you to know that it is all about the balance in Sonic games.
- Character Development: A character arc more specifically, but Luke talks about Amy's development, starting from a Damsel in Distress, to a girl who wanted to return to adventure and become part of the heroes gang, learning her place in the team and ending with her speech to Shadow who ultimately, saves the world. However due to flanderization the next time we see her, she is trying to force Sonic to marry her.
- Civilized Animal: Luke The Fox.
- Clueless Aesop: Or more specifically, Clueless Theme. Roger doesnt understand what Sonic Unleashed is trying to say, compared with Sonic Adventure 2 who went for the forgiveness route.
- Contemplate Our Navels: In his dissection of Dissidia Final Fantasy, Roger muses that all of the Purple Prose and symbolism thrown around in the narrative are just there for emo teenagers to have something to feel profound for understanding.(Also so that hormone addled teenage girls can squee over all the homosexual undertones.)
- Darker and Edgier: Discussed, and parodied in episode 2 with the reasons for why Sonic Adventure 2 was good.Some kid with an annoying voice: Oh! Because of Shadow, and explosions, and people die, and government conspiracies and...!"Luke: No, no, thats not what makes it good. Ok, maybe a little...
Roger: How is this lighthearted?Luke: You want Sonic to be emo?Roger: Theres more between over dramatic emo and stupid nonsense. Removing consequences doesnt make it lighthearted, it make it boring.
- Roger is actually quite shocked this trope is averted with Sonic Unleashed, despite the world getting destroyed, Sonic suffering a painful transformation, and people being mind controlled.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Pointed out when discussing the humor of certain games. However Roger points out that some jokes do need some sort of explanation.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The earlier episodes have Luke & Roger in a dark room and they both wear smoking jackets. Luke was even shown with a pipe. Then later on they are shown sitting outside a Royal Institute wearing the outfits they have now.
Luke: She is a comic relief character, but her comedy doesnt come from the fact she is an insane psychopath that wants to marry Sonic, the jokes come from her childlike assumptions of the world at stage. While Sonic is stopping monsters and robots, she is worried more about one little bird. This is funny, but also important.
- Roger and Luke only talked about story in the Sonic games at first. They now talk a bit about gameplay, mostly with a guest character.
- Luke notes that while Amy being in love with Sonic was apparent in Sonic CD, during Sonic Adventure she doesnt seem to be that romantically interested in Sonic, being a fangirl at best. The first time Amy and Sonic interact, it's Amy asking Sonic, a well known hero who is occupied with the Chaos plot, to take care of a little bird.
- Feeling Their Age: In the "Sonic is dead" video. Luke and Roger compare Sonic Boom to the Old Age stage in life, where the characters just act like old people and would feel like Sonic & co are caring for old people in a home. This seems evident in the episode "Hedgehog Day" where Eggman would experience the same day over and over and Knuckles experiencing back problems.
- Flanderization: Discussed. Roger gives the argument that Sonic was a more emotional character during the Adventure series, showing emotions like sadness, fear, being worried, surprised, among others. But in the newest games, Sonic's only personality trait is being Cocky and in control. Roger says that Sonic being always in control ruins the balance, and doesn't allow Eggman to have a moment of victory, making the whole conflict meaningless.Roger: Sonic gets down a few times, says a cocky one liner, and if earned, is awesome. If Sonic is incredible from start to finish, then it's less exciting adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog and more like Sonic The Asshole beats helpless robots down". Sonic needs to be scared every now and then to give a proper story momentum.
Luke: So you are from the Babylon Rogues, a tribe of people who travelled for several generations in becoming the ultimate Air Riders, and being your only purpose and goal in the entire world. Well, sucks to be you, Sonic never touched an Air Board before, randomly grabs one, and is as good as the champion of the world in 30 seconds!You are one of the Knights of the Round Table, you dedicated your life in becoming the perfect knight. Well, Sonic just stumbles in, waves vaguely with his sword for 5 minutes and immediately gives you lectures about how you could be a much better knight.Sonic, to Sir Gawain: "Is that the best that chivalry of yours can do?"
- He also makes the observation that in the newer games, every time Sonic is being shown wounded in battle, being in love, or sharing his feelings, it's always with the character of the week, who doesnt appear in later games, and never with the main cast. If a villain even manages to defeat him, it's always through cheating, because if the heavens dont allow Sonic to be properly beaten and allow him to overcome danger, then the conflict is boring.
- Luke notes that Sonic Cd notwithstanding, Amy was actually quite complex during the Sonic Adventure games, with her focus on Sonic was not because she wanted to marry him but because she wanted to get out of her boring life, to do the right thing and she admired Sonic for being an Action Hero and wanted him to respect her. She even went against Sonic to protect her robot friend. Even during Sonic Shuffle which is not canon but was written before Sonic Adventure 2, Amy says Forget about Sonic, look at my clothes!,something that surprised Roger. During Sonic Adventure 2, which is the game that started the idea of her being in love with Sonic, Luke suggested that this is an act to make herself more comfortable around danger, and make Sonic believe she is not intimidated by the adventure.
- Funny Background Event: During Frobman's first appearance, he decided to complain about Transformers. Roger ignores him and talks about other things, while Frobman is still complaining alone.
- Also the destruction & rebuilding of the Royal Society.
- Genre Shift: Discussed. Frobman, unlike Roger and Luke, doesnt like Sonic Adventure 2 that much, and one of the reasons is how different it is compared with the first game.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: Both Roger and Luke resemble very sophisticated highbrow gentleman...that like to talk about Sonic games.
- Gentleman Snarker: Roger & Luke would sometimes do this to one another on occasion.
- Humiliation Conga: In the Episode, Unleashed again Luke gets struck by lightning and by the end of the episode an Ambulance falls on him.
- Hypocritical Humor: Roger has issues with the animation of Sonic Colors. Luke of course, reacts the best way about itLuke, showing animations done by Roger: You have issues with the animation? Your stupid little animations are supposed to be superior then, huh?Roger: Ah! Dont show them again!
- Info Dump: Sonic Unleashed is guilty of this, repeating things over and over, hurting the pacing of the story, and wasting Luke's time...and he hates that.Luke: Exposition is an aid to tell a story, not a substitution for a story.
- Informed Attribute: The main topic of the "Sonic Boom: Identity Crisis" videos are to examine how the characters' personalities in the show don't usually match up with what their official profiles says about them.
- In-Universe Nickname: At one point Captain Theory called Luke British Tails. But Luke doesnt mind as he is supposed to represent the Sonic fans who depict themselves as Sonic characters (I.E 'Original Character the Hedgehog')
- Lazy Artist: Discussed. Roger, as the Bad Animator he is, notices when an good animator is bored out of his mind, and knows that the most boring scenes to animate are talking scenes, when nothing is happening. This is the reason why he tends to put characters interacting with the background on his personal animations. Since Sonic Colors's cutscenes are mostly talking, he feels the animators are not having the opportunity to have fun.
- Lighter and Softer: Discussed. Roger nicknamed the era starting from Sonic Unleashed to Sonic Generations as Adventures of Sonic the talking squirrel, saying that while the gameplay is fine, they recall the plot as Dumb Cartoon stories
- Limited Animation: Discussed. Roger mentions that, despite the very Limited Animation of Sonic Adventure, the game uses interesting environments and good use of the camera, and makes the story work, especially for its time.
- Of course, Sonic Dissected as many of Roger's cartoons, plays this straight. Because of the reviewing nature, it's probably justified.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The first Elephant in the Room in the Sonic franchise. Roger believes this is the wrong complaint, saying that it is not that Sonic has too many characters. After all, other video games franchises have even more characters. It's issues are more complex than simply that:
Luke: "Oh boo boo, Shadow was on the screen for 3 seconds!"
- When the game forces you to play the same levels with minor changes, you will alienate the player. Luke names Sonic Heroes.
- When the game abruptly changes its style to something different. Luke names Sonic '06 with this poor gimmick, with an image from the infamous ball level with Silver.
- The fandom reaction when their favorite character doesnt appear or have enough screentime. Luke makes fun of them.
Roger: "Since the classic Sonic games, you had Sonic. Awesome, fast, more perfect, whatever. Then you add Tails, in order to give him a purpose in the story, then you need unique character elements. Tails is a smart, down to earth guy, likes technical stuff, then that means Sonic must lack at this element. So that means he's bad at techno stuff for his own good. If Sonic was also good at technology and also down to earth, then Tails would be pointless. Now add more characters, Knuckles and Amy, and you must add elements that Sonic and Tails have. Knuckles is a strong, noble savage, Amy is a social person. Balance. Every quality Sonic's friends have, is a flaw Sonic should have."
- The characters are badly written.
- The other characters are completely unnecessary within the story. Roger discuss that Sonic is all about empowerment, and as soon as you introduce a large cast, it's no longer about empowerment, it's about balance.
- Meaningless Meaningful Words: The plot of games like Dissidia Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts annoy Roger because he feels like they employ symbolism and Purple Prose just for the sake of it without any actual depth or meaning.
- Mr. Fanservice: Shadow, jokingly.
- Never Bareheaded: Outside of Dissected, you rarely see an episode with Luke, Roger & Cpt. Theory without their hats.
- Nice Hat: Both Roger and Luke, as well as Captain Theory wear very nice Top Hats to fit their classy look. Even Guest Speaker Frobman wore a Fez.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Frobman is probably this as he performs unprofessional surgery on Luke using a dagger. Apparantly he is filling in for his brother...whos a dentist.
- Original Character: Roger tried to retell the story of Sonic Adventure 2 with the characters knowing the twist before hand, and it ended with Shadow and Amy married with 5 kids, and Roger's original character Awesome the hedgehog being born. Luke luckily shuts him up and returns to the point being discussed.
- Luke can also be seen as this hence the nickname 'British Tails'.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Luke, being pissed, complains about Sonic Unleashed not knowing how to use this trope with Chip.Luke: This is not how comic relief characters work! Theyre supposed to relieve tension after scary moments, not during them! Like, this is a happy cartoon about talking elephants and stuff, but when this guy tries to kill them, the comic relief characters are all scared and stuff. This make the kids realize Huh, even the funny moment are scary This scene is interesting, but put the humor during those scenes, and you dumb them down!
- Quintessential British Gentleman: Luke is basically this. The theme of Dissected is set in a charming stereotypical British setting with the hosts & guests dressed in early 1900 outfits.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: When something Sonic related is announced, youll know a Dissected video will shortly follow.
- Running Gag: Every time Sonic 06 is mentioned, Luke will start to rant about it's quality. It came to a point where he needed a recording machine to do his rants.
- Self-Deprecation: Roger described himself as a horrible, pathetic, bad crappy animator in episode 3.
- Shaped Like ItselfRoger: Plot twists are only plot twists when the plot y´know, twists.
- Show, Don't Tell: Luke complains about Sonic Unleashed's overuse of explaining stuff, and comparing it to Sonic Adventure's scenes with Chaos.Luke: Remember when Tikal had a five hour lecture? Oh wait, she never did that, we are shown Chaos' backstory with visuals, characters and drama.
- Sick Episode: There is an arc where the episodes are set in a hospital ward due to Lukes accident in Unleashed again
- Slasher Smile: Guest Speaker Steph sports this as she slowly walks over to Roger holding a knife in 'Pontac & Graff Bingo'.
- Something Completely Different: The reason why Roger loves Sonic Adventure 2's opening scene is because they put the characters out of their element with the roles reversed.Roger: In normal Sonic games, Sonic is infiltrating Eggman's main base, and Eggman is on the hunt. But this time it's Eggman infiltrating, and Sonic is being on the hunt, like a role reversal. And thats interesting, makes the characters more badass. Even out of their element they are still wisecracking, the change of setting makes the story a little different, a little mysterious and more dynamic.
- Straw Character: Luke takes this role from time to time, sharing the hatred for something the Sonic fandom also hates. This make his Butt-Monkey status more noticeable. Subverted, however, is that Luke also has some very good opinions that Roger agrees with. It came to a point where he has to throw the script, because Roger made him say that he likes the Babylon Rogues.
- Stiff Upper Lip: Luke & Roger would do this when talking about Sonic, usually Played for Laughs. Luke even said it to Roger in one episode.
- Suddenly SHOUTING!: Luke is prone to this. He got out of the building in chapter 5 when Sonic Unleashed used Cartoon Sound Effects.Luke: When the hell is doing Scrappy poses during an epic battle scene being a good idea!?
- Superheroes Wear Capes: Captain Theory
- Special Guest: A random guest would sometimes pop in to say their piece on a certain Sonic game, or someone to fill in for Luke to talk about other games and subjects with Roger.
- Take That!: They make fun of the Reviews Are the Gospel mentality in the first episode.Roger, with an annoying voice: I heard some funny guy on YouTube make a joke about Sonic having too many characters and me, having no personality or basic thoughts on my own, brainlessly repeat what they said.Luke: That describes a good chunk of Youtube
Roger, with a annoying voice: "I'm an elitist jerk who hasn't grown up since the 90's and demand that the Sonic games never evolve beyond the Genesis games.Luke: Bah! everything was better in my day when the NES was released!
- In the same episode, there is an attack on Genrunners
- Took a Level in Cynic: Roger went from cautiously optimistic when he started the webshow, but the Pontac and Graff stories in the Sonic games, the meta-jokes done in Sonic Boom and social media, and the negative reception of Forces has made him quite cynical towards the series. It came to a point where Roger would even be cynical to any reference to Green Hill Zone, even in the movie where it's expected to be.
- The Professor: Both Roger & Luke act as professors in the studies of Sonic the Hedgehog. As the main host, Roger gives us the most information and his own views on the franchise.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Discussed by Luke, Roger & Theory when they were talking about Sonic Unleashed's level design.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Throughout the series, the Royal Society suddenly burns down, gets run over by tanks and then is rebuilt as Royal Society 2.0, which neither Roger or Luke notice.