Well, it looks like this two-parter just became a three-parter. Blame Japan and Jetix.
In 1996 an animated Sonic movie, simply titled Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie, was released in Japan, hitting US shores on home video in 1999. It’s…not very good, but it would be the last animated Sonic and Tails adventure until 2005, when TMS Entertainment, a Japanese animation studio who has worked on many US productions at least as far back as the 1980s if not earlier, brought forth Sonic X, featuring brand new adventures of the Sonic crew, this time on Earth. 4Kids Entertainment would dub the show as part of the “Fox Box” programming block they ran on Fox Kids’ Saturday Morning lineup.
The series follows our heroes and villains as an accident during another Sonic/Eggman battle (this would be the first time Doctor Robotnik was called by his Japanese name in the US extended media unless the comics beat them to it) sends the gang to Earth. There Robotnik continues his goal of world domination and destroying a certain blue hedgehog. Our heroes team up with Chris, the son of rich and famous parents, and his family and friends as they tried to stop Eggman and deal with other situations on Earth. The next season would feature Chris ending on Sonic’s world (the name “Mobius” is now a memory) just as Sonic and friends go into space to help a girl named Cosmo free the universe of the Metarex, with Eggman following to cause more mischief.
Japan would, per usual, produce two intros, with 4Kids creating their own. That would already make three intros total but Jetix, an international channel and distributor who also had a programming block on certain ABC and Disney networks in the US, decided to create their own into. Yes, I ignored international intros for the DiC shows (though I did find Portuguese intros for Adventures and SatAM in my searching) but since I now have to give Sonic Boom it’s own entry thanks to all the Sonic X intros, why not?
This is the first Japanese intro, and I didn’t find any version of this subtitled. One thing all the intros have in common is trying to capture the manic feel of Sonic’s speed, though the show itself was not as frantic as the intros make it look. I don’t mean that Sonic X was slow paced or anything. It just wasn’t as frantic as you see in the intros.
This intro shows off the cast (though the Earth humans barely appear in it) but outside of Tails’s plane everything is focused on Sonic and Eggman, another recurring element of the intros. After all, the Jetix uses more of this intro than the 4Kids one. All they seem to care about is Sonic going fast, and the US fans already know how that’s going to go in a moment. Japan would use the same theme song, “Sonic Drive”, in the second intro.
This can’t be season two’s version of the intro, but I haven’t “Japanese intro 3” or any variant show up on YouTube and the show didn’t get a name addition like some other anime around this time for a continuing season. Cosmo, the space plant girl that becomes Tails’ tragic love interest (poor kid has the worst luck with women), and her enemy the Metarex don’t appear anywhere, while Chris is the only human to take part in the space missions apart from Eggman. While we get some more appearances of Sonic’s usual team in the beginning and a look at Tails’ upgraded and regular plane it’s still all about Sonic and Eggman. It’s a shame the others are barely shown helping.
Then you have the 4Kids version and this time it’s all Sonic going fast. The theme song is even all about “gotta go fast, gotta go faster”. Eggman matters in the intro as much as the usual characters, the original humans are almost nonexistent even by the previous intros’ standards, and it’s all about Sonic. The song is catchy and mentions being stuck in a “new location”, and forgetting there actually is an explanation, then goes right back to going fast. Even Sonic himself takes more times to stop and relax than this intro. Jeez!
I thought there was a new intro for the show when the gang goes to space but if so I must have been the only one to see it. All I could find was a small number of fan stuff and the Jetix verison.
Ummm…what’s the name of this show? I didn’t catch it. Kind of reminds me of the Video Power intro from the game show season when it hits the chorus. Except the Jetix Sonic X intro is all chorus. The Earthlings probably get the most screentime of any of the intros here…and it still doesn’t amount to anything. Eggman reminds us he’s here but it’s still just Sonic running fast and smashing robots. This show can’t get a break unless it’s Sonic.
If you want to see the series it’s all available on the TMS Entertainment YouTube channel. While the three American seasons have dedicated playlists there isn’t one for the original Japanese and I’m wondering if there’s only a few random subtitled episodes in the bunch rather than the full series. You can also find the English version on various other streaming sites.
Tomorrow we’ll finish this run (no pun intended) with the last of the Sonic cartoons…at least until the one just announced.