Some of the older heads I like to talk to say, "I was there, man," when referencing Woodstock. They'll have this distant look in their eyes as if they can see a band right in front of them on the stage, and I can do the same. But, instead of Woodstock, it's Sonic the Hedgehog, since "I was there, man," when the blue blur first debuted back in 1991 on the Sega Genesis. (With its blast processing!) Sonic's come a long way, and he even has a new Netflix show titled Sonic Prime, that will soon be racing into our homes.
In fact, being there from the beginning, I've seen some rough years for Sonic, both in video games and on TV shows, as Sonic has been a TV star almost as long as he's been a video game star. And quite recently, he's even become a movie star (I actually now consider the first Sonic movie to be the best video game movie ever), making Sonic more popular than ever these days.
So, I'd like to take a trip down Green Hill Zone lane, and think back to all the Sonic shows that have aired, and rank them. But, I won't take too much of your time, because, you know. Gotta go fast.
5. Sonic Underground (1999)
If any Sonic cartoon feels like fanfiction, it's this one. Sonic Underground's story is like a fever dream. In this one, Sonic is a prince who comes from a royal bloodline. He also has a brother and a sister, named Manic and Sonia, respectively. And, get this, all of them are voiced by Steve Urkel himself, Jaleel White. They were all separated at birth due to a prophecy involving Dr. Robotnik, and they have come together to stop him. A great deal of the plot concerns medallions that turn into instrument weapons, and it's just as bonkers as it sounds.
Unfortunately, it's not bonkers in a fun way. Do you want to hear Sonic sing? No? Then this isn't the show for you. Sonic Underground feels and somehow looks the cheapest out of all of the Sonic cartoons, even though it came out in 1999. I've never met a single person who has liked this show, and it sits beneath every other Sonic cartoon. Sonic Underground, indeed.
4. The Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog (1993)
The OG Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, this show left much to be desired, even back then. Jaleel White voiced the titular Hedgehog (this was his first gig as Sonic), while Christopher Welch voiced his buddy, Tails. The show basically featured a number of adventures, hence the title, where Robotnik would come up with some scatterbrained plot, and Sonic would trounce him in every episode. Wash, rinse, and repeat. At the end, Sonic would have a segment titled Sonic Sez (I'm sorry, "Says") where he would offer some kind of PSA. These were often the best part of the entire episode!
Which is kind of the reason this show is so low on the list. The first Sonic show was the only Sega-related cartoon in town at the time, putting it in direct competition with some of the Nintendo cartoons of the era. But, there was nothing really impressive or interesting about The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog other than the fact that it had Sonic and Tails in it. The stories were bland, the voice acting was pretty cringe, and the plots were predictable and kind of lame. So, it was slightly better than Sonic Underground, but not by much.
3. Sonic X (2003-2005)
The fourth Sonic cartoon, Sonic X was actually an import from Japan, as it was an anime. The story concerned Sonic getting teleported to Earth after a scuffle with Dr. Eggman, and he meets a boy named Chris Thorndyke who helps him along the way. Most of the stories involve the chaos emeralds, and pretty much all of the major Sonic characters, including Tails, Amy, and Knuckles, make appearances, but some pretty obscure ones are also here, like Cream the Rabbit, Rouge the Bat, and Espio the Chameleon. It's…good.
For some, Sonic X is their favorite Sonic cartoon, and I get it. It's definitely heavy on the fan-service, and it's action-packed. It's also probably the best-looking Sonic cartoon with its anime style. But, I really think it all depends on when you grew up with Sonic.
If you grew up with him in the early '90s, then this version may be a bit too frenetic for you, and the fan-service doesn't hit nearly as hard. It also contains a few too many human characters. But, if you grew up with Sonic Adventure as your first Sonic game, then I get why you would love this one so much. I mean, the first shot is of Big the Cat. So, it already has that going for it, right?
2. Sonic Boom (2014-2017)
Okay, so your mileage may vary with Sonic Boom if you don't like your Sonic funny. But I do, which is why this lands so high on the list. Remember how I mentioned that Sonic has seen some rough patches when it comes to his games? Well, the actual Sonic Boom video game is a testament to that statement. But, the Sonic Boom tie-in cartoon was the best thing to come out of that miserable situation.
Every episode is its own separate storyline, sans a few, and it all plays out more like a sitcom than anything else. The characters are great, including Tails, voiced by the amazing Colleen O'Shaughnessy, but especially Dr. Eggman, voiced by Mike Pollock. He's the funniest character on the show! Again, if you want something with more action, then Sonic X is your show. But, I liken Sonic Boom to the 2012 Ninja Turtles series, which I think is one of the best Ninja Turtles animated TV shows ever. It's the characters, silly! They're all so good on Sonic Boom!
1. Sonic The Hedgehog (1993-1994)
It's bizarre to think that Sonic the Hedgehog came out the same year as the vastly inferior The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, but it did, and it's wonderful. Instead of being all cheery like TAOSTH, this version features a hellscape where Doctor Robotnik is probably the most sinister he's ever been (Jim Carrey being a complete weirdo, he's not). Sonic, again voiced by Jaleel White, is joined with other freedom fighters who have to liberate the other animals, whom Robotnik wishes to enslave and rule over with an iron fist.
Sonic the Hedgehog is the best Sonic cartoon because the show told engaging stories, and each episode felt like an event. The freedom fighters, including Tails, Princess Sally, Rotor the Walrus, Antoine Depardieu, Bunnie Rabbot (who's an actual cyborg!), and Dulcy the Dragon are all fantastic characters with distinct personalities. And again, Doctor Robotnik is actually menacing in this series, giving off serious Dr. Claw vibes from Inspector Gadget fame. No question, Sonic the Hedgehog is the best Sonic cartoon, and it's not even close.
We'll see soon enough if Sonic Prime comes close to the 1993-1994 series, but those are some pretty big red and white shoes to fill. For more news on Sonic the Hedgehog, make sure to spin dash here often!
Lover of Avatar (The Last Airbender, not the blue people), video games, and anything 90s, he will talk your ear off about Godzilla, so don't get him started.
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