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Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie Anime Review

Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie Box Art

Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie

3.5 stars / OVA / Action / 7-up

Bottom Line

Fun anime, plain and simple.

It’s Like...

...The first of the Sonic Saturday morning cartoons in compressed form.

Vital Stats

Original Title

ソニック ザ ヘッジホッグ

Romanized Title

Sonic The Hedgehog

Animation Studio

Studio Pierrot

US Release By

Section23 (also ADV Films)


Kids Action-Adventure

Series Type



2 30-minute episodes

Production Date


What's In It


Look For

  • Video Game-Based
  • Anthropomorphic Critters
  • Parody

Objectionable Content

  • Violence: 1 (mild)
  • Nudity: 1 (mild)
  • Sex: 1 (mild)
  • Language: 1 (mild)

full details

See Also


  • Sonic X

You Might Also Like

Other Stuff We Have

Plot Synopsis

While relaxing at home, Sonic and Tails are given a message by Ojisan (Old Man) to go to the President's house for an urgent message. They discover that Dr. Eggman (Robotnik) has held the President and his daughter, Sarah, hostage. It seems he doesn't want to cause trouble, but wants to employ Sonic's help. Apparently Black Eggman (Metal Robotnik) has taken over Eggman's home base, Eggmanland (Robotropolis) in the inner world. He's overloaded the generator and if it's not turned off it will explode, destroying the outer world. Sonic and Tails reluctantly decide to help. However, after facing the infamous Black Eggman and turning off the generator the duo find out this was an elusive trap so Eggman could gain data on Sonic for his latest creation, Hyper Metal Sonic. Now joined by Knuckles, can these three stop Eggman and Hyper Metal Sonic from destroying the Planet Freedom?

Quick Review

Switch to Full Review

The kiddies ate this up and the anime community chewed it up and spat it out, but I really liked it. When it comes down to it, this is just a really fun show, plain and simple. There's not much story and the drama could've been capitalized on better. However, I find no fault in the humour, which pokes fun at the anime and Sonic games themselves. It still took itself seriously, it just didn't take itself too seriously and the jokes were thrown in at the right moment to remind us of that. The characters are plenty of fun, and both they and the setting feel true to the games. The dub is badly cast and acted flatly, but the Japanese version is right on and acceptably acted.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a fun anime. It had a lot of potential to be a memorable TV Series or longer running OAV but this is still really fun, plain and simple.

Read the full-length review...

Full Review

Switch to Quick Review

I heard about this title a couple years ago, and how it was so rare in Japan. My first thoughts were: "I love the Sonic Games, I love anime, a Sonic anime sounds great! Too bad it probably won't come here." Naturally, I was surprised and happy when I found out that ADV was bringing this title to the States. I'm a little disappointed with the way it was handled, though. Especially since it was ADV who did it. The Sonic anime is generally aimed at children both here and in Japan. What ADV did was try to slip this into the children's market and hope that not too many people would notice it was anime. I'll admit that their plan worked and it turned a handsome profit. The tape reached #7 on the charts, just under the Mummy, and held it's place there for quite awhile. It's kind of cool that an anime reached that level but I have to keep in mind that it didn't reach that level because it was anime, but because it was billed for the kids. This also meant that a subtitled VHS version was sacrificed. They didn't even have "English Dubbed" on the side of the box. I know it seems like I'm nitpicking since it isn't a requirement, but it's something they've always done, even with their other few titles without VHS sub releases, like Tekken. At least it was on the DVD, though. But for a company who started out only doing subs, I'm a little concerned that ADV seems to be losing their concern for anime fans.

Onto the show itself. The kiddies ate this one up and so did the anime community. The difference is, the anime community chewed it up and spat it out. Sonic the Hedgehog isn't popular in the anime world. What did I think of it? I may be chewed out for this as well but I liked it. Not only did I like it, but I really liked it. When it comes down to it, this is just a really fun show, plain and simple. I guess that's what people didn't like about Sonic, its simplicity. I'll admit, there's not much story. Had the episodes been 45 minutes each, there would've been a more fleshed out plot and some of the drama could've been capitalized on better, instead of just being touched on briefly. However, I find no fault in the humour. There was a large amount of it, and most of it was a parody of the anime and Sonic games themselves. Not to say this anime didn't take itself seriously, it just didn't take itself too seriously and the jokes were thrown in at the right moment to remind us of that.

It's inevitable to compare this short anime to the North American Sonic cartoons. As you may know there are/were three different versions out there. The first and arguably the best one was the ABC Saturday Morning Cartoon. The plot was not very faithful to the games and the only characters that were from the game were Sonic, Tails and Robotnik. The plot was certainly there. It was about a small group of Freedom Fighters trying to take back the planet which Robotnik holds with an iron fist. The animation was quite good, the characters were not bad at all and the acting was very good (but that's expected).

The second was a weekday show called The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. It was a BKN cartoon which also featured Jaleel White as the voice of Sonic (maybe the show's only redeeming factor), silly to the point of bad character designs, silly animation, silly characters and bad presentation with incredibly dumb humour. This is probably the worst of the three cartoons.

The third cartoon, which is still in production, is called Sonic Underground. It harkens to the original in terms of setting. Robotnik rules the world again, but this time there's only three people trying to stop him. Sonic and his siblings Manic and Sonya (all voiced by Jaleel White). While better then the BKN show, this is still bad. The animation seems out of place and the presentation harkens to both the BKN and ABC shows, which, in case you haven't figured out, isn't a good thing.

The anime takes a leap over all three. I suppose its only real competition is the ABC show which I enjoyed and I feel is good on its own, but ultimately inferior to the anime. I guess what makes the Sonic anime better than its US counterparts is its faithfulness to the game. There's a little creative license taken on the origin of the Planet Freedom (the outer and inner worlds, which was really quite interesting with what little was said about it). Since there isn't much talk of the world Sonic is in in the game, it was all believable (if you keep yourself on the level of Sonic that is). Robotnik is not the ruler of the world, nor is he in hiding. He rules a part of the inner world but everyone lives on the outer world. Even though this anime isn't very long, we can only guess he comes up to cause trouble whenever he has a plan. In the games, Robotnik always rules over a different section of the world where no one else lives, and comes out to cause trouble whenever he has a plan.

The plot isn't set during any specific game. It took elements from various games, actually. Hyper Metal Sonic made his debut in Sonic 2, and Knuckles made his debut in Sonic 3. It wasn't until Sonic and Knuckles, the fourth game, that Sonic and Knuckles became friends. In the anime, Metal Sonic makes his debut, but Knuckles and Sonic get along like good friends, and act like they've been so for awhile. There was also one scene that looked like an animated section of any given Sonic game, which was done on purpose. I thought it was a really nice touch. Sonic would also spin dash his enemies, unlike the US cartoons where he would find some other way to beat the enemies like having something drop on their head or what have you. This is one of the most impressive features of Sonic, its faithfulness to the game. It's hard to create a live action or animated spinoff of a side-scroller, like Sonic, that really makes you feel like your watching Sonic the Hedgehog and not something that just has Sonic in it.

The characters are also definitely worth noting. They really worked. The humour noted above was all in the characters, their personality and how they acted (which created the parody). In the US cartoons, Robotnik was shown as a menacing, threatening and evil guy with a pointed head and orange mustache in the ABC and Underground cartoons. In the BKN cartoon he was a standard incompetent baddie who was so stupid and predictable he was hardly worth paying attention to. In the anime however, he's more like the BKN version but was actually funny. He's drawn with the circle head and brown mustache, the way he was meant to look. Dr. Eggman reminded me of King Civa from Dragon Half (the fact that I'm pretty sure he's voiced by Kenichi Ogata probably helped. I am making this judgement on ear, though..). In North America, Sonic's always been represented as a arrogant, cocky and too-cool-for-words hero. In Japan, or at least the anime, he did have a certain air on overconfidence and 'cool' to him but he had more of a slacker demeanor and was much more sarcastic. The rest of the characters were loads of fun also and really made the Sonic anime a lot of fun.

The character designs were true to the game and looked quite a bit like the intro to Sonic CD. There was some lack of detail in the characters at times and that made them look really cartoony. The backgrounds were generally good and pretty faithful to the game. While they didn't say "We're going to Green Land Zone" or whatever, you did feel that the setting was right from the game. The animation was generally very well done, but a little uneven and flat at times. The same thing goes for the fight scenes. They mostly looked smooth and quite good but the choreography sometimes made them a little jerky and odd.

Is there anything else that makes the Sonic anime fun? Oh yes, definitely. The acting. It may strike you as odd to watch the Sonic characters speak Japanese but it was all handled very well and flowed very naturally. The casting was right on target. I couldn't think of a better voice for anyone. As for the acting, there wasn't much drama but the general level of acting was very good. The sarcasm of Sonic and the incompetence of Eggman were both well acted, as was everyone else.

I certainly can't say this for the dub, though. If you haven't heard yet, it's bad. If you have heard about it and are wondering just how bad it can be, let me assure you, it's bad. The casting is totally out there. If you liked Jaleel White as Sonic, then Martin Burke as Sonic is bound to mortify you. If you didn't like Jaleel White as Sonic, Martin Burke is still going to mortify you. While I feel Jaleel White did a pretty good job with the overconfident and cool Sonic, that voice wouldn't quite suit the more slacker and sarcastic Sonic. Given the right circumstances, however, I think White could've pulled it off the sarcastic and slacker Sonic quite nicely. However, ADV didn't try for him and instead hired Burke who does a very bad impression of Jaleel White. It comes off as a cross between the dub voices of Gary from Pokemon and Krillin from the FUNimation DBZ dub. It's generally very annoying. I think Tails and I would sound the same right now though. But that's because we both sound like we have colds and very stuffy noses. The only problem is I actually do have a cold as I'm writing this and Tails sounds like he's always had one, or has something stuck up his nose. Robotnik isn't cast quite as badly, but I definitely would not call it good either. He doesn't capture the goofy humour at all. The only people decently cast were Sarah and Knuckles. While he didn't sound like his Japanese counterpart he didn't sound too horribly out of place.

The acting in the dub is not quite bad, but it isn't quite good either. Everyone is voiced rather flat and unconvincing and the little drama that was there was handled very poorly. This dub is totally unacceptable and is, unfortunately, one of the worst dubs I've heard. Thank God for the sub though, because it is so much fun. The music isn't quite up to par with the Sonic games. The BGM is generally fun, but the ending theme doesn't make any sense.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a fun anime. It had a lot of potential to be a memorable TV Series or longer running OAV but this is still really fun, plain and simple.

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Related Recommendations

Most similar is probably the first of the three US Sonic cartoons, followed by the third then the second. There's also the much newer Sonic X anime TV show.

Notes and Trivia

Though billed as a "movie," this is just two OAV episodes strung together without any end credits separating the two shows.

US DVD Review

ADV advertised this DVD as often as possible and with good reason. It's their second DVD and it's rather good. The video is very good, with a sharp picture and bright colours. It's not perfect, but definitely not bad. The sound is English and Japanese 2.0 Dolby tracks with optional subtitles in Spanish or English (and unlike their first DVD, Tekken, these are subtitles not dubtitles). While not the best, it's, again, not the worst. Probably the greatest thing about this disc is the menus. ADV is really a cut above the rest when it comes to menus and this is no exception. They're very interactive and play a different piece of music on each page. The way they switch from page to page was also pretty neat. There aren't many extras on this disc. Or at least not many exciting ones. There's instant scene access, a slideshow, Web Connect, and 12 ADV previews (since ADV does good previews this can be looked on as a plus).

Parental Guide

Suitable for most viewers.

Violence: 1 - Even though it's Sonic, some punches and kicks are exchanged.

Nudity: 1 - Sarah's outfits (all two of them) are pretty skimpy and Sarah is a rather Human-like character.

Sex/Mature Themes: 1 - There's a couple of somewhat mature comments/jokes.

Language: 1 - In the sub, the characters say pretty mild stuff, and it isn't even subtitled correctly.

Staff & Cast

Original Japanese Cast

Sonic: Masami Kikuchi
Tails: Hekiru Shiina
Knuckles: Yasunori Matsumoto
Sara: Mika Kanai
Dr. Eggman: Junpei Takiguchi

English Dub Cast

Sonic: Martin Burke
Tails: Lainie Frasier
Knuckles: Bill Wise
Robotnik/President: Edwin Neal
Sara: Sascha Biesi
Old Man: Charlie Campbell
Metal Sonic: Gary Dehan


Was available in the US from AD Vision on bilingual DVD or dubbed VHS, both out of print as of this writing.

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