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An hour-long anime OVA starring everybody's favorite blue hedgehog. It was originally released in Japan in 1996 (initially as the two half-hour VHS tapes Journey to Eggmanland and Sonic vs. Metal Sonic); the English dub by ADV was released in 1999, the day before Sonic Adventure hit the shelves.
Sonic and Tails are enjoying a relaxing day on the beach when they're visited by Old Man Hoot, who's carrying a message from the President of South Island — a message so urgent that Hoot doesn't notice his aircraft is on fire. After rescuing Hoot, Sonic and Tails fly off to speak with the President, only to find that he and his Catgirl daughter Sera are being held hostage (for a given value of "hostage") by Dr. Robotnik.
Oddly enough, what Robotnik wants is Sonic's help — he's been forced out of his base in Robotropolis by the evil(er) Metal Robotnik. And now, Metal Robotnik has overloaded the power generator of Robotropolis — in less than a day, the generator will explode and cause the end of Planet Freedom as we know it. Sonic distrusts the story, but he's persuaded to help out anyway.
Sonic and Tails fly off to Robotropolis, breeze through the hazards in their way, and fight through Metal Robotnik himself. Along the way, they're joined by the free-roaming treasure-hunter Knuckles, who just happens to be in the area.
However, when the trio finally reach the generator, they find that Sonic was right to distrust Robotnik. The story was a ruse to enable the completion of Hyper Metal Sonic — a robotic dopplegänger who not only has Sonic's speed, but Sonic's knowledge as well. A dopplegänger hell-bent on destroying the world for Dr. Robotnik...
Sonic The Hedgehog is widely regarded as that rarest of rarities — a good videogame movie, though the voice acting in the English dub is debatable. It only has a superficial resemblance to the events of the video games yet the plot, art, and characterization still do an excellent job of capturing the spirit of the classic games. In any case when it was made the Sonic canon had far less development to clash with. Certainly it's surprisingly well-received among the fanbase, despite having no links to anything else. It currently holds a 68% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes via the RT community (no official critic reviews, however).
NOTE: ADV Films released two different versions of the movie on DVD, although they are both the same dub — the original 1999 version (which edited out/censored several bits of the movie) and the 2004 version (which is completely uncut).
Provides examples of:
- Abnormal Ammo: Metal Robotnik's glue gun.
- Accidental Pervert: Sonic can apparently see through Metal Sonic's eyes due to Metal being a copy of Sonic; this explains why Sonic was blushing when Metal got a good look up Sera's skirt. The radar also missed Tails grabbing hold of Sera after being scared and one of his hands mistakenly grabbing onto one of her breasts. Knuckles tells him off for it.
- Adaptation Distillation: Compared to the other animated versions of Sonic in the 90s, this was the most accurate interpretation of the canon characters at the time.
- Adam and Eve Plot: The end point of Robotnik's scheme — himself and Sera married, and the only remaining inhabitants of Planet Freedom.
- Affably Evil: Robotnik. When he isn't acting up the part of hostage-taker for Sonic, he gets along pretty well with Sera and the President. One of his robot minions can be seen cleaning up the President's office.
- After the End: It appears this is where Sonic and everyone lives, as seen in the desolate city (among other things) that Sonic and Robotnik fight it and the fact that there's not a lot of other people/creatures/characters aside from the ones we see.
- Alien Sky: A planet with Saturn-like rings is visible in the sky.
- Animation Bump: The fight scenes. The rest is largely more limited despite the designs being (somewhat) similar to those from Sonic CD
- As You Know: Lampshaded.
Robotnik: As you both well know, Planet Freedom is made up of two separate dimensions. The outer world, the one you live in, is known as the Land of the Sky!
Sonic: Tell us something we don't know!
- Bare Your Midriff: Sera during the first half of the movie shows off her middle, but not so much after she dons her dress later.
- Bash Brothers: Taking the characters directly from Sonic 2 and 3 gives us Sonic and Tails, moreso that any other adaptation and even many of the games - a good amount of the movie is huge action scenes where Sonic and Tails engage in coordinated asskicking so effective only the most powerful enemies stand a chance.
- Big Damn Heroes: Knuckles' entrance.
- Big Damn Movie: The games were just stock "beat the bad guy to save the world and cute fuzzy animals" type games. This movie features intense action scenes, an Adam and Eve Plot, the potential destruction of the entire planet, and the death of Metal Sonic at the end.
- Big "Shut Up!": SHUT UP, TAILS!
- Bittersweet Ending: The world is saved, but Metal Sonic (who had then formed a mental bond with Sonic) deliberately allows himself to perish in a glacial volcano. Why? Because "There is only one Sonic."
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Robotnik is clearly one of those grandiose super villains who doesn't want to simply kill his foe, but first defeat him in something resembling a fair fight. Hence the scene where Robotnik, taking advantage of Sonic's and Tails' distraction, whips out a handgun and shoots Tails' wrist-radar — even though Tails' head must have been an equally clear shot.
- Brilliant but Lazy: Sonic, particularly in the opening scene, where he doesn't move a finger to help Old Man Hoot until it becomes clear that Old Man and Tails are in grave danger.
- Catgirl: Sera.
- Catch a Falling Star: Sera falls out of Robotnik's aircraft, and Knuckles catches her in mid-air.
- Catch and Return: Sonic rides a missile right back into the robot that shot it.
- Chekhov's Gag: Robotnik's extremely-slow-moving turtle missile. It pops up later just in time to destroy the CD Robotnik has with Sonic's DNA data that he could use to make another Metal Sonic.
- Cool Old Guy: Old Man Hoot, but Your Mileage May Vary.
- Canon Dis Continuity: While never outright stated, the movie seems to be doomed to this status, due to its lack of direct connection to the games, the fact that Sega never ever brings it up in the documentaries, and the current lack of re-releases (although this could be due to ADV Films, the company that dubbed it, going bankrupt after its 2004 re-release) and its obscure, generally unknown status as a whole. With that said, "Look-a-like" was released on the compilation album True Colors in 2009, so SEGA hasn't completely forgotten about it.
- Death Course: The path to Robotropolis, though Sonic and Tails make short work of it.
Sonic: I bet Robotnik purposefully picked the route with the most traps for us!
- Distressed Damsel: Sera...sort of. She plays the role of hostage when Sonic's around, but she treats Robotnik like a friend the rest of the time.
(Sera and Robotnik are playing a fighting videogame. Sera loses.)
Sera (hysterical): No no no no no it's not fair you always beat me every time! (abruptly regains her composure) Alright, one more!
Robotnik: Just give up! We've played a hundred times!
Sera (devious): I'll stop being your hostage...
Robotnik: Alright, start it again.
- The Ditz: Old Man Hoot didn't even realize his rocket was on fire!
- The Dragon: Metal Sonic.
- Egopolis: Robotropolis, aka Eggmanland. At night, the city's lights form a picture of Robotnik's face.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Two different schemes are mentioned. Metal Robotnik's exploding generator turns out to be fake, but Hyper Metal Sonic's attempt to shatter the continents is very real.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The President.
- Evil Knockoff
- Expy: Sera is pretty much a human (except for an inexplicable tail) Amy Rose, presumably Amy herself didn't make an appearance becuase her being the president's daughter and Eggman's 'interest' didn't work quite as well, in the creator's minds anyway.
- Fastball Special: Used twice in a row to defeat Metal Robotnik.
- Finger Wag: Sonic to Metal Robotnik. Often mistaken by fans for another gesture entirely. TO be fair, it is the case in some edits of the film.
- Fear of Thunder: Tails. "I'm afraid of lightning!"
- Fearful Symmetry: Portions of Sonic's fight with Metal Sonic.
- Flash Step: Sonic, Tails, and Metal.
- Floating Continent: Between the plethora of floating landmasses and the cloud cover, the surface of Planet Freedom is largely shrouded in darkness; hence why it's called "the Land of Darkness". This is probably also the reason that the entire population lives on the outer layer, "the Land of the Sky".
- The Fool: Old Man Hoot.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Tails. He builds a hover-surfboard in his spare time, disassembles one of Robotnik's radars, and later reassembles it as a device that can track Metal Sonic — and wirelessly interfere with Metal's programming. This movie appears to be where Tails' mechanical tendencies come from, in fact.
- Gag Dub: Fireball 20 XL's Sonic Bastardized is a redubbed adaptation in which
RobotnikEggman wants Sonic to go shut off a bomb he planted in Blizzard Entertainment's mainframe (in retribution for his World of Warcraft losses), and Metal Sonic is a robot named Hyper Metal Jason (after Jason Griffith) that Eggman intends to use to replace Sonic's voice.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Sonic attempts to knock some sense into Old Man Hoot by attaching a crab to his foot, has limited success.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Dr. Eggman is seen playing around with the president and his daughter in several scenes.
- Groin Attack: Sonic lands crotch-first on the nose of Robotnik's aircraft. Robotnik then wonders why Sonic is grimacing.
- Here We Go Again: Averted. Eggman reveals after the final battle that he still has the data of Sonic's DNA via a CD, which he'll use to make another Metal Sonic to combat Sonic again...only for the missile turtle Robotnik fired away earlier to arrive on time and destroy the CD by accident.
- In a Single Bound
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sonic.
- Left for Dead: Subverted! Metal Robotnik shoots the bridge from underneath Sonic and Tails; they grab bridge girders just out of sight and make gurgling sounds to convince Metal Robotnik that they're drowning. Just when they think he's left..."I see you! You didn't think I'd fall for a stupid trick like that, did you?"
- Last Second Chance
- Lava Pit
- Makes Us Even:
Sonic: Thanks a lot, pal! I owe you one!
Knuckles: I think we're even.
- Mood Whiplash: The scene where Metal Sonic dies is really stuck in utter contrast to the previous scene, which was a comedic albeit intense action-packed battle. Heck, it sticks out in utter contrast with the rest of the film's tone and mood in general.
- Motivational Kiss: Sera gives one to Knuckles.
- Names to Know In Anime: Sera is voiced by Mika Kanai in the Japanese version.
- Neck Lift: Metal Sonic does this to Sonic whilst simultaneously throttling him.
- Never Say "Die": Averted. "When you awaken...KILL him!" (cue Evil Laugh)
- Also averted when Robotnik meets Sonic at the Generator.
Robotnik: You fell for my trap! You came all the way here and now you'll die here. Good job, Sonic!
- Nice Hat: Knuckles has one. If just for the Rule of Cool. Used for a Crowning Moment of Funny later when it gets set on fire in the climax of the film.
Knuckles: MY HAT'S ON FIRE, HELP!
- Noble Demon: Hyper Metal Sonic.
- Ocular Gushers
- Off-Model: Happens about as much as Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Only One Name: Sera.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Sonic will sometimes sound like a British woman when the voice acting gets particularly energetic.
- Also happens to Robotnik.
- Our Presidents Are Different: He's both President Target and President Buffoon.
- Panty Shot: In the climax of the movie, Metal Sonic's head gets knocked through the bottom of Robotnik's hovercraft, right underneath Sera. She accuses him of trying to look up her skirt and starts kicking him in the face.
Sera: Back, no no no! Don't look there, you pervert!
- Personality Chip: Thanks to the wristwatch Tails recieved from Eggman that he managed to dismantle, he is able to wirelessly mess with Metal's personality programming; this gives Sonic a crucial advantage in the fight.
- Pet the Dog: After winning his first fight against Sonic, Metal Sonic tracks down Old Man Hoot and...gives him Sonic's favorite clothes.
- Pilot: The film was originally released as two separate half-hour pilots in Japan, but due to Sonic's lack of popularity there the potential anime series never got off the ground. When it was dubbed, the two specials were merged together and released in the US as what we call Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie.
- Power Creep, Power Seep: In S3&K, Knuckles could glide through the air. Here, it gets upgraded to the ability to jump ridiculously high, hover in midair, and possibly fly outright.
- Like Tails' propensity for mechanical shenanigans, seems to be the start of a trend of non-game media to upgrade Knuckles' gliding to full-fledged flight.
- The President's Daughter: Sera.
- Psychic Link: Between Sonic and Metal Sonic.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Sonic's aforementioned "favorite clothes" are bright pink.
- Resigned to the Call: Sonic doesn't care about Robotnik's problems, but goes to Robotropolis anyway after very little convincing.
- Redemption Equals Death
- Riding the Bomb: Sonic, on one of Metal Robotnik's missiles.
- Robo Cam
- Ruins of the Modern Age: The "ancient relics" on the outskirts of Robotropolis/Eggmanland resembles an abandoned New York City.
- Scenery Porn: Damn, Planet Freedom looks pretty cool.
- Shattered World: Planet Freedom.
- Shout-Out: One of the derelict aircraft on Sonic's island looks suspiciously like the USS Enterprise. Also, Sera's wedding dress is reminiscent of Neo-Queen Serenity's outfit.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: Robotnik gets a whack from an annoyed Sara when he gloats about how Sonic will face an even greater threat than his just-defeated Metal Robotnik.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Her name is Sera in the original Japanese, and Sara in the English dub. "Sarah" is right out.
- Spoiler Opening: The very first scene is Dr. Robotnik talking about acquiring Sonic's life data for Metal.
- Story-Boarding the Apocalypse: Knuckles' explanation of how exactly Metal Sonic is capable of destroying the planet.
- Stupid Statement Dance Mix: Planet Freedom, Planet Freedom, they conquered Planet Freedom.
- Surprisingly Good English: The ending song, "Look Alike", is sung (and spoken for a bit) in, for the most part, </small> well-pronounced and grammatically correct English.
- Take My Hand: Sonic to Metal when the latter is about to sink into lava. Metal declines, saying "There is only one Sonic..." and then dissolves.
- There Can Be Only One: This, rather than Robotnik's order, is Metal Sonic's real motivation for trying to kill Sonic. And ultimately, his reason for declining his Last Second Chance after losing to Sonic.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Sonic insists that he has to defeat Metal alone. Initially.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Sera.
- Translation Train Wreck: One DVD version of the movie has subtitles that, for example, call Knuckles "Knucklus," and call Eggman "Machine King."
- Unusual Euphemism: "Sonic will never again be a pain in my egg!"
- The Voiceless: Metal never talks until the end, when he sinks into lava.
- Wall Jump: Sonic, of course.
- What Measure Is a Non Unique: The reason Metal Sonic allows himself to fall into the lava near the end.
- ↑ The singer pronounces memory as "memorai" in one verse, which itself isn't entirely grammatically sound.</span> </li></ol>