The Spin: The Freedom Fighters are Gone (and That’s Okay)

Before you send me a ton of hate mail, let me explain.

First, we gotta go back to the beginning of cartoon adaptions of video games. It wasn’t always easy to do. In the early days of video games you had a protagonist that you played as, an antagonist but no real story tying them together. If there was one, it was VERY bare bones. With very little to go on so the cartoon creators had to come up with some kind of plot that could play for 13 episodes on a Saturday morning. Look at Pac-Man. How do you make a cartoon based on a series of games where the protagonist is a yellow ball that eats tiny, white dots in a maze while being chased by ghosts? If you’re Hanna Barbera, you rip off one of your own properties (The Flintstones) and make it about a family man who’s trust trying to get through his daily life while being chased by ghost-monsters who are trying to find the power-pellet forest because that’s the only thing they’re weak against. Somehow, that was enough for a few seasons and a Christmas special. That’s just one example. There was all kinds of crazy cartoon adaptions of games. Some faithful to the source material, some not.

“Will you give me my @#$%ing boots back already?!!”

Then, in the fall of 1993, DIC came up with two wildly different adaptations of Sonic the Hedgehog that could not be more different in tone. One was “The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” that aired on weekday mornings. It was a silly, goofy take on the video game franchise. It took inspiration from cartoons such as Ren and Stimpy and Looney Tunes. The other was “Sonic the Hedgehog” otherwise known as “SATAM” by fans because oit played on Saturday mornings. Where Adventures was super goofy, “SATAM” was much darker and took a more serious tone.

Now at this time, there was only two Sonic games and both took place in fantastical lands with only Sonic, Tails and Dr. Robotnik (Knuckles and Amy did premiere in games that year, but that was after the shows had been released). Even the planet they were having their adventures on had no name. Just “zones”. Since like many video game adaptations there was little to go on, DIC (along with Archie comics) made a ton of characters and world-building of their own. Now, I’m not going into what they did with “Adventures” because that’s not important. “SATAM” is what we’re going to focus on. On that show, Dr. Robotnik basically won. He had taken over and polluted the planet to near devastation. The only ones in his way were Sonic, Tails (who was barely used) and the Freedom Fighters. Sally (co-lead character and Sonic’s love interest), Antione (love rival and comic relief), Bunnie (strongman and very encouraging) and Rotor (genius mechanic with the personality of wet toast). The Freedom Fighters were added mainly due to Sonic having a small cast of characters at the time of production.

“I like fish sticks! That’s the closest thing I have to a personality quirk!”

Sonic fans LOVED this show and for most, it’s still their favorite and why not? Sonic and Sally’s constant struggle to end the grotesque and evil Robotnik’s reign of terror made for delicious drama. This series gave us a ton of Sonally fans (fans who ship Sonic and Sally) and who can blame them? Seeing these characters struggle so hard to defeat this tyrant only to fail or achieve very small victories was heartbreaking. They lost friends. They lost family. The only joy they seemed to have was in their comradery with each other and we loved seeing that relationship grow. For a while, Sally was HUGELY popular with fans. So popular that she was the third hero at the Sega amusement park “Sega World” in Australia, had a puppet musical show with her in it and she even got some of her own merchandise.

Sally was a big part of Sega World.

But all good things must come to an end and the series only lasted two seasons. From there, it continued on the in pages of Archie comics for nearly 25 years. Originally, Archie went the comical route with the book, but after the success of SATAM, they turned it into pretty much a continuation of the series, only now with game elements added in as well. However, after many adventures in the Archie comics, the series met it’s inevitable end. When the Sonic comics were picked up by IDW comics, it continued off not from Archie with the Freedom Fighters, but a non-cannon continuation of the 2017 game “Sonic Forces”. For those who didn’t play Sonic Forces, the same basic premise applies. Dr.Eggman (formerly Robotnik) won and had taken over the earth and a small band of resistance fighters led by Knuckles (Who’s brilliant idea was that?) fought back to end Eggman’s tyranny. Sound familiar?

But enough of the history lesson. While the IDW comic has introduced two new heroes, Tangle and Whisper, the Freedom Fighters are nowhere to be found. Why? Who knows? Could be they are tangled in some kind of copyright issue, could be Sega would rather focus on the cast that appears in the games rather than a 25 year-old cartoon. Whatever the reason, Sally, Bunnie, Antione and Rotor are gone….for now. But in my personal opinion, that’s fine. Maybe, just maybe it’s time to let them go. Why? Several reasons.

Reason #1: They are characters that only exist outside of the games.

One of their final appearences.

Like I mentioned before, when SATAM premiered, there was only TWO heroes in the games, Sonic and Tails with Amy and Knuckles only premiering in brand new games that year. Nowadays, our heroes include Sonic, Tails, Amy, Knuckles, Big, Cream, Blaze, Vector, Espio, Charmy, Silver, Rouge, Shadow and…did I leave anyone out? These characters exist in the games and the comic needs more focus on them rather than characters who are cartoon and comic exclusive with their only game appearance being a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in Sonic Spinball. The comic exists to expand the world of the games. The CURRENT games. With a cast so huge that a lot of nerds bitch about it while hypocritically complaining that Luigi’s evil twin brother isn’t playable in Smash. My main point is that the comic’s are there not only to make a profit, but to help promote the games. Something the Freedom Fighters have never been a part of.

Reason #2: Thanks to shows like Sonic X and Sonic Boom, The SATAM fan base is shrinking.

“Sally? Sally who?”

Remember when I mentioned that the 90’s were full of Sonally fans? This was very true. If you browsed the internet on the Sonic fan base during the late 90’s early 2,000’s it was all about Sonic and Sally. Then Sonic X happened and there became more and more kids who grew up on that cartoon rather than SATAM and gradually a good chunk of Sonic discussion and fan art went from mostly Sonic and Sally to Sonic and Amy and that’s only getting bigger. In fact, I rarely see Sally or the Freedom Fighters in fan art on my Twitter anymore.

If you need any more proof that they are not needed anymore, just look at the reaction when the IDW comic premiered without them. There was no outrage. No controversy.  Almost zero. The only thing close was an online article where they were upset about Ian being vague about their return and that’s it. Instead, the internet got flooded with fan art of the newest hero for the Sonic book, Tangle the lemur.

Reason #3: The comic has a new band of Freedom Fighters AKA “The Resistance”

“So wait, I’M the leader?! On a scale of 1-10, how %$#@ed are we?”

As I said before, the IDW Sonic comic is a non-cannon continuation of the Sonic Forces story line. A story where Sonic has a new band of freedom fighters all based on game-related characters and is pretty much twice as big as the original Freedom Fighters. Knuckles is the leader this time with Amy as the strategist which allows Sonic the freedom to world travel and help build up the resistance to the currently-defeated Eggman and any new villains that may rise in his stead. This includes brand new characters to help freshen up things, making bringing back the original Freedom Fighters a moot point. They’re not needed.

Reason #4: Their stories have been told.

“Our children are cute and biologically impossible!”

Let’s face it. Archie did just about everything they could with them. Twice, we’ve seen Sonic and Sally’s future where they were king and Queen. We’ve seen Eggman/Robotnik fall, rise, fall again then rise again like a rollercoaster. Antione finally gave up on Sally and eventually married Bunnie. Finally Rotor became more useless than ever after Tails became the mechanical genius. The character evolution was basically in limbo. Even in a reboot, what more can they do with them?

Now, all that said, does this mean they’re gone for good? Who knows? Just because they are not being used in the comics anymore doesn’t neccesarily mean IDW can’t use them in the future. Like I said, could be legal entanglements, could be they just have no current use for them. Maybe rebooting them and introducing them to a new audience would be great, but as I see it, it’s unnecessary.

Would I like to see them back? Sure! Who wouldn’t? But I think there NEEDS to be a reason to bring them back and currently, I just don’t see it. If you want more of the Freedom Fighters, there’s always other methods like fan-fiction or fan comics like Archie Sonic Online. A fan-created continuity of the Archie Sonic comics. Thing is, sometimes it’s good to let things go if it’s outlived it’s purpose rather than let things drag on. Here’s hoping to see more of the Freedom Fighters in the future but if we don’t, well that’s okay too.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not neccesarily those of Sonic Stadium.

UPDATE: Cyborg Eggman — New SatAM Concept Art Found

Update: Even more concept art found.

First up is Rotor, not much to say about this one, other than he looks slightly more cartoonish.

rotorconcept

Secondly, we have another Bunnie concept art, she looks a lot more like a robot in this one.

bunnierobot

Actually, scratch that, she looks less like a robot/cyborg and more like she’s wearing power armour.

And finally… we have this… Cyborg Robotnik, with electric pony tail.

robot eggman

That is awesome!

Original Story: It’s not unusual to go onto ebay and find animation cels from episodes of The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog or any other Sonic cartoon… However, what is odd are finds listed here. A seller who has listed and who has a history of listing official annimation cells from AOSTH and SatAM has listed a bunch of concept art from the show which shows radically different designs for some of the main characters which have never been seen before.

First up is Princess Sally… who is now a human!

sallyconceptIs it just my imagination, or does she look a lot like the Princess from Dragons Lair?

Here is another early concept of Princess Sally who looks more like her final animal form.

sallyconcept2There’s something about her which looks Middle Eastern, almost like Princess Jasmine from Aladdin?

Up next is Bugs Bunny’s after an operation… Sorry I mean Bunnie…

bunnyconcept

 

Now… this is where things get… stranger…. Behold… Dr Robotnik!

robotnikconept

 

He has devil horns green skin! How is this possible? Do I need to comment further on this? The design looks a lot like a villain from other cartoon shows at the time, but it looks absolutely nothing like Robotnik.

So this next one is a strange one. Mainly because I don’t remember it from any episode, but a golden glow Sonic was also added, however the date would put this very close if not prior to Sonic 2.

supersonic

And finally we have… the thing which made me roar with laughter when I saw it… Robotnic’s Chicken!

robotnikschicken

 

Please… Sega… make this a playable character in Sonic Boom. He can wander around the levels pecking up rings and randomly screaming at enemies. Also here’s a challenge, mod generations so we play as Robotnic’s Chicken, bonus points for custom animations and clucking noises.  I also want fanart and comics too!

Thanks to iDEATH & Indigo Rush for the finds.

Full sized and additional images can be found in the gallery.

Roareye Reviews: Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFCzBpzJqLA

Roareye Black is back! The creator of community creation talent pool The Sonic Showcase Network is settling down to The Sonic Stadium, and he’s spending some time to give you some unique video reviews on all sorts of Sonic gear. First on his list? The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.

This cartoon series ran from 1993 to 1996, and was the more comical, less… serious of two different shows that DiC produced starring the blue blur. Roareye intends to do individual video reviews for each episode of AoStH, but for now he’s created an ‘overview’ of the series in general. Never got to watch AoStH? Check out this video to get the heads up – in a way that only Roareye can.

Let us know what you think in the comments box below – more are coming soon. These videos will be released as part of a big rebuilding initiative of TSS’ Information pages – when new video reviews arrive, episode pages will be created in the currently-limp Animation section of this website. Enjoy!

Cookie Jar purchases DIC, obtain rights to Sonic the Hedgehog

DIC Entertainment, owners of the television rights to Sonic the Hedgehog, has been bought out by another US based group, Cookie Jar accoring to playthings.com.

LOS ANGELES and TORONTO—Cookie Jar Group is purchasing licensor DIC Entertainment and its related businesses for $31.5 million, the two companies announced this morning.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cookie Jar will purchase all of the issued and outstanding equity in DIC in a transaction valued at approximately US $87.6 million. Upon closing, DIC will continue as a subsidiary of Cookie Jar, which will remain a private company.

The deal will give Cookie Jar access to the merchandising and licensing rights to such brands as American Greetings’ Strawberry Shortcake; Mommy & Me, the parent-oriented, direct-to-retail product line featured at Wal-Mart; as well as Inspector Gadget, Horseland, Cake, Madeline and Eloise, among others. Its programming library includes nearly 3,000 half hours of children’s programming with series such as Sabrina, Liberty’s Kids, Sonic The Hedgehog and Care Bears.

The purchase also includes DIC’s European subsidiary, Copyright Promotions, and DIC’s one-third interest in KidsCo, an international children’s television channel created in partnership with NBC-Universal and Corus Entertainment.

Doubtful that Cookie Jar will do anything with the license, but I guess its newsworthy.  News has been slow lately.  :-/

DiC Reportedly Working on Releasing Sonic SatAM DVDs in UK

Remember when DiC announced plans to re-release the Sonic SatAM cartoon series on DVD? Well, that was for the US. But recent developments have suggested that there is an effort to finally get these DVDs out in the UK as well. Continue reading DiC Reportedly Working on Releasing Sonic SatAM DVDs in UK

Sonic Cartoons Coming to DVD, Courtesy of DiC

DiC Entertainment, the animation company responsible for the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons in the 1990s, has recently broken free from former parent company Disney. And now that it is an independent once more, it plans to re-release a number of Sonic shows on DVD in time for the company’s tenth anniversary. Continue reading Sonic Cartoons Coming to DVD, Courtesy of DiC