Dec. 5 – Sonic’s Christmas Blast

SONIC’S CHRISTMAS BLAST
Original Air Date: December 24, 1996

The buffoonishly evil Dr. Robotnik takes over the Holidays, and only one Hedgehog can stop him…

BACKSTORY:

Designed as an edgier antidote to Mario, Sonic’s stardom began right from his very first game, released in 1991 exclusively on the Sega Genesis. The Hedgehog’s success not only kicked off the “mascot craze” of the mid 90s, he single-handedly made Sega a fierce competitor to Nintendo for the first time since the console gaming  market crashed in 1983.

While it’s not uncommon for popular animated videogame icons to get their own animated show, Sega and DIC Entertainment embarked on creating an unprecedented two shows, simultaneously, in September of 1993.

Sonic 2, which introduced Miles “Tails” Prower, was the last game to come out before the series aired

First-run episodes of The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog ran for one season in daily syndication, while ABC bagged the rights to air the darker, more dramatic Sonic the Hedgehog (also known as SoH: The Animated Series) for two successful seasons.

BREAKDOWN:

Good God… do I really have to do this?! This is a mind-numbingly stupid Christmas special starring Sega’s restless rodent at his most irritating. Please don’t think me cruel: I was a massive Sonic fan at the time, and even woke up at the ungodly hour of 6AM everyday to watch the idiocy, even as puberty demanded my time would be better spent tricking girls into lewd situations.

Perhaps the first Xmas special star with Down’s Syndrome

I don’t blame Sonic for that, plus this Christmas Special aired more than three years after the last episode of the daily syndicated cartoon had stopped producing shows. (Although, I should mention that, during that time, I did lose my virginity… coincidence?!)

What the fuck is going on?!

But back in 1993 I greatly preferred the oblong, slapstick shenanigans of The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog over his more serious Saturday morning counterpart, which actually about a year longer. Now I can see why…

“I, the real Santa Claus, am announcing my replacement!”

Not that this is Sonic’s fault, actually. Looking back, Jaleel White’s (yes, Urkel) personification is far less grating and obnoxious than he’s depicted today; easily more tolerable and humanizing than the Hedgehog has appeared in games over the last decade.

Honestly, the greatest Sonic voice in history

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest of the characters. One of my favorite character, Tails, sounds like a helpless, often nagging girlfriend, and Robotnik’s two minions, Scratch and Grounder… They’re pretty much an insult to the medium of animation. If your parents or older sibling ever mockingly impersonated the cartoon characters you loved but they don’t understand, they may as well’ve been reciting Scratch and Grounder dialog verbatim.

Horrible

Of course, it’s not like they had a proper antagonistic role model to look up to. Dr. Robotnik is a horrible, by-the-numbers foil. His evil only extends as far as each self-contained plot allows (“Is Sonic playing tennis? Then I must become THE EMPEROR OF TENNIS!”), and his villainous deeds are all but fruitless, that is, unless his primary goal had been to rehash poorly animated Bugs Bunny gags. So, what are his intentions in Sonic’s Christmas Blast? To be Santa Claus! AHAHAHAH!

Too fat for a Santa suit? That’s just sad

How? He kidnaps and creates a robot of Claus, who then anoints Robotnik the new Santa by way of a closed-circuit Big Brother channel. Why? So he can turn the tables on the Holidays, forcing the people of wherever-the-hell-this-is-cause-it’s-not-Earth to donate and deliver presents down his chimney! AHAHHHAHA… wait, what?

Sad Fact: No one cares about a Santa who doesn’t bring gifts

It’s hardly even whimsical. I don’t know how much I should go into the logistics of something so moronic, but let’s just say that people put up with a helluva lot less from tyrants who depose political leaders, let alone mythical figures who work one day a year. Plus, it’s only gonna get stupider from here, folks. Robotnik’s plan works, and there’s only one hero that can save the day: A really fast porcupine!

“Can you just say what you really mean, woman?!”

We first see Sonic and Sally Acorn discussing how they promise they won’t be getting each other presents this Christmas, and following a slightly sexist discussion with Tails about how all women are basically greedy liars, it’s on to the see what’s happening with Christmas.

Chirpa-Derp-Derp

But lo! Not before a retarded bird halts the action to admire Sonic’s ring. No, not as in the rings Sonic accumulates in his games, but a piece of goddamned jewelry.

Gamers will be as familiar with Sonic’s ring as they are with Mario’s Whip

Where does it come from? What does it mean? Nobody seems to know even though they discuss it at length, possibly in hopes that this thing Sonic’s been wearing for at least a year will be crucial to the plot later.

A courtesy visit

Scratch and Grounder go door-to-door demanding pittance from civilians now under the rule of the new Claus regime. When one guy, whom I believe is a former member of the Burger King Kids Club Gang, can’t donate anything to Robotnik’s Christmas, they take his whole goddamned house!

Why’d you even ask then?

Meanwhile, Sonic sees that major retailers have been completely cleared of their stock.

Blue Friday

That idiot kid with the overbite miraculously appears from behind a dumpster (or perhaps his twin because that kid from the beginning got kidnapped in the previous scene) to inform Sonic and Tails about the plot they missed when it was broadcast over national airwaves.

“You’ve got some special needs, kid”

There’s an evil plot afoot involving immortal robots and towering construction equipment, and their deadly dials are cranked all the way to 11.

This can’t really be part of the “plan”

How do theese two animals gifted with speech, flight, and speed tackle the dilemma? With Bugs Bunny gags, of course!

“Don’t let the mustache throw you, I’m honestly a blue janitor.”

Odd thought it may seem for Robotnik’s primary henchmen to reveal the plan to a minimum wage-making custodial worker, it was pretty common in the series for Sonic to ignore his incredible super powers in favor of more vaudevillian methods of interrogation.

And then everybody dies

My guess is that it was easier to animate. Plus, it’s important to remember that these robots can’t really die, so why not resort to a little slapstick to subvert their programming.

A hideout made of chimneys virtually guarantees an unbalanced Xmas

The location of the real Santa is revealed to be no more than a Spin Dash-wipe away, and Sonic and Tails roar off to the wintery prison. That said, I loved the enemy design in the Sonic games, and the same goes for the tertiary FAIL-bots in the cartoon.

Bad villains, great designs

They don’t do much, but hey, I wouldn’t mind owning an action figure or two.

“Get out here, ya fat bastard!”

A few gags later, Santa is liberated! Yet, in a fowl twist pretty much mirroring the events in the Super Mario Bros. Christmas Special, the Holidays are far from saved saved! Oh, If only there was a series of easily surmountable obstacles built for our heroes to tackle in the remaining five minutes?

Totally feeling like Tails looks right now

It turns out Sonic’s ring is part of a fucking prophecy that unlocks the ability to save Christmas of ’96. They don’t make it clear as to whys and hows, but rest assured the writers fully intended the macguffin ring to save the day by establishing it as far back as ten minutes ago.

Whatever

I can’t tell whether the next part infuriates me, or stays true to the games. Turns out the only way to fix Christmas and get presents out to everyone involves two obstacles taken almost directly from the Genesis. First off, Santa can’t do his job unless someone gets to the top of a mountain. Shouldn’t be too hard to animate, and one blue blur later:

“Anything up there? No? Okay, head down so we can finish the fucking cartoon.”

That’s one meaningless prophecy conquered in less than a second, so what could be the next challenge foretold by the ancients? If you guessed “snowboarding” you’re clearly more versed on Christmas folklore than I.

Chilidogs for every boy and girl!

Apparently, fate dictates Sonic get from Point A to Point B using numerous methods of XTREME conveyance. Doesn’t matter that all of them make Sonic slower – the Hedgehog is a slave to tradition.

Goddammit…

Evidently the day is still not won. The prophesied decathlon has put Santa way behind schedule… God, if only there was someone fast around to do the job.

This is not the ending to Superman, it just looks like it

Sonic nabs all the loot Robotnik lifted and redistributed it around the rest of the world.

D’OOOH, Blasted Hog of Hedge!

Yes, even to Down Syndormed Tiny Tim.

All the boxes contain helmets

Santa is blown away by Sonic’s ability to do his job… so after centuries of work and 20 minutes worth of plotting his rescue while risking life and limb over an omen so idiotic it had to be misinterpreted… Santa fucking quits.

Behold: Sonic Claus!

Huzzah, Sonic is given the full time position as Santa Claus, and from that day forward his games would diminish in quality and not a single episode of The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog would ever be made again! Talk about a backhanded miracle.

Merry Christmas, indeed

Nope. The only savior who appears in Sonic’s Christmas Blast is Sega’s alone

Some sort of Santa Claus appears in almost every frame of Sonic’s Christmas Blast, albeit as either an impostor or an exceedingly dimwitted variation. I think I count four Clauses in all: Santa, Sonic Claus, Robotnik Claus, which is most certainly not to be confused with Robot Santa Claus.

Eyeballs or glasses – building both on a robot is a waste of time

Much like our other video game Xmas specials – Koopa Klaus or Christmas Comes to PacLandSonic’s Christmas Blast is not meant for normal Christmas consumption. Diehard gamers might get a kick out of it, but only if they’re looking for a reason to get mad and/or something to mock mercilessly. Sonic’s Xmas disaster is just another example of how TV producers assume a coherent script or logic can take a backseat to any sort of Christmas imagery or theme, thus the average viewer will only end up more cynical about the Holidays as a result of watching this horseshit.

PRODUCT INFORMATION (Shop Amazon through us – it helps!)

Sonic’s Christmas Blast is available on a standalone DVD with a bevy of unrelated episodes and as part of Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series. However, for Sonic fans who would like to revisit the Hedgehog’s true glory, I’d strongly recommend Sonic Colors for the Nintendo DS, as it’s far more representative of what made the icon amazing in the first place.

Yesterday’s Christmas Special
A CARTOON CHRISTMAS IPHONE WALLPAPERS


2009’s Dec. 5th Christmas Special
THE GREAT SANTA CAPER STARRING RAGGEDY ANN

7 thoughts on “Dec. 5 – Sonic’s Christmas Blast

  1. Wow, I’d forgotten Sally Acorn was in this one (she never appeared in the Adventures series otherwise, only the edgier Animated Series/SatAM). Even at the time I knew it was terrible, I was just so addicted to Sonic I felt compelled to watch (especially as my parents wouldn’t get me a goddamned console so this and the LCD games were the best I had!).

    However, THANK YOU for your support of Tails Chris! He’s one of my favourite characters too, and I always hated his babyish appearance in the two cartoon series. He wasn’t even in Sonic Underground at all, and even Knuckles made it in that.

    Please tell me you’ve heard of Sonic Underground – if not, watch it, and then do a whole podcast on it. Jaleel White playing Sonic, Sonic’s brother… AND Sonic’s sister called, I shit ye not, Sonia. Instead of hiring a female voice actor, they just Michael J Fox-ified Jaleel White. Sigh. And there was a crappy song in every episode.

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