Few video game characters have enjoyed the same kind of success as Sonic The Hedgehog.
In addition to starring in some of the hottest games of the last 25 years, he has also featured in numerous comic books, trading card games, and action figure lines. Additionally, SEGA’s chili dog muchin’ mascot is no stranger to the world of animation – and no, I am not just referring to his cameos in the Wreck-It Ralph movies.
Since the early 90s, Sonic has sped across the airwaves more than once and continues to pop up on the small screen every couple of years.
What follows now is a look back at the Blue Blur’s history in animation. As I mentioned, this list does not include his Wreck-It Ralph cameos. Nor does it feature his two big-budget blockbusters that helped give a nice big boost to the video game movie genre. Nope, this is a look back at his escapades on the small screen – a feat spanning nearly 30 years with no end in sight!
So, sit back, relax and enjoy as we breakdown
The Complete List Of Sonic The Hedgehog Cartoons
Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog (1993)
Speeding across television screens on September 6th, 1993, Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog was the Blue Blur’s first official foray into the world of syndicated animation.
Created by DIC Entertainment in association with SEGA Of America, the series aired weekday afternoons and was comprised of 65 individual episodes that followed a mischievous Sonic, and his buddy Tails, in their ongoing quest to thwart the maniacal plans of the evil Dr. Robotnik and his numerous mechanical minions.
Animation for the show would be outsourced to four different studios across Asia and each episode would conclude with a special PSA segment titled “Sonic Says.”
Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog was both an entertaining and lighthearted romp that featured a strong voice cast led by Family Matters frontman Jaleel White. Christopher Welch, Blues singer ‘Long John’ Baldry, Phil Hayes, and future Beast Wars alums Garry Chalk and Ian James Corlett rounded out the call sheet for the show, which lasted for a single season before ending on December 3rd, 1993.
According to executive producer Robby London, the series had initially been envisioned as an expansion of ABC’s Saturday morning Sonic cartoon. However, the top brass at the network rejected the idea. That was until London proposed an entirely different show for syndication – which eventually became Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog.
Interestingly, while the show had wrapped up by the end of 1993, Sega would actually order an additional episode to air on USA Network during the 1996 holiday season in an effort to build hype for the recently released Sonic 3D Blast.
Over the years, this series has returned to the airwaves more than once. It would serve as part of the BKN Block from 1997 to 1998 and later BKN Kids II from 1999 until 2000.
Disney would also rebroadcast episodes between 1998 and 2002. Internationally, Spain’s Telecinco, Italia 1 in Italy and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom brought the cartoon back for those outside of North America.
In more recent years, the series would also find a home on streaming platforms like Netflix and premium cable channels like Starz. Shout! Factory also released all 65 episodes on DVD between 2007 and 2009, while Discotek Media released the complete series to standard definition Blu-Ray on February 22nd, 2022 under license from 41 Entertainment and Invincible Entertainment Partners
- Jaleel White (Actor)
- Kent Butterworth (Director)
Sonic The Hedgehog (1993 -1994)
Story edited by Len Janson, whose rap sheet would include everything from The Real Ghostbusters to Steven Spielberg’s Tiny Toon Adventures, this second Sonic series aired Saturday mornings on ABC and was considerably darker than its weekday counterpart.
Once again created by DIC Entertainment in association with SEGA Of America and Italian studio Reteitalia in association with Telecinco, it ran for two seasons and a total of 26 episodes between September 18th, 1993 and December 3rd, 1994.
Executive produced by Andy Heyward and Robby London, this more maturely skewed show sees a small group of Freedom Fighters led by Sonic The Hedgehog attempting to regain control of their home planet of Mobius from the evil Dr. Robotnik – now a despotic dictator who rules with an iron fist, capturing citizens and transforming them into mindless robotic slaves.
Multiple heroes joined Sonic for this particular show including his best friend Miles ‘Tails’ Prower, Princess Sally Acorn, tech genius Rotor The Walrus, royal advisor Antoine Depardieu, the half-roboticized Bunny Rabbot, Dulcy The Dragon and Sonic’s uncle Chuck.
Featuring a complex plot and dramatic atmosphere, the series was unafraid to tackle such subjects as death, love, war, torture, and environmental destruction. At ABC’s request, this darker tone was dialed back for Season 2, and elements of humor were thrown in to make the series more appealing to younger viewers.
Jaleel White would once again voice Sonic, joined this time around by Kath Soucie, Bradley Pierce, Charlie Adler, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Cree Summer, William Windom, and prolific voice actor Frank Welker – whose storied career would include rolls in everything from Transformers to The Page Master and Disney’s Aladdin.
Michael Tavera would team up with Noisy Neighbors to compose the show’s hit theme song, while also taking care of musical duties for the first season. John Zuker and Matt Muhoberac were both brought in for Season 2. Animation was outsourced to Sae Rom Production in Korea and Spanish studio Milimetros respectively.
After the show’s initial run, Sonic The Hedgehog would appear on USA Network from 1997 until 1998. Canadian viewers could catch reruns on CTV during the summer of 1995, and through the now defunct Shomi streaming platform right up until 2016. Channel 4 and ITV would run the show between 1994 and 1996 in the United Kingdom. Starz aired reruns beginning in 2016, while it can also be viewed on such platforms as YouTube and Amazon Prime.
VHS and DVD copies would hit the market between 1994 and 2010, while the series is also available for purchase and download through iTunes.
Still considered by many to be the best Sonic animated series, it has gained a cult following in the years since its initial run and is now referred to in many circles as Sonic SatAm in reference to its original Saturday morning slot.
It would go on to spawn a hugely successful comic book series from Archie Comics, while the video game Sonic Spinball contained several characters from the show. In 2002, writer Ben Hurst attempted to pitch an animated film in an effort to revive the series to no avail.
Sadly the final season of the show ended on a cliffhanger.
- Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
- Jaleel White, Charlie Adler (Actors)
- Frank Darabont (Director) - Pat Allee (Writer) - Ron Myrick (Producer)
Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie (1996)
Released in Japan between January 26th and March 22nd of 1996, Sonic The Hedgehog: The Movie is a two-part original video animation (OVA) directed by Kazunori Ikegami and produced by Studio Pierrot, a Japanese animation studio located in Mitaka, Tokyo.
The anime featured Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Dr. Eggman (Dr. Robotnik in the English version), Metal Sonic, and a few original characters created exclusively for the project. It would later be licensed and dubbed by ADV Films for release as a single direct-to-video film on September 7th, 1999 to coincide with the release of Sonic Adventure.
The story takes place on Planet Freedom, a world split into two different realms: the Land Of The Sky and the Land Of Darkness.
Dr. Robotnik kidnaps the President of this world, along with his daughter, and offers to let them go if Sonic and Tails agree to head to the Land Of Darkness to stop a hostile mecha that has exiled Robotnik and damaged the Robot Generator – which will explode by sunrise the following day. The duo agree and, after a tussle with Metal Sonic, they team up with Knuckles to stop the mecha. Which is, of course, controlled by Dr. Robotnik.
The Japanese cast included Masami Kikuchi, Hekiru Shiina, Yasunori Matsumoto and Junpei Takiguchi. The English version was the first to not feature Jaleel White in the role of Sonic The Hedgehog but instead starred Martin Burke alongside Lainie Frasier, Bill Wise, and Edwin Neal.
SEGA Enterprises and General Entertainment would co-produce the anime alongside Studio Pierrot under the supervision of the Sonic Team. It would be re-released on DVD on January 13th, 2004.
- Martin Burke, Lainie Frasier, Bill Wise (Actors)
- Gary Lipkowitz (Director) - Gary Lipkowitz (Writer) - Akinori Ohno (Producer)
- English (Subtitle)
Sonic Underground (1999)
Andy Heyward and Robby London would return to the Sonic Universe in 1999 with Sonic Underground. The series was co-produced by DIC Productions, Les Studio Tex and TF1.
It is said that the show was requested by SEGA Of America CEO Shoichiro Irimajiri in an effort to increase interest in the Dreamcast gaming console. The show was publicly announced in December 1997.
Jaleel White would return once more to voice Sonic The Hedgehog, although this time he would also be lending his pipes to the roles of Manic and Sonja – Sonic’s twin siblings.
Sam Vincent, Stevie Vallance, Tyley Ross, Brian Drummond and Peter Wilds would round out the cast alongside a returning Garry Chalk and Pinky And The Brain alum Maurice LaMarche. Mike L. Piccirillo would act as composer on the new series, which ran for a single season and a total of 40 episodes between January 6th and May 23rd of 1999.
Sonic Underground would be the final Sonic cartoon produced by DIC.
Kicking off a brand new continuity separate from the other cartoons, Sonic Underground sees Queen Aleena of Mobius forced into hiding after she is overthrown by the vile Dr. Robotnik and his two bounty hunting lackeys Sleet and Dingo.
In an effort to preserve the dynasty, Aleena separates her three children, Sonic, Manic, and Sonja, after it is prophesied that they will all reunite one day to form The Council Of Four and take back Mobius from Robotnik.
When the siblings get older, they go on a quest to find their mother, while Robotnik and his forces attempt to capture the royal hedgehogs in an effort to prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled.
To aid them in their quest, the Oracle Of Delphius assigns the siblings powerful medallions that can be transformed into musical instruments and also used as weapons against Robotnik’s forces.
Two episodes a week were produced while the show was in development, with DIC bringing in numerous unaffiliated writers on a regular basis to brainstorm story ideas. Hong Ying Animation in Taiwan would handle the overall look of the show, while the main title sequence was done by Milimetros in Spain – the same studio that had worked on ABC’s Saturday morning Sonic The Hedgehog cartoon just a few years earlier.
Following its initial run, Sonic Underground would be rebroadcast on a number of different channels across the globe. These included Kix! And Pop in the United Kingdom and CBS, Teletoon, and Disney XD in North America. Shout! Factory and Vivendi Entertainment would release the complete series on two Region 1 DVDs between December 18th, 2007 and June 17th, 2008.
The series is also available for purchase and download through iTunes and can be viewed on streaming platforms like Amazon Prime.
- Factory sealed DVD
- Animated (Actor)
- Dic Entertainment (Director)
Sonic X (2003 – 2006)
The next Sonic cartoon would speed our way in the spring of 2003. Sonic X was directed by Hajime Kamegaki and would run for three seasons and 78 episodes.
Produced by TMS Entertainment under partnership with both SEGA and Sonic Team, it takes place within a separate continuity from other cartoons and follows Sonic and a small group of his friends as they are transported to earth after attempting to save one of their friends from Dr. Eggman.
Shortly after arriving, Sonic befriends a lonely boy named Chris who joins them in their quest to gain control of the Chaos Emeralds from Dr. Eggman and find a way to get back home.
Interestingly, this series proved to be a bigger hit with fans overseas than in its home country of Japan. As such, an additional 26 episodes would air in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and in the United States between 2005 and 2006. Only the first 52 episodes of the show ran on TV Tokyo in Japan.
Making up the English voice cast this time around were Jason Griffith as Sonic, Mike Pollock as Dr. Eggman, Dan Green as Knuckles, Amy Palant as Tails, Lisa Ortiz as Amy Rose, Kathleen Delaney as Rouge The Bat, and Suzanne Goldish as Chris Thorndyke. This cast would later go on to provide their respective character voices to the Sonic The Hedgehog games from 2005 to 2009.
The show’s localization and broadcasting in North America were handled by 4Kids Entertainment, who both edited and created new music for the show prior to its initial run outside of Japan.
Critics praised Sonic X for its story and the overall aesthetic and the series would go on to spawn an original comic book series, a trading card game, and various collectibles among other things.
After its initial run, Sonic X would be rebroadcast across numerous TV stations around the globe. This included TV Tokyo once again in Japan, Jetix Europe, and Fox Kids in North America.
The first two seasons would be released on DVD in Japan, while Discotek Media would distribute the show in its entirety on two DVD sets between November and December of 2016. The series can also be streamed on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime and can be purchased and downloaded through iTunes.
- Jason GRIFFITH (Actor)
- Hajime KAMEGAKI (Director)
Sonic Boom (2014 – 2017)
The first computer-generated Sonic cartoon would arrive in 2014 with Sonic Boom. It was produced by SEGA Of America and QuiDo! Productions and is also the first to be presented in high-definition.
Featuring a voice cast that includes Batman: Arkham Origins lead Roger Craig Smith alongside a returning Mike Pollock, Colleen O’Shaunghnessey, Travis Willingham, Cindy Robinson, Nika Futterman, Kirk Thornton and Wally Wingert, Sonic Boom sees the high-speed hedgehog and his friends protecting their home of Seaside Island from Dr. Eggman.
Each episode features a standalone plot and plenty of amusing elements that easily make it one of the most enjoyable Sonic cartoons to date. Be it the goofy, egotistical behavior of Knuckles or the overall ‘luckless losery’ of poor Dr. Eggman, Sonic Boom is a lot of fun and a pretty entertaining way to spend eleven minutes.
Announced on October 2nd, 2013, Sonic Boom began airing on Cartoon Network in November of the following year It eventually moved over to Boomerang for its second season and would run for a total of 104 episodes before coming to an end.
The series featured characters that would be redesigned for Western audiences and would go on to win an award for Best Animation in 2016 at the Chicago Independent Film Festival.
A pair of video games that act as prequels to the show would be released to the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS handheld in November 2014, while a new series of comic books set within the world of the Sonic Boom cartoon would be published by Archie Comics in October 2014.
The series has seen multiple home media releases since 2016, with DVD sets released by everyone from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to NCircle Entertainment.
The complete series would get a Blu-Ray release on March 8th, 2022, while the first season has been made available to stream on platforms like Netflix and Hulu. While never officially given a cancellation order, there are currently no plans in place to expand Sonic Boom past its first two seasons as of May 21st, 2020.
- Roger Craig Smith, Cindy Robinson, Mike Pollock (Actors)
- Natalys Raut Sieuzac (Director)
Sonic Prime (2022)
The latest Sonic cartoon is expected to arrive later this year in the form of Sonic Prime. It will be the second computer-generated Sonic series after Sonic Boom and will be the very first of the Blue Blur’s animated adventures to make its debut on a streaming service.
Netflix released a very brief teaser for the show earlier this year, and the plot is said to revolve around Sonic being thrust into new adventures through the strange and mysterious Shatterverse. It is up to Sonic to save the universe and, along the way, experience moments of both self-discovery and redemption.
SEGA and WildBrain LTD. will jointly participate in production, distribution, and licensing on the new show, while Man Of Action Entertainment will serve as both showrunners and executive producers. Betty Kwong and Nicolas Kole, who’ve worked on everything from The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special to the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, will serve as designers on the series.
Deven Mack is said to be voicing Sonic in the new show, which is expected to have 24 episodes in its debut season. Sonic Prime should arrive on Netflix later this year.
As I mentioned earlier, very few video game characters have enjoyed the same kind of success as Sonic The Hedgehog. And this is especially true when it comes to the field of animation.
What is it about ‘ol True Blue that allows him to transition so seamlessly to this beloved medium? One can’t really say for sure. But, be it his cocky character or his high-speed hi-jinx, there is little denying that we just can’t get enough of his continuous cartoon capers.
Who’s ready for the next one?