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Evil must die! Beware my ninja power!


— Espio the Chameleon, Sonic Heroes[7]

Espio the Chameleon (エスピオ・ザ・カメレオン Esupio za Kamereon?) is a fictional character from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. He is an anthropomorphic chameleon, who mainly serves as an intelligent ninja warrior and a member of the Chaotix Detective Agency alongside Vector the Crocodile and Charmy Bee. Together, the trio solves whatever cases they are given, where Espio is able to put his skills to good use. He possesses as well the ability to blend in with his environment.

Espio is a calm and quiet chameleon, but also overly cautious and disciplined. However, his wariness and soulful character makes him a vital member of Team Chaotix, where his presence plays an important role as a restraint among his coworkers, who tend to be optimistic and energetic. Espio likewise thrives on the dangers of his missions, and although he is quite confident in his ninjutsu, he feels it is aesthetically pleasing to stay in the shadows as a ninja should.[3]

Appearance[]

Espio is a fuchsia-skinned anthropomorphic chameleon with a yellow horn between his gold eyes. His muzzle and the heart-shaped pattern on his torso are peach in color. He has a ridge of three black spikes going down his spine and a coiled tail. For attire, he wears purple shoes with black accents, metal-reinforced arm bracers, and white gloves with purple pads with white trims on the backs. Around his wrists and ankles are black bandage-wrapped cuffs with gold studs on the lower bands.

During his early years, up until the Neo Metal Sonic incident, Espio was shorter and stubbier. His purple skin color was also somewhat darker, and he had black eyes. He wore simple white gloves and green shoes with black toes, yellow cuffs, and gray soles, each with two black belt straps held by silver buckles just above the ankles. In addition, his back spikes were teal/green in color.

During the Mirage Express incident, Espio wears a white puffy long-sleeve shirt with a collar and flared cuffs and a purple vest with a yellow band around his waist and a red rose in the left chest pocket, while maintains his usual gloves and shoes.

Personality[]

Espio profile SG

Espio's profile, from the Xbox 360 version of Sonic Generations.

A single-minded,[4] straight-laced detective committed to his job,[8][9] Espio is serious, practical, intelligent and wise. He has a militaristic discipline despite being quiet, calm, and laid-back.[10] Espio is additionally portrayed as being stubborn, opinionated and self-obsessed.[11] Despite this, he has an excellent drive to all that he does and flourishes off of peril,[12] getting himself into threatening situations to flex and polish his ninja skills, and, due to his extensive training, he can confront these troubles head-on unconcerned by danger.[11]

Among his colleagues, Espio's opinionated attitude serves a key role in Team Chaotix, allowing him to reign in and balance out the more optimistic and zany behaviors exhibited by Vector and Charmy.[10]

Beneath Espio's reserved demeanor lies a burning and very strong sense of justice and an absolute refusal to let evil have its way.[8][4] As such, he gives the impression of a rather ruthless demeanor when facing villains; when encountering Eggman during the Neo Metal Sonic incident and the Black Arms incident, the usual civil and soft-spoken chameleon would make threats at the doctor's life. Espio is also seen as a ninja-based character; his battle poses and shuriken stars support that portrayal. Also in the Japanese script, the pronouns he uses to refer to himself are usually jibun, and the more archaic onushi pronoun for referring to others.

Like any ninja, Espio has a soulful side to himself too.[9][12] He is a lover of traditional ways and can play the shamisen but is left confused by computers and audio-video equipment.[9] He is also fluid in 17 different languages.

IDW Publishing[]

Espio Justice

Espio's sense of justice, from Sonic the Hedgehog #5.

Similar to how he acts in the games, Espio is a serious and disciplined ninja warrior, as well as a detective, with a distinct sense of wariness. He is likewise a wise, intelligent, and soulful character, and has an excellent drive to all that he does, always being very thorough with his work. While having a no-nonsense attitude, he also has a bit of an ego which makes him elaborate on stories about his work that go nowhere in order to make his listeners understand how hard he has been working. He is also reluctant to admit his shortcomings.[13]

Espio usually maintains a reserved and quiet demeanor. Beneath this surface, however, is a burning sense of justice and an absolute refusal to let evil have its way. This is best exemplified in how he believes that one should not be forgiven for the bad deeds they have already committed, even if the perpetrator does not remember anything and is unable to answer for them.[13]

Powers and abilities[]

Using speed and stealth to overcome his enemies,[9] Espio is a powerful adversary (by his own accords), as he says it would take no less than a "mighty foe" to outclass him.[14] He is likewise a fierce foe in direct combat, as he has been able to face skilled opponents like Rouge the Bat and Knuckles the Echidna on even ground during the Ifrit incident.

Espio's nimble jump

Espio doing a nimble jump, from the console/PC version of Sonic Generations.

As a Speed Type, Espio possesses a great deal of speed. As demonstrated during the Ifrit incident, he can run at speeds compatible to Sonic and Shadow's, and his swiftness is potent enough to let him fool his enemies[12] and appear in different spots nigh-instantaneously.[15] Also, while having not demonstrated power on a superhuman level, Espio has impressive physical strength too, enough to shatter obstacles and smash Badniks using only hand chops.[16] Espio also has very impressive durability and endurance, having been able to withstand Sonic's Homing Attacks indefinitely and keep on fighting during their duel amidst the Time Eater incident. Espio also has extreme acrobatic skills, being capable of doing complex and nimble jumps even in midair,[17] leap between walls with ease, pull off Spin Attack techniques at high speed, and grind on Grind Rails without any trouble.

Ui ss sph205

Espio using his camouflage trick, from the console/PC version of Sonic Generations.

Espio possesses a unique[9] stealth camouflage trick[11] that lets him change the hue of his skin to match his environment.[9] His camouflage is so effective that he is rendered completely invisible to the naked eye,[11] capable of passing through photocells, and able to pass by foes unnoticed.[11] Combined with his keen mind, this ability makes Espio a very sneaky and effective spy.[9]

Having undergone extensive ninja training,[11] Espio is a skilled ninja[9][12] and a master of ninjutsu.[3][12] With his skills in the latter field having been described as "powerful",[9] he is proficient with several forms of ninja-based weaponry. He is especially a master of throwing kunai,[8] capable of striking targets with pinpoint accuracy while only barely looking at them.[18] He can also expertly throw shuriken stars for offensive purposes,[6] namely for offensive purposes by throwing them as projectiles at enemies. He is also capable of stealth,[12] which combined with his camouflaging abilities makes him virtually undetectable. Espio's signature moves are likewise ninjutsu moves that utilize his camouflage trick. The Leaf Swirl lets Espio combine his camouflage with a Ninja Leaf Swirl maneuver to create a tornado to blow opponents away while he disappears,[8][9] his Chroma Camo maneuver hides himself completely from his enemies' perception while increasing his speed, and his Ninja Arts: Camouflage hides himself completely from enemies' perception while he "warps" between places to disorient his enemy as he attacks them.

Espio also possesses an extremely keen sense of awareness of his surroundings on both the physical and empathic plane, detecting Team Dark nearby despite the group being out of his field of vision,[19] Sonic's presence aboard the Death Egg,[20] and the soul of the Time Eater.[21]

Like a real lizard, Espio can climb along any surface and stick to them for an unprecedented amount of time.[9][15][22] As seen during the Death Egg II incident, he also possesses a prehensile tongue which he can use as a short-range projectile attack in combat and as a grappling hook.

PPSSPPWindows64 2015-10-29 15-53-19-458

Espio's Spin Jump, from Sonic Rivals 2.

Espio is also able to perform the Spin Attack, a technique where he curls into a concussive ball or cutting disk and directs himself at his targets. With it, Espio can shred or burrow through just about any substance given enough speed. Adept in its usage, Espio can utilize several variants of the Spin Attack for both ground- and aerial maneuvers, including the Spin Dash, Spin Jump, and Homing Attack.

Espio has as well a keen mind and experience in investigation and gathering intel. However, while having experience in solving mysteries alone,[23] he is not as brilliant a detective as Vector. He also has some limited skill in hacking computers as seen during the Black Arms incident. Among other things, Espio can also harness the power of the Chaos Emeralds to empower himself.[24]

IDW Publishing[]

Similar to the games, Espio can change his color scheme to match his environment, which is so effective that he is rendered practically invisible. Being a skilled ninja, he is also a master of stealth which combined with his camouflaging abilities makes him virtually undetectable. Like a real lizard, Espio is also able to climb along any surface and stick to them, allowing him to walk along ceilings and walls. Espio is also very fast, able to almost keep up with even Sonic.[25]

Espio also has some knowledge about using computers, being able to access them and search their databases. He also has some detective skills, although he does not measure up to Vector in this field.

Thanks to his ninja skills, Espio is proficient with several forms of ninja-based weaponry. He is especially a master of throwing kunai and shuriken stars, capable of striking targets with pin-point accuracy without even looking at them.[25][26] Combined with his reflexes and acrobatics, Espio's weapons are especially dangerous.

Weapons[]

Espiokunai

Espio's kunai, from the console/PC version of Sonic Generations.

As a ninja, Espio favors and employs ninja-based weaponry, such as kunai and shuriken stars. He uses his shuriken stars as a long-range offensive by throwing them at opponents and can do so in rapid succession. By attaching a rope to his kunai, he can also use it as a grappling hook to latch onto suspended targets and swing between them.[27]

IDW Publishing[]

As a ninja, Espio employs various ninja-based weaponry, such as kunai and shuriken stars.[28][29] By attaching a rope on his kunai in particular, he can use it as a grappling hook to swing around or make deadly turns, or use it as a makeshift barbed wire.[28][30] Also, he carries pellet-sized smoke bombs that he uses to produce large smoke clouds for confusing opponents or making quick escapes.[31][32]

Transformations[]

Hyper Mode[]

Main article: Hyper Mode

Espio is capable of using this mode for a brief time on his own by drawing power from the Chaos Emeralds. In Hyper Mode, Espio's speed and attack power greatly increases.

Color Powers[]

Main article: Color Power

By harnessing different variants of Hyper-go-on from Wisps, Espio can use specific Color Powers to transform into a certain form, such as a drill, a laser or even a planet, each one possessing its own unique abilities. So far, Espio has been able to transform into the Cyan Laser, Yellow Drill, and Indigo Asteroid. However, these transformations require a steady supply of Hyper-go-on to be maintained.

Weaknesses[]

Espio's camouflaging ability, while practical, is not perfect. Its maintenance is tied to Espio's concentration, meaning it will falter should he lose focus due to things such as being blinded by light, sneezing, coughing, or being covered in a visible substance.[3][9][15][6] His stealth is not flawless either as Rouge the Bat was able to detect his movements thanks to her heightened sense of hearing.[33] He is also not mechanically-minded.[6][34]

IDW Publishing[]

Though Espio is very proficient in his ninja skills and camouflage techniques, he can be detected if he is not careful. As demonstrated by Zazz, he can also be sniffed out, even while he is invisible,[35] and as later demonstrated by Clutch, one can still hear the noise he makes in the environment.[36]

Relationships[]

Vector the Crocodile[]

As a vital member of the Chaotix Detective Agency, Espio respects Vector as a colleague and boss, as well as a close friend. Espio's ninja abilities often come in handy for ongoing investigations and Vector even trusts Espio to handle cases on his own. However, Espio does not bother as much with payment as Vector does, occasionally leading to conflicts between the two, like during the Ifrit incident, where the chameleon failed to collect evidence to present to their client. Coupled with Vector's free-of-charge charity, this usually leaves the detectives in debt. Espio acts as the voice of reason among the group and may advise Vector against accepting certain jobs, like following their mysterious client's orders during the Neo Metal Sonic incident but was unsuccessful due to Vector's readiness to take any work that pays. Generally, Espio is very loyal to his boss and always follows his orders.

VectorEspioIDW

Espio states that he has Vector's back after giving him a smoke bomb, from Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2020.

As the calmest and most serious member of Team Chaotix, Espio sometimes goes unnoticed between his louder colleagues. During the Wisp incident, Vector wondered about Espio's whereabouts, and neither he nor Charmy, Sonic and Tails realized that Espio had been standing next to them. Espio has also displayed some frustration with Vector's childish side, such as during the Time Eater incident, where the crocodile gobbled up three chili dogs at once at Sonic's birthday party while the chameleon shook his head in embarrassment.

Espio respects Vector as the leader of the Team Chaotix. Though Espio can be sometimes seen as the voice of reason compared to Vector, he still follows his lead on missions and trusts him during his more serious plans. Vector equally sees Espio as a trusted ally, and knows that he can depend on him to get the job done. The pair have come to see each other not only as partners but as great friends. For example, Vector decided to stay behind with the Zombots in Restoration HQ so Espio could escape and appointed him as the new lead detective of the Chaotix, while Espio could only look on in silence, tearing up over his friend.[37][38][39][40][41] Eventually, with the combined efforts of Super Sonic and Super Silver, they were able to warp the entirety of the Metal Virus away from the world and to the sun. This act turned Vector and Charmy back to normal, allowing Espio to joyfully reunite with and sing with them.[42]

Charmy Bee[]

Espio finds Charmy to be a trusted ally and good friend of his as a member of the Chaotix. Due to his more resolute and serious personality, he does not find Charmy's antics very amusing, though the young bee does not mind this at all. Due to Charmy's young age, Espio has found himself explain various intricate situations that Charmy does not yet understand due to his young age and trying to protect him more than quite a few times. He is very protective of Charmy and cares for him a lot as a friend. He also respects him well enough as a fellow detective.[43][44][45]

Knuckles the Echidna[]

When first meeting Knuckles, he is envious of him because of his own desire to see the Angel Island.[46] Nevertheless, the two get along as allies during the Chaos Ring incident that took place, and they continue being allies for many years to come, such as working as part of the Resistance together during the War to Take Back the Planet.[47] Espio would even help knuckles retrieve a relic that was stolen by the Babylon Rogues and shows respect towards the echidna but at times does not admire his sense of pride at times.

Shadow the Hedgehog[]

MADMATRIX65

Espio and Shadow in Mad Matrix, from Shadow the Hedgehog.

The relationship between Espio and Shadow has changed very much since their first meeting. During their first meeting, they fought against each other without a question due to their assumption that the other was the enemy. However, they put their differences aside and helped each other stop Neo Metal Sonic and his plan to rule over the world.

During the Black Arms incident, their relationship is more friendly. Espio gladly thanked Shadow for opening the portal to Eggman's computer and after Eggman claimed that he created Shadow, Espio told him to not believe Eggman and aided him in his battle against the doctor. Overall, Espio has put more faith in Shadow since their meeting and the two appear as allies in most regard.

Silver the Hedgehog[]

Silver is right. We’ve been hoping for a miracle these past six months, but I’m afraid we have to make our own miracle.

Espio discussing with the resistance, Sonic Forces
Silver and Espio Sonic Rivals 2

Espio and Silver the Hedgehog from Sonic Rivals 2.

When Espio first met Silver the Hedgehog, his mission was to find evidence that Silver was behind the kidnapping of several Chao. As such, Silver was a subject of doubt for Espio as he did not seem like a bad guy despite his actions. At first, Espio treated Silver like an enemy, but as he learned that Silver was working to save the world, he decided to follow his instincts and help him with his mission. During their adventure, the two of them built a good relationship as Espio proved his trustworthiness and helped Silver on many occasions. After finishing their mission, they gladly thanked each other, showing the great admiration and faith they had gained for one another.

IDW Silver thanking Espio

Silver hugging Espio, from Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2022.

Espio and Silver are distant allies and fighting partners. They were comrades when Knuckles led the Resistance during the Eggman War, though Silver hints that they know each other for a long time and may have worked together. Though they only meet when their timelines are in danger, Espio and Silver seem quite close to each other. Espio seems at ease around Silver to let his guard down and even open up to him. He is also cautious about Silver's well-being and recognizes when something bothers him. Their relationship reinforced when Espio sees Silver leave and followed him to know what troubled him. Silver denies by saying he is fine, but Espio responds that he is a bad liar. While Silver explains that he is angry, they open up to each other and discover common points, notably their fear of losing. Espio then explains to Silver how he does not give up to his fears by helping and protecting his friends, and encourages Silver to do the same. His words comforted Silver to keep fighting for his principles, but also for the ones he loves and does not want to lose. He then thanks Espio with a hug, to the latter's surprise.[48]

Sonic the Hedgehog[]

Espio trusts Sonic as a close ally and has recognized his skills as a fighter. Sonic similarly trusts Espio and considers both him and the rest of the Chaotix to be the best detectives he knows, although that is not saying much, as they are also the only detectives he knows.[49]

Sonic sees Espio as a trusted person to fight alongside with and has trusted him to help with several missions and cases. The two of them in particular can harmonize with each other on the battlefield. Overall, the pair get along quite well; even with Espio's serious demeanor, he has actually cracked a joke with Sonic before. However, Espio's patience has been tested with Sonic before; he disagreed with Sonic about how to deal with Eggman, believing that the doctor should be punished. However, his patience was put to the test when, due to Sonic's decision to leave a reformed Eggman be, led to Eggman returning to his old ways and releasing the Metal Virus scourge that ended up claiming Vector and Charmy. Nonetheless, Espio himself still knows that Sonic means well, despite his brashness.[49][50][51]

Zazz[]

Friends/allies[]

Neutral[]

Enemies[]

References[]

  1. Szczepaniak, John (21 February 2018). The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers: Volume 3. SMG Szczepaniak. p. 303. ISBN 978-0992926083. "Naoto Ohshima: And this one in the middle here, with the horns, was designed by a manga artist named [Takumi] Miyake. He went on to be the art director for NiGHTS."
  2. ●SonicJPNews● on Twitter (12 November 2019). Archived from the original on 12 November 2019. Retrieved on 12 November 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Sonic Channel (Japanese). Characters: Espio. Sega. Archived from the original on 26 May 2019. Retrieved on 3 July 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Chaotix (32X) Japanese instruction booklet, pg. 6.
  5. Sega (24 June 2016). Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Wii U. Nintendo. "Mii: Do you know what Espio's favorite food is? It's dango, or sweet dumplings! It figures a ninja would go for a Japanese dessert!"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Devra Newberger Speregen (2016). Sonic: The Ultimate Character Guide. Scholastic. p. 45. ISBN 978-1338033243.
  7. Espio at the beginning of the Egg Emperor boss fight, Sonic Heroes.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Sega (23 June 2016). Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Wii U. Nintendo. Area/Level: Collectibles (Flags). "This straight-laced detective is the voice of reason in the Chaotix Detective Agency, but his reserved demeanor hides a burning sense of justice and a refusal to let evil have its way. Trained as a ninja, this chameleon is a master at throwing kunai, and can vanish using his Leaf Swirl technique."
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 Sonic City. Sega. Archived from the original on 29 February 2008.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Official Sonic Heroes website (Japanese). Characters: Team Chaotix. Sega. Archived from the original on 11 December 2004. Retrieved on 25 May 2021.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Sonic Heroes (Nintendo GameCube) United States instruction booklet, pg. 12.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Sonic Team (4 November 2011). Sonic Generations. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/Level: Collection Room. "Espio the Chameleon - Espio is a chameleon who is a master of ninjutsu. A skilled ninja who thrives on danger, he uses stealth and speed to fool his enemies. His wariness and soulful character makes him a vital member of the Chaotix Detective Agency."
  13. 13.0 13.1 Sonic the Hedgehog #5, "The Fate of Dr. Eggman, Part 1"
  14. Sonic Team (11 November 2011). Sonic Generations. PC. Sega. Area/level: White Space. "Espio: It takes a mighty foe to trap a ninja. Be on your guard, Sonic."
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Sonic Team (11 November 2011). Sonic Generations. PC. Sega. Area/level: Espio: Master of Camouflage.
  16. Sega Studio USA (15 November 2005). Shadow the Hedgehog. Nintendo GameCube. Sega.
  17. Sonic Team (4 November 2011). Sonic Generations. PlayStation 3. Sega.
  18. Sonic Team (6 February 2004). Sonic Heroes. PlayStation 2. Sega. Cutscene: Opening sequence (Team Chaotix's story).
  19. Sonic Team (6 February 2004). Sonic Heroes. PlayStation 2. Sega. Cutscene: Team Dark (Team Chaotix's storyline).
  20. Sonic Team (7 November 2017). Sonic Forces. Nintendo Switch. Sega. Area/level: Prison Hall. "Espio: I sense Sonic's presence. He's close!"
  21. Sonic Team (4 November 2011). Sonic Generations. PlayStation 3. Sega. Area/level: White Space. "Espio: Thank you, my friend. Beware, for I have looked into the soul of our enemy and I saw only darkness."
  22. Sonic Heroes (Nintendo GameCube) United States instruction booklet, pg. 18.
  23. Backbone Entertainment (13 November 2007). Sonic Rivals 2. PlayStation Portable. Sega.
  24. Sega AM2 (10 July 1996). Sonic the Fighters. Arcade. Sega. Area/Level: Death Egg's Hangar.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Sonic the Hedgehog #5, "The Fate of Dr. Eggman, Part 1"
  26. Sonic the Hedgehog #10, "The Battle for Angel Island, Part 2"
  27. Sonic Team (11 November 2011). Sonic Generations. PC. Sega. Area/level: Espio: Way of the Ninja.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Sonic the Hedgehog #5, "The Fate of Dr. Eggman, Part 1"
  29. Sonic the Hedgehog #10, "The Battle for Angel Island, Part 2"
  30. Sonic the Hedgehog #17, "Plague"
  31. Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2020, "Flock Together"
  32. Sonic the Hedgehog #48, "Hit the Pavement"
  33. Backbone Entertainment (7 December 2007). Sonic Rivals 2. PlayStation Portable. Sega. Area/level: Mystic Haunt Zone. "Rouge: Okay, who's there? I know you're following me. / Espio: Hey, how'd you know I was there... / Rouge: Espio, these ears of mine aren't just for show, you know. What are you doing here, anyway?"
  34. Sonic Team (18 November 2005). Shadow the Hedgehog. PlayStation 2. Sega. Area/level: Mad Matrix. "Espio: Hey, back off! Data retrieval isn't exactly my specialty"
  35. Sonic the Hedgehog #26, "All or Nothing, Part 1"
  36. Sonic the Hedgehog #48, "Hit the Pavement"
  37. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named StH54
  38. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named StH6
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  43. Sonic the Hedgehog #5, "The Fate of Dr. Eggman, Part 1"
  44. Sonic the Hedgehog #17, "Plague"
  45. Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2020, "Flock Together"
  46. Knuckles' Chaotix/Manuals
  47. Sonic Forces
  48. Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2022, "Future Growth"
  49. 49.0 49.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named StH56
  50. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named StH174
  51. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named StH24
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