Ray the Flying Squirrel (レイ・ザ・フライングスクイレル Rei za Furaingu Sukuireru?) is character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. He is an anthropomorphic flying squirrel who was once captured by Dr. Robotnik, but escaped with the aid of fellow prisoners Sonic the Hedgehog and Mighty the Armadillo.
Concept and creation
Ray was designed by Manabu Kusunoki for the three-player arcade game, SegaSonic the Hedgehog. Kusunoki reasoned that in order to control like Sonic, the new characters would need to be animals that could have the same proportions as Sonic. Additionally, since Sonic is a hedgehog, a relatively obscure animal, Kusunoki wanted his companions to be equally unusual. With this in mind, Kusunoki decided upon an armadillo and a flying squirrel.
Ray is an anthropomorphic flying squirrel with yellow fur and dark tan skin on his muzzle, inner ears and front torso. He has black eyes, a small tapered hair tuft at the top back of his head (making it appear somewhat teardrop-shaped), a furry skin membrane connecting his waist to his lower arms, small, perky triangular ears, a shiny, bulbous black nose and a long club-shaped tail.
For attire, Ray wears white gloves with large cuffs, and red sneakers with a white buckle-strap, white sock-like cuffs and gray soles. These shoes are almost identical to Sonic's shoes, but are a slightly darker shade of red.
SegaSonic the Hedgehog
In SegaSonic the Hedgehog, Ray was captured by Dr. Robotnik and imprisoned on Eggman Island where he was to be executed along with Mighty the Armadillo and Sonic the Hedgehog himself. Teaming up with Sonic and Mighty, Ray escaped his cell, only to be blown to the other side of the island with Sonic and Mighty by a geyser triggered by Robotnik. After that, the trio teamed up to escape the island. Avoiding the island's hazards and traps, the trio got to Eggman's Tower where they confronted Robotnik. In response, Robotnik activated the tower's self-destruction sequence. However, Ray, Sonic and Mighty managed to escape the island before its destruction.
Other game appearances
In the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, Ray and Mighty make a cameo. In this game, they can be seen on some missing posters dotted throughout the City Escape. The poster mentions that they have been missing since 1993, referencing Ray's debut appearance in SegaSonic the Hedgehog.
Ray is an optimistic and good-hearted person who always tries to look on the bright side of life. However, in comparison to his friends, he is shown to be rather timid.
Powers and abilities
Ray is capable of running at speeds that rival Sonic's, who can reach up to hypersonic speeds, and is also rather agile. Being a flying squirrel, he has a prehensile tail that he can use to climb. In addition, he is capable of gliding via the patagium underneath his arms.
Ray can perform the basic Spin Attack, a technique where he curls into a concussive ball or cutting disk and directs himself at his targets. With it, Ray can shred or burrow through just about any substance given enough speed. He can also perform variants of the Spin Attack, like the Spin Jump.
In other media
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, Ray is a close friend of Mighty the Armadillo, having met him while both were held prisoner by Dr. Ivo Robotnik. During an escape attempt, Ray ended up getting trapped in a time warp when he grabbed the prison's Power Gem. Years later, Mighty found and freed Ray, bringing him back to Angel Island where he joined the Chaotix. A loyal, if timid member, Ray helped his team face various foes on the island and then later Dr. Eggman alongside the Freedom Fighters. He later joined Mighty in his search for his sister.
As a result of reality getting rewritten by the Super Genesis Wave, Ray and Mighty became an adventuring duo under the tutelage of Moss the Sloth with ties to—but not membership in—the Chaotix or the Freedom Fighters.
- In the April 1992 issue of Shogaku Gonensei, Ray appeared alongside Mighty, Vector, Sharps, and members of the Sonic the Hedgehog manga cast. His design matches that seen in Naoto Ohshima's concept artwork of "Sonic's Friends".
- According to an interview on Sonic Central, Sonic does not know the whereabouts of Ray, Bark the Polar Bear, Bean the Dynamite, Nack the Weasel, Chaos, or Tikal.
- Ray is the first Sonic character depicted with toes on his feet, which can be seen in one of his animations in SegaSonic the Hedgehog.
- Ray is one of the first Sonic characters to have a voice which was heard in SegaSonic the Hedgehog.
- Ray made cameo appearance as a key chain along with Sonic and Mighty in the Sega game Gale Racer, the Sega Saturn version of Rad Mobile released in 1994.
- During the early stages of Sonic Heroes, Ray was considered to be included as one of the playable characters on a team consisting of him, Mighty the Armadillo, and Metal Sonic.
- According to Takashi Iizuka, Ray is considered to be part of the "Classic world" and the "Classic group of characters" and that he still exists in that world. He also added that there is a possibility of bringing him back in the future in some "Classic iteration". This was proven true during SXSW 2018, where Ray was confirmed to appear in Sonic Mania Plus, alongside Mighty the Armadillo.
- Flynn, Ian; Sega (8 December 2021). "SegaSonic Arcade". Sonic the Hedgehog Encyclo-speed-ia. Dark Horse Books. p. 18. ISBN 978-1506719276. "Ray the Flying Squirrel: Ray always tries to look on the bright side of life but is fairly timid compared to his bombastic friends. He glides via his patagium and can climb with his tail."
- John Szczepaniak (21 February 2018) (in English). The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers: Volume 3. SMG Szczepaniak. p. 309. ISBN 978-0992926083. "Manabu Kusunoki: Yes, I designed the armadillo [Mighty] and flying squirrel [Ray] characters. I did come up with backstories for them, but I can't recall them anymore. I do recall why I chose those two animals, though. In order for them to control just like Sonic did, they needed to be animals that could have the same proportions, with heads that were roughly half the size of the body. And since the game starred a hedgehog, which is a relatively obscure animal, I wanted his companions to be equally unusual."
- Sonic Adventure (Dreamcast) United States instruction manual, pg. 18.
- knnosr on Twitter. Twitter (14 October 2020). Archived from the original on 23 October 2020. Retrieved on 15 October 2020.
- Sega of America. Sonic Q and A. Sega of America. Archived from the original on 13 June 2004. "Stephen F. (a.k.a Sonic's number 1 fan.): Will Ray the Flying Squirrel, Bean the Duck, Chaos, Nack, Tikal, and Bark reappear? P.S: COOL SITE!!! / Sonic: Actually, I don't know exactly where they are…but we do have some old faces from the past that will be with me in Sonic Heroes…make sure to check 'em out!"
- Shiro Maekawa on Twitter (Japanese) (26 April 2018). Retrieved on 5 May 2018.
- Shea, Brian (10 June 2017). More Burning Questions About The Sonic The Hedgehog Franchise Answered. gameinformer. Retrieved on 10 August 2017.