Sonic Underground (Sonic le Rebelle in French) is an American-French animated television series that follows the adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and his siblings: the pink-hued sister, Sonia, and the green-hued brother, Manic. Sonic Underground bears little relation to the often complex Sonic universe (including previous animated series, as well as Sonic comics and games), and shares only three established characters.
Over two seasons, forty episodes aired. Ben Hurst, a notable writer from the Sonic the Hedgehog television show, whom was also involved in Sonic Underground's production, stated in a SAGE chat that only forty were produced. According to Hong Ying, the animation studio who animated Sonic Underground list forty episodes which is the complete series.
Sonic Underground takes place on Mobius, similar to the Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) television series, but with notable differences. Elements that are not included in Sonic Underground but were present in Sonic the Hedgehog include Snively, Power Rings, Knothole Village, and the Freedom Fighters. Though the Freedom Fighters were included, many of the characters in the Freedom Fighter group that were in Sonic the Hedgehog are completely left out (including Tails). Another difference with the Freedom Fighter group is that Freedom Fighters do not remain in one Knothole-like refuge but instead travel around Mobius to battle Robotnik's forces on a global scale; and that Robotnik has left most of the Mobian people de-roboticized, leaving multiple cities, a poor underclass and an aristocracy for the heroes to interact with.
Another notable difference is Robotnik's choice of law enforcement in the two continuities. While both versions featured Swatbots as Robotnik's grunt troops, their designs differed by a mile and more. The SatAM Swatbots also all looked identical, while the Underground Swatbots had two different head designs.
Jaleel White provided the speaking voices for all three siblings (whereas they are voiced by different voice actors when they are singing). The main theme was composed by Robbie London and Mike Piccirillo. The musical underscore was composed by Jean-Michel Guirao and Mike Piccirillo. The series featured forty songs spread over the series as featured music videos. Each of these songs were composed by Mike Piccirillo.
Sonic, Sonia, and Manic are the children of Queen Aleena, the rightful ruler of Mobius and are pursued relentlessly by Doctor Robotnik and his bumbling bounty hunters sidekicks, Sleet and Dingo. As infants, the siblings were separated and placed in hiding to fulfill a prophecy made by the Oracle of Delphius (a spoof on the Oracle of Delphi of Ancient Greece) that the triplets would grow up to find their estranged mother, overthrow Robotnik and take their places once more as Mobius' rightful rulers.
The three siblings possess enchanted medallions that transform not only into musical instruments, but also into weapons:
- Sonic: electric guitar and laser rifle.
- Sonia: keyboard and laser rifle.
- Manic: drum kit which has the ability to control seismic activity (triggering earthquakes, rockslides, etc.).
Aside from doing battle with Robotnik, with their medallions in instrument form, the trio perform as their underground rock band, the Sonic Underground.
During the build-up to the launch of the Dreamcast, Sega began heavily advertising their major franchises. For Sonic, they contacted DiC Entertainment, a subsidiary of Disney at the time, who previously made both TV shows Sonic the Hedgehog and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, to make a new Sonic cartoon. Due to low popularity, Sonic Underground was canceled before it was finished, running for only one season, 1999 to 2000. Since then, the show can be found in syndication on a few channels.
It also aired on the UK channel "POP" at various times. POP has aired all three DiC produced Sonic animated series. Spanish channel "¡Sorpresa!" also aired Sonic Underground in Spanish in the United States. "CITV" also transmitted the show. In October 2010, American channel "This TV" announced they would air the series alongside Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog as part of its Sunday morning line-up.
Sonic Underground began airing on "Disney XD" on 11 June 2012, but was later taken off the schedule on 14 September 2012, it later returned for a week on 10 December 2012, but was replaced on 14 December 2012 with Kick Buttowski: Suburbian Daredevil.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: The world's fastest hedgehog and the leader of the Sonic Underground. Sonic has two sets of guardians, a couple who were captured by Robotnik and their house set ablaze and his Uncle Chuck. In this story, he has a brother and sister (to the right) and is known to be a prince. He is the lead singer, his medallion transforming into a laser-blasting electric guitar (which can act as a bass sometimes). As fast as the speed of sound, Sonic can easily outrun and outsmart Robotnik's forces. He is a big fan of chili dogs (just like in SatAM and AoSTH) and is rarely far from a chili dog stand. He is terrified of water as he cannot swim. In an alternate reality, Sonic and his siblings were the rulers of Mobius, but Sonic was a cruel, spoiled fat hedgehog from eating so many chili dogs and had banned music on the planet. Sonic makes extensive use of catchphrases in his dialogue, including: "Way past cool," "Bummer Majores!", "It's juice and jam time!", and "Let's do it to it!"
- Sonia the Hedgehog: The only female member of the Sonic Underground, Sonic and Manic's sister. Unlike Sonic and Manic, she was raised by an aristocratic foster family, and she hates getting dirty. She is great at gymnastics and karate. Her medallion can transform into a laser-blasting keyboard. Sonia has a pink motorbike to try and keep up with Sonic. Sonia develops an attraction towards Knuckles at the Flying Fortress saga of the series. Some fans consider Sonia to be a clone of Amy Rose, minus the attraction Amy feels for Sonic. In an alternate reality, Sonia and her brothers are rulers of Mobius, but she likes fashion and finery, not wanting to rule and having to deal with Mobius' problems.
- Manic the Hedgehog: A member of the Sonic Underground, he was also a cool and calculating hedgehog who was raised by thieves, unlike his siblings. Manic became an expert thief and eventually met his siblings, who disapprove of him stealing. Manic is the drummer of Sonic Underground, his medallion hiding his drums, which can cause earthquakes. Manic is the most often captured of the siblings; he has been under mind control, becoming Robotnik's spy, nearly roboticized (but was freed), put to sleep, and hypnotized (for a short while). In an alternate reality, Manic and his siblings are rulers of Mobius, but he took away everyone's money for his own greed and enjoyment and he also made lots of taxes. In the Flying Fortress saga at the end, Manic's drum kit is destroyed by Dingo when he is a chaos monster.
- Queen Aleena: Sonic, Sonia, and Manic's mother. She had to give them up in order for the prophecy to work. She now is on the run from her own children, until the time is right. Aleena has many allies, including the Oracle of Delphius and Knuckles. She often appears during the episodes, usually to provide guidance or a helping hand, and provides the opening narration at the start of each episode.
- Knuckles the Echidna: The guardian of the Chaos Emerald and the Floating Island. He is very protective of his island home, and has set many traps about the island. He has a pet Dinosaur called Chomps. His great-grandfather Athair warns him that he must stay on the island, in order to play his part in the freedom of Mobius. In the series, the Master Emerald has been changed to a Chaos Emerald, probably due to the fact that the Chaos Emeralds weren't well established in the series and adding the Master Emerald would cause confusion. He has a crush on Sonia.
- Athair: Knuckles' great-grandfather. He gives Knuckles advice.
- Doctor Robotnik: Robotnik is the evil ruler of Mobius, after conquering it with his army of Swatbot. Robotnik lives in Robotropolis where he captures Freedom Fighters and roboticizes them into his robotic servants. Robotnik's main minions are Sleet and Dingo. Robotnik's round shape doesn't help him stand up straight and when standing on unstable ground, (such as that of Manic's drums causing earthquakes) he bounces about much like a ball. In an alternate reality, Robotnik is the leader of the Freedom Fighters and was rather nice and kind.
- Sleet: One of Robotnik's canine bounty hunters. This cunning wolf leads the bumbling Dingo about on missions to capture the hedgehogs. Sleet has a voice like that of Igor and has a morphing device that can transform Dingo into anything he wishes. Sleet may seem to be a serious villain but he is always failing at missions, only succeeding sometimes. Sleet is constantly being crushed by Dingo and is usually the one who suffers. He does however appear to get away from being roboticized no matter how angry he makes Robotnik.
- Dingo: One of Robotnik's canine bounty hunters. Dingo is a huge, muscle-bound dingo who has a relentless crush on Sonia. Sleet has a morphing device which can morph Dingo into anything he chooses (e.g. a chili dog cart, a carpet, or even a woman). In the Flying Fortress saga, Dingo breaks a Chaos Emerald which transforms him into an enormous out-of-control beast that threatens to destroy Mobius, but eventually reverts to normal (crushing Robotnik in the process).
- The Oracle of Delphius: An odd, warty, reptilian anteater in a cloak. The Oracle prophesied that when Robotnik invaded Mobius, Aleena and her children would form the Council of Four to overthrow Robotnik and free Mobius. The Oracle lives in a cave somewhere in a cold region of Mobius, and is quite good at making chili dogs.
- Bartleby: A posh mink who is one of Robotropolis's richest aristocrats. Bartleby is Sonia's former fiancé, who dislikes her brothers and works as an agent for Robotnik. Eventually, Bartleby flees from Robotnik and joins the Freedom Fighters.
- Cyrus: Cyrus is a lion and the head technician in the Freedom Fighters. He is an old friend of Sonic. In his first appearance he was working as a spy for Robotnik but later quit. Cyrus has appeared several times afterwards. His father was roboticized.
- Lionel: Cyrus' father who was roboticized. Only seen twice in the series.
- Trevor: A mouse who is an old friend of Sonic and resembles a hippie. He is easily captured, but is just as easily freed. Only seen about once or twice.
- The Freedom Fighters: The Freedom Fighters play an important role in the show as Robotnik's opposition. Notable members include Sonic, Sonia, Manic, Knuckles, Queen Aleena, The Oracle of Delphius, Cyrus, Trevor, Renée, and Bartleby.
The Freedom Fighters play a large significant role in Sonic Underground, opposing Dr. Robotnik's evil reign over Mobius. The leaders are Sonic and his siblings. Cyrus is the head technician, and Trevor is somewhat of an assistant. Other notable members are Knuckles, Queen Aleena and the Oracle. Below is a list of other one-time characters; many are Freedom Fighters.
- Chuck: Sonic's uncle from the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog series and the original Sonic the Hedgehog television series. Like in the comics and cartoon, he is roboticized. He doesn't appear to be Sonic's biological uncle this time around, as he was known to Sonic as "Uncle" through his adopted parents.
- Lady Windimire: Sonia's foster mother. She was roboticized.
- Farrell: An odd insect-like creature who was Manic's foster father. He was a clever thief who showed Manic the ropes, but he too was later roboticized.
- Argus: Queen Aleena's body guard. He was captured and roboticized.
- Mayor Winniham: A horse who is the Mayor of Mobodoon, the Sonic Underground's hometown.
- Mindy LaTour: Mindy is Sonia's old friend and a fashionista. Her father is Mr. LaTour.
- Mr. LaTour: Father of Mindy, of whom he is very protective. He was forced to create robotic watches for Robotnik.
- Agent N: A robot built by Robotnik to guard the watch factory.
- Max: A pickpocket who leads a small group of thieves. After helping the Sonic Underground, he and his posse are given homes. He plays the drums like Manic.
- Allegra: One of Max's gang members who plays the violin.
- Captain Squeege: A sea sponge who is the captain of the Queen Aleena ferry.
- Moby Deep: A giant whale mistaken for a sea monster, this being a parody of Moby Dick.
- Raphi Hajani: A desert dwelling dog who lives in the city of Tashistan with his mother, father and grandmother. His best friend, Sonia, momentarily loses her memory. He is roboticized in the legs.
- Stripes: A tiger who lives in Lake Valley. He has a crush on Sonia, but originally was a spy for Robotnik only to protect his home.
- Bellok: An elderly vampire bat who is the caretaker of Worst Castle, which is supposedly Sonia's ancestral home. He has a pet owl called Hooter. He cannot stand loud noises and is very humorous.
- Rudy: A lizard who leads a desert team of Freedom Fighters.
- Chomps: Knuckles' pet dinosaur. He tries to eat Sleet and Dingo but instead eats their hologram projector. Only seen in "Friend or Foe?".
- Mantu: The son of the chief of the Speedster Island tribe. He did not like how his father sold the island.
- Chief: The chief of the Speedster Island tribe. He sells the island to Robotnik.
- Ifyoucan: The tribe leader of a desert clan. He has actually been half-roboticized and hides his mechanical limbs.
- Aman-Rapi: A deceased Pharaoh who is Sonic's ancestor (and looks and sounds like Sonic). Like Sonic, he adores music.
- Hothep: The guard of Aman's tomb.
- Titus: A scientist who built a de-roboticizer. It is revealed it is a fake and it is made into a roboticizer. Titus falls into it and is roboticized.
- Renée: The leader of the Resistance in Anez. She appears in "Sonia's Choice".
- ART: A learning robot built by Robotnik. A.R.T. stands for Artificial Robot of Technology, and he was capable of learning and evolving into more formidable forms. He betrayed Robotnik and joined Sonic Underground. A.R.T. was sadly crushed when Sleet activated a shrinking room in Robotnik's base.
- Vince: A black-market salesman. Manic sells an orb to him before realizing it is a bomb, but by the time they get there, Vince has sold it to Bartleby. Vince ends up getting roboticized by Sleet.
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Jaleel White|
|Sonia the Hedgehog|
|Manic the Hedgehog|
|Dr. Robotnik||Gary Chalk|
|Oracle of Delphius|
|Yellow floaty thing|
|Queen Aleena||Gail Webster|
|Knuckles the Echidna||Brian Drummond|
|Cyrus||Ian James Corlett|
|Doo Bot||Kathleen Barr|
|Ledian||Tabitha St. Germain|
|Maeve (Old Lady)|
|Additional voices||Lee Tockar|
|Additional voices||Mindy LaTour|
|Additional voices||Louise Vallance|
The show met with mostly negative reviews. David Cornelius of DVD Talk said "While many Sonic fans did not take too well to all the changes, preferring the original "Sonic" cartoon to this stranger, sometimes darker, sometimes sillier incarnation, the series did win a small but loyal cult following. I fall more on the side of disappointment - for all the cleverness that went into crafting an all-new backstory, the episodes themselves are uninspired - but acknowledge the simple fact that it scores well with its target audience." GamesRadar described the show as one of "the absolute worst Sonic moments".
Archie Comics epilogue
Due to the show's cancellation, the storyline of Sonic Underground remained unresolved. However, the staff at Archie Comics had considered finishing the storyline. While the then-current writer of the Sonic comics, Ian Flynn, thought that perhaps making a new Sonic Underground story that could wrap up where the original series left off was an interesting idea, he felt he would be "stepping on the original creatives' toes," and that the story probably would not see the light of day for at least two years if he was allowed to do it anyway.
It was revealed at New York Comic Con 2012 that Sonic Universe #50 was intended to be the official epilogue of the Sonic Underground series, with a preview cover to the issue being released. However, the issue instead featured a plotline starring Metal Sonic, while the epilogue got cancelled.
Ian Flynn stated in early 2013 that material from Sonic Underground is "off-limits." During the Sonic Lost World First Play Marathon, Ian Flynn explained that this was the reason the epilogue had been put on hold. He later stated the epilogue's story would be featured in Lost Hedgehog Tales, a written document compiling Sonic comic material that will no longer be used, thus seemingly confirming that the epilogue is no longer a possibility. In July 2017, Sega announced its partnership with Archie Comics to be over, transferring the comic rights to IDW Publishing, marking the cancellation of the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic franchise and thus precluding the chance to have a Sonic Underground epilogue published by Archie.
Despite this, over the years, the show has gained some popularity. Some attempts have been made by fans to finish the series, an example being Archie Sonic Online, which released a conclusion comic based on the cancelled one planned for Sonic Universe #50.
There is a Sonic Underground LCD game that was made and released in 2000. The game has the same plot as in the show, but with a few new added features.
Home video and digital
In the United States, the show has seen many DVD releases.
- This is the first animated adaption to have animation done digitally.
- This is the first Sonic television series to feature Knuckles the Echidna and the only one not to feature Miles "Tails" Prower.
- This was also Knuckles' only appearance in a Sonic TV show produced by DiC Entertainment
- Coincidentally, neither character was shown with the other in any of the three animated series produced by DiC, although both were portrayed as close allies/friends of Sonic.
- It is the only Sonic television series to show a relative of Knuckles: his great-grandfather Athair.
- This is the first Sonic the Hedgehog series animation to be made in France, the second being Sonic Boom.
- According to the oracle's prophecy, the triplets someday will meet with their mother, and will join forces to defeat Robotnik and return everything to normal. This never happened in any episode.
- The siblings' father was never mentioned nor was he even given a character design or a voice actor. However, the French theme song of the show implied that there was no king at the time that Sonic and his siblings were born.
- In the episode "Sleepers", Manic's voice is a little deeper than normal, whereas in the episode "Wedding Bell Blues," Sonic's voice was more high-pitched than normal. In "To Catch a Queen," Manic's voice sounded more like Sonic's as he commented on parts he was stealing for an invention. Sonic's pronunciation of "Sonia" also differed throughout the series. This was probably an oversight by Jaleel White, who voiced all three siblings.
- The Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic series considers Sonic Underground as an alternate universe version of Sonic, and has made one appearance in the series, in Sonic Super Special #10.
- There are only a few references to the games, including a circular floating fortress that resembles the Death Egg, a large Freedom Fighter-eating spaceship called Predator which closely resembles the Egg Carrier, and Floating Island which first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 along with Knuckles.
- The sanctuary at the end of episode 20, "Three Hedgehogs and a Baby," has been compared to Knothole Village from the Sonic the Hedgehog television series.
- Jaleel White had not done his own juvenile voice in Sonic the Hedgehog (it was done by Tahj Mowry), but he does do it in this show.
- There are several errors that always occur, such as when Medallions are missing, Manic has his earrings on his right ear, Manic's fanny-pack is missing, and gloves or arms are in a different color. There have also been perspective issues.
- In the episode, "The Big Melt," when Manic comes out of the water and coughs, it is in Sonic's voice, and in "Beginnings" and "Haircraft in Space," one can see Sonic's mouth move to Sonia's voice, and vice versa.
- The medallion strings are in different colors. Sonic has a red string, Sonia has a yellow string, and Manic has a blue string.
- The series was streamed on Netflix, but the episodes are completely out of order on Netflix and from episodes 27-40 the title screen for the episodes and the end credits are in French. As of 31 October 2013, Sonic Underground had been removed from Netflix. In 2014, Sonic Underground returned to the platform, but was removed again on 2 January 2018.
- This is the last Sonic television show to feature Jaleel White as the voice of Sonic.
- This series coincidentally has Sonic in a band similar the scrapped element for the first Sonic game where Sonic originally was going to be in a rock band.
- Cornelius, David (7 January 2009). Sonic Underground: The Series : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video. DVD Talk. Archived from the original on 11 October 2018.
- The absolute worst Sonic moments. GamesRadar (23 April 2008). Archived from the original on 11 June 2020.
- Flynn, Ian (14 July 2009). Sonic Underground Universe!. BumbleKing Comics. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015.
- Flynn, Ian (22 January 2013). Ian Flynn on Twitter. Twitter. Archived from the original on 27 July 2015.
- Oliver, Tristan (29 October 2013). Is the Archie Sonic Underground Epilogue Dead?. Archived from the original on 31 May 2020.
- Flynn, Ian (11 September 2014). Ian Flynn on Twitter. Twitter. Archived from the original on 4 April 2016.
- Sega on Twitter. Twitter (19 July 2017). Archived from the original on 24 January 2018.