Sonic the Animation (ソニック・ジ・アニメーション Sonikku ji animēshon?) is an experimental, animated short used for Sega theme parks and was later included in the compilation game Sonic Jam. Produced by Sega Software R&D Dept. 3 with the traditional animation provided by TMS Entertainment, (at the time known as Tokyo Movie Shinsha) the short combines hand-drawn 2D characters with 3D computer-generated environments. Although the character designs are practically identical to the games, the animation style mimics that of the western Warner Brothers cartoons that TMS was helping co-animate at the time, such as Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures.
After the title screen, the camera flies over a large metropolitan city, ending on Robotnik's island hideout just off the coast. In his hideout, a newly awoken Robotnik in pajamas goes to sit at his desk with a mug of coffee and a newspaper, whereupon he has a spit take when he reads that Sonic has been deemed the "Man of the Year". Robotnik angrily balls up the paper and throws it at the TV, turning it on, showing the same message and several crowds of people cheering for Sonic. Further enraged, Robotnik tries to turn the TV off, but stumbles over a trash heap, where he then arises while violently swinging and strangling a Sonic doll. He suddenly gets an idea and runs out of the room.
In the city, Sonic is seen running and jumping about, when suddenly Robotnik appears in a Sonic suit and rocket skates, where he then begins terrorizing the civilians; drawing on the faces of people who want his autograph, jumping on cars and destroying sign posts. After causing chaos throughout the town, a television displays an announcement proclaiming Sonic has now been deemed "Worst Man of the Year", showing an image of the disguised Robotnik making an akanbe at the camera. Unaware of the havoc wrought in his name, Sonic runs by a crowd of civilians watching the TV and stops to get their attention when, much to his befuddlement, they start angrily yelling at him.
After a moment of confusion, Sonic then notices Robotnik standing atop a nearby building, looking down on him and laughing villainously before losing his balance and falling off the edge, where the short ends with a "To Be Continued" screen.
- Throughout the animated short, following pieces of music are played:
- "Morning Mood" by Edvard Grieg - as Robotnik wakes up in the morning.
- "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg - when Robotnik learns that Sonic is "Man of the Year". It should be noted that before the animated short, many motifs and samples of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" were used before as musical cues and the main theme of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
- The background music for the present of Metallic Madness from the Japanese and European releases of Sonic the Hedgehog CD - while Robotnik is causing trouble.
- The end of the short says, "To be continued," but no continuation was ever produced.
- Some of the shots of the city are clearly based on San Francisco.
- Robotnik's laugh at the end of the short is taken from the Japanese boss theme of Sonic the Hedgehog CD.
- Japanese clothing company Milkboy made a T-shirt based on the short with the newspaper featuring Sonic as the front design. The back design used stock art of Sonic and the logo from the SegaSonic the Hedgehog brand.
- In June 2016, the animated short was shown during the Sonic 25th Anniversary Party event held in Tokyo Joypolis.
- Eggman's pajamas from the start of the short are worn by Classic Eggman in the Sonic Mania Adventures holiday special.
- "第3AM研究開発部 "リアルさ"と"キャラクター性"の追求が3研のテーマ". Beep! MegaDrive 1994-10. Soft Bank. 8 September 1994. p. 93. "今回が初公開となるAM3研のCG製作チームが作った試験的なアニメがコレだ。 キャラはアニメセル(東京ムービー新社)を使用しているが、「視点のまわりこみなどセル画では不可能な表現がOGなら可能(小口部長)」だと言う。 CGアニメの可能性を予感させる 1 作だ。"
- "「ソニック・ジ・アメーション」のほうは?" (in Japanese). ソニックジャム オフィシャルガイド. Soft Bank. 2 October 1997. p. 111. ISBN 978-4797303377. "同じくシアターに収録されている「ソニック・ジ・アニメーション」は、実験的に作られた 3 DCGと2Dセルアニメーションを融合させた作品。 一部のテーマパークなどで流されていたこともあるという。 スピード感ある内容がソニックらしい作品だ。"
- "「ソニック・ジ・アメーション」のほうは?" (in Japanese). ソニックジャム オフィシャルガイド. Soft Bank. 2 October 1997. p. 111. ISBN 978-4797303377. "↑普通のアニメとは違う雰囲気がナイス。 「TO BE CONTINUED」とあるが続編は作られていないらしい。 残念!"
- 『ソニック25周年 アニバーサリーパーティー』生放送. YouTube (25 June 2016). Retrieved on 28 August 2016.