Jason Griffith (English) – Sonic the Hedgehog, Shadow the Hedgehog, various
Ryō Hirohashi (Japanese) – Miles “Tails” Prower, Cheese, Chao
Amy Palant (English) – Miles “Tails” Prower, Boom 1
Nobutoshi Canna (Japanese) – Knuckles the Echidna
Dan Green (English) – Knuckles the Echidna, Elmer Johnson, Ghana, various
Sanae Kobayashi (Japanese) – Chris Thorndyke
Jerry Lobozzo (English) – Chris Thorndyke, Chuck Thorndyke
Taeko Kawata (Japanese) – Amy Rose
Lisa Ortiz (English) – Amy Rose, various
Sayaka Aoki (Japanese) – Cream the Rabbit, Vanilla the Rabbit (season 2-3), various
Rebecca Honig (English) – Cream the Rabbit, Cheese, Maria Robotnik, Tikal (both season 2), Vanilla the Rabbit (season 2-3), Helen’s mother (season 1-2)
Bin Shimada (Japanese) – Chuck Thorndyke, Bocoe
Chikao Ōtsuka (Japanese) – Dr. Eggman, Professor Gerald Robotnik (season 2)
Mike Pollock (English) – Dr. Eggman, Ella, Professor Gerald Robotnik (season 2)
Darren Dunstan (English) – Bocoe, Mr. Tanaka, Director of Central Intelligence, E-51 Intelligente, Officer Albright
Ken Yamaguchi (Japanese) – Decoe, Nelson Thorndyke
Andrew Rannells (English) – Decoe, Bokkun, Mr. Stewart (season 1-2), E-102 Gamma, E-101 Beta, E-104 Epsilon (all season 2), narrator
Ted Lewis (English) – Nelson Thorndyke, the President, Li Yan (all season 1-2), Yellow Zelkova (season 3)
Etsuko Kozakura (Japanese) – Cosmo (season 3)
Amy Birnbaum (English) – Helen, Froggy, Charmy Bee (season 2-3), Cosmo (season 3)
Jōji Nakata (Japanese) – E-102 Gamma (season 2), Dark Oak (season 3)
Katsuyuki Konshi (Japanese) – Lucas (season 3)
Matt Hoverman (English) – Dark Oak/Lucas (season 3)
Jūrōta Kosugi (Japanese) & Jim Napolitano (English) – Pale Bayleaf (season 3)
Ken Narita (Japanese) & Sean Schemmel (English) – Black Narcissus (season 3)
Takeshi Watabe (Japanese) – Yellow Zelkova (season 3)
Hōchū Ōtsuka (Japanese) – Red Pine (season 3)
Jonathan Todd Ross (English) – Red Pine (season 3), Howard Watcher
For the history of Sonic the Hedgehog, check out the post here.
For the history of Sonic the Hedgehog, check out the post here.
After three American animated series and a two-episode OVA, Sonic the Hedgehog was finally coming home to his native Japan in a long-form anime. Sonic X was developed by TMS Entertainment (which would become a subsidiary of Sonic’s creators Sega in 2005) and was designed with a Japanese audience in mind. As a result, it featured none of the original characters introduced in DiC Entertainment’s previous programs and relied heavily on established ones from the various games intermixed with TMS’ original creations.
|Amy Rose with Big the Cat, Cream the Rabbit and Cheese.|
Among the misplaced Mobians was Sonic’s ever-present sidekick, Tails (Ryō Hirohashi & Amy Palant): the two-tailed flying fox and inventor. There was also Sonic’s friendly rival, Knuckles the Echidna (Nobutoshi Canna & Dan Green), who had previously appeared in animation in the OVA. He’s the guardian of the Master Emerald, a powerful ancient relic, possesses super strength, a short-temper and gullible nature, and could float via his dreadlocks. New to animation was Amy Rose (Taeko Kawata & Lisa Ortiz), a pink hedgehog armed with a giant mallet who could be bossy, stubborn, and constantly strived to get Sonic to date her; Cream the Rabbit (Sayaka Aoki & Rebecca Honig), a well-mannered young girl always in the company of her pet Chao, Cheese (Hirohashi & Honig); Big the Cat (Takashi Nagasako & Oliver Wyman), a large but gentle cat whose only desire in life is to just be fishing with his best friend, Froggy (Tomohisa Asō & Amy Birnbaum); Rouge the Bat (Rumi Ochiai & Kathleen Delaney), a jewel thief who is capable of altruistic deeds but always has her own agenda—usually resulting in something being stolen; and the Chaotix, a team of adventuring detectives consisting of Vector the Crocodile (Kenta Miyake & James Carter Cathcart), Espio the Chameleon (Yūki Masuda & David Wills) and Charmy Bee (Yōko Teppōzuka & Birnbaum).
|Sonic with Ella, Mr. Tanaka, Knuckls, Amy, Cream, Cheese, Tails, Chris and Chuck.|
Newly created characters included the rest of Chris’ family: Chuck Thorndyke (Bin Shimada & Lobozzo), Chris’ grandfather who was a scientist and inventor that became fast friends with Tails; Ella (Kujira & Pollock), the Thorndyke family maid who could be a force of nature when made angry; Mr. Tanaka (Naoki Imamura & Darren Dunstan), the Thorndyke’s butler and bodyguard who enjoyed meditation and martial arts; Sam Speed (Sōichirō Tanaka & Frank Frankson), Chris’ uncle who led a special unit of the Station Square Police Department known as the Speed Team that utilized high-speed race cars; Nelson Thorndyke (Ken Yamaguchi & Ted Lewis), Chris’ father who was a wealthy industrialist and usually very absorbed with work; and Lindsey Thorndyke (Naomi Shindō & Veronica Taylor), Chris’ mother who was a famous actress and spent most of her time traveling from one set to another. Chris’ human friends included Helen (Noriko Hidaka & Birnbaum), a paraplegic that readily accepted Sonic and his friends; Danny (Shindō & Rachel Lillis as a kid, Frankson as a teen), an always-optimistic athlete who approached everything with enthusiasm; and Frances (Yuka Shioyama & Kerry Williams), a thrill-seeker who loved a challenge but would always look to protect her friends from harm.
|The President and his unscrupulous aide, Jerome Wise.|
Other characters included The President (a combination of George W. Bush and Richard Nixon, voiced by Tomohisa Asō & Lewis), who was initially wary of the Mobians but came to regard their value in defeating Eggman; Jerome Wise (Kōji Haramaki & David Lapkin), the President’s aide who viewed the Mobians as a threat to the President’s re-election and often worked against them; Mr. Stewart (Michio Nakao & Rannells), a government agent initially assigned to pose as a teacher at Chris’ school to keep an eye on the Mobians; and Topaz (Yukari Hikida & Jennifer Johnson), a by-the-book agent of the President’s Guardian Units of the Nations military organization (G.U.N. for short, although not uttered on the English version of the show) that was eventually partnered with Rouge.
|Dr. Eggman with Bocoe, Bokkun and Decoe.|
Eggman, not one to be kept down, quickly set about establishing new bases and war machines on the planet, as well as built his own robot army. Among his minions were Bocoe (Shimada & Dunstan) and Decoe (Yamaguchi & Rannells), who served as his personal assistants, and Bokkun (Yumiko Kobayashi & Rannells), a messenger robot that communicated with Sonic on Eggman’s behalf via explosive televisions. These three robots were all original to the series. The E-Series of robots were Eggman’s primary soldiers in his attempts at world conquest and reacquiring the Chaos Emeralds, each with a different appearance and functionality. Eggman would come to free an ancient and immortal being from their world called Chaos to aid in his plans. Chaos was powered by the Chaos Emeralds and could assume different and more powerful forms the more Chaos energy it was exposed to. To aid Chaos, Eggman created the E-100 Series of robots which were powered by placing animals inside of them. The most notable of these robots was E-102 Gamma (Imamura & Rannells) who would defy his programming and seek to free the captured animals and his brethren from Eggman’s control. There was also Shadow the Hedgehog (Koji Yusa & Griffith), a dark version of Sonic created by Eggman’s grandfather, Gerald Robotnik (Ōtsuka & Pollock). Faster and more powerful than Sonic, Shadow wanted to destroy the world due to the death of his closest friend, Maria Robotnik (Yuri Shiratori & Honig), but ultimately fell into the role of hero.
|Gotta move fast!|
Sonic X originally debuted on TV Tokyo in Japan on April 6, 2003. The series was preceded by two trailers: the first featured most of the footage that would end up used in the series’ intro as well as unused scenes featuring unique characters, and the second was shown by Sega at the World Hobby Fair video gaming event in February of 2003 comprised of footage from the first few episodes. Notably, the second trailer ended with a still frame of the original design for Super Sonic—a Sonic super-powered by the Chaos Emeralds—that ended up being changed by the time the episode went to air. Yuji Naka, then-head of Sega’s Sonic Team (the group responsible for developing all Sonic games) served as an executive producer, and several of the voice actors utilized had previously voiced their characters in the games. The original anime writers were Chinatsu Houjou, Hiro Masaki, Kiyoko Yoshimura, Koji Miki, Masahiko Shiraishi and Yoshio Urasawa. The anime’s theme, “Sonic Drive”, was composed by Takeshi Aida and Cher Watanabe with vocals by Hironobu Kageyama and Hideaki Takatori. There were also three ending themes: “Future” by Kazuyoshi Baba performed by Run&Gun, “Shining Road” by Shun Taguchi and Masataka Matsutoya performed by Aya Hiroshige, and “T.O.P.” by KP and URU. The characters were designed by Satoshi Hirayama, adhering closely to the original game designs for the established characters.
|Shadow reluctantly working with Rouge.|
4Kids Entertainment acquired the rights to handle the localization for the American market. As with their other acquired programs, 4Kids made extensive edits for content and length. They reduced depictions of violence (like blood and death), removed instances of alcohol and sexual innuendos, modified language (removed curses or lessened threats), replaced gunfire with lasers, and eliminated instances of breaking the fourth wall. Eyecatch cards, which displayed information about a character at various intervals utilizing game-inspired art, were also removed. The only thing Sonic X managed to escape was having entire episodes cut out of the rotation; something that befell other 4Kids acquired programs. Rather than use the games’ voice actors, 4Kids cast all-new ones for the show since the game cast didn’t live in New York. Norman J. Grossfeld invited Pollock and Griffith to audition since he knew them from Kirby: Right Back at Ya! and Ultimate Muscle. Griffith, in fact, auditioned for the role of Chris thinking it would be thrilling to be Sonic’s companion, but the producers felt his voice fit Sonic better. The rest of the cast was found through general auditions. Sega would go on to decide to recast their games as well with the 4Kids cast for their games made between 2005-10.
The 4Kids version of Sonic X made its debut on their FoxBox programming block on FOX on August 23, 2003. The episodes were adapted by John Touhey, Michael Haigney and Lewis, with Kaz Sano serving as a translation advisor. Pollock was allowed to make uncredited rewrites to dialogue whenever he felt something was off. 4Kids gave the series all-new music by Craig Marks, Joel Douek, John Angier, Louis Cortelezzi, Manny Corallo, Matt McGuire and Ralph Schuckett, as well as a new theme, “Gotta go Fast”, by Grossfeld, Joe Garrity and Russell Velázquez. International versions of the show got their own theme, “Sonic X”, by Mark Biagi and Nikki Gregoroff.
|Have no fear: the Chaotix are on the case!|
Despite being designed for a Japanese audience, Sonic X actually performed quite poorly in Japan. In contrast, it was a ratings hit in both the United States and France. This would inspire TMS to focus on making properties that would sell well outside of Japan, as well as continue on with the third season of Sonic X (known as series 2 in Japan). Despite having a full Japanese audio track done, the third season aired first in France on Jetix, followed shortly by the 4Kids version later that same year. The third season wouldn’t be seen in Japan until 2020 when Sonic X was re-aired on Kids Station as part of a promotional campaign for the Sonic the Hedgehog film.
|The Metarex leadership: Dark Oak in front of Pale Bayleaf, Black Narcissus, Yellow Zelkova and Red Pine.|
For the third season, the show was given new foes in the forms of the Metarex: a large army of cyborgs and robots equipped with advanced powerful weaponry. The Metarex traverse the galaxy to claim objects of great power, in particular Planet Eggs. Planet Eggs embodied the life force of the planet it rests on, causing the planet to begin to die in a variety of different ways once removed (one planet went from desert to flooded, one became an ice planet, vegetation died off on another, etc.). Their leader was Dark Oak (Jōji Nakata with Katsuyuki Konishi as his alter ego, Lucas, and Matt Hoverman), an incredibly powerful and brilliant schemer capable of laying out complex plans that resulted in the Metarex’s continued success. Directly under his command were his generals: Pale Bayleaf (Jūrōta Kosugi & Jim Napalitano), a resourceful tactician with advanced reflexes, strength and durability; Black Narcissus (Ken Narita & Sean Schemmel), a vain narcissist who liked to study his opponents thoroughly, although he wasn’t initially a particularly adept fighter; Yellow Zelkova (Takeshi Watabe & Lewis), a dim-witted powerhouse who used brute force as his first course of action; and Red Pine (Hōchū Ōtsuka & Jonathan Todd Ross), the most cool-headed of the group who liked to plan carefully. Each one was capable of Mover Mode: the shared ability of the males of their plant-like species to assume powerful dinosaur-like forms for a limited time.
|A budding romance between Tails and Cosmo?|
Joining the heroes was a female from their species, Cosmo (Etsuko Kozakura & Birnbaum), who could communicate with plant life, jump high and float with her skirt, and unlock the power of a Planet Egg. Cosmo’s homeworld was destroyed by the Metarex and she was raised on a space colony until the Metarex came for that as well. She came to find the legendary one—Sonic—who could wield the power of all the Chaos Emeralds to stop the Metarex. Unfortunately, Sonic hand to scatter the Emeralds across the cosmos to prevent the Metarex from getting them, leading to a hunt to retrieve them that saw Eggman often joining in to help. Tails created the Blue Typhoon, a massive space-faring vessel, to accomplish this task. Its primary weapon was the Sonic Power Cannon, which fired Sonic as a projectile. Along for the ride was a now 18-year-old Chris, who had invented a portal that allowed him to visit Sonic’s world. The time differences between the dimensions (years for Chris, months for Sonic) reverted him physically to his 12-year-old self, although he still retained his mind and experiences from the years that passed.
|Sonic and Shadow going Super.|
At 78 episodes, Sonic X was the longest-running Sonic animated series until it was passed by Sonic Boom in 2017, which ultimately topped-out at 104 episodes. It was also the longest consistently-aired of the Sonic shows with reruns being continually broadcast in various territories. Following 4Kids’ bankruptcy in 2012, Saban Brands’ Kidsco Media Ventures acquired their rights to the series until 2014. As of 2015, the American rights for Sonic X lie with Discotek Media.
|The comic series from Archie Comics.|
ShoPro licensed extensive waves of merchandise for the show in North America, which included toys, bedding, towels, backpacks, stationery and pajamas. Toy Island produced a line of action figures for the 4Kids version, which actually began as repacked versions of their line for Sonic Adventure. Eventually, more on-model figures were produced. FEVA distributed the toys in the United Kingdom, which also included a radio-controlled Sonic by Spin Master. While Archie Comics had the Sonic the Hedgehog license, they began a tie-in series for the anime also titled Sonic X. Beginning in 2005, it was originally set to be a 4-issue mini-series, but high demand turned it into an ongoing series that ran for 40 issues (the same thing happened with their main Sonic title). The comics would follow the premise of the show, but greatly expand some of the concepts and characters introduced; such as a new G.U.N. agent, Captain Westwood, starting the secret group S.O.N.I.C.X. (Society for Observing and Neutralizing Inter-dimensional Creatures and Xenomorphs) comprised of characters somehow wronged by Sonic, such as Jerome Wise. Some of the issues would be reprinted by Jetix Magazine in the United Kingdom, Italy and Poland. In 2003, McDonald’s featured five LCD sports games in their Happy Meals based on the show; with two featuring Sonic and one each for Tails, Knuckles and Shadow. Another one with Big the Cat arrived the following year. In 2007, they’d release another collection of spinner toys. LeapFrog Enterprises released an educational Sonic X math game for its Leapster handheld consoles in 2005, and the Vortexx Sonic X website featured the browser game Sonic X Ring Thing. There was also a collectible card game produced by Score Entertainment where two players competed to score three Chaos Emeralds in order to win a game. Between 2005 and 2007, six novels were published by Grosset & Dunlap. Four of them were written by Charlotte Fullerton and the last two by Paul Ruditis and Diana G. Gallagher, respectively.
|The complete series.|
Victor Entertainment and Universal Music released 13 DVD and VHS compilations in Japan between 2003 and 2004, with Hi-Spec editions of the first 10 released with bonus features and better audio quality. 2004 also saw the release of a Game Boy Advance Video containing episodes from the first season, with a second one planned but eventually cancelled before release. The first 52 episodes were released in the United States by Funimation in 10 VHS and 10 single-disc collections released from 2004 to 2006. Beginning in 2007, they were combined and re-released as four “Saga” sets: New World Saga, Chaos Emerald Chaos, Chaos & Shadow Sagas and The Egg Moon, Emerl & Homebound Sagas. The final season was released between two collections: The Complete 5th Season and So Long, Sonic. In 2016, all the collections were condensed down into two, while in 2019 the complete series was released for the first time onto Blu-ray by Discotek. Warner Home Video and Jetix Consumer Products handled the various European releases. episodes. Future Publishing’s Jetix Magazine released their sixth and ninth issue with DVDs containing an episode of Sonic X along with an episode of Robot Wars and Totally Spies!, respectively. MRA Entertainment released 17 volumes of three-episodes each in Australia between 2005 and 2006. Focus Filmes released three DVD collections in Brazil beginning in 2016. The first two seasons have been made available to stream on Netflix and Vudu, with the entire series available on Prime Video, Hulu, Tubi, Roku and TMS’s official YouTube channel. It’s was also made viewable on Kabillion stations.
“Revenge of the Robot (Gamma the Wanderer)” (11/2/03 JAP, 10/16/04 US) – While Sonic infiltrates Eggman’s underground base, Gamma wanders around freeing the animals captured by his fellow robots.
“A Revolutionary Tale (Upon a Destroyed Planet)” (4/8/05 FR, 2/18/06 US, 4/16/20 JAP) – Eggman’s group arrives on Cascade tracking a Chaos Emerald signal and discover one of the group of heroes protecting the planet may be working with the Metarex.