Sonic Underground would be an interesting study in the land of Sonic Cartoons if one was into such a thing. The series lasted forty episodes and was made at the request of Sega who needed the promotion for their Dreamcast console in the fall of 1999. The show itself was an odd departure from the first two series in that it always contained a musical number and featured three main hedgehogs instead of just one. The show did serve to introduce a couple of new sub villains and Knuckles the Echidna. I honestly don’t remember Sonic Underground; I am more familiar with the previous two series, but with one look at the dvd cover and description on the outside, I might have begun to see why.
Queen Aleena the Hedgehog had three children: Sonic, Sonia & Manic. However, Dr. Robotnik & his robots decide to overtake things and force her out. Aleena went into hiding. But before doing so, she separated Sonic, Sonia & Manic. When the threesome became older, they heard of a prophecy that they could reunite with their mother. They would be able to end the tyrannical rule of Dr. Robotnik and resume their rightful leadership. The three also have medallions that can change into musical instruments to play as part of Sonic Underground and are also used as powerful weapons against the forces of Robotnik. The last twenty episodes join the trio as they try to find their mother and keep themselves alive against the selfishness of evil.
My mind might be going blank but I fail to remember when Sonic the Hedgehog met West Side Story. In addition, I missed the part about the punk sister and the surfer brother who oddly sounds like Sonic. Wait, all of these characters sound alike. *checks notes* That’s because Jaleel White has decided to take on all three voices. Jaleel is the voice of Sonic in earlier cartoons or Urkel on Family Matters. Furthermore, Sleet (one of the bounty hunters on Robotnik’s side that resembles a wolf) sounds like Brain from Animaniacs. Maurice LaMarche would be the voice of Sleet who also did Brain on Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain. There is some certainly good voice talent on this show even if it does present an odd concept.
The musical aspect does deserve some mention as it screams bad idea. High School Musical my Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons should not be. The musical instruments becoming weapons of mass destruction are not exactly doing any favors either. There are a couple of things I do like. The first is that Sonic is the same chili-dog eating, extreme speed racing blue hedgehog we have enjoyed in previous series. Dr. Robotnik and crew are not quite as bumbling and actually have some sense of what they are trying to accomplish. I even like the idea of one main story that updates from episode to episode while the characters work through sub-plots. But I can’t get over the beeping music videos. Is that so wrong?
Since the series was on television, we get the 1.33:1 Full screen treatment we would expect. It looks alright for a late 90’s cartoon with good shading and decent color use throughout each episode. There wasn’t much to be restored here and it looks a lot like the second incantation from the early nineties. Average treatment to what was being produced in that era and we can accept it for that.
Audio is produced in Dolby Digital 2.0 English format and actually sounds pretty decent. There is ample evidence to suggest that Stereo effects were used in the treatment of musical numbers and action sequences. Dialog is nice and clear unless you have some trouble with very feint Australian type accents. No subtitles were to be found.
- Automatic Trailers: Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series, Sam & Max: Freelance Police, Medabots S1, & Oban Star-Racers The Complete Series.
- Music Videos 8:01: Seven videos from the episodes of the first disc. Favorites like the Cosmic Dance & We are Sonic Underground (The Egyptian version).
- Music Videos 8:21: Seven more videos from the episodes of the second disc. Favorites like How You Play the Game & We are Sonic Underground (The Rock version).
- Music Videos 7:32: Six final videos from the episodes of the third disc. Favorites like Liberty’s Gonna Rock & Sound of Freedom. What, no We are Sonic Underground the Death Metal or Country version? (which would probably be the same thing except one might have some violins or banjos)
- Sonic Underground’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 10:04: Cute extra by including eight songs that represent the best of what Volume 2 had to offer. But one has to think “Is there really a kid (or adult) out there who is going to stick this cd in their player for future use?” Probably not.
Sonic Underground, Sonic Underground *sigh*. This is a perfect example of what a bad gimmick will do to a cartoon show. All the writing and brilliant voice acting in the world can’t cover up how much damage silly singing & very odd music videos can do. The overall stories in the show are interesting and would be fine on their own if they dropped the musical instruments (especially as weapons) and the videos. The dvd is fine and are adequately made considering their theme. The inclusion of a musical cd and a whole bunch of music videos make total sense and show appreciation for the show. Sonic Underground deserves its place in Sonic cartoon history as a view on an alternate universe. An alternate universe where Sonic has a sister and a brother. They also form a band and the instruments shoot robots. *shrug* Well at least the show did introduce Knuckles and we still come to the conclusion that chili dogs are darn good eating. Recommended to Sonic fans only.
The Jewel In the Crown
Three Hedgehogs And a Baby
The Hedgehog In the Iron Mask
Six Is A Crowd
Wedding Bell Blues
Flying Fortress (Chaos Emerald Crisis, Part 1)
No Hedgehog is an Island (Chaos Emerald Crisis, Part 2)
New Echidna in Town (Chaos Emerald Crisis, Part 3)
Haircraft in Space
The Big Melt
Bartleby the Prisoner
The Art of Destruction
I Can Do That For You
Never Easy for Us
Part of the Problem
Don’t Let Your Guard Down
The Cosmic Dance
When Tomorrow Comes
Learn to Overcome