When it comes to Sonic the Hedgehog and anime, most people think of the TV series Sonic X. It might seem odd that a project like that hadn’t been tried before. Well, there was a Sonic anime before this; it was a two episode OVA (original video animation) that was released in Japan in 1996. ADV films later licensed it and edited the episodes together to form an hour-long film. It is an odd thing to watch, with it’s characters, 90’s dub, and slapstick. If you saw the DVD cover you might think it was a bootleg. However, it is a real product, almost forgotten in time. It is called; Sonic the Hedgehog the Movie.
The main story focuses around the creation of Metal Sonic (called Hyper Metal Sonic in the dub for some reason). After an opening monologue from Robotnik/Eggman, things switch to Sonic’s home. He’s just relaxing with Tails at this point before being interrupted by an owl known as the ‘Old Man.’ The Old Man is strangely funny character. His comedic timing makes things a little more interesting, definitely more than some of the main characters. A couple of the most memorable moments belong to him. Saying that, there are two quotes from Sonic, which anyone who has seen it will know very well. Anyway, after talking to Old Man Owl, the scene changes, we meet Sera (Sonic’s anime cat-girlfriend), and the good Doctor explains about some crisis in his home that Sonic has to fix.
The next part has some nice action animation; showing Sonic and Tails running through a couple of environments to get to their destination. It also comes a little bit after some of the worst image editing you will ever see on a Western anime release. Actually, some parts of it are reminiscent of the animated opening to Sonic CD. Seeing Sonic and Tails running through the landscape avoiding various obstacles, and robot attacks. It is also of note, that a lot of the robots shown in this first part are based on designs from the original games. It is a nice touch. There is a nice fight against a giant robot which brings everyone’s favourite echidna, Knuckles (who for some reason is called a ‘mole’ throughout the dub). They move on, save day, and then find out that the whole thing was to get Sonic scanned to finish Metal. There is a short fight scene between them before we get stuck with Tails and Knuckles for a while. At this point the Old Man makes his return and starts singing a weird song (also dressed clothes that are supposed to be Sonic’s). The final battle between Sonic and Metal is really nice to watch. The animation is pretty good for time and budget that an OVA like this had.
Admittedly, this is the best OVA that’s has been made. One of the biggest entertain factors of it the dub. This can only be described as typical 1990’s English audio. Tails sounds like he has a blocked nose, and Sera’s voice is a bit annoying. In a lot of the piece the animation is very nice. The slapstick is a little heavy at times and a hit-and-miss. As the whole this anime can be entertaining. It is a very weird thing that is typical for its time with a Japanese audience in mind. The very hardcore Sonic fans should take a look at this. It won’t be to a lot of other people’s tastes though.