Sonic the Hedgehog
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Sonic the Hedgehog is the titular protagonist of a long-running series of videogames, with cartoon, anime and comic spin-offs. Debuting in the early 90s, he was originally a legitimate rival for Mario in terms of popularity and influence, but his games fell into a spiral of decline from the 2000s and the character has become something of a joke in the modern era.
In a nutshell, Sonic is a super-fast blue-furred anthropomorphic hedgehog who constantly works to thwart the schemes of the local robotics-obsessed Mad Scientist; one of the first things that divides the infamously fractious Sonic fanbase is whether they call Sonic's enemy by the name "Eggman" (his original name in Japan, and which he was retconned to in English during the 2000s) or "Dr. Robotnik" (the more menacing name that the English distributors came up with for him during the 90s). He has an enormous array of possible allies in this fight, mainly because his continuity has splintered into a wide array of different branches, creating a sprawling and messy multiverse.
Sonic is resident of some alternative reality "Earth" where sentient animals and humans coexist (American localization fucked it up and called planet "Mobius"). which Dr. "Eggma" Robotnik was trying to conquer with an army of robots powered by brainwashed animals that Sonic was trying to save. Later Eggman dropped the forced mecha piloting angle for just straight up using AI and occasional recruitment of elder gods.
There are currently three major comic continuities, technically four.
Sonic the Comic was a British line that nobody heard of outside of England until the internet got involved.
Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog was the original American comic line, using the basic universe created for Sonic SatAM - see below. This is divided into two sub-continuities; Pre-Penders Lawsuit and Post-Penders Lawsuit.
IDW's Sonic the Hedgehog is the latest Sonic comic line, and trying its hardest to adhere to Sega's new rules for Sonic's universe.
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Basically a Looney Tunes style fast-paced gag-a-minute action comedy with Ren & Stimpy style surreal artwork. Smallest cast of any continuity, boiling it down to Sonic and Tails for the heroes, and Robotnik with his three bumbling robot minions (Scratch, Grounder and Coconuts) for the bad guys. Infamous source of memes due to the "Youtube Poop" reworking of the series.
Sonic SatAM: Technically just called "Sonic the Hedgehog", this cartoon earned its moniker due to airing at the same time as AoStH above, but on Saturday mornings. In contrast to the light-hearted, goofy tone of its brother, this show was dark, revolving around Sonic and a small band of Freedom Fighters conducting a desperate guerrilla campaign against Dr. Robotnik and his legions of Swatbots and Badniks, who has conquered the world with the aid of the Roboticizer: a horrible machine that can transmute any living creature into an obedient robotic slave. One that still retains its original consciousness, just locked away in a corner of its own mind, screaming as it watches its body do whatever Robotnik commands. Was cancelled due to insufficient ratings at the end of the second season.
'Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie: An animated film that was assembled from the two episodes of a failed Sonic anime pilot. Set on a completely different world to Mobius, called "Planet Freedom", the plot is that Sonic is forced by Robotnik to venture to Robotnik's fortress in the sub-world of Planet Freedom to thwart "Metal Robotnik", an evil robot that kicked Robotnik out of his home and has now tampered with a hyper-powerful generator that is building up to a planet shattering explosion. It ultimately ends with Sonic clashing against Metal Sonic, an evil robot clone of himself.
Sonic Underground: The first Sonic cartoon of the 2000s, presenting a slightly less grimdark version of SatAM; in this one, Sonic is one of three royal triplets prophesied to, at the right time, reunite with their mother the queen and bring about the downfall of Robotnik, who has overthrown their family and brutally reigns over Mobius. Until the time is right, the triplets play in an underground rock band to try and motivate the demoralized denizens of Mobius to rise up and join the resistance.
Sonic X: The first Sonic cartoon of the 2010s, this anime started as an adaptation of Sega's 2000s Sonic games, but set on Earth and with an annoying human kid sidekick.
Sonic Boom: The most recent Sonic cartoon. A slapstick, goofball comedy series. While the game it was based on was lackluster, many appreciated the clever jokes and gags in the show. It also didn’t shy away from poking fun at the sonic franchise itself, or the reputation of Sonic fans for being weirdos.