Fleetway Sonic is the MOST motivating Sonic! | BE MORE SHONEN
The stories we consume teach us valuable lessons and shape who we are as we get stronger, for this episode of 'Be More Shonen' we discuss what I believe to be Sonic The Hedgehog's most Shonen moment.
This is the first in a video/article series where I go in-depth on a single motivational scene from a franchise I love and pull apart what makes it inspirational to me. Named after my love for Shonen anime and all it's tropes regarding will-power and the individual spirit, the series will is called 'Be More Shonen'.
So how is a British adaptation of a barely Japanese franchise considered the most Shonen version of Sonic The Hedgehog? Hear me out lol.
If you would rather watch than read:
There are many different versions of Sonic across the multiverse that is SEGAS biggest franchise but the one that I grew up with, and my personal favourite, is the UKs Fleetway Comics version.
Subjective, but I also think this is the best Sonic aesthetic. Richard Elson is an amazing artist.
Long story short, because of localisation and because Sonic didn’t have a voice in the old Genesis/Megadrive games, UK publishing company fleetway was given quite a bit of creative freedom on Sonic’s personality and they chose to adapt his personality into that of an anti-hero. There was much less power of friendship and somewhat notoriously, Sonic is a bit of a dickhead to his friends.
This wasn't the only personality change. In fact, Super Sonic in this version was Sonic’s dark side brought upon by being exposed to too much chaos energy, even going as far as to try and kill all of his friends. This transformation is so notable in the franchise for it's dark take on the character that when you search 'Fleetway Sonic' in google images this is the form that pops up.
Far and away from the Super Saiyan inspired Super Sonic, this guy wanted to destroy planets
But despite these changes Sonic’s core values were still there; he wanted to live free, didn’t like to see unnecessary suffering, and although rough around the edges he still feels for people and he does the right thing.
There were also changes made to his nemesis Dr.Robotnik. Rather than being a somewhat jolly villain Robotnik in this version was the dark side of Ovi Kintobor brought upon by chaos energy.
Kintobor and Sonic before their exposure to chaos energy
Robotnik's appearance after his accident. Seems 'chaos energy' is actually chaotic is this world
Becoming an evil dictator who wanted power at the cost of anything else, in one storyline called ‘Robotnik reigns Supreme’ Robotnik wins. He gathers all of the chaos emeralds and uses their power to warp reality into anything he wants. Having the power to do literally anything now, he decides to torture Sonic for all eternity.
He starts by placing him in a world where he never existed. His home is now gone and turned into an industrial wasteland, none of his friends recognise him, and lastly, he learns that Tails is dead.
He momentarily breaks down in grief, but it’s not enough for him to stay down. Robotnik then shows Sonic the future of this timeline where a withering arthritic Sonic is still fighting Robotnik making no progress on his battle whatsoever.
Sonic is told he’s going to spend an eternity fighting, and it will be for no reason. There is nothing he can do, he’s trapped.
Robotnik then brings Sonic back to the present, wanting to enjoy every single bit of Sonic’s torture and he begins to warp him through ridiculous realities. At one point he’s the roadrunner, another he’s in a court room, and in another, he’s fighting Robotnik as a vampire. It’s ridiculous, it’s whacky, it's childish (it's a kids comic!) but it’s also hopeless and futile. Robotnik can literally make anything happen.
And with all these odds stacked against him, Sonic utters these lines whilst stood on Tail's grave:
"Change reality any way you like Robotnik! Whatever you do, I’ll still fight you. And somehow I’ll still win! Because no matter how ridiculous the situation I’ll never give up Robotnik. I will never give up"
He keeps fighting even when the odds seem absolutely insurmountable. And as an 8 year old kid I thought this was the most epic fucking shit. I was so excited for the next fortnight to see the conclusion of the fight.
Sonic is then forced to face resurrected versions of every single one of his past enemies, including Metal Sonic and a shape-shifter using the face of Tails. Defeating them all, Robotnik chooses to take away Sonics powers and bring Knuckles into the fight. But to add to Sonic’s torture, this version of Knuckles is loyal to Robotnik and proceeds to beat Sonic down.
But because he didn’t let go, because he didn’t give up, Sonic then sees a weakness in Robotnik. His ego. It’s not enough for Robotnik to kill Sonic, he could have done it a million times. He wants to see him suffer, he wants him to feel futility (yes, we're still talking about Sonic lol). He wants to break him before he ends him. So knowing that Robotnik won’t let him die yet, Sonic exploits that.
‘You’re still so scared of losing that you took away my special abilities...and if knuckles was on my side we’d win easily’
Wanting to shatter Sonics resolve, the seemingly invincible Robotnik gives back Knuckles his memories. Sonic and Knuckles come up with a plan to try and siphon the chaos energy out of Robotiks body and Sonic creates a diversion which nearly kills him whilst Knuckles uses his knowledge regarding the chaos emeralds to take Robotniks energy away, seemingly killing him in the process.
Of course, in true comic book fashion nobody stays dead for long
After this, everything is restored back to normal with everyone’s memories of the incident slipping away in which our anti-hero version of Sonic says ‘Whats the point of being a hero if nobody can even remember it?’. Classy.
Now it’s not those arrogant traits that make this Sonic’s most Shonen moment. In my opinion, what makes this Sonics most shonen moment is the absolute refusal to ever give up. With less than half a percent chance of victory Sonic presses on and goes up against an opponent that can change reality into anything he wants…and he wins because he never stops searching for a way out. And that’s what I believe to be Sonic The Hedgehogs most Shonen moment.
Now I truly believe that the stories we consume shape who we are and we can use this tale practically. The lesson here is that if you want something that seems impossible never give up and never let go.
It’s this mentality that led me to quitting smoking, quitting drinking, seeing my abs for the first time in my life, and starting my own business. These were all things that for the longest time I felt like they were impossible. But I stuck to them, I never gave up, and I’d like to think this comic strip and our favourite blue rat helped engrain that mentality in me, along alongside many others that would do the same as I got older (I don't think its a secret how much Goku influenced me as a child).
Thanks for reading folks, have a nice day, and always remember: Be More Shonen