Sonic Boom premiered just minutes ago on Cartoon Network! As each episode is 11 minutes long, each week two episodes will be released side by side to fill a half hour time slot. Past Sonic cartoons have premiered either with a very clear first episode (ABC’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic X, Sonic Underground), or with an episode that throws you right into the show with no clear feeling if it being the start of something (Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog). Sonic Boom’s first episode, “The Sidekick”, falls in between these classifications. The episode kicks off with the very same footage seen in the TV series trailer from months back as Sonic is in pursuit of Eggman, only to take on Burnbot and almost lose Tails to a plane crash. It’s a nice way to establish Sonic and Eggman’s rivalry and Sonic and Tails’ friendship.
Following the dramatic intro, the episode dips into the more comedic sitcom territory that has been used to describe the nature of the show. Sonic, fearing for Tails’ safety, puts up flyers for a new sidekick. Several new animal characters appear, many seen in Sonic Boom NPC drawings, as well as Amy and Knuckles in smaller roles (at least for this episode). Sonic ends up narrowing it down to Eggman, Tails, and Fastidious Beaver and the three compete to become Sonic’s sidekick. Already, with Eggman vying to become Sonic’s new sidekick, the show’s more casual take on Sonic and Eggman’s relationship is apparent. Much like Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog’s take on Robotnik, Eggman is only seen as a threat when he is attempting something truly threatening, and Sonic is confident enough that he’ll beat him that he doesn’t fear the guy as, say, Sonic in the ABC Saturday morning series would. This casual take on the two enemies works in allowing for more interaction between the two, an element that made Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog so enjoyable to watch in the past. I won’t spoil the ending of “The Sidekick”, but I will say that Sonic’s fear of water comes into play and Eggman shows his true colors.
“Can an Evil Genius Crash on Your Couch for a Few Weeks?” begins with Eggman asking Sonic and friends if he can stay with them, following the apparent destruction of his island base. Sonic reluctantly agrees, and Eggman ends up being the most overbearing roommate imaginable. It’s a wacky premise that could have fallen flat, but Mike Pollock’s comedic timing is gold, and we’re treated to several great moments between Roger Craig Smith’s Sonic and Mike’s Eggman. Yes, we even see Eggman’s pajamas. The whole situation ends up being an elaborate scheme in which Eggman was such a bad roommate that Sonic and Tails became sleep deprived, unable to fight off Eggman’s Obliteratorbot. Unfortunately for Eggman, his newest creation ends up attacking his thought to be but not actually destroyed base. I enjoyed this bit of the episode the most, as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks (who is there, but her origin is not explained – like something we’ll see in the Wii U game) assist Eggman in saving his fortress. Some of the funniest moments come from a half awake Sonic still kicking ass and saving the day in a drunken master sort of way. As with the first episode, things end badly for Eggman and the heroes prevail.
Overall, Sonic Boom’s TV premiere was quite good. While the series is not going to be dark like ABC’s Sonic the Hedgehog, or feature long arcs like Sonic X, it does offer up some quality CG TV animation and a funny lighthearted vibe not seen since 1993’s Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Like the Robotnik of that series, Eggman is the clear star of Sonic Boom alongside Sonic. The two have some great moments, with Tails stealing the show from time to time. The 11 minute length does well in allowing the show to pack in a lot of action and humor with little room for feeling like the story is stretched thin – something Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and especially Sonic Underground dealt with. My hope for future episodes is that we see more of a focus on Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and that the games (due to release on November 11th) expand on the Sonic Boom world and Sticks’ backstory.
Next week on Sonic Boom: “Translate This” and “Buster”Ad: