If you lived in the 90s you would’ve hear of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega’s mascot for its gaming systems. For those unenlightened Sonic is a popular video game character from the 90s who’s blue hedgehog that runs really fast and defends his forest friends from the “evil” Dr Robotnik. He then imprisons them in robotic “Badniks” that Sonic most smash to release them. Sonic has had many spin-offs, cartoons, comics, and really horrible stuff fans wish to forget.
There was always a bit of an environmental message going through the franchise, though that moral has been a bit lost since they put him in the human world in the 3D games. Running around trying to stop the industrialist Robotnik from turning the green zones into cities and factories. That gets a bit more blatant in the cartoons, especially in the second series fan nicknamed SatAM, with him being part of a “Freedom Fighter” group that lives in a forest going round stopping Robotnik’s “evil schemes” that sort of stuff. But what if we flipped it? What if instead of an environmentalist Sonic was an eco-terrorist?
Dr Robotnik goes around trying to improve the world, making it more mechanised and giving more advanced living conditions for everyone. He even makes the animals new robot bodies to help them survive. Those have tougher metal shells and weapons to defend themselves. He’s even doing this free of charge. He’s inventing all of this new technology to make the planet better.
Then Sonic comes along and destroying everything he’s worked hard towards. He’s smashing the new robot bodies Robotnik’s given the other animals. Going to the cartoons and comics him and his gang of eco-terrorists were constantly sneaking around and planting bombs in Robotnik’s factories. In some of the cartoons it was even about him overthrowing a monarchy and Sonic’s terrorist group was trying to reinstate that arcane system of government.
Now of course Robotnik isn’t perfect, he’s made his mistakes, and has a bit of an ego which makes him a little controlling. It doesn’t help that Sonic likes spreading all that propaganda about Robotnik and how “evil” he is. We never see it from Robotnik’s side in most of the franchise. So we get a biased viewpoint on him and his efforts to change the planet. After all the constant battles with Sonic he’s clearly gone a tad insane and has focused all his efforts on stopping those terrorists. So we see him build machines that are meant to stop Sonic no matter what happens to the planet. The “Death Egg” satellite weapon from Sonic 2, 3 & Knuckles was just a bad PR move, but a starting point in his madness.
Sonic never once tries to help or compromise in making their world a better place, it’s always his way in doing everything. Even his allies constantly note how hard it is to work for him. I’m surprised more of Sonic’s friends haven’t gone, “screw you there’s a better way than running into things!” And maybe they have since I don’t think we see a lot of Sonic’s friends from the early games in some of the later ones, like Porker Lewis or Johnny Lightfoot. Maybe his terrorist ways got to them and they wised up, or maybe killed because of Sonic destroying their robot armor Robotnik made for them and they fell to their deaths.
You’ve got to imagine at least some of the animals Sonic “freed” in the early games just fell down into a spike pit, or maybe lava, which they couldn’t survive without that protective armor. How could they live and thrive in hostile environments without that protective armor Robotnik offered? Sonic’s destroying lives because he can’t see the needs of others.
Just like Captain Planet its “environmental message” comes out like that of the “you have to live my way and no other” of some of the terrible activist groups. The art of compromise is lost and with that it destroys what could be built be industrialisation. So next time you’re playing Sonic and you smash a robot, think about what happens to the furry creature you release into a dangerous environment that can kill you at every turn.