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Sonic the Hedgehog (1998 film)

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Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic 1998
Director Rob Cohen
Producer(s) Brad Silberling
Studio(s) OLM, Inc.
Writer(s) Shiro Maekawa
Distributor(s) Japan:
Warner Bros. Pictures
Country of Origin Japan
See Cast
Theatrical Release Date(s)
November 20, 1998
Original Language Japanese
Budget $50 million
Box Office $263,991,105
Sequel(s) Shadow the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ Sonikku za Hejjihoggu) is a 1998 American/Japanese computer animated/anime film based on Sega's best-selling franchise Sonic the Hedgehog directed by Rob Cohen in his animation debut, and produced by Brad Silberling. It is based the popular video game series published by Sega.

The film was released in North America on November 20, 1998. The film tells the story of Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends as they arrive in the world of Pokemon as they take on both Sonic's rival Dr. Eggman and Ash Ketchum's enemies Team Rocket while also battling a black hedgehog named Shadow who somewhat resembles Sonic.

Sonic the Hedgehog was very popular upon it's release and was both a critical and commercial success, eventually becoming the second highest-grossing animated film of 1998. The film's success spawned five sequels: Shadow the Hedgehog (1999),


The film begins with Patty the Puffin telling Perky the Cat that the kids are here to see the lost episode. However, Perky says that he has lost the lost episode, and tells the kids to forget about Sonic. The French Narrator introduces a segment called "Remembering Sonic", a musical montage of clips from the past Sonic video games.

After a long treasure hunt where Perky finds a tape that holds the movie, he plays the tape. The tape shows a long clip of Sonic doing walk cycles to upbeat music before abruptly showing the EBS color bars. After Perky sees this, he proclaims that "Sonic betrayed us!" and throws out all his Sonic merchandise and runs away. However, Patty informs him that the tape is not over and that the real lost movie is about to begin. As a countdown to that starts, Perky excitedly says, "Really?!" and his throwing everything away is rewinded and the movie begins.

The beginning of Sonic the Hedgehog is set in 1959 on the space colony ARK where a black hedgehog and a girl are running to avoid capture. The girl shoves the black hedgehog into an escape capsule and launches it towards the planet called Volantis containing all the Pokemon.

Thirty-five years later, Knuckles the Echidna guards the Master Emerald on the floating Angel Island when the evil scientist Doctor Eggman captures Cream the Rabbit and her friend Cheese the Chao. Eggman's machine starts to overload which causes it to warp the entire island and everyone on it to a different universe.

In the world of Pokemon, Pokemon Master in training Ash Ketchum and his friends Pikachu, Misty and Brock continue their journey when they stumble upon Sonic (who is separated from his friends in the aftermath). He quickly befriends Ash and his friends and helps them stop Team Rocket from taking Pikachu, as well as reunited with his other friends.

Eggman meets Team Rocket and decides to unite with each other in order to defeat both their shared enemies. After discovering the existence of a secret weapon mentioned in the diary of his grandfather, Gerald Robotnik, Eggman and Team Rocket infiltrate a high-security G.U.N. facility in search of it. This "weapon," the black hedgehog from the beginning of the film named Shadow who claims that he is the "Ultimate Life Form," offers to help Eggman and Team Rocket take over the world, telling the scientist and trio to rendezvous with him at the abandoned Space Colony ARK with more Chaos Emeralds. Shadow proceeds in stealing one of the Emeralds. During the event, Shadow has a flashback to the final moments of a young girl named "Maria" (who is name of the girl in the beginning), begging him to complete an unspecified task—which he interprets as a request for revenge. Because Shadow makes a hasty retreat and no one is able to get a good look at him, G.U.N. officials mistake Shadow for Sonic. After escaping from the military, Sonic is arrested again shortly after a confrontation with Shadow, who demonstrates to Sonic the Chaos Control technique.

Meanwhile, Knuckles confronts both Rouge the Bat, Eggman and Team Rocket, who each attempt to steal the Master Emerald. Knuckles shatters the Master Emerald to prevent this, and proceeds to search for the scattered shards and restore the Emerald. While Rouge intends to collect the shards for personal benefit, she must also accomplish a mission for the government to spy on Eggman and Team Rocket with a partner, Blake the Cat (who happens to be Cat from Little Bear). This mission causes them to infiltrate Dr. Eggman's base, which also leads them to the ARK, where Shadow relays to Eggman and Team Rocket his plan to use the Chaos Emeralds to charge a "super weapon" on the ARK called the Eclipse Cannon to take over the world. To accomplish this, Shadow, Eggman and Team Rocket recruit Rouge and Blake to assist in the search of the Chaos Emeralds.

Ash, Pikachu, their friends, Tails, Amy and Cream infiltrate Prison Island and rescue Sonic from G.U.N., while Eggman, Team Rocket, Shadow, Rouge, and Blake collect three Emeralds on the island, they then destroy it. Eggman then broadcasts his threats across the planet and demonstrates the cannon's level of power by destroying half of the moon. Sonic and company use the final Emerald within their possession to track down the other six, with Knuckles coming along as well. Together, the group infiltrates Eggman's base, narrowly boarding Eggman's shuttle as it launches into space. Along the ride into space, Knuckles' Master Emerald shards are spilled, and he leaves the group to collect them, encountering Rouge and Blake again. During the fight, Knuckles saves Rouge from certain death, and Rouge surrenders her collected shards, finally allowing Knuckles to restore the Master Emerald.

On board the ARK, Tails reveals that he has created a counterfeit Chaos Emerald designed to reverse the energy fields of the real ones, although it is less powerful. Sonic goes to place the fake Chaos Emerald into the Cannon when Eggman announces that he has captured Tails, Amy, Cream and Ash's friends. Sonic tries to trick Eggman by giving him the fake Chaos Emerald, but at the last second, Eggman, suspecting such a trick, traps and jettisons Sonic in an escape pod rigged with explosives. Using the fake Chaos Emerald, Sonic manages to perform Chaos Control and escape the pod before it explodes, but Tails, thinking Sonic is dead, fights Eggman while Ash takes on Giovanni. Shadow is sent to intercept Sonic before he destroys the Eclipse Cannon, but Sonic succeeds.

After disabling the various security features guarding the core, Sonic and Knuckles encounter the Biolizard, a prototype of the Ultimate Life Form, and Shadow's "biological" brother, who had been awoken from stasis to ensure that the Emeralds would not be tampered with. Shadow defeats the Biolizard, allowing Knuckles to neutralize the Chaos energy and deactivate the Chaos Emeralds using the Master Emerald. However, the injured Biolizard uses Chaos Control to fuse with the Eclipse Cannon, becoming the Finalhazard and continuing the ARK's collision course by physically dragging it along. Using the power of the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic and Shadow transform into Super Sonic and Super Shadow and defeat the Biolizard (as the Finalhazard), which is fused to the ARK. They then use Chaos Control to teleport the ARK back into a stable orbit around Earth. The process, however, depletes Shadow's energy, and he is rendered unable to remain in orbit. He plummets to Earth, and to his apparent death, content that he has fulfilled his promise to Maria. As humanity celebrates openly, the two teams reflect on both the events that have transpired, concerning Shadow's sacrifice and Gerald Robotnik's intent to destroy Earth, and their new plans from there. Giovanni, defeated by Ash, disbands Team Rocket's operations and awards him with the final Gym Badge needed to enter the Pokémon League. As they leave the station, Sonic bids a final farewell to Shadow.

Back on Volantis, Knuckles finds Angel Island, still in one piece. Everyone returns home to their own universe; Blake returns to his home universe, and Sonic and his friends return to their rightful home world. Before Ash leaves the town into his next journey, he talks to Professor Oak about what happened, and muses about the story. Professor Oak tells a sad Ash that he and Sonic are going to be friends forever as true, strong and close friendships can withstand the test of time. Professor Oak is then shown with a sketch-book showing him with Professor Robotnik and Maria as a 15 year old. Ash's mom Delia arrives and see the sketch-book with Oak. A knock is heard on Oak's door as Oak invites the person in, only to learn it is Shadow, who is revealed to still be alive, but does not remember anything.

After the movie, Perky attempts to play it again but doesn't know how to play it. He and Patty press a lot of buttons on the remote but the tape wears out and comes pouring out of the player, causing Perky to get tangled in it. The movie ends with the narrator saying to the viewers to get lost.


  • Junichi Kanemaru (Jason Griffith in the English adaptation) as Sonikku za Hejjihoggu (Sonic the Hedgehog in the English adaptation), the title character and protagonist of the Sonic the Hedgehog series released by Sega.
  • Rica Matsumoto (Veronica Taylor in the English adaptation) as Satoshi (Ash Ketchum in the English adaptation), the second main protagonist of the film. He desires to be the world's most powerful Pokémon master.
  • Ikue Ōtani as Pikachu, Satoshi's/Ash's first and most loyal Pokémon - a yellow mouse capable of manipulating electricity.
  • Inuko Inuyama (Corey Bringas in the English adaptation) as Neko hatsuratsu (Perky the Cat in the English adaptation), a Calico cat and president of the Sonic the Hedgehog fan club. He lives in the city of Montreal Canada.
  • Mayumi Iizuka (Rachael Lillis in the English adaptation) as Kasumi (Misty in the English adaptation), Satoshi's/Ash's travelling partner.
  • Yūji Ueda (Eric Stuart in the English adaptation) as Takeshi (Brock in the English adaptation), a Pokémon breeder and Satoshi's/Ash's travelling partner
  • Kazuki Hayashi (Amy Palant in the English adaptation) as Mairusu Pauā (Miles "Tails" Prower in the English adaption), a two-tailed fox who is Sonic's best friend and sidekick.
  • Nobutoshi Canna (Dan Green in the English adaptation) as Nakkuruzu za Ekiduna (Knuckles the Echidna in the English adaption), Sonic's friendly rival. First introduced in the Genesis game Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Knuckles lives on Angel Island, which hovers in the sky due to the power of the Master Emerald. As the last surviving member of the Echidna people who once inhabited the island, his duty is to guard the Master Emerald.
  • Taeko Kawata (Lisa Oritz in the English adaptation) as Emī Rōzu (Amy Rose in the English adaption), a pink girl hedgehog who believes herself to be Sonic's girlfriend.
  • Sachiko Kobayashi (Kelly Sheridan in the English adaptation) as Sarī· arishia donguri (Sally Alicia Acorn in the English adaptation), the princess of Planet Mobius. Extremely intelligent, Sally usually hacks into Eggman's computers to find important targets on Volantis. She has the ability to go ghost.
  • Rumi Ochiai (Caren Manuel in the English adaptation) as Rūju za Batto (Rouge the Bat in the English adaptation), a white, female bat who is depicted as a professional treasure hunter devoted to the pursuit of jewels, calling herself the "World's Greatest Treasure Hunter".
  • Tetsu Inada (Trevor Devall in the English adaptation) as Burēku Za Neko (Blake the Cat in the English adaptation), a laid back, slothful male tuxedo cat who enjoys prowling at night, playing tricks on passersby, and eating. When he and his friends must get to a certain place in the woods, Cat often leads them through one of his shortcuts. Like Sally, Blake possesses the ability go ghost.
  • Jōji Nakata (Steve Broadie in the English adaptation) as Ī-Wan-Ō-Tsū Ganma (E-102 Gamma in the English adaptation), created by Sonic the Hedgehog series antagonist Doctor Eggman as part of the "E-Series" line, Gamma turns against his master after a heartfelt conversation with Amy Rose, who becomes his friend.
  • Chinami Nishimura (Lee Quick in the English adaptation) as Junsar (Jenny in the English adaptation), a policewoman.
  • Megumi Hayashibara (Stephen Hillenburg in the English adaptation) as Pati Za Tsunomedori (Patty the Puffin in the English adaptation), Perky the Cat's "annoying" puffin friend. He is a crudely made puppet controlled by very obvious strings. He is obnoxious and often annoys or talks back to Perky.
  • Inuko Inuyama (Michael J. Fox in the English adaptation) as Nyarth (Meowth in the English adaptation), a former member of Team Rocket. He is a cat-like Pokémon that can walk upright and speak the human English language.
  • Ayako Shiraishi (Megan Hollingshead in the English adaptation) as Joi (Joy in the English adaptation), a female doctor.
  • Megumi Hayashibara (Rachael Lillis in the English adaptation) as Musashi (Jessie in the English adaptation), a member of Team Rocket who infiltrates New Island alongside Kojirō/James and Nyarth/Meowth.
  • Shin-ichiro Miki (Eric Stuart in the English adaptation) as Kojirō (James in the English adaptation), a member of Team Rocket.


Sonic the Hedgehog was Rob Cohen's first animated feature film, and the first with Brad Silberling. Cohen directed the English version while lead programmer of the original Sonic the Hedgehog Yuji Naka directed the Japanese version.

Some of the voice actors in the film recorded their lines in Canada and the United States. The Canadian voice actors recorded their lines in Canada while the American actors recorded theirs in the US.


TV series cast

The voice actors of the 1993-94 animated series reacted mixed to the film.

Critic reviews

Sonic the Hedgehog received positive reviews from film critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a score of 89% "fresh" approval rating. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 74 out of 100 based on 39 reviews, meaning "generally favorable reviews".

Box office

Sonic the Hedgehog was an instant commercial success during it's release, debuting at No. 1 on it's Friday opening with $18,203,678. On it's debut week, the film grossed $39,681,013 and went on to accumulate $58,879,970, earning enough money to return it's production budget of $50 million dollars. Despite dropping 50.69% on it's second week to $21,091,100, the film made $79,268,008 within 11 days. The film closed from theaters on February 28, 1999, earning $85,841,105 in North America and $177,150,000 in other territories. Worldwide, the film grossed $263,991,105, making it one of the most highest grossing films based on a video game series.


Crush 40, which consists of Senoue and Gioeli, officially debuted with the theme song "Live & Learn", which plays during the main menu, the final battle, and the ending credits.

The Sonic the Hedgehog Multi-Dimensional Original Soundtrack was produced by Jun Senoue and released by Marvelous Entertainment on November 18, 1998. The songs feature the band Crush 40.

Track number Song Length
1. SA2...Main Riff for "Sonic Adventure 2" 0:22
2. Event: Let's Make it! 0:46
3. Escape from the City...for City Escape 2:18
4. The Mad Convoy Race...for City Escape 0:48
5. That's the Way I Like it...for Metal Harbor 2:44
6. Can't Stop, So What!?...for Metal Harbor 0:54
7. Won't Stop, Just Go!...for Green Forest 2:28
8. Keys the Ruin...for Pyramid Cave 3:27
9. Unstable World...for Crazy Gadget 2:51
10. Highway in the Sky...for Final Rush 2:59

| title11 = Boss: -GUN- Mobile | length11 = 1:55 | title12 = Advertise: the Groove | length12 = 2:08 | title13 = Event: Strategy | length13 = 1:28 | title14 = This Way Out...for Prison Lane | length14 = 3:11 | title15 = Rumbling Highway...for Mission Street | length15 = 2:46 | title16 = Chasing Drive...for Kart | length16 = 2:43 | title17 = Down in the Base...for Hidden Base | length17 = 3:35 | title18 = On the Edge...for Eternal Engine | length18 = 2:52 | title19 = Advertise: SA2 ver. B | length19 = 0:27 | title20 = Kick the Rock!...for Wild Canyon | length20 = 3:15 | title21 = A Ghost's Pumpkin Soup...for Pumpkin Hill | length21 = 3:24 | title22 = Dive Into the Mellow...for Aquatic Mine | length22 = 3:37 | title23 = Deeper...for Death Chamber | length23 = 4:07 | title24 = Space Trip Steps...for Meteor Herd | length24 = 3:31 | title25 = Boss: Masters of the Desert | length25 = 2:05 | title26 = Event: Reunion | length26 = 0:42 | title27 = Advertise: Prof. Omochao | length27 = 1:29 | title28 = Chao Race Extended Mix [Chao's Doki Doki Banana Chips Run Mix] | length28 = 6:44 | title29 = Chao Garden Extended Mix [Chao's Wack Wack Up & Down the Ground Mix] | length29 = 8:09 (1:17:45) }}


Sonic the Hedgehog Vocals Collection: Cuts Unleashed was produced by Jun Senoue and released on August 21, 2001 by MMV. It contains musical tracks from the game composed by Jun Senoue and Kenichi Tokoi.


HD Remaster

The movie was Digitally Remastered for High Definition and aired by a TV station in Tokyo on May 3, 2013. It will also be aired by other TV stations in Japan. It aired on Cartoon Network in the United States on January 4, 2014.



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