|SONIC CHRISTMAS BLAST (usa, 1996)
was it such a misfit?
Either way....It's not x-treme, but it's not a blast either.
In this special: Sonic snowboards, he pokes out of a camera iris and winks, he blasts around the circumference of the world many many times (to go back in time and save Lois Lane?), he breaks into some kid's house and whirls around his Christmas tree, he defeats some robots by sawing a hole under them with his speed, he snowboards again, and he paints over a sign. And then the special starts.
As the cartoon opens, a bunch of zombie
people are standing in front of a large television
Santa appears, but he appears more...stiff-jointed than usual. The first thing he does is announce his retirement, causing the ugly kid to go "No! No! This must not happen!" There's a lot of Hop-on-Pop dialogue throughout the special, where characters speak the simplest sentences they can. Either the writers didn't know much English, or they didn't want kids at home to learn any.
Of course "Santa" is stiff-jointed because he's really a robot, built by Robotnik -- or Robotnik CLAUS, as he's known now. Santabot does what he was programmed to do and surrender all control to Robotnik, who starts addressing the terrified tots. Scratch and Grounder, Robotnik's syndicated sidekicks, appear off to the side in Dr. R's studio as he makes his big speech. They should be quiet while he's broadcasting, but they're not, and he doesn't seem to mind. They're actually wearing cheerleading outfits and shouting "YEAH! YEAH! GO ROBOTNIK!" which isn't necessary. When I saw how they were dressed I expected them to start reciting the Team Rocket motto, but instead, they get into an argument about "whose cheer was cheerier." Talk about your sycophants....
Robotnik Claus claims that just because he's in charge of Christmas now doesn't mean anything will be that different. EXCEPT all the toys are to go to him instead of the children. He's GOTTA have that Tickle Me Elmo!
Meanwhile, Sonic is off somewhere talking to.....Princess Sally, who was in a completely different show from Scratch and Grounder's. Not only that, she's wearing her original pink color palette, which the show didn't settle on. Sally only appeared colored like that in the Sonic comic book, for its first few months -- after that she went brown and never went back. DEEK was using discarded model sheets for this episode! Those crazy French.
We don't hear what Sally just said but Sonic replies with an enthusiastic "You GOT IT, Sal! Don't say another word!" Sally really obeys him -- from this point on, she doesn't speak at all. She just stands there, unanimated, in every scene she appears in. That's one whipped squirrel.
"Come on, Tails, TIME
TO JUICE AND CUT IT LOOSE!" Sonic says while wearing
Air Jordans and smoking Camel Ultra-Tars.
The biggest problem with picking Robotropolis to do your shopping in, especially if you're a blue hedgehog, is that Robotnik lords over the whole place. Sonic isn't worried, though, he's too cool for school. There must be some reason why the entire mall is devoid of merchandise and people, and it can't be because of the economy. Robotnik took all the merchandise for himself, and he won't stop there! Scratch and Grounder are so heartless, they use a giant backhoe to take away Bart Simpson's house!
The ugly kid appears again, and he explains to Sonic that "everything's terrible!" Robotnik actually shipped him to a robot labor factory before he escaped. (Well, maybe ol' Eggman's not SO bad.) "Santa put ROBOTNIK in charge! We have to find the real Santa and convince him he's made a mistake!" On that cue, Scratch and Grounder appear in some weird tank/crane cross-hybrid, and explain the Santa from the TV was a robot like them, as if we didn't already know. Then they drop a block of iron wrapped with a Christmas ribbon onto our heroes, and they cut to commercial here, as if it wasn't obvious how Sonic could get out of THAT....
After speeding out of the thing's way, Sonic makes short work of Scratch and Grounder, leaving them bashed into pieces on the ground. As the bots pull themselves together, Sonic enters yet again disguised as a janitor, and claims there's a fine of ten thousand Robotnik-Bucks for littering the street with their parts, but that he won't report them IF for some reason they tell an average janitor where Santa Claus is being stashed. Yeah, that's not suspicious. S & G tell him right away, though. Santa's in an ice cave seven miles south of the North Pole.
Back at Crazy Egg-Shaped Maniac Headquarters, his robots are building chimneys all over his fortress. The reason for this is because Robotnik is a die-hard traditionalist, and though he may be hijacking this holiday, he wants his presents delivered to him the way the other Santa would if he deserved presents. He actually expects every single person in Robotropolis to go to his fortress and climb down those chimneys to give him their gifts. He's bonkers all right.
Sonic finds the cave containing Santa guarded by Swat-Bots, which he dispatches the usual way. There's a moment where he's "cornered" on both sides by bots about to fire lasers at him, but he zooms out right as they pull their triggers and they blow up each other. At least, that's what's implied. They actually cut away and don't show the moment of impact. These are ROBOTS; they're usually the one loophole to physical violence on censored kids' TV. How can Sonic be expected to save the world if he can't visibly dismantle these guys?
"Sonic! I've never been so glad to see anyone!" Santa gushes as the hedgehog frees him. They beat a path to his workshop, only to find Robotnik has already been there and he's taken everything. "Don't worry, Santa, I'll speed back to Robotnik's and get the presents back!" Jaleel White squeaks confidently.
"But we only have a couple hours! Even if you could get the presents back, there will be millions of them! There'll be no time to deliver them!" Santa moans. What does he mean....no time? The sun hasn't even set yet, and he's recovered from worse time deficits in other specials.
Then Santa notices that Sonic is now wearing a ring with a weird squiggle on it, which was one of the gifts Sally gave him last year. "I KNOW I've seen that symbol before! It was carved into the caves where I was imprisoned!" They go back to the cave again and Santa reads the rest of the squiggles. "It says anybody who has that ring can unlock the secrets of ULTIMATE VELOCITY! Super speed!" Well, Sonic already has that. What good will this do?
Actually it's supposed to be speed even more super than Sonic is normally capable of. Y'know, instead of pulling something like this out of their hats, or worse areas, they could have done a tiny bit of research into the games they're basing the special on, and said Sonic can transform into Super Sonic by collecting a Chaos Emerald. That I'd accept, even if it's deux ex machina, because it's canon. This, however, screams lazy.
But not as much as the next sequence does. It becomes very obvious they need a few more pages to pad out the script, because to activate his new-gained super speed, Sonic must complete a few incredible feats. First: zooming up to the top of a mountain. Okaaay...done. Next: "snowboarding down Calamity Cliffs." This leads to all the snowboarding scenes we saw clips of in the opening montage. Have we wasted enough time yet?
I guess so. We're back at Robotnik's, where he's singing carols to himself. BOW DOOOWN, BOW DOOOWN, BEFORE THE POWER OF ROBOTNIK CLAUS! OR BE CRUUUSHED, BE CRUUUUSHED, BE CRUUUUSHED, BY HIS JOLLY BOOTS OF DOOOOOOOOOM!
Sonic has super-speed now, so a blue blur blasts into the room, curls around the presents, and takes them all. The only possession he leaves Robotnik with is his boxers, because what crazy kid would want THOSE for Christmas?
Sonic delivers all the presents at light speed. I think he pinched a few for himself, because he makes a quick stop to bury Sally in about twenty, and he never got anything from that mall.
Santa is eternally
grateful. "You delivered those presents faster than
I ever dreamed! You know...." He rubs his beard in
thought. "I've been thinking. Maybe that robot was
right. Maybe it IS my time to retire. And I want YOU as
my replacement! SONIC CLAUS!"
That is seriously where they fade out. Sonic becomes Santa Claus. And if you think about it, when's the point Sonic games started sucking? About the time this cartoon came out. Since 1996, all our Christmas presents have been delivered by Sonic the Hedgehog, and Sega's been using a subpar lookalike!
"We wish you all a
Merry Christmas!" says Tails as he waves goodbye.
Why didn't it fit in?