The Rule of Three is when you watch three episodes of a TV show and make a judgement based on that whether you’ll continue watching. If a show isn’t sufficiently entertaining after about an hour (not counting ad breaks), then it’s probably not going to be at all. With the recent arrival of Sonic Prime on Netflix, I thought that I would give it a go.
The first eight episodes of Sonic Prime dropped on Netflix on 15th December, 2022. As a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog adaptions, I couldn’t ignore it. Although the first episode is 43 minutes, I’ve still chosen to write about the first three episodes, as the “Rule of Two” sounds wrong, and the rest of the episodes are in the 20-minute range. So, let’s delve into the first three episodes of Sonic Prime.
What drew me to Sonic Prime is the idea of Sonic traversing parallel worlds to bring everything back to normal after shattering the Paradox Prism. Now that the Paradox Prism is broken, Sonic has to navigate a familiar yet wrong world. Even though there are many multiverse shenanigans in TV and cinema currently, I can’t deny that I’m a sucker for them.
Now, let’s dive in.
The first episode begins in the Green Hill Zone, where Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy regularly fight against Eggman and his Badniks and where Sonic sometimes fights with Shadow. Their relationship is described as complicated, and honestly, I agree with that assessment. Eggman’s after the Paradox Prism, and he manages to get it; however, Sonic shatters it into pieces, leading him to a parallel world named New Yoke City.
The Green Hill Zone, as we know, is a natural wonder filled with green grass, palm trees, beaches, and a beautiful natural landscape. New Yoke City is what we get when The Green Hill Zone becomes urbanised and is essentially a dystopian, cyberpunk, 1984-esque landscape that the Chaos Council runs. Sonic’s goal is to find his friends, but they have no idea who he is in this world. Sonic doesn’t exist in New Yoke City, so the parallel versions of his friends all have different reactions to him.
The first person Sonic meets is Big the Cat (and Froggy, of course), who has no idea who Sonic is. When he realises that, Sonic goes on a journey to find Tails, hoping that he’ll remember him. Spoiler alert, he does not. In New Yoke City, Tails goes by the name of Nine, and he’s an edgy loner who has been trained “by the misery of life,” which is one of my favourite quotes in the first three episodes. He was bullied for his tails, but without Sonic to help him, he became jaded by cynicism.
Also curious about Sonic are Rebel and Knucks, who are New Yoke City’s versions of Rouge and Knuckles. They’re part of a resistance who are there to fight against the Chaos Council. They believe that Sonic can help them in their fight so they can return Green Hill Zone to its bountiful glory. Of course, nothing goes according to plan.
Sonic and Nine are kidnapped by the Chaos Council and their killing machine: Rusty Rose. All of Sonic’s friends are changed without Sonic's influence, with Rusty being a version of Amy that doesn’t even have a heart. Meanwhile, the Chaos Council are a collection of Eggmen: Mr Dr Eggman, Dr Done It, Dr Deep, Dr Don’t, and Dr Babble. Mr Dr Eggman is the closest we have to our usual Eggman, but with an added toupee to make him even younger. Dr Done It is an old man Eggman, Dr Deep is a weeby hipster Eggman (more on this later), Dr Don’t is the Eggman of teen angst, and Dr Babble is Baby Eggman.
After getting kidnapped, we discover that Sonic is linked to the Paradox Prism, and its energy powers him. Knowing this, we are led into a mystery, as Sonic hasn’t forgotten everything. As he causes a blackout in New Yoke City, it is revealed that Shadow has had more of a role in this story than was originally believed.
The first two episodes are definitely made to introduce us to the dynamic between Sonic and his friends, including his parallel counterparts. It’s no surprise that Sonic brought them all together. Still, using parallel storylines to describe the before-and-after shattering allowed us to see the distinct changes in each character. I can’t deny that Nine’s edginess was hilarious, but it seems that Knucks and Rebel are least affected by Sonic’s absence. I can’t say that it surprises me, but Knucks and Rebel are more impacted by the change in the world and not the absence of the blue hedgehog.
All three episodes are focused on New Yoke City and understanding what happened to lead to the shattering of the Paradox Prism. The second episode focuses on the events before the Paradox Prism shattered, while the third episode focuses on reaching the crystal and taking it from the Chaos Council’s clutches.
Now, I’ve gushed enough about the plot of the first few episodes, so let’s delve into the production itself. The fight choreography is brilliant; you can tell the animators had a lot of fun making this. Sonic Prime feels more like a Sonic game than most, and they even utilise the rings for health too. Most shows aren’t too sure how to use the rings, so it’s pleasant to see. However, you can tell the showrunners may have been influenced by other Sonic media too. The whole dystopian New Yoke City evoked some childhood memories of the old Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons featuring the Freedom Fighters. While I know they cannot mention them for very specific reasons, old fans might recognise this little influence.
Disclaimer: Sonic Prime has not been based on the ‘90s Sonic cartoons or Archie comics. This was one writer’s interpretation, so please do not tell Ken Penders.
I also found the soundtrack to be a great addition to the choreography too. All of the soundtracks I heard were thematic and fit perfectly. I must also acknowledge how much I loved the mixture of CGI and pixel animation scenes to flashback to. This is a series that you can tell everybody on board cared about. If anything, this has been one of the best Sonic show adaptations I’ve seen. Of course, that isn’t difficult for me to say, I also really loved Sonic Boom.
Will I watch more? Absolutely. After watching the first three episodes, I’m curious to see where Sonic will go next. Knowing there are 24 episodes overall, I’m aware there will be a wait for the rest of the series. However, until then, I’ll make do with the eight episodes I have available.