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The Media Man Reviews: Sonic Prime Season 2


Title card for my Sonic Prime Season 2 review

Doesn't feel that long since I was last talking about this series, huh? And yet here we are covering the second season of this Netflix smash hit series.


Sonic Prime has quickly become one of Netflix's most popular shows in recent years, often trending high on the service and has been released to critical and fan acclaim. I...was not impressed myself as you may remember. The show was held back by very generic settings, a rushed pacing that left hardly any room to flesh out its concept and stories, a concept that shouldn't be used as a premise for a show and it does a poor job on introducing newcomers to the Sonic franchise by barely even explaining anything to them. Sure it had some pretty animation, some interesting character writing, great voice-acting and solid action that made it at least worth a watch but that still doesn't change the fact it had a concept that should've been saved for a season long arc rather than being the premise of the show and the bad pacing did it no favours at all.


So forgive me if I don't sound terribly enthusiastic about Season 2. But who knows, maybe it'll be good? I'm willing to give it a chance at redemption. ^^


So is Sonic Prime Season 2 an improvement over last time? Or is it primed for another failure? Let's find out for we're going straight into the Shatterverse once again...


Section 1: The Story


Picking up from last time, Sonic finds himself coming across Shadow the Hedgehog who is stuck on the void thanks to Sonic's actions but he is able to help Sonic in his quest to restore the universe. The two hedgehogs have to face the Chaos Council and jump between worlds as they try to retrieve the shards and restore the Paradox Prism so they can fix the universe at last.


So with how unimpressed I was with Season 1, was Season 2 any better? Ehhhhh...no. No it wasn't I'm sorry to say. I'd even argue the writing took a downgrade here and Season 2 felt considerably worse as a result.


First of all, NONE of my criticisms were addressed in this season and NONE of the flaws I found with the series were improved on. It's still the same mindless non-stop action show it was last time except here it feels like there's even less plot because the show can't stop for a minute and let the audience catch its breath. Even last season knew when to slow down and build-up on its story and characters, what little moments there were, and we had the interesting character study with how much Sonic's friends all mean to him and the kind of relationships he has with each one of them. Here, none of that's present. No time to slow down, no time for any character development, no time to further explore the premise this show has. It's just the same repetitive thing throughout all eight episodes: Sonic jumps into a universe, he has a fight with someone, he has to collect a shard, he loses the shard to the villains, rinse and repeat. This further proves my point I made in my Season 1 review that this premise should've been a season long arc and NOT the entire premise of the show because it's making the writing so boring and copy-paste as a result and it it's SO obvious this is not a plot that can carry a whole series because they have to stretch it so thin just to keep it going. Hell, they have to force another cliffhanger ending just to justify making another season when they could've so easily wrapped this story up here. Sonic Prime would've benefitted so much more if the multiverse aspect wasn't the entire premise of the show, then the writing wouldn't be so monotonous and lacking in substance. And no, it being a kid's show is not an excuse. If we can have kid's shows with writing as strong as Transformers Prime, TMNT 2003, Avatar: The Last Airbender, the entire DC Animated Universe and Star Wars: The Clone Wars then Sonic Prime can do the same thing. You can still make it an action show of course but don't make it just action and nothing else.


Not only is the writing even more mindless than before, but it feels like another one of those cases for me where the only reason the story even happens at all is because the heroes are incompetent idiots who can't even do the most basic thing right. NUMEROUS times we have characters standing around gobbing to each other instead of fighting and there are times where Sonic easily could've escaped with the shards but doesn't and as a result, he loses them to the villains. There's one moment where Sonic moves fast enough to get Knuckles the Dread's crew into the submarine before it goes underwater and he's moving so fast that everything else is in slow-motion. So if Sonic can move fast enough to make time slow to a crawl, why doesn't he do that all the time? It would make his job so much easier if he just did that! Also there's a subplot with Nine working as a double-agent under the Chaos Council's noses. Despite this, he BARELY capitalizes on his position and puts the bare minimum into doing anything about it. Episode 2 shows that he was able to take control of the robots during the fight in Boscage Maze and yet somehow he never thinks to just turn the robots on the Chaos Council and blast them to smithereens, thus putting an end to everything much sooner. It especially gets on my nerves when Episode 6 showed he could've escaped and kicked the asses off the council's forces the entire time and yet he never thought to do that earlier! How is this guy simultaneously the smartest and dumbest person in the room in this show?!


But the dumbest moment in the show for me comes from Shadow. The Chaos Council's mothership passes through the void and Shadow...proceeds to just kick shards into the engines to stall it for a bit and then...nothing else. It somehow never occurs to him to invade the ship, destroy the Council's forces, beat the Council up and then maybe take control of the ship so he can help Sonic. There was NOTHING stopping him from doing this. Literally nothing and it just proves how much this show's plot isn't enough to fill in two seasons. Because there's several more episodes to fill in, the characters have to not do the obviously smart thing to do just so the plot can continue as it is. It's so painfully obvious how not fit for purpose the writing is here and that Sonic Prime should have more going for it than just multiverse hopping.


The tone is also no better than last time. As I criticized, the tone is a little too silly at times with Sonic making non-stop wisecracks throughout and a lot of cringeworthy humour and lines being spewed which kills the mood of the scene half the time. Even when the show tries to be serious it can't help itself and has to keep trying to be funny. Chaos Sonic is the worst example of this. He's essentially this show's Metal Sonic and is supposed to be a threatening minion for the Council to sic on Sonic, right? He's supposed to be, but then they make him more comedic than threatening for some reason, thus missing the point of Metal Sonic and what a robot duplicate of Sonic should be like. The Chaos Council themselves are also impossible to take seriously because like last time, they still feel like jokes rather than actual characters and the ONLY reason they ever succeed at anything in this show is because the heroes are too stupid to stop them! There is no reason for the tone to be this goofy when it's only hurting the show and not doing it any favours.


So is there anything I do like about this season? Um...I thought it was kinda fun when Black Rose and Rusty Rose became besties? Sonic and Shadow teaming up to fight the Chaos Council in the last episode was pretty cool, as was anytime Sonic and Nine were working together (before the finale ruined it). Let's see um...I also like how Thorn Rose isn't crazy anymore? It says a lot about how bad this season is when it feels like I'm grasping at straws to find anything nice to say about it.


With none of the flaws from last time fixed and the premise only causing it to create even more problems for itself, Sonic Prime is showing no signs of improvement going forward and I'm not enthusiastic about what's next. It just makes me wonder why Sonic cartoons these days just can't seem to get good writing to make them worth a watch...


Section 2: The Characters


The cast are back from last time and there's really not much to say about them.


We still have our hero Sonic once more (voiced by Deven Mack) who is trying his hardest to fix the catastrophe he inadvertently caused by breaking the Paradox Prism in the first place. Unfortunately, he keeps screwing up at every opportunity because as mentioned earlier, the writing has made him and all the other heroes complete idiots who mess up in the most forced and ridiculous ways possible. If Sonic was more capable and smart like he's supposed to be, he really would've fixed this by now but no, he's got to waste time making wisecracks or not escaping with the shards when he has the chance. It's especially embarrassing how he loses the green shard to Dr. Babble of all people because the baby threw a giant temper tantrum and the resulting carnage just happened to cause Sonic to lose the shard because he turned back instead of just fleeing with it like he was supposed to. How pathetic is your hero when he gets defeated by a temper tantrum? =P I will commend the writers on giving Sonic consequences he now has to deal with when Nine lectures him on how he just keeps viewing him as his own Tails and not who he himself is and now because Sonic is too narrowly focused on his friends and not the other counterparts, Nine has turned on him and he's no closer to achieving his goal than last time. That I'm sure will be a neat little character arc for him in the next season. Too bad that in this season, he has nothing going for him and is more obnoxious due to being even more overly jokey.


We have Nine again (voiced by Ashleigh Ball) who used to be the best character in the show...now he's no longer worthy of that title. Not only is he one of the biggest idiots in the show for reasons I explained up above, but the writers go in the most predictable route they could've taken his character and have him turn on Sonic at the end. Just...why? It literally feels like they only did it as a flimsy excuse to make Season 3 happen. Now I understand why Nine turns on Sonic in the end, but a friend of mine suggested that a better reason for his heel-turn would be for Nine to overhear a conversation between Sonic and Shadow where they mention that Nine and the other counterparts will disappear when the Paradox Prism is finished. THAT I agree would've been a stronger reason for him to turn on Sonic because then Nine would be in a more sympathetic situation where instead of selfishly acting on his own accord, he's now betraying Sonic because if he doesn't, he will die simple as that and thus he has to turn on him. So if they executed it that way, it could've worked better.


We have Knuckles the Dread (voiced by Vincent Tong) who becomes more of an antagonist this time around, which we all saw coming a mile away so it's hardly even surprising that it happened. Knuckles proves himself to be a pretty cunning and devious pirate when he successfully dupes his crew into thinking Sonic's betrayed them but at the same time his narrow-minded goal on obtaining his treasure makes him come off as idiotic and as the kind of guy who has no real plan outside of just obtaining his treasure. I mean did it never occur to him that just maybe he needs something else to work with aside from "retrieve treasure"? Like where's he going to run once he has the shard? His entire world's full of water so he has nowhere to go!


The only character who gets any sort of development here is Rusty Rose (voiced by Shannon Chan-Kent). After being abandoned by the Chaos Council...because, she turns on them and joins the heroes. I do wish they had a better reason for it than the Chaos Council idiotically abandoning her and that one thing somehow being enough for her to betray them in spite of everything last time. But her turning good at least felt better handle than Nine turning evil and her interactions with Black Rose were a lot of fun.


The Chaos Council are back again and just like last time, they never feel threatening or cool because of their one-note personalities that feel more like they're done for gag purposes and because of the bad writing in this show, they're the kind of villains where the only reason they ever succeed at anything is because the heroes are too stupid to get the job done. The fact that one of them succeeded at getting a shard because of a temper tantrum especially made these jokes of villains come off as embarrassing and made it so I can never take them seriously as a threat again. If your villains require the heroes to be idiots in order to succeed at anything and feel more like jokes than actual villains, then they're bad villains simple as that. Also they're still as annoyingly vague as ever for we don't know if they're Eggman split across five points in time, if they're even related or what. They're so uninteresting that I don't know why they think making them mysterious will make them any more compelling, because it doesn't.


Speaking of bad villains, we get this show's version of Metal Sonic, Chaos Sonic (voiced also by Deven Mack). He had potential to be a cool threatening minion just like Rusty Rose in Season 1...but then he starts talking and any chance of being menacing he has is instantly gone. Not only is his voice just a slightly modified Sonic voice but he has the same kind of overly quippy, trying-hard-to-be-cool personality that makes him more annoying than anything and thus he feels less like a threatening robotic minion and more like Sonic in a robot's body. I get that he's a robot duplicate of Sonic but I remind you, Metal Sonic is a thing and HE doesn't act like that so Chaos Sonic has no excuse. Every time he spoke, I was agreeing with Sonic throughout the battle that he should stop talking. He's such a joke of a villain that he dies as quickly as he appeared! Talk about a waste of a promising character...


And finally, Shadow the Hedgehog (voiced by Ian Hanlin) is here. It really feels like he's here for fan-service and the writers didn't want to do anything with him but were forced to include him because they have to make up some flimsy excuse as to why he can't just help Sonic in the other worlds and there are times he should be helping yet does nothing, like the whole thing in the void I mentioned earlier. He could've invaded the mothership and stopped the Chaos Council right then and there yet he never does! The forced-as-hell-fight with him and Sonic in Episode 1 really didn't help either. The universe is at stake and yet the two idiots think fighting over who gets to save it is a good idea. Shadow also serves another example on how lazily executed this multiverse idea is. They could've had Shadow visit another world where Maria is alive, which really could've given newcomers more insight into Shadow's character and given Shadow more to do than just be Sonic's helper occasionally. Imagine the story-telling possibilities with such an idea, yet the writers do sod all with him. Wasteful...


The characters really don't help this series much and just further emphasize the weak writing that it suffers from. Nobody has an arc this season, nobody develops except for one and the bad writing causes them to make really idiotic decisions that prevent them from just solving everything right then and there. A pitiful way to handle what should be a strong cast...


Section 3: The Animation


The animation was beautiful last time so of course it'll be beautiful again for this season. And it is...but I sadly haven't got much else to comment on as I'll just be repeating myself from last time.


Season 2 doesn't really do much with the animation that's any different from Season 1. It's still as good looking as before, the character animation is still as lively and expressive as ever, the effects are still great, the character designs are still true to the games and the backgrounds are still beautifully detailed and vast in size. The action scenes are as fluid and creative as last time but I don't use that as a compliment because the action scenes just all start to blend in with each other with how many there are. They just get boring after a while and you become numb to the visuals with all the constant fighting going on that starts to get repetitive after a few episodes.


We don't even really get anything new to look at aside from the grey zone in where we see a greyed out version of Green Hill Zone that looks like something out of Sonic Generations after the Time Eater's attack. We do see how in the pirate world, Green Hill Zone exists underwater...somehow. Like how does the loop-de-loop rock still have grass growing on it when it's underwater? And no, it's not seaweed or any kind of aquatic plantlife, it's grass like what you'd grow on land so it makes even less sense that it looks the way it does. It would've been better if the animators at least made a new model of Green Hill Zone with the grass replaced with seaweed so its existence underwater makes more sense. Also the Chaos Council cause buildings to grow in the jungle and pirate worlds but because the action is so constant and non-stop, we don't get to explore much of it. They're just there and that's it. It's funny how this premise is about the multiverse and yet we don't see any new worlds this season, not like doing so would've made it any better mind you.


So as I say, there's not much to say about the animation other than it's as great as it was last time and we don't get a whole lot of new stuff to see so there's not much that makes it stand out from last time. It's more or less the same as last time visually, which only makes it less interesting to watch as a result.


Conclusion


Sonic Prime Season 2 is an utter disappointment and speaks the show as a whole really. The writing is a downgrade, the characters have nothing to offer, there's too many dumb things happening for the sake of the story, the tone is still too silly at times and the animation hasn't got much to offer visually that we didn't already get last time. It was simultaneously a frustrating and boring experience and if this is the kind of show Sonic Prime is going to be, then I want no more of it. I'm not watching anymore of it so don't expect me to review Season 3 anytime soon, not unless it miraculously improves on the last two seasons. This show had so much potential and had a lot of promise to its name, but it's been let down by too many bad decisions made during the writing and concept stage and now we have just another mediocre Sonic cartoon on our hands. It really is a shame because Sonic can give us a good show much like with Sonic X back in the 2000's era. But I guess we're not getting anything of quality in terms of TV for Sonic anytime soon...


And that's all I have for my review of Sonic Prime Season 2. I hope you enjoyed it and I'd love to hear from you guys your own thoughts. Did you like it, did you not like it? Let's hear about it.


Join me next week as I cover ten more facts about Disney. See you then everyone!

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4 Comments


MartialArtsLover
MartialArtsLover
Sep 20, 2023

I mean, there is one big issue in general with this entire show, and this is something I have discussed with a few people on Discord. One told me, "This entire story, wouldn't have even happened, had Sonic actually listened to Tails and not gone OOC, just for the sake of progressing the plot. If the story is meant to be CANON TO THE GAMES, then this moment of Sonic ignoring Tails' warning, after years of experience with Eggman's cunning nature, this one moment portrays the blue blur as a complete, freaking, moron.".

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I agree with so many points here. The first season did not impress me either and I knew the second one wouldn't get any better. It's such a shame how they had so much material for an awesome Sonic cartoon we needed yet went for the most creatively bankrupt route.

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Guest
Jul 21, 2023

You know how I feel. I’m the same. We had a series which could have done something great for the fans but no, just some stereotypes, a bad take on Sonic, not doing anything clever moments. My goodness

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Shame; I wanted the series to be good and get caught up but...it seems that I won't miss it if I pass it up.

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