This is truly one of the best cartoons ever made. It came at a time when Sonic was at his best. When Sega and Nintendo were at war with each other. He had already caught the attention of many fans throughout the world, including those who have been fans of Mario. Yet, in order to prove Sonic's excellence, DiC came out with 2 Sonic cartoons with Sega's permission in 1993. This version (SatAm), and AOSTH. Personally, this one caught my attention more. In fact what caught my attention was that it tried to be different from the average cartoon.
It aired on early Saturday mornings on ABC during it's run from Sept. 1993 to June 1995. If people hadn't already noticed, there were commercials on ABC that contained footage of SatAm. Since I had already owned a Sega Genesis along with Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, I decided to watch the show one day in September 1993. It totally blew me away.
The intro is one of the best I have seen from a cartoon. It shows Sonic blasting through Knothole Village, later breaking into Robotnik's headquarters. I could explain into further detail but I don't want to spoil it to others who haven't seen this show yet. But what is most interesting is that I see characters in the series I have never seen before. A squirrel known as Princess Sally, a half roboticized rabbit known as Bunnie, a coyote known as Antoine, and a walrus known as Rotor. Each of them had their own personality and their own views on Sonic, as well as their strong points and weaknesses. Together they were known as the Freedom Fighters, a group of mobians who had escaped from Robotnik to take cover in Knothole Village. A site found secret in the Great Forest.
The animation was perhaps stunning at the time, giving the show a dark feel that wasn't found in many other Saturday cartoons. The characters had actual emotions, and the story was excellent. Jim Cummings really stood out for Robotnik, in my mind he was Dr. Robotnik. He gave a voice that sounded evil and enough to chill some fans of Sonic out of their seats. In fact he was all around bad. Jaleel White, best known as Steve Urkel in Family Matters, was a great choice for voicing Sonic. He gave him a cool attitude that was a fair bit annoying but still tolerable for many fans. Kath Soucie did a terrific job as Princess Sally. She gave her a role in which she cares and flirts over Sonic but smart enough to know what is going on. In other words, she was a stand out character. The three characters I mentioned were pretty much excellent throughout the series, with little to no flaws.
What stood out above all was the continuity and the character development. I did like the first season a bit, but it was the second season that really took those points into effect. The 2nd season felt as though they weren't just episodes, but more of like chapters of a big long story, which made the show stand out. Character development plays a huge role in this cartoon. In fact, this had episodes which actually had the good guys losing in the end. There were parts where Sonic was crying and Sally was simply just upset by the way things were going for them. This cartoon wasn't afraid to bring up the bad things of life, which I would much rather see than a happy-go-lucky cartoon in which everybody is happy all the time with no emotion whatsoever.
I must bring up the bad news to this cartoon. Just when things were really starting to look good, just when the cartoon itself started to become very popular, the show was cancelled after two seasons. I was heartbroken, if not angry that someone had torn of what could of been a Sonic legacy that may of lived to this day. The ABC President who cancelled the show, had no idea of the impact that had happened afterwards. This easily could of been a saga along with DBZ, but it never happened. In short, this cartoon was easily forgotten. And soon afterwards, things started to fall apart for Sonic.
This was truly the very last of those great American westerns made, a show that is more effective than any of the cartoons you see today. For years, I thought noone cared for SatAm anymore. Archie Comics made a series of their own based off the cartoon, but over time they had been degrading. Those who have seen this show had been touched by the characters, the continuity, the storyline, everything. While SatAm has lost a lot of fans over the years because of hopelessness and simply because they lost interest, the few of us remaining haven't gave up hope for what this great gem cartoon has given to us.
I am glad that over 10 years later, Shout!Factory has finally decided to make this entire series into a boxset. It contains two interviews with those heavily involved with the show, and it has artwork submitted by the fans, along with tons of extras. I say this to everyone: Even if you think Sonic hasn't done well or if you are just simply a Mario & Zelda fan, pick this up. I promise you will not regret it.