Sonic Underground: Volume Two

Sonic Underground: Volume Two
The third cartoon incarnation of the speedy, smart-assed Sega mascot Sonic the Hedgehog finds him and his two siblings — Manic and Sonia — searching for their mother, Queen Aleana, while simultaneously battling the evil Dr. "Buttnik” Robotnik and his evil Australian shape-shifting cronies. Additional mythology surrounds an apparent prophecy that explains why Aleana abandoned her multi-coloured children but is never explored to any resolution in the show’s 40-episode run. Tonally, the show is quite dark, featuring exploding robot babies and secondary characters that sacrifice their lives in the name of freedom, mostly musical. These darker elements are often glossed over with the many music video montages of Sonic and his musically-inclined gang as they "get rad” to 40-second stock ’80s "rawk” that could very well have been voiced by Trey Parker. That said, having Trey Parker voice the songs would have been a marked improvement over having to endure the musical styling of Jaleel "Urkel” White, who voices all three lead hedgehogs, even the female one. Thematically the show follows the obvious trajectory of issue-based episodes that explore theft, global warming, lying and the overwhelming power of kindness. Sloppy writing mixes these issues with generic battles involving laser-beam firing guitars and an endless parade of Robotnik’s henchmen, who are all drawn with the same cost-cutting animation that fans of Saturday morning cartoons have become accustomed to. Children may find the darker spin on familiar material "way cool” and ask for "Sonic” collectables as a result but parents will be slightly dazed and occasionally shocked by the negligent transitions and casual deaths. (Shout! Factory)