Between 1994’s excellent Sonic 3 & Knuckles on the SEGA Mega Drive and 1998’s Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast (which marked the Blue Blur’s resurgence in glorious 128 bit 3D), the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise was basically stuck in purgatory for nearly 5 years. The SEGA Saturn almost had a major Sonic title in the infamous Sonic Xtreme, which went through a literal development hell before it got cancelled. The lore on Sonic Xtreme would need its own article honestly. Originally planned for 1996, the cancellation of the title left SEGA and developer Sonic Team literally scrambling.
So to fill the years between 1994 and 1998, SEGA gave Sonic fans a series of… consolation prizes if you will. There was Project Sonic on the Saturn comprising of three games: Sonic 3D Flickies’ Island, Sonic R, and finally Sonic Jam. The topic of Project Sonic would need its own article, but let me enlighten you with this in the meantime: you know the developer that makes all those LEGO video games year after year? That very same studio created Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island and Sonic R.
Then there were cartoon shows, and the 90s’ saw this weird spin-off called Sonic Underground where Sonic was part of some royal hedgehog family and had siblings too… and together they would play in a band. It’s about as strange as Coldsteel the Hedgehog fanfiction.
Now long before the cringe-inducing Sonic X anime series introduced the world to the biggest moron that is Chris, there was another Sonic anime in Japan that aired in 1996 as a two part OVA which later got compiled as a single feature film for its English release. Wanna know what studio worked on it? Pierrot… you know… the guys that did the Naruto anime… crazy right?
Unlike the adventures of the green-eyed Dreamcast era Sonic in the Sonic X anime, Sonic the Hedgehog OVA situated itself in the classic SEGA Mega Drive continuity, more specifically during the events of Sonic CD. So here you see a much different Sonic, a more classic Sonic with that 90s’ vibe and tude. The music in the OVA as catchy, jive, and smooth as the soundtrack of the games, and the story was a simple Sonic versus Metal Sonic and Dr. Eggman affair, with a very cheeky sense of humour to keep the action and pacing fun.
It’s been out of print for a while now and who knows if SEGA is interested in bringing it back, after all they are far too busy with the Saturday morning Sonic Boom shorts. But being out of print for over a decade means that you can count on YouTube on having a nice clean upload.
Here’s the 1999 English dub courtesy of YouTuber gameboy3800… enjoy! Trust me, it’s better than Sonic X. I mean Sonic has an infectious Irish accent here… need more convincing?