Sonic’s Brief History of Queerness

Here’s the complete script we used when recording this video, for anyone who prefers reading our thoughts to watching or hearing them.

It’s Pride Month once again and being a walking alphabet soup ourselves, we wanted to make a special video for probably our oldest fandom. Because June is not just the time for the gays, it’s also the birthday month of the blue hog himself, Sonic The Hedgehog.

On June 23rd, 1991, just four weeks before we were born, SEGA released the original Sonic game for the Mega Drive, kicking off a thirty one year long marathon sprint with no end in sight. This year we have a recently released feature film, a collection of remastered classic games, an upcoming Netflix cartoon, an open-world adventure title, the 50th issue of the current comic book run and that’s not even touching upon the franchise’s venture into VTubing, all the new merchandise and more.

But having grown up with the series since the mid-90s, we wanted to merge our love of the franchise with Pride month and have a closer look at something that many people might not even have realized existed, namely…

The Queer Representation in Sonic the Hedgehog

Now, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that when it comes to official canon there’s been a general lack of queer characters in the franchise thus far, as is the case with most franchises. So what we want to do in this video is present three major characters that have been portrayed, or at the very least read by fans, as queer from official Sonic media and explain the context that said queerness appears within.

Of course, it’s only fair that we start with Sonic himself. While Sonic’s character has had a variety of interpretations over the years, including as a very heterosexual player such as in the pre-reboot Archie comics era, which could be fodder for its own video detailing how aggressively heterosexual it was. But we’ll be looking at the original Sonic as seen in the games developed and published by SEGA of Japan since 1991.

Throughout these games Sonic never actually has a love interest. There are characters, such as Amy Rose and Princess Elise, who have a crush on Sonic, but he himself never expresses any interest in pursuing a relationship with anyone. This ambiguity has given a lot of room for fans to interpret Sonic as they please, which is a perfectly valid way of approaching a character.

Pictured: Said dick-measuring contest.

A common reading is that he’s gay and that’s why he never responded with mutual feelings for Amy or Elise, while also being unable to not get into dick-measuring contests with characters like Shadow or Knuckles. But what we personally find the most fitting reading here is that Sonic is simply aro-ace (Aromantic and Asexual). He doesn’t experience romantic or sexual attraction towards anyone, rather than it being that we just haven’t seen it yet.

This reading actually matches how one of Sonic’s original creators perceive him. Ohshima Naoto, the artist that designed Sonic, was asked by Mary K on Twitter about Sonic’s sexuality, to which he responded that to Sonic, it doesn’t matter whether someone is a man or a woman, he doesn’t have an interest in a romantic relationship regardless. He treasures friendship, but that’s where his needs for a connection with others end.

Ohshima Naoto: Sonic does no matter whether it is a woman or a man. Sonic may not be interested in a romantic relationship.

Yes, this is just the interpretation of one of Sonic’s creators as stated over two decades later, but it matches how Sonic has been portrayed throughout his games. Despite countless games across 31 years, full of characters that could potentially have been the one to spark mutual feelings of romance, Sonic has remained his single self without ever hinting at wanting that to change. It might not be explicit, but the fact that a hero as popular as Sonic can be read as aro-ace with the blessing of at least one of his original creators is honestly really cool.

Scene from Exit: Sonic (STC #275)

Next up we have the aforementioned Amy Rose, who despite her consistent crush on Sonic actually has a bit more to her when it comes to her love life and feelings. In 2018, Nigel Kitching (Lead Writer, STC) and Michael Corker (Artist, STC) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the UK exclusive Sonic The Comic series by putting out the final chapter of the digital continuation of the book; Sonic The Comic Online.

In the story, titled Exit: Sonic, we learn that Amy is now together with the fan favourite character Tekno the Canary. The two also have a son together, with Sonic being the kid’s godfather. This separate wing of UK canon is not the only place where Amy is read as bisexual however, as this also happens in SEGA of Japan’s own canon. Ever since Sonic Rush’s release in 2005, there’ve been a lot of fans shipping the pink hedgehog with the interdimensional feline, Blaze the Cat.

Amy gushing about Blaze (Sonic Channel)

This makes a lot of sense on paper. Blaze has many of the same traits Sonic has and she spends a lot of time around Amy whenever she crosses dimensions. In the Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games titles, the two look absolutely adorable together, or perhaps we should say they look… amazing?

Then in 2016, Sonic Channel (official Japanese website for Sonic) put out a comic for Sonic’s 25th anniversary depicting Amy, Marine and Tails convincing Blaze to use her powers to start a bonfire. While everyone is cheering her on to do this, Amy is doing a little more than just cheering. She’s blushing and having hearts pop out of her as Blaze gets to show off her flames, much like how she does when she shows adoration for Sonic.

In short, Amy Rose is truly a bicon. Which explains why the bi flag is pink, purple and blue.

Amy Rose, absolute bicon.

While on the subject of comics we’d like to mention a few comic-exclusive characters that are confirmed as or alluded to being queer. In addition to Tekno, Kitching also confirmed the characters Bill and Max from Sonic The Comic as being in a gay relationship. Former lead writer and constant legal threat Ken Penders also confirmed that Rotor and Cobar from the Archie comics had a romantic relationship in the past.

Ian Flynn, who’s the current lead writer on the IDW comics as well as the writer for the upcoming Sonic game, Sonic Frontiers, also wrote Sally Acorn and Nicole the Holo-Lynx as a budding romance in the post-reboot Archie comics. He’s stated that while this was an intentional writing decision, it likely wouldn’t have been made more explicit had the comics continued due to fans not taking too kindly to the idea of Sally being with someone other than Sonic.

There’s no heterosexual explanation for those eyes. (IDW #32)

Evan Stanley created several characters in the post-reboot Archie comics that she has stated as queer, including the asexual Professor Van Schlemmer and the sapphic Gold the Tenrec. Stanley, together with Flynn, also created the fan favourite characters Tangle the Lemur and Whisper the Wolf in the current IDW comics who many fans feel are being built up as potentially becoming the book’s first proper romance. Though only time will tell.

And so we arrive in the current year 2022 and the final character we want to talk about in this particular video. Namely Agent Stone, played by Lee Majdoub, from the Sonic the Hedgehog feature films.In the 2020 film, Stone is a small but memorable character who assists Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey, by being his mostly harmless henchman.

However, his chemistry with Robotnik was picked up on by fans and quickly turned into a reason to ship the two, something that Majdoub was very pleased to indulge on social media in the past two years. The writers for the sequel clearly noticed, as Stone’s feelings for Robotnik are made more explicit in the film and even became a focal point in the marketing thanks to the good henchman’s latte art skills.

#LoveWins (Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Feature Film 2022)

While this does fall into some uncomfortable territory, such as when Stone is interrupted while looking at Robotnik in drag by a cop bursting in through his door, it was nice seeing a character that both fans and the actor who played him viewed as gay actually be depicted as such. It’s part of why we hope that Agent Stone returns in the next film as well.

There are certainly other things we could mention, like Rouge making BDSM quips towards Topaz in Sonic X or the fact that Chao are genderless and as of a few years ago are being referred to with they/them pronouns in the English localization, but we’ve covered the most of what the Sonic series has to offer in terms of queer representation.

It’s not much, and a lot of it is bite-sized things that require outside confirmation by creative staff, but we’re hoping that we’ll be seeing more as the franchise continues its sprint. There’s a lot to be desired, but also plenty of room for it to appear.

Amy Rose and Agent Stone thumbnail renders by Nibroc-Rock

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STCO Exit Sonic:
Translated Sonic 25th Comics:
Ian Flynn on Sally x Nicole, A: B:
Ace Von Schlemmer:
Sapphic Gold:
Non-binary Chao:
Semi Frequent Sonic Facts thread on LGBT Sonic characters:

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