[Blacklight]: Yeah, that’s right, you’re excited. Avid Chaos Project fans may remember that hosting a late-night Villain Chat talk show has always been my dream in life.
[Shadow]: Always? It was only brought up offhandedly in the 50th Episode Special that retconned the premiere, and even that took place almost six months after your chronological introduction to the current events of the story.
[Blacklight]: Nah ah ah. I’m the one asking questions here. We’re kicking off today’s festivities by interviewing the second most popular character in the entire Sonic canon, Shadow the Hedgehog.
[Shadow]: Your show is called Villain Chat. Why would I be your first choice to interview?
[Blacklight]: That brings us to our first question of the night! Shadow, tell me, how does it feel to be branded as a villain by the very people who created you?
[Shadow]: I…don’t follow.
[Blacklight]: I speak of our parent companies, SEGA and Sonic Team, of course.
[Shadow]: I still don’t follow.
[Blacklight]: Well, just look at your presentation in any recent Sonic game. Take Sonic Boom, for instance. In that world, Shadow the Hedgehog exists as nothing more than an obstacle, an angry jerkwad who hates Sonic and hates friendship because…reasons.
[Shadow]: Different world. Why does it matter?
[Blacklight]: Is it really different? Regardless of whether you look at the games or the TV show, Sonic Boom presents its cast of characters as if they’re people with a long history that you should be intimately familiar with. Most of its jokes downright depend on that frame of reference. For example, the often-repeated joke of presenting the fighting between Sonic and Eggman as if it’s an office job is only funny if you assume that it isn’t the norm, and it’s only abnormal if you include the context of the canon games. And that brings us to Shadow. Shadow, like everyone else, is introduced as if you already know exactly who he is and what he should be doing. So naturally, he immediately attempts to destroy Sonic, because that’s totally in-character.
[Shadow]: Yeah, I think it’s pretty clear that the people who made Sonic Boom had very little idea of what Sonic is supposed to be. It’s as if they took one look at the original version of me and said, “Oh, that must be an evil version of Sonic.” That was never really in question. To answer your question, everything about Sonic Boom makes me feel disappointed, and this is no different.
[Blacklight]: Okay, so let’s ignore Sonic Boom, then. Instead, we turn our attention to Sonic Generations, your only significant role in the decade that came between Sonic ’06 and Sonic Forces. In Generations, you attempted to kill Sonic to stop him from acquiring the Chaos Emerald, because…reasons.
[Shadow]: That game depicted me as a rival, not a villain.
[Blacklight]: *clears throat* “I don’t know where we are, nor do I care. This is where I finish you, Sonic.”
[Shadow]: That…doesn’t make me a villain…
[Blacklight]: Right, because you were totally redeemed by that heroic and heartfelt speech you gave at the end of the game. Roll the clip!
[Shadow]: …I blame the game’s poor writing and lack of direction.
[Blacklight]: Yeah, that tends to be a running theme when it comes to Sonic games these days. But wherever you place the blame, it shows just the same that the people making these games seem to have absolutely no idea what Shadow the Hedgehog is supposed to be.
[Shadow]: Well, at least they started getting back on track with Sonic Forces. That game finally gave me a large enough spotlight to prove that I’m still the same person I always was.
[Blacklight]: Did it? Did it really? Sonic Forces has become notorious for its poor handling of villains, and you’re right there in that group. You’re placed on Infinite’s team in the game and all of its promotional material, and yet there’s no greater mystery surrounding that fact than there is about any of the other Replicas. Of all people, Knuckles is the only person who seems to show any legitimate concern over what’s going on. Sonic is upset by it, but it certainly doesn’t seem to surprise him much.
[Shadow]: Sonic wouldn’t be upset by it if he thought it was normal, which means that I’m clearly not thought of as a villain. The running theory they give is that I was being controlled.
[Blacklight]: True. But that isn’t the only issue. We also have Episode Shadow.
[Shadow]: The best thing to happen to the Sonic franchise in twelve years.
[Blacklight]: I wouldn’t be so sure about that. You may have been the protagonist of Episode Shadow, but that doesn’t make you the hero.
[Shadow]: Coordinated attacks against Eggman’s facilities to prevent a war, plus a dramatic escape of Infinite’s most powerful Virtual prison, doesn’t sound heroic enough to you?
[Blacklight]: Well, A for effort, but…uhh…Episode Shadow shows unapologetically that your reckless behavior and total lack of empathy are responsible for instigating a war that resulted in millions of deaths.
[Blacklight]: You don’t have to fight the hero to be a villain. And it’d be one thing if you finished what you started, but no. Instead, you seemed to disappear from the face of the Earth for six months of war, for…reasons. Finally, you return…to deliver a few lines of exposition. That’s it. That’s Shadow the Hedgehog’s role in Sonic Forces. Starting a war, then sitting back and watching while other people fight it. In fact, by the sounds of it, you’re not just a villain. You’re a master manipulator, sewing chaos in the world and never getting blamed for it.
[Shadow]: I’m a monster…
[Blacklight]: It’s okay, buddy. You’re among friends.
[Blacklight]: So, now that we know how you really feel, let’s look back on some happier times with our next question.
[Shadow]: How long is this going to go on for?
[Blacklight]: As long as I feel like it. But trust me, I think you’ll like this question. You…have a LOT of theme songs.
[Shadow]: That’s true.
[Blacklight]: (reading from list) Let’s see here… We have “Throw it All Away” from Sonic Adventure 2, “This Machine” from Sonic Heroes…
[Shadow]: That’s Team Dark’s theme, not just mine.
[Blacklight]: Technically, yes, but it’s sung from your perspective, and repeats the words “Chaos Control” more than a few times.
[Blacklight]: Anyways, then we have a whopping six songs from the Shadow the Hedgehog game, from “I Am…All of Me” to “Never Turn Back,” and finally a repeat of “All Hail Shadow” for Sonic ’06. You’re already making me jealous here. But there’s also some extra vocal themes associated with you in Sonic Adventure 2, “Rhythm and Balance,” “Supporting Me,” “For True Story,” “Live and Learn” to some degree, and…”The Supernatural?” I don’t even remember that one…
[Shadow]: The theme of the Final Rush level. Lyrics were a bit hard to hear.
[Blacklight]: Yeah, whatever. That’s fourteen songs! Fourteen! How in blazes do you keep track of them all!?
[Shadow]: Categorizing by game and/or level certainly helps.
[Blacklight]: That was a rhetorical question. The real question is…of all these songs, which do you feel most accurately depicts you? Which of these songs is the essence of Shadow the Hedgehog?
[Shadow]: Well…that’s a difficult question to answer. Each song serves its own purpose. Sometimes, I’m a lost soul. Sometimes, I’m fighting for my ideals. Sometimes, I’m simply the coolest.
[Blacklight]: So what, you have a song for each mood? For each day of the week!? Some of us don’t even get one theme song, you privileged little—
[Mr. C]: (offscreen) Language!
[Blacklight]: Sorry…what I meant to say was…even the newest of those songs is fifteen years old now. So which one would you say has still…retained its value, so to speak? Which one has the most staying power, which one aged the best?
[Shadow]: Well…”Live and Learn” is a classic…but it’s not quite personal enough. As fond as I am of “All Hail Shadow,” I suppose I’d have to say that “Never Turn Back” is the one that still works best for the place I’m at right now.
[Blacklight]: Ah, I see. Least favorite?
[Shadow]: You want me to choose a least favorite of my precious children?
[Mr. C]: …
[Blacklight]: Who are you and what have you done with the real Shadow?
[Shadow]: I was trying to be funny…
[Blacklight]: Well you’re terrible at it. Just answer the question.
[Shadow]: Fine. I’d have to go with “Almost Dead,” the theme of the Dark ending in my game. It’s noisy, it’s repetitive, and it has very little meaning beyond “being ambivalent,” which is kind of strange, since you’d think it would be about pure evil. Basically, it’s a standard heavy metal song.
[Blacklight]: Are you saying that you don’t like heavy metal? You certainly seem like the type who would.
[Shadow]: You’re talking about the wrong Shadow. Try asking the one from Sonic Boom. You might get a different answer.
[Blacklight]: Oh, I see. You’re trying to tie this whole piece together by making commentary about the harm of judging a person by appearance without understanding who that person really is.
[Shadow]: No, I just don’t like heavy metal.
[Blacklight]: Ah, to each his own, I suppose. And I’m gonna have to stop you there. Villain Chat! will be right back after a quick word from our sponsors. But before we leave, don’t forget! We’ll be doing a special Q&A session at the end of the day to answer all of your burning questions! What would you have asked Shadow in this interview? Tell us in the comments below, or shoot a message our way! Be right back!