Preview: Season 2, Episode 3

Yes, that’s right. We’re skipping from 1 to 3. 2 was posted almost exactly a year ago, as the Team Sonic Racing special episode. (It wasn’t supposed to take this long to catch up…) Regardless, here is the preview.

“Hey, is this it?”

Charmy and Tails both stop. They’ve arrived at a thin valley between two peaks on either side of them. Beyond the valley is a wide crater-like depression in the ground, completely surrounded on all sides by similar peaks, making this the only clear entrance to the area. “Yeah, this is definitely it. There should be a system of volcanic caves that all open near the top here. We should go check out–”

Charmy shoots him an intense glare.

Tails innocently finishes, “…just one of them, not gonna spend all day here. If its size and depth are adequate for shelter, then that’ll be it. It’ll make this place just about perfect for a rebel base.”

“Look out!” Charmy suddenly dives into Tails, tackling them both to the floor as a bolt of energy sails over their heads. Tails lets out a cry of pain. The first shot is followed by dozens of others, a continuous stream of laser fire striking against the rock they’ve taken cover behind. Charmy panics, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”

Tails answers through gritted teeth, “It’s fine, I’m fine.” He looks out at some of the stray laser bolts that strike the ground behind them. “That looks like Eggman weaponry. What are Eggman’s robots doing here?”

“Could it be a trap?”

“I don’t know, maybe.”

“Well what do we do!?”

“I don’t know, let me think!” Tails cautiously tries to peek his head over the rock, but is forced to retreat back down before he can see anything. “We definitely won’t make it out if we run for it. And there’s too many to try and fight.” He reaches up to tap his communicator. “Sonic, we–” He frustratedly taps it a few more times. “Busted. Must’ve broken in the fall.”

“What other options do we have?”

Struck by an idea, Tails pulls off his pack. “Just one.” He pulls out a shiny white med kit. “Closest thing we have to a white flag.”

 

Blacklight’s Totally Legitimate and Definitely Official Theme Song Part 2

blacklightlogo

[Blacklight]: So, my last theme song didn’t go so well.

[Shadow]: Because it wasn’t your theme song.

[Blacklight]: But I wasn’t willing to give up so easily! So I made a quick call to my old pal, Johnny Gioeli, you may have heard of him.

[Shadow]: You have Crush 40’s phone number?

[Blacklight]: That’s right, the writer and performer of “Open Your Heart,” “Live and Learn,” “Green Light Ride,” all your Sonic favorites. And, wouldn’t you believe it, he already wrote me a theme song! And he never even told me! Such a jokester, that Johnny.

[Shadow]: Where could this possibly be going…?

[Blacklight]: It’s going right here! To my new official theme song, titled, “Call Me Crazy.”

[Blacklight]: Ha ha ha ha ha…go away. I love that ending. And if you ask me, the song’s a bit less dated than that other one. It really reflects how I’m a new character for a new age.

[Shadow]: Really? Now you’re trying to pass this off as your theme song? You have to kidding me…

[Blacklight]: Oh, and let me guess. This one is somehow yours as well?

[Shadow]: No, it isn’t mine. It’s an independent song. If anything, it’s about Mr. Gioeli himself. This album, “Driving Through Forever,” was published in conjunction with Team Sonic Racing last year. Long after you got killed off of the show. Under what context could this have been used for you?

[Blacklight]: Well, it’s not like it actually played in a game or anything. It was just a song that my buddy Johnny wrote in reaction to his realization of what an amazing character I am. Mr. C sure doesn’t have his phone number, so we had to meet under other circumstances first, which took a while. Then he needed time to write and publish the song.

[Shadow]: If it was supposed to be about you, wouldn’t it refer more specifically to you, or your history, or the theme of contrast that defines you?

[Blacklight]: I mean, the guy’s trying to sell albums here, he couldn’t exactly let the world know that he based a song off of an OC from some guy’s fanfic.

[Shadow]: Really? So, tell me, who exactly would you be talking to in this song that’s supposedly about you?

[Blacklight]: Well, you, of course. Who else would call me crazy so adamantly, whom I desire validation from and yet hate with a fiery passion? Also, you have been to outer space. Just saying.

[Shadow]: “There’s an ocean full of you that swims around me?” What exactly would that mean?

[Blacklight]: I don’t know, I didn’t write the song. But if I were to take a guess, I’d say that it refers to how the thought of you surrounds me completely, how everything I do and everything I see relates back to you in some way.

[Shadow]: Wow, you really need some professional help.

[Blacklight]: And this is news to you?

[Mr. C]: (offscreen) So when are you going to tell everyone that you don’t actually have Johnny Gioeli’s phone number?

[Shadow]: Yeah, this isn’t your theme song either. Let it go.

[Blacklight]: You don’t know everything…


Crush 40 is awesome. Please support them by buying their latest album.  https://www.amazon.com/Driving-Through-Forever-Ultimate-Collection/dp/B07VJXRGVK

And no, Johnny Gioeli is not a guest on the show. If you ask him any questions, they probably won’t be answered.

Review: Season 1, Episode 17

Man, where do I even begin here? I suppose it should be with another apology about the delay. I didn’t mean for this episode to take significantly longer than any other. But then I got Fire Em–…uh, I mean, generic-dudes-with-swords-fantasy-tactical-RPG-in-which-you-choose-between-three-different-houses game. I put something like 150 hours into that game without ever typing once. I’m sorry, it’s a good game, okay? The fact that it encourages 3+ full playthroughs doesn’t help either…but I’m still a Sonic fan, okay!? I’m not giving up on this!

*ahem* Seriously, sorry about that. But let’s talk about this episode! I wrote two-thirds of it about three months ago, and the rest in the last three days. Hope it didn’t feel too disjointed because of that, but…when you’re writing an episode that’s just one giant fight scene, it’s kind of hard to be disjointed.

In a lot of ways, this was meant to be a sort of Sonic Adventure celebration part 2. If all had gone well, it actually would’ve come out around the time of the American 20th anniversary…but, you know…whatever. But anyways, when I first planned to make that first Adventure special, it came inherently with this episode as a conclusion. Before I came up with that first episode, this one would likely not have been a two-parter. It would’ve just been a disjointed Rouge returns story in the first half (with much less drama) followed by the conclusion of the Death Egg story in the second half. It actually would’ve been a lot like the mid-season finale in that way. I didn’t much care for how the mid-season finale turned out. Or wait, maybe I didn’t even have the Death Egg in mind by that point… Yeah, looking over my old notes, the story of fake Big as resolved in the Adventure special was originally planned to be part of the Rouge-returning finale. Man, that would’ve been a boring finale. So everything works out!

I think I was in the middle of saying before…oh, that’s right. This as a second part to the special. My preliminary idea for the Adventure special was little more than “let’s find a way to bring back Chaos 0”. When that idea gave way to the Discord idea, I still had the thought of bringing back the real Chaos bouncing around in the back of my mind. What I was thinking at first was that Discord would, in the end, join Chaos in the Master Emerald (as Knuckles was trying to make happen) so that neither Chaos nor Discord would be alone in the universe. That was the original intended meaning of Tikal’s vague “Chaos…alone…you…”. But, as usual, it was my good brother Yuni Oha who recommended the possibility that Discord be somehow cured, so the Chao could become a sort of mascot for the Rebellion. I loved the idea of giving this episode a real lasting impact for the rest of the series, so I made it work. Of course, Yuni also highly recommended the use of Perfect Chaos and/or Discord, and I had to disappoint on that front. But who knows? It may happen someday. *wink wink*

I keep meaning to go here and getting sidetracked. Chaos himself. I loved the way that scene turned out. He was on-screen for all of five minutes, didn’t say a word, and yet had one of the most compelling character moments I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing in this show. Not gonna lie, I teared up a little bit when I wrote about him stroking the Chao’s head. Is it weird to cry about something you wrote? Anyways, my only real complaint about that scene is that, after all the buildup Discord got, it was completely upstaged by Chaos. Then again, Discord is staying on as a permanent character, and Chaos isn’t, so I had to treat Chaos right for his brief cameo.

That was most recent on my mind, but I suppose there is much else to talk about. Rouge, for example. Every last scene of hers was extremely complicated to write. I had to approach some very dark and mature concepts in a PG (K+) format. How do you talk about someone getting stabbed in a way that makes sense when you’re not allowed to show blood coming out of a person? (I don’t know if that’s actually the rule, but it’s the rule I’ve taken to. There can be blood, it just can’t be seen actively coming out of a body.) And that’s after she got tied to a chair and beaten, after Shadow tried to blow her up, after Infinite and Fang seemingly murdered one another (something obviously went wrong there). So is she dead now? I’d have to say, “probably”. But we’ll all have to wait and see. I suppose I should say the same about Sly.

This episode set up A LOT of future character arcs. Sonic, Tails, Shadow, Knuckles, and Cream all come to mind immediately. I guess that’s the point of a good finale, isn’t it? My point is, I guess…pay attention? I don’t know, I always worry that the hints of foreshadowing I drop go completely unnoticed if I don’t make them super duper obvious, like “hey, this is something that might happen later!”. At least this time, you’ve already had hints of the future character dynamics between Sonic, Shadow, and Tails through the Green Light Riders Season 2 preview. (Man, I published that in May! Now it’s December! I was supposed to be caught up by now!)

Finally think I’m running out of things to say. One interesting note is that this is actually one of the first planned two-parters that didn’t get split from one or need to get split into three. I planned on the separation between this episode and the next from the beginning. Trouble with that is that I knew I would be forcing myself to write an episode-long fight scene, which, as I’ve said in the past, is a major weakness of mine. The discouragement of making one fight last so long might be part of the reason I wasn’t more adamant about balancing my writing with my video game life. I could already tell by the time I stopped writing that this one foe with a very specific skillset was making for a very stagnant fight. Having to juggle so many different allies for the fight did keep things a little bit less predictable on one hand, but also added its own challenge on the other.

Although, quite possibly the hardest part of the episode was managing the logic behind Knuckles, Shadow, Amy, and how they would interact with Rouge, how and why they would leave the fight with Discord, and how it could make sense that they react in just the ways they needed to. It’s what I spent a vast majority of my break time thinking about. And even now, I think it all came out a little forced. Knuckles and Rouge really needed a proper reunion to demonstrate that Knuckles was able to trust her, but that simply didn’t fit. It didn’t make a lot of sense that Amy felt right about leaving the fight with Discord to check on Shadow, and even less that she didn’t say a word when she passed Knuckles. Sonic calmly accepting Knuckles’ plan didn’t make sense either, especially considering his reaction when Tikal voiced the same intent back in the finale of Sonic Adventure. But Discord needed to be close by for Knuckles’ plan to go through, and if Sonic were there with the intent to stop Knuckles, he easily could have. I had no sound justification for getting rid of Sonic in that moment, so having him accept the plan was the only option. I think it was all just a bit of a mess. A mess that did its job wonderfully, mind you. These conclusions for Rouge and Discord’s stories worked out just as I always pictured them, which is a rare accomplishment for me.

And I think I’ve been ranting on for long enough, so I suppose I’ll have to leave you until we meet again for part 2, the finale of season 1! (It’s been a long time coming.)

Review: Season 1, Episode 16

Well…here it is. My first attempt at a comedy. No matter how hard I try, it seems that I just can’t remove the serious plot development. So this episode ended up just feeling really weird to me, like…like you have a hard time laughing because you have to look out for important plot points. Honestly, I think I just needed more jokes. But I figured forcing in a bunch of extra jokes that even I wouldn’t find funny would defeat my own purpose. I went in to this hoping for something iconic and unforgettable, something like some of my favorite episodes of Avatar the Last Airbender, and I definitely fell short in my opinion. But hey, I’ll settle for a lighthearted chuckle before the dark finale to come.

They say it’s a bad idea to explain a joke, but I actually don’t have a whole lot else to say here, so I think I’ll point a few things out, just to be sure that they were understood. Heavy Magician’s unnamed transformation hijinks went as follows: Bark the Polar Bear, Bean the Dynamite Duck, Tiara Boobowski the Manx (of the cancelled Sonic X-treme), “Speedy” AKA Battle Kukoo XVI (of Tails Adventure), and lastly, Madonna (the scrapped character intended to be Sonic’s girlfriend in the original Sonic the Hedgehog). She actually quoted a couple songs from the real-world artist Madonna (including “Open Your Heart,” a natural connection to make). Her disguises for Big and Froggy first referenced the recent Team Sonic Racing Overdrive animated shorts, then proceeded to reference Scratch and Grounder, Eggman’s robotic companions from the early Sonic cartoons, and of course, R2-D2 and C-3P0 of Star Wars, the most famous robotic duo of all time.

Let’s see, anything else to explain? Cubot’s role in this episode was inspired by…well, technically, myself. Back in Season 0, Cubot implied that he may have a crush on Magician. It was meant to be a one-off joke, but I decided to roll with it, thanks in part to a suggestion by our good friend Yuni Oha. There is one other joke which was a bit unusual. Sonic being set off at the thought of Tails thinking someone else is cooler than him. This was actually a request left by a reader after the last episode, so big thanks to “sonic vs evil” for contributing the idea to this episode. I don’t think that they quite had it in mind as a joke, but I adapted the idea to this episode as best I could.

I suppose I should talk about the lasting impact that this episode may have. I wasn’t intending on bringing in the Spacial Ruby plot quite so soon, but…well, I needed a macguffin. Even though no Ruby was actually present in this episode, they are very much real. And with Eggman and Infinite both looking for them, they’re bound to turn up eventually.

And of course, there’s the more immediate impacts. There is a Death Egg, and its launch is imminent. But what exactly could Eggman do with a Death Egg when he already controls the world? Well…we’ll find out very soon.

-And until then, remember to live and learn every day!

Review: Season 2 Preview – Team Sonic Racing Special

Bum bum bummmm! Bet you weren’t expecting a Team Sonic Racing special to have such a big impact on the series, were you? Well, there’s a reason I chose to make this a Season 2 preview episode, instead of just fitting it in where we are in Season 1. Much like with my Sonic Forces special, the deadline crept up on me just a little bit too quickly, but I knew this episode had to go here, and nowhere else.

Really, this was a Riders episode with a few tiny references to other racing games. Team Sonic Racing was more my excuse to write this episode than it was the inspiration for it. And…having now played and completed Team Sonic Racing, I’ll admit that this episode would have gone down much differently had I known what I’d have to work with. If this were Forces, I would proceed to write a second, more direct Special Episode that actually is based on TSR. But this is not Forces. It’s a random racing spin-off, and one episode spent celebrating it is probably more than it deserves. But don’t get me wrong. I’m sure I’ll be properly canonizing this game eventually, just as I did Riders. It just won’t be today.

Working with the Babylon Rogues was a dream. They’re such well-defined characters that their dialogue practically wrote itself. And yet, their motivations are so ambiguous that I was able to do practically whatever I wanted with them. And the Babylon history is much-needed fresh element of Sonic world-building when it often feels like the Echidnas are the only bit of real history I ever have to work with. Naturally, I tried to make storytelling and character building as accurate to the original Riders games as possible, with the unintended side-effect of basically turning this episode into a plot for Zero Gravity 2. Giving Jet a reconstructed Ark of the Cosmos was a bit of a last-minute decision, and the whole “rebuilding Babylon Garden” thing was even more last-minute than that. The original plan was simply to have Jet in it for the money and protection from Eggman. But I felt like in the circumstances I provided, with such a heated clash of wills against Sonic, that simply wasn’t a strong enough character drive.

On one hand, it was a bit of a shame that Wave and especially Storm were so left out in favor of a focus on Jet, but on the other hand, the fact that the three are usually a package deal made exploring Jet as an individual far more interesting to me. So, will they appear again? Definitely. Will it be soon? …Probably not. Honestly, no plans until Season 6 at the earliest. But you never know.

Now I suppose it’s time to talk about the evil robot in the room. Metal Sonic. After receiving my first question from a reader almost a year ago about what my plans were with Metal Sonic, following his surprise appearance at the end of S1 E1, it felt so good to finally address it. Or at least, start to. Big plans this season for Metal Sonic, for Omega, for Sonic, even for Tails. But, I’m quite literally getting ahead of myself. Need to wrap things up with Rouge and the Anti-Rebellion first. This episode was packed with out-of-context spoilers for the finale of Season 1 and the premiere of Season 2, just to anger you and amuse me.

-And until next time, remember to live and learn every day!

Review: 50th Episode Special

As if it weren’t obvious, this episode was not exactly normal. I’ve mentioned multiple times before, both here and in the author’s notes of the actual story, that I had in mind the possibility of rewriting Crisis of Chaos, the four premiere episodes of the series. Besides just being generally poor in quality compared to my current standards of writing, those episodes had simply grown out of date as the series continued to grow. Being designed to come before the prequel, I of course did everything in my power to make sure that everything I would write thereafter would fit in correctly, but some inevitable contradictions and oddities popped up, especially in regards to Sonic Forces, which hadn’t even been announced at the time of those episodes being published. Eventually, I wanted to fix those problems, to address those conspicuously missing elements. But I’ve been focusing so hard on moving forwards that it always just seemed like a low priority. Then suddenly, I looked up from writing the Sonic Adventure Special, and realized that my next episode would be my 50th. Meanwhile, there were some unexpected delays in the episode that I had been planning on coming next. The secret Ninja Episode.

So, I realized that there would be no better time to go back to where it all began than for such a great milestone as a 50th episode. I figured that writing a new episode, rather than editing the old ones, would give me a lot more freedom to include things that would be considered spoilers if they’d been placed in those original episodes. Things like Fang, or even Infinite. It would also give me freedom in general, to write scenes which would have made for a very odd story flow if they’d been added before. I also figured that making a separate episode would attract a little more attention, and ensure that the new content would be read by people who already read the old episodes. So, with effectively no restrictions, I wrote.

This episode was dedicated to tying. Tying loose ends together, but also tying together the series as a whole. There are so many little things with considerable impacts that it would be hard to list them all. Probably the most important part, as mentioned above, was reconciling this story with the aspects that were introduced along with Forces (and Mania. I forget sometimes that that’s where the HBH’s come from.) It was addressing the questions of where Hero, Infinite, and of course, the Hard Boiled Heavies, were during this big war. I tried to write Hero’s introduction episode in this Season such that it didn’t matter too much, but still it left just a few questions hanging, which I hope have been answered. Infinite, on the other hand, benefited greatly from his one short scene in this episode. Where he was left at the end of Season 0, he had been given this odd sort of relationship with Blacklight which was left extremely vague, and next time we see him, Blacklight’s been dead for months and Infinite doesn’t say a word about him. I originally planned for him to at least say something at that point, but it just didn’t work with the episode. So finally, with this one, I was really able to show exactly what was going on between them. Infinite…had a friend…sort of. And that has a pretty significant degree of meaning for both of their characters.

The HBH’s are a little bit different. Technically speaking, there was nothing that really mandated their appearance in Crisis of Chaos, it would be very reasonable to say that, since they weren’t part of the big plan, they were just out fighting all the various offscreen battles. And technically that was true, though this episode actually retconned Heavy King into the ending scene of the original. But, just like Hero, it was nice to simply prove that they were there, and that they weren’t just sitting around and doing nothing.

Then, there were other things to reconcile. Things that, technically speaking, I could have planned for, but wasn’t able to anticipate, things that I would write of my own accord, knowing that they ran a bit against what the original Crisis seemed to suggest. One of the big ones there was Lumis. At the end of the Dawn of Chaos arc, Lumis was redeemed and welcomed back into the Realm of Chaos. But in the original Crisis, he was treated, both by myself the narrator, and by Chaos, as a villain, simply because all I had planned for Lumis at the time of Crisis was that he would be the future villain, with no details about how that story would end. That was reconciled in this episode by showing that Chaos was simply holding an unfounded grudge, with the added benefit of serious character development on both sides with the realization of similarities between them, and the fact that even the so-called-gods cannot be perfect.

And of course, there are the things I added simply to improve the depth of the story and characters, without any necessity otherwise. Little bits showing the relationships between Chaos, Sonic, and Shadow I found to be important because that dynamic was never really touched on outside of the original Crisis. And probably the part that added the most meat to this episode, the Commander subplot. At the time of the original Crisis, I had no idea how important the Commander would become in the grand scheme of the story. I knew I’d use him eventually, I just didn’t realize to what extent it would be. Naturally, I had to tell his missing story here after how much focus he got in Season 0, and even in the flashbacks of this season. Him combined with Hero was a fantastic way to show this war’s effect on the common man, something that was completely overlooked in the big robo-kaiju battle focus of the original Crisis.

And let’s not forgot the straight-up plotholes of the original that I had to fill here. Things that were pointed out me long after the original was published, such as “Why couldn’t the Hedgehogs just escape with Chaos Control?” and “Did Chaos die, or did he just go back to the Realm of Chaos?” and “Where did Tails get GUN technology from?” all got at least one dedicated scene to explaining. In regards to that last one, that “technology exchange” brought up for the first proper time in this episode was actually something I had planned on being discussed in a very, very similar scene in the original, and I’m not sure if I simply forgot to write it at the time, or if I actively decided to address it in what would become Forces of Chaos, and forgot once that came around. Either way, it never got addressed, so I had to fill it in here.

I’ll try not to drag this one out too much longer. I want to mention how I was randomly inspired to use the GUN Truck while watching a Sonic the Hedgehog Official Livestream a couple of weeks ago, and I’m very glad that I was. An action movie car chase scene just felt so right to use as the way that the Commander and Hero connect. To a certain extent, I was also inspired by a scene from the movie Captain America: Winter Soldier, in which Nick Fury, leader of the acronymed military organization SHIELD (I’ve drawn comparisons with the Commander before), was seemingly killed in a big, explosive car chase sequence. So what does that mean for the Commander? Is it possible that he’s still alive after being trapped in a sinking truck like that? Well, no one knows for certain. And eventually, that will become perhaps the single most relevant takeaway from this episode.

On a related note, this episode featured the second appearance of the mysterious “J. Naka”. Eventually, we will get to meet him in the present. But for now, his backstory just keeps getting built up little by little.

So what’s next after this big special episode? Normally, I’d say we’re going back to right where we left off in the main story of this season. But the specials aren’t over yet! Something important is happening in the next few days! The release of Team Sonic Racing! You didn’t think I’d let that slip by, did you? (Apparently I’ve never mentioned it on this site before. Wow, I really need to step up my game.) So does that mean we’re getting a Team Sonic Racing special episode? Actually…even better! This isn’t just any special episode. This is a very special preview at a full-length episode vital to Season 2, which celebrates all things Sonic Racing, and then some! Green Light Riders is coming very soon!

-And there’s no better feeling than to be here with you! Look out!