Sonic X: The Worst Kind of 4Kids dub

Latest News & Videos

TheMisterManGuy

Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2014
1,216
-1
63
To me, 4Kids Entertainment has always been a company I love to hate. They may have destroyed some beloved series, or at best, rendered them inferior to their Japanese counterparts, all in the name of making anime kid-friendly. But the one thing 4Kids always was good at, was unintentional comedy. Their bizarre censorship practices, mixed with even more bizarre dialogue and writing usually resulted in plenty of So Bad, It's Good entertainment, even from their infamous dubs like One Piece. But there is a 4Kids anime that's not only bad, it has next to none of that trademark cheese or absurdity you'd normally expect from 4Kids. Sonic X.

Sonic X was one of 4Kids' most popular shows, largely because it's attached to one of the biggest names in pop culture. Even years after it ended, 4Kids would re-run this show constantly. Yet, despite being one of their biggest hits, I feel like its arguably by far, the worst dub in their catalog. At least with something like One Piece or Yu-Gi-Oh! I can laugh at their nonsensical changes and cheesy dialogue. Sonic X is a bad dub, like most of 4Kids' work, but it's not laughable or cheesy like their other shows. It's boring, repetitive, and plays itself way too straight. To me, that's worse than being unintentionally funny.

The main problem, is the writing. Even in a bad 4Kids dub, you can at least enjoy the cheesy puns and serious scenes made hilarious by bizarre lines or unfitting music. But most of the dialogue in Sonic X consists of drawn out exposition, and maybe a few quips. There's no wit, no self-awareness, no fun. Everything is played straight. It doesn't end there, the plot of every episode revolves around Sonic and his buddies stopping Eggman's robots, and finding the Chaos Emeralds. The problem is that many episodes end up just being long, drawn-out battles that feel like they take forever. I don't normally find this a problem in something like Shonen anime, since the fights tend to be multi-episode, thus help create tension and suspense, but a half-hour episode of Sonic X feels like an eternity. I know this is less a "4Kids" problem and more so just how the show is fundamentally written, but it's still an issue regardless.

Then there's the characters, who have virtually no character to speak of outside their single traits. 90% of the characters in Sonic X are, boring, one-dimensional, and half the time, I'm wondering what the hell they're even doing here. You've got Sonic, who in this incarnation, is so dry and lifeless as a character that you could replace him with a wooden brick, and feel just as attached. He mostly just naps at home, or screws around on his own. He never really feels like he's part of the crew, feeling so detached from everyone else that you might mistake him for just a side-character, yet he's the STAR of the show. His personality, is basically just a generic cocky hero with some lame quips. I know Sonic isn't the most complex character in media, but he at least had a more defined and layered personality in his other incarnations, he had flaws, interests, likes, dislikes, and other things that made him a more distinct character.

You have Tales, the fix-it inventor, who's actual inventing talents are so rarely used, he's more or less sidelined for most of the series, until its time to bust out the X Tornado. Amy who despite having a giant Hammer, just stands around doing nothing, while gushing about Sonic. Knuckles who's just the generic rival, and Cream & Cheese who are useless, even by child character standards. And then there's Chris, who's not only a pathetic looser, but is also mostly useless, save for very few instances. He's only there to give the kiddies somebody to latch onto, because god forbid they try to get attached to any of the other cardboard boxes we're forced to follow.

Again, this is more of a core design problem, than a 4Kids problem, but I argue 4Kids makes it worse by not at the very least, taking more liberties with the script to give the characters a bit more development and depth. If anything, the 4Kids versions of these characters have even less personality than the Japanese version. That's a big problem, if I can't bring myself to care about these characters, then no matter what scenario you throw them in, it's always going to make a boring story. 4Kids, never really quite understood that flashy explosions, and merchandise shots are not why people watch animated series. Compelling characters, their relationships, and their journeys are why we watch them.

There's also the voice acting, which is typical 4Kids brand of either over the top haminess, ridiculous accents, or stilted delivery. Except here, these problems are magnified by the dry, wit-less script and bland writing. It feels sort of like a bad pre-school show at times. Sonic X was never that great of a show, but it's IMO the worst dub 4Kids has put out, specifically because of the lack of the kind of silly, bizarre fun that's usually in their dubs. I can still enjoy the days of Pokemon, and look back and laugh at the hack job of One Piece. But Sonic X is neither endearingly cheesy, or So Bad, It's Good. It's just, bad and boring, and that to me is worse than being bad and funny.
 

Mostezli

Not 4 Everyone & That's OK
May 28, 2014
1,666
0
83
To me, 4Kids Entertainment has always been a company I love to hate. They may have destroyed some beloved series, or at best, rendered them inferior to their Japanese counterparts, all in the name of making anime kid-friendly. But the one thing 4Kids always was good at, was unintentional comedy. Their bizarre censorship practices, mixed with even more bizarre dialogue and writing usually resulted in plenty of So Bad, It's Good entertainment, even from their infamous dubs like One Piece. But there is a 4Kids anime that's not only bad, it has next to none of that trademark cheese or absurdity you'd normally expect from 4Kids. Sonic X.
A win for Sonic X then, since it supposedly has none of the So Bad, It's Good entertainment. In reality, there were things that needed to be edited (Google search), but for the most part, it appeased the networks' demands from the start.

Sonic X was one of 4Kids' most popular shows, largely because it's attached to one of the biggest names in pop culture. Even years after it ended, 4Kids would re-run this show constantly. Yet, despite being one of their biggest hits, I feel like its arguably by far, the worst dub in their catalog. At least with something like One Piece or Yu-Gi-Oh! I can laugh at their nonsensical changes and cheesy dialogue. Sonic X is a bad dub, like most of 4Kids' work, but it's not laughable or cheesy like their other shows. It's boring, repetitive, and plays itself way too straight. To me, that's worse than being unintentionally funny.
Most anime that get exported to western markets are boring, repetitive, and play themselves way too straight.
Sonic X also just so happened to only be popular in said western markets, eventually ramping up the cinematic demand and the online chatter of that demand pointing to this show's existence.

The main problem, is the writing. Even in a bad 4Kids dub, you can at least enjoy the cheesy puns and serious scenes made hilarious by bizarre lines or unfitting music. But most of the dialogue in Sonic X consists of drawn out exposition, and maybe a few quips. There's no wit, no self-awareness, no fun. Everything is played straight. It doesn't end there, the plot of every episode revolves around Sonic and his buddies stopping Eggman's robots, and finding the Chaos Emeralds. The problem is that many episodes end up just being long, drawn-out battles that feel like they take forever. I don't normally find this a problem in something like Shonen anime, since the fights tend to be multi-episode, thus help create tension and suspense, but a half-hour episode of Sonic X feels like an eternity. I know this is less a "4Kids" problem and more so just how the show is fundamentally written, but it's still an issue regardless.
Woop, there it is - the basis of your argument. This is not a 4Kids problem.
Personally, I tuned out when any fight was multi-episode because then it is more figuratively an eternity to end a battle.

Then there's the characters, who have virtually no character to speak of outside their single traits. 90% of the characters in Sonic X are, boring, one-dimensional, and half the time, I'm wondering what the hell they're even doing here. You've got Sonic, who in this incarnation, is so dry and lifeless as a character that you could replace him with a wooden brick, and feel just as attached. He mostly just naps at home, or screws around on his own. He never really feels like he's part of the crew, feeling so detached from everyone else that you might mistake him for just a side-character, yet he's the STAR of the show. His personality, is basically just a generic cocky hero with some lame quips. I know Sonic isn't the most complex character in media, but he at least had a more defined and layered personality in his other incarnations, he had flaws, interests, likes, dislikes, and other things that made him a more distinct character.
Such as?
When they changed the design for Sonic, this is precisely the personality I've come to known. He's far less of a goofball, he's still terrified of water, and I guess there's his favorite food.

You have Tales, the fix-it inventor, who's actual inventing talents are so rarely used, he's more or less sidelined for most of the series, until its time to bust out the X Tornado. Amy who despite having a giant Hammer, just stands around doing nothing, while gushing about Sonic. Knuckles who's just the generic rival, and Cream & Cheese who are useless, even by child character standards. And then there's Chris, who's not only a pathetic looser, but is also mostly useless, save for very few instances. He's only there to give the kiddies somebody to latch onto, because god forbid they try to get attached to any of the other cardboard boxes we're forced to follow.
Not a 4kids problem. Re-watching earlier episodes, Tails busts out the plane as frequently as the situation demands. It's a hammer. A lot of the characters from this other world don't have much to do in a foreign new world
beyond bouncing off their personality with another. The plots, for the most part are driven by Eggman or by the human characters.

Again, this is more of a core design problem, than a 4Kids problem, but I argue 4Kids makes it worse by not at the very least, taking more liberties with the script to give the characters a bit more development and depth. If anything, the 4Kids versions of these characters have even less personality than the Japanese version. That's a big problem, if I can't bring myself to care about these characters, then no matter what scenario you throw them in, it's always going to make a boring story. 4Kids, never really quite understood that flashy explosions, and merchandise shots are not why people watch animated series. Compelling characters, their relationships, and their journeys are why we watch them.
Drawing over some frames or changing a couple lines is way different from having them pull a Power Rangers.
How do the 4kids versions of these characters have even less personality than the Japanese versions?
The best way to understand what this show may have been going for is to think of Sonic & co. as more defined and developed Pokemon/Digimon. The popularity was possibly due to hitting that sweet spot between the toyetic and shonen.

They had just enough of the personalities, backstories, and inter-relationship material as the games made at the time, but synchronized to work for the first ever story involving Sonic & the rest of them being transported to the real world. To this day, Sonic X comes across as the best way to do it.

There's also the voice acting, which is typical 4Kids brand of either over the top haminess, ridiculous accents, or stilted delivery. Except here, these problems are magnified by the dry, wit-less script and bland writing. It feels sort of like a bad pre-school show at times. Sonic X was never that great of a show, but it's IMO the worst dub 4Kids has put out, specifically because of the lack of the kind of silly, bizarre fun that's usually in their dubs. I can still enjoy the days of Pokemon, and look back and laugh at the hack job of One Piece. But Sonic X is neither endearingly cheesy, or So Bad, It's Good. It's just, bad and boring, and that to me is worse than being bad and funny.
In conclusion, in your opinion, Sonic X is a bad show because 4Kids didn't "dub" it enough.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TheJLeeTeam

Spotlight

Sponsored Ads

Staff online

Who's on Discord?

Latest profile posts

I decided to cancel my Boomerang subscription. The App didn't have a feature to save shows to watch later, it felt bare bones, and not really worth the price. I just hope more of the content would move over to HBO Max.
Happy anniversary to Rugrats, Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show, which premiered on Nickelodeon 29 years ago today!
Look guys! Another reboot:

...and it is going to be a drama?



Just like with San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago, New York Comic Con will be virtual this year. It's from October 8-11.