LEGAL: All Sonichu material are copyrighted March, 2000-2006 by, Christian W. Chandler.
#3 continues the author’s efforts to rush out the various ideas introduced at the end of Episode 1 in
#0. Since then we’ve been introduced to Naitsirhc, the Jerkops, Black Sonichu, Mary Lee Walsh, and the Chris-chan/Saramah/Wes-li trio. The only outstanding pieces of business are
the Chaotic Combo
, the five hedgehogs who will serve as Sonichu and Rosechu’s supporting cast and peer group; and
Flame the Sunbird
, a forgettable associate of the Combo that rarely appears after this issue.
The dilemma Mr. Chandler seems to have encountered is that he foreshadowed so many concepts in
#0 that, by the time he gets around to them, he begins to lose interest. Whereas
#2 was completed in a matter of days,
#3 was begun on June 2005 with this cover, and not completed until February 2006. By that point Chris had completed most (if not all) of the new material in
#4. This suggests that over the course of 2005 the author grew bored with the chore of introducing the Chaotic Combo, while becoming more engrossed in the new stories he was dreaming up. This pattern appears again in
#8-10–Chris announced a number of events in those issues, and then struggled to complete them as he became more interested in doing other ideas instead.
This cover encapsulates his conflict between fulfilling old promises and moving on to new concepts, as the Chaotic Combo and Flame are juxtaposed with Darkbind Sonichu, pictured in the upper-left inset. At this point there is little to draw attention to Darkbind (and indeed until ten minutes ago I had always assumed that was Magi-chan), so we’ll look at him more closely when we get to Sub-episode 4 at the end of this issue.
It will be a while before the Combo is fully united, so now is as good a time as any to briefly introduce them. Starting on the left we have Punchy (an overt plagiarism of Knuckles the Echidna), an expert martial artist who allegedly enjoys humorous free-association banter–this may account for the odd, stifled-giggle expression on his face. Bubbles has little personality beyond her aquatic nature and amphibious superpowers. Wild has perhaps the most dimension of any of these characters, though none of it will be introduced until late in the series. Angelica is about as bland as Bubbles, although I am continuously fascinated that she is a stereotypical Christian zealot in a comic written
an ostensible Christian zealot. Finally on the right is Magi-chan, whose constipated frown hints at the unwritten subtext that he is the forever put-upon telepathic go-fer of the heroes of Cwcville.
Sonichu #3, inside cover
All Sonichu Material is Copyrighted March, 2000-2005 by.
Christian Weston Chandler.
*Any names, or persons, illustrated in any of the Sonichu Comics, except that of
Christian Weston Chandler
, that may seem similar to anyone in real life, are purely coincidental, or otherwise parodic.*
This is the standard legal disclaimer
Sonichu #3, page 1
TITLE: Episode 10: Sonichu Babies
NARRATION: Once upon a time, a powered-up hedgehog collided with a Pikachu, and a rainbow of Chaos Emerald energy stretched for miles across the land. From this rainbow, five mysterious eggs flew from it to locations around the region. Mysterious beams of light also shone from the rainbow, but that’s another story or two. Anyway, one egg landed in a jungle, and it was found by a mother Venusaur and a father Scyther. Another egg landed by a beach, found by a mother Swampert. Another egg landed softly at a church stoop; it was found by a couple of nuns. ANother egg landed in a dojo occupied by young and old warriors. And the last egg landed in the mountains by its lonesome. See now how these eggs hatched and grew.
FOOTNOTE: *See premiere issue #0 for Sonichu’s origin.
CHRISTIAN WESTON CHANDLER: Cute intro, huh? Just so you know, here are the original Sonee and Rosey; Sonichu and Rosechu babies
SONEE AND ROSEY: Goo-goo.
A child of the 1980s and early 1990s, Mr. Chandler is no stranger to the pop culture phenomenon of reintroducing beloved casts of characters as infants or children. The concept dates back as long ago as 1956’s
, although it truly metastasized with
, giving rise to such mindless treacle as
A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
. The trope continues well into the 21st century with
Baby Looney Tunes
(2008). It is unsurprising, then, that the author came up with the idea of “Sonichu Babies” almost as soon as he came up with “Sonichu.”
However, Chandler no sooner presents the concept than he runs afoul of its inherent dilemma. This is best displayed in 1984’s
The Muppets Take Manhattan
, where the Muppet Babies must be introduced via Miss Piggy’s purely imaginary notion of what childhood would have been like if she had grown up with the other Muppets. "Piggy’s Lament,“ as we may characterize this paradox, is that the Muppets canonically
grow up together, and yet that same canon backstory which makes the idea unworkable is also what makes the it so appealing in the first place. This is to say that a program like
The Flintstone Kids
can hardly operate under the weight of prior
continuity, but can no more easily repudiate its
–why anybody want to watch
The Flintstone Kids
if it wasn’t based upon
, Piggy’s Lament is that we cannot see Sonichu and Rosechu as infants because they were created, like Adam and Eve, fully grown. Still, the author cannot help but share his notion of what these characters would have looked like in their imaginary childhood. The designs slightly resemble Pichu, the Pokemon species that evolves into Pikachu and Raichu, upon which Sonichu and Rosechu are partly based.
What is notable about Sonee and Rosey is that Mr. Chandler does not directly imitate any particular style of caricature, and frees himself to envision these creatures with his own imagination. As a result, Sonee and Rosey take virtually no inspiration from the
Sonic the Hedgehog
characters and therefore bear little resemblance to their adult counterparts. Since they do not have to be giant-headed, spindly-bodied freaks, Chandler can make them more cute. However, he goes too far in this effort, making them nauseatingly adorable with their chubby torsos, fingerless paws, and puffy faces. Foreshadowing his trademark speed, Sonee wears large sneakers that barely fit on his stubby legs. Rosey wears what looks like the torn shreds of Rosechu’s dress, gathered around her ankles as if she has recently survived a sexual assault.
The opening narration recalls the events in the beginning of
#0. The hedgehog is Sonic, "powered-up” in his Super Sonic form by the Chaos Emeralds. The Pikachu he collided with was transformed into Sonichu by the Emeralds’ power, producing the rainbow that terminated 15 miles away on a Raichu that became Rosechu. The five eggs created by the rainbow contain the future members of the Chaotic Combo; their fates are examined in this story. Each egg is drawn with speckles (resembling those of the egg Yoshi hatches from in
Super Mario World
) and a crudely rendered lightning bolt indicating the electric-hedgehog Pokemon within.
Although the author asserts that five eggs were created by the rainbow, he would establish in
#8 that other eggs were also produced, to account any other electric-hedgehog Pokemon without a stated origin. By the end of the series Mr. Chandler would introduce at least nine more characters presumed to originate from the rainbow. He would probably argue that parody characters that he featured in issue #10 (such as Asperchu and Simonchu) were created in the same way. Implicit in this premise is that the eggs are being sent backward in time, so that the hatchlings will be about the same age as Sonichu–the author would later establish that these five eggs all alight on February 2, 1989.
The remark about “mysterious beams of light” emanating from the rainbow appears to have gone unresolved. Chris has suggested that the rainbow created the seven Sonichu Balls (first seen in issue #6), but there’s no evidence that this is an allusion to that. In fact, in his
re-reading of this page
for the Sonichu videobooks, he makes mention of the “seven Sonichu crystals” (so re-named to avoid testicle jokes), and then reads the line about the beams of light as though it is a separate occurrence.
Chris’s casual, conversational tone at the bottom of the page sets up his role throughout episode 10 as the “intrusive director” of the series, who breaks the fourth wall to act as both an actor within the story and to offer witty commentary about it as a work of fiction. This concept was borrowed from Excel Saga, as we’ll examine later. Although Chris has appeared in this capacity before, episode 10 is the peak of his intrusiveness, before he becomes the central character of the series outright.
Sonichu #3, page 2
TITLE: Wild Sonichu
MOTHER VENUSAUR: Venu!
SFX: *tap* *tap*
FATHER SCYTHER: Scyther… Scyth?!!
WILD SONICHU: Sonee!
MOTHER VENUSAUR: Venu!
MOTHER VENUSAUR: Venusaur
WILD SONICHU: Sonee? Sonee, sonee!
CAPTION: *Vine whip*
WILD SONICHU: Sonee!!
WILD SONICHU: Nee…
MOTHER VENUSAUR: Venu? Venusaur.
FATHER SCYTHER: Scy…ther…
FATHER SCYTHER: Scythe!
WILD SONICHU: Sonee…
WILD SONICHU: Sonee!
WILD SONICHU: Sonee!
FATHER SCYTHER: (off-panel) Scyther!
FATHER SCYTHER: Scyther, scyth, scy, scyth, scyth, scyther!
WILD SONICHU: Sonee…
Here we can see what makes epsiode 10 one of the most arduous installments in the series. This single page contains twenty-one panels, each crammed into such a small area that the action they depict is almost impossible to discern. You can’t read this page, you have to scrutinize it for any of the information the author intended to convey. Much of the first 11 pages of Sonichu #3 are like this, as Mr. Chandler seems determined to devote no more than two pages to each of these characters.
This page highlights the author’s difficulty in conveying a character’s emotions and motivations with body language, facial expression, and layouts. Since Scyther, Venusaur, and the juvenile Wild Sonichu cannot speak English, there is no way for Mr. Chandler to compensate for his artistic shortcomings with copious explanatory dialogue. (As if in recognition of this, Chris uses a large number of the smiley faces which occasionally appear in his speech bubbles.)
Since I had to listen to Chandler’s
to understand what’s going on, it might be easiest if I present what I think the characters might say if the author had translated:
MOTHER VENUSAUR: Look, that egg is falling out of a tree in the jungle where we live. Good thing I just caught it with Vine Whip!
FATHER SCYTHER: It doesn’t look like any of the fourteen known Pokemon egg groups…wait, I think it’s about to hatch!
WILD SONICHU: I am a Sonee and I am very gwateful that you gave me the birth!
MOTHER VENUSAUR: Oh my, a new species of Pokemon! We’ve always wanted a baby, but we could not have children since I am Grass-type and you are Bug/Flying-type! Let’s adopt him! Oh! He must be hungry!
MOTHER VENUSAUR: Here is the coconut I got for you with my Vine Whip
WILD SONICHU: How’d you do that? Mommy, I want to twy that!
WILD SONICHU: I did it! Vines like Mommy’s came out of my arms! Yay!!
WILD SONICHU: Oh no, the coconut fell to the gwound and bwoke into two halves…I am depwessed and in need of comfort…
MOTHER VENUSAUR: Why are you crying, honey? Don’t worry, Mommy will make you feel better with a great big hug.
FATHER SCYTHER: Son…today I will teach you ninja skills with my swift blades…get away from that tree, I’m cuttin’ it down right now…
FATHER SCYTHER: Hauagggh!!!
WILD SONICHU: Yay Daddy! Let me twy…
WILD SONICHU: Hauagggh!!!
WILD SONICHU: My Wazor Leaf just bounced off the twee! It wasn’t super effective at all! Darn it, darn it, darn it, darn it! I am soo ticked off now!
Listen to me! Listen to me!
What’re you doin’? Do you realize? Do you realize, you have much to learn, so go work on it!
WILD SONICHU: I’m workin’ on it…
Interestingly, the author has apparently forgotten to fill in a speech bubble on panel 10, attributed to Wild when he hugs the Venusaur. Only a small heart is there to indicate what he would be saying, which would presumably be “Sonee sonee sonee” or similar gibberish.
If you are unversed in Pokemon as I am, you may be surprised to learn what Scyther and Venusaur actually look like, since their full forms are only hinted at in this mess of a page.
is an insectoid creature about the size of a human, and
vaguely resembles a giant tortoise that is as large as a car. (One can only speculate why these creatures couples, unless the sex is
.) Venusaur’s vines, which I had previously mistaken for limbs, had led me to believe that it was a thin, wispy creature not unlike
; only tiny panel 10 gives any hint to its true shape.
Wild’s emotional fits on this page oddly foreshadow later developments for the character. In
#8 the author suddenly reveals that Wild was part of a clan of Pokemon seeking revenge against a “Charmelon cult,” and that Wild himself has sworn revenge against poachers who captured his adoptive father.
#9 sees Wild find love with Simonla Rosechu, and in issue #10 Mr. Chandler makes sure this romance is as tragic as possible before he is forced to remove Simonla from the series. The end result is that Wild is one of the more volatile and complex characters in the series, haunted by losses no one else would ever suffer in this pastel hedgehog world.
Sonichu #3, page 3
WILD SONICHU: Oh, yeah, here we go! Whoo-hoo!
WILD SONICHU: I’m a hedgehog, not a spider-monkey!
Time for some coco-soup.
WILD SONICHU: You think tha’s something, I can use my leafy tail as a propeller, and I can run real quick. I also blend in with any tree to get my jump! I rule this jungle!
This collage of random images is meant to present the following ideas:
One day, after achieving some unknown milestone in his development, the green Sonee evolved into a Sonichu, effectively reaching maturity.
The Sonichu now has the ability to use his Vine Whip attack to snare tree limbs and swing on them like Indiana Jones. Like Tarzan, Wild uses this as his primary mode of transportation in the jungle.
He has by now honed the skills he was taught on the previous page, and can easily retrieve coconuts with Vine Whip and slice apart trees with Razor Leaf.
He has other abilities which he needlessly explains directly to the reader.
It is implied that by this point Wild is on his own; the fate of his father is explained in
#8, but that of his mother is never revealed. The origin of Wild’s name (that is, who began calling him that, and for what reason) is unclear, since the other Pokemon in this jungle would be incapable of saying it. The term “wild” has a special meaning in the Pokemon franchise, referring to the animals which do not have trainers and live freely; in this sense, the character is very literally a “wild Sonichu.” However, at this point Wild does not even know what species he is–he will not meet others of his kind, or even hear the name “Sonichu” until episode 11.
“I’m a hedgehog, not a spider-monkey” presumably alludes to Spider-Man, who shoots lines of webbing from wrist-mounted devices by which to swing, just as Wild shoots vines from cavities in his forearms. By contrast, a spider monkey simply swings from its own limbs and tail, which are unusually long to accommodate this purpose. In effect, Wild is behaving like neither a hedgehog nor a spider-monkey.
The line about “coco-soup” would make at least some sense if Wild had used his powers to obtain the coconut and slice it open to make a “bowl” of coconut milk. Instead he makes no effort to open the coconut and randomly cuts the tree to ribbons for no apparent purpose.
Wild’s ability to camouflage himself to blend in with his surroundings is reminiscent of the popular belief that chameleons can quickly change their pigmentation to look like whatever is behind them and become effectively invisible. When Wild uses this power in issue #8, he credits a “passing Porygon” with teaching him the technique.
Sonichu #3, page 4
TITLE: Bubbles Rosechu
MOTHER SWAMPERT: Swampert?
BUBBLES ROSECHU: Rosey!
MOTHER SWAMPERT: Swamp.
BUBBLES ROSECHU: Sey! Sey!
SFX: *pop* *pop*
CAPTION: One day…
BUBBLES ROSECHU: Rosey? Rosey…rose!
Wasting no time, the author immediately moves on to the origins of Bubbles Rosechu, whose egg sank into the open ocean and was rescued by a Swampert. (As the Swampert is barely visible on this or the next page, I did
and determined that it evolves from
.) As Swampert can live both on land and at sea, the Rosey develops an affinity for swimming and playing in the water. As we see on panel 11, young Bubbles earned her name from her fascination with making bubbles on the surface of the water (please supply your own flatulence joke).
As Mr. Chandler has allotted himself very little room to tell Bubbles’s coming-of-age story, he lurhces directly into the next plot point, in which the mother Swampert is injured and Bubbles must find the strength to save her. How does he set up this dilemma, you may ask? Simple! One day a
randomly breaches above Bubbles and the Swampert, carrying an enormous rock with it; as inexplicably as the Wailord brought the rock with him, he releases it right over Swampert’s head, stunning the poor creature. That makes sense…right?
The Wailord went on to gain popularity among Sonichu “fans” after this story was covered by the Sonichu Audiobooks. The narrator, unaware that the cetacean is a Pokemon,
panel 13 like so: “…a whale leaps over them and drops a boulder on the Swampert’s head.” At this point an annotation appears on the video imploring the whale to “KILL OFF ALL THE CHARACTERS.” Since then the name “Boulder-Dropping Whale” has become permanently attached to this “character,” (just as malicious intent has been assigned to its actions on this page) who is lauded for its brief, arbitrary, illogical, and violent role in the
mythos. Along with numerous other minor and discarded Sonichu characters (such as Bill the Scientist), Boulder-Dropping Whale was featured in the short-lived webcomic
As a final thought, I find Bubbles’s eyes on panel 12 particularly disturbing. I believe she is watching you masturbate.