What Do Japanese Fans Think of the Sonic Movie Trailer?

30 Comments

On April 30, 2019 (May 1 in Japan), Paramount Pictures released the first trailer of its live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie:

Six months earlier, the film’s teaser poster resulted in a lot of negative reactions from fans. This new trailer resulted in an even bigger fan backlash, enough for major news sites to cover the situation:

But a couple readers were curious – the Sonic series was originally created in Japan, so how was the trailer received there?

It appears a Japanese trailer was released here at about the same time as the English version. It’s basically just a much shorter version of the English trailer, with Japanese subtitles and narration added. Despite this localized trailer, it seems the longer English trailer got more attention in Japan.

Reactions from Japanese Fans

I’ve translated a bunch of random Japanese comments from YouTube, Twitter, and message boards and shared them below. But keep in mind that these are just a handful of comments and shouldn’t be considered representative of everyone everywhere. These are only for fun and for curiosity’s sake.

Most of the YouTube comments are from here and a bunch of other re-posts of the trailer by different Japanese channels. The other comments are from a wider variety of sources.

It’s Chinese Sonic!

that’s a monkey

He’s so hairy

This finally shows that American live-action adaptations suck too

Could we just cut out all of Sonic’s scenes and leave Jim Carrey’s in?

This is as creepy as real-life Anpan Man

sonic’s in a movie! I wonder how popular it’ll be btw my icon is sonic

His eyes aren’t ∞

This makes me realize just how amazing Pikachu is

Wait, Sonic’s supposed to be cool.

If I ran into this thing in a dark alley I’d definitely shoot it

A foreign fan did a revised design and it’s sooo much beter

GLOVES GLOVES GLOVES GLOVES GLOVES GLOVES GLOVES GLOVES GLOVES GLOVES

It’s not too late! Please change the design!

Why do foreigners have a sense of cuteness that’s so far apart from from Japanese people’s sense of cuteness, I wonder? I’m not saying that the Japanese sense is the right one, but if you’re going to turn a Japanese character into something live-action, I feel it’s kind of like “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

Anyone who thinks this is okay needs their eyes checked

Why’s he so fluffy? Do foreigners like fluffy stuff in movies? The Pokemon movie made them all fluffy too.

SroflOroflNroflIroflCrofl

I’m glad it’s Jim Carrey. I’m unhappy with the character design, but still, Sonic is getting a movie. That fact alone makes me happy!

Dragon Quest gets a movie, and Sonic too?! Video game movies are great.

He’s got that Sonic Adventure mouth I see

As long as the story and character personality are good, I don’t think I’ll mind. The Mario movie had me worried as a kid, after seeing Yoshi as a generic dinosaur, not to mention those Goombas… but once it was released it was pretty well received, you know?

Smash DLC confirmed

Why couldn’t they just keep him the way he looks originally?

I understand why people think the design sucks, but this sort of thing happens all the time with live-action versions of stuff

Let’s just make everything fluffy!

I’m genuinely looking forward to this! I haven’t been this excited by a trailer in a long time!

He stands like a Starman (from EarthBound)

I’m a Sonic fan, so I’m going to see it. Are another fans going to see it? For the dub, Junichi Kanemaru would be perfect.

Why is he wearing shoes but not gloves? That’s not the only problem, mind you

They’re gonna have Junichi Kanemaru be his dub voice, right? He’s the voice in the games

Isn’t Sonic supposed to be a hedgehog? Why does he have fur?

This is not cute

The more I watch this, the more I’m getting used to it. He looks wonky when he’s stopped, but Sonic hates standing still anyway. I’m really liking Eggman now too. I can’t wait to see this.

TERRIBLE. STOP IT.

He looks like a naked pervert with only sneakers on

Sanic

The hedgehog is all fluffy.

I guess they really wanted to copy Detective Pikachu.

Please don’t let this be a dark mark on Jim Carrey’s career

If Jim Carrey’s in it, I’m watching it lol

Anyone could tell you this is gross and creepy

This doesn’t seem right!

I kind of want to see it.

This smells just like the live-action Gundam and live-action Street Fighter

He’s kind of scary… His body’s totally wrong, and his face and stuff are 100% weird. Why are his eyes separated?

This feels as dumb as the live action Super Mario movie

It’s too bad about Sonic’s face, but I really like the (Japanese) narrator voice in the trailer. So it gets a pass lol

PLZ change Sonic’s design!!!

It feels like Sega has been cursed by something these past few years. Everything they get involved with fails.

If they’re gonna do a live action version of something, they should go with Rent a Hero or Dynamite Deka or Virtua Fighter or Zombie Revenge or Yakuza or Sakurai Taisen or something. Those last two could actually be really good.

It’ll still be better than Mario… maybe.

Hey! At least put Silver or Knuckles in!

Why? Why couldn’t they just use the same design he has in the game? Why did he end up like a crappy human-thing like this?

Not everything needs a live action version you know

Sonic’s design is mostly a disaster, but Dr. Eggman’s is horrible too

Seems fine to me. what’s the big deal? Why is everyone hating on it so much?

Eggman isn’t egg-like at all rofl

Bigger eyes and it’d be better

Live-action foreign stuff always ends up off-kilter

Jim Carrey. He’s the only good thing about this.

Foreign Sonic fans are also saying “who are you?”

I’m a fan and I do not want this

He’s actually kind of cool! I hope they’ll show off other character too!

The part with the missiles is just like JoJo’s “The World”

Aside from the character’s design, it seems pretty good for a live-action adaptation. Although the character design IS probably the most important thing.

wtf this is on the same level as Japanese live-action anime adaptations, or maybe even worse

I’ve seen worse live-action adaptations, so I can’t help but feel “could’ve been worse” when I see this

At last, America has fallen into the swamp of live action films

Sonic looks weird

Wait, is that Gangsta’s Paradise playing in the background? It’s like none of this is even targeted at children.

Prince Edward lol

First Pikachu gets a live-action movie, and now Sonic? At this rate, Mario could get one in a few years

Uhh, maybe this shouldn’t be made into a movie after all. A pixel art version would be way better than having a character design like this.

Please, Paramount Pictures… Don’t defile Sega’s main character.

Does the designer know that Sonic wears gloves? He’s wearing shoes here, so why not gloves?

WTF

This reeks of the Super Mario movie like crazy

Having Knuckles turned into a muscle man actually seems cute in comparison

Cute

I think it’s decent enough

It’s just a crazy person who’s convinced they’re Sonic

Sonic. You suck. Go away

It’s just like the horrific Dragon Ball Evolution all over again!!

CREEPY

Just keep doing the spin dash all the time, thanks

I’m reminded of the live-action Dragon Ball…

Don’t complain just ’cause you don’t like the way it looks. Just keep playing your games.

No Knuckles or Tails?

Is this Hollywood Sonic or bootleg Sonic?

What

Is this really going to be popular overseas?

How is this actually worse than Sonic costumes? Where did the giant shoes and giant gloves go?

What the heck?! Eggman isn’t an egg at all!


By coincidence, this Sonic trailer was released the same day that Japan’s new emperor took the throne:

It’s almost like they made a video for April Fools Day but didn’t make it in time, so they decided to release it on the first day of the Reiwa era

The first joke of the Reiwa era is the live-action Sonic movie LOL

You know they saved this for a first day of Reiwa joke lol

Redesign Announcement

A few days after the the intense online criticism, the film’s director announced plans to change Sonic’s design before the movie’s release:

Here were some Japanese responses to this new announcement:

Yeah he had a weird face

Please let it be a design that actually has heart to it

It’ll be hilarious if it barely changes it all

The director is at fault, so I feel bad for the staff who have to suffer as a result.

It’s gotta be a living hell for the staff working on this.

I wonder if Sega just gave the okay to use the character and went hands-off after that. I can’t see how they’d ever give this design the OK.

Who even approved that design anyway?

I’m relieved to hear they’re fixing his design

That’s good to hear

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to believe a simple trailer caused so much hoopla, but hopefully this was a helpful look at how some Japanese fans responded to the Sonic video. I haven’t followed the online criticism much myself, but I feel like these Japanese reactions aren’t much different from reactions elsewhere.

Anyway, hopefully this was entertaining and enlightening in some small way. And maybe it’ll be interesting to do this again once the movie is released!


If you liked this, you might like some other things I've looked at, like Japanese gamers' opinions of the CDi Zelda games and what Japanese fans think of the Leaked Pokémon Spaceworld Demo!

30 Comments
  1. “The Mario movie had me worried as a kid, after seeing Yoshi as a generic dinosaur, not to mention those Goombas… but once it was released it was pretty well received, you know?”

    The Japanese fans must have had a VERY different reaction to the mario movie than we did….

    Reply
    1. Honestly? I recognize the movie is deeply flawed and an absolutely TERRIBLE Mario adaptation, but I like it. I think it falls in the “so bad it’s good” category.

      “HE’S GOT A BOBOMB!”

      Reply
  2. You know what would be the best worst thing? If they decided Sonic should have the face from that hidden screen in Sonic CD.

    Reply
  3. I’m a little surprised that someone commented on Gangsta’s Paradise being . I know a lot of non-Japanese popular music is successful in Japan, but I’m not sure how well most Japanese people generally understand the lyrics. Why did the person who made that comment think that it wasn’t suitable for a children’s movie?

    Reply
    1. I’m not sure there’s any more context for that comment since it could’ve just been a Tweet or Youtube comment, so I assume they know the lyrics, since that’s the part of the song I’d specifically say is “not suitable for kids”. Maybe they’re a rap fan? Just know English pretty well, personally?

      Reply
  4. “If I ran into this thing in a dark alley I’d definitely shoot it”
    “He looks like a naked pervert with only sneakers on”
    “It’s just a crazy person who’s convinced they’re Sonic”

    These made my day.

    Reply
  5. The sentiments are similar to ours, more or less. It doesn’t look anything like a hedgehog, more like like a bleached blue bat fledgling.

    Reply
  6. Yes. Yes we DO like fluffy things.

    But in all seriousness, if I had to guess, the reason these cartoon characters get made “fluffy” is to make them feel more real and at home in a live-action movie. Super flat-looking cartoony characters can feel “off” if they’re dumped into a realistic world because they don’t feel like they belong in it. It draws attention to their cartooniness.

    Or at least, that how I interpret it.

    Reply
  7. I wonder how they reacted to the new Pokemon movie.

    I personally find the whole concept of Deadpool-as-Pikachu too awkward to even watch the film. And I happen to like the Deadpool movie.

    Reply
    1. I’m still messing with people by pointing out that Deadpool is the Green Lantern.

      You’re welcome.

      Reply
  8. Phantasia Knights

    I’m surprised Sanic is a thing in Japan as well.

    Personally Detective Pikachu has hit so many right buttons for me between that cute fluffy visual design, Ryan Reynolds, and not being this trailer that it is the first Pokemon movie in about 20 years I look forward to seeing. The only good thing about Sonic’s trailer is a return to 90s Jim Carrey, and i’m happy he has so many fans there too.

    I am entirely convinced with Gangsta’s Paradise that this movie was made from the start to be a parody of Sonic. Everything including the voice itself is completely off and not Sonic like at all. No American that claims to be familiar with Sonic games waould okay that so the director was lying about having played Sonic games before. The character design looks like if Chucky from the Child’s Play movies possessed a Sonic doll.

    Reply
  9. Huh, I guess sometimes it’s interesting just to see how relatively similar the reactions are to the west. Guess some nerd culture just happens regardless of region.
    That said, surprised that Jim Carrey is a big enough name to be mentioned by name, also surprised that apparently live action adaptions are just as much of a thing in Japan as over here (only really heard of Jojo and attack on titan), and that the Mario movie is remembered over there at all. And also how detective pikachu gets compared.

    Reply
  10. I know you’ve done articles like this before, but the specific subject matter of a trailer for an American movie based on a Japanese property reminded me of this: http://tokusatsunetwork.com/2017/03/japans-reaction-to-the-power-rangers-movie-trailers/

    Also, people talking about terrible live-action anime adaptations reminded me that the live-action Fullmetal Alchemist movie was a thing.

    Reply
    1. I totally forgot about the live-action FMA as well… I don’t like remembering it.
      I know it’s a popular series, but I have no idea what people are thinking when they make a live-action movie of a manga/anime, especially when you have to fit a bunch of exposition delivered throughout about half a SERIES into like, 2 hours or so.

      I also think it’s kind of weird to have an all-Japanese cast for a series where a significant amount of the main cast is “coded” white European.

      Reply
  11. “Why do foreigners have a sense of cuteness that’s so far apart from from Japanese people’s sense of cuteness, I wonder?”

    Babe, this is NOBODY’S idea of cuteness. (I didn’t think Sonic was meant to be a “cute” character anyway?)

    Also: “Do foreigners like fluffy stuff in movies? The Pokemon movie made them all fluffy too.”
    That just seems weird to me. I don’t know why Sonic is fluffy when he should have spines, but I’m pretty sure it’s just for the sake of realism: Pokemon like Pikachu are supposed to be furry, but you don’t normally draw them that way in an anime style because it would either not fit the art overall, or would be a pain to draw.

    Reply
    1. Sonic’s very much a cute character, so much that all the american art in the Genesis-era had to be changed from the original to be more aggressive and “cool” looking, lol.

      Reply
      1. He had big eyes and round features all, but he never struck me as a character that was “intentionally” cute. Like cuteness never seemed to be his main appeal like a character like Pikachu or Kirby. Tails was more of the “cute” Sonic character, Sonic was a bit sassy, what with the finger wagging and all.
        Plus, past the original series of 2D games, Sega really didn’t stick to a “cute” design for him, so it would be a bit unusual to expect him to be cute now, IMO.

        Reply
  12. Arandomshotinthedark

    Well it seems some things are universal-fans of Sonic, regardless of nationality, are mostly panning the live action movie. And speaking of live action, it seems live action movies based on games (and maybe anime/manga and others?) aren’t looked too well upon in Japan….wonder if those live action movies tend to do alright like how in the US live action movies based on games/animation/etc tend to generally do okay but a lot of people voice criticism of said movies.

    Also I am pleased Sanic is a thing in Japan!

    Reply
  13. I’m surprised they know the Sanic meme in Japan.
    Also, what the heck’s SroflOroflNroflIroflCrofl supposed to mean? They took rofl and added a bunch of extra random letters?

    Reply
    1. well, if you took out all the rofls, they’d spell SONIC. so i’m guessing it’s something like, they’re showing that they’re trying to say something but they just keep bursting out in laughter.

      Reply
      1. Oh, now i get it! I thought it was just a bunch of random letters in between the rotfl’s.

        Reply
        1. they’re probably saying something like ソwwwニwwwックwww in which the w’s are the way japanese people type “lol”

          Reply
  14. “Sakurai Taisen”? What’s that? A dating sim/strategy game starring Kirby and BoxBoy? I’d play it. Saying Dynamite Deka should have had a movie is funny since the first game was pretty much “Die Hard: The Beat’Em Up”. Dynamite Deka ended up localized as “Die Hard Arcade”.

    Reply
    1. Details seem a bit vague on which version is the “localized” one, actually. English wikipedia claims Sega already had the Die Hard license and made the game in order to make use of it, while Japanese wikipedia says the game was “made with Die Hard in mind, and then actually released as a Die Hard game outside Japan due to Sega being able to grab the license during development”.

      Reply
  15. One guy asked for a Dynamite Deka film and, well, there kinda already is one…

    Reply
  16. By the way, that link to Japan’s opinion on the CDi games actually leads back to this article.

    Reply
  17. Mega_Mario_Man

    It doesn’t matter whether you live in America or Japan; we can all bond over Jim Carrey being the best part of this movie.

    Reply
    1. No, because i’m legitimately upset that a washed up has-been who was never very good, is playing the same “wacky inflatable tube man” role he repeats in every bad movie he’s ever been in, and the fact that an Anti-Vaxxer like Jim is actually getting a career resurgence instead of being laughed out of the industry and remaining a relic of the past in which people had awful taste in overrated actors.

      P.S: And he’s just as bad in this.

      Reply

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