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Aging Errors


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Well, this is a bit of an interesting topic. 

Age is a fairly important thing in writing, as it plays a big role in a character's identity. The way someone acts will be influenced by how odl they are, as well their level of experience and in some cases, their intelligence.

That said, Sonic material tends to use it very, very badly. For a cast who are mostly in their teens, most of the characters act like they're in their mid-twenties. Amy, Cream, and Charmy manage to pull off their ages reasonably well, but that's about it. This is likely because the ages were stated by SEGA of Japan, to fit in with the standard animesque teen heroes/free-range children.

In the comics, this makes a bit more sense, as the characters were forced to grow up fast, but it's so rarely a plot-point that the most use it has seen is girls telling Tails he's not old enough to date them. Seriously. 

There are a lot of characters that have a screwed-up age that could be discussed. I could talk about what a mess the continuities have made of Tails' age, I could explain how I think Eggman should be in his fifties, etc. However, because she's the topic of the day in the Reworking Characters thread, and I said I'd cover her issues in this regard there... I'm talking about Fiona Fox first.

The issue here is quite simple once you give it a bit of thought: Fiona is a bit of a chronological impossibility. And why is that? Because of Auto-Fiona.

Auto's origin reveals a lot more about Fiona's age than you might think. We can see from her appearances that Auto was identical to FIona herself as a child. This means that Fiona would have to be the same age at the time of construction. THe robot looks about ten, but depending on whether she is tall or short for her age, she could be eightish or twelve-ish. But for simplicity's sake, we'll say ten. I've seen people say that she was older when the robot was built, but the robot was built by a factory machine, not personally designed, and is far too close to Fiona's actual form to be coincidental.

Here's where things get confusing: Auto was built for a single purpose: To lure Tails into a roboticizer. This means that she could only have been built once Tails became an active Freedom Fighter and a notable target for Robotnik, and considering that he was ten at the start of the series, this would logically make them the same age. 

You could attempt to explain that she was built earlier, but if there's one weakness that Robotnik definitely has, it's a lack of foresight. He would likely not have put any value on Tails until he was already a member of the FF, moreover, he likely would not have even noticed Tails until that point. You could also say that he built her to capture other young Freedom Fighters, but then there's the detail of where Auto-Fiona's parts came from: Auto-Sally.

Because Mike Gallagher, who wrote the "Growing Pains" two-parter, initially had no plans for there to be real Fiona, he stated that the robot was built largely from parts salvaged from Auto-Sally, the main antagonist of the Princess Sally miniseries, who was shoved into a roboticizer in Issue 3 and destroyed by an energy overload. This would set Auto's construction after Auto-Sally's destruction, and no earlier. 

This means that Fiona has to be about the same age as Tails... But then Ken Penders and his wanton disregard for continuity happened and he decided she was older, closer to Sonic's age. So, at best, she'd be three years older than Tails, and two years younger than Sonic, setting her at a believable 14 by the time of her regular appearance in the main comic. Until Ian decided she was a generic sixteen, of course. 


This is an interesting case, where the character's origin story, and the origin story of another character, explicitly contradict material later in the series. You can call it a retcon (I prefer to call it writers not caring), but then the backstories need some hefty rewrites, and that leads to even more continuity being edited, along with completely removing one of Robotnik's most important weaknesses. So, can we make this story work?




Fiona's history gives us two possible explanations for the discrepancy between her given age and the age that her backstory would imply.


1) Experimentation

Auto's existence alone means that Fiona was used for at least one of Robotnik's experiments, in this case, the Auto-Automaton program. It is possible she was a semi-regular lab-rat for him. One of his experiments may have been a device designed to modify the age of the subject, since the existence of the prison camps alone means that Robotnik considered children not worth Roboticizing. Perhaps he wanted to use this machine to increase the age of the prisoners, clearing them for Roboticization. FOr extra irony, he could've been inspired to do this by the riot that Fiona played a part in starting, realising that he couldn't keep the children locked up. "Experiments" could also be used to explain her unnatural strength and agility that she displayed post-heel turn.


2) Magic stuff

Fiona spent her youth as a treasure hunter, working with Nic the Weasel. Given how many ancient artefacts have rare, mystical properties, something that Fiona was exposed to during this period could've caused her to grow at an accelerated rate momentarily. 


I prefer the first explanation, of course, but in any case, these are just my ways to line up the two contradictory stories and make them work. In this case, like Amy, Fiona would be similar in age to Tails, with an older body granted by other means.


So, what other errors can you find in the ages of the Sonic cast, how would you change them, or what would you suggest for it? DO you have your own explanations for the mess explained above? Maybe you think there's a clearer fix, or a detail I've missed?  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow I have never noticed that, I didn't even come up with that conclusion before nor did I think about that, great job Arcan! Either through Experiments or Magic if that is the case, then that just puts not only Scourge but Sonic in a worse light, because going out with someone whose actual age is much younger then their biological age is completely messed up if she's younger then 14, either way it's pretty icky.

Ages in the Sonic Series are a major ire when it comes to logical story telling as we can't seem to have a narrative flow make any sense but still keep them looking the same age Officially. Which is a habit that needs to be broken, granted the only two series that solved this problem are Sonic The Comic and Sonic Boom, as they never stated their characters by ages other then being vague about them, for example Tails is younger then Sonic, but that doesn't mean he's a kid. Honestly I would like to see them all grow and get older so they can grow and we see those characters grow, Sonic Boom Sonic would grow much differently then say Sega Sonic for example. However with this being Sega they can't apparently have that unfortunately.

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The first Sonic game gave Sonic an age of 16.  Being 16 is seen as the start of adulthood in many circles, so Sonic could technically have been considered a young adult by some.  I believe Sega, however, wanted Sonic to fit into an older teen age to make him look cool in front of kids during the early 90's.  Since then, Sonic's age has changed from 16 to 15, and the rest of the game cast (besides Robotnik) had their ages fit around Sonic's.  Satam and Archie did have a better explanation with the overthrow of Mobius in their youth, but everybody is right how their ages never seemed to have changed.  In Sonic Generations, Sonic had a birthday, but most likely he will remain the same age in every game. 

I do agree with you, ToaArcan; Sonic and the others tend to act older than what they really are.  Back in history, many teenagers would have been considered adults and have gained adult responsibilities; why is Sonic and the gang any different?  People tend to mature at different rates, but usually by the time you are 16, you have grown from adolescent to the beginning of adulthood.  At 16, we are not kids anymore.  I could drive at 16.  I could work at 16.  I could easily rough up any adult at 16.  I could understand basic concepts any other adult can understand at 16.  By the time I was 16, I have viewed myself as a man, and while I still had school and lived with my parents, I could still take on responsibilities that any adult could be entitled to.  Why is it a big deal that Sonic and the gang are still teens?  Teenagers learn to become adults, but they are also at the stage where many opportunities are given to them.

As for the relationships, well...I never got that far in the comics.  I can see your point clearly when it comes to dealing with characters below the 14 age limit...

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