Book Review: Sonic The Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Art Book

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In 2012, I reviewed a book called The History of Sonic the Hedgehog. That was a 300-page hardcover published by Udon. So when I first saw this book, I wondered why there was a need for another book that covers the history of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Let’s just talk about the similarities first. You’re definitely going to see some duplication of artworks, such as the concept art and things like the game cover art. Since both books talk about the history, I felt some deja vu while reading the text, but Sonic’s history is interesting so I don’t really mind the refresher. There are of course new artworks and text that are not in Udon’s book.

By the way, the Udon book was published in 2013 and has gone out of print. So let’s talk about this new book now.

‘Sonic The Hedgehog 25th Anniversary Art Book’ is available in two editions, the standard and the limited edition.

For the limited edition, the book is housed in a box where the cover can lift off. There’s also a slipcase for the 248-page hardcover. A numbered print of a Sonic the Hedgehog concept art is included. The limited edition set is priced at USD $125 and the standard edition at USD $47.

This art book is huge. It measures around 11 by 12 inches. The hardcover has a dust jacket which you can remove to reveal the actual cover, which is just the title in a sea of yellow rings. That’s pretty cool. The binding, print quality and overall production quality are great.

Since this book celebrates the 25th anniversary of the game, the game titles featured are from the Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) to Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice (2016). Also mentioned, actually only briefly listed, are the scheduled Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017.

Keep in mind that this is an art book first, and history book second. It’s filled with lots of wonderful concept artworks, illustration, merchandise art, screenshots and also blown up pixel art of the characters and enemies from the games. There’s a good mixture of hand drawn sketches and coloured pieces and game stills. The pixel art from the early games still look really cool, and they are printed quite large in this book so for them to look right, you have to view them from far to see them as how you would when you first played the games decades ago. It’s quite impressive how essential chunky pixel blocks when arranged properly can create a character and actually give it life.

The text focuses specifically on Sonic’s history with some coverage on how related consoles have evolved. Over the years, the cast has increased in number, such as Tails, Knuckles, Dr. Ivo ‘Eggman’ Robotnik, Shadow, Amy Rose and many more. But they aren’t really mentioned much.

The artworks are presented in a chronological manner to the game releases. We get to read about the character design changes that happened to Sonic over the years and how the Sonic universe has evolved. One thing I wish was included was in depth writeup on the individual games. That was actually something I would love to read about. Instead, we have a summarised, but still lengthy, version of Sonic’s history.

To include everything about Sonic, the art and history of each game would probably require 500 pages and above, so it may not be practical.

Overall, it’s a terrific artbook for Sonic fans to add to their collection.

You can find the standard and limited edition books at
https://www.candb.com/en/artwork/2080/sonic-the-hedgehog-25th-anniversar...
https://www.candb.com/en/artwork/2076/sonic-the-hedgehog-25th-anniversar...

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