|“||Maria... I still remember what I promised you: For the people of this planet... I promise you... REVENGE!||„|
| ~ Shadow the Hedgehog in Sonic Adventure 2.|
|“||If the world chooses to become my enemy... I will fight like I always have!||„|
| ~ Shadow confronting Mephiles.|
Shadow the Hedgehog is a major character in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series and other adaptations.
He appears as the main antagonist of Sonic Adventure 2, an anti-hero in Sonic Heroes, the titular main protagonist of Shadow the Hedgehog, the deuteragonist of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), a supporting character in both Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations and the teteragonist of Sonic Forces as well as the main protagonist of the DLC pack Episode Shadow. Additionally a Replica of him also serves as a minor antagonist in Sonic Forces and an alternate reality version of him appears as a heroic antagonist in Sonic & The Black Knight.
Although he is Sonic's arch-rival, Shadow is not truly villainous, as he is mostly considered an anti-hero mostly due to how he has saved Sonic's life on multiple occasions despite their rivalry, has sacrificed himself to save others multiple times and ultimately sets out to do good for humanity and protect the world in the end. However, at times, tragedies have occurred that have led him to commit villainous acts, either for revenge or to find his purpose.
Shadow was created as the "Ultimate Life Form" by the late Gerald Robotnik, using the DNA of Black Doom, and is the final result of Project Shadow. His purpose was to provide ways of developing cures for deadly illnesses that had no cures, namely for NIDS (Neuro-Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) a terminal disease Gerald's granddaughter Maria Robotnik, whom Shadow was very close to suffered from, but he was captured and put into stasis by the military when he was deemed a threat to humanity. Shadow's last moments with Maria are of her saying "sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog", and then being shot and killed immediately after.
50 years later, Shadow was released by Dr. Eggman to help him conquer the world. Initially, Shadow sought to destroy Earth to avenge his late cousin Maria, who had been killed by the military, but was persuaded to help save it from Gerald's doomsday plans. In the process, Shadow lost his memories and he sought to uncover his past, which brought him into contact with the Black Arms. Ultimately, Shadow thwarted Black Doom and saved the world. From there, Shadow continued his mission to protect humanity by becoming a special agent of G.U.N. (Guardian United Nations).
He was voiced by David Humphrey (from 2001-2004), Jason Griffith (from 2005-2010 as well as in Sonic X, who also voiced Jet the Hawk in the same time frame), and Kirk Thornton (from 2010-present as well as in Sonic Boom, also doing the voice of Orbot and who also voiced Tactimon) in the English versions. In the Japanese versions he was voiced by Kōji Yusa.
Powers and Abilities
The basic physical traits and abilities between Shadow and Sonic are virtually identical. As such, Shadow possesses many of the same skills and abilities as Sonic does, along with greater raw power than Sonic, making Shadow one of the most powerful characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
- Superhuman Strength: Although he is not nearly as strong as Power characters like Knuckles the Echidna, Shadow is quite physically strong. With effort, he is capable of overturning large objects, such as trucks, buses and large slabs of concrete.
- Superhuman Speed: Like most other characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Shadow is able to run at super speeds. With his Hover Shoes, Shadow can hover-skate at supersonic speeds, even nearing that of hypersonic speeds, and is fast enough to nearly equal the speeds that Sonic can run at, making him one of the fastest characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. While most games place Sonic and Shadow as equals in speed, character profiles in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) and Sonic Rivals claim that Sonic is faster. Also, in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Shadow personally admitted that he was not faster than Sonic. While it is unknown how fast Shadow actually is without using his Hover Shoes, it has been hinted that Shadow can still move at speeds rivaling that of Sonic's, but he simply prefers not to.
- Superhuman Agility: Shadow is highly acrobatic, agile and an experienced athlete, capable of gracefully leaping over many obstacles that comes in his way and performing various forms of nimble movements. He has as well radical reaction time to match his movements, being able to react to danger within a split second.
- Superhuman Durability: Shadow possesses incredibly high physical durability and is capable of surviving things that would normally be fatal to others, even by the standards of other superhuman creatures, making him nearly indestructible. As seen in Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow is completely bulletproof while becoming Dark Shadow, as he brushed off all the gun shots from G.U.N. soldiers as if they were not even there. He can also take a lot of major punishment in battle before he starts to wear down. The most prominent testament to Shadow's durability was during Sonic Adventure 2, where Shadow fell down to Earth and through re-entry in the atmosphere and still survived long enough for one of Dr. Eggman's robots to rescue him. However, he did still receive some injury, as evidenced by the amnesia he got from his fall towards the Earth. Even after receiving major damage, Shadow displays a remarkably fast recovery rate, allowing him to quickly re-enter a battle after just a few moments.
- Inhibitor Rings: As shown in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Shadow is able to release tremendous amounts of energy if he takes off the rings that are on his wrists. This gives Shadow a drastic increase in overall power, reaching the point where he can plow through what appears to be hundreds of perfect copies of Mephiles the Dark, who can be regarded as one of the more powerful foes in the series. While most of the media state that Shadow's increase in power through this method comes at the expense of reducing his stamina, causing him to become exhausted after its use, Shadow has shown no sign of fatigue in the videogame series when restoring to this method.
- Immortality: Being the end-product of Project Shadow, which was meant to create an immortal life-form, Shadow is immortal and does not physically age. Also, given that Project Shadow was partially to develop cures for various kinds of illnesses, Shadow may be completely immune to diseases. Because he also possesses Black Doom's blood, Shadow is also immune to the paralysis nerve gas that was being leaked upon the Black Comet's descent onto Earth.
Shadow is naturally able to tap into the arcane powers of any nearby Chaos Emeralds and utilize their Chaos Energy to empower himself and use a wide variety of Chaos Powers, such as Chaos Control, Chaos Spear, and Chaos Blast. Shadow can specifically harness both positive and negative Chaos Energy, depending on his state of mind. Shadow's trademark move and most frequently used Chaos Power is Chaos Control: this technique can warp space and time around him to his will - such as slowing down time or teleporting various distances. Shadow is perhaps the most adept user of Chaos Control in the series, since he makes the most extensive use of it and can be considered a master of this technique; he can shape Chaos Control into a variety of offensive and defensive attacks, and can even use it delicately enough to distort space in small centralized areas, such as around his fists, or use it to heal himself. It is currently unknown as to what extent Shadow can specifically use Chaos Control, as he has never been seen using it on another object without warping himself along with it, but it has been shown that he can warp objects and people with him, such as transporting the Black Comet off of Earth. Aside from its final usage in Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow has used Chaos Control with three Emeralds at most, using Chaos Control to save Rouge from Prison Island. As described in Shadow the Hedgehog, all of Shadow's Chaos powers increase in power with the number of Chaos Emeralds he possesses.
Weaponry and Vehicle Skills
In Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow has shown that he can also skillfully use a wide range of firearms, semi-automatics, heavy assault, and close-combat weapons. He can also improvise with debris, and drive a wide range of vehicles, as shown in Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic Riders and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
In combat, Shadow is a fierce, dangerous, and extremely powerful force that few can defeat directly. He also never holds back on his immense strength, making him a powerful, brutal and deadly fighter with a distinct killer instinct. Shadow's skills are more than a match for even the strongest characters in the series, and has been able to take down some of the most fearsome foes seen in the Sonic the Hedgehog series on his own, such as Black Doom. To best put his skills in perspective, as seen in some of the scenarios in Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow is the only person so far who has been able to utterly defeat Sonic in combat.
Shadow's fighting style focuses on direct, brutal, unrestrained and powerful hand-to-hand combat. In line with his nature and potent abilities, Shadow has adopted a fighting style where he fights his opponents using powerful blows, such as karate chops, swift punches and roundhouse kicks, to which of his attacks have a significant amount of force behind them. With the speeds Shadow can move at, he can disable the opponent through the force of his blows alone, while leaving them at the mercy of his incoming attacks.
Shadow's fighting style revolves around making heavy use of his Chaos Powers, especially Chaos Control and Chaos Spear. Using Chaos Control, Shadow can teleport up in front or behind his opponents in battle to launch surprise attacks. Also, Shadow can use Chaos Control to increase the damage he deals to his opponent when striking them, often resulting in significant forces being released and blowing the opponent a certain distance away. To give himself the advantage over his opponents, Shadow will use powerful Chaos attacks involving Chaos Energy, such as energy bolts or even intense explosions.
Like Sonic and Silver, by harnessing the power of the seven Chaos Emeralds, Shadow is able to use super transformation to enter a Super State that transforms him into Super Shadow. In this form, he is bestowed with the new abilities of flight and near invulnerability. Additionally, his innate talents such as strength, and power are greatly enhanced as well and his skills with Chaos Powers are increased to their full limit. During his first use of this transformation, Shadow found it difficult to stay in this state due to his inexperience with it, but he has since mastered it in Shadow The Hedgehog.
Shadow is simply a reclusive and antisocial loner. He is rarely seen with others for an extended period of time, and distances himself from essentially everyone. He is usually persuasive and soft-spoken, as he only says what he needs to before a fight. If Shadow makes a threat, he has every intention of carrying it out. Shadow constantly refers to himself as the Ultimate Lifeform, and is extremely arrogant, egotistical, and self-absorbed, belittling his opponents and insulting their lack of strength. Shadow also has a ruthless and cruel edge in combat that all other characters in the series lack, and displays a natural "killer instinct". At times, Shadow is the most violent and merciless character in the series.
Shadow's infamous ruthlessness and aggression leads to fear and a nervousness that inhibits characters from his unshakable intent or sheer power in combat. Numerous characters from the Sonic series have shown absolute dread from encountering Shadow. Shadow's enemies never treat him lightly; he is one of the very few people Sonic takes seriously and acts hostile towards.
Alongside his dark and destructive demeanor, Shadow can be smug, stubborn, and complacent. He treats others in a very callous and insensitive manner, throwing in his opinion no matter how cold-hearted it is and not caring for whatever the response is. He is also consistently serious and thoughtful, even when not on a mission and he has no regard for silliness. On occasion, Shadow shows some degree of mental instability, and signs of PTSD. This is proven by his frequent hallucinations about Maria's face and his numerous threatening speeches. In most games Shadow is featured in, he pursues his foes with disturbing determination. The canon ending of Shadow the Hedgehog showed Shadow willing to destroy anything in his way to get to Black Doom.
Shadow does have his fully good side however, demonstrated by his undying love and loyalty to Maria Robotnik, his care for others such as his best friend Rouge the Bat and his close companion E123-Omega and his respect for those he deems as worthy opponents such as Dr. Eggman as well as his rival Sonic who he demonstrates some amount of care for and has even saved from certain death.
Despite Shadow being considered neutral in terms of alignment, he is considered an anti-hero by the most part with his overall motivation, which is dedicating his life to protecting mankind. He has also been selfless and altruistic, such as nearly giving his life at the end of Sonic Adventure 2 to save Earth. Regardless, Shadow is still neutral, because he does whatever is necessary to get what he wants.
- Throw it All away (Sonic Adventure 2)
- All Hail Shadow (Sonic the Hedgehog (2006))
- Shadow claims that Sonic was a faker since they both look alike (despite Sonic's quills being blue and Shadow's black quills with crimson markings), even for speed types since Sonic Adventure 2 and other games.
- The look and feel of Shadow's character was based on movie franchises such as Underworld, Constantine, and The Terminator.
- In the Sonic Boom cartoon, Eggman breaks the 4th wall stating that Shadow is "the second most popular character in the whole canon".
- In ScrewAttack's DEATH BATTLE, Shadow fought against Vegeta but he lost when the Chaos Emeralds stopped holding him in Super Shadow, allowing Vegeta to vaporize him.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the game incorrectly states Shadow's first appearance was in Sonic Heroes when he first appeared in Sonic Adventure 2. This was corrected in Super Smash Bros. 4.
- In early development for Sonic Adventure 2 Shadow was originally named Terios the Hedgehog and had a much stronger resemblance to Sonic than he did in his final design as Shadow. It's unknown why this was changed.