Since 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog has become one of the most popular iconic franchises alongside a certain red capped plumber from the 80’s. From video games to live-action movies the blue blur has become unstoppable, and while that hasn’t always been the case (due to the franchise taking somewhat of a “Dark Ages” turn), it seems like the World’s Fastest Hedgehog is getting his mojo back! Like Sonic there have been other fan-favorite characters who also got their shine through the 31-year run of this franchise; one character in particular just happens to be Sonic’s first ever rival. He hails from Angel Island and is the guardian of the Master Emerald; and packs one helluva punch. He doesn’t chuckle…cuz’ he’s Knuckles.
Since the dawn of animation, main supporting characters (or reoccurring side characters) have always held the same amount of spotlight and screen time as the main MC. With Sonic however, there are some characters who have become just as much as a fan favorite as the blue hedgehog himself. Knuckles is no exception; when he made his debut in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 in 1994, it was going to be the birth of a mainstay that given rise to the many memes that follow suit. He’s different in terms of how he carries himself compared to Sonic; from his responsibilities, to how he sees the world, to how he treats his friends and foes. If he’s been rolling with the punches since 1994, how did red get so rad?
Part 1: Who is Knuckles?
Throughout the years Knuckles has gone through a variety of changes to his character, so for this one, we’re gonna focus mainly on his gaming character; as this is the most authentic version of Knuckles there is. Like the lyrics from “Unknown From M.E.”, Knuckles was born on Angel Island and the blood of his clan flows inside him; the Knuckles Clan. Being the clan’s last living descendant he was placed in charge of protecting the Master Emerald; the ‘father’ of the chaos emeralds that contains the power to neutralize their energies if needed. Because of his secluded upbringing Knuckles is a loner by nature and isn’t dependent on anyone, and is devoted to keeping the Master Emerald safe at all costs. However when times are at their worst Knuckles will leave his post to help Sonic and friends out when confronting powerful foes. Also, he’s quite fond of grapes. 🙂
Part 2: Personality, Skills, & Knuckles!
Right off the bat; Knuckles is a hot-blooded and wild echidna who’s independence grew from his secluded upbringing. He’s not like Sonic at all and does have a personality like the wind, rather Knuckles is more like a mountain; stern, unmoveable, and anchored to his duties. He doesn’t read into other people’s opinions and is rather antisocial and reclusive; which in turn makes him blunt, straight-forward, and seemingly a jerk (as seen one of the episodes in Sonic X). Due to his independent nature, Knuckles likes to do things his way and can be quite stubborn and inflexible, but he’s also goal-oriented and determined which helps to balance out his stubbornness and inflexibility most of the time. Also because of his paranoia of someone trying to steal the Master Emerald from him, Knuckles is prone to acting recklessly without regard to strategy or logic (as seen during traveling to the Space Colony ARK).
On the other hand, Knuckles has also become quite the devoted hero; putting his life on the line to save others just like Sonic. He’s not as quick to forgive the most evil of enemies, but he has been known to give others a second chance if they’re serious about it. When it comes to women, he’s a shy guy, and when it comes to industrialized places and crowded areas, he’s a recluse. When it comes to fighting however, Knuckles is a master at martial arts and if Sonic’s power lies in his speed, then Knuckles’ power lies in his strength. His punches are powerful enough to go through boulders, bend steel, cause small explosions (as seen in Sonic Battle), and can run at breakneck speeds in order to create afterimages of himself (as seen in Sonic X). He can glide through the air thanks to his flowing dreadlock-like quills and can climb walls thanks to the spikes on his fists. Knuckles is also able to sense energy from the Master Emerald, chaos emeralds, and any other aura-giving treasures that happen to be anywhere in his vicinity.
Also much like Sonic, Knuckles can use the Spin-Dash and Spin Jump, and can tap into the power of the chaos emeralds and Master Emerald to transform into Super Knuckles. (Also Hyper Knuckles if he has all seven super emeralds.) Though not the smartest echidna in the world, Knuckles is well-versed in ancient cultures, languages, and ruins (as seen in Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity). He can also drive a car, pilot a spaceship, lead a resistance, and compete in the Olympics.
Part 3: The Legacy & Knuckles
Knuckles has become a fan favorite over the years, and has changed a lot since his 1994 debut. His rough and tough attitude and independent nature made him different from Sonic’s free-spirited outlook, and though their ideals have caused them to clash every now and then, Knuckles sees Sonic as a trusted friend and ally. As the years passed Knuckles’ character has gone through various changes; one of which depicts him as a brainless jock who eats napkins and one-ups Amy about feminism (as seen in Sonic Boom). Sure, meme culture may have diluted his character in both hilarious and sad ways, but when Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (the 2022 movie) came out, Knuckles returned to his former character’s glory. He was once again the badass warrior we remember him to be, and even introduced a new element to his origin story.
To put it simply; Knuckles the Echidna is the guardian of the Master Emerald who will do whatever it takes to protect it, and while he may not share the same care-free nature that Sonic has, he has become a reliable friend and an heroic figure. He’s powerful enough to take on the toughest of foes without rest, and can use the power of the chaos emeralds and Master Emerald to power himself up. He’s not very confident around women and hates it when Rouge messes with him, and is capable of many other things besides fighting. There are many people that have seen a little of themselves inside of Knuckles and understand that in the prime of his time, this is who he was. Who knows what the future will hold for this echidna, but one thing’s for sure, he’s Knuckles…and he doesn’t chuckle!
That will do it for this One-2-One & Knuckles, so until next post, stay nerdy my friends! 😉