A bizarre, completely decontextualized statue of Sonic the Hedgehog riding a snowboard up in the Japanese countryside has been fully restored, by forces just as unknown as the ones who put it there in the first place.
It’s the kind of chuckle-inducing news development perfectly suited to memes, Japanese pop culture, and Sonic the Hedgehog himself. In 2015, some motorcycling YouTubers happened across the larger-than-life statue, which is in the Mie prefecture’s hill country, about 90 minutes east of Osaka. The statue lacks any marking, plaque, or explanation for what Sonic’s doing and why he’s there. Subsequent Internet sleuthing discovered someone had found and photographed the statue as far back as 2009.
The Sonic statue became a kind of ironic pilgrimage site, despite its deteriorating condition. Sometime between 2009 and 2015, Sonic’s nose was busted off, and more than a decade of mountain weather dulled his finish and left mud and dirt all over his luxurious blue mane.
Not any more! Ta-daaaaa!
伊賀市高尾のソニックが綺麗になった‼️#伊賀市 #ソニック pic.twitter.com/249lXls8WV— さがら (@sagara7791) August 10, 2020
(That translates as “Sonic in Takao, Iga City, has become beautiful!!”)
See for yourself here:
We’ve pinged a Sega representative to ask if they’d like to claim responsibility for buffing Sonic to a satin finish, plus giving him back his beak. That said, we’re not sure if the person we contacted knows anything about this at all, much less whether their company was involved. So it could be a while before we hear back.
Meantime, here’s another video to peruse. TheGamingBeaver back in February did a comprehensive, in-person exploration of the snowboarding Sonic shrine. The renewed interest in the statue may have led to the mysterious benefactors’ restoration efforts.
Update: TheGamingBeaver, in the video above, found a report from a Japanese TV station just as curious about the statue’s origins. Apparently, the statue originated at SegaWorld, and was sold at auction after it was remodeled. The buyer lives up a dirt road behind the statue, and the report says he placed it there as a landmark to direct guests to his driveway. Still no idea if the owner, a Mr. Kadeo, is behind the restoration, or if some other larger (marketing?) force played a role.