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Sonic the Hedgehog is a Vtuber now

But can he play his own game?

it’s a 3D animated sonic model Image: Official Sonic Japan/Twitter
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Sonic the Hedgehog is celebrating his 30th birthday in the most delightful of ways — by getting into Vtubing.

On Thursday, Sonic’s official Japanese Twitter account posted a video of a Vtuber model that brings a 3D version of the classic character to life. In the video, we see Sonic talking and smiling, as he says, “Hey guys!” at the start of the video. The gimmick is part of an ongoing celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

Vtubers (short for virtual YouTuber) are content creators who stream using a 3D model in lieu of their actual face. Vtubers take a variety of forms, from 3D anime girls to cute otters; there’s really no limit to what you can be, so it follows that would now include a lovable blue hedgehog.

The Sonic in the video is voiced by Jun’ichi Kanemaru, who has been the Japanese-language voice of Sonic in video games since 1998’s Sonic Adventure, as well as in movies and TV show, like Ralph Breaks the Internet and Sonic Boom. Kanemaru’s participation in the stream makes it seem like this will be a special event, rather than a regular thing where Sonic becomes a bona fide streamer.

Sega has already thrown a wide variety of programming at fans since the 30th anniversary celebration kicked off this week. There will be an interactive livestream where viewers can control a modified version of the original Sonic the Hedgehog game via chat and do things like create platforms in the game, and on Wednesday, fans were treated to a symphonic performance of classic songs from the games.

Beyond events, Sega is commemorating the anniversary with a new game projects like a Sonic Colors remaster, a retro collection that includes Sonic 3 and Knuckles, and Sonic and friends’ debut in Minecraft. Next year, there will be a new 3D Sonic game and a new animated series coming to Netflix.

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