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In the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, Roboticizer refers to a device that transforms living organisms into metal ones through a process known as Roboticization. It was invented by Sir Charles Hedgehog and was stolen by Doctor Robotnik. Jules Hedgehog is the first roboticized Mobian.
Though the concept originated as a plot point in select Western territories (North America is believed to be the country of origin, with other Westerners adopting it and altering its definition), being applied to the Megadrive/Genesis/GameGear video games, based upon observations made regarding their content from these Western perspectives, Roboticizer as a term has never really come to be seriously, globally used, as the concept is only held as significant, even today, by a portion of Sonic fanatics. It is explained in the video games and Japanese merchandise of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, that Doctor Robotnik was simply kidnapping animal friends to be power sources for his badniks, with the animal simply being trapped within a mecha, rather than undergoing physiological change. Additionally, Roboticizers haven't been featured in Sonic the Comic either, as the comic's ethos was to work from, and expand upon, the Japanese intention of the animals being considered organic batteries. There have been very few video games in the series which have ever actually support the validity of the concept. To officially note, the idea of a Roboticizer has been referred to only once in Japanese canon, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.
Sonic the Hedgehog CD
In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Doctor Eggman has invented floating devices simply called Eggman's machines (エッグマンのマシン Egguman no mashin?) following his arriving to the Little Planet. His plan is to accumulate the flower seeds of Little Planet to use them as main power source for his badniks instead of his traditional method of kidnapping animals. These machines are basically grey and black colored plates with red details. Eggman's machines are seen generating and creating badniks all the time on the one place. One part of the doctor's plan is also to set his numerous machines only to be active at the past timeline of Little Planet's locations.
In Sonic CD, each of the two first Zones of every round has Eggman's machine being set, sometimes even being hidden. Normally the player will find Eggman's machines normally as broken and overqualified devices in the present or bad future timeline of the Zone. If the player goes to the past timeline of the Zone, he will find Eggman machine generating and creating new badniks. The player is able to break them easily by Spin Jumping into them, which gives 1500 points to the player and machine gets destroyed. From this point, if the player travels to the future during that zone, the zone will be in a good future appearance and upon clearing the zone, the player has created a good future for the overall zone. When the player does this in both two zones of the round, the player will be able to complete the round's third zone in the good future (and thus creating a good future for that zone). Destroying all of Eggman's machines from all rounds is another way to get the good ending in the game instead of collecting Time Stones from the game's Special Stages.
In Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, the main factory called simply The Machine is the part of large Veg-O-Fortress, where all animal friends are seen turning into badniks. The third arena in the game is known to have prison chamber for animals in the middle of the pinball arena, which are able to break and freeing animals inside them. However the machine itself at the end of arena, more better known as Veg-O Machine is large device, that has two tubes on upper corners, which are seen sending animals inside the machine. These animals are then seen turning into badniks, that will eventually pop out the bottom hatch of the machine.
In the end of The Machine, the player has to destroy Veg-O Machine by breaking both two tubes first, which gives a change for animals to fly away. After this, the player can then destroy Veg-O Machine from inside by entering the bottom hatch. Sonic is then seeing bouncing around in the Veg-O Machine, that after for while, gets destroyed for good, thus clearing the third pinball arena.
Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood
While never appeared in the game, the Roboticizer has been referred one time during Chapter 3 of Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, when Tails mentions animal seemed to be "roboticized" after defeating a group of Robodillos in Mystic Ruins. Later after defeating another Robodillo group, Tails finds a box from the robot leader's head, that he provides a conclusion as the box being a thing, that turned animals into robots.
Sonic Lost World
While Sonic Lost World still had the concept of Organic Batteries for badniks, Roboticization was somehow shared along side it. When the Deadly Six, lead by Zavok, learned about Eggman's method of making robots, they decide to take extreme measures by catching Sonic and roboticize him. Although Tails saved Sonic from the Egg Capsule trap, the Zeti took advantage of it, and plan to roboticize the two-tailed fox. However, while their backs were turned, Tails used his tail to reprogram the system to keep his free will while being roboticized. While never mentioned in game, it's possible that it was actually used within the story.
Appearances in Other Media
Sonic the Hedgehog (TV series)
In SatAM, the device was originally created by Sir Charles Hedgehog with the intention of allowing the elderly to live longer. However, he was forced to abandon the project when test subjects began losing their free will. It was stolen by Dr. Robotnik, then known as Julian, Minister of War for the Acorn Kingdom of Mobius. Robotnik used the device to maintain his grip of terror over the planet, and in a moment of irony, Sir Charles was roboticized by his own creation. According to the Archie continuity, Sir Charles was also responsible for the roboticization of Sonic's father, Jules, and that Sir Charles had created the roboticizer so that the victims of the Great War (a conflict between the Mobians and the Overlanders) could be healed. This is why Jules, Sonic's father and Charles' younger brother, was the first to be roboticized by Charles as a test subject.
The roboticizer in Sonic Underground appears to function differently than its counterparts. Its background is never delved into and it can be assumed that Robotnik was solely responsible for its creation. While the roboticizers of SatAM and Archie completely convert flesh into metal, the SU roboticizer only carries the process out on some of the body. The subjects therefore bear resemblance to cyborgs, although there are exceptions (e.g. Argus). Interestingly, they still speak in robotic voices even when their mouth remains organic.
According to the SatAM animated series, although the roboticizer robs its victims of their free will, people who have been put through the process maintain their overall awareness of everything that is going on around them. They simply aren't in control of their actions. The "slave mind" effect can be fought, however. Sonic was able to help his Uncle Chuck regain his free will on multiple occasions, most notably through the use of emotion; Sonic finally managed to use his Uncle's emotional attachments and loyalties against his programming. However, if a subject is still roboticized, he or she can be plugged into a device that renders them subservient even after they have regained their free will.
In Sonic Underground, free will can be temporarily given to robians via use of the hedgehogs' medallions, although it requires a lot of their energy. While the hedgehogs encountered a Freedom Fighter that had been roboticized but retained his free will due to a malfunction in the roboticization process, there have never been any examples of a subject actively achieving free will in the same way that Uncle Chuck did in SatAM.
The De-Roboticizer is a device that reverses the effects of Roboticization and was invented by Ceneca-9009. It would effectively render the Roboticizer useless. Unfortunately, the device suffers major drawbacks. In the Archie Comics, the De-Roboticizer models built on Mobius are unrefined, and also potentially lethal. In SatAM, the device's effects are only temporary, though they do allow the user to retain their free will. This happened in the case of Bunnie Rabbot and Sir Charles Hedgehog.
By far, the worst De-Roboticizer is found in Sonic Underground. In reality, the device is a fake, designed to scam money out of fearful aristocrats. The device supposedly restores people to normal, and can even serve to immunize them against Roboticization. Sadly, the device is a fraud, and Robotnik even made it into a Roboticizer to use on the Royal Hedgehogs as a trap. However, just as Sonia the Hedgehog was about to be roboticized, the inventor grew a conscience and pushed her out of the way, in the process getting himself roboticized.
The Robotizer is a device appearing in Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comics, which is similar to the Roboticizer but alien in origin. The Robotizer was created by the alien Bem and far predates the Roboticizer. The Robotizer has the ability to turn any flesh being into a robot equivalent, and any metal being into a flesh equivalent. It was created to turn the metallic alien Biotexans into flesh creatures, but this resulted in their death. As of Sonic the Hedgehog issue #123, every Robian (Roboticized Mobian) has been de-robotized with very few exceptions (such as Bunnie Rabbot and Sonic's father Jules, whose organic bodies would be unable to sustain themselves if they were de-robotized).
- The earliest Roboticizer seen in the Sonic cartoons, or at least a device that can turn living beings into robots, was in AoSTH episode #48 "Blackbot the Pirate". Robotnik used a ray gun called the Robot-Transmogrifier Ray on Blackbeard to turn him into a robot, and later roboticized a whale to eat Sonic and Tails.
- Roboticizer at Mobius Encyclopedia, the Archie Sonic wiki