Sonic Doing Judo Throws in Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: A Review

Unlike Sonic’s poor swimming, the hedgehog pulls off judo moves a little more convincingly in Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

I love judo. It’s a beautiful, powerful, difficult sport, with split-second timing and big, explosive moves. I’m also pretty awful at it — there are a couple of simple moves I’ve hit in competition before (my favorite is a drop seoi nage), but most of the time, if I’m asked to work on my judo, I just don’t have the confidence in my timing to pull off much of anything. Judo requires commitment! You have to throw your whole entire ass into your opponent’s front hip area to properly get a hip throw, and that means offering your back if you are slow, and that’s scary.

That focus on timing and precision, though, is what translates into the high-level judoka (like olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison here) who have successfully transitioned into MMA. It can be deadly, and positively gorgeous. 

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020’s version of judo is simplified, yes, but I kind of love it. It does actually get at judo’s feeling of tenuous, tricky timing and weight fluctuation via an appropriately slippery meter on-screen. It feels like a simplified fighting game, but one that maps to something my brain has at least a slim, fleeting grasp on, so I liked it immediately.

Of course, I’m playing this game as Sonic. Or a person in a Sonic outfit, but really, it’s Sonic. And just like the devs didn’t give Sonic a swim cap or bathing suit (or allow him to take his draggy-ass sneakers off!) in the swimming events, they don’t give Sonic the appropriate attire for judo either. Listen. You compete in judo in a gi. It’s a set of funky pj’s (what we call it in my gym) that allow you to get sleeve and lapel grips, with a belt (the color denotes your rank in the sport) that you can also use to grip. Without grips, it’s barely even judo. WHY DIDN’T THEY GIVE SONIC A GI?

Still, Sonic (me, the player, playing as Sonic) was much better at judo than swimming. At least there is some evidence of a grip on a clothing item here, and yes, I can imagine that if you actually had a very sturdily-constructed fursuit (or sturdy fur?), you probably could do some decent grips on it.

That doesn't mean it's all good. Sonic's wearing his sneakers on the mat, something that might get you killed in an actual dojo. Worse, this hedgehog is NOT being a very good sport, by competing in sneakers and very clearly kicking his opponent in the groin with his sneakers on as he completes this move.

sonic judo action shot

Poor form, Sonic. Poor form.