If your Twitter feed is at all video games or character art adjacent, there’s a pretty high probability you’ve seen art of Sonic the Hedgehog characters walking into various stores and emerging decked out in accessories that embody both the character and the store they entered. The Sonic the Hedgehog fandom has never been a stranger to extremely specific trends and themes. Part of that is because of just how large its following is, but the all-ages series has also been a pillar of a lot of fans lives at multiple points of their development. So it’s pretty common to see the blue blur and all his friends as part of some wild fan art. But Sonic characters walking into a store and leaving glammed up is a relatively tame, wholesome trend. And it all started with a drawing of Shadow the Hedgehog walking into a Claire’s.
Shadow the hedgehog walking into claire’s pic.twitter.com/Y8TQlGTVrd
— ama ???? otakon & tekko ????????❤️???? (@Amasc0met) April 29, 2022
Ama, or @Amasc0met on Twitter, tells Fanbyte they drew the Ultimate Life Form headed into Claire’s without any specific inspiration. Though, they say Shadow’s characterization in the Sonic Twitter Takeovers may have played a part in conception of the idea. These are Twitter Q&A’s where voice actors from the series answer questions sent in by fans, and are often silly, memey, and based in the banter between actors. So even as Sega has done some heinous things to Shadow the Hedgehog in recent years, these takeovers have given fans a chance to see him in a sillier light. Ama says this is why they chose to give Shadow some cute accessories in their follow-up drawing, such as heart-shaped glasses, rainbow bracelets, and a little backpack. All of which are real merchandise available at Claire’s.
“I think the real answer is a lot of us had really edgy phases where we were broody but still liked super cute things,” Ama says. “I like interpreting Shadow being the same way. All the items are real things at Claire’s. There’s a rainbow backpack covered in like emeralds or diamonds. It felt perfect.”
Update: shadow the hedgehog has emerged from the claire’s pic.twitter.com/bzqBhy09wa
— ama ???? otakon & tekko ????????❤️???? (@Amasc0met) April 30, 2022
While the final product of Shadow’s shopping spree was posted a little over a day later, a lot happened between the setup and the punchline. Ama’s art went viral, and spawned a new trend in the Sonic fandom. Ama hadn’t intended to draw Shadow in everything he bought at Claire’s for all of Twitter to see, and was planning to “draw him in a cute lil outfit just for [them] personally,” but the reaction prompted the follow-up.
“I was already in shock when it hit 1k, I’ll be real with you,” Ama says. “As soon as it hit 10k and just kept going my jaw was on the floor. I’ve had couple art pieces blow up quite a bit but nothing like this. And then seeing more people draw their faves walking into whatever store I was ecstatic.”
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As of this writing, Ama’s drawings of Shadow have both reached over 20k retweets. And if its impact wasn’t already quantified by the numbers, it’s shown in all the interpretations people have been posting since the first piece went viral on Friday, April 29.
vector the crocodile walking into crocs pic.twitter.com/iUNTFMxR7U
— tou♡ (@touronjart) May 2, 2022
Sonic and his friends walk into Baskin Robbins 31 pic.twitter.com/KSsaDcXinI
— ????이사 워쇼스키???? (@isa_for_you) May 2, 2022
Update: Blaze the Cat has emerged from macy's pic.twitter.com/qOIj35UVmC
— Nana (ARTFIGHT 2022- TEAM WITHER) (@NanaDoesArt) May 2, 2022
E-123 Omega approaches GameStop. pic.twitter.com/I5ygVOZ1DB
— CryoGX (@CryoGX) May 1, 2022
“This was just a silly little self indulgent thing I did and then to see more people participating in it was absolutely wild to me,” Ama says. “I love it. I’m still in shock that this all even happened its such a dumb little thing. I just really enjoy seeing people have fun.”
As for why Ama didn’t draw Shadow at Hot Topic, where fans likely would have expected the brooding, angsty hedgehog to be buying some band t-shirts and a spiked belt, the explanation was fairly simple: “For those who wonder why he didn’t go to Hot Topic, he’s banned.”