It’s the modern Sonic characters and games that kicked off “and his shitty friends.” That’s the point when Sonic Team left behind the beautiful and stylish aesthetic and design of the Genesis games and went with the cringe shit we got starting with Adventure. But I will say one thing- the dumb designs of modern Sonic somehow appeal to a large age group, roughly between 13-25, socially challenged and also heavily into anime stuff. That’s when the series lost me. Mania picked me back up but I feel like Sonic is two completely different franchises now- classic and modern. As a Sonic fan there’s nothing redeeming to me about the modern series, especially the shitty friends.