The Sonic Second: Fang’s Family
Fang the Sniper, sometimes known as Nack the Weasel in the West, is one of my favourite Sonic characters. Long before Sega spammed us with a bunch of purple cats and recoloured hedgehogs, when the addition of a new character with each new game wasn’t yet routine and uninteresting, I remember being excited for Sonic Triple Trouble‘s release and Fang’s introduction.
Remember, this was an era before the relative disappointments of Knuckles Chaotix and Sonic 3D Blast, when Sonic & Knuckles was the hottest thing and the Sonic series had done – could do – no wrong.
One of the cool things about Fang’s character design is that he’s unmistakably a Sonic character, but he still has a unique shape to him, just like the previous major additions to the cast, Tails and Knuckles. This is something Sega has since failed to do reliably, with many of the new characters from Sonic Adventure 2 onward seeming like minor variations on a template.
It turns out that some little info is known about “Touma”, the man who designed Fang. In an interview at Artoyz.com (now only available as an archived version), he reveals that he worked for Sega and created Fang:
When I was in school, I was very interested in Sonic the Hedgehog, which was the game character made by SEGA.
I went in for [an] interview at SEGA, and I was hired by them.
I worked in many departments, but the longest spell was in the Sonic Team, I was working under the man who designed Sonic. I learnt many things from him.
At SEGA, I made many games such as [the] Sonic series, Nights, Burning Rangers, Eternal Arcadia, etc. I worked there [for] 10 years, and [in] 2002, I became [a] freelance Figure Artist.
My first character at SEGA was “Fang the Sniper”. He is a member of the Sonic Family.
Many of Touma’s figurine designs can be seen at Trampt.com, and a few of them share more than a passing similarity with Fang.
Considering the ones that bear the strongest resemblance are called “Fang Wolf”, this is certainly not a coincidence! The purple colour, the flaring muzzle shape, and even the shiny blue nose. Fang may not have been in a Sonic game for a while, but his conspecifics seem to be making a healthy living in their own little niche.
It’s fun to see these odd little toys and find one more corner of the world that’s been part of the Sonic series. Even if I might have a hard time getting their unsettling grins out of my mind when I close my eyes to sleep tonight….