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“Gotta Go Fast” is a catchphrase commonly associated with a poorly drawn fan art illustration of Sonic the Hedgehog, the title character of the eponymous video game franchise developed by Sega. Originally submitted to the now-defunct Sonic Central fan site, this image and derivatives of it are sometimes known as Sanic. Since 2008, parodies of the original image have appeared on fan artist communities such as deviantART and Tumblr.
“Gotta Go Fast” is the title of the theme song from the English version of the Sonic the Hedgehog anime series, Sonic X, which aired from 2003 – 2006.
While the phrase had been used in more serious fan art since as early as 2004, became associated with a piece of poorly drawn fan art as early as 2008, when it was posted to the YouChew forums in a thread discussing the art available in the gallery on the now-defunct official fan site Sonic Central. It is unknown who originally drew it. On January 26th, a poster named Cortes shared the image in the thread, noting it was a repost. Other posters began quoting the image, commenting on the poor quality of the art.
Four months later, on April 22nd, 2008, deviantArt member ingridarcher submitted the earliest parody image (shown below), rendering the character Scout from the first-person shooter game Team Fortress 2 in a similar manner to the original Sonic drawing.
On April 11th, 2009, the original image was used on the Fanboys forums as the first post in a thread titled “The Hilariously Bad Art Thread,” generating more than 4,500 replies as of May 2013. Though the phrase had been used on 4chan since as early as May 2008, the earliest archived use of the image on the site was posted to /r9k/ (ROBOT 9000) board on August 4th, 2010. Also throughout 2010, fan art of the first image continued to appear on deviantART.
In October 2010, the drawing was posted to Tumblr for the first time after being submitted to the now-defunct Tumblr blog Fuck Yeah Terrible Art. Nearly a month later, on November 27th, a Facebook fanpage for the phrase was created, gaining more than 500 likes as of May 2013. On July 8th, 2011, the single topic blog Gotta Go Fanart was launched on Tumblr, featuring fan creations and drawings of characters parodying the original image. A second single topic blog, sanic-hedgehog was launched in July 2012.
Fan creations based on this Sonic art have been shared on Tumblr with the tag “#gotta go fast.” As of May 2013, there are more than 4,800 search results on deviantART for the phrase “Gotta Go Fast.” The phrase has also been used more than 1,400 times on Reddit, where it is used both in relation to Sonic content as well as other speedy objects, animals or people.