This is a new series where I talk about tropes in pairing fanfictions. In this article I write about "Shadamy" (Shadow x Amy) in the Sonic series, and how most of the stories get Shadow and Amy together in the same boring 3-part setup.
Shadamy (or ShadowXAmy) is a fanfiction pairing of Shadow and Amy Rose. This pairing is one of the big 3 ships you will often find Amy in, the others being Silvamy (Silver x Amy) and Sonamy (Sonic x Amy). Most people who write this pairing often use settings like high school AUs, or sometimes they just use the normal Sonic universe.
One of the great things about having been a Sonic fan for so long is that I've read lots and lots of fanfiction of it. While I definitely can't say I've read all there is to read of it (especially as more is written while I sit here and type this article), I have definitely read lots and lots of it. One thing that I've noticed with this ship in particular is that most fanfics follow the same 3-step guideline to getting Shadow and Amy together in a relationship. These are as follows:
A good deal of these Shadamy fics are just this basic pattern, with barely any fleshing out. Some fics are lucky enough to finish this 3-step program and still have enough momentum to carry on to a real story past that, but most simply finish those 3 steps and then end, with nothing more to say.
I will give fanfic writers some credit. There are less and less of these formulaic stories being written every day. However, this formula is still called upon a lot.
Just click on a random Shadamy story. There's probably around a 75% chance (if not higher) that you can boil it down to this. Even stories that seem to have Amy waking up to how blind she's been usually have an inciting incident along the lines of "Sonic stood her up again".
For an example of a story that follows the formula, I was able to find this story in a few minutes (there were others, but this one is clearer for description. Don't let the setup at the start fool you, it just establishes that Shadow and Amy are already in the café when Sonic and his date (she's never given a name) show up. The first thing of note is that Sonic is a dick to Amy- in this case, he's told her he's too busy to show up on their date so he can date Orange Hedgehog #29 behind her back. While the 2nd step isn't followed in its entirety- Shadow already knows where Amy is since he's been in the café since before Amy even got there- but either way, Shadow goes to Amy's house to comfort her. Finally, the 3rd step is seen to its conclusion, as Shadow admits he loves her, and she admits she loves him too.
For an example of a story that follows the formula to its conclusion while (kinda sorta) having more of an original story, I recommend the fic Who is Amy Rose?. It encapsulates the formulaic story as a flashback, and even adds somewhat to the formula. Amy is on the train, thinking about her past, which leads to the formula as a flashback. Sonic is a dick to Amy- in this case, having had a bad morning, he blows up at her when she bumps into him, making him drop his chili dog. Shadow finds Amy- or rather, she finds him, as in her blind run to get as far away from Sonic as possible, she runs over a tree root and Shadow catches her- and helps comfort her, as he gets her out of the situation and helps train her to be less of a damsel-in-distress type. They don't admit they love each-other in the POV of the story, but it's assumed to be so, since the author claims it is a Shadamy story.
And finally, for an example of one of these fics done right, we have to go to a fic that has since been deleted. Luckily, somebody was able to find it in their personal archive (thanks minimaul), so it's available for you to read. I've left out the author's name, so as to respect their privacy, but you can read the story here. It's called "Calm and Content", and it's a oneshot. It still follows the formula but it adds depth. For starters, Amy begins the story at a Chinese restaurant. Her fortune cookie says that "bad luck is coming [her] way", a warning she ignores. Yet, the next morning, she begins having bad luck. She sleeps in, she gets hit in the head with a random flying book, she slips on some random orange juice (?!), and she just doesn't have a good day. The story hints at the conclusion by having Shadow try to tell Amy that Sonic doesn't love her, only to have Amy stop thinking about it- because she got hit in the head with the aforementioned book. As she's heading to lunch, she overhears Sonic confessing his love to Sally- step 1 of our formula, as this counts as a dick move- and breaks down crying. One good thing the author does is prolonging the second step. By that, I mean that the author doesn't immediately have Shadow go find her, comfort her, and have them fall in love immediately. Instead, the author has Rouge tell Shadow (and Knuckles, but his involvement isn't the point) about the fortune cookie. Knuckles laughs it off, but Shadow doesn't. Shadow then has a flashback, revealing that a fortune cookie led to him meeting Amy in the first place, and establishing that he loves her (long before step 3 can begin!). He eventually finds her crying in the garden, and after a slightly awkward exchange in which Shadow keeps telling her not to... rub her eyes? She breaks down and tells Shadow everything. He helps her stop crying, and they head back to lunch. Knuckles starts a food fight by throwing a pie at Sonic (where'd the pie come from?) and they all get in trouble. Amy, after having spaghetti in her hair and- in case you forgot she's supposed to have bad luck that day- slipping on a banana peel, almost avoids trouble by leaving to clean up, but she gets in a fight with Fiona and gets detention anyways.
When the end of the day rolls around, detention turns out to be "helping set up prom". Rouge and Knuckles go set up tables, Shadow gets banners, and Amy is told to get ice out of the walk-in freezer. In a dramatic turn, Amy gets stuck in the walk-in freezer, as her friends look all around the school trying to find her. Eventually, because the story has to end eventually, Amy realizes she's been pulling a push door, and exits the freezer, fainting in Shadow's arms. Shadow takes her back home, he talks about how he almost punched Sonic for leading Amy on, and they confess their love for each other, drawing to an end what I consider to be the best Shadamy story out there. While it follows the formula, it does so in a new way that is refreshing and endearing.
I'm not sure how to end this article. When it all comes down to it, I doubt this trope will ever end. It's just an easy way to get to the good stuff; Amy is Sonic-obsessed, so obviously something needs to happen to make Amy stop thinking about Sonic so she can date Shadow. All 3 of these stories have their own merits- "Who is Amy Rose?" makes Amy a badass fighter who don't need no Sonic, "Calm and Content" adds an omniscient Chinese restaurant to give the characters plot-helping fortune cookies, and "Her Hero" has a new setting for the typical story. Ultimately, I guess you could call this a rant against the formula, but I don't hate the formula. I guess I just want to call attention to it, so everybody's on the same page about what it is and how pervasive it is.