The Sonic the Hedgehog series has more characters than the games know what to do with them, which sucks on two levels. For one, it takes the story and gameplay away from the one and only character that should fucking matter -- Sonic the piss shitting Hedgehog! And second, the other characters are actually really cool. Their well designed, have personalities, and expand the Sonic mythos in their own neat little ways that are actually pretty engaging (ex. Chao, Emerl/Giziod, etc.)
I want to write about Blaze, who is one of my favorite Sonic characters, if not one of my favorite game characters period. Blaze is a princess from another dimension, making her debut in Sonic Rush on the Nintendo DS in 2005, which immediately put her high on the list of favorite Sonic characters because she was in a good game. Being the costar in a game that both fans and critics adore is a great way to get on everyone's good side, with the opposite of this being characters like Silver the Hedgehog who, thanks to debuting in Sonic 2006 -- and that game being what it was -- became the poster child for everything wrong with modern Sonic titles on top of him being a whiny, overpowered, mary sue brat. Blaze represented the good that can be salvaged from the franchise on top of herself being a confident, stoic, flawed in a non intrusive way, and most importantly, fun to play character.
It helped that when playing Rush, she didn't differ from Sonic. No Havok-flaunting physic powers, no cars, guns and damn fourth chaos emeralds. Blaze's gameplay is reminiscent of Sonic 3 and Knuckles, where you'd pick a character and they would play slightly different but the same; no shooting, treasure hunting nonsense in sight (no Hunnid-P neither, but I'll let it pass.)
Best of all, Blaze was her own character. She's one of those empowered female characters everyone likes so much now, whose role in life didn't revolve around the main male lead and had no romantic ties to anyone for no real (ignore what tumblr thinks. Silver x Blaze is the devil.) She had an agenda of her own -- retrieve the sol emeralds, stop Eggman Nega, and bring them back to her dimension. She and Sonic just crossed paths by accident, but she was still the hero of her own story.
And while we knew a little bit of her backstory, we didn't get the whole convoluted mess like we do with Shadow the Hedgehog. Nothing ruins a exotic, mysterious character more than when having their entire life story explained, especially in such a drawn out and haphazard way.
Not that any of it matters now. Sonic 2006 changed her backstory for no real reason, reducing her to Silver's sidekick and making her even more ineffectual than he was, and getting a terrible send off at the end of his story! Since then she hasn't been an impactful character in the main Sonic games; it's either somewhere in the background, or being apart of the roster in the Mario and Sonic at the Olympic games.
Oh well. There's always Archie.
Did I mention she's a purple kitty? That's always a plus.