There has been some debate over the original gender of the Sonic the Hedgehog character Miles “Tails” Prower. Tails first appeared alongside Sonic in the 1992 Sega Genesis game Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as his sidekick. However, some fans have theorized that Tails was originally intended to be female before being established as male.
There is no definitive proof that Tails was ever intended to be female in early concept stages. The character has been depicted as male in all official Sonic games, merchandising, and media since his introduction. While Tails’ high voice and sweet nature have led some to believe he was meant to be a girl early on, this likely reflects stereotypes rather than actual early plans for the character.
Origins of Tails
Tails was created by Yasushi Yamaguchi for Sonic the Hedgehog 2, designed to be Sonic’s loyal friend and sidekick. Yamaguchi reportedly based Tails’ name and two-tailed trait on the legendary kitsune (fox spirits) from Japanese folklore. Tails was also inspired by anime characters like Cream the Rabbit from the 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
From his first appearance in Sonic 2, Tails has been depicted as a highly intelligent young male fox with an aptitude for mechanics and tinkering. His character profile listed his gender as male in the Japanese manual for Sonic 2. Tails has remained Sonic’s faithful companion throughout the games, providing support and aerial transportation with his flying tail ability.
Origin of Female Tails Theory
There are a few key pieces of evidence some fans point to when suggesting Tails may have originally been intended as a female character:
- His high-pitched voice in early games sounded feminine to some players
- His sweet, gentle personality contrasts Sonic’s boldness in a classically gendered way
- His nickname “Tails” sounds feminine to some, especially in Japanese translation
- Early concept art showed Tails with eyelashes (a feminine trait)
As a result, some theorize these clues suggest Tails was first envisioned as female, then changed to male sometime in development. However, there are issues looking only at these details.
Assessing the Female Tails Theory
Here are some counterpoints to the theory that Tails was originally a female character:
- Tails has been male in all official games, cartoons, comics since his debut
- Japanese manual for Sonic 2 listed him as a male from the start
- Anime-style male characters often have soft voices and gentle personalities
- Early sound limitations necessitated high-pitched voices regardless of gender
- “Tails” nickname isn’t inherently feminine in Japanese translation
- Concept art is not definitive proof of intended gender
While the theory stems from some legitimately ambiguous early details, there’s simply no solid evidence that Tails was ever seriously intended to be female at any point in development. The far more likely explanation is that feminine stereotypes led some to an assumption that faded once Tails was firmly established as male in canon.
Statements from Official Sources
Though Sega has never directly addressed this theory, reviews of early concept and development materials have never produced evidence of a female Tails. Game creators have only ever referred to Tails with male pronouns or terminology in interviews over the years. Comments from official sources seem to reinforce that Tails was always intended to be male:
“[Tails] was designed to be Sonic’s loyal buddy who would provide an aerial advantage in gameplay.” – Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka
“I wanted Tails to be seen as kind of like a younger brother to Sonic.” – Co-creator Yasushi Yamaguchi
Quotes like these strongly suggest a male identity was part of Tails’ concept from the start.
While some ambiguity surrounded his identity early on, Tails has been clearly established as male for over 30 years at this point. He is portrayed as male in all Sonic media, referred to with male pronouns by other characters, and voiced by male actors. Whatever his origins, there’s little debate over Tails’ gender today.
In the end, the theory that Tails was originally intended as a female character stems largely from stereotypes and fuzzy memories rather than actual evidence. While early details allowed some speculative debate, officials sources and histories have reinforced that Sonic Team envisioned him as a male sidekick from the start. Tails has now long been an established male character across all Sonic the Hedgehog media and properties.
|Evidence For Female Tails
|Evidence Against Female Tails
This table summarizes the key points on both sides of the debate over whether Tails was originally intended to be female. While some early details fostered theories, definitive proof that Tails was ever seriously planned as a female character is lacking.