Essay: Useful Tails
Tails serves at least one function that probably no one notices.

It doesn't matter if you like him/the concept/whatever or if you don't, it's still useful for who you DO like. (presumably Sonic or you wouldn't be needing any essays on it) But to get to that function, we need to talk about Sonic.

The whole thing was generated by a conversation on HOW you discovered Sonic, and what drew you into it. Everyone has their different ways, different reasons for being a fan. But, most people can probably remember the one thing that made them sit up and go "Hmm, that looks cool, I think I'll look into that..." Even if the reason has changed now, the initial little spark still had to be there. What Was Mine?

There is just something about Sonic.
Nearly everyone who's seen a non-messed up artwork of him, or his games can agree. Sonic is not 'cutesy'. Sonic can be cute. But he's a success cause he's NOT. Always has a look...he has to be cocky. But he's no fool. He hasn't got a smile mostly; it's a smirk. He has to look like something

"That could be dangerous"

and "That isn't all good". Sonic was revolutionary because he was not some 'funny animal' or bizzarre concept that people could be friendly to, and give to babies.

But people always try to cutsie-fy stuff, especially animals. Mostly the culprits are grownups in advertising or marketing. Trying to go for younger and younger audiences to buy things, but erasing any of the sharp edge off it in the process. "Safe for all ages" generally appeals to very FEW people of any age.

Look what happened to the (TMNT) turtles. Ther PERMENENT image is corney cutsie cartoon because of what happened. If you ever saw an original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, you could see that they were like real ninjas. Yes, they liked to have a good time, but it wasn't appropriate for 4 year olds.

But in steps Tails to save the day. Tails was a really great move by Sonic Team, even though they had no clue at the time. Probably still don't, but all that matters is that it's -working-.

Tails was this sheild/buffer guy (they probably didn't even mean him to be) but as long as HE was cute, Sonic escaped. You want cute+Sega? Slap Tails all over something and you're set.

"Tails absorbs cute."

He didn't need to be badazz because Sonic so was. Sonic's coolness and edgy-ness were safe, as long as innocent Tails was around to take the "marketing cuteness".

It must look something like this!
What if you didn't like that? What if you did? That's fine, no main console game ever starred Tails. You were always Sonic, and you didn't really need to deal with Tails every second anyway. The whole thing went together perfectly, and everything is a success! The appeal of both characters was never cancelled out by lame decisions and the fans have what they want: More fun!
My Small Side-Note
I am of the opinion that Sonic & Tails go great together. Infact...that's how I got into this whole thing.

Sonic 2, I think was what did it for me. The dynamic with Tails. It wasn't his brother like Luigi, they weren't on some goofy 'team'. Here was this game about best friends. They weren't a comedy-duo or anything like that, just pals on an adventure that you've never seen before.

Tails wasn't as fast, he wasn't as good...but to Sonic it didn't matter. Tails was a mutant, but Sonic was blue which was unusual too. Here were 2 kids, like me that were fast, and they tried hard. Doin' what? Save the world. Anyone appriciate it? Dont know, dont care. Wanna live? Its a challenge, its a thrill.

Here's Tails, endlessly loyal. Got the hero thing goin' on a bit but even without he'd be fine. He's so UNUSUAL. Second in command is usually stupid/blundering/schemeing but he was this perfect foil. A fox that FLYS. Who ever heard of something like this? He also happened to be someone to absorb the 'cutsey' that everyone wanted to throw on Sonic, to ruin him.

He didn't need to be badazz because Sonic so was. And Sonic STILL liked him. Sonic was no dummy, but Tails was smart too, and you even knew it in Sonic 2--he could fly a plane...AND maintain it. It had Sonic's name on it and everything, that's no carjacked equip there. You saw the plane crash later, and then it was back, fixed, and Tails was flying it again.

Each person bringing something different, cool, and smart to the team. No fights, no soapy-jealosy or schemeing plots that've already been done-to-death by shows come before. Fun, adventure, and something different to enjoy. It's a great run, and I'm along for all of it!