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November 19, 2017

Character Spotlight: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Written by: Dr. Bustos

They’re the world’s most fearsome fighting teens. Probably the most pleasant thing to come out of a sewer in a long time. They protect us from the shadows and enjoy a healthy amount of pizzas. They are teens, after all. Who are these ninja turtles that are also mutants, though? We know that Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines, Raphael is cool, but rude, and Michelangelo is a party dude, but what else is going on with them? What is their relationship with their father and their friends? Let’s find out!

On one fateful day, a truck carrying an experimental chemical was involved in a nasty traffic accident, blinding a boy and spilling into a sewer. The chemical landed near four baby turtles who had been dropped by their owner and fell into the sewer during the accident. The turtles, along with a rat (sometimes a man hiding in the sewer) were mutated into humanoids of similar age groups, the turtles into small children and the rat into an adult. The rat, Splinter, had been the pet of ninja, Hamato Yoshi. In some versions he is Hamato Yoshi, mutated into a rat man by the mutagen that made the turtles into humanoids. Either way, Splinter had learned the ways of ninjutsu and decided the best way to raise these good, good turtle boys was by training them to be ninja. He would name each after a Renaissance artist whose art he loved, also, training each to master a particular weapon.

Leonardo was the eldest and trained to lead his brothers into the battlefield of New York City and beyond. He mastered the use of twin katanas and is the most stoic of the four. He can get overburdened at times realizing that, if and when Master Splinter dies, he will have to truly be the only one in charge. He wears blue and tends to be the most goal-oriented in the group, this can get him a bit of tunnel vision at his worst. Often, he’ll come to blows with his brother Raphael, the second oldest, over leadership and tactics. Leo is more of a plan three steps ahead of the game while Raph is more improvisational.

Raphael is the hot-head of the family and his red mask mirrors that temperature. He mastered the sais but is still struggling with his emotions, hopefully this is due to being a teen, very little is known of teen turtle-man anatomy. Raphael is often the one to go it alone, whether the team wants him to or not. He’s good at dealing with things as they come along and so he tends get himself into all sorts of trouble but is pretty good at getting himself out. When he can’t, he can always rely on his brothers to rescue him.

Donatello may be one of the greatest technological geniuses in the multiverse. Though he’s capable of creating some of the most complex technologies around, he mastered the simple bo staff and wears purple. He builds or modifies all the equipment the turtles use, from their communicators, to their vehicles which include tricked-out vans, go-karts, blimps, and all kinds of ships both aquatic and interstellar. Often these things are built from scraps he collects while adventuring, from junk yards to extra-dimensional armories. Donnie tends to be the most analytical, which can cause him to overanalyze himself into worry if he’s not careful.

Michelangelo is the youngest of the boys and uses those few minutes of youthful vigor to be a party animal. The Andrew WK of the turtles, the nunchuck wielding, orange wearing, party boy loves to goof off. While most would consider him to immature, he tends to use that foolishness to get himself in and out of trouble. Mikey is the most easy going of his brothers and is quick to make friends. He tends to be able to put those not used to meeting mutants, let alone animalistic ones, at ease. While all the boys love eating pizza, Mikey could probably pack away the most pizza out of all of them, he’s also the most adventurous with his topping experimentation.

The turtles would work in secret as best they could. Gaining whispers as they began to fight off the threat of Shredder and his Foot Clan. They’d befriend humans April O’Neil (either a lab assistant, a reporter, or a student) and Casey Jones (a sports equipment using vigilante) who would help them on their adventures. They’d come across other mutants also affected by the chemicals that made them, some were allies and others enemies. They’d even deal with beings from Dimension X and outer space dinosaur aliens and robots. Sometimes time travel occurs, either they visit another time or someone or something else visits theirs, they’ve even dealt with traveling to other dimensions and teaming up with heroes of those places like Batman or the Ghostbusters to name a few.

There you have it! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started as a joke around a coffee table and become one of the biggest franchises in a short amount of time. They’ve been going strong for nearly 35 years. They’ve had multiple TV shows, both animated and live-action, been on the silver screen several times. Most people born in the late 80s and on probably have a favorite ninja turtle since the characters keep getting updated with new shows for newer audiences. Who’s yours? See you next time!

Suggested Reading
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Dr. Bustos



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