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Heroes in a half Shell
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About the Show
Minor Character Spoilers
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been around for a long time. Originally a comic series which in turn was originally written as a spoof on other comic books, it has since spawned multiple movies, video games and even more comics.

But what the Turtles are mostly known for the three TVs shows that has aired from the 80s, 00’s and the 10’s. Each series is quite different, each having their own strengths and weaknesses, it's the second series (which aired from 2003 to 2010) that is my favourite. Here is why Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 Series) is very good.
Quote So who are the Turtles exactly? Let’s start with Leonardo (Blue Bandanna), the leader of the team, an individual who is burdened by responsibilities and doesn't like letting his brothers down. His Ninja and fighting skills are arguably the strongest of the four, with his chosen weapon is the twin Katana.

Next is Raphael (Red Bandanna), the hot head of the group. He gets into arguments easily and occasionally clashes with Leonardo and Mikey. Despite this, he is shown that he does care deep down for his brothers, and if one of his family or friends are injured or in danger – you better watch out! His weapons are the pair of twin Sai. (or glorified toothpicks as Casey once described them)

Donatello is the resident tech genius. He is the calmest of the four and has a passion for science and technology. While his brothers are usually stronger, Donatello more makes up with his brain rather than using his muscles. He is shown to be the glue that holds the turtles together, since his brothers never seem to clash with Don.

Last but certainly not least, we have Michelangelo, the jokester of his brothers. He rarely takes things seriously, preferring to crack a joke or come up with pop culture references, than “to be boring”. He lacks concentration with his Ninja training, but despite this he does have his moments and even surprises Master Splinter on occasion. His weapon is a pair of Nunchaku.

No matter which adaptation of TMNT your exploring, each turtle of the group have their own unique traits and personalities, meaning they are likeable as a group. This in turn means you you will naturally form a favourite (or if that is too hard, your least favourite). While focusing on the turtles as a family is great, it's also great that certain episodes focus on one particular turtle, giving great back story and exploring the characters further, especially if it’s your favourite turtle.
[TMNT]Master Splinter: "Right, we need to form a plan to get into that building"
Michelangelo: "I know what we could do..."
Leonardo: "If it involves posing as a Pizza Delivery boy, then don't say it"
Michelangelo: "Erm... Never mind, I'm just hungry. Hey who wants a Pizza?"
The 1980's series didn't take itself seriously, with lots of “corny” moments, forth wall breaking and lots of jokes. The 2003 series is different as it's darker and grittier, with less focus on humour, much like the original comics. It’s actually a good taster of the comics, while still being aimed at children. While some humorous elements are in the 2003 series, it's a serious show with funny moments, not a funny show with some serious moments.

While the original comics are major influence, it doesn’t stop the shop the show adding new locations, stories and characters unique to the series. It also got a great mixture of new stories and ones adapted for the show, with a great mixture of story arcs and short stories, to keep the pace of the story flowing at different rates.

While muti-episode story arcs work great, there are plenty of great single stories to delve into. These usually entail progressing the story of the turtles vs their enemies, whereas others are standalone episodes which often offer funnier stories which give a break from the more serious episodes. No matter what type the episode, there is always an entertaining mix of serious and funny stories which will satisfy both fans of the comics and the original TV show.

Of course, it isn't just the turtles, there are many side characters, some lifted from the comics, whereas others are original for the show. With the turtles living in one of the biggest cities in the world, there’s lots of crime for the turtles to deal with on a daily basis. Picture this: Street punks like the purple dragons, evil mastermind's like The Shreddar, muscularly big guys like Hun, scientists like Baxter Stockman, and alien races like the Triceretons. That is a lot of bad guys, all with varying levels of intelligence and motivation.

But don't worry, the Turtles aren’t the only good guys to battle these evil enemies. Master Splinter is more like his comic counterpart, old and wise, a master of Ninjutsu, who cares deeply for his sons. Casey Jones always has the turtles back after they helped him fend off an attack from the purple dragons. April is no longer a news-reporter, but owns an antique shop and learns Ninjutsu later in the series. There are episodes which give focus on these side-characters, making them much more than “minor” characters.

It’s quite a feat that anyone will like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, considering how strange the concept of the turtles is at first glance. Teenage Turtles and a mutant Rat? A scientist in a jar? An alien race made up of space Rhinos? Yeah, that is quite a strange concept – but one that works well.

Closing Thoughts
Very Good Very Good
While there is dedicated fans of each series, the TMNT 2003 series remains my favourite. With loads of action, fantastic voice acting, strong characters and lots of great episodes, this is closest adaptation of the original comics we have seen. If all else fails then it's time to KICK BUTT!

My One Big Highlight
Spiderman While I love all the turtles and the other main characters, it's the Shredder that steals the show. He is a very menacing villain, and one of the strongest villains I have seen in any animated show. It would be quite interesting for him to fight Spider-Man from the Animated series, as I reckon it would be a close fight. Cowabunga!
Elephant In the Room
elephant While the majority of the first four seasons are excellent, the 5th, 6th and 7th seasons try something very different. One is set away from New York, the next is set entirely in the future and the last has redesigned characters and style. If you like shows that don't change much throughout its run, then this version of the TMNT isn't for you.
Movie Analysis
Major Spoilers
[Poster]You are guaranteed to have a shell of a time with all those turtles!
If you a fan of the turtles, you know that there's a big difference between the original 80s series and the 2003 series that succeeded it. One has a lot of humour and pretty light in overall tone, whereas the other is a little bit darker and closer to the original comics.

Fans have wondered for decades what it would be like if all the major incarnations of the Turtles met each other? 2010 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Turtles, so to celebrate it they released Turtles Forever, a feature-length straight to DVD special. Which may sound like a quick cash grab, but it’s nothing of the sort.

For the first five minutes, it feels like a typical 2003 series episode… but then things change – big time! When Master Splinter turns on the TV and finds a news report with the turtles plastered all over it, something is definitely afoot (afoot, get it?!?) since the Turtles had been in the lair all night. So a little bit of detective work is in order, but what they soon find is a startling discovery indeed...

Strapped onto a wall are the Turtles. Well when I say the Turtles. It’s them but not them. Another version but different! What on earth is going on they wonder… In this very scene, we finally see both versions of the turtles in one scene. Seeing these interact with one another is something that fans had been waiting for years and the results are very interesting to see.

Getting crossovers like this right is difficult. Firstly, you don't want to alienate the fan bases who grew up with each “version” of the turtles, that's the most important. Secondly, you need to get the personalities of the Turtles right, as TMNT as a whole is very character based. Thirdly, their respective worlds needs to be in a similar tone. Did Turtles Forever get this right? I'm glad to report for the most part, it works very well.
[All the turtles]We can do this!
While the 2003 Turtles have distinctive personalities, the portrayal of the 80s turtles are quite similar, with the notable exception of Donatello, who is a walking Wikipedia (oh he is from the 80's isn't he) erm… encyclopaedia. The 80's turtles all crack jokes all the time and mention pizza too many times for me to count. (Well I could, but I’m not that bored!)

As you would expect, with very different attributes, both sets of turtles "clash". Raphael gets annoyed with them as soon as he meets them (no surprise there really), with Michelangelo stating about the same time: "how can you not love these guys?" But even Mikey grows tired of the constant joking around, especially when they find out that Shredder is back.

Spoiler alert! Shredder is back! (Well duh, how can the Shredder NOT be in this special?) After being marooned on that ice planet (at the end of the third series) the Shredder is brought back to Earth by... Shredder! Yes, both the 80s Shredder (along with Krang, Bebob and Rocksteady) and the 2003 Shredder appear together. One is a bubbling fool and one is an evil mastermind, so you can guess what happens to the Technodrome when 2003 Shredder gets his hands on it. While seeing both Shredder's was great to see, I felt Bebob and Rocksteady were a little underused, considering that these is no equivalent 2003 versions of these characters.

But fans were in for another surprise. They were kept out of the artwork, DVD covers and the trailers, but here they are: the mirage Turtles appear! When the first two generation turtles visit the same dimension as the original comic Turtles, it's all black and white. When they finally catch up with the turtles, the 2003 turtles even get creped out about how dark their original counterparts are. It's a unique feeling seeing all three generations of turtles on screen at the same time and it's an excellent way to finish this movie.

Closing Thoughts
This could of been a low budget mess and a prophetic attempt of a crossover. As it turns out, it's clear that a lot of love and attention had gone into it. It has faithful representations of all the turtles and evil characters, with lots of great moments to be had.

This was a fantastic way to celebrate the turtles 25th anniversary and a great way to finish the 2003 series. It's not perfect, but crossovers like this rarely are. Because it's not a mess, that's a victory in itself. Now, where did I leave that Pizza… I thought I left it… MICHELANGELO!