It's been some time since my last new review, so I want to get back to writing again, but school and finding work has made it difficult. For my next review, I will do the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.
The Ninja Turtles were originally from a Mirage comic in 1984; made by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, who sought to make fun of the Frank Miller comics of the time. As the comic rose in popularity, Playmates wanted to make a series of action figures about it; but also insisted upon having a cartoon made for it.
So, in late 1987, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first came on TV with 5 episodes. These form one complete storyline and kicked off a cartoon series that lasted 10 seasons. I will now review them for you.
Episode 1: Turtle Tracks
April O'Neil is doing a report on the high crime rate in New York City. What's more, it seems that a massive amount of technology is being stolen from science labs across town. The methods by which they are stolen resembles that of ancient Ninja thieves. After the report, April is attacked by a vicious street gang. She escapes into a sewer, but the gang follows her and she's cornered. Then, four figures in the shadows dispatch the gang. April thanks them; but the figures emerge from the shadows and reveal themselves to be 6-foot tall, talking turtles. As a result, April passes out. The turtles take her to their hideout. Upon waking up, April is greeted by a giant rat that can also speak, and passes out again. When April notices the bizarreness of the situation (even moreso when the Turtles are revealed to have an affinity for pizza); she asks for an explanation. The rat tells her that he used to be a man named Hamato Yoshi; the leader of a ninja clan called the Foot. The organization prospered in Japan, but Yoshi had a rival-a jealous man named Oroku Saki. When another school's teachers visit, Saki frames Yoshi for murder and gets him expelled from the Foot. Yoshi then makes his way to New York. Living in the sewers and subsiding off what other people throw away, he only has rats as companions. Until one day, four turtles come down the sewer and become friends with Yoshi. Back in Japan, Saki has turned the Foot into an instrument of crime to do his bidding. Back in New York, Yoshi returns home to find the turtles walking in a pink, radioactive substance known as "mutagen." When he tries to clean it off, he discovers that it turns whoever touches it into the animal they most recently had been in contact with. Since the turtles were with Yoshi the latest, they become humanoid turtles. Since Yoshi had been with the rats last, he becomes a large rat. From that day forward; he was known as Splinter. In return, he trains the turtles in martial arts and names them after the four masters of the renaissance: Leonardo, who leads the group and wields the katana, Raphael, who is a smug smartypants and uses the sai daggers, Donatello, the team's scientist and prefers the bo staff, and Michaelangelo; who is a laid-back partier and has a pair of nunchucks as his weapon of choice. When April hears the story, she takes the turtles above ground. Since the people of New York City aren't accustomed to having a bunch of giant turtles walking around, she gives them trenchcoats and hats to blend in. April then stumbles upon another laboratory being robbed, but is kidnapped. The Turtles find her, along with an army of Foot ninjas. Leo then accidentally cuts one and discovers they are robots, and the group fights them off and saves April.
Episode 2: Enter the Shredder
The morning after their fight, the Turtles and April go through the sewers and try to find who's responsible for the attack. They come across a massive mobile fortress called the Technodrome, outfitted with all sorts of weapons and technology. It it piloted by Saki, who has taken on the new persona of the Shredder, a man covered head to toe in all sorts of blades. He commands the Foot, but he in turn is commanded by Krang. Krang is, for lack of a better word, a brain with tentacles. He once had a body, but was lost when he was banished from his homeworld of Dimension X. As such, he constantly demands a new one through out the first part of the series. Shredder then has a rhinoceros and a warthog kidnapped from Central Park Zoo; and uses them to mutate two members of the gang who attacked April in the previous episode; into Bebop and Rocksteady. The Turtles enter the Technodrome and come across all sorts of machines and traps. They dispatch Bebop and Rocksteady and win their first battle against the Shredder. Still, they know the war is far from over.
Episode 3: A Thing About Rats
Baxter Stockman, a young scientist; has invented a robot called a Mouser. It easily picks up the scent of most rodents, and even tears through walls to capture and kill them. Even so, his request for a grant at the local pest control company is rejected. The Shredder agrees to make more of the Mousers, but for his own reasons. A set of 12 Mousers is made and sent to invade the Turtles' lair. They almost get Splinter before the Turtles intervene. They find Baxter Stockman's name on the foot of one of the Mousers and go to April for help finding him. They do so, and interrogate him on what Shredder wanted the Mousers for. Soon, Shredder sends an army of 1200 Mousers to destroy April's apartment building; but the turtles save her and find Shredder. They reprogram the Mousers to go after his hideout, but since Michaelangelo was acting as a distraction, he gets caught in the rubble. He survives, but is derided by his brothers when he claims to have seen Krang.
Episode 4: Hot-Rodding Teenagers From Dimension X
Krang is becoming increasingly displeased with Shredder's failures, and opts to bring in his army of Stone Soldiers from Dimension X. Shredder agrees, but dismisses Krang's warnings about summoning things from the portal willy-nilly. He succeeds in getting two of his Stone Soldiers, General Traag and Lieutenant Granitor, but also brings in three rambunctious Dimension X teenagers known as Neutrinos. Meanwhile, the Turtles are modifying a van that Baxter left them full of equipment. Within a pinch, it becomes the Turtle Van. The Turtles come across the Neutrinos. They reveal at a local restaurant that Dimension X is a war-torn hellhole, and they are the few people there that would rather have fun than participate in their conflicts. Traag and Granitor then come across everyone. They pull out a weather machine that will consume the city in a matter of hours. The Turtles and Neutrinos team up to stop Shredder and Krang. They invade the Technodrome and send Traag and Granitor back to Dimension X and stop the weather machine. Leonardo declares that tomorrow will be the final battle with Shredder.
Episode 5: Shredder and Splintered
Shredder completes Krang's request to make him a new body, and then puts in the finishing touch-a chip that enables the user to grow at will; thanks to a gem in it. The Turtles take one of the flying cars that the Neutrinos left; but run out of fuel and discover it runs on plutonium. Donatello then goes back to Baxter's lab and gets to work on building something that can help them. The Turtles then fight their way to the Technodrome and come across Krang in his new body. Krang intends to summon an entire army of Stone Soldiers to invade New York. The Turtles try to fight Krang, but he activates the chip and grows to an enormous size. Shredder has also built a retro-mutagen ray that can reverse any mutation. Splinter fights him for it, but is trapped. Krang gets above ground, and Donatello reveals what he made-a transport called the Turtle Blimp. Leonardo and Donatello get inside Krang's body and find the chip. Donatello smashes the gem, which causes Krang to shrink back down. Shredder comes across the turtles and threatens to shoot them with the ray, but Splinter throws his cane and destroys it. They go back to the Technodrome and attempt to summon Krang's army, but Donatello reconfigures the portal so it will pull the Technodrome itself into Dimension X. The Turtles are lauded as heroes when April completes her report on them.
There you have it. The first 5 episodes of the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. Even after all these years, it is still considered to be one of the biggest pop culture phenomena ever. I'm Steviemus Prime, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles marathon will continue soon.