Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

During the late eighties and early nineties there was a period of turtle mania. This was due to the popularity of an animated TV series called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This show was part of a campaign to promote a range of action figures based on the characters in the show. The original idea came from a 1984 comic book, but it wasn’t until the television show that the Ninja Turtles really became popular.

The action figures in the series tend to be based more on the comic characters than those in the animated television show. Originally there was seven characters released and this included the main characters in the show. They came with removable clothes and removable belts as well as a few weapons. The original dolls were made of low quality plastic; an attempt by Playmates Toys to save a bit of money. The popularity of the show caught everyone by surprise and new characters were added to the action figure collection as time went on. The toy range also came with vehicles and play sets.

The toy manufacturer Playmates continues to produce new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures right up to the present time. The television series still appears on different channels around the world and Ninja Turtles; the Next Mutation only ended last year. The television rights are now owned by Nickelodeon. There may be more to come from these turtles in the future.

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Storyline

The story of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles begins when a disgraced ninja called Yoshi is forced to leave his home in Japan to go live in New York. The only place he can find refuge is in the sewers with the rats and it is here that he bumps into a group of turtles. These have been infected by some type of radiation which turns the turtles into humanoid creatures and causes Yoshi to turn into a rodent like humanoid. To go with his new look Yoshi changes his name to Splinter and he begins teaching the turtles how to fight like ninja.

A former enemy of Yoshi has followed him to New York and is determined to find and kill him;Oroku Saki blames Yoshi for his brother’s death. He is aided in his quest by Krang; who is little more than a disembodied brain. It later turns out that radioactive material that had caused the changes in Yoshi and the turtles had actually been meant to kill Yoshi. The turtles are furious at what Oroku Saki has done and swear vengeance and decide that they are going to force him to turn Yoshi back to human form. The turtles also begin working as crime fighters from their base in the New York sewers.

The Good Guys

Master Splinter is the wise teacher of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He is a mix between a human and a rat. He was once a famous ninja but was falsely accused of a misdemeanor that forced him to leave Japan and go live in a New York sewer. While hiding in the sewer he came across some radioactive material that turned him into a rat-human; this same material was responsible for turning the turtles into humanoids. It later turns out that the mixture had been put in the sewer to kill Splinter. He befriends the turtles and teaches them how to become Ninja.

Leonardo is the leader of the turtles and is the closest to Master Splinter. He does not like to joke around but instead prefers to dispatch the bad guys. He wears a blue face mask. In later episodes he decides that he is no longer a good leader and decides to leave the team; he doesn’t stay away for long though as the team soon need his help.

Michelangelo likes to have fun, but he can be take things serious when there is a need for him to do so. His carefree attitude has meant that he is probably the most liked of all the Ninja Turtles. He loves to skateboard in the sewer, and is an excellent martial arts expert.

Donatello is the next in command after Leonardo. As well as being an expert fighter Donatello is also great with electrical equipment and building things. He likes to joke around with Michelangelo.

Raphael is the most serious member of the team and likes to fight. He can lose his temper easily and likes to make sarcastic comments. When he makes jokes they tend to be at the expense of others.

April O’Neil is a reporter and friend to the turtles.

The Bad Guys

Shredder is the main bad guy in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His real name is Oruka Saki and he blames the master of the turtles, Splinter, for the death of his brother. It was an attempt to kill Splinter that originally led to the turtles developing humanoid form and for Spinter taking on the look of a rodent. Shredder is completely crazy and will stop at nothing to satisfy his revenge; he has a gang of followers called the Foot Clan. Although he is mentally unbalanced he is also crafty and this makes him a dangerous foe.

Krang was originally a professor, but his brain was extracted from his body and he now lives inside a mechanical suit. This mechanical suit acts as Krang’s body and it was built by Shredder; this means that Krang feels a bit of a debt to Shredder and is willing to help him. Krang has his own goals though and does not really care about the turtles; he really wants to take over the Earth.

Bebop and Rocksteady were turned into mutants by Shredder and they now act as his henchman. The two agreed to be changed into mutants after shredder promised them that they would have powers similar to the turtles; they developed a hatred for the ninja turtles after suffering a defeat by them. Despite the fact that Bebop and Rocksteady are now as strong as the turtles their stupidity makes them easy to deal with.