Monday, February 19, 2018

Plotline improvements for TMNT 2012- Season 1

The 2012 incarnation was one of the best televised incarnations of TMNT that we have had to date. Majority of the various televised versions we have had since the “Turtle Craze” began have been popular. Though they also had their share of problems as well, from how the characters were presented to plotlines that really went nowhere.

The OT aka the 1987 series, AKA the Fred Wolf incarnation brought about the turtle craze when it was first released on tv. But the Turtles themselves acted more like a bunch of kids, not teenagers. This wasn’t a big deal as the show itself had been targeted at a young audience. On the opposite side of the spectrum however, was the 2k3 series AKA the 4Kids era Turtles. This series loosely followed the stories presented in the mirage comics creating a much more serious version of the series, though still stayed true to its target audience. In that version while the Turtle’s did have their childish moments, they more often then not were presented as young adults. The Next Mutation AKA Fox Kids era Turtles was pretty much dead out of the gate and while it did have some fans, it really didn’t have any real following and wasn’t all that missed when it was canceled. 
Which brings us to the 2012 version. This is the only version that went out of its way to really present the Turtles as actual teenagers. Many members of the show staff were familiar with the TMNT series creating a very by fans for fans production. The Turtles are for all intents and purposes soldiers, child soldiers, but still soldiers. And they are forced into battles to save the world from the evil terany of beings from outside their worlds dimension.  But since they are still considered children, they don’t always grasp the lessons they need to face. They don’t always take situations seriously or sometimes ignore the problems one may be having to focus on their own teenage issues. But at the same time when it really matters, they are there to comfort one another and help guide one that has gone astray back to the arms of their family. In otherwords ‘Ninja that hug’ 

Blockbuster Buster also gave some interesting insight about the 2012 Turtles series when he gave his review of it. Each season has an overarcing theme to the story. 
Season one’s theme was Choices and Concequences. In which each of the characters would make choices over the course of the series and in turn face consequences that begin to shape who they are as individuals. 

Season two’s theme was Atonement in the first half of the season the Turtles make a huge mistake that results in April devorcing herself from the Turtles. To which the Turtles are all striving in ways to make up for that mistake. The second half involves Karai learning the truth of her origin and seeking to see the Shredder pay for his crimes.

Season three’s theme is Growing up where the Turtles are on their own without Splinter for the first time in their lives as the recover from the crushing blow that has been dealt to them all. Ultimately returning the Kraang to Dimention X and then facing a new threat for Earth in the form of the Triceratons.

Season Four’s theme is Graduation with the first half consisting of the Turtles dealing with Splinter’s death at the hands of the Shredder and Earth’s distruction at the hands of the Triceratons.  They spend their journey in space to find and destroy the pieces of the weapon that would be used to destroy Earth and prevent Splinter’s death. The second half deals with the April becoming a full fledged Kunoichi, and the Turtles themselves graduating to the final level of their ninja training. Which is soon followed by Splinter’s inevitable death and their final defeat of the Shredder. 

Season five doesn’t have a centralized theme but rather becomes a collection of different stories refered to as “Tales of the TMNT”. 

While each season has a number of awesome episodes. But there are also a number of plots that suffer by having an episodic story line rather then a more serialized plot. Some of this is due to the plot having a story that could have been better told over two maybe three episodes being stuffed into the span of twenty minutes. Other times the stories have plot points or emotional situations that glossed over or ignored because it’s a kids show and kids would have would get bored if there wasn’t action in every single episode.

While action is all well and good, sometimes the greatest battles that one faces in life are the battles you face with your own family and with oneself. And as such there are some moments where it would have been better to have the characters focus on their relationships and the situation around them rather then push in action for actions sake.

With season one, there aren’t many plot points and situations that felt like they could have been focused on more. Though there are a few that are brought up. There are number of plot points with the Turtles relationships with each other and as brothers that are brought up, but are quickly forgotten or resolved with little issue. I may focus more in-depth on how each episode could improved or rewritten later on. Since this post be rather long I’m only going to focus on underused plot lines I wish they had covered in the first season. 

With the first season much of the stories were focused on two major villains, the Kraang and the Shredder.  The Kraang desired to terraform Earth into the new Dimention X, but needed April to do it. While the Shredder comes to New York to seek vengeance on Splinter for events in their past.
Both are important points to be sure and the moments where the two villains cross paths certainly do add some drama to the situation. However, I feel this chapter should have just focused on the Kraang and then introduced the Shredder midway or at the end of the season and here is why. 
The Turtles being ninja live life in the shadows partially because of their life style, and also partially because if humans saw them they would be immediately viewed as freaks and monsters. Dealing with the Kraang has a lot of problems already. Having the Shredder adds to the threat load, but also muddles where the focus should be. 

A better way of doing this is having the Kraang abduct April and her father. On this exact same night the Turtles are seeing the serface for the first time in their lives and notice the kidnapping as it takes place. Despite their efforts the Turtles are unable to save the girl and her father. Reporting back to Splinter about the first time on the surface. Spliner is less that happy about this. Mikey mentions he noticed something odd about the one of the guys they were fighting which catches Splinters attention and prompts him to tell them the story of their origin. The Turtles go out again and learn where the girl and her father were taken. They find the family and try to rescue them. During the battle, one of the Kraangs blasters lands close to April’s fathers feet. He grabs the weapon and tells the Turtles to protect his daughter and get her to safety. April protests but the Turtles leave with her while her father is over powered and arrested. The turtles promise they wouldn’t rest until her father was reunited with her once again. 

Following episodes would have the Turtles looking for Kirby. During their searches they learn he had been moved to another facility. April has no idea why the Kraang would want her father since he is a psychologist not a scientist. It’s soon discovered that the Kraang weren’t after her father, they were after April. Knowing the Kraang will stop at nothing to capture her, the Turtles and Splinter convince her to live with them until her father is safe and the Kraang are defeated. Eventually April is lured out of the lair and captured by the Kraang. 

If the Foot are introduced Half way through the season, an errant shuriken is discovered or maybe the Turtles themselves are spotted (they themselves not actually seen, but their fighting style is recognized)by someone associated with the Shredder. Shredder is informed of this and he takes that as a sign of Hamato Yoshi is in New York. At first he just has his followers look for Splinter and not bother with his students since their style is pathetic and only highlights their inexperience, once Splinter is gone they will fall easily. The Turtles do have encounters with the Ninja and do see the Foot as another problem within the city. But since the encounters are minor they don’t have the same focus as the Kraang. As things progess he learns that Splinter’s students are not human but mutant Turtle’s. Karai points out that perhaps there is more to Splinter’s students then meets the eye and suggests that perhaps they could be turned to the side of the Foot. Towards the season finale, Leo gets fed up with his brothers disregarding his leadership and overall treating it like it’s a joke says they can take on the Kraang without him. While outside fuming about how the others don’t approcicate his role. He suddenly finds himself attacked by a Kunoichi. He draws his sword and is ready for a fight, but the Kunoichi takes off her mask and introduces herself as Karai and she has come to talk with him, not fight. She then uses her skills as a Kunoichi to weave seeds of doubt into his mind about his Sensei. Leo steadfastly refuses to believe Karai’s stories and strongly insists that the Sensei who had raised and trained him was benevolent. But his mind festers with what Karai has told him and begins to wonder if there is truth to what she had said.

If the Foot are introduced at the end of the first season, the same thing with the errant shuriken can be done. Except instead of it being left behind by mistake, one of the Turtles loses it during the boss battle to save the city, April, and Kirby. Then when everyone is watching the news about the events of the invasion and the Kraangs defeat, the News anchor mentions that a Shuriken recovered by police and it’s assumed that it is a weapon belonging to the Kraang. Either that or the News Anchor states it seems that the people who defeated the alien invaders were Ninja. Splinter is uneasy about this and tells his sons this could have vast consequences. The Turtles aren’t concerned about this and feels that it’s not like anyone would be able to trace it back to them. At that same time in Japan, a man is being shown the report and recognizes the Hamato Clan Symbol on the shuriken. The man tells a Kunoichi who he calls Karai to get his private jet ready, he is going to New York to settle a score with an “Old Friend”.  Karai responds by saying “Yes, father.” He then stands up and it’s revealed that this is the Shredder.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Character Art Reveals for Rise of the TMNT

On Febuary 1st we were given our first glimpses at the character art and designs for Rise of the Turtles TMNT show. The art style isn’t impressive, but it’s alright. It certainly could have been worse, but compared to other incarnations the designs are a bit of turn off for die hard Turtle fans. 

In this incarnation each of the Turtles are a different species of Turtle which is an interesting change. All of current incarnations of the Turtles depict same species. The mirage Turtles were confirmed in volume 2 that they were red-eared sliders. Most other incarnations don’t bother going into what species they are or just deliberately leave it vague. Such as the 2012 incarnation where Donatello suspects in the episode “Never Say Xever” they originally were dimond backs or common box turtles, but didn’t sound completely sure. 

Having the Turtles be different species certainly adds a different spin to the brothers angle. In most incarnations biological relations are rarely touched upon. Normally their brotherhood is accepted at face value, but never really made an issue. The Original Toon incarnation is the only incarnation that he four Turtles never refer to themselves as brothers. They were depicted as friends more then they were family which makes their lair was more of a frat house in the sewers. Where as in Next Mutation, Leonardo mentions to Venus that none of them are biologically related, but they do see each other as brothers. 

This appears to be the route given here. While none of the Turtles in this incarnation are biologically related, they recognize each other family due to life style and circumstance. Or perhaps in this incarnation the Turtles were originally human and were each mutated to different turtle species. Most of Turtles are also given different weapons in this incarnation as well. This is likely to due with the fact this incarnation is supposed to feature a “lighter, younger” feel when compared to their previous incarnation. Possibly having the Turtles depicted with less violent looking weapons only adds to the child friendliness. And with super powers at play there will be a lot of things that will make this series worth checking out at the very least. 

Splinters design is one people have had the most problems with, which is understandable. I know a mutant rat would be something that would be hard to depict as being attractive. But this looks like someone mashed his face in with a shovel. With Eric Bouza voicing him it will still interesting to see this version of Splinter in action.

Don’t have any complaints about this version of April. Her eye glasses had reminded people of Irma (and Rook) from the 2012 version of TMNT. She looks like she could be a very spunky version of the iconic ally of the TMNT. And given the platform drone she is riding on, in the promotional image she is likely to be tech savvy though more then likely not to the same 
extent of Donatello. 

Next up is the new leader and older brother of the group, Raphael. Raph is a snapping turtle in this incarnation and wields tonfa batons as his primary weapon over his customary sai. 

Tonfa are not new to the TMNT franchise. Raph had them as a training weapon in issue # 9 of the Mirage comic. And Mikey used them as primary weapon in the Next Mutation. 

Over all with Raph, this design does look promising since he is often depicted as the brute of the family. And the one who will quite happily punch your teeth in if you so much as think of hurting any or all of his brothers. 

Next is Leo. In this incarnation he is a red-eared slider. His appearance actually works for this character since he tends to be more of a tactition and less reactionary then Raph, but will still subject you to the buisness end of his his blade if his loved ones are threatened.  The red marks on his face might be a little off putting, but they grow on you particularly when you realizes what sort of of Turtle he’s supposed to be. In this incarnation Leo has taken on Donnie’s role as the 3rd oldest member of the group and Raph’s role as the “cool, but rebellious brother” which means he will be more laid back then previous incarnations and also have some arrogance to go with it.  In the previous version, Leo did have his insensitive side from time to time. But those often occurred when he let his emotions or frustrations run off the handle whenever he felt his brothers weren’t taking things seriously or weren’t giving him the results he wanted. Raph in the previous version on the otherhand did have a tendency to be a bully from time to time, partially as a way of showing dominance towards his younger brothers. But also as a somewhat misguided means of forcing his brothers to improve in their fighting abilities.  From the sound of things it doesn’t seem like Leo in this incarnation would be bully towards his younger brothers. In actuality he will have a close relationship with Mikey and will take him under his wing, which sounds like it might be interesting.  The brotherly spats between him and Raph will still happen, so that is an aspect that won’t change.     

Instead of the twin Katana, Leo would be given an Ōdachi.  This weapon is certainly newish to the Turtles universe. The Ōdachi is just as it names translates to “Big or Great Sword”. Leo has used a single sword in other incarnations, but this is the first time where an Ōdachi has actually been used in TMNT. Since it is still a sword it doesn’t hold that much difference from his traditional weapon. 

Next we come to Donatello. Donnie in this incarnation is a soft shelled turtle and will be the second oldest member of the team.  Being the second oldest isn’t a new role for this character as he is the second oldest member to the current IDW comic. I do find I like this design for this character. To me it does portray Donnie as being an intellectual who looks like he rather tinker in his lab then fight, but at the same time will lay the smack down on anyone who intends to harm his family and loved ones. And it doesn’t need to make him into giant nerd in order to do so.  I do have some problems with the armor he has over his shell, I understand the reason for it and what it’s for. My main problem is that his shell armor is purple. I know Donnie’s signature color is purple, but that doesn’t mean everything associated has to be purple. The armored shell could look like the rest of his brothers without it needing to be purple. 

Unlike the rest of his brothers, Donnie is still using his traditional Bo staff, though in this case he is using a more technological version of it. 

Lastly we come to Michelangelo, the common box turtle.  I don’t have any real problems with the way this character is portrayed since in every incarnation he is the plucky, sweet natured brother. Being the youngest he often tends to be the light of hope for the team that is there to remind his brothers of why they are fighting in the first place. I do agree the emoji faces on his knee pads do look a little eccentric, but they feel like Mikey so I don’t really have a problem with them.

Instead of the nunchucks, Mikey’s primary weapon is the Kusari-Fundo. This weapon is also known as the Manriki-gusari. Much like the tanfa batons, this is not a weapon that is new to this character or the TMNT. At most it a less leathal version of the Kusari-gama that Mikey used in the previous incarnation. 

As for villains, this upcoming incarnation is introducing a mutant villain known as Baron Draxum who is an Alchemist Warrior Mutant who has an ambition of mutating all humans. There is are no reveals as to what this character looks like. All that is said is that he would be a reoccuring villain in the series and that he would be voiced by John Cena. 

There is also another character slated to appear named Sergent Woodpecker. No word as to who is voicing him or if he would be an ally or enemy. Both Rob Paulsen and Morice LaMarche are also slated to voice yet to be revealed villains in the this incarnation as well.  

There is no word on whether the Shredder would appear in this incarnation and how. Personally, I don’t feel the Shredder needs to be used. While he is the arch-nemesis of the Turtles and co, and he is influential in their existance. But at the same time, the Shredder isn’t required to be a villain in every single incarnation of the Turtles. There are still a number of villains in the in the Rogues Gallery who do have an impact upon the lives of the Turtles as much as the Shredder has, if not the potential too. Some notable non-human ones are Kraang, Dregg, the Triceratons, and Titanus, while some more human/humanish villains would be Bishop, Darius Dunn, the Rat King and the entire populous of New York City itself. 

Bishop for example isn’t really a villain so much as he is an Anti-hero. He truely believes what he does is for the protection and the good of human kind. But at the same time he doesn’t have any real qualms about torturing and sacrificing the Turtles in order to develop ways to protect the earth from extraterrestrial threats. 

Where as the New York City populous is a mixed bag because human kind habitually fears what it doesn’t understand. Because of that when humans encounter something that isn’t human the common first reactions are to either run from it or try to capture and kill it. While there would be a small group of humans who would question if Mutants are truly a threat. There would be numerous others who would feel that all mutants should be rounded up and slaughtered. And then there would be a small fraction group that would feel that Mutants should be captured for their own selfish ends. 

That’s all for right now. I’ll be sure to be back when there is more information revealed about Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Thoughts on the upcoming 2018 TV series

Hello everyone, Victory_Angel here. 

I should give my thoughts about the upcoming 2018 series that would be coming out on Nick this Fall. But, I don’t know what I can honestly say about it. Sure I could say something about April being depicted as African-American in this incarnation, or that Raph is the older brother and leader when it’s always been Leo in previous incarnations. Personally, I don’t have any real thoughts towards them.

 I don’t see anything wrong with April being depicted differently from previous versions. Having her have darker skin doesn’t make her any less of an ally for the Turtles.  As for Raph being the older brother, I find it an interesting change to be sure.  And having him be the leader now will also be a different take. In a number of incarnations, Raph has been the protector of the four of them. He’s been the one who carries the attitude of “You harm my brothers, you deal with me!”.  With Leo being the leader, he has to look at the situation, calculate how the mission could reach success, and then factor in the risk of danger they will be in. Which doesn’t always sit well with him. So much so his greatest fear is the fear of letting his family down. 

Raph on the other hand depending on the incarnation can view leadership as having your own way all the time. Or he feels one brother’s judgement is something that needs to be brought into question. So having the resident “meat-head” of the family learn that not all fights can be settled with fists. Or learning the hard way that his anger can come back to bite him will be presented differently from a leader stand point. Will this lead into Leo eventually being given the role of leader later on, perhaps, perhaps not. Perhaps, Raph would grow into the role of being a leader and be able to carry it better then even he realizes. 

The one real constant nagging fear among the fandom is the TMNT are being given it a “Lighter, younger feel”. Fans equate this to mean we are getting a TMNT version of Teen Titans Go. I’m not going to assume that is what it’s going to be because we have no real information pertaining to said series aside from learning who the voice cast will be. If we had definitive information about what to expect such as designs of what the cast would look like I would be able to give some actual thoughts. In the mean time, I’m going to reserve judgement until there is something concrete to go on. And even if this series does turn out to be Teen Titans Go, TMNT style.  This francise is made up of multiple universe, and every incarnation is another universe with in the Turtles multiverse. Some universes are good, while some aren’t quite as memo

rable as others. So even if this new series does turn out bad, that doesn’t make it the end of the francise, it’s just another version. So if it’s not really your version of the Turtles, maybe the next incarnation might be. 

What we do know at this moment is that the main cast has been announced. Rob Paulsen the voice of OT Raphael and 2k12 Donatello will be serving as voice director for this incarnation. Since he’s played two incarnations of the Turtles Franchise he is going to have a lot of good insite as to how the characters would go.  

Eric Bouza will be playing the role of Splinter. This is I am fully behind, since Bouza was the voice of Tiger Claw and Hun among other voices in the 2012 version. Tiger Claw’s voice wasn’t that much different from Hoon Lee’s take on Splinter and I know he will do the character justice.

The rest of the cast are in actors that I am less familiar with. Most of their work is in shows I don’t particularly follow so I haven’t really gotten a good scope as to how they would be as these characters.

Raphael is going to be played by Omar Miller.  

From the voice clip given by him, I can hear the attempt at a tough guy voice, but I don’t really hear Raphael yet. I’m going to keep an open mind, things may still develop to to a Raph like consistancy. But as of right now, I am not hearing Raph. 

Ben Schwartz is Leonardo 

One of the most recent roles he is currently involved in is Dewey Duck in the recent reboot of Duck Tails. I admit that I haven’t watched Ducktails 2017, but I have seen enough clips about the first view of the series to really get some idea of his voice. I admit I can sort of hear Leo, but it doesn’t feel like Leo just yet because with voice clip given in the Meet the Rise of the TMNT voices video,  the voice sound a little too arrogant for Leo. Leonardo in this incarnation is supposed to be the “Cool Brother” so after numerous incarnations of him being the older responsible one, having him say something such as “I’m champion... of the world” does feel somewhat off.

Donatello will be voiced by Josh Brenner  

Hearing the voice clip from this actor did earily sound like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.  Brenner has played a character in Big Bang Theory in the past so it might make some sense he is channeling Sheldon into Donnie’s character. The voice actor is also seen in several clips with Kat Graham, the voice of April. I’m not going to assume Nick is going to be reviving Don O’Neil, in many of the incarnations April does tend to have a close, platonic relationship with Donnie which has ranged from best friend to almost brother figure. But since the Nick version is the first televised incarnation to really bank on the possibility of one of the Turtles falling in love with a human we may yet see the revival of this relationship. 

Brandon Mychal Smith is Michelangelo

After hearing Michelangelo being voiced by Greg Cipes for the last few years it feels weird to have someone else voice this character. In many ways, Mikey feels like the role Cipes was born to play. However this particular actor does feel like he has some potential to pulling off Mikey cheerful goofiness

And last but not least, the April herself Kat Graham.

This actress doesn’t have any voice clips so they clearly are keeping how she would sound as April underwraps for the time being. But she does say she feels its an honor to bring to something fresh and new to such an iconic character. The one impression I am definately getting is that she has spunk. Having a spunky April is certainly a welcome addition to her character to be sure. I’m looking forward to see how her character is presented going forward. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Greetings from a TMNT Fan

Hello TMNT fans, Victory_Angel here.

I started this review blog a few years back but stopped it do to changes in my life and difficultly in keeping up with my blogging scedual, and of course ridicule over recorded versions of this blog.

Now that the 2012 show on Nickelodeon is finished its run last year, and a new series will begin airing later this year. I feel I am able to restart the blog with an after the fact view of the series as a whole. One part I am adding to the blog is how an episode or film could have gone if I rewrote it.

I also aim to have discussion or thought pieces about the Turtles and the show in general. I’m always open to feed back or suggestioned improvements so please don’t hesitate on dropping me a line.