Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
April 9th 2008 02:18
Martial arts and Ninja mania swept the world during the 80’s due to the popularity of Kung Fu Theater and ninja movies (American Ninja etc.). The Karate Kid became a blockbuster hit film, and raised interest in the arts. The cartoon characters Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became a widely mass-marketed pop culture phenomenon in the late 1980s.
It was probably the biggest pop culture explosion I’ve witnessed in my whole life. Overnight, the Turtles were HUGE. I mean HUGE.
I was the prime age, so the bomb fell directly on me. Yes, I had turtle-mania.
The cartoons managed to successfully combine a combination of goofy comedy, trendy lingo, cool attitudes and ninja moves.
For a short period, you couldn’t walk the streets without seeing Turtles apparel of some kind, or hear a kid yell ‘cowabunga!’
I remember all the hype about the violence (so much so that it was changed to Hero Turtles in the U.K.) and news stories about kids getting lost in the sewer systems.
I also remember everyone fashioning their own ninja weapons. Bo-staff’s, nun-chucks, katana blades – you know, the coolest things in the world.
They also successfully managed to separate each Turtle into his own little stereotype character.
There was Leonardo
The leader, the sensible thinker.
He is honourable and strict.
He wears blue and uses katana swords
He is named after Leonardo Da Vinci.
He is arrogant, aggressive, anti-social and rude.
He is, however, intensely loyal and a fierce fighter.
He wears red and uses Sai.
He is named after Raphael Santi.
Donatello is the brilliant scientist, inventor, engineer, and technological genius.
He is perhaps the least violent Turtle, preferring to use his intellect to solve conflicts.
He wears a purple and wields the bo staff.
He is named after the sculptor Donatello.
Michaelangelo is the easy-going surfer/skater dude.
Adventurous, fun and outgoing.
He wears orange and uses nun-chucks.
He is named after Michelangelo Buonarroti.
Then there was also Master Splinter, April O’Neil, Shredder and my personal favourite – Casey Jones.
Originally created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman as somewhat of a joke, they never could’ve imagined that the Turtles would explode like they did.
It even managed to spawn 3 live action movies. The first one was a dark and mostly serious affair about a crime wave in late 80’s New York, and as far as 80’s-early 90’s kid’s movies got, I think it still holds up very well – great score also.
Fortunately, the Turtles have made somewhat of resurgence. And although the new animated movie looked great style wise, the story left a little to be desired, but at least kids of today are fighting the powers of evil once again – ninja style.
Who’s your favourite turtle?
I’m a Raph man myself. What a legend.
‘Cricket? Nobody understands cricket! You gotta know what a crumpet is to understand cricket!’
subscribe to this blog