Written by Ashli Trageser (Features Writer)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a name that can be recognized throughout all generations, a franchise celebrated regardless of age. There’s the original TV show in 1990 along with the live-action adaptations, the animated kids’ show in 2012, and the newest animated adaptation, “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” While every new adaptation put their own creative spin on the concept, “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” really is something else, reflecting colorful and comic book-like animation. Not only have the characters been completely remade in Andy Suriano and Ant Ward’s (developers of the show) image, but their brotherly relationships have been modernized to something a bit less… degrading. For example, in the 2012 version, Splinter had a clear favorite amongst his sons, Leo. On top of that, Leo, Raph, and Donnie would mercilessly make fun of Mikey, being the ‘comic relief character,’ to the point where it would be difficult to watch at times. However, in “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” you can tell the writers really worked hard on improving their brotherly relationships to something a bit healthier. For one, Splinter doesn’t play favorites anymore. As such, he even calls his sons “blue,” “red,” “purple,” and “orange.” In addition, all of the turtles are of different ages in this version, with Raphael taking on the role of the oldest brother. This doesn’t necessarily make him the unvanquished leader Leo was in 2012, as they have more of an equal dynamic in this new version.
In addition to the four turtles getting character improvements, April (the token human friend across all adaptations) has received a massive upgrade. Being the only female protagonist in the show in previous adaptations, she was often just written off as a love interest or someone the turtles had to protect. First of all, in “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” April isn’t a love interest at all. She’s written as more of a sister to the turtles than anything else. Even more so, she isn’t just a character for the turtles to protect. More often than not, she’s seen fighting alongside the turtles. However, in the 2012 version, April is seen having to earn her place with the turtles, training with Splinter for many seasons. In the 2018 version, she isn’t shown as being able to fight as the turtles can, but still holding her own in battle? April’s character is objectively better in “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” this is just one superior detail from the 2012 version.
“Rise is a visually appealing show that does justice to the TMNT franchise. It’s a fresh new adaptation that old followers might not have expected and might also not respect as they should. I think everyone should give it a try because there’s more to it than it seems.” stated Lillie Trageser, as a fan of both versions of the show. Despite being part of the same franchise and sharing protagonists, the two shows couldn’t contrast more. Not only are the plots completely different from one another, not even having any of the same antagonists, but many of the characters’ personalities have changed as well. Personally, I am a fan of both, but I must admit that the 2018 versions are much more approachable and easier to like in general.
In summary, both recent versions of this show are precious to many fans’ hearts, even though they vary extremely. While it’s true that they are very different, both are very appealing and entertaining in their own way and definitely worth the watch.