More than any other intellectual property in existence, the TMNT holds a special place in my heart.
Even as an artist. When I look back on my childhood and try to remember when I started drawing shit, the first memory I can recall is drawing Leonardo. I must have been four or five. It's such a strong mental image that I can even remember what it looked like. I remember drawing a Turtle every few months or so until I was probably 13 just to see if I sucked less.
When that first movie came out, I fell head over heels in love with everything about it. I still think it's one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time. Every now and then at the bar I'll recite the last scene between Splinter and Shredder verbatim with the proper voices.
"Yes, Oroku Saki. I know who you are. We met many years ago. In the home of my master, Hamato Yoshi!"
I not only know the "Ninja Rap", but the dance as well. I even watched that terrible third movie probably a million times.
Video game wise? Name one. The Arcade Game. Turtles in Time. Tournament Fighters. Sweet Jesus I fucking loved Tournament Fighters. Street Fighter + Ninja Turtles?! I watched every episode of the 4Kids series and had a blast with it. Hell, I JUST found out about "Turtles Forever" over the summer (if you haven't seen it yet, and consider yourself any type of TMNT fan stop what you're doing and go watch it now) and even with the shitty voice actors for the '87 crew, I still had a smile on my face the whole time.
And yet, when I found out Nickelodeon bought the rights I didn't really care. When I heard Biggs and Astin were going to be Leo and Raph, nothing. The retiring of "Cowabunga" didn't phase me in the slightest. Even with that stupid fucking Michael Bay bullshit a few months ago, I just didn't care. The Turtles have been around for 25 goddamned years. I can't believe they're even still a relavent pop culture reference. More importantly, I'm almost 30 years old and have been obsessed with the heroes in a half shell for almost 90% of my life.
I was willing to let them go.
Then I heard Rob Paulsen was voicing Donatello on his podcast. I only gave this show a shot because Rob spoke so friggin' highly of it. All he kept saying was how much of a fan Ciro Nieli was and how great of a Mikey Greg Cipes was. So I tuned in for the first episode.
I was hooked as soon as the theme song started. I can't remember the last time I looked forward to singing along with the theme, let alone learned all the words to one.
I honestly, truly feel like this may be the best incarnation of the Turtles I've seen in 25 years and they're only six episodes into the first season! Splinter is by far my favorite version and makes me laugh every single joke he says. When he tells Leo "Focus on winning. Not fairness." I was shocked that Nick would let that be the lesson being taught.
Astin and Biggs are phenomenal as their respective characters and I forget that it's them every time. I don't know how but same goes for Paulsen. The fact that he was Raphael gets thrown out the window as soon as I hear his voice coming out of Donny. He just feels like Donatello. As for Cipes, everything you've heard is true. He's fantastic.
The jokes are primarily aimed at children and yet, I laugh at almost every single one of them because they're not aimed at stupid children. Every time the Kraang do their "The ones who are coming to this place are not in this place." talk I laugh. Splinter asking Spike "Chew your leaf if you want to hear a story.", I laugh. My favorite joke so far has been Mikey saying, "That was sporatic!", everyone shushing him, and then Donny quietly saying, "That's not what that means." That episode with Louis Black had me in tears with his insults to Raph.
I even love the animation! I fucking hate 3D animation because it represents a distancing from everything that made me start drawing in the first place but the animation for this show is fucking drop dead gorgeous. Every single fight looks amazing, and as the comic will testify, I almost feel like I'm just sitting around waiting for those eyeballs to turn all white as the Turtles enter "ninja-mode".
I don't know what it is. I really don't. I know the '87 Turtles were campy and had pupils and never used their weapons, but every time I see those eyes turn white I might as well be sitting in front of the TV on the carpet eating Fruity Pebbles. This show is clearly made by people who love the characters and it shows with each and every episode.
If anyone associated with this show ever reads this, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for bringing my favorite superheroes back into my life with so much affection for the last 25 years of source material.
Also, now that I give a shit again, Michael Bay can go fuck himself.