After the success of 2007’s TMNT, Nickelodeon acquired the Turtles license and decided to follow suit with a computer animated series. As the third TMNT cartoon series, they basically threw everything into a blender and we ended up getting a story starting with the Utrons, an alien race of living brains that ride around in robot guts. Sound familiar? Though they first appeared in the original comic, they didn’t appear in a cartoon until later in the 2003 series. Obviously, Krang was patterned after them in the first cartoon, but I don’t think the name of the race was ever mentioned.
The cartoon starts out before the Turtles have ever breached the surface, staying in the sewers and eating worms and algae cake. They appeal to Splinter to let them go to the streets and he finally relents. Upon reaching the surface, they wreak some havoc, inadvertently scaring a pizza delivery boy and stealing the pizza he left behind. Thus, their love of pizza was born—I’m actually kind of glad to see how that started. There had to be a scene somewhere about the first time they had it - it's hard to imagine how a full pizza could have ended up in the sewers in the earlier cartoons.
They witness April and her father being kidnapped by the Utroms and intervene, almost rescuing her, but the Utroms escape with both O’Neils. It's interesting to see here that their first proper fight ends in a loss for them - in both previous cartoons, the Turtles meet April when they save her from a threat, but here, they lose and she is kidnapped. They later rescue her but the story follows their attempts to get back the father. I only watched the introductory two-parter, so I’m not sure why they were targeted, but I will admit it’s weird to see any of April’s relatives, or seeing that she’s only a teenager in this series. Even weirder is seeing Donnie’s crush on her being as big as it is. I’m glad it’s not all the Turtles flirting with her, but seeing Donnie completely in love with April is just kinda wrong.
I admit, I am not a fan of the voice cast at all. Leo and Raph and voiced by Jason Biggs and Sean Astin respectively, but considering how big their names are, it’s practically a waste as both are unrecognizable and against type. Greg Cipes plays Mikey, and even though his voice does fit well, all I hear is Beast Boy from Teen Titans and it’s distracting. But worst of all is Rob Paulson doing Donnie’s voice. I know he played Raph in the original series, and I’m glad to hear him make a return to the show, but why Donnie? It doesn’t fit at all for me.
The designs of the Turtles are pretty decent, but I don’t think I’m a fan of the anime style reactions, mostly seen on Mikey. That is definitely personal opinion though, since I know they’re pretty popular in other cartoons. My favorite part is the new intro that updates the original’s theme with more hip hop lyrics. I’m so glad to see how much of the old intro they incorporate into it. Overall, I’d say this is my least favorite cartoon of the three I’ve reviewed so far, but considering how great the other two are, I’d still recommend this one to any Turtles fan.
Throughout the rest of this month, I’ll be going through every series through Rise of the TMNT, which I reviewed recently. I will also be reviewing all of the movies on the Retro Network ending with Mutant Mayhem, so make sure to check them out there.