Why HERO Turtles The Next Mutation is Good and you can like it: Episode 1

I hear you Brit's aren't fond of transparency either...
Cartoons of the eighties get a bad rap. Even the era's greatest successes are often dispatched as 30 minute toy commercials, cold product cranked out by factories, committees and boring bald guys.

While it is true that the intent behind these animated tv shows was highly mercenary, when we say that we are selling them a little short. There is an art to crafting something that continues to be remembered  well to the future. For every Transformers and GI Joe that is now a fixture in pop culture to this very day, there were hundreds of Dinosaucers and Insectaurs who just skidded in the start line and never even got going.

So while yes, Teenage Mutant HERO Turtles, the animated adaptation of a popular indie comic, was not exactly Miyazaki shit or anything, there HAS to have been something more to it that we're now on the 3rd  season of it's 3rd reboot, and on it's second movie of it's 3rd movie continuity. How many reboots has T Rex and  Mummies Alive had? Exactly.

While strong commercial appeal is an obvious element, I hypothesize that malleability of the core concept is the core reason. Mutant HERO Turtles is a pretty silly idea, but in a few decades it's taken a stroll across the gamut of tones a story can be told in and came out winning fans every time.

Or rather, almost every time.

For you see, there is a version of TMNT that nobody lvoes. It is often considered THE WORST version. When the guys who made the franchise and watched it be used to hawk everything from macaroni to bedsheets  consider this the point of shame, that's how you know you did wrong.

But is it really that bad?  Out of sheer curiosity, decided to give it watch on the old Youtube once over. Thanks to user Oser Baya for having uploaded the episode. It's thanks to guys like him that Nickelodeon executives go hungry every night. That's how copyright works, right?

But first, a little bit of history. By 1997 the original TMNT cartoon had been off the air 1 year after a highly successful 8 season run. The popularity and toy aisle  space the show  had had been usurped by The Mighty Morphing Power Rangers Franchise, a Japanese sentai show that merely replaced all the Japanese actors with American ones while keeping all the scenes where people wore helmets to pretend they were under them produced by Saban.

Saban's success allowed them to do various lesser known attempts to replicate the Ranger's  success, but getting lightening to strike twice proved futile. So they turned their attention to their vanquished foe, and aquired the license to TMNT.

With what they had learned of martial arts children entertainment surely they would find success, right? Well...no, not exactly.

The show was HERO Turtles: The Next Mutation. Or as it was known in the version I didn't watch,  N***a Turtles : The Next Mutation. They couldn't say  N***a because it's slang for vagina over in the United Kingdom [citation needed]. This is why I'm making this a Euro-safe version of this article, replacing every  N***a with Hero.

So I have decided to tackle the series' first 5 episode arc, East Meets West, hoping to see if the show's bad reputation is earned or unearned.
And you will experience it as I did, in all it's croppy, blurry glory.

The show starts with a stereotypical  Chinese Master who trying to hold back evil from a mirror, a long with his assistant, a female in a brown robe. Now, if you know anything about this show, this isn't exactly a great mystery, but it might take you for surprise if you..don't watch the intro immediately after...

Oh, yeah, the intro. You know, there is a lot of pressure to live up to TMNT's classic intro. And this one was basically the first one to try it, and ends up pretty bad in the list overall. It might be the worst. Here's your lyrics.

Four green turtles! Heard the news?
Changed to mutants by an ooze!
Found on the floor and raised by a rat!
Now they're HEROES. How 'bout that?
Check it out! Another one found!
Made her way to Chinatown!
With the rest, yeah, that makes five!
HERO Turtles, now they're live!
Na-na-na-na-HERO, HERO, HERO Turtles!
Na-na-na-na-HERO, HERO, HERO Turtles!

Basically, they outline the story to the characters in the worst way possible. Like, every other version tries to present the idea as an awesome one. This one it literally goes "how bout that" like it just found out it's pitbull is pregnant.

 Then comes the basic barebones characterization every fan knows and loves: Raph is angry for no given reason. They just walk you in on Leo and Raph having an argument about nothing and Raph leaves angry on his bike, on what very much feels like stock footage, even though it's the first time I seen it.

Then while he's out there he's attacked by  Foot HEROES. I think this is the most in-media-resey TMNT, which is both  brave and...not very well done. I guess the show assumed everybody already know all this stuff from the movies and cartoon and in a way, they are right, but by this point the boys who grew up with a 80's Turtles  are already grown past it, and the young up and comers might need for you to fill them in on why anything is going on.
No, no quiero pene, cabron!
Besides, this show doesn't fit into the continuity of either version. Here, Shredder is scared  Shredder from the movies, yet that guy died because he became HHH and knocked a building on myself. And also, here Splinter is Hamato Yoshi, not Hamato Yoshi's pet rat. This doesn't. Also, April was in those, and isn't in this, and her vanishing goes unexplained.

Anyway, Raph being attacked activates Splinter's 6th sense. Which...he has now. He's all about mind magic in this version . Which is weird but uh... Not unheard of. Splinter bill out Rafael along with the other Turtles.
What is unheard of, though, is Splinter's blind chess playing boyfriend.
so without any previous warning day dropping with the Foot Clan and it's goofy-looking Shredder. again not exactly movie trailer but not cartoon Shredder.
It's barely above Live Tour Shredder.

Shredder is  angry and wants to get rid of the Turtles because they get in the way of his plans. Which is...certainly one way to do Shredder, I guess. I would have thought it'd  be more of a personal edge to it, like uh..most versions.

Later the Turtles reconvene at their home, where Splinter goes into a mental trip thingy through the Dream Realm. There he meets Master Whatever, who warns him that he's in grave danger of dragons.

And then we learn the whole thing. Apparently a bunch of years ago the earth was ruled by dragons. But lucky for us, the got trapped in a magic mirror. However, Master idiot apparently tripped and let these Dragons in to the Dream realm.

I appreciate that there's a backstory to the main villain of this show, but honestly following where these fucking dragons moved to at any given time should not not require  a flowchart. Besides, if I understand it they moved from the mirror to the dreamrealm...so why the fuck does Dragondude keep peeking through the mirror?
The Mirror Dragon reproduction cycle.

Splinter would later stupidly return to the dream realm without telling anyone, and get trapped by the Dragon.

But before that, Mikey gets the turtles found out by the Footclan, who have a fight with the Turtles. This is usually a big deal, and forces the Turtles to uproot, but in this case it's more of a minor inconvenience. However, the Turtles are faced with the horrible realization that their master is now cathatonic.

Meanwhile, after Master Hu Cares is killed by Hothead's Daddy, we get a shocking reveal of our own: His assistant all along was...A FEMALE TURTLE! QUE QUEEEE?
Da Ra Ra Rah!
When I first was going to watch this I was about ready to feel the cringe, but I found myself somewhat drawn to find out what was going to happen. Who is the dragon guy? What's up with the female turtle? And my continuing to press on resulted in this series of articles.

So, so far, none of what I've seen hasn't been also been done worst in other versions of the turtles. But we'
ll see if Venus De Milo can't screw up everything. There is also another thing I would fix...

There, all happy.


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