Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 Animated Series Episode 1

There is no denying the cultural impact of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise over the last 30 or so years. What with comic books, cartoons, movies, video games, and every product you can slap a turtle with a mask on, it exists. Heck, you can even play them as DLC in the new Injustice 2 game out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Today, I will be doing my Right in the Childhood column review style like I have done for Thundarr the Barbarian, Thundercats, X-Men 1990s Animated Series, and even My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

That TMNT Theme Song

First of all, right out of the gate, let us talk about that bad ass theme song.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Heroes in a half-shell
Turtle power!

They’re the world’s most fearsome fighting team (We’re really hip!)
They’re heroes in a half-shell and they’re green (Hey – get a grip!)
When the evil Shredder attacks
These Turtle boys don’t cut him no slack!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Splinter taught them to be ninja teens (He’s a radical rat!)
Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines (That’s a fact, Jack!)
Raphael is cool but rude (Gimme a break!)
Michaelangelo is a party dude (Party!)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Heroes in a half shell
Turtle power!

Now with Television shows being cut in time for more advertisements, there just isn’t a whole lot of room for awesome theme songs like this one here. It is a shame, really.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Episode 1 – Turtle Tracks

Okay, we start off the episode with our plucky reporter, April O’Neil, covering the story of some “Science Labs” being robbed. They literally made up terminology to describe the equipment, and then the writers didn’t bother explaining what any of the made up equipment does.

Now is it just me or does April O’Neil, in that awful yellow jump suit, seem uhhh…

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Sorry? This is a children’s cartoon, right?

Anyway, April investigates the story further and hides in a sewer because, reasons. Then the bad guys catch up with her, and she is rescued by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They kick butt as they always do and always will.

We are then treated to an unusually complex backstory. Splinter was originally human and was  humiliated by the Shredder in his dojo and thrown out because his outfit got stuck on a knife in the wall. Seriously, why don’t people just explain in movies and TV just provide the simple explanation instead of sitting their with their mouth open like a damn idiot? DEFEND YOURSELF! 30 seconds, boom! Done!

Anyway, Splinter lives in the sewers and comes upon 4 turtles, who he named after his favorite Renaissance players. They come in contact with a mutagen just laying in the sewer, because that’s totally safe, right? They transform into 4 humanoid turtles and a humanoid rat. Studying the ways of the ninja, and here we are today.

Also, for anyone who ever loved the Turtles over the years, knows that for whatever reason Michaelangelo seems to pine over April O’Neil. Now, nothing ever comes of this but I’m pretty sure there are plenty of resources on the internet where you can see or read about that happening, rule 34 of the internet being a thing and all. The only people who would judge you is whoever else has access to your device, your ISP, and the NSA Agent who has to look at your Google History.

Ninja Pizza

Eventually, we get to a place called Ninja Pizza. Their love of pizza is the most relatable thing both as a child and when I’m an adult. You got pizza. I’m there, buddy!

These turtles order some pretty weird pizzas, but who said being weird was wrong?

April in the middle of a gnarly pizza party wonders off for some reason. The Turtles FINALLY pick up on this and track April down. They rescue her and then they realize that the Foot clan ninjas are actually robots (children’s cartoon, how they get away with more violence). Party down!

Finally, they come face to face with Shredder. Who recognizes the fighting technique they are using. It is from his old nemesis, Splinter. DUN DUN DUN! Shredder retreats into his Technodrome, and thus we conclude Episode 1, baby!

Fun Facts About this Cartoon

Here ia a fun fact about the show I totally forgotten. Michaelangelo was chosen to represent in a cross-network cartoon after school special that was anti-drugs. Michaelangelo was anti-drugs. Ummm, there is no way in hell that character has never smoked reefer, I’m sorry. Just straight up calling it right there, people.

The voice of Shredder for most of the series was none other than James Avery, aka Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince!

May you Rest in Peace, you legend.

In Conclusion

So, in conclusion, it is a fun cartoon, but almost too cheesy to watch as an adult. It is not quite up there like Thundarr and Thundercats were. However, it is fun and it is a classic. Some of the later series were a little less 80s cheese. While it may be cheesy, it certainly is charming. I definitely recommend fans of older cartoons to give it a shot and see what you think. You can purchase the first season on Amazon Instant Video for just $4.

What did you think of this cartoon? Let us know in the comments or on social media! COWABUNGA DUDES!

NEXT ARTICLE: Reviewing My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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