Heartwarming: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)
1x01 & 02; Rise of the Turtles
- "Rise of the Turtles pt. 2" After recounting the tale of how he lost his wife and daughter, and Leo agreeing that he lost much (he is no longer human), Splinter says that he had gained much as well- his four sons. (Which he originally bought as pets.)
- There is another subtle, easy to miss moment in the first part, that took a third watching from this Troper to notice. After Raph beat Leo in the training session he says "Nice try." At first it seems like Raph is being a jerk, but then the camera pans up to his face and the look on his face is nothing but genuine brotherly affection. Again this lasts all of two seconds but it is a genuinely sweet moment as this version of Raph has trouble expressing himself to his family.
- To a lesser (and somewhat funny) extent, there's Raph smacking Donnie with his broken staff. If you have a sibling you'll most likely recognize this as simple rough housing. It's pretty clear Raph isn't actually trying to hurt Donnie, and he once again has a brief affectionate look on his face.
- The introduction of Spikes was this due to how adorable it is to see a guy like Raph gushing over his pet.
- This makes his transformation into Slash all the more tragic.
1x04; New Friend, Old Enemy
- Raph's moment with Mikey at the end of "New Friend, Old Enemy."
- Splinter tells Donatello that though he was responsible for Metalhead, his actions saved the city, and for that, he's proud of him.
1x07; Monkey Brains
- April slowly warming up to Donnie in "Monkey Brains" especially coming to his defense when the other Turtles laugh at him for getting beat up.
- Also from "Monkey Brains," when Donnie returns to the lair after getting beat up his brothers immediately go to help him and only laugh at him after they are certain he's ok.
1x08; Never Say Xever
- At the end of "Never Say Xever" Mikey hugs Mr. Murakami when he reveals that he knows they're turtles and accepts them anyway.
1x09; The Gauntlet
- After Kirby decides to cover the turtles' escape from the Kraang's base, and, as a result, gets left behind (which is something of a moment in and of itself, since April's watching it all happen). Devastated, April hugs Donnie, who goes on to reiterate that they'll get her father back. It's still on the sad side of heartwarming, but says a lot.
1x11; Mousers Attack!
- After hearing that April's phone has been stolen, the Turtles immediately try and get it back for her.
1x12; It Came From the Depths
- Any scene of Mikey bonding with Leatherhead, starting with Mikey feeding him "pizza noodle soup". Then after Leatherhead talks to Mikey about what a dangerous monster he is, Mikey says "Maybe you just think you're a monster because everyone treats you that way." Maybe he really is wise beyond his years.
Mikey: Really? All right! Someone finally likes my cooking!
- After Mikey feeds Leatherhead his pizza noodle soup, he expects Leatherhead to say he hates it, because he's heard it from his brothers a million times before. Instead, he says it's the best thing he's ever tasted.
1x13; I, Monster
- The Turtles' reunion with Splinter.
1x14; New Girl In Town
- There's something very sweet that Mikey immediately goes to hug Leo when he thinks he'd been crying. He might not be the brightest, but he's definitely The Heart of his brothers.
- Raph's worry when Mikey is knocked out when they're fighting Snakeweed. He doesn't even try to hide his relief when Mikey finally comes to.
- Karai choosing to help Leonardo escape from Snakeweed instead of letting him die. Especially notable since Shredder had already given her a stern warning that she wasn't to let him live the next time they met.
- Leo saving the knife she threw at his head as a memento at the end of the episode.
1x15; The Alien Agenda
- Ralph making sure Leo was okay after the Justin scene and trying to help him out.
- When Karai asks Leo about the Kraang, he immediately warns her that they're dangerous and to stay away from them.
1x16; The Pulverizer
- Mikey picks up a piece of gum on a subway track, and is about to eat it only for Raph to smack him, preventing him from eating something unsanitary.
- Mikey and Don's concern for Raph when he gets bitten by Xever/Fishface.
- Especially the way Mikey defends Raph, busting out his most badass moves, often not even taking his eyes off of Raph while fighting off all comers. Doubles as a Moment of Awesome.
- When the Turtles return to the lair, April is relieved and shares a brief hug with Donnie.
1x18; Cockroach Terminator
- Raph pretty much ignoring how terrified he was of the roach when it had Mikey.
1x19; Baxter's Gambit
- Splinter decides to give April her own ninja weapon, a Japanese war fan. Also heavily overlaps as a tearjerker since Splinter originally planned on giving it to Miwa.
1x20: Enemy Of My Enemy
- Karai saving the Turtles, and Leo saving her in return.
- Despite the rocky moments and strained relationship we've seen between Karai and her father, she still immediately moved to save him from the Turtles' attack.
1x21; Karai's Vendetta
- Donnie's concern for April is palpable while she's being chased by Karai.
- The turtles are clearly impressed and happy hearing about April's escape from Karai.
- Splinter afterwards says one of the most important lessons about being a Ninja is making it back home.
- When April is fighting Karai, she says she lost her mother. Karai pauses the fight and is caught off guard, even repeating "you lost your mother?" in a shocked, sad tone, and when April is escaping, Karai gives her a...genuinely sorry look.
1x22; Pulverizer Returns
- Don's concern for Pulverizer's safety throughout the episode and the end where he promises to turn Pulverizer back to normal.
1x24; Operation: Break Out
- Raph telling April about Donnie's heroism at the end.
- April hugging Donnie.
- After almost an entire season, April is finally reunited with her father.
- Raph's behavior towards Mikey and Donnie throughout the episode, it emphasizes how much he really cares about his family.
- "I've got this."
- After gearing up for their mission, Raph gives Spike a pat on the head, or rather a tap on the head. Later, he picks up a pigeon and uses it to block one of TCRI's security cameras and once his brothers have snuck past the camera, Raph puts the pigeon down and also pats it on the head.
- Raph and Leo have clearly patched up their differences, with Raph rescuing him from falling, and even bemoaning his Disney Death, saying he should have been nicer to him.
- April tells Donnie after he helps rescue her, "You're my hero."
- And at the very end, we have a Dance Party Ending, as the turtles and April celebrate saving the world.
- Splinter tells the turtles that when they first went to the surface, he was worried they wouldn't be ready, but states that if the fate of the world had to rest in anybody's hands, he's glad it's in their hands.
- A very bittersweet moment when Splinter discovers his supposedly dead daughter is alive and working with his worst enemy.
2x01; The Mutation Situation
- Despite acting all feral around the turtles and speaking only in roars, Kirby's Mutated form acts positively gentle around April, indicating that Mr. O'neil is still in there to save.
2x03; Follow The Leader
- The ending where Raph admits that he's happy Leo is home in his own aloof way.
- The fact that Don kinda goes to Raph over his April-based problems.
- We get to see Leo's Big Brother Instinct again, with him threatening Karai to stay away from his brothers from now on. To add to how impressive Leo is here, he still manages to make an attempt to help Karai too during this threat, telling her that Shredder is lying to her about Splinter and imploring for her to believe him about this.
- Karai looking at the picture of her deceased mother, Tang Shen. This is probably the first time we see a girl like Karai with real happiness, instead of the arrogant, snarky kind she usually displays.
2x04: Mutagen Man Unleashed
- At the start of the episode itself, the other brothers join Mikey in watching a parody of Mazinger and Voltron. A mild example, but considering how the other brothers usually treat him, it's rather nice to see them all like something that Mikey is into.
- April, near the episode's end, leads Casey Jones, someone she barely knows, away from the fight with the Turtles and Mutagen Man to protect him without him knowing it.
- She may have also been doing it for the turtles as well since it prevented Casey from seeing them, despite still being mad at them.
- Raph complimenting Donnie for stopping Mutagen Man. Compare that moment to the end of Metalhead.
Raph: You did what you had to Donnie.
- Splinter telling Donnie not to lose hope about April's departure.
- Donnie's feelings toward Mutagen Man. He may be the Monster of the Week, but he still has the mind of the Pulverizer.
2x06: Target April ONeil
- There's something sweet that April goes to Casey, a guy she only really knew in battle or for work to have company now that she's fallen out with the turtles.
- And that Casey inadvertently gives her a moment of recognition on how accidents happen and friends can drift apart sometimes.
- April rejoining the turtles after accepting their apology, realizing that it was beyond their control. She even gives Donnie a smooch on the cheek!
2x07: Slash and Destroy
- Leo's tea party with the little girl. Also doubles as a crowning moment of funny.
- Even more so when you notice that she's not even remotely afraid or unnerved of Leo, even though very few humans in this show don't feel that way about the Turtles at least a little (even April was a bit weirded out when she first met them). Even though the little girl is oblivious to the severity of the situation, and even though Leo tries to play the whole thing as if it were her imagination, it's all very sweet that she's innocent enough to look past Leo's being a mutant, refer to him endearingly as "Mr. Turtle", and want to have a tea party with him of all things.
- Raph's intense brotherly instinct that comes out when Slash resorts to beating the crap out of Mikey and Donnie.
Raph: My brothers come first, no matter what.
- Even before Slash starts beating them, when he hears that Donnie is missing, Raph makes it perfectly clear what his priorities are.
- Also, when Raph is about to be defeated by Slash, Donnie and Mikey try to restrain him by jumping on his arms even though they're in no shape to continue fighting.
- Splinter tells Raph how to drown his sorrows when a loved one is lost, take comfort in the loved ones you still have.
Splinter: Raphael, do you know what I do when I miss my loved ones from the past?Raph: No.Splinter: I focus on the friends I am surrounded by in the present.Raph: Thanks, Master Splinter. Hey, what's a guy got to do to get in your little competition?Mikey Next game is all yours, dude.Leo: Sorry about Spike, Raphael.Raph: You guys aren't tooo bad to hang out with either.
- When Spike turns into Slash after getting into the mutagen. Its clear that even after his transformation he still cares about Raph with all his heart and truly does want the best for him. Unfortunately this also doubles as a Tear Jerker later on.
- Likewise, even after everything Slash had done, Raph still tries to Save the Villain in the end.
- There's just something about the little girl's lack of fear towards Leonardo. It managed to strike a cord in multiple fans hearts despite her and Leo's tea party being part of a gag.
- Casey saves Raph from being run over by a subway. Later, Raph returns the favor when a Foot Bot knocks Casey off the subway. The two are actually grateful to each other.
- When April vouches for the turtles to Casey, he immediately backs off.
Casey: So, they're not the bad guys?
- When one of the Foot Bots scan the lair, Splinter instructs them not to let it escape. Casey immediately runs after it to prevent it from revealing the lair's location to Karai.
- Casey's entire motivation: he wants to make the city safe from the monsters and ninjas before someone close to him is hurt. Like his dad, his little sister, or April. (The fact that he already counts April as someone close to him really hammers it home)
2x09: The Kraang Conspiracy
- The first thing Mikey does when they find out April is a mutant is joyfully say "Welcome to the family!"
- Raph and April's interactions during the second half of the episode are actually pretty sweet even though the intense moment it happens in is relatively frightening.
- Especially since we rarely see these two interact one on one.
- It's pretty cute how all the turtles manage to show their affection towards April, in their own individual ways of course.
2x10 Fungus Humongous
- The way Mikey takes care of Raph after he gets hit with the spores.
- Splinter commending Leo for facing his fear, even though Leo admits he has yet to master it.
Splinter: Would you say you mastered your fear?Leo: No, I only faced it.Splinter: And that, Leonardo is why you are a great leader.
- After the mutant mushroom is defeated and all snap out of their hallucinations, Raph and Mikey reunite with Donnie, April and Casey. What is the first thing Mikey does? Jumping right at Donnie and hugging him. The look of relief and happiness and especially how he snuggles up to him are adorable. What more, Donnie just smiles and doesn't push him away or anything, something Raph would have most likely done.
2x11" Metalhead Rewired
- Metalhead sacrificing himself to save Donatello, the other guys and other captured mutants from the Kraang by maintaining the portal to their prision until they all escaped.
Leo: You were right Donnie, I should've trusted you.Mikey: Sorry about Metalhead Donnie.
- Leo and Mikey trying to console Donnie about Metalhead's "death".
Raph: *referring to the portal* Come on you tin can, move your butt!
- Even Raph became less of a jerk.
- Slash/Spike and Raph exchanging a brief look as the mutants are escaping...the bond is still there.
- Heck all of the mutants (even Snakeweed and Spider Bytez) had some minor moment. Like Mr. O'Neil staying calm and following Donnie's instructions in order to escape.
- Donnie refusing to follow Leo's orders of erasing Metalhead's AI since it's basically killing him.
- When Donnie says the training session with Metalhead was successful, Leo points out that Metalhead could've ripped Mikey's face off. Considering Leo himself almost got decapitated by Metalhead, which is worse than what Mikey was going through, it was nice to see someone being selfless towards Mikey for once.
- Raph helping Mikey when his arm is stuck in the vending machine.
- After Donnie is sucked into the Kraang portal and Leo is dragged in trying to save him, Raph and Mikey briefly exchange glances...then charge in after them.
2x12" Of Rats And Men
- April, and even Donnie, being worried about Casey when he's captured.
Donnie: Get everyone else to safety. We got this covered.April: You always do.
- During the fight Raphael gives Leo the extra manpower he needs when taking on one of the giant rats. Raph even shouts his name when charging in.
- Sort of a subtle one, but after Splinter starts trying to attack Mikey, April can be seen standing protectively over him.
- Ice Cream Kitty. That thing is freaking adorable and he actually participated in the battle against the Rat King with Mikey, the one who mutated him in the first place.
2x13 & 14" The Manhattan Project
- At the end, Mikey is relieved that Donnie, April, and Casey are okay and hugs them.
- When Tiger Claw was about to shove them into the surface, Mikey tells Leo and Raph that he loves them and confesses to eating Raph's last pizza slice. It's amusingly adorable.
- Donnie and Casey finally becoming real friends as well as the instances shown:
- When Casey fails to reach for Donny and is believed to be dead by being eaten by the worm, Donnie is just as if not more heartbroken by this.
- Casey being impressed by Donnie's smarts when he saves them and taking back all the insults he gives, resulting in the two fist bumping.
- Karai eavesdropping on the heroes at the end shows that she's beginning to have second doubts about her loyalty to Shredder and implies a Heel-Face Turn in the future.
- Leo shoving Karai out of the way of a falling smokestack during the opening fight.
- Also, his revealing to the others the truth about her and saying they have to fight to get through to her because "she's our sister".
- Raph goes into the portal to be first, Casey goes in after, bringing April with them. Donnie goes in after April. And Mikey? He tells Leo "You can't let them go in alone dude" in an almost uncharacteristically serious voice and goes in after them.
- A Meta one for the fans. One of the portals has them look in on perfectly reproduced footage of the original series, then as the episode's plot ends, it abruptly switches to the old style of animation used for the 80's cartoon, and has the four turtles, with their original voice actors, eating pizza and discussing things before battle. Unlike Turtles Forever, it's treated with all the respect it deserves.
- Kirby O'Neil being restored to his human form and April reuniting with him.
- Splinter insistence on saving Kirby first and saying he does not blame Donnie for the situation at all.
- When Slash threatens to lay a second beatdown on Donnie, Casey of all people comes to his rescue.
Casey: Get away from him!
- Raph saving Slash and then offering him a place on the team afterwards.
- Mikey breaking Raph's fall.
- Slash having no qualms about eliminating Kraang, and not people. If any human were to see him, they would scream and run away thinking he's a monster with malicious intents and probably try to hurt him first. Kind of heartwarming and a bit of a tearjerker protecting people who would mistake you for the enemies you're fighting.
2x18" ''Pizza Face.
- Mikey apologizes before fighting Leo, Donnie, and Splinter.
- At the end when the turtles and April check on Mikey and assure him that his little "adventure" was all just a bad dream, April closes the door to his room and waves goodbye before she leaves.
2x19 "''The Wrath Of Tiger Claw."
- Karai finally seeing the truth about Splinter being her real father.
2x21 "''Vengeance Is Mine"
- Karai reuniting with Splinter at long last makes her mutation all the more heartbreaking.
- Karai laughing at the Turtles' antics during training. It sort of gives her a Cool Big Sis vibe from her.
- Raph's concern for Mikey after seeing that he was injured by Rhazar.
- This episode shows that, even in his own twisted, abusive way, Shedder actually does care for Karai.
- Before knocking him out, Karai places her hand on Leonardo's chest in an intimate manner. For a few seconds, the affection feels very genuine.
2x24 "Into Dimension X"
- The Turtles reuniting with Leatherhead.
- Mikey remembering how he and Leatherhead became friends.
- After Mikey jumps through the portal Leo and Raph don't hesistate and follow him, despite Donnie pointing out how dangerous it could be. And even Donnie, despite being afraid, only waits another few seconds before jumping through the portal as well. Just shows again that for their little brother they'd go through hell and back to get him back.
- Leo playing with the cute 'little' creature. Doubles as a CMOF as well. And it shows that, just like when he was playing with the little teatime girl, he might be a really great dad someday.
- At the end, when they return to earth, Mikey is sad that now he'll be back to his old clumsy self. However, Leo and Donnie point out that he did a really great job in Dimension X and that they never would have succeded without his leadership. Donnie even calls him a genius and Leo mentions that he got the crystal in their world. So basically, not only do they comfort him, they also praise Mikey for his actions and show him respect, something Mikey has always wanted!
- When Raph and Casey meet up with the others, Mikey hugs Raph. Instead of getting annoyed, Raph smiles and says "Aw, I missed you too, little brother."
- As The Turtles are grabbing things from their lair, Donnie goes to the frozen Mutagen Man/Timothy and vows to return for him someday.
- Raph takes a picture of Spike as his only possession from home.
- When the turtles (sans Leo) and April see Splinter and Shredder fighting in the sewers, Shredder defeats Splinter and throws him into a whirlpool to drown to death. Raph swears vengeance on Shredder and tries to open the sewer gate bars, and when Mikey tells him to calm down, Raph is about to hit Mikey only for Mikey to hug Raph to cool him down.
- The ending with Karai (in her mutant snake form) saving Splinter from the rushing water in the sewers can be this. For bonus points, Karai nudges Splinter before swimming away, as if she was giving him a soft kiss.
- The pizza delivery guy going out of his way to save the little girl. Even d-list characters can be heroes!
3x01 "Within the Woods"
- Raph watching over Leonardo when he was recovering and Leonardo doing the same later on in the episode.
- There is something else in in Raph's vigil. When he shouts to the others to come to the room, Leo is awake and coherent. Since Leo's been n a three month long coma, it's highly doubtful that he came awake all at once. Raph probably had to explain where they were and a bit of what happened. Raph also waited until Leo could handle visitors to call the others up, so Leo wouldn't be overwhelmed.
3x02 "A Foot Too Big"
- Even after getting smacked around and having his face grabbed, Mikey without a second thought agrees with Donny to treat Big Foot's wound.
- Mikey calling out both Casey and Leonardo for what they said about Big Foot.
- Donnie tells April that he's realized that his attraction to her is the same as Big Foot being attracted to him, and that he's just a mutant. She tells him, "You're my mutant", and she kisses him on the lips, leaving him stunned.
Donnie: I understand… nothing.
- As...weird as the whole situation is, The Finger's horror at finding out that Big Foot is a woman, Big Foot comforting him and the two shacking up is kind of sweet.
3x3 "Buried Secrets"
- When Mikey is sad that the others are angry at him for attacking April's Mom, Ice Cream Kitty cheers him up immediately. Mikey then squirts some whipped cream and puts a cherry on her head making a cute scene. It helps that Ice Cream Kitty was the only one who believed Mikey.
- Though things quickly change, it was emotional seeing April reuniting with what she believes to be her mother.
- Casey asking April if she was all right after the whole fiasco with her mother.
- Then Leo reminding her You can't give up hope. Trust me on that. and extending his hand to help her up. Awwww
3x4 "The Croaking"
- Seeing Mikey and Napoleon's friendship develop throughout the episode was rather sweet.
- Raph and Mikey's awkward sibling hug!
3x5 Dream Beavers
- Raph is a good brother and very caring to Leo throughout the episode.
- April seems concerned the most with Donnie during the episode: even though he's the last Turtle they check on, he's the first that she realizes is in trouble, and tries to wake him up immediately; when she and Casey then move Donnie downstairs, she sits closest to Donnie (and never seems to leave his side), cradles his head in her chest, psychically contacts him first, even gets so worried that she tries to slap him out of sleep, and finally gives him a big, relieved, kiss on the cheek when finally he wakes up.
Donnie: Wait, did... did April KISS ME a while back?
- This episode shows that Casey is just as much Vitriolic Best Buds with Donnie as he is with Raph. They even refer to each other as friends repeatedly, make an effort to make up after their argument, have fun building a car together, and they have an insult game. Considering how much they've been at each other throats for so long, this episode was a much needed insight into their relationship.
"I don't care about winning, I just want my friend back!"
- Leo thanking April for not giving up on him and their hug at the end.
- Casey convincing Raph they should let Leo win their spar at the beginning and their concern for him when his knee gives out.
3x8 ''Vision Quest
- The boys just spending time together.
- The boys briefly reuniting with Splinter through the magic fire.
3x9 ''Return To New York
- The family is finally reunited, except for Miwa.
- The turtles referring to themselves as Splinter's sons as they're trying to break through to him while he's in his primal state.
- April using her powers to help Splinter.
- Raphael subsequently calling Splinter "father" after he makes his triumphant return.
- How about Splinter acknowledging both April AND Casey as part of the family?
3x10 ''Serpent Hunt
- When the turtles are trying to get Karai back to her senses, Mikey says, "It's okay, Karai. It's me, Mikey. Your brother."
3x11 ''The Pig and the Rhino
3x12 & 13 Battle for New York"
- In both parts, both the Turtles and the Mutanimals squabble over how their respective plans should be carried out while working together. Mikey and Leatherhead on the other hand are the only members of their respective teammates who don't argue with one another since they're both good friends. (Leatherhead in that Mikey was his first friend ever, and Mikey because he always sees Leatherhead as a big cuddly pet) Leatherhead even looks sad that he couldn't get to hear out the Turtles' plans when the Mutanimals force him to attack the Kraang without the input of the Turtles.
- While we got a taste of Slash's impending Heel-Face Turn in "Newtralized," this episode was when it was finally solidified. Going from being a psychotic, vengeful Well-Intentioned Extremist, to becoming an edgier loner looking for his own place, to finally becoming the leader of a gang of mutant misfits who (like him) found a bigger, common-er enemy. His reconciliation with Leo feels much more heart-felt this time around.
"I just tried to model myself after the best leader I ever knew..."
3x16 ''Clash of The Mutanimals
- After a brainwashed Slash attacks Splinter, knocking him to the group, Mikey checks on him. Mikey tells Splinter that he and Donnie can stay with him while Leo and Raph take on their brainwashed friends, but Splinter insists that Mikey help his brothers.
- In the ending, Raphael thanks Leo for saving him. Leo playfully makes fun of him, saying that every team needs a hothead. At first, Raph growls and it seems like he's gonna blow a gasket... instead, he picks Leo up and hugs him.
Raphael: "You're the best, bro."
3x18 ''The Deadly Venom
- Despite not being able to get back Karai, Leonardo managed to save his brothers via the new technique he learned. His brothers go and thank him for saving them all.
- Splinter's So Proud of You moment with Leonardo helped Leo see that he did manage to do a good job and on he shows promise as a healer.
- Donatello clarifies that while Karai may have attacked them, he mentioned it was due to Shredder's plot. Subtle, but it shows that they don't hold being poisoned against her, since she is no longer herself.
- Just the relationship between the turtles, they goof off and sometimes fight, but it's obvious they care about each other. This especially stands out with Leonardo and Raphael, since a lot of versions have the two all but at each other's throats. In this cartoon they get along and seem to genuinely enjoy being with one another. What's more, in most of the episodes there is a least one moment that highlights that, even if it's just in the background like Leo holding on to Raph for support while he laughs.