Western Animation: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)
Donatello: Booyakasha! Michelangelo: Sounds weird when he says it. Raphael: It sounds weird when you say it!
The Turtles are back... Again!This time on Nickelodeon! And the official 32nd member of the Nicktoons!It's the turtles' fifteenth birthday and they're itching to venture up to the surface and showcase their ninja skills. Master Splinter reluctantly agrees. At first, they love the surface with its weird lights and even stranger food (like pizza). However, things go awry when they witness a girl and her father being abducted by men in a van. They try to intervene, but don't fare well during the fight, with the van getting away, only to discover that the kidnappers are really robots with living brain creatures in their chest and were carrying the ooze that made them into mutants!Eager to learn more of this strange connection, they regroup and begin to practice fighting as a team with Master Splinter appointing Leonardo as The Leader. After storming the enemy fortress, they learn that these creatures are called "The Kraang" and have sinister plans in store. They manage to rescue the girl, April, but the Kraang still have her father. They vow not to rest until they rescue him.Unfortunately, the Turtles' attack has not gone unnoticed by the media, which alerts The Shredder to come to New York to take on Hamato Yoshi's students himself.It was renewed for a third season on February 26, 2013, before even finishing its first season.Two video game adaptations were released in 2013 for the show, the abysmally reviewed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Out Of The Shadows (with the Turtles' radically redesigned from their television likenesses), followed shortly by kiddie-friendly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2013 (this one with the cartoon's aesthetics), which was slightly better received. A game for mobile devices has also been released, as well as a LEGO racing game on the LEGO website.Check out the Space Heroes Page and the Super Robo Mecha Force Five Page.
Tropes unique to this incarnation include:
Abnormal Ammo: The Shellraiser's weapons fire compressed balls of garbage and manhole covers.
Abusive Parents: Shredder is implied to be one; Karai is genuinely terrified when she makes him mad with a comment, and he explicitly threatens her with bodily harm if she doesn't follow his orders to kill Leonardo the next time she sees him.
Accidental Misnaming: The turtles can never remember how to correctly pronounce Baxter Stockman's name from one episode to the next.
Action Girl: April is slowly turning into one of these.
Adapted Out: Oroku Saki/Shredder takes the place of his brother Nagi from the original comics in being the third wheel to Yoshi and Tang Shen.
Adaptational Badass: Traag is 20 ft rock monster who can spit lava and can reassemble himself after an explosion with no visible damage
Adorkable: Donatello gets this from the get-go, but Leonardo is also shown to be one. Seriously, when are we ever going to see a version of Leonardo who's into Sci-Fi television shows and tries to emulate them? Heck, even Raphael is shown reading a vintage comic book when he's mocking Leonardo's pastime. And let's not even get started on Mikey's general quirkiness. Really, all of the turtles in this version have elements of this.
Leo really warrants special mention. His face shape, big blue eyes, and his propensity for fanboying makes for some borderline moe screenshots.
Aesop Amnesia: The Turtles have a nasty tendency to forget the Aesop of "The Gauntlet"; that they should be less arrogant and a little more aware of their limits. Splinter or the situation usually slaps them in the face at these times.
Agony of the Feet: In "Metalhead", Mikey attempts to stop Metalhead by doing a good old-fashioned Groin Attack. Cue Mikey briefly hopping around on one foot, before getting punched by Metalhead. Earlier in the episode, Metalhead stomps on Leo's toes; cue Leo screaming in pain before getting punted across the room.
All-CGI Cartoon: Though there are flashbacks done in a slick graphic 2D style reminiscent of sequences from Kung Fu Panda. It's also notable that the show often combines 3D animated models with 2D animated effects to give things a fresh, unique look. It's especially notable in the Turtle's eyes which often shift to a traditionally animated appearance to invoke a ton of anime conventions.
"I, Monster" and "Enemy of My Enemy" show the Turtles out during a cloudy day, with Mikey even lampshading the fact that they haven't gone out in the morning.
Animesque: Has every bit of this equal to Teen Titans when it started out. Naturally considering its directed by CiroNieli
Animorphism/LEGO Genetics: The way the ooze works has been reverted to its 87 counter part as well. Unlike the 03 series where it strictly turned animals into anthropomorphs, here it splices genes of between two species that were last directly exposed to each other. Excluding other mutants.
The Turtles last touched Hamato Yoshi, and Hamato had a split second contact with a rat. Snake landed near some plants. Vic sees a couple of spiders before he mutates into Spider Bytez, Bradford gets bitten by a dog that looks like his mutant form Dogpound, and Xever buys a fish that looks like his new form Fishface.
Pulveriser/Mutagen Man is the only exception. His form resembles nothing, though why this happened is up to speculation. The most frequent suggestion is that, since he hadn't touched anything organic besides mutants, the mutagen had nothing to work with and just made him a blob.
Anyone Can Die: Or in this case, anyone can get mutated, especially in Season 2, including Raphael's pet turtle Spike, April O'Neil's father, and Karai.
There is one exception: April is half-Kraang, and thus immune..
Oh, and why this is serious? Most mutants lose their minds completely.
Arch-Enemy: The Kraang primarily, though The Shredder does consider himself to be the entire Hamato Clan's personal nemesis.
The Shredder more due to the personal issue's he has with splinter and his sons
Art Evolution: The show still looked pretty good early on in the show, but late season one episodes are far more stylistic, introduce varied and interesting locales, improved cinematography, and the fight scenes become a fair bit more fluid, which all continue in Season 2.
Artistic License - Biology: Many wasps do in fact die when their stinger breaks off, but the type showcased in "Parasitica" (a parasitic wasp) is a type of wasp that doesn't die when their stinger breaks off.
Then again it's a mutant wasp with mind control venom, so really all bets are off.
The turtles themselves apply to this as well, in a sense.
Author Appeal: Ciro Nieli mentions that a lot of the writing staff apparently have a Mutagen Man toy on their desk and want to utilize Mutagen Man in some shape or form as an important character. Needless to say, after "Pulverizer Returns" and "Mutagen Man Unleashed", they got their wish.
Leo: (acting) Oh, great! We let him get away! Raph: Whoa, whoa. You're the leader, so that means you let him get away. Leo: (whispering) You're not helping! Raph: I'm not trying to help.
April does this in "The Gauntlet," Donnie tells her it's ridiculous. And yet it works.
Bad Boss: The Shredder is not above threatening to mutilate his Co-Dragons and even his own daughter. Still, compared to the Shredder from the 2003 cartoon, he's a Benevolent Boss, since he hasn't actually killed off any of his flunkies even though they're failed him quite a few times already.
Badass Adorable: Essentially all of the Turtles due to the art style, but especially Michelangelo.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Female mutants tend to get off easy compared to the male mutants. April is part-Kraang, but looks completely human. Karai's snake creature form is still pretty cute and she can change back to human form at will, though still retaining the eyes, tongue and teeth.
Big Bad Ensemble: Currently Shredder has to share the spotlight with The Kraang, who are much more The Heavy at this point in the series.
The Kraang receive much more focus in the first season and are much more dangerous than the Shredder, Foot Clan or any other villain. Not to mention that they are directly or indirectly responsible for almost everything that happens in the series, making them primary antagonists of the first season, perhaps the entire series, while the Shredder is secondary Big Bad.
The Rat King's threat level, recurring appearances, and global ambitions warrant him a mention as well.
Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Turtles face quite a few of them, like the cockroach in "Cockroach Terminator" and the wasp in "Parasitica".
The Big Guy: Raphael wins the first sparring match featuring the turtles, enjoys his work a little too much, and is considered the team's heavy hitter. Hilariously, he's also close to being The Napoleon, since only Mikey is as short as him, and his stocky build makes him look shorter.
In "The Pulverizer Returns", the Foot motorcycle sashimono reveal The Shredder's family name is written as 小禄note (小禄団 is Oroku-dan, meaning "Oroku Group"... as in Oroku Saki).
Bittersweet Ending: While The Kraang were defeated in "Enemy of My Enemy", this victory is negated by the fact that the Turtles now have a Karai who likely isn't going to be willing to even be playful toward them anymore, fully hating them for betraying her. The Shredder also has one of the Kraang after their UFO crashed into the water, thereby having even more access to the technology.
The end of Season 1 has the Turtles defeat the Kraang, but Splinter learns that his daughter, Miwa, was raised as Karai by The Shredder, and was misinformed about the whole ordeal. The Kraang are also down, but not out, as the Technodrome reactivates in the ocean, to begin their plans anew.
Body Horror: Snake's mutation into Snakeweed. His design includes a pumping heart outside of his chest, and visible meat and bones in his legs.
Also Xever's transformation into Fishface leaves him unable to breathe and desperately begging Shredder for help.
Baxter Stockman's AI-enhanced power suit, specifically when Mikey has thrown a chain around Baxter and the torso on Stockman's suit starts spinning, sending Mikey flying. Either his body is curled up in the torso of the suit, or Baxter should have twisted his body several times causing irreparable internal, external, and skeletal damage.
Pulverizer's transformation into Mutagen Man. His organs are very visible inside of the goo and his eyes and lips are connected through stalks.
Then there's the Spy-Roach. The exposure to mutagen caused the spy equipment Donnie attached to him (including a camera) to fuse with it, and its saw and Super Vision clearly have visible veins. And then it molts, with its new form looking like a giant maggot with arms, legs, and robotic wings.
Donatello gets generally little respect from his brothers (mostly Raphael), has a particular penchant for embarrassing himself, and twice now, his Bo Staff has broken.
"It Came from the Depths" takes this to truly ridiculous levels, wherein Don gets thrown around like a ragdoll, shoved into the water multiple times, shocked by high-voltage technology, and then volunteered to face Leatherhead (the one who threw him around in the first place). This is allPlayed for Laughs, despite the fact that he is clearly terrified by the last part.
Hamato Yoshi and Tang Shen's child, Miwa, who is revealed in the first season finale to be Karai.
Also Mrs. Campbell, Justin, the Pulverizer, and Dr. Tyler Rockwell. It seems this show is following the franchise' tradition of having loads of new characters.
Subverted with Dogpound and Pulverizer, who become Rhazar and Mutagen Man, respectively.
Cassandra Truth: Happens with Mikey when he tells his brothers about robots with brains in their chests. When they see it with their own eyes, Mikey is quick to go on an "I told you so" rant.
Which also acts as a Shout-Out to the first cartoon as none of the turtles believed Mikey's rant about seeing a giant brain even back then.
Both Leonardo and Splinter reveal the truth of Karai's parentage (Splinter is her true father), which she refuses to believe. It's not until the end of The Manhattan Project that she begins to wonder if they are telling the truth, when she eavesdrops on the Turtles and Splinter discussing her.
Charles Atlas Superpower: Pretty much inevitable in this franchise. Pretty much everyone can easily scale buildings and leap across entire streets, sometimes while keeping up with speeding vehicles.
Chekhov's Boomerang: The giant vat of mutagen Baxter put in his lab keeps coming up, and people just keep falling in it. So far, three separate characters have fallen in, each in a different episode: Dogpound, turning him into Rahzar; April, who is immune so nothing happened; and Karai, who became a shape-shifting snake after Baxter had dumped some chemicals and snake DNA into it (the intention was for the turtles to mutate instead.) Given that the vat appears to have been blown up, it may not come back for a fourth round, though.
Chekhov's Gunman: The Pulverizer becomes The Mutagen Man, who will apparently play an important part in Season 2's plot.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Episodes usually end with a comic-esque shot of the final scene in the episode, with who's on the screen at the time getting a corresponding color (the heroes are classified as blue, the villains getting dark purple).
Combat Pragmatist: Master Splinter. And his students are well on their way to becoming this as well.
Specifically invoked when Splinter told Leo that, since you can lose a fair fight, you should avoid fighting fair. Considering that many prior versions of the turtles, particularly Leo, have upheld Honor Before Reason, it stands out.
Comedic Sociopathy: Raphael. Lampshaded in "Rise of the Turtles, Part 2", where, while pursued by Kraangs, he ripped off one of their robot armors' arm and uses said arm to block the door, much to his teammates' shock. Bonus points for making a pun right before it occurs.
Raphael: That oughta hold 'em. (off his brothers' looks) What?
The Kraang share the name of an antagonist from the 1987 series, as well as a few traits of the Utroms from the original comics and 2003 series, who were the inspiration for Krang in the first place.
Baxter Stockman, while black like in the original comics and 2003 show, appears to take visual cues from the 1987 version of the character in physique, hairstyle, and general attire. He was also confirmed to become a flyman in Season 2 at a convention.
April O'Neil shares some traits with Venus de Milo from NinjaTurtlesTheNextMutation. Much like Venus, This show's incarnation of April is a teenager, uses the tessen fan as her weapon, is treated as the fifth member of use team, has a ponytail, and has latent psychic powers. It serves as a great compromise for fans who actually liked Venus and fans who saw her as a Replacement Scrappy for April O'Neil.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: The first few Kraang that the Turtles fought proved to be a hard match with superior strength and resourcefulness, however after the Turtles train to fight as a team, they can take down any number of Kraang. Averted with the Purple Dragons, despite having fewer members and more characterization than the Foot ninjas, they're just gangsters and not trained assassins, and they go down even easier than the Faceless Mooks, so far only having success against Murakami (and even he fought back), and Stockman.
Snake was splashed with mutagen sent flying out of the van they use as distraction whilst they break into the Kraangs' lair, transforming him into Snakeweed.
Snakeweed:You did this to me! I'll crush you turtles!
Donatello: Uh, would it help if we said it was an accident? (Snakeweed roars at them) I... I'll take that as a "no"!
The Kraangs weren't concerned with the Turtles until they almost destroyed one of their installations while trying to save April from them.
The Shredder would have probably stayed in Japan had the Turtles not left shuriken with Hamato Yoshi's mark on it behind them, leading Saki to believe his rival was training new ninja in New York.
Baxter Stockman was a fairly Harmless Villain before Mikey accidentally allowed him to acquire their T-Pod. They eventually took it from him, but he kept a grudge against them after this because of it.
Spider Bytez invokes this trope, though it's arguable in his case: the Turtles were trying to save him, and would have succeeded if he had not kept acting like a combination of Jerkass and Too Dumb to Live. His mutation was pretty much more his fault than theirs.
Bradford does the same when he breaks the mutagen bomb and douses himself AND Xever with the goo. The Turtles didn't do anything technically (he and Xever attacked first) and were trying to disarm the mutagen bomb.
Similarly, Pulveriser purposely exposed himself to mutagen to become a mutant. Unfortunately, his mutation made him feral and insane.
Creator Cameo: The Pizza Delivery Kid is voiced by none other than Executive Producer Ciro Nieli.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The Turtles' first encounter with the Shredder. They were lucky to escape alive.
Leatherhead frequently curb-stomps entire squads of Kraang droids, and all four turtles at once, single-handedly. Then he tries to take on Splinter...
In "Showdown", we get Splinter vs the entire Foot Clan. Special mention goes to him taking on Dog Pound and Fishface at once and kicking their tails without getting hit once.
In "Karai's Vendetta", we have a Designated Girl Fight between April and Karai. April has only had a few months of training and has never been in a serious fight, whereas Karai has been in training her whole life and has been in more than her fair share of fights; it's really not that surprising that Karai ends up beating April senseless.
Darker and Edgier: Darker than the 1987 series and slowly edging to be on par with the 2003 series.
The Turtles in this series are more prone to sometimes morally questionable actions, such as betraying Karai despite a greater threat being on the loose or much of the team agreeing to let Pulverizer spy on the Foot despite the threat.
Mutagen Man, in the first show, fell apart in a comical fashion, and worked to get his body back, but didn't really devolve into a bad guy in his solo appearance. This show's Mutagen Man is a teenager who decided to try and follow an example of his heroes and ended up transforming painfully into an amorphous, feral blob who seems to have no recollection of his humanity or his heroes.
Season 2 appears to be heading in this direction, as it has Kirby O' Neil mutating into Wingnut, and April hating the Turtles as a result, and the fourth episode episode features Mutagen Man, who actively tells a pinned down Raphael to die, and was planning on using his acid to melt off Raphael's face.
Dating Catwoman: There's definitely a mutual spark going on between Karai and Leo, one they both acknowledge.
Karai: (looks around the Shellraiser for a second} "Yeah, 'cause if Shredder finds out you have an ice cream lamp, it is over.
Death by Irony: Metalhead, in his debut episode. Not only is he taken down by his own creator, he's taken down with a bo staff, the very weapon that Donnie's dissatisfaction with led to Metalhead's creation in the first place.
Demon Head: This is one Japanese visual gag that shows up now and then.
Denser and Wackier: Season 2 has a bigger share of humor and outlandish mutants (such as Pizza Face, the Squirrelanoids, and Sir Malachi) in generally non-plot related episodes, and even some plot-related episodes have jarringly comic moments or premises.
The Mutation Situation ends with Kirby mutating into a bat and when April finds out that the turtles were indirectly responsible for this, she leaves the turtles in spite and vows to never see them again and there are mutagen canisters all over New York.
Drives Like Crazy: Donnie makes Leo the designated driver of the Shellraiser because, as he puts it, Leo is the least likely of the group to crash into something for fun. Raph and Mikey both acknowledge that this is true.
Even worse in Parasitica, in which despite Mikey saving their butts and showing he's far more competent than he looks, the other brothers only gripe about doing chores and Leo goes after him for using his comic book as toilet paper. Though he was pushing it by constantly rubbing it in.
Enemy Mine: The Turtles are forced to team up with Dogpound and Fishface when Baxter Stockman traps them all into his Maze of Doom. Baxter even complains about the Turtles and Shredder's henchmen teaming up to take him out. After getting out, they were all prepared to settle unfinished business, but were simply too exhausted to fight each other.
Karai subverts this when she and the Turtles face the Kraang in the Worldwide Genome Project building, creating Justin and then ditching the Turtles to face the Kraang and the super-mutant. This ends up biting her in the ass when she later wants to sincerely work with the Turtles to stop the Kraang's scout ship and none of them trust her. It also bites the Turtles in their collective asses when Leo decides to let Raph and the others attempt to take down Shredder during their team up with Karai, which not only blows up in their faces, but leads Karai to develop full-blown hatred of them.
The Turtles' main traits are shown in their sparring session in the first scene of the series (Mikey's free spirit, Leonardo's focus, Raphael's Jerk Ass behavior, and Donatello's awkwardness), and then Splinter shows that he's not above joking with his own sons.
Bradford and Xever's first scene showcases Bradford's ego and Bad Boss tendencies, Xever's sociopathic behavior, and their overall relationship.
Evil Makes You Monstrous: Good or neutral mutants are fairly humanoid, while amoral characters exposed to the ooze become monstrosities. Best demonstrated by Xever: both he and Bradford mutated, but the pragmatic Bradford remained fairly humanoid as Dogpound, while the sociopathic Xever became a fish with arms as Fishface.
A lesser example has Metalhead and Pulverizer (in his mutagen form) in Donnie's portion of the intro, and Casey Jones leaning on the building as the turtles run up to the rooftop at the end.
Starting with "Wormquake/The Manhattan Project", the villains went through slight change to depict Kraang Prime, a Squirrelanoid, Slash, Mutagen Man, Bradford/Rahzar, Fishface, Tiger Claw, Karai ahd Shredder. Also, the part near the ending that has Leo cutting two Kraand-droids and Donnie peeking out of a manhole is replaced with the turtles firing grappling hooks and using them as ziplines. However Spike is still shown with Raphael after the Slash episode.
He also brings to mind Robert Wall, better known as O'Hara from Enter the Dragon.
Tiger Claw for Boba Fett. A hired gun brought in by a helmet-wearing villain who uses a variety of high tech devices including a jet pack who ends up having someone cause said jetpack to malfunction, sending them hurtling into the maw of a massive subterranean beast.
Slash in "Slash And Destory", who severely wounds Donnie offscreen, smashes Mikey around, and has an absolutly brutal fight against Raph. Even when Leo joins the fray, he's quickly and painfully smacked off to one side.
Fanboy: Leo actually takes this role in the series from his favorite TV show Space Heroes, which he uses as a template in regards to becoming a true leader.
Pulveriser is a huge one of the turtles, what with the turtle costume and all.
Fat Bastard: Vic (the guy who insults Raph and gets the turtles on video) before his mutation into Spider Bytez.
Fighting Fingerprint: Michelangelo befriends a famous martial artist and learns one of his secret katas. When Splinter sees the move he immediately deduces that whoever taught Michelangelo must have been trained by the Foot Clan because it comes from his arch-rival Shredder's fighting style.
Five-Bad Band: The Shredder seems to have formed one by 'The Alien Agenda'.
The Dragon: Chris Bradford/Dogpound - Of the Genius Bruiser variant as Shredder's top disciple and most trusted enforcer even after mutating.
The Brute: Xever/Fishface - Lightning Bruiser variety. He's the sociopath and more obsessed with fighting than with the honor of the Foot Clan
The Evil Genius: Baxter Stockman - His brains are the only reason the Shredder hasn't mutilated him.
The Dark Chick: Karai - The Shredder's daughter and most cunning agent. Espionage, reconnaissance, and flirts with The Hero through her feminine wiles. Also fits the loose cannon description, actively seeking out the uncanny and causing chaos otherwise she gets bored.
Flanderization: This incarnation of Mikey is much more hyperactive, immature, and LOUDER than all previous incarnations. He also comes up with the dumbest nicknames.
Raphael gets some too, as he's never been so mean as to bully Mikey like Channing Tatum to Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street. Though recent episodes have given signs of him softening a little. He also constantly threatens and slaps Donatello whenever the latter starts on one of his science rambles. He even hits Leo, though at least Leo fights back.
Raphael's chapter has him find graffiti reading "Jones was here" and "Casey Jones is everywhere!", complete with a Kilroy-esque image of the hockey-masked vigilante himself.
Michelangelo's chapter features him discovering the remains of one of Baxter Stockman's Mousers, but assumes it to be one of Donatello's inventions.
At the end, Splinter says he would like a Pizza, with Mikey asking what it was, and Splinter simply replying that it was a gem of the upper world.
Subtly done in "Rise of the Turtles, Part 2" as Splinter recounts to Leonardo his history with the Shredder, and how his life was taken away by the Foot Clan. Splinter makes the clear distinction that they killed his wife & but "took [his] baby daughter Miwa from [him]," hinting to the viewer that Splinter's daughter is still alive.
A Freeze-Frame Bonus one occurs in "Turtle Temper". When the Turtles are trying to get the video back from Vic, on the wall next to him is a poster of a man with a monster as his shadow, foreshadowing Vic's mutation into the monstrous Spider Bytez.
Yet another example happens in "Metalhead", where Leonardo watches an episode of Space Heroes where Captain Ryan has to Mercy Kill one of his crew after a brain-like alien takes over his body. This foreshadowed Metalhead being taken over by one of the Kraang and Donatello defeating Metalhead by damaging it.
Happens yet again in "The Gauntlet", where we see Shredder's top minions Chris Bradford and Xever get bitten by a dog and touch a fish respectively, foreshadowing their mutations into Dogpound and Fishface. The show seems to have grown fond of this trope by now.
Yet another one, this time from "Mousers Attack!". The phone that the turtles have been busting their shells over has call display, which activates near the end of the episode. Clearly visible on the screen is the name Irma and the face of a bespectacled girl.
In "The Alien Agenda", after April sends her saliva to TCRI, Mrs. Campbell, a Kraang-Droid, goes after April. "TCRI" reveals that the Kraang run TCRI, and are in fact not after Kirby O' Neil, but April.
Occasionally, a comic book is shown with a monster on the cover. "Pulverizer Returns" has Michelangelo show this comic once again, showing the monster much more clearly: The monster on the cover is a reference to Mutagen Man, what with its Brain in a Jar head and body. The Pulverizer becomes Mutagen Man by the end of the episode.
In "New Girl In Town", Leonardo watches Space Heroes, and the episode deals with the protagonist dating one of the villains, and when she tries to betray him, the captain doesn't hesitate to betray her right back. Ultimately, Leonardo and his brothers have no qualms betraying Karai in "Enemy of My Enemy".
Basically any time you see the turtles watching cartoons, it's probably foreshadowing.
Donnie's chart is one big forshadowing of season one's episodes and maybe some of the second.
The ending of Mutation Situation shows a squirrel drinking mutagen.
In "Follow The Leader", paying attention to the final fight in the episode shows a billboard featuring "Stockman Industries".
In "Mikey Gets Shellacne", Dogpound puts a collar loaded with mutagen around Baxter's neck, saying he'll release the mutagen if Baxter acts out of line, and then people will see what he turns into, suggesting that he'd probably be some sort of annoying bug.
In "Rise Of The Turtles, part 2", Michelangelo suggests that mutating a mutant will turn them into a super-mutant. Cue "Mikey Gets Shellacne"...
In the same conversation, Donatello counters with, "Or a pile of goo on the sidewalk." Cue "The Pulverizer Returns".
"The Lonely Mutation of Baxter Stockman" features Baxter saying that he has plans for mutant pigs and rhinos. A day before the episode aired, Playmates Toys released concept art of updated designs◊ for Bebop and Rocksteady, indicating it may not just be a Mythology Gag.
Freudian Slip: Donnie slips up when talking to April at the end of "Never Say Xever", saying that "sometimes things that don't seem like should go together actually make a great couple! - I mean food."
Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "Slash & Destroy", when Raph and Slash are jumping across rooftops and Raph comment on them being a crime fighting duo, they pass by a billboard with a Mouser picture that reads "Stockman Industries: Making Today's Break Tommorow's Realities". It makes one wonder just what Stockman has been up to offscreen to have a business billboard up, and why he couldn't get someone to make sure the spelling was correct, as one can see by how the word "tomorrow" is spelled.
Funny Background Event: At the end of "Metalhead", whilst Donatello is showing off his, erm, rocket-staff, in the background you can see Raphael get annoyed at Leonardo, and grab him in a headlock with Michelangelo trying to pull him off.
Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: A running gag on the show Space Heroes is Captain Ryan slapping his crew mate whenever he starts to panic. He even does it to himself while under the effects of an "anxiety ray". Leo actually tries it in the pilot on Mikey, with humorous results:
Mikey: "Did you just slap me?" Leo: "I was calming you down." Mikey: "WHY WOULD THAT CALM ME DOWN?!"
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Quite a bit of Shredder's face has been utterly roasted, and his right eye is whited out.
Gosh Hornet: How the Turtles manage to beat the powered-up Baxter Stockman.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: In the first episode of season 2, a fight between the turtles and the Kraang causes dozens of mutagen canisters to fall throughout the city. The turtles have to track down every one to make sure they don't cause any more harm.
Gratuitous Japanese: Whenever ninjutsu is discussed and during training sessions with Splinter hajime, yame, ninniku seishin, etc.
Hero with Bad Publicity: Comes up in "New Friend, Old Enemy." Mikey tries to return a cat to its owner because he wants to make friends with humans, despite his brothers' warnings that humans would freak out if they saw him. Not only does said human freak out at the sight of a giant talking turtle with ninja weapons, he thinks he's trying to hurt his cat. And then the cat, who'd been cute and friendly moments ago, attacks Mikey.
Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Captain Ryan of Space Heroes. He'll sacrifice his crew members for the slightest of reasons, and his "humane" idea of getting rid of a bunch of alien creatures aboard his ship is to vent them all out of the airlock. Leonardo sees him as a role model.
In "Never Say Xever", April saves Mikey by throwing a pot's lid at the Purple Dragon sneaking up behind him. She also gets Mr. Murakami, the blind chef, safely out of the store during the fight.
Again, in "Karai's Vendetta", when Karai reveals herself, Murakami steps in, "accidentally" throws a bowl of soup in her face, and stalls her long enough for April to escape, all while pretending to be a blind klutz.
Heroic Sacrifice: In "The Gauntlet" April's dad grabs a gun and covers the Turtle's escape so they can protect his daughter, throwing away his own chance at freedom.
Leatherhead pulls one in TCRI by dragging Traang back into Dimension X to save the turtles.
Highly-Visible Ninja: Played with. The turtles stand out like sore thumbs, and thus rarely go above ground in the daytime. They also try to employ ninja stealth in every mission. However, they end up being found out quite often, leading to them resorting to open battle.
Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Shades of this from the Turtles, most of it coming from Splinter training them to be warriors at the same time. Splinter's lessons seem to have a tendency to be painful and Raph once comments he pummeled them for merely being sleepy. The implication was that Splinter knew they had disobeyed their grounding, but that they thought it was for being tired is indicative.
Michelangelo: "I can see a pizza place from up here!"
Idiot Ball: Never once while fighting Snakeweed do the Turtles consider destroying his heart, which is the only reason why Snakeweed is never Killed Off for Real. Though this could be partially due to Executive Meddling, because, you know, you can't have Leo jabbing the creature in the heart with his katana in a kid's show.
To be fair, there's no reason they should know this. They're never around to see that the heart is the first thing to start moving again.
There's a similar moment in Metalhead. The Turtles are fighting a Kraang-controlled Metalhead, attacking it vigorously while exclaiming that it must have a weak point - and never attacking the squishy, defenseless Kraang sitting on its head.
I Just Want to Be Special: The Pulverizer. He wants to be a ninja like the Turtles, and douses himself with the mutagen to gain powers. Unfortunately for him, he instead became a blob monster.
Implacable Man: Traag proves himself to be this trope in both of his appearances.
Improvised Weapon: April does this a couple times. In "Metalhead" she uses a convenient pipe to take out a Kraang droid, and in "Never Say Xever" she knocks out one of the Purple Dragons by throwing a pot's lid at him like a Frisbee (and saving Mikey in the process).
The turtles also do this in "Pulverizer Returns", first with each other's weapons (and they fail miserably) and when in the Foot Warehouse, Don uses a push broom, Raph uses a piece of wood, Leo uses a pipe, and Mikey uses a chain.
April: Mikey, you already have a human friend; me!
Mikey: April, you don't count. We saved your life! You have to like us!
And let's not forget "The Mutation Situation." Seriously, the way he tells April that it was the Turtles themselves who spilled the mutagen that mutated her dad makes you want to punch him in the face at the very least.
Insistent Terminology: As Donnie keeps reminding everyone in Panic In The Sewers, they're not go-karts, they're Patrol Buggies.
Splinter's Greatest Failure (below) leads to the loss of his family as a human.
Mikey says this at the end of "New Friend, Old Enemy" after he realizes his new friend actually works for the Shredder and that he's accidentally revealed the existence of himself and his family to their worst enemy.
In the episode "New Girl In Town", he panics when Mikey gets hurt in battle and shows obvious relief when he finally comes to.
Knight of Cerebus: The Shredder. He flat out Curbstomp Battles the Turtles when they first face him. If it weren't for being momentarily distracted by his top henchmen Chris Bradford and Xever being mutated into Dogpound and Fishface, he would have killed them.
The Rat King, whose attacks on the Turtles are much more personal than many other villains in the show, and attempts to veer Splinter to his side by pointing out that he's lost almost everything.
Leitmotif: In the Nick.com Tales from the Turtles' Lair interactive prequel comics, the Japanese folk tune "Sakura" is used for Splinter's theme.
Let's Get Dangerous: The end of 'Metalhead', after Donnie spends a great deal of the episode catching flack about his fighting/stealth skills and his bo staff. You can tell the instant he gets serious.
So what was the message of "Metalhead"? Splinter points that there's nothing wrong with developing new weapons when fighting for your life, but when Donatello sends in Metalhead, it saves the other turtles and only ends up having to fight it because he got careless with it. So, technology is okay, but, what?
The real Aesop of the episode, which Splinter went on to clarify, is that it is you who must prevail in battle, not your weapon. That is, you can upgrade your weapons as much as you want, but in the end it doesn't matter what kind of weapon you use so long as you use it properly and win.
Love at First Sight: Donnie falls in love with April and calls her "the most beautiful girl I've ever seen!" Raph is quick to point out that she's the only girl that Don's ever seen.
Love Makes You Evil: Part of the reason Shredder became enemies with Splinter is because of his uncontrollable jealousy that Tang Shen chose Splinter over him.
Meaningful Name: Averted/Lampshaded. Mikey is surprised that Snake didn't mutate into a snake.
Medium Blending: The show combines 3D and 2D animation (sometimes even "bleeding" from one to the other like in the establishing shot of the first episode or the Art Shift seen at the end of every episode). Notable because the only other example that comes close to the same level of integration is the Disney theatrical short Paperman.
Much of the camera angles, special effects (particularly the Kraang UFO's laser in "Enemy of My Enemy"), shading, character design, and 2D animated sequences lend themselves to the comic books that TMNT was born of.
Mood Whiplash: "The Gauntlet" goes from finding a silly manbird to an attempt to save April's father and stopping a Mutagen bomb and a short victory scene to the Shredder coming in and beating up every turtle in a surprisingly brutal manner.
"Enemy of My Enemy" has the Turtles escape from Karai, and Leonardo has a My God, What Have I Done? about him betraying her and the unlikely chance she'll bother to work with them, then Mikey compares it to Leprechauns, to which Leo gets angry at. Then it cuts right back to The Shredder and Karai, having gotten one of the Kraang to interrogate.
The Pulveriser Returns starts out humorous with the Pulveriser attempting to be a ninja. It takes a drastic turn when he mutates.
Mook Horror Show: Leatherhead in "It Came From The Depths" is shown to easily overpower the Kraang in his opening scene. Actually lampshaded later on when the Turtles first see Leatherhead, overpowering them again.
Donatello: Never thought I'd feel sorry for the Kraang.
Multiple Endings: The prequel motion comics on Nick.com have two alternate endings in the final chapter, determined by whether the reader types in the correct answer to the question that suddenly appears (the answer is turtles 4 sale). If the reader types in an incorrect answer, the Tengu defeats the Turtles. When the reader types in the correct answer, however, the comic ends with the Turtles succeeding in defeating the Tengu and finding out that the Tengu was really Splinter, who disguised himself to teach his sons the value of teamwork.
My Greatest Failure: For Splinter, it was allowing his anger to get the best of him after Oroku Saki insulted him in front of his love Tang Shen. The resulting attack on Saki intensified their rivalry, leading to Tang Shen's death and Miwa's kidnapping. This is the reason why dealing with Raph's temper is serious business for him.
In one episode, Mikey mentions the idea of getting his face tattooed over his face. A quick shot demonstrates this by placing a 2D image of Mikey from the 80s cartoon layered over his current design.
In addition it was likely a reference to the 2007 movie, where Mikey wore a cartoon turtle head for his job.
While on patrol, the Turtles chase villains who are driving a van. When the heroes plan to overtake them, Michelangelo is more excited about the possibility that afterwards "We've got ourselves a van!" Which is likely a reference to the Turtles' van from the 80s show.
The entirety of the first fight with Shredder closely mirrors it's occurrence in the original Mirage comics, taking many poses and framing directly from the comic panels.
The T-phone's ringtone is the 80's show's theme song.
The opening theme is essentially a combination of the original theme of the 1987 seriesnote The first verse is about how cool the turtles are, the second verse goes through each of the four and Splinter individually, and the chorus is exactly the same. and the first film's Turtle Power by Partners in Kryme.
The Theme Tune Roll Call lists the Turtles in the exact same order as those of the 1987 cartoon and the Fast Forward and Back to the Sewer seasons of the 2003 cartoon: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo.
The opening theme uses the phrase "Secret of the Ooze", a reference to the title of the second live action movie.
In addition when the Turtles doing weapon demonstrations is a visual gag to 2003's second opening version.
The Foot Clan Ninjas wear suits that resemble those used in the live action movie.
The tails of Mikey's mask are short like they were in the 80's cartoon while the rest of the Turtles have long ones. This even came up in Turtles Forever where Mikey was a fan of the short tails (and the monogrammed belt buckles).
The Nick.com motion comics play the game over tune from the old Konami beat-em-up games at the end of each comic!
Like in the 87 series episode "Thing About Rats", the Turtles don't believe Mikey's story of an alien brain.
Shredder, much like the '87 series, is once again being played by a physically intimidating Scary Black Man.
April and her father are introduced when walking in front of the Second Time Around Antique Store, which April inherited from her father in the continuities of the live-action films & 2003 animated series.
Channel 6 is where the turtles get their news.
The first episode's zoom-in on New York and then its sewers is more or less taken from the 2003 show.
April's father's name is Kirby O'Neil. The name "Kirby" had been used in the comics and 2003 series as an Expy for Jack Kirby. Also in the Mirage Comics April's father used the Kirby Crystal to create April from an ink drawing.
Spider Bytez keeps mistaking the Turtles for Kung-Fu Frogs in reference to the Punk Frogs from the 80's cartoon.
Chris Bradford's Foot Clan uniform looks very similar to Shredder's costume from the Mirage Comics sans the trident blades on the helmet, right down to the red coloring.
One many people may not spot - in the 2003 series, Michelangelo says the following: "And what's with all those ninjas? Ninjas in New York City? Besides us? It's just not right." Come the 2012 series, we get this line from Donatello in the fourth episode: "Ninjas? In New York? Other than us?" The two lines are very similar.
Metalhead being controlled by a Kraang is a reference to its connection usually with Krang in the older TV series.
Murakami the noodle chef was named for one of the producers of the '87 cartoon, Murakami-Wolf-Swenson.
Actually, Ciro Nieli named him after a friend of his, possibly Teen Titans collaborator Glen Murakami. It's more likely that the Wolf Hotel in "The Gauntlet" was named after Murakami-Wolf-Swenson.
Dogpound resembles Rahzar, and later becomes him.
In "Panic in the Sewers", Donatello suggests living in the sewers in Florida, which is the home of Leatherhead and the Punk Frogs in the 80's cartoon.
In "Mousers Attack!", Irma calls April just before her phone breaks.
The Kraang being responsible for creating Leatherhead is a reference to his origin in the Mirage Comics and the 2003 cartoon, in which he was created by the Utroms, who were partially the inspiration for the Kraang.
The Pulverizer seems to be based on Zach from the 1987 animated series. Both characters are fans of the Turtles who also dress like them and try to help them, which tends to turn out badly.
His belt buckle has a "P", referencing how the 80s Turtles had monogrammed belt buckles.
The Shredder forms a partnership with Krang from the original 1987 animated series.
Karai at one point orders something the original Shredder would always want: Turtle Soup.
The head of Kraang Prime's armor resembles the head of 1987 Krang's robot body.
In the Booyakashowdown 2 parter, the turtles crash the Shellraiser into TCRI...except they're not even in the Shellraiser and instead occupy the enemies using Metalhead and once they're on the roof, Raph uses a piegon to block one of the security cameras so the Kraang don't see them. These are references to the 2003 version's Return to New York and The Search for Splinter.
Using a pigeon to block the T.C.R.I. building's security cameras was also a technique used in the original Mirage comics.
This isn't the first time the Technodrome has been stranded at the bottom of the ocean.
Kraang Prime has some parallels to Krang from the original 1987 cartoon. Their robot bodies both have similar-looking heads and Kraang Prime at one point refers to the Turtles as "miserable mutants", an insult the original Krang used against the Turtles a few times.
A very obscure reference - the villain Spider Bytez is named after an unreleased action figure based on a one-off mook from the 2003 series' "Back to the Sewer" incarnation - same spelling and all.
Mikey quotes the Ninja Rap from the second movie.
In "Follow The Leader", the trenchcoat disguises favored by the '87 Turtles are referred to.
While Mikey is disguised as a giant fly (Buzz Buzz) in "The Mutation Situation" he flies past a Billboard advertising Stockman Technologies. Baxter Stockman in the 80s cartoon ended up mutated into a giant fly.
The Turtles, April and Casey get a look at their 1987 cartoon counterparts through a dimensional door in The Manhattan Project. Additionally, the worm they were fighting throughout the episode ends up in that universe in the epilogue.
Raphael: Why do we look like dorks?
Donatello (while looking at April's 87 counterpart): Love that yellow jumpsuit!
In "The Lonely Mutation of Baxter Stockman", a photograph of Ace Duck from the original 1987 cartoon's toyline can be seen and Baxter Stockman suggests to Shredder that he can create mutant pigs and rhinos, a reference to Bebop and Rocksteady.
After being transformed into Spider Bytez, Vic swiftly blames the Turtles for it... Except if he hadn't started screaming about his phone when the Turtles were pulling him to safety and blowing their cover, and then put himself in harm's way by trying to retrieve the phone in the midst of the Turtles fighting the Kraang, he never would've come into contact with the Mutagen.
Mikey shows this trait a couple of times too, like when he blamed Splinter for letting them go topside in the first place (though, admittedly, everyone was blaming everyone else for something at that point) or when he said that losing the 'TPod' was Don's fault for trusting him with it at all.
Never Say "Die": Mostly. Especially blatant in "The Gauntlet" where the stakes are very high for the first time, with the atmosphere of the turtles potentially getting killed and soft words like "perish" are used instead.
"Rise of the Turtles, Part 2" - Snake wouldn't have become Snakeweed if the Turtles had emptied the Mutagen (Which they knew was there) from the back of the van before crashing it into a large gate at high speed, causing the Mutagen to fly out of the back and cover Snake.
"Turtle Temper" - Mikey constantly provoking Raph whilst staking out a warehouse for the Kraang results in the destruction of a satellite TV dish, which sets into effect a chain of events that, thanks in part to his own stubbornness & stupidity, leads to Vic being transformed into Spider Bytez.
"Enemy Of My Enemy" - Karai genuinely wants to work with the Turtles to stop the Kraang, though her previous actions have left the Turtles wary of her intentions. They eventually do agree, but decide to set a trap for Shredder when they realize he'll be out in the open. When Karai notices them about to zap her father, she pushes him out of the way, fires a rocket at the Turtles, then attacks Leonardo in a rage, declaring that if it's a feud they want, it's a feud they'll get, severing any possible good will between them. Leo even acknowledges that he blew it big time.
"The Mutation Situation" - In stopping the Kraang shipment, the Turtles ended up losing mutagen canisters all over New York, one of which actually transformed April's father into a giant bat. Furthermore, when Mikey (in a particularly idiotic manner) tells April that the Turtles themselves were the ones who spilled the mutagen, April is anything but pleased and promptly declares their friendship over.
The Nicknamer: Mikey seems to have taken charge of naming their enemies & equipment; he's just not very good at it and keeps giving them names which are incredibly blunt with their obviousness. In fact, when Donnie named the T-Phone, Mikey got upset that he didn't get to name it, despite admitting that he would have called it the T-Phone too. Although Mikey has his moments as the others admit that 'The Shellraiser' is a good name.
A Show Within a Show example with Captain Ryan; he is a complete sociopath, but is treated both in his story and by Leonardo as an awesome hero. Raph is, ironically, more lucid about it.
Spike/Slash, who thinks he's doing Raph a favor by eliminating Raph's brothers.
Noodle Incident: Baxter seems to lend himself to these. He mentions in his first appearance, he got fired because of a photocopier accident, and in "Baxter's Gambit", mentions that he got expelled for bringing a makeshift volcano full of real magma to the Science Fair.
Not His Sled: The Turtles have a tendency to fight the Shredder on a roof as per the first issue of the comic during first meetings in adaptations, but usually win the fight either through teamwork or an outside party coming in to help them. Neither happens in their first fight in this series, with the Turtles being forced to escape.
Not Quite Dead: Snakeweed. He appears to be killed when the Turtles trick the Kraang into electrocuting him, but his visible heart starts beating again when the Turtles leave.
Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: Averted. After being told by Splinter and the Leonardo that she is Splinter's daughter, not Shredder's, she thinks they are lying to her. However, at the end of The Manhattan Project, she eavesdrops on Splinter and the Turtles discussing this, leading her to question what is true and what is not.
Out of Focus: Besides her introduction in the premiere, April doesn't start playing an active role in the show until episode 6.
Our Zombies Are Different: The mutated Parasite Wasp essentially does this. It stings Leo, who bites Raph, infecting him with the virus. They go after Donny and Mikey, with Donny even getting the surprise bite during a fight.
Painful Transformation: As shown with several victims, the mutagen's transformation process is not a very pleasant experience. The Pulverizer even explicitly says it burns.
Papa Wolf: Kirby proves to be a Badass Normal when he holds off the Kraang in order to allow April and the Turtles to escape.
It's also a really, really bad idea to threaten the Turtles when Splinter's around. Leatherhead found this out the hard way.
The Power of Hate: Tiger Claw claims that only his hatred and desire for revenge against the turtles, Splinter, and their human allies allowed him to survive his trek home after being swallowed alive by giant alien and then trapped in another dimension.
Pressure Point: Master Splinter uses this to calm down and discipline an overreacting Raphael. Later in the episode, Raph himself uses the technique to paralyze Slash.
Puppy-Dog Eyes: The turtles do this when pleading to be let out of the sewers. And it's adorable. Mikey does this himself when trying to convince his brothers to bring Leatherhead back with them to the lair.
A Rare Sentence: Splinter tells Michelangelo that he made a wise decision, and then admits he never expected to say that.
April has now scammed the same older Asian fishmonger twice with different, equally implausible stories about being a public official; she claims to be an undercover cop in "Never Say Xever," and a fire inspector in "Panic in the Sewers." The latter also serves as a Call Back to the former, as the gentleman asked to see April's police badge ("Are you crazy? I can't carry a badge, that would blow my cover!"), so the next go around, she briefly flashes her "credentials" to avoid any questions (said credentials being her hilariously Adorkable high school student ID).
The Pizza Boy. Also a blonde haired woman who the turtles saved (along with the pizza boy) in the episode New Girl In Town pops up now and again in a few later episodes.
The turtles have run into a hobo several times sleeping, holding a sign that the world is ending, and bringing the squirreloids to the lair in his stomach.
Replacement Goldfish: Subtle and (in-universe) unintentional. Hamato Yoshi lost his wife and daughter, moved to NYC, and bought four baby turtles for company. His encounter with the Kraang gives him four new young sons to take care of.
Played pretty much completely straight in "Monkey Brains" when Splinter asks April to train as a ninja because of her gift of empathy. Especially notable because afterwards it's obvious he's thinking of his lost daughter, Miwa.
And then in Baxter's Gambit when Splinter gives April the weapon he intended for Miwa to have.
The Reveal: The Kraang were not actually after April's father, they were after her.
Right Hand Dog: Shredder has a pet Akita named Hachiko. He doesn't like failure. He was also indirectly responsible for turning Bradford into Dogpound.
Rodents of Unusual Size: Splinter, of course, though especially noteworthy here. Whilst he's almost always portrayed as one of the shortest characters, this incarnation of Splinter is actually quite tall, even taller than all four turtles.
The mutant rats that The Rat King releases onto the city in Of Rats And Men also count.
Rogues Gallery: The Turtle's enemies typically fall into 3 categories. Aliens like the Kraang, Mutants of various types like The Rat King, or the foot ninjas lead by The Shredder. Robots are sometimes used by these 3 groups, but aren't sentient. The only exception is of course Baxter Stockman who's not any of these per se, though he does work for the ninjas for a while.
Role Reprisal: Subverted. While Rob Paulsen returns to the new series, he winds up as the voice of Donatello this time around.
This Trope's subversion repeats itself again with Nolan North, who also did a voice of Raphael for the TMNT film in 2007. He now voices the Kraang.
Running Gag: Almost every time Leo is watching Space Heroes, the ensign will start panicking and then promptly be bitchslapped by the captain.
Often when Mikey names something, he'll start to explain the name only for Leo or Raph to interrupt with "We get it!"
Series Continuity Error: In Parasitica, the turtles take a centrifuge from the Kraang. In Mikey Gets Shellacne, Donnie states he needs a centrifuge to cure Mikey's retro mutagen shell acne.
Or not. In the later episode, Donatello specifically says he needs a molecular centrifuge. Presumably some kind of Technobabble device. It might explain why they needed that particular centrifuge. The device used appears to be an ordinary centrifuge, though.
Shout-Out: If you listen carefully, both Baxter in "His Name Was Baxter Stockman" and Chris Bradford in "Mousers Attack!" yell "Oh yeah!" when they burst through walls, like a certain anthropomorphized punch bowl is known to do...
In episode 4, when Mikey does his "Secret Kata", one of his moves is the henshin pose of Kamen Rider V3.
Also, the Foot-Bots do kiais that sound like the Shocker Combatmen.
The entire episode itself is very clearly a shout out the Alien movies. The squirrels reproduce inside their hosts, they soon grow into huge, black, skeletal monsters, and have a mouth within their mouth. Also in Michelangelo's comic, only one person manages to survive to the end.
In Target: April O'Neil, Casey mentions playing hockey against a team from "Troma Town."
By the time they start mentioning "Kraang units of weight", the Kraang Running Gag sounds more and more like the running gag in The Dictator.
It may be coincidence, but the Pulverizer's moves when playing with Donnie's staff have more than a passing resemblance to the Star Wars Kid.
In "The Good The Bad And Casey Jones", Casey's doodle of himself standing victoriously over a beaten Raph is in the style of the original Eastman/Laird comics. Also, Casey's goalie stick has "East-Man" spraypainted on it.
In "Metalhead Rewired" Metalhead is plugged into a Krang Computer, he then makes a sound just like R2-D2 when the computer explodes.
In "Mikey Gets Shellacne", Baxter Stockman gets outfitted with what looks like a particular collar from the [[Film/Saw third Saw film]], except it's equipped with mutagen vials instead of shoutgun shells. The shout out is continued in "The Lonely Mutation of Baxter Stockman" wherein Baxter pretty much acts out like one of Jigsaw's victims desperately trying to remove their mounted trap after Shredder activates the collar. It pretty much goes as much as most Saw traps considering the episode title.
Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy: They made the four turtles non-identical for the first time to reflect the show appearance. Also worth noting is a line of zipline playsets coinciding with season 2, which used more ziplines and even put them in the OP.
Show Within a Show: Space Heroes, a Star Trek-like cartoon that Leonardo watches. Season 2 introduces Super Robo Mecha Force Five Team Five Go, which is Voltron and Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go combined into one.
Smoke Out: Used to hilarious effect by Michelangelo.
The Smurfette Principle: Thus far we have 1 hero girl on the show (April), 1 regular evil female (Karai) and one female sounding alien (kraang prime). Other than that, it's mostly men going at each other.
Spoiler Opening: "New Friend, Old Enemy" introduces Chris Bradford & Xever as Shredder's lieutenants, however they are conspicuously absent from the title sequence, which features a shot of Shredder standing in front of Dogpound & Fishface. No prizes for guessing what happens to Shredder's lieutenants.
Spoof Aesop: "The first rule of being a ninja is, 'Do no harm.' Unless you mean to do harm. Then do lots of harm".
A particularly funny one in "I Think His Name is Baxter Stockman." Leo insists to his brothers that, as ninja, they "move swiftly and silently"... and then proceeds to crash through a skylight, run into a beehive, and then loudly tumble down a fire escape to the streets below.
Later, in "Karai's Vendetta," April, after being on the receiving end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Karai, takes advantage of Karai's brief hesitation to toss her down the subway stairs and make her getaway.
Supreme Chef: Chef Murakami. Even being blind doesn't prevent him from cooking up "Pizza Gyoza" for the 4 turtles.
Surprisingly Good Japanese: Being Japanese, most of the main cast pronounce the language quite well; April's pronunciation is accented since she's new to it as the only non-Japanese main character. But Karai is pleasantly surprised when she hears her making the attempt anyway.
One awkward example is the word "kunoichi". Even Splinter leaves out the last syllable and pronounces it as "koo-no-EECH". Justified, considering that it's very common for Japanese speakers to drop the 'i' in the syllables of a word if said syllables end with 'i'note This doesn't apply for the first syllable. You would still sound out the 'i' normally. These phonetic rules apply not only for 'i', but for 'u', as well. Most likely, April pronounces it as "koo-no-EECH" like Splinter, because she's simply mimicking the way he says it.
Surprise Incest: In a roundabout and extremely technical sort of way. Leonardo's brief crush on Karai became this when it was revealed that Karai is actually Hamato Miwa, Splinter's daughter.
Signature Team Transport: This series' 'Turtle Van' is called the Shellraiser, which has a Cool Bike hidden underneath it that comes equipped with armor plates that fold over the bike and rider in the shape of a turtle shell.
They also have interlocking and detachable go karts called Patrol Buggys.
Toilet Humor: Generally rare, but instances include but are not limited to a random hobo farting as the Turtles first see the outside world, Spider Bytez' general sound effect when using webbing, and a dirty old toilet seat cover being used for the T-Sub's periscope.
In "Turtle Temper," while the Turtles are trying to save Vic from the Kraang and are in the midst of pulling him to safety, he starts screaming about his phone and thus blows the Turtles' cover. Then, while the Turtles and the Kraang are fighting one another, Vic deliberately puts himself in the crossfire to retrieve his phone.
In "Pulverizer Returns", the Pulverizer is perfectly willing to expose himself to mutagen despite being warned how dangerous it is. Particularly egregious since Donatello repeatedly tried to save him from being turned into a Mutant yet he still willingly subjected himself to it.
Took a Level in Badass: In an odd example, Mikey's nunchaku for this iteration. Not to say they weren't cool before, but now they can convert into a kusarigama.
Donnie's staff has a naginata blade hidden in one end.
April in "Metalhead". She's still no ninja, but she's learned how to take down a single Kraang droid by herself. Takes another level when Splinter offers her ninja lessons.
Took a Level in Dumbass: Mikey compared to his previous incarnation. He was never the brightest crayon in the pack before, but his increased immaturity in this series tends to invoke this trope to the point that the other characters frequently lampshade his stupidity; it earns him lots of disrespect from his brothers.However that it should be noted he smarter than he looks since he was the first to realize Leatherhead wasn't a monster.
Took a Level in Jerkass: This version of Raphael compared to the 2003 version. In the 2003 version, Raphael was rarely a jerk towards Donatello and usually respected his nerdy brother's brain. In the 2012 version, Raph tends to smack Don for his blathering and tends to be unimpressed with Don's inventions, and in The Gauntlet, when April tells the turtles she was attacked by a giant pigeon man, what is Raph's reaction? He laughs when no one else thought it was funny, not even Mikey, who even tells Raph that he's being insensitive.
Eventually you begin to notice how much of Raph's insults are unsolicited and automatic. More often than not, he puts them down when they're doing nothing more than minding their own business, indulging in their hobbies, or just making casual statements. While 1987 and 2003 Raphael were, to be sure, rather rude at times, they were either funny or responding to another brother's teasing. The 2012 version is just consistently disparaging to his siblings.
In Season 2's first episode, April's dad becomes a bat monster.
Trademark Favorite Food: Pizza of course. Though this is not surprising as it's the first thing they've eaten that wasn't algae and worms. Unlike the older series, the Turtles don't subsist completely on pizza; in "The Gauntlet" Michelangelo was going to make omelettes, and "Cockroach Terminator" shows them enjoying Ramen.
Ultimate Universe: Reuses many ideas related to the 1987 show, but tends to use aspects of many other continuities (such as the use of Composite Characters and a somewhat dark tone), and adds its own spins on occasion (case in point, the revamped origins of the Rat King and Mutagen Man.).
Ungrateful Bastard: Vic is a complete jerk to the Turtles even when they're trying to save him from the Kraang, and it doesn't end well for him. Donnie even explicitly asks the others why they're bothering to try and save his ungrateful life.
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: While the turtles are generally pretty good about being stealthy when on the streets, there is a lot of stuff going on in New York City that really should raise more notice. Probably most blatant when the Shellraiser, a subway car converted into a monster truck that's as wide as a two lane street, is driving around in plain view of several pedestrians, and no one so much as takes a second glance.
Variable-Length Chain: Where does all that extra chain come from when Mikey’s nunchucks convert into a kusarigama?
Verbal Tic: The Kraang punctuate their sentences with "place" in front of most verbs and some nouns.
Weapon of Choice: While Leonardo and Raphael have their familiar swords and sai respectively, promo posters show Donatello with a naginata instead of a bo, and Michelangelo with kusarigama instead of nunchucks though the commercials show them with their traditional weapons. Their action figures come with both of their respective weapons, with the classic weapons "loose" and the new weapons attached to the weapons rack with shuriken and other secondary weapons.
Their "new" weapons have been shown to be their "classic" weapons with retractable blades.
From "The Mutation Situation" to "Target: April O'Neil" this was April's stance with the turtles over her father's mutation until Casey tells her of an event that caused his own former best friend to adopt this outlook on Casey. This convinces April not to throw away her friendship with the turtles.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite the fact Pigeon Pete sets up the plot of "The Gauntlet", he completely disappears from the narrative after the protagonists learn that Kirby says that something bad is about to happen and he subsequently tells them where to find Kirby. His disappearance likely has to do with the series' more dramatic side, but it is somewhat jarring. Like the mutated Doctor Rockwell, they presumably just released him into the city.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: After Snake mutated into Snakeweed the turtles had no qualms with potentionally lethally electrocuting him (to be fair though, they were never very concerned with his safety to begin with, given who he works for).
What the Hell, Hero?: In "The Mutation Situation", saying that April doesn't take the fact that the Turtles unintentionally caused her father to be mutated well is a bit of an understatement. She winds up angrily telling them she doesn't want to see any of them again after that. It takes several episodes before she accepts it was an accident and reconcile.
Wham Episode: Episode 9, "The Gauntlet": It starts out innocently enough with the Turtles investigating a mutant pigeon... then the turtles plan to break out Mr. O'Neil from the compound he's being held only for them to make a Sadistic Choice and save themselves rather than free him. THEN they have to defuse a bomb that's going to cover the entire city in ooze while fighting Xever and Bradford (both of whom get mutated by the chemical in said bomb). If that wasn't bad enough they then get their first battle with the Shredder which ultimately ends with them all nearly getting killed and Splinter ending the episode by stating that the Shredder won't go away and his sons have officially gone to war.
Episode 17, "TCRI": The episode ends with the Kraang's portal re-activated, Leatherhead getting trapped on the other side fending off General Traag, and the revelation that the Kraang have actually been after April, not her father.
And now we have episode 22, "Pulverizer Returns". It's almost doubly so because you don't expect an episode with one of the wacky characters to get this... bleak. Pulverizer, after joining the Foot clan begins to spy for the Turtles, and they learn that Shredder steals Mutagen to create a monster army... and the Pulverizer, or Timothy, attempt to get mutated so he can be a cool mutant. He succeeds... and becomes a blob monster with all his organs visible inside the gunk. The episode ends with Timothy trapped this way in a canister, and Donatello desperately promising to find a way to turn him back. And on top of this, The Shredder and the Kraang seem to be forming an alliance....
"The Mutation Situation" has Kirby mutate into a bat creature, April leaving the Turtles and Mutagen falling across much of New York, most likely to create new monsters and rogues for the Turtles to fight.
The Kraang Conspiracy. Meeting with a journalist studying the Kraang, the turtles learn that they've been on earth for thousands of years trying to terraform earth. However, the real whammy comes at the end when we learn April's telepathic powers are derived from that fact that she's actually a half kraang half human mutant!
The Manhattan Project is a two part episode where Shredder returns from Japan with a new second in command: Tigerclaw. A deadly assassin strong enough to fight Splinter on roughly even terms. With Karai's help, they capture Splinter and almost kill him. However, the turtles manage to save him partly due to the Kraang worms (which is where mutagen comes from) causing earthquakes in the city, and Leonardo finally tells Karai she's actually Splinter's daughter.
"Metalhead": The entire episode is dedicated to trying to resolve this very issue. Lampshaded several times, specifically by Mikey ("Dude, your weapon just exploded!") and Raph ("Oh look, another stick for Donnie to break.") The Kraang blast it apart... twice. And who knows if it survived it's "improvement" at the end of the episode. Of course, being broken doesn't stop Donnie from using it to impale an otherwise unstoppable robot...with a little help from a steel beam.
Instead of April being in her 20's, now she's about the same age as the turtles themselves, around 15-16.
Splinter himself is younger than he was in most incarnations. Probably because he was a man around thirty-something rather than an adult rat at the time of his transformation and thus ages more like a human.
Like April, Karai and Casey Jones have been aged down into their teens.
The turtles themselves act more like adolescents than any of their previous incarnations.
Donatello: Hey, Kraang! The one who is called your mother wears the boots that are made for combat! Metalhead!Kraang: The comment that is made by you shows ignorance of Kraang. The ones known by you as mother— Donatello: Just come get me!
Zerg Rush: The preferred tactic of the Kraang and the Mousers.