Despite its more comedic tone, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles contains its fair share of epic moments.
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- Watching Leo start to become better at his mystic portal weapon powers as the series goes on. Near the beginning of the story, Leo could barely control his weapon properly and even had a whole episode dedicated to him having messed up. Not to mention how he sometimes shows signs of feeling like The Load and having a Inferiority Superiority Complex. By the end of Season 1, not only is Leo able to control his Portal Magic, he's actually more or less mastered it. He no longer messes up and he's outright just doing incredible things with his sword powers. It's awesome to see how far Leo has progressed as the series continues on.
- The turtles' weapons this time around is exactly this. All of them are just awesome in their own way.
- Leo's weapon is an Odachi, which is able to open up portals from one area to another. So far, it seems to have no limit in distance. Leo may not be adept at using his weapon yet, but just imagine the potential he has with this awesome portal power.
- Raph's weapon is a Tonfa, which has the ability to project shields and a bigger version of Raph himself for combat. Not only is it a powerhouse of a weapon, but it can also be used for defense.
- Mikey's weapon is a Kusari-Fundo, an unpredictable chain weapon that he uses like a Killer Yoyo. The best part about this weapon is it's ability to awaken a sort of sentient fire, which enhances Mikey's attacks and is able to shoot him around.
- Donnie didn't take a mystic weapon, but he made a weapon that is just as powerful, if not more since he is adept with it: a titanium grade Tech Bo, able to withstand most attacks and summon rockets and fists, which pack a punch. Donnie himself is impressive to be able to create such premium technology that functions on the same level as presumably ancient magical weapons.
- Although supposedly untrained, Raph and Mikey are able to pick up weapons that are pretty different from their usual ones — Sai to Tonfas for Raph and Nunchunks to a Kusari-Fundo for Mikey — and use them at a competent frequency (minus the magic aspect of them).
- The turtles' battle against Baron Draxum is, in the villain's own words, "accidentally impressive."
- In the fight against Draxum's giant, although he was the last to get to his feet and the last to start running, Leo is able to outrun both Mikey and Raph.
- Donnie is particularly noteworthy. Not only was he able to hold his own when facing head on with Draxum, who is an incredibly proficient fighter, he was also the only one of his brothers able to score a solid hit against him (though, to be fair, everyone else was caught off-guard by their mystic weapons).
Episode 2A: Origami Tsunami
- While not the leader, Leo definitely displays the makings of a good leader. Not only was he able to bring his bros out of a depressive stupor after failing to catch the paper thieves, but he also manages to create a plan that gets them to the Foot Clan in time to stop them from unleashing their paper ninja army.
- When his brothers were incapacitated and getting pummeled by the giant paper ninja, Raph was able to single-handedly take down the giant being with nothing more than charging straight at the Foot Lieutenant and Brute, freeing his brothers. It's also the first time his weapons' mystic powers are fully activated, allowing him to take down both bad guys at once.
Episode 2B: Donnie's Gifts
- Donnie's impressive display of technology is shown once again. He not only manages to call a drill to their location with the press of a button, but also constructs his brother's gifts — a helmet that analyzes the situation in combat (and nags Raph about formulating a plan), a suit that inflates if it senses a potentially dangerous impact for Mikey, and a collar which has voice recognition for puns and one-liners so that it can shock Leo if he says any.
- And while they weren't implemented as Donnie wanted them to be, his brothers used their gifts to help save him: Leo uses the shock collar to electrocute Meat Sweats, Raph uses the helmet as a makeshift boxing glove and Mikey's inflatable suit makes him propel himself like a pinball to knock out the enemies!
Episode 3A: War & Pizza
- Donnie is not only able to repair Albearto to near-perfect condition, but also upgrade him (and then upgrade the upgrade in the middle of the upgrade) to the point where he accidentally gained sentience.
- Watching April, a completely (mostly) normal human lay the smack-down on a bunch of sentient animatronics, all while protecting a little kid, is pretty dang impressive.
Episode 4A: Repo Mantis
- The Cuddlecakes Puppy Rescue Kingdom that Donnie and Mikey built for Todd and the puppies is nothing short of amazing. Complete with a cottage for Todd and numerous activities for the dogs in Todd's care to do. It even has robot assistance, courtesy of Donnie.
Episode 4B: Down with the Sickness
- Splinter's Ninja Rat stage. This is only a small taste of how proficient Splinter is as a fighter. He was able to accurately slice off the protective clothing of the turtles and sneak around the lair completely unnoticed.
Episode 5B: Mascot Melee
- The turtle's dance moves against the other mutant mascots. Raph, Donnie, and Leo were able to show up their respective opponents (all while Mikey laid down some sick beats), and when it seemed that the other mutants' team up would make them lose, they ninja-vanished and reappeared in front of a screen — with all the screens switching to the turtle meme they were representing — and did the Ninja Rap dance from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze! A nice callback to an older incarnation.
Episode 6A: Shell in a Cell
- Raph and Leo's fight against Ghost Bear is impressive. The two brothers make an excellent tag team and were even able to utilize Leo's joke jab, the "Three Star Hurricane," with enough power that they broke the cage they were fighting in.
Episode 7: Bug Busters
- Leo sneaking around the hotel after his brothers were caught and generally being a semi-competent ninja — even being able to find where the Oozequitoes and Donnie's bug catcher were being stored.
- The fight between Baron Draxum and Big Mama, short as it may be. The two go almost toe-to-toe and it's an impressive fight to witness.
- Raph saving Leo after Draxum drops him off a roof. Motivated by the desire to save his brother, Raph summons a giant version of himself using his mystic Tonfas, speeding ahead of Leo's fall and then catching him before he hits the ground.
- Donnie and Mikey using some clever timing and Donnie's bug-catching machine to take out Big Mama. And, of course, Donnie catching Mikey.
Episode 8A: The Longest Fight
- Despite being distracted by the skateboarding finals, the turtles were still able to put up a decent enough fight.
- Mikey's improvisational fighting technique by using a sweater to temporarily incapacitate Foot Lieutenant.
- While Leo may not be as good a skater as Sydney, he was still able to use his skateboarding skills to defeat Foot Lieutenant and Foot Brute, all while his brothers are cheering him on.
Episode 8b: Hypno! Part Deux
- Mayhem is the MVP for this episode, not only fetching Raph and Leo to help save April, but also taking out Hypno-Potamus with the immoral illusionist's own hats. Extra impressive is that the teleport to get the guys was probably at least a few miles away and he did it twice to reach them and bring them back to the school.
- After all that, he ended up being too tired to teleport April to safety at first, but near the end he still managed one last one to do in Hypno-Potamus.
Episode 9A: The Gumbus
- Baxter Stockboy's machinery hands down, which is impressive enough to compete with another genius in the show: Donnie. Baxter is only a young child, but he was able to rig an entire supermarket into a ghostly death trap, using special effects to create the chain-laden Gumbus that was real enough to fool Leo, Mikey, and April.
- Leo was an awesome big brother this episode. While it's hard to notice on the first viewing, throughout the episode Leo did a great job at keeping Mikey safe through the whole ordeal. Doing things like leading him to safety, hugging and protecting his shell when he was hiding, and more. Leo may not be the oldest anymore, but this episode shows that he still has the big brother tendencies from previous incarnations.
- April appearing at the last moment to save Leo and Mikey from the now-revealed machine Gumbus.
Episode 9B: Mrs. Cuddles
- Mrs. Cuddles herself. As scary as she is, she's practically unstoppable if she gets strong enough. She grows bigger and stronger with each scream near her. By the time Raph showed up to fight her, she was enormous and incredibly powerful.
- Splinter was even more awesome than Mrs. Cuddles this episode, being able to effectively beat down a dangerous bunny with little to no effort. The fact that he was completely unfazed by her sheer size when everyone else was terrified of her speaks to his bravery (or how little he cares), allowing him to laugh her back down to size.
Episode 10A: Stuck on You
- The turtles finally coming together to defeat the Foot Lieutenant and Foot Brute after spending the whole day arguing and complaining about being stuck together.
Episode 12B: Hot Soup: The Game
- Mikey shows that him being the youngest doesn't make him any less competent than his brothers. He was able to hold his own pretty well against Foot Recruit and would have completed his mission by himself if Raph didn't barge in at the end.
- Foot Recruit is someone from the Foot you shouldn't sneeze at. Not only is she 110% loyal to the Foot, but she has that level of intensity too. She is able to destroy bricks with a single move and showcased a deadly fighting style that left all the turtles incapacitated in less than ten seconds. Even though she didn't get promoted in the end, it's clear that she definitely deserves it.
Episode 13: The Evil League Of Mutants
- The turtles dismiss them ever needing to learn how to be improvisational fighters early on (especially if it involves ladders and fish), but when it appears that Draxum's minions are about to take them down, they realize they're in the perfect location for such a fight and start kicking evil mutant ass!
- Something both awesome and funny is the show creating the song "Warring Warrior Scientist" styling it after "Major Modern General." John Cena's singing voice as Baron Draxum was spot on, showing off his talent that makes Draxum such a menace.
- Lou Jitsu was shown to be an action star in the same vein as Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee. But this episode reveals that he was a Battle Nexus Champion and the basis of the Turtles' DNA came from him. The ending later has it revealed that Lou was mutated into Splinter.
Episode 16: Shadow Of Evil
- Shredder. In line with all the other incarnations being adaptational badasses, this version is a demonic set of armor that comes to life AFTER DRAINING THEIR WEARER'S LIFE FORCE!
- There's also the fact that the ones who stopped this dangerous juggernaut and its followers were Master Splinter's/Lou Jitsu's ancestors.
- Splinter, who has been shown to this point as an out of shape, lazy couch potato, absolutely wiping the floor with all four of the Turtles while disguised as a Foot Ninja. He even lectured them on their technique all the while. He's still MASTER Splinter, despite initial doubts. And this is how he fights with a BAD BACK.Splinter: Thus endeth the lesson.
- Despite never being formally trained as a fighter, April was able to hold her own pretty well for a regular human, being able to fight alongside the turtles in battle even though she was tied up.
- When the turtles, Splinter, and April have to make a run for it, they all grab onto a moving subway train. The shot where they disappear into the tunnel is epic — in the darkness, the only things that can be seen are their outlines and the glowing red of their eyes from the subway lights. Even though they had to flee, it was a shot that told all the bad guys that they would be back.
Episode 17A: Portal Jacked!
- The fact Leo was able to make a portal from New York to Tahiti, which is 6,278miles (about 10,103km) in distance. Even though Leo doesn't really have a grasp on his portal powers yet, the potential he shows is absolutely amazing. Imagine how awesome Leo will be once he manages to get a handle on this mystic power.
- And he did this not once, not twice, but three times. Once accidentally to his brothers, the second time creating a massive portal to bring his brothers back from Tahiti (which is amazing in itself since he had no idea where his brothers were, though, again, he did this accidentally). The third time he actually managed to do it on command to the pirates (though he meant to do it to himself and his brothers instead — eventually he'll get it right).
Episode 25: Insane in the Mama Train
- It wouldn't be a lie to say that the turtles look amazing in their new spiffy Hamato Clan outfits.
- In essentially less than 24 hours, the turtles did a complete 180, from blubbering irresponsible teens to competent Hamato Clan Ninja. Any hiccups they had controlling their weapons or in competencies in their technique is practically gone and they absolutely own the Foot Clan on the train.
- Donnie in particular is not relying on his tech and instead on his technique.
- Leo and Raph show a new level of team work, being able to now link their minds and reach each other's thoughts and work together to defeat the Foot.
- On a meta-level note, if you thought the animation was beautiful before, this episode blows all that out of the water, not because the previous animation were bad or anything. It's just that the animation in this episode is too good. The action scenes are so seamlessly interlaced with each other and done with such attention to detail, it's essentially a masterpiece work of cinematic action scenes.
Episode 26: End Game
- Raph using brute force to break out of the cage they were in. A bit of a duh moment, but the Foot Clan and Baron really underestimated Raph's strength by putting him in that cage.
- Splinter shows that just because he's fatter, older, and a rat doesn't mean that he's a weak man. Splinter owns the fight against the Foot Clan by himself, taking out 50 instantly and then Brute and Lieutenant with absolute ease. Then his subsequent fight against Baron, where he trumps him in the end. Lesson learned, don't mess with Splinter.
- Later in the episode, as he, April, and Mayhem attempt to aid the turtles in their fight, Mayhem teleports Splinter into a room full of Foot and despite being injured, takes them all out with relative ease once more.
- As potentially terrifying as a Baron!Shredder is, Baron's new powers is really, really cool.
- The fight between the turtles and Baron!Shredder is truly one of the best fights in the series so far.
- Donnie basically being able to hold his own against Baron!Shredder. While he did get a but scuffed up in the process, Donnie showcases similar prowess he showed in the beginning series against a normal Baron, but now it's Up to Eleven.
- Leo, who had the most trouble with his powers this entire season now is able to do it on command and makes several portals to transport items to thrash Baron!Shredder with. He also manages to make a portal with no hands, using only his mouth to grab his sword and make a portal with. And it goes exactly the way he wanted it to.
- Though not a turtle, April shows that she's not one to shy away from danger, being the one to deal the final blow against Shredder by hitting a baseball so hard with her bat that it smashes the back part of the armor.
- Much like the Season 1 finale, the epic animation returns to bless this episode with incredible action scenes.
- Leo is a lot smarter than what other gives him credit for. For the entire episode, Leo is seen being flippant about the Shredder and just not taking things seriously. In turn, the others repeatedly mention how they shouldn't have trusted Leo with it, even Splinter says it. However, it turns out that Leo is practically a chessmaster and was able to manipulate Big Mama and the events to happen exactly the way he wanted to. Although Big Mama was revealed to have been a one step ahead at the end due to trickery, the fact that Leo was able to force Big Mama to hold up her part of the deal is quite a big feat for a 14 year old teen.
- With no hint of hesitation, Mikey somehow throws an entire container ship at the Shredder. To preface this, a Container Ship is roughly 100,000 tons on AVERAGE, able to reach up to half million tons depending on the ship. And the ship Mikey hurled was HUGE. Mikey, the smallest turtle was able to throw a ship weighing roughly 100,000 tons or MORE without breaking a sweat. It's clear that there's some magic enhancement involved, but Mikey is no way shape or form to be underestimated. It's so badass that both Raph and Don look in awe at this feat.
Raph: POWER PUNCHES AHOY!!!Donnie: EAT SCIENCE!!!
- Raph goes to town using his Hard Light form and Donnie unleashes all of his tech on the Shredder (including the drill)
April: (mockingly) "Why would get a crane license, April?" (uses crane to hurl storage bins) Because THIS!
- April saves Donnie's hide by controlling a crane!
- As scary as the Shredder is, he is honestly pretty cool. He was able to withstand Raph's most arguably strongest attack, all of Donnie's tech, and Mikey throwing that container ship at him.
Episode 2A: Todd Scouts
- When faced with maniacal dentists in the woods, Todd takes a sip of his special lemonade...and goes Dragonball Z on them!
Episode 2B: Goyles, Goyles, Goyles
- Lou Jitsu versus Baron Draxum. Just...all of it.
- Lou's change of heart to fight: after giving up on fighting once the Battle Nexus got to him, he learns that Draxum will use his DNA to make a mutant army, starting with the baby turtles he got attached to. Cue pissed off Lou Jitsu.
- This show is visually an absolutely superb masterpiece.
- The animation of this show is nothing beneath absolutely stunning. Not only are the action scenes incredibly well choreographed, they are also jam-packed with little details. The episodes have excellent rewatchability because of this and reveals even more content with each viewing, especially if you slow down the episodes to catch all the details that would otherwise be missed in the first viewing. It's no wonder one of the storyboard artists responsible for most of the most praised action sequences (Kevin Molina-Ortiz) won an Annie for the show. The other storyboard artists are nothing to sneeze at either.
- Splinter's characterization was derided by fans. However, as time went on and we learn why he's like this, people's thoughts about him changed. A couch potato who watches cheesy action films? He was once the guy who starred in those films. His hands-off parenting approach? He doesn't know how to be a father and has no support system for it. Yet despite this, he truly loved his sons and is doing his best. This post sums up how such a comedic character actually has a lot of depth to him and how he accurately displays symptoms of PTSD.