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Western Animation / Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Clockwise from left to right: April O'Neil, Donatello, Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo.

Risin' up against evil, paint the city green
Raph is ready for a fight, Leo's makin' a scene
Mikey's got mad skills, Donnie rocks machines
With each other they discover their destiny and rise!

The fourth animated series featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the second to air on Nickelodeon after the 2012 series. Premiering on September 17, 2018 with a preview on July 20, as the name suggests, it serves as something of a spiritual prequel to more "traditional" versions of the TMNT story, depicting the Turtles before they met their most famous villains or settled into their familiar dynamic; however, it shakes up the concept in other ways too, changing up the heroes' designs and iconic weapons and adding more fantastical elements.

This series is developed by Ant Ward, who originally produced the 2012 series, and Andy Suriano, character designer for The Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack. Veteran voice actor and Ninja Turtles mainstay Rob Paulsen will be the voice director for the series.


The series was renewed for a second season on July 27, 2018, just a week after the preview. It also has a movie in development at Netflix.

Now has a character page that Needs Love.

Here's the first teaser.

Tropes unique to this incarnation include:

  • Absentee Actor:
    • Leo and Raph for Repo Mantis. Interestingly, the viewer gets to see (at least) a part of Leo and Raph's side of the story in Hypno! Part Deux!, with April trying to call Donnie for help, only for him to be working on something; the puppy park he and Mikey were building for Todd (puppies can be seen in the background of the call).
    • Donnie and Raph for The Gumbus.
    • Leo and Donnie for Nothing but Truffle.
  • Action Girl: April tries to be at least. She's not a major powerhouse or has any training but is very proactive and will charge into battle with her bat.
  • Adaptation Deviation: While the Turtles have always had magic in the franchise, owing to most incarnations having a Fantasy Kitchen Sink approach, this series puts much more significant focus on mysticism, giving New York a much more overt supernatural underbelly, with the implication the mutagen might be rooted in magic as well, and the Turtles' weapons having magical abilities.
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  • Adaptation Distillation: The series has hints of the shows that came before in its direction, fusing the wackiness of the Fred Wolf cartoon, the action of the 2003 4Kids cartoon and the Turtles having divergent silhouettes from its immediate predecessor.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Leonardo is irreverent and rebellious, rather than being a responsible leader (though he does show that he has the potential every so often).
    • Splinter's been described as a bit more relaxed, and hasn't been training the Turtles very seriously due to the lack of any major threats.
    • Raphael is more open and friendly in this incarnation as opposed to being an angsty loner or sarcastic rebel.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Downplayed. The protagonists are still mutated turtles, but they're all different types of turtles in this continuity; Leonardo is a red-eared slider, Donatello is a soft-shelled turtle, Michelangelo is a box turtle, and Raphael is a snapping turtle.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Splinter is diminutive and fat with a round, wrinkly face. Think Mr. Miyagi crossed with a bulldog and a possum. Apparently, he was inspired by Danny Devito. His human self was shown to be quite handsome.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Most series begin with the turtles having gone through years of ninjutsu training. This time turtles start without formal training.
    • This bites Mikey the hardest since Nunchaku take a lot of experience to properly wield. During the team's first fight he winds up pummeling himself with them.
  • Alternate Continuity: Unless there's a crossover with older versions of TMNT, as with the last two times, it may be.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The opening of the first episode has rooftop party with what looks like a shady deal going down. The Turtles then appear a couple of rooftops away, setting up a zipline. We're led to believe that the Turtles are going to zipline into the party and stop whatever is happening. In actuality, the Turtles are using the zipline to preform cannonballs into a pool that is on the rooftop next door
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: The role is shared between Baron Draxum, Big Mama, and the Foot Clan. Draxum intends to use his Oozesquitoes to create more mutants to take over the surface, Big Mama wants to use said Oozsquitoes to drum up more contestants for the Battle Nexus, and the Foot Clan are working to reassemble the Kuroi Yoroi armor for the purpose of resurrecting the Shredder. Draxum and Big Mama's different agendas bring them into conflict, and the Foot Clan later join forces with Draxum to mutually achieve their goals.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: How the writers describe this show's Leonardo; he's smart enough that he could be the leader, but that he's too focused on "just enjoying life and being a teenager". Indeed, when he's not commanding the team in Raph's stead, he's usually the first to criticize his poor strategic skills.
  • Canon Foreigner: Baron Draxum, a new villain created for the show, as well as majority of its Rogues Gallery.
  • Casting Gag:
    • We have a two fold example with Ben Schwartz as Leo. He's a ninja, which is another instance of him voicing one, and Leo is associated with the color blue, like another iconic character based on an existing property.
    • For the Latin Spanish dub:
      • Alan Prieto (Raphael) is the first actor to have voiced all four turtles. He was previously Michelangelo in the trailer for the 2007 movie (he voiced Donatello in the final product), and Leonardo in the 2012 series.
      • Master Splinter, whose character design is based on Mr. Miyagi, is voiced by Jorge Roig (Miyagi's dubber). Roig was also the voice of Michelangelo in the 1987 series.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The action hero, Lou Jitsu, who cries "Hot Soup!" in Origami Tsunami. The Evil League of Mutants reveals that 1) he was a Battle Nexus Champion, 2) he was used to create the Turtles by Baron Draxum and 3) he's mutated into Master Splinter. Who knew?
  • Child Prodigy: Baxter Stockman is named "Baxter Stockboi" this time and is just a little kid working in his parents' store. He still capable of put together highly advanced robots.
  • Continuity Nod: Fairly frequent.
    • The episode The Fast and the Furriest is heavy with this.
      • Donnie reveals he built their new tank out of the moon buggy they took in Repo Mantis.
      • Mikey first expects the gift to be the drill from Donnie's Gifts, and also brings up he still wants to learn Meat Sweats' risotto recipe.
      • Minotaur Maze's "Prove You're A Champion" entrance is seen in the background.
      • Raph asks why Donnie didn't put a tracking device in the Tank, as he did with the salami paper in Origami Tsunami.
    • The hippo suit used in Newsworthy finds another trip in Mascot Melee. The latter episode in turn happens chronologically before The Gumbus, as Stockboy's next video is on Raph's dance off.
  • Denser and Wackier: The series is much less grounded than the 2012 cartoon; the antagonistic mutants in this series are more humanoid with supervillain-esque gimmicks (such as a celebrity chef turned into a pig who can steal the powers of other mutants), the Turtles are back to using nearly futuristic technology courtesy of Donatello, and with a greater emphasis on slapstick and the heroes being teenagers. Comes to a point where "The Evil League of Mutants" features a musical number.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: The Turtles have even more individualized looks in this series than ever before. They are even different species of turtles, with Leo being a red-eared slider, Don a soft-shelled turtle, Mikey a box turtle, and Raph a snapping turtle.
  • Dual Tonfas: Instead of using sai, Raphael's Weapon of Choice in this series are a pair of tonfas.
  • Driven to Suicide: The turtle's music is so bad that a bunch of sapient Albearto animatronics destroy themselves rather than listen to it further.
  • Evolving Credits: The second half of Season 1 changes the assortment of the Rogues Gallery the Turtles are shown fighting, and also switches the figure behind the Turtles as the intro ends from Baron Draxum to The Shredder.
  • Emperor Scientist: Baron Draxum seems to fit into this from what we've seen of him. This is proven during the "Warring Warrior Scientist" song in The Evil League of Mutants.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Despite the change in team dynamic, Leo is shown calling the shots with ease despite not being the leader, while Raph struggles in the role.
    • Baron Draxum's reactions to the Turtles when they first meet. We learn that he's the one who mutated them. Further still, "The Evil League of Muants" reveals that the entirely smitten reaction he pulls when he sees them is darn-near the same "love-at-first-sight" reaction he gave when he beheld Lou Jitsu as the newly-minted Battle Nexus Champion in all of Lou Jitsu's handsome, athletically muscular glory.
    • Raph's Battlecry ("Hot Soup!") comes from his favorite film star, Lou Jitsu. This becomes much more poignant after "The Evil League of Mutants."
      • Or the fact that Splinter is just so insistent on training the turtles with Lou Jitsu films. Because he was Lou Jitsu.
  • Fireball Eyeballs: In "Late Fee", Mikey's eyes go on fire when Raph reveals that he forgot the DVD.
  • Genius Bruiser: As Draxum shows in the first episode, he's not a slouch in the battle department, taking down the entire team, and is apparently a scientist.
    • Donatello as usual.
  • Half-Arc Season: The show appears to follow this format, with the majority of episodes being self-contained adventures, while the plot-related episodes are often half-hour specials.
  • The Heart: Alternates back and forth between Leo and Mikey. Mikey is generally the most interested in maintaning harmony between his brothers, while Leo is the most concerned about how their actions affect others outside the family.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: "Operation Normal" centers around April expressing a desire to have a normal day, which she tries to have with her new friend, Sunita. The same can also be said for Sunita, who turns out to be a slime yōkai.
  • Inappropriate Hunger: Raph seems to have this as he eats the salami used as fake paper even after it's soggy and on the ground much to the disgust of his brothers during "Origami Tsunami".
  • Innocuously Important Episode: The opening of "Origami Tsunami" with the Turtles doing training via a movie starring Lou Jitsu and Splinter dismissing how his sons will be great heroes like Lou one day. Episodes later, in "The Evil League of Mutants" we later learn how Lou was actually a Battle Nexus Champion and that Lou was mutated into Splinter.
  • Karma Houdini: After DIGG destroys three pizza places, Raph placates them by getting them a gig at the forth restaurant they were trying to sink.
    • Played for laughs with the mutant pirates. Leo attempts to engineer a quick escape from them with his brothers to Tahiti. Instead, he winds up teleporting the pirates to Tahiti where they're shown laughing it up on the beach.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The Turtles got their weapons by stealing them from Baron Draxum's headquarters.
  • Large and in Charge: Raphael is much larger and muscular than the other turtles and, as stated below, is the leader of the team.
  • Leader Wannabe: It's noted in Raphael's character bio that he's actually self-appointed himself as leader, and the motion comic shows off that he's still got a lot of his loner mentality from previous incarnations.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: April, of all people, to the point where it seems like a deliberate Shout-Out: While the others are still talking, April leaps into action with a loud and triumphant cry of "Apriiiiiiil O' NEIL!!!" With about the same amount of success as the original Leeroy Jenkins.
    • Complete with the same “OMG, he/she just ran in!” from the original Leeroy Jenkins video.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the 2012 series, the show thusfar has a lighter narrative and according to Ant Ward will put more focus on the "teenage" part of the TMNT, as well as the theme of brotherhood/family.
  • Logical Weakness: The Foot Soldiers, being origami in this incarnation, are weak to water.
    • Donatello's bo staff is just a powerful as his brother's magical weapons and he has much firmer grasp on how it works. Still needs to be charged to work.
  • Major General Song: "The Evil League of Mutants" has Baron Draxum explain his origins in this style called "Warring Warrior Scientist".
  • Mythology Gag: As expected for a Long Runner like TMNT, there are quite a few:
    • The Turtles's physical appearance (average Leo, lean Donnie, bulky Raph, short Mikey) comes from the 2012 show and the Platinum Dune films. Mikey's color scheme of dark scales and bright plastron and with short bandana may be influenced from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW).
    • Donatello's gear (a taser bo staff, a drone) comes from the 2016 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. His gear, but especially the wristbands with screens on them, also resemble what the Turtles wore in the Fast Forward retool of the 2003 cartoon.
    • The concept of the characters having mystical powers pertaining to their personalities and weapons seems to be taken from the fifth season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), which dealt heavily with mysticism and featured the Turtles getting powerful new weapons and abilities.
    • The opening of the series features a reversal of its immediate predecessor's; a shot of a manhole cover and then the moon and sky.
    • "Plan H", the Turtles' contingency for being seen by humans who aren't April, involves them pretending to be nerds in "Alien Turtle" costumes. A fake leaked script for the 2014 film claimed that the Turtles would be aliens instead of mutants.
    • Splinter's characterization in this series seems to be based off of one of the Non-Canon Guest Era characterizations of the character. Specifically, this page. His enjoyment of TV has also been a part of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003).
    • Four in Mascot Melee, Donnie while parking the Tank whistles the chorus of the 1987 theme song and the dance that seals their victory in the dance-off is from the famous scene of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Also, Mikey mentions that Raph's former disguise of a trenchcoat (which was used in the film and original 1987 series) and April's meme of a Turtle-potamus uses the 1987 Raph head.
    • Bebop and Rocksteady cameo in Baron Draxum's speech in "Bug Busters".
      • They appear again in "Shadow of Evil," this time as two humans being held captive by Baron Draxum, along with a rhino and a warthog.
    • In "Pizza Pit", pictures of the 2012 Ninja Turtles, the Mirage Ninja Turtles and the 1987 Ninja Turtles can be seen on Donatello's conspiracy board.
    • In "The Evil League of Mutants", the backstory for the Turtles and Baron Draxum ended in a fire where Draxum thought that Splinter—aka Lou Jitsu—died in a fire. Splinter being thought to have died in a fire before turning up alive happened in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012).
    • Splinter bears some resemblance to the 2003 incarnation with his grey fur and clothing, but is more overwight and has different hairstyle.
    • In Hot Soup: The Game, the auction house features a katana with the symbol of the Hamato Clan from the 2012 cartoon, as well as a statue of Ice Cream Kitty from the same series.
    • In Warren & Hypno, Sitting in a Tree, it turns out that April is a huge fan of Warren Stone from his time as an anchorman, likely a nod to her career as a reporter in the '87 cartoon.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: April seems to have a different part-time job with every appearance.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The turtles manage to destroy the villains lair in the first episode, but end up unleashing a swarm of mutagen injecting mosquito creatures on the unsuspecting city.
    • Mikey also forgetting to mention to his brothers that his favorite celebrity chef mutated into Meat Sweats cause he didn't want to mess up his Risotto.
  • Paper Master: The Foot Soldiers in this series are origami creations animated by the magic of the two Foot Clan members that make them.
  • Prequel: Described as a spiritual prequel that details the Turtles before they had met their most famous allies and foes; but of course, reimagined to give the franchise a breath of fresh air.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: Shell In A Cell, with Leo thinking it's fake (at least until he actually faced Ghostbear wanting a rematch).
  • Race Lift: For the first time since (a few issues of) the original Mirage comics, April will be depicted as African-American.
  • Remake Cameo:
    • Fred Tatasciore, who played Rocksteady in the 2012 cartoon, plays one of Baron Draxum's enforcers in the first episode. He also plays recurring villain Repo Mantis.
    • Rob Paulsen, who had played Raphael in the Fred Wolf cartoon and Donatello in the 2012 series, plays the Foot Lieutenant.
    • Greg Cipes plays S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N., the antagonist of Smart Lair.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Not for the franchise in general, as the comics are a far more serious affair, but for TMNT animation. Rise is far closer in tone to the original extremely comedy-based cartoon.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Baron Draxum whispering how beautiful the Turtles are when they first meet. This is because he thought they were killed off as revealed in The Evil League of Mutants.
    • Origami Tsunami starts with the Turtles doing training by re-enacting a scene of a movie, with Raph predominantly copying the hero's Battlecry of "Hot Soup!" After The Reveal in The Evil League of Mutants, we find out that Splinter — aka Lou Jitsu aka the guy Raph is copying — was their father and it's one of the things Raph and the turtles inherited from him.
    • The Turtles telling Splinter that he's "just a rat" after he tries to train them via a Lou Jitsu film in The Evil League of Mutants. Splinter isn't just a rat; he is Lou Jitsu.
      • Even better, rewatch the episode when the Turtles are being serious about improving their training whereas Splinter decides to teach them via a Lou Jitsu movie — this highlights how Splinter has been locked out of what his sons are up to.
  • Shout-Out: The show references Mystery Science Theater 3000 in episode 2 when the foot clan create a monster out of salami and Mikey remarks "That's Nightmare Fuel man!".
    • In Mascot Melee, the poses Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello do reference the Ginyu Force of Dragon Ball Z.
    • In How to Make Enemies and Bend People to Your Will, the Foot Recruit shouts "Kali Ma" while ripping a piece of the Shredder's armor from a statue's chest.
  • Show Within a Show: The Turtles are big fans of the Jupiter Jim films and ones staring an action star known as Lou Jitsu. The latter one turns out to be very important later on.
  • Spoiler Opening: The second half of Season 1 changes the assortment of mutants, which reveals Ghostbear becomes a Mutant, and what the Shredder will look like once his armor is complete.
  • Significant Double Casting: Two of the characters that Eric Bauza voices in the series are Splinter and an action hero named Lou Jitsu. They're one and the same.
  • Something Only They Would Say: In The Evil League of Mutants, upon hearing Raph cry out "HOT SOUP!", Baron Draxum has a flashback to Lou Jitsu stating that same phrase, which makes him realize that these are the same turtles he mutated 13 years ago.
  • Tranquil Fury: April when the turtles break into her apartment to see if she stole their tank in The Fast and the Furriest.
  • Urban Fantasy: Rise borrows from Urban Fantasy much more than previous series. Leo, Mikey, and Raph wield mystical weapons which they found in a magical city deep under New York. The mutagen appears to have been created by a youkai alchemist who uses enchanted mosquitoes to administer it. There's an entire underground mutant culture living in the shadows of New York. And several of the turtles' enemies have been mystical in nature, such as a Living Toy that feeds on screams.
  • Villain Episode:
    • Newsworthy focuses on Warren Stone. Which is also his debut episode.
    • How to Make Enemies and Bend People to Your Will focuses on Baron Draxum and (to a lesser extent) the Foot Recruit.
  • Villain Song: The Evil League of Mutants has the Turtles' origin explained in a similar style to the Major-General's Song.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The band DIGG in "Pizza Pit". They just wanted somewhere to play their gig, but their plan involved destroying pizza restaurants in the city. The Turtles decide to get the chefs to form one huge pizza restaurant and have DIGG play at the opening.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The Evil League Of Mutants has, in song, reveal that Baron Draxum is the creator of the Turtles and Splinter was once the famous movie-star and Battle Nexus Champion known as Lou Jitsu.
    • Shadow of Evil features Splinter learning his sons have fought Baron Draxum and the Foot Clan without his knowledge, his sons in turn learn Splinter is Lou Jitsu, and also confirms that the Shredder exists in the setting.
    • How to Make Enemies and Bend People to Your Will has Baron Draxum take over the Foot Clan.
  • Wham Line: In Shadow of Evil after Splinter discovers the Foot Clan’s plans to revive an Ancient Evil.
    Splinter: You will never walk this Earth again Shredder.
  • Wham Shot: The Evil League of Mutants reveals the Battle Nexus Champion is Lou Jitsu, from the films the Turtles are fans of... who also happens to be their father.
  • Wrecked Weapon: The first episode actually starts with Leo, Mike and Raph's iconic weapons getting destroyed during a Curb-Stomp Battle, then eventually finding their new weapons in the enemy's lair. Don's weapon is the only one that wasn't destroyed, due to it being heavily modified and reinforced his with powerful tech.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Race Lift aside, April looks very different from other incarnations of the character outside of wearing some yellow. Specifically, she has pigtails and pointy red-rimmed glasses, more akin to Irma.

(Rise! Of! The!) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Heroes in a half shell — turtle power! (Rise!)

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