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YMMV / Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: With the knowledge that Master Splinter/Hamato Yoshi is movie star Lou Jitsu, the same man whose DNA is in the turtles AND a former Battle Nexus Champion, is him lounging in front of the TV just his way of trying to avoid/relive his past or him being ashamed of what has happened to him and not wanting his sons to follow his path? The first interpretation is confirmed in Turtledega Nights: Rat Man when he confesses to Donatello that he really does want to relive his glory days and the second interpretation could be from Goyles, Goyles, Goyles when he proclaimed that he didn't want to fight anymore after being stuck in a cell for who knows how long.
    • Big Mama's feelings for Splinter/Lou also come into play. She did seem to truly love Lou, evidenced by her reaction of Lou proposing to her, but at the same time she did throw him into the Battle Nexus. Even after being mutated into a rat, she still has feelings for him. Was her sending him to the Battle Nexus her way of accepting the proposal? Making this difficult is that in Goyles, Goyles, Goyles, Lou has been stuck in his cell and hasn't fought "in ages" according to Baron Draxum — is it because she doesn't want to lose Lou and is trying to keep him safe or she doesn't want him to run away at a moment's notice?
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: When the series was first announced, many were quick to dismiss it due to the drastic changes from the source material and previous incarnations (most notably the redesigns, more comedic tone, and different characterization). After it premiered, the show received widespread praise from fans for its humor, handling of the characters, and unique animation.
    • Splinter's character when he arrived was derided for being everything that the original Splinter wasn't. After focus episodes like Evil Leagee of Mutants and Shadow of Evil depicting that he was originally famous action star Lou Jitsu, and the season 1 finale showing how much that he truly loves his sons, many fans warmed up to this interpretation.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The creators have said the series is a sort of prequel, which can be seen as a preemptive out to leave things open for the more famous characters or dynamics to show up later on in the series. Supplementary material and interviews for the series seemed to try and be as clear as possible about this aspect after the initial response; said supplementary material notes that Raphael self-appointed himself as leader rather than being chosen like Leonardo is in most incarnations, and behind the scenes videos heavily hint at returning characters from previous incarnations and that Leonardo will become leader later on.
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    • Michelangelo was often criticized in the previous show for upping the comic relief aspect of the character to the point he was rather dumb. While still sort of out there, Rise tones it down to more reasonable levels.
  • Awesome Art:
  • Awesome Music:
    • The opening of the show will make you scream "Turtle Power"
    • "Warring Warrior Scientist" from The Evil League of Mutants which is a jaunty jingle about Baron Draxum's connections to the turtles.
    • The turtles and April sing a lovely ditty in the beginning of "Snow Day".
  • Character Rerailment:
    • A major complaint throughout several of the previous incarnations is that Mikey's artistic capabilities (and personality) often get downplayed if not completely tossed out in favor of making him purely a one-note comic relief character who often becomes Unintentionally Unsympathetic due to his childish actions. The previous cartoon's Mikey in particular gets hit hard with this complaint. Here, his artistic abilities are actively acknowledged as a major part of his character and he's only slightly goofier than his brothers.
    • Similarly, a common complaint across the franchise is that many writers tend to forget that Raph genuinely loves his family despite his anger issues and other problems in order to play him up as The Resenter to Leo who is threatening to leave the group every other issue/episode to provide angst and edge to any given storyline. Here said love for his family and his Bruiser with a Soft Center qualities are emphasized and put on display quite often. (Although there are some who wish this Raph was a little angrier).
    • After the base breaking personality given to him in the 2012 series, Donnie returns to form by being focused on science more than any given love interest, and regains to his more dry sense of humor rather than being the butt of many jokes.
    • Splinter is characterized as lazy and a bit of a jerk, which was a divisive interpretation of the character. Later in Season 1, his laziness becomes downplayed and showing greater attachment to his sons, bringing him a more in-line with other incarnations of the character.
  • Creepy Awesome: The show’s depiction of the Shredder as a terrifying, almost-demonic Humanoid Abomination has been widely seen as one its biggest high points.
  • Critical Dissonance: Despite initial doubt, most fans have fallen in love with the series shortly after its premier thanks to the balance of action and comedy as well as refreshing the turtles in terms of characterization. Critics, meanwhile, are more polarized due to the changes in tone and general direction.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The Turtles' music being so bad that some of the Albeartos are Driven to Suicide in "Al Be Back".
  • Cult Classic: The show was Screwed by the Network and put in an incredibly inconvenient time slot on a channel not everyone could access, but it maintains a really vocal following due to its unique take on the established characters and lore as well as its incredible animation.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The energetic wrestling announcer Jessica Jaclyn from "Shell in a Cell" has gotten very popular, for reasons that should be obvious. To the point that some fans say her design should have been April's instead. Her performance by Cree Summer helps out.
    • Out of the new villains, Big Mama became rather popular due to her grandmotherly, Affably Evil nature, funny dialogue with the Turtles, and interesting enmity with Baron Draxum. It helps that she's played by Lena Headey.
    • Lou Jitsu was mostly known as an action star from various films Splinter watches. The Reveal that Lou is Splinter made him much more popular with fans eagerly awaiting more stories about his past.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Big Mama in her human form is absolutely stunning. She's even this In-Universe as Splinter reveals that he used to date her (back when he was Lou Jitsu) in the Season 2 premiere.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • The plot of "Cloak And Swaggart" was about Meat Sweats getting Sunita's cloaking device to regain his human appearance. What would've happened if it was Splinter who got it instead so he could become Lou Jitsu once more?
    • What would Lou's life had been if he didn't become Splinter and he had to raise the turtles on his own?
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Pairing Lou with Baron Draxum and Big Mama is gaining steam as an OT3, the former because of Draxum's reactions to seeing Lou and latter because they were canonically a couple once.
  • Foe Yay: During the "Warring Warrior Scientist" song of "The League of Evil Mutants", Baron Draxum is shown to be goddamn awestruck at Lou Jitsu's muscular glory to the point that he used Lou's DNA for his mutant army.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Splinter's previous Bumbling Dad antics become somewhat more uncomfortable with the knowledge that he's a former movie star (Lou Jitsu) stuck in his Glory Days. With "Goyles, Goyles, and Goyles" revealing that he was mutated during his battle with Baron Draxum to protect the turtles that would be his sons after the Battle Nexus completely exhausted him, his prior behavior has some uncomfortable parallels to those who suffer from actual PTSD.
    • From that same episode, it's hilarious when a rat bites Lou's thumb the first time. The second time it does it just seconds before Lou is doused with ooze? Not any longer.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Donatello yells "Fibonacci!" while throwing his rocket propelled staff in the first fight of the series. Leonardo Fibonacci was an Italian mathematician whose work in the field lead to the discovery of the Golden Spiral, something that a braniac like Donnie would probably keep in mind when throwing things.
    • The song Splinter sings in "Al Be Back" is "Vesti la Giubba" sung by Pagliacchi after discovering his wife's infidelity which has him sing that he must done his makeup and costume as the clown and perform despite the ache in his heart. This is foreshadowing for "Many Unhappy Returns" when Splinter, back when he was Lou Jitsu, wanted to marry Big Mama...only for Big Mama to reveal her true colors and drag him to fight in the Battle Nexus. Moreover, it also highlights how Lou Jitsu was nothing more than a clown himself, never taking his life seriously and wanting fame and fortune.
    • The Lou Jitsu film Splinter wanted to train his sons with in "Evil League of Mutants" is titled "Little Jacob's Ladder". Jacob's Ladder was represented as a ladder that reached to heaven and how Jacob was obligated with the inheritance of God's chosen people. Splinter/Lou Jitsu rose from a cheesy action hero into a Battle Nexus Champion and he was to be used by Baron Draxum to create an army of mutants.
  • Growing the Beard: The show heavily emphasized silly slapstick comedy with only brief moments of character building at the start of the series, but the half-hour episodes "Evil League of Mutants" and "Shadow of Evil" are when the series began to shift towards stronger story arcs with a greater focus on developing the characters, particularly Splinter. The Season 2 premiere and "Goyles, Goyles, Goyles" continue the trend of the show focusing on developing the characters, while still keeping the style of humor at the start of the series intact.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The opening says the Turtles will discover "their destiny". "Endgame" puts a darker stint on this particular lyric: the Hamato Clan's ancestors state that the ultimate destiny they laid out for the Turtles was for them to die and become martyrs, which would also leave Splinter completely alone as they ask him to devote his life to keeping the last piece of the Shredder's armor out of reach.
    • In "Evil League of Mutants", Leo questions what Splinter knows about Lou Jitsu and being a skilled fighter by stating that Splinter is "just a rat". Not only do we find out later that Splinter is Lou Jitsu but Turtledega Nights: Adventures of Ratman reveals that he absolutely hates that he's stuck as a rat and wishes he was still Lou again.
      • In the same episode, when Baron Draxum recalls seeing Lou Jitsu in the "Warring Warrior Scientist" song, Lou is seen standing on top of a mountain of mutants with a grin on his face. Goyles, Goyles, Goyles shows him in a cell, absolutely miserable and wants nothing to do with fighting.
    • All of Splinter's antics take a darker light once highlight episodes like "Turtledega Nights: The Adventures of Ratman", "Many Unhappy Returns" and "Goyles, Goyles, Goyles" premiered. Namely, Splinter is suffering through PTSD after he got thrown into the Battle Nexus by the woman/yokai he wanted to marry and all he wants is to relive his Glory Days as Lou Jitsu.
  • He Really Can Act: John Cena's role as Baron Draxum has been well received, but he hits it out of the ball park in "The Evil League of Mutants" where he has the solo for the "Warring Warrior Scientist" song (A parody of Major Modern General)
  • Ho Yay:
    Albéar & Otto: We will face our fate (Otto destroys the roller coaster control panel with pretzels) TOGETHER!!
    • Every interaction between Warren Stone and Hypno-Potamus in "Warren & Hypno, Sitting in a Tree". Hell, the episode's title too!
  • Memetic Mutation: John Cena's solo for "Warring Warrior Scientist" has been given similarities to Scar and "Be Prepared".
  • Moe:
    • The turtles as little turtle tots as seen in the Season 1 finale are absolutely adorable. The fandom then had a heart attack in the season 2 episode "Goyles, Goyles, Goyles" when the pre-mutated turtles appeared.
    • Big Mama in Splinter's flashbacks of "Many Unhappy Returns" looks absolutely adorable when she sees Lou propose to her!
  • Older Than They Think:
    • April's much-publicized Race Lift actually has precedent in her Mirage Vol. 1 version... though not to the extent as commonly believed. April was originally intended to be Asian, but was drawn and colored as a white brunette/borderline-redhead woman in her first appearance (looking surprisingly like her first cartoon version, complete with jumpsuit). Kevin Eastman named April after a biracial woman he was dating and later married, even redesigning comic April to look more like the real one (with the in-story explanation being she got a perm and a tan. It was The '80s), and the black and white art helped make her look even more Ambiguously Brown. Once the show was picked up April gradually started to look more like her original design. One guest issue did have her drawn and colored to look more like a black woman but it wasn't intended to be canon (she was a reporter in that issue which she never was in the Mirage continuity otherwise).
    • This isn't the first time Raph has used tonfas, he has used them in an issue of the the first comic and he has also equipped (and eventually thrown) a pair of tonfas in the 2k12 series.
    • Michelangelo's weapon is a Manrriki-gusari, which he used in the same issue as Raph and his tonfas, as well as in the original cartoon where he even namedrops the weapon.
    • The major focus on mysticism is seen as a bit weird even in comparison to previous continuities, but the 2003 cartoon's fifth season had a very similar premise, even having similar special powers and abilities the Turtles use. It also bears some resemblance to the IDW comics, which had a similar focus on mystical elements, including figuring Reincarnation into the Turtles’ origins.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The new incarnation of Splinter did not make a good first impression, with many disliking his character's shift from a strict but loving mentor to a lazy Bumbling Dad, not helped by his Unfortunate Character Design. However, the episodes "League of Evil Mutants" and "Shadow of Evil" got more fans on his side by showing his Hidden Depths (In particular that he's the movie star Lou Jitsu). Episodes afterwards have further salvaged the character by showing that he legitimately loves his sons and having him face his flaws as a person. "Goyles, Goyles, Goyles" further endeared viewers to his character by showing how, as Lou, he would be the one to rescue the baby turtles that would eventually become his sons.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Somewhat. Splinter's character bio states that he's a mutated human, something that was only revealed 19 episodes in, but it never stated that he was Lou Jitsu.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The show was announced in the same articles about the 2012 incarnation’s fifth season format and that it would end the series (which is considered by many to be one of the best incarnations of the franchise to date). This show appearing to be a complete overhaul and reimagining of the TMNT franchise (through the addition of magic, different signature weapons, reworked authority structure, and new villains), even more so than previous entries, led to something of an uphill battle to climb in regards to earning goodwill from the fans. The first trailer for the series was even massively downvoted on Nickelodeon's official Youtube channel. Despite that, there have been better attempts at gaining positive interest through new details on the show and the crew behind it.
    • Splinter's design and characterization has been mostly mixed to negative. Some were willing to look past his change from a (usually) tall and intimidating figure to a shorter and fatter one in appearance. But the change from a wise and composed teacher to a loud, rude, and overall condescending couch potato has left a sour taste in many mouths. Of course we find out there's more about him later, but still.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: John Cena is voicing the (presumed) Big Bad of the first season, but they had a Pro Wrestling Episode and didn't utilize him in any way.
  • Ugly Cute: Splinter's short and fat redesign looks goofy compared to past incarnations. This can go both ways.
  • Unfortunate Character Design: Part of the backlash against Splinter is in his design. His short, fat body is meant to evoke Danny DeVito, but his eyes being smaller than other characters caused some to mistake it for him squinting constantly like a stereotypical Asian. The fact that his extremely unflattering promotional key art actually showed him squinting in exertion didn't help matters.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • Initial response to the artstyle, premise, and redesigns were mixed, with the creators' emphasis on the series being more lighthearted making people fear that the series would prioritize comedy over action, along with the 11-minute format (both show formats being criticized in this day and age for what's considered to be overuse). The first teaser trailer for the series, which showed off fast-paced action, slick animation and cinematography, and the vocal work for the cast led to some people becoming much more cautiously optimistic about the series. This interview brings even more positive reception.
    • The first episode, released for free on Nickelodeon's YouTube page, currently stands at 9.2k dislikes and a whopping 38k likes. Needless to say, it seems like the better portion of the crowd has been won over.
    • Splinter's characterization at the start was derided. "Evil League of Mutants" and "Shadow of Evil" made fans do a 180 on him and now love his character as the former action star Lou Jitsu.
  • The Woobie: Splinter/Hamato Yoshi/Lou Jitsu was once a prominent action film star in the 80s and wanted to settle down and marry. Unfortunately he wanted to marry Big Mama, who showed her true colors by making him fight in the Battle Nexus. He fought and fought and fought until he became exhausted to the point of giving up...then found out he would be used to mutate an army for Baron Draxum involving the turtles that would become his sons. 13 years later, he's a grump who wants to relive those days before he was thrown into the Hidden City and the season 1 finale reveals that if he gives up the last part of the Shredder armor he will lose the only family he ever had. Sheesh.

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