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YMMV tropes for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) series

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    A-C 
  • Abandon Shipping:
    • During the beginning of the series, there was a lot of support for Donatello/April. This was due to many fans finding Donnie's crush endearing and him being a borderline woobie. However, near the middle of the first season, he went from attention seeking to what can be considered downright stalking. This is the first thing that caused fans to jump ship. Then, near the end of the first season, he begins to make increasingly stupid decisions. Cue more fans jumping ship. Then, there's the fact that whenever April gets an episode for herself, Donnie's crush comes to the forefront when said episode could have taken a lot of time to develop her character. This caused EVEN MORE fans to jump ship. To make things worse in the second season, Donnie has a rather inconsistent ego problem whenever April is around. The migration away from the apriltello ship only continued in seasons 3 & 4, as April comes off as manipulative in the former to some viewers, and the latter has several instances where she's depicted as being profoundly uncomfortable with both Donnie and Casey's pursuit of her. They regained some of their lost fanbase in season five, however, as the writer's gave them an easier to watch dynamic.
    • A lot of fans jumped the Leonardo/Karai ship when it was revealed in-universe that Karai is in fact Splinter's long-lost daughter. While the two weren't raised together, and it's not entirely clear in canon if the turtles' human DNA came from a pre-mutation Splinter or not, the implication of an incestrous relationship, even simply an emotional one, was disliked by a rather large portion of the fanbase. While the Ship Tease between the two continues unabated despite the reveal, and they never acknowledge each other as siblings, Mikey does refer to her as their sister several times. As a result the relationship causes no end of squick for those who abandoned the ship. Meanwhile, some fans point out that Karai's flirtations with Leo often comes off as a manipulation tactic rather than anything genuine, making the ship feel too one-sided to support for those who aren't already turned off by the potential incestrous nature of the ship.
      • While the two do still have a small shipping population, Shingami's introduction into the series served as another instance of people abandoning the ship due to the Les Yay the two girls share. Their popularity is to the point that the shinirai ship can be considered a Fan-Preferred Couple.
  • Adorkable: Baxter Stockman, of all people, comes off as this due to being more of a Straw Loser in this incarnation.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: The Pulverizer becomes this after he mutates into Mutagen Man.
  • Angst Aversion: This seems to be the reaction to "Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse" , because it's incredibly depressing for a show that's supposedly for kids.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Bradford likes his mutation into Rahzar despite it being much more horrific looking than his Dogpound mutation since it allowed him to regain some of his ninja speed. However, it is presented in "The Lonely Mutation of Baxter Stockman" that, while he's more comfortable in his Rahzar form, he still wants to be human again.
    • Because a filler episode succeeds "The Kraang Conspiracy", April's reaction to learning she's a human-Kraang mutant comes off as this.
    • Arguably, Ice Cream Kitty. She doesn't seem bothered in the slightest about being transformed into a living dessert.
    • After the much Darker and Edgier "The Invasion", the third season completely dropped the plot regarding the Kraang's ongoing invasion and mutation of the Earth in favor of several filler episodes that are either gratuitous Shout Outs to horror films ("Within The Woods", "Buried Secrets", "Dream Beavers"), bizarre episodes mostly focused on humor ("The Croaking", "A Foot Too Big"), or a mixture of both. Absolutely no mention of what's going on in the outside world let alone the missing Splinter or their allies, or Kirby being mutated again is made. Overall, despite the odd darker moment, the show has taken a much more bizarre, lighter approach.
    • In "Annihilation: Earth!", Casey is excited to have adventures in space despite the fact that the whole planet was sucked into a black hole, including his dad and sister.
    • While it's not as bad as Casey, Mikey started to get over said incident mentioned above when the Fugitoid offered him hot cocoa.
  • Anvilicious: The moral about not letting insults get to you to the point where Raph is blatantly portrayed as putting his "insult ignoring training" to "good use".
  • Arc Fatigue: One of the biggest complaints about the series, owing to both the abysmal airing schedule and frequent breaks from the plot.
    • The first eight episodes of the third season (which are set in April's farmhouse) are criticized for taking the action away from the invasion of New York, having too many strange Filler episodes, lasting longer than is probably necessary, and the lack of any significant plot development.
    • The arc of Karai being reunited with Splinter and the Turtles has already been going on from season two to season three, went through several fake resolutions only for a Diabolus ex Machina to make it worse each time (she gets kidnapped again by Shredder, mutated, the retro-mutagen doesn't work on her, she is captured and Brainwashed and Crazy...), and is still going on by the fifth season. Some fans feel it's seriously getting too long by this point. It got better in season four in that she's no longer brainwashed, but she's striking out on her own to dismantle the Foot Clan rather than coming home, which is still more accepted by fans than previous excuses since Karai now has her own crew to interact with whenever she's not interacting with the Turtles, Splinter, April, and Casey.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Michelangelo mixing up a bunch of random chemicals together just so happens to create the cure to the Kraang's mutagen that the Turtles have been looking for.
    • Shredder had the mind control worms injected directly into Karai's brain so she couldn't just cough them up. She does it anyway.
    • In "Annihilation: Earth!", Earth is sucked into a black hole. In "Beyond the Known Universe", Professor Honeycutt takes the heroes six months into the past which fixes all the damage. However, the real ass pull was how the time travel was executed. Renet, Lord Simultaneous, and the Time Scepter showed up about half a dozen episodes before this, but they were not involved in the process in any way.
    • Irma turns out to have been a Kraang the whole time. The problem with this is that April was already friends with Irma (whom appears as a cameo on April's phone in the first season) when the Kraang were trying to capture her.
  • Awesome Art:
    • The series is one of Nick's most better animated and visually appealing CGI cartoons. The acute eye will notice subtle "blink and you'll miss it" moments about the body language of the characters and facial expressions that really help set the mood for certain scenes. The occasional 2D elements that get thrown in every so often make the show visually fun to look at.
    • Then, there's the series' fight scenes. They flow well, feel realistic, and can be both fun and exciting to watch. One of the best examples would be Splinter and Shredder's fight at the end of the first season.
  • Awesome Music: The theme song and background music in every episode are very well-composed and brilliant in addition to being memorable and melodious.
  • Badass Decay:
    • Xever suffered from this due to progressively making less appearances and declining in effectiveness and being more comedic after Tiger Claw's arrival.
    • Rahzar got hit with this, as he's nowhere near as big a threat as he used to be at the beginning of the series, though he's at least rarely played for laughs like Xever.
    • Slash went from beating the Turtles to near death in his debut to getting curb-stomped by Tiger Claw and Zog (as soon as he turns over a new leaf).
    • The Turtles themselves suffered greatly from this via the fact that they have become more prone to losing fights, receiving humiliating beatings, failing missions, and being Badass in Distress over the course of the show's subsequent seasons at the expense of their allies.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • In "Fungous Humungous", as Leo is suffering from hallucinations from Mushroom Man's spores, cue Mushroom Man's minions dancing all around the room and floating to "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy." Leo goes from being afraid for his team to just being confused.
    • In "City At War", once Splinter mentions Karai's friend (Shinigami) is working for the Shredder, cue music beat and then Splinter nibbling on a piece of cheese on a stick.
  • Bizarro Episode:
    • Even by this adaptation's standards, "Pizza Face" is just...out there.
    • A close second in weirdness is "A Foot Too Big". To wit: the Turtles find Bigfoot, Bigfoot falls in love with Donnie, and a psycho hunter who talks to his mother's Shrunken Head is after them.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Just about every fan guessed at one point that Karai was really Miwa, Splinter's biological daughter. This stems from the fact that Karai has never been biologically related to the Shredder in any adaptation and her status as his adoptive daughter is a relatively new concept for TMNT adaptations (it originated from the 2003 series). Plus, Karai was in the general age range of how old Miwa would be had she survived to the present day. The excessive foreshadowing (for example, having Karai use the name "Harmony" as an alias since "Miwa" means "beautiful harmony") sealed the deal for most fans; if anything, this played out more like an Internal Reveal when it was eventually confirmed in "Showdown".
    • Even without knowing any Japanese or about any of the other iterations of Karai in the franchise, her actual origins weren't that difficult to surmise from the circumstantial evidence: after the Love Triangle between Splinter, his wife, and Shredder ended in her death and the revival of the deadly ancient rivalry between their clans, Shredder is demonstrated to be absolutely obsessed with revenge on his rival and never shown to be the least bit interested in having any other women as a potential Love Interest in his life. There's essentially no obvious reason why he would adopt anyone as his own child other than as a means of getting a twisted kind of revenge on his enemy, and who else but Splinter's daughter Miwa (never actually shown to have perished in the blaze that consumed her family's home) would fit those criteria?
  • Cargo Ship:
    • As per usual, fans jokingly ship the Turtles with their weapons. However, this series has provided multiple new ones.
    • Splinter+The empty broken mutagen canister Mikey called "mom."
    • Raph+Wooden Spoon
    • Leo+Karai's throwing knife.
    • Donnie+Metalhead.
    • Mikey+Smoke bombs.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • After seeing three seasons of the Shredder completely curb-stomping the turtles, pretty much everyone else, and being willing to sacrifice the world just to kill Splinter, Splinter gives Shredder a well deserved ass-kicking that's so satisfying to watch. This puts Shredder in a critical care position and takes him out of New York, leaving a power vacuum. The Shredder finally meeting his end at the hands of Leo in "Owari" also counts, especially after he killed Splinter.
    • In "When Worlds Collide", Agent Bishop really picked up the Jerk Ass Ball via attacking Mona Lisa and her commander without trying to understand the situation to insulting and blaming her and the Salamandrians for Lord Dregg's attack on Earth. Towards the end, when Mona Lisa decides to stay on Earth to be closer to Raphael, Agent Bishop objects angrily and this time gets his head punched off by Raph in a satisfying manner, promptly shutting him down after behaving like a Jerkass for much of the two-parter.
    • "The Invasion" saw the Kraang invade New York and the Turtles force to flee as humans were turned into mutant slaves. "Battle For New York" saw the Turtles successfully free New York, save the humans the Kraang mutated, and send the Kraang back to Dimension X.
  • Character Rerailment:
    • One of the most consistent problems that were had with Turtles Forever was the Character Exaggeration the 1987 Turtles went through, save particular quirks, where they were portrayed as being a bit too silly and similar. Their appearances in "The Manhattan Project", "Trans-Dimensional Turtles", "Wanted: Bebop and Rocksteady", "The Foot Walks Again!", and "The Big Blowout" dial back the silliness and portray them as how they were back in the 1987 series.
    • Donnie receives some Character Development in "A Foot Too Big". After Donnie promises to not bug April anymore and April kisses Donnie, telling him that he's not just "a mutant", he's "her mutant", his more stalker-like tendencies all but disappear and he reverts back to his early season one persona in regards to her if not more subdued, making the attraction cute again. He does still have occasional moments of jealousy towards Casey, but he noticeably pulls back much more and lets April do her own thing. As mentioned above, "Race with the Demon" re-emphasizes Donnie’s role as The Smart Guy.
    • Despite just being a spirit to test Raphael in "Vision Quest", Xever is treated more respectfully and as an Arch-Enemy to Raphael that he was back in the first season rather than the joke he became in the second season. And while he doesn't face off against Raphael in "Serpent Hunt", he defeats Zeck by outwitting and outmaneuvering him, along with demonstrating his dry, dark sense of humor again.
      • Taking further in "Meet Mondo Gecko". He's revealed to be Mr. X, Mondo's boss and on the side to be running an underground mutant entertainment ring.
    • On a meta level, this adaptation does this with their version of Bebop and Rocksteady. Their origins and designs are different, but they're portrayed as closer to the original characterizations of their counterparts from the 1987 series as being comical bad guys who can still be a serious threat to the Turtles rather than as the total doofuses they became after Flanderization sunk in.
  • Creator's Pet: Although in theory the four turtles are meant to share the role of main character together, the writers have a clear favoritism towards Leonardo because many stories have him as the protagonist, which tends to come at the other three's expense. He gets to learn techniques the others don't, is the only one to regularly take on the Shredder solo, his and Raph's oft-fraught relationship is a major element of the show, and there are several episodes wherein his brothers are taken out by the Monster of the Week so Leo can save everyone on his own. It's also noticeable that, of the traits the turtles share with the Shredder, Leo is the only one whose trait is even somewhat positive (them both being Determinators) in sharp contrast to the actual negative traits Shredder shares with his brothersnote .
  • Complete Monster:
    • Kraang Prime is a demented, relentless Utrom scientist and the main antagonist for the first three seasons. After being exposed to mutagen, Kraang Prime developed psychic powers and used said powers to brainwash millions of peaceful Utroms, renaming them all "The Kraang". Seeking to conquer the universe, Kraang Prime used the Kraang to invade or destroy planets before targeting Earth. Kraang Prime then spent thousands of years experimenting on and torturing human beings in an attempt to terraform Earth into another Dimension X. Using New York City as a petri dish, Kraang Prime repeatedly attacked and tried to turn the city into a giant colony of mutants, and eventually succeeded and transported millions of mutated citizens to Dimension X. Kraang Prime later tried to mutate the entire planet with a giant missile full of mutagen; after this attempt failed, Kraang Prime tried one final time to Take Over the World with the remaining Kraang soldiers.
    • "The Outlaw Armaggon!": Overmind is a malicious AI convinced of his own superiority, who overthrew and killed off most of his factory's crew upon gaining sapience. When reactivated by the Bounty Hunter Armaggon, Overmind immediately overrides Professor Honeycutt's mind to assume control of his body and attempts to forcibly roboticize the Turtles and their friends. Eventually, Overmind betrays even Armaggon, revealing his plan to use an army of Warbots to wipe out all organic life across the galaxy and pave the way for Overmind's own technological rule, trying to simply kill Honeycutt and the Turtles when they stand in his way.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: The first season alone demonstrates this trope due to the fact that episodes build on each other in addition to lacking of Previously on… segments (though the opener may explain) and not really explaining things as well as they could for viewers who have missed an episode or are just starting (though Nick.com is kind enough to leave episodes up for a few weeks just in case viewers missed them, though one will need an account to view the episodes).
  • Crack Ship:
    • Donatello/April shippers and Casey/April shippers have been at each other's throats since the first episode. Those who have been annoyed by their behavior have started shipping Casey/Donatello to troll them for their irrational behavior.
    • April/Raphael to a lesser, yet somehow still understandable, degree.
  • Crazy Is Cool: Anton Zeck could rival Deadpool in being a looney, unpredictable Dance Battler who never shuts up yet is incredibly good at what he does as well as being lots of fun to watch. Especially after he's turned into Bebop.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Rat King, all the way. Just the way he's able to affect and corrupt Splinter's mind is horrifying enough. And to top it all off, he does it all with the bone-chilling voice of Jeffrey Combs...
  • Creepy Cute: Dave Beaver from "In Dreams" is generally considered to be this by fans.

    D-H 
  • Damsel Scrappy: Kirby became this by the end of the second season, as something always comes up to keep him and April apart for most of the series. There have been two times in the series when the Turtles have finally managed to save him as part of an over-arching plotline only for him to wind up getting in trouble again not long after, both times due to getting mutated. By this point, some fans have lost interest in him and feel that even though he'll eventually be saved, he'll later only be inevitably either captured or mutated once more in time for season four to do the whole thing over again. Indeed, "Annihilation: Earth!" comes along and he and April are separated again by apparently killing him along with the rest of the planetnote . While he is presumably saved when the end of the world is reversed later, he's given the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome and was not mentioned in season four until "Owari", where he has a wordless cameo at Splinter's funeral.
  • Designated Hero:
    • The title hero of the third season's Show Within a Show Crognard The Barbarian certainly fits the bill. In one episode, he and his friends meet some mutants who offer them peace and friendship. But because these guys are kind of ugly, Crognard and his friends happily invade their territory and beat them up. He ends up pushing his luck too far and gets his just desserts in "Annihilation: Earth!".
    • The fifth season's Show Within a Show Space Heroes: The Next Generation is of the same mold with the main character vaporizing people over the flimsiest of reasons. The show actually has the good twins of the characters appear, only to be humiliated by the evil protagonists. They, too, get their comeuppance.
    • In "Tale of Tiger Claw", Alopex robs a museum for a cursed sword that she tests on Casey, intending to use it to murder someone over a childhood grudge. The only reason she became elevated to Anti-Hero and tentatively an ally of the turtles is because that "someone" turned out to be Tiger Claw. And even then, it's debatable how much fault Tiger Claw had in their abduction/mutation and subsequent life of crime. She even wears his severed tail as a Creepy Souvenir. The only thing that prevented her from being a flat-out antagonist was the juxtaposition next to her brother.
  • Diagnosed by the Audience:
    • Michelangelo's tendency to overlook the obvious while noticing inane details, his short attention span, his unusual palate (the various unusual toppings he includes in his pizza), his tendency to forget basic things in-spite of having a Photographic Memory and his ability to adapt to strange and unusual things faster than his brothers (like how to handle a feral Leatherhead and Dimension X's bizarro nature) all imply that he could have some form of autism.
      • Word of God confirms that he suffers from ADHD-PInote , hence his incredibly short attention span, his tendency to overlook obvious details and unintentional inability to follow instructions.
    • Unlike the Utrom, Kraang Sub-Prime, and 1987 Krang, Kraang Prime and his Hive Mind speak in a highly repetitive manner. Whether he has always had it or if he gained it post-mutation is unclear.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • Due to Casey/April being the Official Couple of most continuities, a portion of April/Donatello shippers subjected Casey to this before he even debuted, with a few even expressing hope he would never appear or wouldn’t get an Age Lift like April to eliminate the possibility of any romance between them, and were disappointed when both happened. His Ship Tease with April and the ensuing Love Triangle didn’t help his case.
    • On the flip side, Donnie has gotten this treatment from some Casey/April shippers. Fans who shipped Capril in previous incarnations weren't too thrilled to see April get Ship Tease with another character and some even found it Squicky. Several Capril shippers won't let Donnie live down his Crazy Jealous Guy and Stalker with a Crush tendencies prior to his rerailment, refusing to acknowledge he eventually stops this behavior.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot:
    • A staple of the franchise asks "what if the turtles were human?" This either means that there is an in-universe mutagen related explanation, or it's an AU where they were born and raised as humans. This is often favored by Apritello shippers.
    • Writers like to ask "what if Tang Shen survived that faithful night?" Variations on the plot include: Tang Shen fleeing to New York as a widow and replacing Splinter in the plot (up to and included being mutated), her and Yoshi rebuilding their lives after (supposedly) losing Miwa, her raising Miwa as a normal girl without the Shredder's toxic parenting, and so on.
    • In the Bad Future of "Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse", writers like to think that not only did April survive the Mutagen Bomb that wiped out the rest of humanity, but that it mutated her Kraang-DNA, either turning her into an Eldritch Abomination or turning her powers up to eleven, reuniting with the turtles after the events of the show.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: A lot of fans regard the "Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse" three-parter, which was originally intended to feature the final chronological events in the series (according to showrunner Ciro Nieli), as more of an "Elseworld" take on a possible future for the Turtles rather than the canonical future for the series due to how it renders a lot of the series' events and many of the struggles the Turtles have faced pointless. Not to mention the serious continuity errors and the disposal of the main female characters. At least two of the other crew members and even Nickelodeon themselves seem to agree with the latter advertising the arc as "a 'Tale' from Beyond" before officially stating it as being another dimension and "alternate possibilities." Brandon Auman even chimed in by saying that it was "for the audience to decide" whether it was an AU or canon, and that it could be regarded as an AU.
  • Fanfic Fuel: As polarizing as "Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse" was, it did spark a large trend of fanfics centered around it. Plots include finding out what occurred to other characters not featured (April mutating into a Kraang-like creature, Karai starting a new mutant Foot Clan, how Casey died, etc), how and if it fits in with the same timeline as Renet and the Time Masters, the present-day Hamato Clan being sent into the Bad Future, and so on.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • Some fans refuse to watch anything after the first season due to both several controversial twists happening afterwards (like with Irma) and the fact that the first season was the only one that the original crew worked on.
    • Some fans regularly advice newcomers to only watch "Within The Woods" and "Vision Quest" of the first 8 episodes of Season 3, since the former is a good revision of the conflict, while the latter is very much tied to "Return To New York" and explains where the new weapons come from. In particular, "A Foot Too Big" gets skipped a lot, since the plot is completely irrelevant, with the new characters being widely agreed to be pointless.
    • If one takes a look at tumblr, they will see that even right after the episodes aired, fans consider the "Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse" three-parter to be non-canon for a whole number of reasons. Its non-canon status was later confirmed by Nickelodeon.
  • Fountain of Memes: Surprisingly enough, Raphael has been the source of most of the show's memes.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • In "I, Monster", the Rat King wears an outfit nearly identical to the ones worn by medieval Plague doctors (long black coat and black wide-brimmed hat). The Bubonic plague was spread (partly) because of fleas being carried by rats.
    • In "It Came From the Depths", Leatherhead grabs Donatello and starts spinning, which is a tactic he later performs on Shredder in "The Invasion". A grab-and-roll is a tactic used by real life alligators to take down their prey.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • While the series was excellent from the beginning, its tone became more focused and consistent in the middle of the first season (starting with "The Gauntlet"), the story arcs that were previously only hinted at or set up became more prominent, and it mostly dropped the Monster of the Week format. Later in the first season, Karai's introduction upshot an interesting dynamic with Leonardo, some new and interesting set pieces were introduced, and the fight scenes and animation became far more consistent and fluid.
    • While the third season has its issues such as rather boring filler at April's farm, "Vision Quest" and "Return To New York" have much stronger pacing and have thus far stayed at the central arc (taking New York back from the Kraang), creating a much stronger narrative.
  • He's Just Hiding:
    • Not too many fans believe that Tokka, who was caught in the blast of an exploding star, perished since the character's alleged death was never shown onscreen. "Tokka vs. the World" reveals that she survived.
    • Lord Dregg. Despite being thrown out of an airlock and frozen alive, many fans believed he'd show up again before the series ended.
    • Triple subversion with the Rat King. Some fans didn't believe that he fell to his death and expected him to show up again. And after being absent from the show for over a year, he does...until we find out that he was Dead All Along and Splinter was merely seeing a hallucination of him.
    • Now that "Requiem" has aired, both Master Splinter and especially Rahzar are getting this treatment. The former has been "killed off" three times already, so a lot of fans are expecting him to be revived or brought back somehow. Meanwhile, the latter presumably drowned off-screen, but considering that he survived having a hockey puck explode in his mouth and getting run over by a train, many fans won't be surprised if he also returns as well. This was subverted in both cases; "Owari" revealed that yes, Master Splinter is dead, was buried, had a funeral, and only his spirit returns. Also, "The Forgotten Swordsman" revealed that yes, Leatherhead really did drown Rahzar. Tigerclaw has to have Kavaxas bring his corpse back to life.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Mikey and Leatherhead in "It Came From The Depths".
    • Donnie and Casey get quite a few moments in "Race With the Demon" including one where Casey admits to going after the Speed Demon without Donnie in a way that sounds like apologizing for cheating.
    • Bebop and Rocksteady have their share of this. Particularly of note is "Annihilation: Earth!", where the two of them are shown hugging one another as they're sucked into the black hole. Rocksteady even asks Bebop to "hold him close" right beforehand. There's even more of it in "Half-Shell Heroes" where Rocksteady outright says "I love you, Bebop. Hold me tight!" when they're surrounded by armed Triceratons. Both cases sound almost like an Anguished Declaration of Love.
    • Karai gets this with April a few times as she is dismissive of her but then often switches to being nicer to her and empathizing with April's problems.
      • In the fourth season, Karai gains a friend and partner in the form of Shinigami and cares enough about her that even her anger and hate for Shredder isn't enough for her to risk Shinigami's life. Calling each other "Shini" and Sempai makes it very clear they mean a lot to each other, either platonically or romantically.

    I-R 
  • I Knew It!:
    • People have guessed that Spike, Raphael's pet turtle, due to his name and being a Turtle, would wind up being mutated himself. This thread, featuring concept art from Nick Magazine, confirms that Spike will become Slash.
    • The revelation that Karai is in fact Miwa, Splinter's biological daughter. The fact that character bios (likely when the series was still in development) were leaked and indicated Shredder had a daughter named "Miwa", and that Splinter seemingly also had a daughter, without naming her, likely helped this process.
  • Incest Yay Shipping: Seems to be more popular with this iteration than others (with every combination of brothers), for a variety of reasons, but probably mostly because a) the brothers are portrayed as more emotional and affectionate than in past versions, giving more meaningful moments that can be interpreted a different way. And b) oddly enough, by giving the brothers actual love interests, it leads some fans to a question of, "What happens if they're not asexual but never get past Ship Tease with their canon crushes?" Making Leo and Karai canon Flirty Step Siblings at best just eggs it on further.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The Kraang's invasion in "The Invasion" is full of this.
  • Iron Woobie:
    • Poor Splinter. But even though he keeps getting kicked down by life, he refuses to stay down, picking himself up and continuing on.
    • Leonardo is very much this trope. It's clear that being leader is a very thankless job since no matter how many times he proves himself, his brothers only tend to listen to him when they feel like it. Despite that, he does a really good job keeping them united and he's always there to save their shells. His number one priority is to keep his family safe, even if he has to sacrifice himself to do it.
    • On the more comedic side of this trope, we have Mikey, who's basically a punching bag, both physically and verbally for his brothers. It doesn't stop him from being who he is though.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Raphael is this in "Cockroach Terminator". Raph shows that he's clearly afraid of regular cockroaches, but he then has to put up with a mutant cockroach and the other Turtles are absolutely no help since they either make fun of him or don't give him any sympathy.
      • It happens to him again in season two when Spike becomes Slash, hurts his brothers, and has to fight him. The ending where Raph is looking at a chewed up leaf really sends the message that his best friend is gone and has turned into a monster.
    • As of "Showdown", Karai now qualifies, as she is actually Splinter's daughter and has been lied to her whole life by Shredder, and she still thinks that Splinter's the one who killed her mother and wants vengeance.
      • The ending of "The Manhattan Project" shows her eavesdropping on the heroes, where April is in disbelief that Karai's actually Splinter's daughter. Splinter states that Karai might believe the truth one day, but its ultimately her decision.
      • It gets worse for the poor girl once she DOES believe the truth in "The Wrath of Tiger Claw", "Vengeance is Mine", and "The Deadly Venom".
    • Arguably Spike. While he did try and murder the Turtles, he genuinely believed he was helping Raph... it's kind of hard NOT to feel bad for him when Raph calls him a monster.
      • Briefly comes back in the "Battle For New York" due to Leo's distrust and when he doubts himself as leader due to the Kraang forcing the Mighty Mutanimals into surrendering.
    • Baxter Stockman in his more pathetic moments can be this. And it gets worse after his mutation as it drove him over the edge and all he wants is to be normal again.
    • Casey in "Casey Jones vs. the Underworld" when the Turtles laugh at him for losing to the Purple Dragons. Then again, he did underestimate Hun and didn't bother telling the Turtles about him.
    • With all the "shut ups" he endures from his brethren, one can't help but feel a little bit sorry for Dave Beaver.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Raphael. Dear God, Raphael. He's been shipped with his weapon, a wooden spoon, April, his brothers, Casey, Bradford, Xever, Slash, Karai, Irma, and even characters who haven't even appeared yet like Mona Lisa, Venus, and Ninjara. To make things better, he has shown absolutely no romantic interest in any of these characters that he's actually met, effectively making each and every one of these crack pairings. It got to a point where even cleaning supplies were added to this list. By season four, however, Mona Lisa turns out to be the canonical winner.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Earth is destroyed in "Annihilation: Earth!". It's brought back five minutes into the fourth season.
    • No one believed for a second that Master Splinter and Super Shredder fell to their deaths in "The Super Shredder". "Darkest Plight" reveals that they survived, with the former only suffering from a broken leg. This would happen again in "Requiem," except to the shock of many fans, this was subverted when the next episode shows Splinter's funeral, showing he truly was dead this time.
  • Love to Hate: Dr. Falco is batshit insane and will hurt anyone for his own goals, but fans adore him for how terrifyingly dark he is and being voiced by Jeffrey Combs.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Savanti Romero is a brilliant, suave former Time Master who seeks control of all of time and space. Attempting to seize control of the Time Scepter, Savanti causes chaos to lure the turtles into a trap and seize it. Defeated, Savanti lays a trap to attack Renet and take her time travel device to recruit all of history's most famous supernatural monsters and help reshape humanity into monsters. Savanti manipulates the Pharaoh into his service and later preys on the emotions of both Dr. Frankenstein and Frankenstein's Monster to get them to do his bidding. Forcing Count Dracula under his wing, Savanti ultimately plans to transform all of humanity into monsters like himself.
    • Count Dracula is the vampire lord himself, who allies with Savanti to conquer all of time. Having reigned over Transylvania for ages, Dracula agrees to an alliance with Savanti Romero and turns Raphael into his thrall, using him to outwit the rest of the Turtles regularly. After hypnotizing Frankenstein's Monster into joining them, Dracula turns Casey and April into vampires and begins spreading his vampirism across New York, using his servants' knowledge of the Turtles to ambush their hideout. Dracula schemes to betray Savanti and turn all of humankind into vampires, and he nearly succeeds, before deciding to instead put aside their differences and destroy the Turtles together.
    • "The Tale of Tiger Claw": Alopex is Tiger Claw's long lost sister who seeks revenge on her sibling for their past. Mutated into her current form by Utroms, Alopex was pressured by Tiger Claw into becoming a criminal for years, until her conscience pushed her to betray and nearly murder her brother, slicing off his tail in the process. Years later, Alopex returns to New York to finish Tiger Claw off, stealing the Cursed Blades of Vengeance and testing them out on Casey with plans to curse Tiger Claw with them. Though initially an enemy of the Turtles as well, Alopex winds up teaming with them to take down Tiger Claw and save Casey's life, and though Alopex ultimately lets go of her hatred for Tiger Claw, she nonetheless slices his arm off when he tries to take advantage of her mercy.
  • Memetic Molester:
    • Both Donnie and Casey towards April.
    • Bigfoot as well.
  • Misaimed Marketing:
    • One toy commercial advertising the Mutagen described said ooze as being the "strongest slime in the universe". And then it showed how the Turtles launch the ooze at their enemies. Yeah... it should go without saying why you shouldn't do that...
    • Wingnut has an official action-figure. Hey kids! Wanna play with the grossly mutated father of one of the human characters?
  • Moe: The Turtles are very adorable due to their cute designs, personalities, and voices.
  • Narm:
    • Mikey calling Kirby "Wingnut" after he has been mutated into a bat and the Turtles are trying to trap him. This is even lampshaded by Donnie.
    Donnie: You are not giving Mr. O'Neil a monster name!
    • Slash's fingernails can extend to puncture or slash at his enemies. The result ends up looking goofy rather than threatening.
    • In "Eyes of the Chimera", April experiences Horror Hunger due to having a psychic link to the aforementioned Chimera. Since Leo is the only one around she tries to eat him... but the dialog she's given and Mae Whitman’s delivery makes the whole event sound incredibly like she's trying to make sexual advancements towards Leo. The fact that Seth Green doesn't even try to make Leo sound all that frightened makes it look like he's only halfheartedly shooting her advancements down. Hell, if you take the scene out of context, it wouldn't be surprising if you legitimately thought they were a couple and Leo didn't want to let her "eat him" because he has a headache or something.
    • After the Kraang invasion subplot was wrapped up in a scant few episodes of the third season, the impact of seeing the Downer Ending and Splinter's death feels more than a bit cheesy since there is a massive Like You Would Really Do It feel, like it only happened for shock value, considering how the last Downer Ending was so quickly resolved.
    • The same goes for the Karai arc since every time the show comes to a resolution one episode she's back with Shredder, one she's not and tries to make it as dramatic as possible.
    • Some of the names bestowed upon the Turtles' allies and foes by Mikey come off as grating and forced. Mikey coming up with the name "Rahzar" in particular is rather cringeworthy ("rah yourself, you razor-faced dog") and later boasts that "they" call him Rahzar now. Some fans prefer to call the mutants by their human names (particularly Fishface, since Xever Montes is pretty awesome in the first place). Word of God clarified that behind the scenes, the crew calls the mutants by whatever name comes to mind, but as far as official production and credits, the characters are credited by their mutant name (or most current form in the case of Rahzar).
  • Narm Charm: The frog crying in "The Croaking". It's so cheesy, but you can't help but feel upset after it happens.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • Mikey's shellacne throughout the whole episode of "Mikey Gets Shellacne".
    • Stockman-Fly via the fact that he is part fly and needs to vomit on food before eating it. He also eats garbage.
    • Some of the toppings Mikey used for his home made pizza in "Pizza Face" has a clump of dirt with worms (and it looks like he got it from a trash bin), a rat carcass, and an eyeball.
    • Steranko eating a cockroach. Granted, it makes sense considering he's out of food thanks to the alien invasion, but there was still no need to actually show it. Likewise, Mikey mistakes some of Karai's scales for potato chips and eats them.
    • If Mutagen Man being a bunch of organs in a semitransparent blob isn't enough, Muckman's Body Horror complexion (complete with sentient eyeball!) and propensity for spitting gunk should be.
  • Never Live It Down: Donnie is never going to live down the Stalker with a Crush tendencies he had towards April before his rerailment in many parts of the fandom.
  • Nightmare Retardant:
    • While there is a certain paranoia factor to the Kraang, the "place" where they speak creates a difficult "place" with the "place" where they are taken in the serious "place". They can however be surprisingly frightening when they drop that. Although this can be made sinister when they want it to: "The Turtles must be eliminated from this place and all other places."
    • As horrifying as the Pulverizer's mutation into Mutagen Man is, there's just something hard to take seriously about his high-pitched voice when he screams "It burns!".
    • Kraang Prime's voice was this for many fans. Perhaps inevitable, considering that they were voiced by Roseanne Barr, who is known as a comedian first and the casting choice was considered pretty strange to begin with.
    • Much of the scare factor from "Fungus Humongous" can be ruined due to the fact that, aside from Leonardo, April, and maybe Casey (if you're a musophobic), the other Turtles' fears and hallucinations are done in a manner too over-the-top or silly to be taken seriously, with Donatello possibly being the worst offender as his hallucinations of April rejecting him is done in the same Animesque, exaggerated style as the rest of the series.
    • In "The Deadly Venom", the situation temporarily becomes hard to take seriously when Leo hallucinates and sees Donnie's head as a pineapple and his bo staff as a fork.
    • Splinter's death via getting stabbed and thrown off a building by Shredder is supposed to be horrific, but Raph and especially April's facial expressions make it a little difficult to take seriously.
    • On some level, the Newtralizer is supposed to be one of the more serious villains in the show. As a Salamandrian assassin, he's a brutal and powerful Walking Armory who's a tough match for the Turtles and has little regard for whether or not he harms innocent people. He's also the one who took Sal Commander's eye. However, every time he opens his mouth and says "Rokka Rokka", the Newtralizer comes off as less of a Knight of Cerebus and more of a goofy reptilian version of Fozzie Bear.
  • No Yay: Rat King towards Splinter, especially in "Of Rats and Men" where he comes off as an outright stalker.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • A few watchers have commented on the apparent "change" for Splinter to train April in martial arts. It's likely most of the commentators are only familiar with her 1987 counterpart, who was essentially always a Damsel in Distress. Otherwise, a few comic series, the 2003 series, and the 2007 film feature April getting trained by Splinter.
    • April and Casey being teenagers was considered in the scrapped 2002 WB Network TMNT series, and was integrated in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) before being used for this series.
    • One of the arcs in this series includes April procuring an ancient crystal housing the soul of an evil Aeon try to possess her. This is actually the second time this has happened in the franchise, her 1987 counterpart being possessed by the Queen of Atlantis via a necklace in "Ring of Fire".
    • Some fans are under the impression that this show was the first adaptation of TMNT to have the Turtles with visible iris even when they are wearing their masks, which morph into white eyes during dramatic moments. The Turtles alternating between having visible iris and blank white eyes even when wearing masks, depending on the mood can be traced as far back as the original Mirage comics, especially in the fourth volume, but even in the very first volume, like issue 45, which was illustrated by Dan Berger.
    • The Turtles' unique body types was also something that was already done in the original 1990 Live-Action movie, where Raph was the burliest, Leo was slimmer, Mike was shorter with rounder and cuter features and Don was muscular but with chubby cheeks, indicating a mix of body fat and muscle. The differences in the movie was kept subtle, while here, they are slightly exaggerated making them more pronounced.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Dracodroid; it's a two-headed robot dragon that's also a lightning-shooting jet!
  • Periphery Demographic: This TMNT adaptation has just as many teenaged and adult fans as it does children.
  • Platonic Writing, Romantic Reading:
    • While it's undeniable that Raph's dere moments towards his brothers are heartwarming, a few of the ones with Mikey unintentionally came off as something else to some of the viewers. It's not nearly as bad as most other examples of the trope despite it having been noticed. This pairing is shipped by some of the fans.
    • Casey and Donnie's rivalry over April sometimes looks more like UST rather than actual rivalry. This has also caused shipping.
      • "Race With the Demon" did. Not. Help. Instead of coming off as two friends getting in an argument over their mutual crush and slowly making up over the course of the episode, it comes off like they're a couple who are getting over the fact that one of them (Casey) cheated on the other (Donnie). The fact that April is entirely unconcerned if annoyed and has a bit of a moment with Raphael makes this even more jarring. Casey and Donnie even argue Like an Old Married Couple and have a good-natured insult game.
    • April with BOTH Raph and Leo on several occasions.
      • For some fans, Raph's distaste of Donnie liking April comes off as jealousy and angst rather than him trying to be a good (if overly blunt) big brother by helping him let go of a crush. They also had a few small moments during the first two seasons. In the third season, April shows no interest in either Casey or Donnie (the fans who are suppose to be her love interests) and even gets annoyed and angry over some of their advances, whereas she'll later be shown acting rather casual with Raph. The aforementioned "Race With the Demon" had April affectionately lean on Raph at the end after both make a crack at the Ho Yay antics of Casey and Donnie. Lastly, there's her blowing up at Raph in "The Croaking" over Mikey, which some fans have said looked like two stressed parents arguing over their... Well, their parenting methods.
      • Many fans have said that Leo has much more natural chemistry with her than Donnie does. They're shown to get along well and seem fairly close. Then "Eyes of the Chimera" came out and fans almost immediately dubbed it "April/Leo: The Episode" as not only do they work together well, but April tries several times to cheer Leo up over their situation, AND this is an episode or so after the Ho Yay-tastic "Race With the Demon". Oh, and the above mentioned "eating" moment in the narm section only added fuel to the fire for some fans.
    • In "Parasitica", while Leo (controlled by the wasp) bit Raph by the arm, Leo bit Donnie close to his neck leaving a bite mark. It doesn't help that according to the Fridge page, Leo might have been aware of what was happening. This was one of the moments, that cause shipping fuel between the two.
    • Raph has very good reasons to dislike Karai and Leo's attraction to her in the early seasons, but he gets so angry about both that it could be easily interpreted as jealousy - platonic or otherwise. It doesn't help that Karai is very similar to Raph in temperament, and Mona Lisa's primary character traits are an extraordinary fighting ability and a preoccupation with honour.
  • Questionable Casting:
    • Roseanne Barr being cast as Kraang Prime. It may well have been intentional casting a comedian considering how ridiculous the Kraang are. Oddly enough, she and Gilbert Gottfried play their roles completely straight.
    • Some fans are wondering this about the showing having Kevin Michael Richardson provide the voice the 1987 Shredder for the crossover in the fifth season. While it's understandable that James Avery, Shredder's primary voice for most of the 1987 series' run, could not return due to passing away a few years prior, some 1987 fans are wondering why one of his surviving voice actors, such as Dorian Harewood, Townsend Coleman, or Jim Cummings, was not used instead.
    • Seth Green as Leonardo. While Dominic Catrambone replacing Jason Biggs was also initially controversial, he at least sounded nearly identical to him while Green sounds far too different from Biggs. The series does at least give an In-Universe explanation of Leo's vocal cords being damaged.
    • The Greek dub has Michelangelo voiced by a woman using a boyish tone note . Given that Mike, unlike the actress' other roles that use that tone, is a teenager, this can come off as really unfitting and Narmy.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Leonardo had a tendency to get a lot of reactions ranging from apathy to dislike from fans in previous incarnations due to being what they felt to be a rather boring character. The 2012 version of Leonardo is very popular with the fans due to the show making an effort to flesh out his character and showcase him as still learning to be a leader, as he has just started, and the addition of other characteristics (his love of Space Heroes and disobeying Splinter a bit more frequently).
      • In fact, one of this adaptation’s biggest selling points amongst the fandom is "when was the last time you could say Leonardo was your favorite turtle?".
    • In their first appearance in the franchise, Tokka and Rahzar were considered to be Replacement Scrappies for Bebop and Rocksteady. In this adaptation, Tokka gets a large case of Adaptational Badass and Rahzar becomes a fleshed out character with a different backstory and more personality.
    • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, the Super Shredder form was derided due to dying quickly and anticlimactically, with very few incarnations using the concept afterward. The 2012 version of the form, however, is received more warmly for its very strong showing (helped by the series being able to properly flesh it out) and scary look.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor:
    • Almost every episode featuring April in a big role is going to heavily feature Donatello's obsessive crush on her, and it's gotten to the point where many are tired of it, especially now that Casey Jones is in the picture and making it a love triangle. Season Three seems to be making a conscious effort to alleviate this via downplaying Donatello's crush on the character and giving her an episode with her and Leonardo as the focus characters, which ironically had a Narm scene that may or may not have inspired ships with THEM.
      • The fourth season made a lot of steps towards fixing the tumor. While there are still a lot of Donnie/April vibes in episodes focusing on Donnie and April together, it comes across as a much more natural and cute mutual crush. Donnie completely ditching the Stalker with a Crush tendencies combined with Casey becoming more Heterosexual Life-Partners with Raph than a Love Interest to April certainly help (and the few times Casey still does hit on April, April appears somewhat annoyed at his Casanova Wannabe antics instead of flirting back as in the previous seasons).
    • Leo and Karai's romance can come off as this since the show doesn't even feel like resolving the Karai reunion plot and yet we still get scenes where Leo rambles about how he's obsessed with her and later, he snaps at Donnie for giving up after an extended period of failures to save her.
    • Raphael and Mona Lisa's romance in large part because of how poorly-developed and rushed many fans perceive it as and since their romance subplot never has a lasting effect on Raphael unless he's in the same room as Mona Lisa.
  • Ron the Death Eater: There's a vocal amount of fans who decry Splinter as a cruel Abusive Parent and Sadist Teacher who tortures the turtles for petty reasons and couldn't care less about their safety. While Splinter may be an Adaptational Jerkass who can be pretty hard on the turtles, it is nonetheless made clear that he is a protective Papa Wolf who genuinely cares about his sons and does what he thinks is best for them.

    S-W 
  • The Scrappy:
    • The Pulverizer is quite disliked for being an obnoxious fanboy whose levels of stupidity range from uncanny to mind blowing.
    • Hun, due to being a Bruce Lee Clone with no other characteristics, along with quickly becoming irrelevant in the grand scheme of the series despite his first appearance suggesting he was going to be a recurring rival for Casey Jones.
    • Bigfoot and the Finger star in one of the most unpopular episodes of the entire series and are full of Nausea Fuel and are just plain bizarre additions to the show. It's to the point that nobody on this very website even cared enough about them to add character entries for them until almost a year after they appeared!
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Many fans have expressed dislike or disappointment toward the third season due to its Arc Fatigue (with the Turtles being stuck at April's farm), the sudden change of Leonardo's VA, and the Romantic Plot Tumor between Donatello, April, and Casey coming back after it was seemingly resolved at the end of the second season. Not to mention the show completely ignoring the Kraang invasion plot. And when it finally did conclude the Kraang invasion arc after this, many felt it came off as a huge Anti-Climax by rushing the whole thing through five episodes, with the invasion aspect itself only being dealt with for two of them.
    • The general consensus is that while the episodes in the fifth season are more streamlined and fairly well-written, the fifth season overall felt directionless as two of the adaptation's principle characters, Splinter and Shredder, had died in the previous season. The episodes themselves were also considered a bit of a mixed bag; while the crossovers with Usagi Yojimbo and the 1987 series were praised (with the former likely finally getting enough interest for the franchise to get its own Animated Adaptation on Netflix), most of them were based upon wrapping up plots that nobody was that interested in seeing finished anymore due to their lack of relevance, and more lingering plot points (such as most of the romance subplots) were quietly ignored, with the intended series finale, "Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse", being contentious for resolving almost nothing in favor of stopping other writers from using this adaptation.
  • Shipping:
    • Donnie and April have been getting this since the first episode. Also, fans started shipping Leo with Karai as soon as the description for "New Girl in Town" was released (just like with the 2003 series).
    • Casey didn't appear until season two, but he got Die for Our Ship from Donnie X April shippers long before his debut.
      • Some fans got so tired of the drama surrounding April, Donnie, and Casey that they disregarded the love triangle completely and began "bro-shipping" Casey and Raph instead.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: There’s a lot of hostility between Casey/April and Donatello/April shippers. Capril shippers often point to them being an Official Couple in other incarnations and Donnie’s Stalker with a Crush moments, some even arguing it’d be Squicky for April to end up with a mutant. Apritello shippers usually argue that it’d be more fresh for April to end up with someone besides Casey, as well as point out that Donnie eventually outgrows his stalking, and claim it sends a bad message to say April shouldn’t get with Donnie because he’s different. Both sides will refuse to acknowledge anytime April shows interest in the other guy.
  • Shocking Moments: "The Invasion" is this. The Kraang successfully invade New York, Irma turns out to be a Kraang Mole, most of the population gets mutated (including April's dad again), Splinter is defeated and left for dead by Shredder, and the Turtles losing their lair (which forced them to hide in the country with Leo getting injured gets adapted from the comics). But this pales in comparison to "Annihilation: Earth!", where the entire world is destroyed thanks to the Triceratons and a backstabbing Shredder.
    • "Requiem" sees Shredder impale Splinter, and in "Owari" the show confirmed that Splinter really is dead. The episode sees the Turtles explicitly trying to kill Shredder's underlings, and finally kill Shredder himself.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • While the adaptation's CGI animation and art style are very good, sometimes an acute eye will spot that there's something off about the skyline or the distant buildings.
    • In "Newtralized", at least one scene shows Slash wearing Donnie and Mikey's masks wrapped around his arm. Despite the fact that this occurred in a different episode.
    • "The Invasion" had it snowing along with generally well-detailed buildings and environments to reflect this with snow covering the buildings in Part 1 and for most of Part 2, but by night-time, the snow disappears from the environment completely, even when it was previously on the buildings and sidewalks.
  • Spiritual Successor: While this series owes a lot to previous iterations of the franchise, some of the cartoon's more original beats has a lot in common with the 2008 A. Lee Martinez novel The Automatic Detective; set in a busy metropolis where a Mutagenic Goo is making Mutants out of the population, with the mutagen (and by extension a lot of the more outlandish elements of the setting) having either been planted or reverse-engineered Imported Alien Phlebotinum. The alien's big scheme is to kidnap a kid (and by extension the rest of his immediate family) because his DNA is needed to perfect their mutagen so that Earth will become more comfortable for the aliens causing everything. The protagonist Mack Megaton is a result of the alien's super-science who winds up going on a rampage to rescue the kidnapped family (like the turtles), and he also has a few similarities to Metalhead, being a Killer Robot made from reverse-engineered alien tech who develops self-awareness from a glitch, going on a one-robot investigation to uncover and disrupt the alien conspiracy.
  • Spoiled by the Format:
    • Tiger Claw being added to the opening titles made his supposed death by Kraathatrogon very suspicious to say the least.
    • If you're paying attention to the running time in "Dream Beavers", the fact that the beavers are released with only two minutes to go will probably let you guess that they aren't as dangerous in the real world as they are in dreams.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Besides the ongoing Casey/Donnie/April Love Triangle and Leo and Karai's thing, Raphael and Mona Lisa's development was rushed considering they've known each other for about an hour and have spent half that time fighting.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Sure Karai was a little too emotional in her quest to get revenge towards Shredder, but she did have the right idea in attacking his factories and weapon caches in order to cripple his empire and make his schemes weaker in the long run.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Believe it or not, a controversial change is the addition of a third toe on the Turtles. Fans exploded.
    • April being de-aged to a teenager hasn't been taken very well. And as of "Monkey Brains", fans are complaining about her "empathic" ability and Splinter's decision to train her in ninjutsu because of it, although the latter has actually already been depicted in prior adaptations.
      • The revelation that April is a half-Kraang mutant is already starting to turn some fans off.
    • The replacement of "Cowabunga!" with "Booyakasha!" is not very popular with the fans. This is later lampshaded in the show when Mondo Gecko uses "Cowabunga" as his catchphrase and has a discussion with Mikey and Casey over which catchphrase is better.
    • The decision to make Karai Hamato Yoshi's biological daughter is something that threw the fans off, especially since they saw that plot-twist coming a mile away.
      • Even more controversial for a lot of the fans has been Karai becoming a mutant.
    • Dominic Catrambone replacing Jason Biggs as Leonardo has received some complaints from the fans. Although, it is mitigated by the fact that Catrambone's voice for Leo was almost identical to Biggs' own.
      • Seth Green taking over Dominic Catrambone as Leonardo beginning in season three has sparked a very negative reception from the fans, especially since Catrambone was at least able to mimic Biggs' voice almost perfectly. Green just sounds too different for it to work, though the show does at least provide an In-Universe explanation.
    • Bebop and Rocksteady’s drastically different character designs caused some of this. There is also the fact that they're completely different characters from the other versions. Basically, instead of the lovable idiots from the 1987 series, Bebop is an eccentric hi-tech thief who speaks in slang and Rocksteady is a Russian arms dealer who is also a collector of antique military weapons and after Shredder's helmet.
    • The changes to Bishop's character tend to be pretty divisive for fans of his original self (who was a Ensemble Dark Horse in his original incarnation). Ditto Hun, who was a huge Genius Bruiser in the 2003 series, is turned into an In Name Only Bruce Lee Clone here.
    • Irma going from April's dorky best friend from the 87 cartoon to a gothic girl who turns out to be The Mole and a Kraang operating a robotic disguise has not gone over well with some fans.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • April being unable to leave the lair when both Shredder and the Kraang are after her is never even implied after it comes up, and only lasts for a few episodes, though she does later mention she spent weeks living with them.
    • As mentioned above, the implication that Mikey feels inadequate when compared to Leo, Donnie, and Raph. This could have been a really good plot with great character development, but the writer's didn’t even touched upon it unless they're trying to make the audience feel bad for Mikey.
    • The scattered mutagen supply storyline at the start of Season 2. It only lasts for 7 episodes before receiving an offhand mention in "Mazes & Mutants". Sure, there didn't have to be an adventure with every single canister and they all could've been gathered up offscreen (as pointed out in Headscratchers), but it still would've been nice to see that plotline properly resolved.
    • Rahzar and Tiger Claw strike up a friendship in "The Legend of the Kuro Kabuto" via bonding over the fact they both hate Fishface and agreeing to not let their difference in species get in the way. This is never touched on again despite the potential for an interesting Villainous Friendship.
    • "Annihilation: Earth!" is immediately invalidated by "Beyond the Known Universe", wherein Honeycutt transports the Turtles back in time to a few months before the Earth is destroyed so they can all go on a space-faring adventure hunting for parts of the super weapon before the Triceratons get the parts and use it on Earth again. Not only is the gravity of the Earth's destruction barely explored outside of the first part of the season's opening episode, this could've been the perfect opportunity to use the season to bring back Renet and Lord Simultaneous and have them, along with Honeycutt, be the ones who help send the Turtles back in time.
    • Some fans were disappointed that the 2003 Turtles were left out of "Trans-Dimensional Turtles", a crossover between the 1987 and 2012 Turtles or feel that it shouldn't have just been a standard 30-minute length episode.
    • Mikey is revealed to have never mentally matured past the age of six in the fourth season, but the show never does anything with this nor explain what happened that stunted his mental growth at that age.
    • With its stakes, unrelenting nightmare fuel, and final appearances of several major recurring villains in the series (Tiger Claw, Fishface, Rahzar, Shredder, Kavaxas, Tatsu, and Ho Chan), some fans felt that the Kavaxas arc should've been saved to be the final arc of the fifth season instead of the first arc.
    • In "Mutagen Man Unleashed", after freezing Timothy, Donnie promises to him that he'll try to make him human again. However, this plotline was never followed up on, even after the subsequent episodes introduced retro-mutagen.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring:
    • Due to April constantly losing Kirby O' Neil, fans have found it hard to care whether or not April and her father reunite at all since he'll just be taken out of her hands sometime afterward. While he was presumably saved offscreen in "Earth's Last Stand", he did not appear at all or get referenced in season four until "Owari".
    • As a result of their Adaptational Wimp, it can be slightly difficult to care about the fights that Turtles have with their enemies (animation aside) as a result of them usually losing against them.
      • The fact that Shredder constantly defeats the Turtles without them gaining a single victory over him has made some fans tired of how the TMNT in this adaptation Can't Catch Up with the Shredder even after four seasons. It's gotten to the point where Shredder has surpassed even the 2003 version (Ch'rell) in being an Invincible Villain who wins almost all the time and can never be stopped.
    • The entire arc about Splinter and Karai, who is really his daughter Miwa, that's been going on since the first season ends up resulting in this because no matter what happens, things always keep them apart and make the both of them more miserable than before, such as Karai getting mutated and becoming Brainwashed and Crazy or Splinter getting badly injured and even killed at one point. To make matters worse, when things finally started to look up as a result of Karai being freed from her control, mastering her mutation, and becoming an ally again, Splinter ends up getting killed for real with no reset this time, putting things through a giant case of Shoot the Shaggy Dog.
    • This trope is part of the reason the fans regard the "Raphael: Mutant Apocalypse" three-parter as non-canon to the series; it effectively renders almost everything the Turtles did across the five seasons null as a majority of their friends and family have died and almost everything they've fought for has been wiped out.
  • Too Cool to Live: Unlike in most incarnations, Splinter proved to be this.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Just like with the 1987 and 2003 series, any TMNT adaptation made after the 2012 TMNT series is going to be disliked by the fans and considered inferior to the 2012 series along with its predecessor, though ironically some feel this sentiment applies to the 2012 series in relation to the others as a result of the problems it developed as it went along.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Despite being a mutant rat, Hamato Yoshi/Splinter looks very adorable.
    • Leatherhead is surprisingly cute for a mutant alligator.
    • The Kraang look rather adorable despite being aliens.
    • The Mousers. They even make cat-like noises!
    • Justin.
    • Pete.
    • Spider Bytez, he's a Cephalothorax with a giant maw, filled with huge fangs and has spider legs protruding from his forehead. Yet, he's strangely adorable. Quite ironic, since Raph mocks him for being even uglier than before, but considering what he looked like as a human, it's safe to say that his mutant form is an improvement.
    • Stockman-Fly, oddly enough. Despite being the clearest case of Body Horror in the series, even being a full on reference to a Cronenberg movie, his massive head and unexpressive eyes can be strangely endearing. As long as there aren't any close-ups of his sideways mouth...
    • Casey, as opposed to being quite attractive like in the 2003 series.
    • Slash just may count, having those small, creepy eyes and big jaws and spikes protruding out of his body, but yet you still want to pinch his cheeks, if he has any.
    • The mutant mushroom's minions. At least from Mikey's point of view.
    • The Kraathatrogons, who have very catlike faces that, when they're annoyed, turn into maws, which somehow doesn't mitigate how strangely adorable these giant worms are.
  • Unintentional Uncanny Valley:
    • While stylized like everything else in the show, the Kraang's disguises are droll businessmen whose eyes and mouths scarcely move as if the Kraang are barely trying with their disguises, creating a rather odd and creepy effect.
    • There's something creepy about the realistic lips that the mutated Pulverizer aka Mutagen Man has.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Lord Dregg, the antagonist of the largely disliked final two seasons of the 1987 TMNT series, is one of the Arc Villains of the fourth season. Also, who was expecting to get Bellybomb from the Archie comic series of all people as a Monster of the Week? Pizza Face, a Toyline-Exclusive Character, was another deep cut.
    • The fifth season, Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, features a reinvention of Tatsu from the 1990 film, who not only hadn't shown up in the franchise since the 1992 Hyperstone Heist video game, but had previously been assumed to be Exiled from Continuity due to rights issues with Golden Harvest.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Michelangelo often hits this due to occasionally being Innocently Insensitive, refusing to see how the negative fallout of his own actions as in any way his fault, and his comic relief role being played up during fights for their lives. Not helping is the implication that many of the stupid actions he does are the result of him acting out because the rest of the team doesn't treat him seriously. It's meant to make his brothers look like jerks for being mean to him, but as he's often pulled many of these actions at the worst possible times (often during life-or-death situations which have endangered himself, his family, and his friends), the implication from that would mean he's willing to risk his loved ones' lives just to act out and try and prove a point. As a result it not only winds up making him look like much worse of a jerk, but somewhat of a sociopath as well.
    • Donnie qualifies as this due to his sole motivation for doing many things (in which he should ALREADY be doing out of either the goodness of his heart or because he's legitimately responsible for it) being so that April will like him. The fact that he has vaguely stalkerish tendencies towards her in the first two seasons doesn't help, as he can come off as a huge creep to parts of the viewership.
    • Raphael qualifies as this earlier in the show's run. This may or may not have been intended given that the fans warmed up to him after his character development.
    • April is this for some viewers. In spite of all the crap she goes through during the show's run, she loses sympathy from parts of the fandom due to her self-righteous attitude and tendency to blame others for things that either aren't their fault or that they had little control of. Most notable is when her father is turned into a giant bat. She swears to never see the Turtles again, and while they are out looking for Kirby and Donnie is working tirelessly to cure him, April makes no moves to try and help her own father. Instead she spends her time going to school vowing to not even think about her father or the Turtles, not even trying to find him or finding a cure. She only aliented fans more in season 3 when she kisses Donnie, which gets him confused about his feelings for her again after he'd managed to put them aside. This event has come off as her unintentionally toying with him to some.
    • Splinter can come off as this at times due to being one of the harsher versions of the character:
      • His inability to reunite with Karai/Miwa. When Shredder burns down his home, he just assumes Miwa died, never (to our knowledge) thinking of spying on Shredder, does nothing when Shredder says he took her away, and chooses to stay in the Lair instead of fighting Tiger Claw when Karai says they're using tracking devices to find the lair and need to lure him away. A pattern is then soon established in which Splinter will always mope at every downturn in the Karai arc rather than do anything proactive to help, making it difficult to sympathize with him.
      • Splinter's complacency in general is a major factor into this trope, as he often bemoans the life-threatening danger his sons are in, but he very rarely leaves the lair to help them on missions. Given he's a literal ninja master who, unlike several previous incarnations of the character, is in good health you'd think he'd be more involved in missions if only to protect his children and their friends. Instead he only does so as a last resort, which leaves the boys in a lot of unneeded danger.
      • While it clearly comes from good intentions, Splinter's efforts to teach Raphael to control his anger can come off as this at times, as some of his methods are arguably unhealthy. Instead of delving into the reasons for Raph's anger, he only seems looks at it from the surface level. In the first episode where Raph's anger issues are touched upon his methods include having the other three brothers shooting Raph with (non-lethal) arrows and verbally demeaning him, and then later he openly compares Raph's anger to his own in his youth... As well as the Shredder's, the man who destroyed Yoshi's life and who is currently trying to eliminate the entirety of the Hamato Clan. Suffice to say, Splinter doesn't typically come out looking very good during these episodes.
  • The Un-Twist:
    • Many fans saw "Showdown"'s twist about Splinter's daughter coming a mile away. The fact that Hamato Yoshi never had a daughter in the other versions and that in the adaptations where she was Shredder's daughter, Karai was always explicitly referred to as his adopted daughter is what made it easy to predict.
    • Absolutely no ONE was surprised that Steranko and Zeck become Bebop and Rocksteady.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: For a TV-Y7 cartoon on Nickelodeon, there sure is a huge amount of Family-Unfriendly Violence. Heck, the show is even rated PG in Canada for violence.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Nickelodeon's animation department was struggling after the end of the beloved Avatar: The Last Airbender with many of their cartoons coming after being divisive at best. But this show and The Legend of Korra (and later Harvey Beaks, The Loud House and the ninth season of SpongeBob SquarePants) managed to win back a lot of fans who lost faith in the channel.
  • The Woobie:
    • Poor, poor Kirby. The guy just can't catch a break.
    • April. In season one, the worst thing that happens to her is her dad getting kidnapped. Things get even worse for her starting in season two.
    • Mikey himself gets this treatment. First, a Kraang lands on his face akin to a [[Franchise/Alien Face-Hugger]], and then he ends up being manipulated by his idol Chris Bradford.
  • Woobie Species: The Kraang when it's revealed that Kraang Prime has brainwashed them all.

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