Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: 1987 version

Here's another classic yet a still cool cartoon that began it's popularity. I assume the title is called "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" but before the 2003 version of it, there's the 80's version. I'll try to take notes on this one.

Before the height of popularity, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or TMNT for short began as comic series in 1984. Originally created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The content of the comics were black and white strips. The four turtle characters wearing masks with different weapons each and act as cold-blooded reptiles with incredible martial art skills. Some characters and storyline were parodied and referenced from Marvel Comic's titles like Cerebus, Ronin, and Daredevil. Because there are no publishing companies to offer Eastman and Laird's work, both creators build their own studio known as Mirage Studios and published their first issue entitled Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

In the mainstream in the first issue, merchandising jumped into mainstream. In 1986, TMNT's merchandise began as action figures and expand to the market. Then in 1987, the first TMNT cartoon was born.

Clockwise: Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Donatello.

The first TMNT cartoon series began in 5-part miniseries and thus becoming a regular Saturday morning cartoon. The four mutated ninja turtles played as pizza-obsessed heroes with their different personality. They're also first appeared with their color-coded masks each plus their belts. The four turtles are guided with their mutated rat and martial arts sensei named Splinter. The turtles task is to save the city from enemies and alien invaders. Their toughest nemesis is named "The Shredder" or simply called Shredder.

The show doesn't contain darker tone from the original comics because the show aims to be suitable for children. The plot began when Splinter, before being a rat was a human named Hamato Yoshi. He was banished by Foot Clan in Japan lead of Oroku Saki and forced to live in sewers in New York City. Then one day, Yoshi found four turtles which they were accidentally drop by a young boy. Yoshi returned one day that the turtles were covered with green ooze known as mutagen and thus the turtles began to form into humanoids. While Hamato Yoshi, become a humanoid rat because of exposure to sewer rats and named himself Splinter. In some versions, Splinter raised the four turtles and treat them as his children. Splinter named the four turtles after his favorite Renaissance artists - Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello and taught them the art of ninjitsu. The four ninja turtles were born to protect the city against the invaders and meanwhile Oroku Saki left Japan to find Yoshi and become Shredder.

There are many characters from the comics appeared in the cartoons like the Foot Soldiers, April O' Neil and Casey Jones. There are also characters who were featured in cartoons only. While the story was heavily diverged from the original concept of comics. At first, the animated series wasn't considered canon in the Mirage Studios universe. Later on, because the cartoon showed it's wide-spread incarnation and helped increase the merchandise and phenomenal status it turned out into a pop-culture even today. Many people considered the cartoon as a canon and become the part of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe. Merchandises like soundtracks, cereals, skateboards, video games, Archie comics, magazines and pizza coupons are spawned successfully. Even a concert tour were held. There are catchphrases such as "Turtle power!" and "Cowabunga!" are used by many people especially fans.

What can I say about TMNT 1987 version? Well, aside from kid-friendly environment I pretty considered them as one of the greatest classic cartoons I watched aside from Transformers. When it comes to all TMNT cartoons and anime (yes, there were two anime versions of it) the 80's rocked the spot which means the first TMNT. With lots of casts and twisted storyline, I guess that TMNT helped explain their original counterparts and branched to the other TMNT successors. What might discourage me is that in later seasons around 1994, the environment became darker which kinda scary and removed numerous characters. Deep down, I don't mind about what doesn't seem right and besides 1987's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is really great and pretty nostalgic.

Currently, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles airs on Studio 23 every 8:00-8:30 AM Saturdays. Before that schedule, ABS-CBN aired that also together with the new season around mid-90's along with X-Men. In 2006 or 2007, the show moved to Studio 23 which aired every weekday nights before it moved to Saturday mornings. The opening theme here is catchy which seems that you'll almost sing the lyrics all day. Like any cartoons I've seen, I have no idea who composed or sang the TMNT opening song.

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