Friday, January 8, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 3: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pt.2

Welcome Student's to Part 2 of my Ninja Turtle Cartoon lesson. In this part I'll be talking about the 2K3 Cartoon.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2K3 is an American-Korean animated series that was created to give the TMNT fans a TV show that was closer to the Mirage Comics.

It first aired on February 8, 2003 and ended on February 28, 2009. The series marked the revival of the franchise by Fox, with the help of 4Kids Entertainment, as a Saturday morning cartoon in The Fox Box programming block (now defunct)

The TMNT 2K3 TV series was produced by 4Kids Entertainment and Mirage Studios owned one third of the rights to the show.Also the show was coproduced by Shogakukan Productions and Dong Woo Animation.

The producers were Gary Richardson, Frederick U. Fierst, and Joellyn Marlow for the American team; Tae Ho Han was the producer for the Korean team.

The 2K3 series deviates from the 1987 TV series significantly. While still a Saturday morning cartoon, the show bears more resemblance to the original, "darker and edgier" comics, published by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Mirage Studios.

Many of the elements of the series are taken from a failed CGI pilot. Gone are a bafoonish Shredder and his dopey minions. Raphael is now a much more serious and intimidating character.

Most of the concepts and characters that were created for the 1987 TV series such as the Technodrome, Dimension X, Bebop,Rocksteady, Krang,and Dregg are all absent from this series; however, Shredder does have a number of elements from the latter.

April O'Neil is not a reporter,Instead she is a scientist and ex-assistant of Baxter Stockman. She met the Turtles in a similar manner that her OT counterpart did.

April's OT workmates Burne Thompson, Irma Langinstein and Vernon Fenwick are all absent from the show. Instead of being a meek little Caucasian meek who becomes a mutant fly, Baxter Stockman is a Africain-American Scientist,who is an overconfident,greedy,egomaniac that becomes a cyborg. He becomes this way when he is mutilated by the Shredder.

Leatherhead is a bright scientist and an ally of the turtles(he's great friends with donny)with nothing to do with southern United States. The Triceratons play a much larger role in the series. Most characters are portrayed as more serious in this series.

However Casey Jones, is the only one that becomes much less menacing, to the point that he is often used as comic relief.In fact This Casey seems,well,Real. His OT counterpart was psychotic who should've been put away.

The Rat King was an experimental super soldier who turned into a psychotic recluse. Like his OT counterpart,the Rat's are his only allies. Unlike his original toon counterpart,though,he has no intention to dominate the world.

Also notable is reduced amount of pizza as the Turtles' main meal, which was a main-stay in the 1987 TV series, including Michelangelo's insatiable appetite for it(although he still has the biggest appetite of all four Turtles).

Instead they are seen ordering Chinese, making eggs, eating popcorn,scarfing down burgers and hotdogs,and going on ice cream runs. The Battle Shell in the 2003 TV series is similar to the Turtle Van of the 1987 TV series. It is apparently based on an early Dodge forward-control van, due to its split windshield and engine under the front seats.

They also have new vehicles like the Sewer Sled. Raphael has his own vehicle, the Shell Cycle. Telecommunication devices are used in both versions; the TurtleComm in the 1987 TV series and the Shell Cell in the 2K3 series.

The 2K3 series also includes a main plot and several sub-plots running throughout, with revealing hints which developed as the series unfolded. Although many of the episodes are stand-alone, each usually has a key element that relates to the plot as a whole.

Furthermore, there are frequent 2-4 episode continuous stories. Most characters introduced in stand alone episodes are eventually seen again. (For example, the "green man," the Garbage Man, Savanti Romero, Nobody, etc.)

The science fiction elements that were in the old cartoon are still present, with were robots, aliens, and journeys through time and space. In addition, the 2003 TV series has supernatural elements to it. This includes things such as travel to other dimensions via magic, and the presence of supernatural creatures, such as the "original" Shredder, who is a demon.

A considerable change to this show is the number of deaths that occur over the series. People have been killed on screen while others have died off screen or else have been implied to have died. Examples include Hamato Yoshi(who isn't splinter in this show,but splinters owner), Casey Jones' father, Yukio Mashimi, and Tang Shen(lover of Hamato Yoshi).

The fifth season shows the apparent deaths of the Shredder and his heralds. The show has been changed so an older audience is drawn in easily with things such as when a group of vigilantes try and blow up New York City as well as when the Earth launches a nuclear attack on the Triceritons.

There is much more violence and darker themes. There were a few cases where characters who were thought to have died are revealed in later episodes to have survived such as the Fugitoid, Leatherhead, and the other heralds of the Ninja Tribunal.

In 2K3,the four Turtles personalities are in some ways very different from the 1987 TV series in an attempt to follow the Mirage Comics more closely. All characters are more fleshed-out and more sensitive,and have a stronger family bond.

Leo is more serious about being a Ninja Warrior. He also cares more about honor. Raph is a hot-headed bad-ass who loves to fight. This dude has quite a temper,and he never cracks corny jokes(unlike his OT counterpart).

Mikey is a goofball,who loves to goof off and tease Raph. However,unlike his OT counterpart,This Michaelangelo has a better serious side. Don is the resident boy genius. He's an even better inventer than his OT counterpart.

Master Splinter is a lot wiser than his OT counterpar. He also fights a lot more. The Shredder is a major bad-ass. Unlike Shredder of the Original Toon,This Shredder isn't as easily beaten by the Forces of Good.He's quite fomitable.

The original show's catchphrase, "Cowabunga", is joked about several times (with Raphael telling Michelangelo not to say "cowabunga" anymore). The "Turtle Power" catchphrase has been left out of the 2K3 entirely. During the "Fast Forward" season however a new catchphrase, "It's Ninja Time", is introduced.

Aside from showcasing new twists on familiar characters, the series introduces several secondary characters from the comics; such as Renet, a time traveler in training with the personality of a valley girl; the Fugitoid, a robot whose mind is that of the scientist Professor Honeycutt; The Triceratons, a race of Triceratops humanoids who desire galactic conquest;Hun,the leader of a gang called The Perple Dragons: And Karai, who is leader of the Foot Clan in Japan as well as the adopted daughter of the Shredder.

As the relationships and dynamics of the Turtles grow and mature over each new season, so does the legacy and identity of the Shredder. His origins differ considerably from his original comic incarnation and the version of the character from the Original TV series.

Clues and revelations throughout the series reveal that "Shredder" is really an ancient demon that has inspired many other evil beings to take up the persona. For the bulk of the series, however, Shredder is a human being who is ultimately revealed to be a member of the alien race known as the Utroms. These guys are what inspired the creation of Krang.

The character coloring in the 2K3 cartoon series is somewhat different from that in the original series. Each of the Turtles has a unique skin coloring.Unlike in the originally TV series where they were all the same skin color.

In 2K3, Leonardo is a basic green (much like the 1987 TV series), Raphael is dark green, Michelangelo is dark green-blue, and Donatello is a yellowish olive-green. These color schemes are very different from the color schemes within both the 1987 and 2K3 toylines, which have remained similar.

The Turtles bear their favorite colors on their weapon-handles. Also, the bands on their wrists, elbows, and knee-caps are brown, similar to the original comic book series and films. Like their OT counterparts,the Turtles bandannas were their favorite color.

The OT Turtles had their initials on their belts.The 2K3 Turtles on the otherhand, only had knots on their belts.

Splinter is a Grey, not brown, rat, with brown robes instead of magenta. he also has aa white beard. April O'Neil has long red hair instead of short auburn hair.

In addition, the Turtles' eyes are drawn without irises in the 2K3 TV series version when they are shown wearing masks, similar to most drawings of Batman.

In the Back to the Sewers season,the Turtles are drawn with irises and now resemble their 2K7 movie counterparts. Characters that were in the 2K7 TMNT movie such as Casey, April and Karai have been given new designs so they resemble their movie counterparts.

Characters such as Bishop, Hun and Stockman have been given new designs as well, though they're still similar to the 2K3 original style of them.

Dan Berger, TMNT comic writer, and correspondent to the fan base, confirmed that Peter Laird and his staff had been working hard on a fifth Season for the show that would have resolved the "Ninja Tribunal" storyline introduced in the Season 4 finale, producing thirteen episodes in total, but it was shelved in favor of the "Fast Forward" concept for the following season.

This "Lost Season" began airing selected episodes on 4Kids' on demand channels, beginning on August 9, 2006, but the episodes have since vanished. Dan Berger later confirmed in November that the Ninja Tribunal Season DVD release has been postponed, with at least one episode ("Nightmares Recycled") pulled from production due to sensitive issues (it dealt with the theme of conjoined twins).

The Season had a Region 4 release on March 8, 2007. This release lacks the first episode of the arc, "The Ninja Tribunal", which was not included with the Region 1 fourth Season releases. However, "The Ninja Tribunal" was later included in the region 4 DVD of Season 4 when it was released on July 4. The Season was released on DVD in region 1 May 20, 2008.

The plot of the season revolves around the Turtles (and four other ninjas) being trained by the Ninja Tribunal as "Acolytes" to prevent the return of the original Shredder, who was an ancient demon.

However, the Turtles weren't able to stop his revival and end up following him to New York where the rest of the plot revolves around the Turtles.the turtles try to stop the Shredder and his demonic army But when they transform into their dragon avatars the same time Karai drains the Shredder of his energy they beat him. Then they sacrifice their amulets on their necks to bring back Master Yoshi to deliver the final blow.

On January 25, 2008, 4Kids announced that they would be airing the Lost Season episodes (excluding "Nightmares Recycled" aka the deleted episode), beginning February 9, 2008. The season was given the title Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Lost Episodes. The final episode aired on May 3.

Other 2K3 seasons include,Fast Foward and Back to the Sewers. The FF Season followed the adventures of the Ninja Turtles and Splinter as they are accidentally transported one hundred years into the future by Cody Jones, the great-grandson of Casey Jones and April O’Neil and heir to the O’Neil Tech business empire.

Despite following and acknowledging the previous series, Fast Forward abandons most of its characters and storylines in favor of completely original ones.

Aside from the Turtles and Splinter, the only characters from the previous returning in 2105 are Agent Bishop, who has since become president of the Pan-Galactic Alliance (an Intergalactic version of the United Nations) and Baxter Stockman, who survived one of Bishop's labs' destruction in 2055 and secretly spent the last fifty years underground, trying to recreate some of his technology and take revenge on Bishop.

Taking place mostly 2105 New York City, the series deals mainly with plots such as Sh’Okanabo’s attempts to dominate earth. The Turtles also deal with Darius Dun,Cody's evil Uncle. Due to the multispecies population of the future, the Turtles are now free to move about openly and interact with everyday people. The season is lighter in tone and less violent than previous ones, with a greater emphasis on jokes.

Fast Forward spans one 26-episode-long season, although work had begun on producing a ten episode long follow-up season,which would have included a Triceraton version of The Shredder.

In 2007, 4Kids pitched a revamp of the series to Peter Laird codenamed "Superworld".Laird hated the idea. 4Kids then proposed a second revamp, called TMNT Overload, which was approved by Mirage, but rejected by Playmates. Playmates then proposed a reboot of the series, called "Ultimate TMNT", which was rejected by 4Kids and Mirage.

On October 24, 2007 Steve Murphy confirmed on his blog that Playmates, Mirage, and 4Kids had firmly agreed on the new direction, which would take place in the continuity of the 2K3 TV series and use the "more realistic aspects" of the aborted "Overload" pitch, with character designs similar to that of the 2K7 TMNT movie.

In BttS,The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back in present day New York,ready to take on all bad guys! Casey and April are back and ready to kick some bad guy ass. Also the Turtles get a new super advanced Turtle Lair (thanks to some hi-tech know-how Donatello garnered from the future).

Unfortunatly things aren't that great. Y'see,Viral(a villain from FF)interferes with the Turtles trip back home and causes Master Splinter to get trapped in cyberspace. Suddenly,bits of Splinter's data code gets scattered all throughout the digital domain. Now,The Turtles must access the virtual realm and gather Splinter’s code. The Turtles must save their beloved father before he is lost to them forever.

However this task won't be easy,because an old enemy has been reborn! The Shredder is back and in a new cyber form. In order to save their master, the Turtles must now face The Cyber Shredder,who's goal is to kill the Turtles and find a way into the real world!

With the Shredder back,The Foot Clan is rebuilt..with a new leader,Master Khan. Master Khan is quite the ass kicker and will do whatever it takes to bring his Master Shredder to the real world.

But Shredder and the Foot aren't the only Villains. The Turtles must also deal with Hun and his Purple Dragon Gang,Baxter Stockman,and some dangerous digital monsters! Long story short,The TMNT manage to beat them all,Save their Master,And attend Casey and April's wedding.

Three samples of a new opening theme song were announced by 4Kids to be under consideration on February 22, with the option for fans to vote on each of the samples and determine an official opening theme song.

The voting for the songs ended March 19 with song #5, "RVTheme2008," winning. 4Kids TV ran two blogs on their website, with the first revealing a component for the Back to the Sewer season every week, while the second blog took a look into the designs that are showcased in the new episodes. TMNT: Back to the Sewer and aired from September 13, 2008 to February 28, 2009.

The Turtles Forever made-for-tv animated movie aired on November 21, 2009. The movie featured the 2K3 Turtles teaming up with their counterparts from the original animated series and the original Mirage Comics, and fighting both animated versions of Shredder (featuring the return of the Utrom Shredder, Ch'rell), Krang, Rocksteady and Bebop, and human & robotic Foot Soldiers, as well as Tokka and Rahzar from the second live-action Ninja Turtles movie.

And there ya have it,The History of the Ninja Turtle Cartoons so far.

Well that's gonna do it for now. I hope ya'll found my Lesson interesting and entertaining. Class Dismissed.

Rock On and Stay Cold,

1 comment:

KingsSideCastle said...

Wow...this is a really great summary SFD. I saw the turtles forever movie pretty recently. I was really surprised and happy that they did a crossover.

Anyway...Great work!!