Teenage Mutant Ninja Terribad
As we know from the past, anime is not adverse to destroying childhoods. So when I sat down to watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles OVA, I of course expected something awful. But what I actually got was . . . man, I don’t know how to describe it other than it’s SO ANIME.
The viewer familiar with the Ninja Turtles mythos is bombarded with alterations immediately — the turtles get some sort of retarded fairy companion who gives them special stones — the “Mutastone” — imbued with powers to help the Ninja Turtles transform into Super Turtles for three minutes. So, I guess, the mutations mutate into super mutations. (We have to mutate deeper.) This is all very standard anime stuff, but I was reminded most heavily of GaoGaiGar, perhaps because of the music and the narrator. (Although, to be fair, this OVA was released a year or two before GaoGaiGar. It also sucks roughly a million times more than GaoGaiGar, but I digress.)
Thing is, all this crazy anime shit is undeniably bizarre on the turtles. I mean . . . look at them! Throughout this OVA, I couldn’t help but reflect on how the original TMNT comic book was intended as a parody of several series released at the time, and I wondered if this could possibly be some sort of insane anime parody from the inside. Sure, it’s intended to sell toys to kids, but good god! The creators couldn’t purposefully make it this stupid without some sort of wink, right?! Even now I can’t help but retain some sort of hope that this is all a weird parody rather than something the makers legitimately thought people would find cool.
The strongest evidence of this, I think, is in Krang, Shredder, Bebop and Rocksteady. If you remember the cartoon, the villains definitely had their fair share of goofy moments, but they would be threats often enough that you could occasionally wonder if they would defeat the Ninja Turtles. Here, they’re nothing but bumbling idiots; hell, Shredder and his cronies seem like they stepped out of a bad manzai routine. They’re all comical overreactions, clumsy foolishness and general retardery. They make Bebop and Rocksteady in the original cartoon look like fucking Lex Luthor and the Kingpin.
Oh well. At least they can transform into giant mecha monsters. Wait, what?
And Krang . . . oh, lordy, Krang. My Twitter friends put it best: They turned Krang into a moeblob. There really is no other way to describe it. He’s got the anime version of the high-pitched, lispy voice, but instead of making Krang sound alien (like, you know, he’s supposed to sound), it makes him sound like a 4-year-old. He’s also utterly ineffectual, a total whiner, and his characterization culminates in this moment that I have hopefully immortalized for all future generations to see:
Yes, that is indeed Krang shouting, “URUCHAI!” If I were a more talented video editor, I would have made Krang shout it three times in a row, Rie Kugimiya-style, but I suppose you should all be relieved that my abilities have limitations. But, yes, the “URUCHAI!” says it all. Krang is not a power-hungry villain desperate to get out of a vicious dimension; no, instead, he is a manchild. A manchild who needs the powers of a dark fairy to defeat the light fairy who aids the Ninja Turtles.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a crazy anime experience without a combo attack, so meet the Saint:
Yes, the Turtles combine into an entity called the Saint (which is definitely NOT ripping off Saint Seiya, I have NO IDEA where you would get THAT idea!) that kicks ass for the Lord, I guess. Jesus is totally down with this. Blah blah blah, the dark fairy is destroyed because Jesus kicks ass like that. I wasn’t really sure what was going on by this point.
This is all just the first episode, by the way. I wish I could say the second episode is just as insane, but despite the presence of ninja out of fucking nowhere and Shredder returning to “my hometown of Japan”, it’s not quite as insane, and therefore, not really as enjoyable.
But, hey, just so that we don’t end on a down note, here are the Foot Soldiers on vacation in Miami: