Ninja Turtles, now under the Nickelodeon flag, return for an all new animated series. Borrowing a little from each of it's previous incarnations will the new turtles be ready for some pizza time or is the new series going to be flushed down like an unwanted red slider back in the early 90's? (Was that joke too tasteless?)
The origin doesn't vary far from the original. Thankfully the Turtles are mutants still and not aliens. Hamato Yoshi makes his way from Japan to New York where he adopts 4 baby turtles. On his way home he runs into some suspicious looking people fighting over an item. This item happens to be the slime that transforms him into a rat and his turtles into humanoids. Trains them as Ninjas, They grow to become teens, and you know the rest. Thankfully we're not here for a new origin, we're here for some new turtle action!
The music in the new series is fantastic. Upbeat songs are nice and catchy while the lower key music doesn't sound like it's taking itself to seriously. Sound effects are perfect with each moment. Even the new opening song is catchy and fun. It's a addicting and fun rap song that calls back to the original T.V. series as well as some of the other incarnations with lines like "The Secret of the Ooze" & "Heroes in a Half Shell." A killer soundtrack indeed. The voice acting is also fantastic - each Turtle's voice suits their character well. At first I had Don (who's VA played Ralp in the 87' series) and Mikey's sounding a little too kiddy, but once I got about half way into the premier I found that these voices suited them extremely well. Even the random bits of Japanese that Splinter and Leo toss out sound great. 5/5 for the Turtles!
I was a little concerned when I found out that the new series was being made with CGI. I find that CG animated series don't have the same charm as hand drawn/computer drawn animation. This series is definitely making me feel otherwise. The animation is smooth, fluid, and expressive. The characters them self have alot of emotion to them. There are some great moments where they use some very comic book/manga like facial expressions that gives the series a charming look. Even the backgrounds are done well. They did a great job keeping the comic/manga look with CGI. 5/5 Excellent!
The characters basic attitude have not changed much from previous entries into the series. The twist in the characters lies in something that is often ignored in previous incarnations despite the fact that it is in the title: They are teenagers. I'm not talking 17-19, I'm talking about that socially awkward age of 15. Leo remains the leader who can't completely control his teenage brothers. Between Ralp giving him a hard time and Mikey breaking rules, he enjoys reenacting his favorite T.V. series. Ralp remains the smart-ass who enjoys giving his brothers a hard time. Mikey still loves skateboard but still acts like the little annoying brother you never wanted. Splinter has a new design that makes him more foreboding as a parent and teacher. (He is also my favorite Splinter to date.) April returns this time as a teenager but with few lines and being nothing more then a damsel in distress I could not judge her well. Hopefully she becomes much more. The enemies for the premier are the Kraang - Brain-like aliens the resemble the Utroms from the comics and the 2003 series take their look and name being closer to the 87's Krang. 5/5 - Even though these characters are not perfect, the have a lot of room to grow!
Welcome back Ninja Turtles. That sums up my feelings. The series itself has provoked me to start purchasing the figures and that is saying something. The new series does one thing that I think they learned from the Turtles Forever movie - Don't take yourself too seriously. These turtles give us the right amount of action and comedy to keep my eyes glued. I'm already DVRing the series as new episodes that are giving Saturday Morning Cartoons a serious comeback. I can't be the only one who feels this way - Season 2 has already been confirmed. 4.5/5!