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Old 02-19-2012, 12:47 PM   #1
Mr._Mutant_Man
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April O'Neil's character design

Has it ever been explained anywhere what the artists were thinking when they came up with the design for the original April O'Neil?

I know it was the 80's, but the yellow jumpsuit still seems kind of strange. Were jumpsuits really that popular in the 80's? They just as easily could have designed an April that wore one of those tops that looked like football shoulder pads. Or had her with the sweater with one shoulder (maybe not when she was reporting, but in her casual scenes).

If I was on the TMNT creative team, and they said, "design a reporter character", I have to admit, I'd probably make her look like Lois Lane: blouse, skirt, high heels. Maybe since it was the 80's, they would be wacky colors, and her hair would be really big.

I'm not saying that April's character design was bad. Obviously it's memorable considering the cosplays you see at conventions. I just find it bizarre that out of all the possibilities and choices, that's what they ended up with.

I know she wore a jumpsuit in the Mirage comics, but that was one issue, and she was a lab assistant, not a reporter.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:54 PM   #2
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Her design was based entirely off of Mirage #2. Even her hairstyle is the same.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:56 PM   #3
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Obviously, the jumpsuit idea came from the second issue of the Mirage comics, but the yellow jumpsuit and white boots were probably a product of either Playmates or Fred Wolf Films input.

I'm really surprised nobody has drawn attention to the similarities between Old Toon April and Mel Bush from the 1986-1987 seasons of Doctor Who.











I know David Wise has been a huge Doctor Who fan over the years, so it wouldn't surprise me if he somehow influenced the design process for the pilot episodes. I guess somebody could probably ask him on his Facebook page or something.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberCubed View Post
Her design was based entirely off of Mirage #2. Even her hairstyle is the same.
Like I said though, that's one issue. Once she's no longer a lab assistant, the jumpsuit makes less sense.

Wow, I don't know much about Doctor Who, so that took me by surprise. If I didn't know where those middle screen captures came from, I would think it was some live action Turtles thing.
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:59 PM   #5
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Her yellow jumpsuit seemed to derive from the late '70s anime "Lupin the 3rd", based on the character Fujiko. I have no idea where the red hair for the OT came from, even though O'Neil is a Scottish/Irish surname where red hair is most common.
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr._Mutant_Man View Post
Like I said though, that's one issue. Once she's no longer a lab assistant, the jumpsuit makes less sense.

Wow, I don't know much about Doctor Who, so that took me by surprise. If I didn't know where those middle screen captures came from, I would think it was some live action Turtles thing.
I'm not a Dr. Who fan either (guess I'm not nerdy enough for British Sci-Fi comedy?), but I stumbled upon the character design while looking up info on the show out of curiosity a few months back. I figured some other TMNT fans might find it interesting, but I decided to keep it to myself.

Here's a clip from the episode where Mel first appeared, sporting her April O'Neil outfit.
Terror of the Vervoids:


I don't know if Wise ever watched any Lupin the 3rd back in the 70s, but considering the fact that he almost certainly watched Dr. Who during 1986-1987 and wrote the pilot episodes sometime in '87... the connection just seems to be too uncanny to be coincidental.
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Last edited by oldmanwinters; 02-19-2012 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:09 PM   #7
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I just assumed they chose that outfit for April because it was easy to color and animate.
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Foot Soldier Clang View Post
I just assumed they chose that outfit for April because it was easy to color and animate.
Would not surprise me.
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Old 02-20-2012, 12:23 PM   #9
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Blouse Irma

I don't know what news reporters wear when not being on TV, but one thing that has made me wonder is Irma. Working as a secretary girl, wouldn't she usually be required by her employer to wear something better-looking than a sweater to work, something like a blouse and a skirt. Actually, Irma usually sits just where visitors open the front door, and it's her they usually talk to when they arrive and wonder where someone is, so that would make more sense.

Last edited by Original TMNT Cartoon Fan; 02-20-2012 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:08 PM   #10
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I think 80's APril is probably the prettiest design out there.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:15 PM   #11
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The Doctor Who connection is an interesting one, especially considering the Utroms/Krang are very reminiscent of the aliens inside the Dalek armor.
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:53 PM   #12
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Well, this question got to bugging me enough that I actually asked David Wise about it. It turns out (to my absolute shock) that OT April was indeed based off that Lupin III character pannoni suggested. Furthermore, Wise had never even seen the Dr. Who episode in question on account of his local PBS station not having broadcast those episodes yet! So the Mel Bush thing really was just an amazing coincidence!

Here's our exchange:

Quote:
Me:
Hello, David, a while back a few TMNT fans got to wondering about the inspiration for April O'Neil's design in the classic cartoon.
http://forums.thetechnodrome.com/showthread.php?t=36610

The thought occurred to me that she bore an uncanny resemblance to one of Mel Bush's outfits from the 1986-1987 seasons of Dr. Who, of which I know you're a big fan! I was wondering if you could confirm or deny the Dr. Who/TMNT connection.

David Wise:
April's outfit was based on Fujiko Mine's yellow jumpsuit and mincam from the Japanese anime LUPIN THE THIRD, and someone on the forum correctly surmised!


Me:
Thanks for that clarification! I am a little shocked that the Dr. Who connection didn't have any merit though; red hair/white boots/yellow jumpsuit... it just seemed so obvious!

Did you suggest the outift, or was it already designed prior to your input?

Also, would you mind if I share the real story on the forums?

David Wise:
1) My local PBS station was only showing Tom Baker episodes at the time. I didn't get to see Mel until 1989. BTW I always thought April was a brunette!

2) I described April's outfit in the very first script.

3) Sure, go ahead!
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmanwinters View Post
Well, this question got to bugging me enough that I actually asked David Wise about it. It turns out (to my absolute shock) that OT April was indeed based off that Lupin III character pannoni suggested. Furthermore, Wise had never even seen the Dr. Who episode in question on account of his local PBS station not having broadcast those episodes yet! So the Mel Bush thing really was just an amazing coincidence!

Here's our exchange:
Thats pretty cool you received a response. Wherever it was created I always thought it was cool and gave April her own "color" identity like the turtles in the cartoon had.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmanwinters View Post
Well, this question got to bugging me enough that I actually asked David Wise about it. It turns out (to my absolute shock) that OT April was indeed based off that Lupin III character pannoni suggested. Furthermore, Wise had never even seen the Dr. Who episode in question on account of his local PBS station not having broadcast those episodes yet! So the Mel Bush thing really was just an amazing coincidence!

Here's our exchange:
Thank you for clearing that up, as that's been on my mind for a while. The Lupin design does make sense, per Season 1's anime influences. Still, that Mel Bush coincidence was very eerie.

Maybe we should do a thread about "things we should ask David Wise about the 87 series," since now we can. Hmm.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:30 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Killer Moth View Post
Thank you for clearing that up, as that's been on my mind for a while. The Lupin design does make sense, per Season 1's anime influences. Still, that Mel Bush coincidence was very eerie.

Maybe we should do a thread about "things we should ask David Wise about the 87 series," since now we can. Hmm.
I'm no Lupin fan, but apparently that franchise has had a long run that is comparable to Scooby-Doo. I haven't found any clear screencaps on the net that show the character in a comparable outfit.

Any idea which incarnation of the character he might have gotten the yellow jumpsuit and mini-cam idea from?

While David Wise seems like he's one of the few creative minds who doesn't mind talking in detail about his work on the classic series, I wouldn't recommend we starting flooding his inbox(s) with oodles of TMNT questions. It just seems a little rude; hence, why I waited so long to actually contact him in the first place. So... I guess that just means use discretion.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:49 PM   #16
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My anime knowledge is primarily Pokemon,Digimon,and Dragonball. With that and the fact I am away from a computer the rest of the night so would someone post a picture of of this Lupin The Third design?Thanks and thanks Mr. Winters and one of my two favorite cartoon writers of all time.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:02 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=mikeandraph87;926194 With that and the fact I am away from a computer the rest of the night so would someone post a picture of of this Lupin The Third design?Thanks and thanks Mr. Winters and one of my two favorite cartoon writers of all time.[/QUOTE]

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Old 03-19-2012, 07:57 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by oldmanwinters View Post
I'm no Lupin fan, but apparently that franchise has had a long run that is comparable to Scooby-Doo. I haven't found any clear screencaps on the net that show the character in a comparable outfit.

Any idea which incarnation of the character he might have gotten the yellow jumpsuit and mini-cam idea from?

While David Wise seems like he's one of the few creative minds who doesn't mind talking in detail about his work on the classic series, I wouldn't recommend we starting flooding his inbox(s) with oodles of TMNT questions. It just seems a little rude; hence, why I waited so long to actually contact him in the first place. So... I guess that just means use discretion.
It's a tad surprising, as was Lupin popular back in 1987? Anime didn't make its true mainstream popularity in America until the mid 90's with the rise of Sailor Moon and DBZ. (And the same can be said for Who in the mid 2000's with the rise of BBC America.) Still, it's a nice tidbit to include it, and good for Wise to put it in.

Of course, your point to not flood his inbox with all these fan questions is well taken. I didn't imply that we should, but was thinking outloud with "if you could." Actually, in my top 5 questions for him, April's character design isn't one of them, but very good to know.

In his contributions with the 25th anniversary DVD documentary, he was rather open and affable. Nice to see that confirmed, as, frankly, he didn't have to answer you. Last I checked, wasn't he the head of a manga or anime company? Either way, he clearly has more important things to do with his time, so, again, discretion to be used at best or worst.
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:08 PM   #19
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That's so cool of David Wise to answer this. Many thanks.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:10 PM   #20
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Thanks,Turtle Titan97. I could have looked it up but I have been away from a computer several hours and iPhones are much harder to navigate.
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