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Old 04-18-2022, 08:27 PM   #3
The Franchise
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: nWo Country
Posts: 27,655
The problem with becoming wedded to the FW version of any Turtle is simply, that isn't the "real" version of That Turtle. All of their personalities are a bit skewed to make them more palatable to very young children. Raphael, for example, is only That Way in That One Specific Version of the story/character.

It's like people saying they prefer Chris Reeve's Superman to Henry Cavill's, because they just like the character to be eternally happy/smiley and never make any mistakes or have self-doubts, but the truth is, the "real" Superman from the comics is a deeply introspective guy who's pretty neurotic about the fact he can't save everyone and he's far from "perfect" even though he's still generally optimistic by nature. But he's a very conflicted character with a lot of existential angst. People look at Cavill's portrayal and say, "I don't like it, it's not 'happy' enough," or whatever. But that's who the character IS, the "real" version of the character. One Version chose to portray him as all-perfect and Nothing But Sunshine, and it's fine that people like it, but that's NOT actually accurate to the character, it's just taking one part of his personality - the optimism - and excluding the others entirely. I get why people lean towards it but it's actually a very one-dimensional interpretation of a very complicated character. To say, "I don't like a more introspective Superman" simply means, you don't like the "real" version of the character.

Raphael, same thing. The "angry loner" personality is the "real" version, the FW version is an outlier. And it's fine, it's not "bad", but it's very much like Chris Reeve Superman, to me: It takes One Aspect of a MUCH more complex character and focuses on it exclusively just because it's more marketable to kids that way. But you also lose a ton of character depth when you do that. A character should have more than One defining personality trait, even in a cartoon show.

I feel like the 4Kids version of Raphael did a pretty good job in sort of taking the best parts of the FW and Mirage/1990 movie versions of Raphael. He still was sarcastic, he still cracked wise at the others' expense, AND he was the "angry loner", still. He was a bit less angry than Mirage and a bit less of a quipster than in FW, but he still carried the essential traits of both those versions to some degree and I thought that was pretty cool.

As to ranking the 4Kids/2K3 Turtles, my list would be pretty similar to Prowler's except I might flip Donnie and Mikey, at least in the early Seasons. As the show went on Mikey got UNBEARABLE but he wasn't all THAT bad early on.

Leo's always my favorite because I'm attracted to Leader Types in general, I know how it feels to be the Only Sane Man in a group dynamic, and I just relate a lot to the character on a personal level. Also, swords. But as Prowler pointed out, the writers clearly loved the guy. Great for me, Leo usually gets downplayed in most iterations because kids hate "big brother" types. The fact the show was so Leo-centric was one of the things I loved most about it. FW was very much the "Mike and Raph Show" so for me the 4Kids show was a welcome change by focusing on Leo so much. I know other people hated that but they can suck a butt.

Raphael's always my second-favorite because whether it's the FW or Other portrayal, Cynical Jokester or Angry Violence Machine, he's actually the one I'm the most like in Real Life. I aspire to be like Leo but I always end up being a Raph. Again, being able to relate to the character on a personal level helps a lot. I didn't love his two-pack-a-day smoker's voice but I got over it.

Mikey... well, it wasn't his best portrayal (I think the 1990 movie is by far the "best" version of all of the Turtles), but without him the show would have lacked a lot of humor that has come to be expected from the franchise. Unfortunately, it seems like the writers decided to just throw ALL of the comedy onto Mikey's back rather than sprinkle it around, and that made him into a bit of a nuisance as the show went on. Sadly, since then every new iteration only triples down.

Donnie, I actually like a lot but someone has to be Last Place. We have the least in common and he's generally more of a plot device than a character a lot of the times. If there's a problem that needs solving or some gadget that can save the day, Donnie magically has the means. He's like Donnie Ex Machina in a lot of iterations of TMNT, and I think that's because it's very difficult to write "above your station", meaning that if you yourself are not a "genius" it can be very hard to write a "genius" character with any depth because you're not in their headspace, and so they become a plot device more than a fully-formed character. Like Mikey, we've seen this only get worse over time.

I confess that whenever I write for the characters, Donnie is the hardest one for me to write because I am not a genius and I don't know much about any of the things he would know about. So I try to instead give him more little personality "quirks" just to flesh him out a little bit, like a very dry sense of humor or a coffee addiction. SOMEthing just so he isn't only "The Guy With The Wrench" or whatever. It can be a challenge. I think he was a little bit more dynamic in FW than in 4Kids but I think the voice actor has a lot to do with that in either case.

So that's pretty much how I'd rank them for 4Kids, but also just in general.

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