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Old 07-02-2022, 10:18 AM   #1
neatoman
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The problems with having Splinter mutate from Hamato Yoshi

Alright, so the "advantage" of having Splinter be Hamato Yoshi himself rather than the pet rat is commonly parroted without much deeper thought put into it. The argument essentially starts and ends under the assumption that a human being is more likely to remember martial arts than a rat, without seriously considering what the drawbacks of this change really are.

Ignoring the fact that this apparent flaw in having Splinter start out as a rat can easily be explained by him having psychic powers before his mutation and/or have him train after his mutation, which just makes the go to defense of having these two characters be the same one a bit weaker, the idea of making it so that Hamato Yoshi mutates into Splinter has a couple of problems attached it itself:
  1. The first problem is that it will always require very obvious contrivances as to why he is affected differently from the turtles. In the Fred Wolf cartoon, it is pretty obvious from what we can see that Hamato Yoshi should transform into a turtle based on the established logic, it does really matter if they say he's been close to rats before the incident, he clearly came into contact with the Ooze alongside the turtles. In the 2012 cartoon it isn't quite as egregious but the exact circumstances are still clearly contrived to make it happen, as are they in Rise. There always have to be rat somewhere, there always has to be a reason everyone (including the human being who wouldn't be dumb enough to just touch an unknown substance) is covered in ooze and there always has to be a reason Yoshi does not touch the Turtles despite being so close. This may not seem like such a big deal, but it can easily make the origin far more convoluted than it needs to be.
  2. The second problem is not an inherent one but relates a certain trend that I have noticed, the iterations that tend to depict Hamato Yoshi as Splinter also tend to be ones in which insist that mutations can be reversed without any problems. I'll spare you the details on how many times these iterations could have cured Splinter, just know there are plenty of opportunities. Given this fact, Splinter obviously doesn't have much reason to remain a rat, as he obviously wouldn't want to stay in the sewers. Of course Splinter has to stay a rat to preserve the status quo and because that is what his toy looks like, which just makes it a bit awkward.
  3. The third problem is that it requires the use of the "you become what you touched" version of the ooze which is a gateway to "does whatever we want" ooze. As the circumstances regarding the initial mutation requires a loose logic and contrivances to be begin with, the subsequent use it becomes more and more inconsistent in how it works and ultimately ends up being an all purpose plot device. You could stick to the initially established effects but like it or not, it is that version of the rules that eventually lead to cars and ice cream being treated as being subject to mutation.
These reasons lead to further problems down the lines, which goes beyond just Splinter's origin. I might add here that the re-incarnation variant is more or less free of these problems, as he starts out as a rat before the mutation, has no conventional means of returning to the form of Hamato Yoshi and it does not require the stupid version of the ooze (though Bebop and Rocksteady created that problem instead).
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Last edited by neatoman; 07-02-2022 at 05:58 PM. Reason: Minor errors that needed to be corrected, no major changes.
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Old 07-02-2022, 01:28 PM   #2
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Yeah I agree, the one problem with the Mutagen is it's never quite clear how fast it kicks in. Yoshi was hanging with rats and probably pet a few on the way home that day. He did step onto the Mutagen with his bare feet like mere seconds before grabbing the turtles, but how soon would it kick in? I guess it would have started turning him into a rat the moment he touched it and it woulda been too late for him to touch something else once the process has begun, but there's always a chance he also could have turned himself into a weird turtle rat hybrid.

The other thing about why Splinter wouldn't want to be human, I'd say he spent so many years as a mutant rat he forgot what life was like as an actual human that now had to worry about earning a living, finding a place to live, pay rent, files taxes, etc. Overall, he lives a pretty comfortable carefree live in the sewers all things considered. In that one episode where he did become a human, poor dude forgot he had to pay to use taxis, and I mean, I'm sure there are taxis in Japan too so what the heck Yoshi?

I think Hamato Yoshi works as a human in terms of having a more personal feud with Shredder and also making more sense that he was an actual ninja master instead of a pet that learned by looking. The whole thing is supposed to be random happenstance, ordinary turtles and a rat that got mutated. You lose some of that where now we have to say well, this rat was no ordinary rat even without the ooze. Kinda like you lose the everyday human whose life got turned upside down after meeting talking mutated turtles by revealing she's either a living drawing of half alien with psychic powers.

Hell the second example is actually kinda worse because those are things that would have happened even if April never met the Turtles. She would still be a half alien girl with psychic powers trying to avoid being captured by aliens when the whole point if she's supposed to be normal until she met the Turtles. Not sure what kind of extra adventures or anything the living drawing idea would entail, all it adds is the extra existential dread where you can suddenly fade away at a given notice.

But yeah, Splinter as a former human works, but mostly in a world where the concept of reversing mutation doesn't exist. Like in the IDW type, Splinter is a reincarnated human but still a rat in this current life, so demutating him would still him back into a normal rat, so that's a no-go. I forgot if he was already dead in the 2012 series by the time they got to Donnie creating anti-mutagen.

Always confused why Playmates called it Retromutagen Ooze. I guess the term mutagen was copyrighted?
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Old 07-03-2022, 03:18 PM   #3
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I'm sure there are taxis in Japan too so what the heck Yoshi?
Of course.

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Old 07-03-2022, 05:19 PM   #4
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Mutagen is basically magical substance which does whatever is convenient to the plot.
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Old 07-03-2022, 05:39 PM   #5
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Mutagen is basically magical substance which does whatever is convenient to the plot.
Which is a problem that doesn't need to exist. You can invent a plot device for any story you want, you don't have to change an existing one to serve whatever goal you need.
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Old 07-04-2022, 10:02 AM   #6
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Which is a problem that doesn't need to exist. You can invent a plot device for any story you want, you don't have to change an existing one to serve whatever goal you need.
Was it changed in the FW cartoon?
Most of the time it was consistent - people transformed into hybrids of whatever animal they have been in contact prior touching mutagen and animals transformed into humanoid animals.

There are some exceptions, but they can be chalked to various parties tampering with a mutagen. Or mutagen itself being different from a "default" one.

In general, I prefer Yoshi becoming Splinter. Even by TMNT standards rat who had learnt martial arts by just looking is a very awkward thing. It was fine, when a story was a parody, though.
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Old 07-04-2022, 11:07 AM   #7
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Was it changed in the FW cartoon?
Most of the time it was consistent - people transformed into hybrids of whatever animal they have been in contact prior touching mutagen and animals transformed into humanoid animals.

There are some exceptions, but they can be chalked to various parties tampering with a mutagen. Or mutagen itself being different from a "default" one.
I honestly can't remember if the Fred Wolf had it behave in an inconsistent manner without explanation, no. I can't remember there being an actual explanation for most of them either though. As for the Nickelodeon cartoon, there I know it just does anything without explanation.

Regardless, it's not a good idea to have a plot device that can do anything. It's just confusing.

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In general, I prefer Yoshi becoming Splinter. Even by TMNT standards rat who had learnt martial arts by just looking is a very awkward thing. It was fine, when a story was a parody, though.
Well first off, Mirage isn't really a parody, I know people throw that claim around a lot but it's not an accurate description.

Secondly, I did briefly touch on that in the opening post. Having watched Hamato Yoshi as a rat does not have to be the sole reason for Splinter's martial arts skills. He can use what he saw as a basis for further training, someone willing to train him after he mutated and/or he could have read Yoshi's mind when he was seemingly a "normal" rat. Point being that you don't need to resort to conflating these two characters in order to solve this perceived problem.
Hell, Mirage itself ever offers a potential solution in Splinter having been the link beteen Hatsumi and Hattori.
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Old 07-04-2022, 11:45 AM   #8
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The first issue was a parody. The problem is, it was meant to be a standalone so weird things like 'a normal rat learning martial arts just by watching' was kind of a "don't think about it" situation.

But it became popular, it became a series and they never thought to go back and revise that part of the origin.
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Old 07-04-2022, 12:30 PM   #9
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The first issue was a parody.
Debunked by Laird and Eastman both, separately. And according to Laird Splinter was not a normal rat... he just never got around to telling the story there.
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Old 07-04-2022, 12:56 PM   #10
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Can you point me to those times Eastman and Laird said it wasn't a parody?
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Old 07-04-2022, 02:14 PM   #11
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Can you point me to those times Eastman and Laird said it wasn't a parody?
Seems to be covered here:

http://forums.thetechnodrome.com/showthread.php?t=27704
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Old 07-04-2022, 02:40 PM   #12
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Debunked by Laird and Eastman both, separately. And according to Laird Splinter was not a normal rat... he just never got around to telling the story there.
Weren't those years after the fact interviews? Like revisionist history? Kinda like 'oh um..... Dumbledore was gay the whole time.... ummm honest!;
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Old 07-04-2022, 02:57 PM   #13
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Yeah, but they were never really asked straight up until then. And with Eastman I just emailed him around 2010 and he just said, "Nope. Not in my head it wasn't a parody. Not at all." I pasted it somewhere on this board eons ago but I can't find it now.
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:27 PM   #14
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Laird answers whether he thought TMNT was a parody here.



Starts at 1:41
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:42 PM   #15
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Mirage #1 very clearly satirizes Daredevil but that broaches the debate about the distinction between "parody" and "satire".

But no, issue #1 was not written or meant to be 100% "played straight" no matter what "they" said years later. Maybe "mostly-straight' but there's still a wink and a nod to it.
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:43 PM   #16
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Mirage #1 very clearly satirizes Daredevil but that broaches the debate about the distinction between "parody" and "satire".

But no, issue #1 was not written or meant to be 100% "played straight" no matter what "they" said years later. Maybe "mostly-straight' but there's still a wink and a nod to it.
As he said and grants, "parodic elements," yes. But not an outright parody by any means. Saying that is lazy and a mischaracterization of that issue. "Green Grey Spongesuit Sushi Turtles," there you go, that was a parody.

And the parodic, homage elements are fairly surface level. "The Foot" stemming from "The Hand," "Splinter" from "Stick," but they're really just sharing a similar naming theme and nothing more.
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Old 07-04-2022, 03:50 PM   #17
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I don't think you're supposed to be doubled over with laughter while reading it, but I do think you're allowed/expected to look at it and go "Man, this is some goofy stuff" all the same.

Also, nobody ever F*cking told me who "Crisler" was in the other thread and I'm not gonna let it go until I get some answers.
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Old 07-04-2022, 04:46 PM   #18
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Regardless, it's not a good idea to have a plot device that can do anything. It's just confusing.
In an action-comedy series from 80s?
Won't count on it, chief.

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Well first off, Mirage isn't really a parody, I know people throw that claim around a lot but it's not an accurate description.
First comic book was a parody.
And retroactive justification is kind of "eh'.
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:16 PM   #19
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In an action-comedy series from 80s?
Won't count on it, chief.
"It was made in the 80's, therefore it's OK" isn't an argument.

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First comic book was a parody.
And retroactive justification is kind of "eh'.
I fail to see how issue 1 counts as parody. It is very referential of course, the origin is almost identical to Daredevil's origin. However, the only way in which Daredevil's origin in arguably being commented on in a humorous way, is to show that an industrial canister would not break against a human face but that's it and I'm not sure it's the intention.

Beyond the mere commentary aspect of parody, I fail to see in what way it is meant to be comedic. The Turtles killing a bunch of gang members is not funny, Oroku Nagi beating up Tang Shen is not funny, Yoshi committing manslaughter is not funny, a funeral is not funny, Shredder murdering two people is not funny, Splinter commanding the Turtles to take revenge is not funny and Shredder's suicide bombing is not funny. There are very few actual jokes and I'm pretty damn sure the far less referential later issues have more jokes. Even if it had more jokes, it still wouldn't qualify as parodic unless the intention was to mock the references.

Issue 1 can be argued to be pastiche or homage but it fails to really fall under the definition of parody. People mainly seem to call it parody either because they've heard other people call it that, people who in turn either don't know what the definition of parody is or simply assume that the comic is meant to be humorous just because the main characters are mutant turtles. That and a lot of people just keep perpetuating this idea simply because they've never bothered to read the comic and it just seems like it makes sense for it to be parody.
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:42 PM   #20
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I think I heard people have said before, that other than the Daredevil references, it was also a parody in the sense that it was dark and gritty because it was poking fun at how comics were getting dark and gritty at the time. Kinda like how Robocop was ultraviolent cause it was satirizing the ultra violence of the era. While not laugh out loud funny, I think the joke is supposed to be it's these talking turtles yet they're acting more like Batman than Bugs Bunny, that these crazy cartoonish characters are acting like they're supposed to be taken seriously.
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