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Old 01-15-2022, 10:05 AM   #1
neatoman
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Would you consider the multi-colored masks to be a vestigial design element?

When the Turtles were given different mask colors, it was probably a decision made by Playmates. From the perspective of a toy company, this move makes sense, the Turtles basically look the same which means you can basically sell the same toy four times as long as the colors are slightly different and there are additional accessories. It's why Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker in Transformers look the same or why so many Masters of the Universe characters wear a fur loincloths even when it makes no sense for them to do so.

And while this did serve to rectify what might be Laird and Eastman's choice in designing these characters, it did so in what might be the laziest and most childish way possible. Right idea, wrong move basically. The fact that ever since 2012, there has been a push to make the characters look different from each other what mask color they happen to wear, does indicate that most designers agree that it wasn't enough. Some may go overboard, Rise being the prime example along with the PD movies, but they do still seem to all agree the masks were insufficient.

Here we have an image of the 2012 turtles, one of the more subtle attempts, in black an white. As you can see, it isn't exactly hard to tell which is which. While you may disagree with the particular design choices, it is still very easy to tell them apart.


Of course, if you don't need to pay attention to the mask colors, why even bother with the mask colors? Why not just return to them wearing all red? I guess tradition is the most obvious answer, most people expect it at this point. And of course there is the matter of the original comics being in black and white, colors only appeared on covers (which didn't feature color either until issue 4) and later colorised versions, so arguably any addition of color can be considered a change.

But one could argue that having the colors be uniform while the designs aren't, more than makes up for it and it looks better that way, less childish and easier to take seriously. So in case it might prove to make for a better design, why not return to them all wearing red?
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Old 01-15-2022, 10:43 AM   #2
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Eh, I dunno... real world color psychology and all, they've had their own colors for so long though that they've become pretty integrated into the basic vibe and personality of who each character is.

If they decided to change the whole thing and put them all in, say, yellow (sorry Jennika you don't exist in this) it would look really, really weird that Raph is no longer "the red guy" with a color that suits his fiery personality. Do I want to see the calm and (usually) collected Leo lose that blue? Not really. Likewise Donnie's more cerebral vibe of purple, a color that supposedly stimulates brain activity associated with problem solving. And of course the fun, friendly, vibrant and energetic vibes of orange that Mikey is a natural embodiment of.

Choosing separate colors may have been "childish" and to sell more toys to kids when all characters looked alike, but they were chosen well and they've grew into those colors in ways in who each of them is that many people would not take too well (*cough* Rise) if that personality changed along with it. (Not saying it would, but losing the direction of having those different tones for each...)

Personally, I'd rather keep them wearing their own colors.


That said... I would not be against adopting a battle color they all wear for serious planned business, be it going back to all red or using black so everyone changes up, and leave the other colors as what they just wear casually other than when caught in unplanned fights. The last couple of shows touched on this late in the series and it wouldn't be a bad thing to make the norm for a whole series.
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Old 01-15-2022, 10:52 AM   #3
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As already pointed out, attractive for kids to start but it's just become main stream, most non fans who are only familiar with TMNT probably only know of them this way. I'm not saying that means it should always be this way in every version, just addressing 'why'

Agreed with Indigo about battling up in the same colour, I did like that 2012 all wore black in the final battle with Shredder, otherwise I'm happy with the colours.
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:05 AM   #4
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If Leo is the leader shouldn't he have kept the red bandanna?
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Old 01-15-2022, 12:17 PM   #5
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The different mask colours won't go away because they are so heavily ingrained into popular culture, same with the turtles' extreme love for pizza.

Popularity takes precedence over subtlety.
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Shredder could've done more than blow up the Channel Six building. I don't mean as far as murdering Splinter, but think of the possibilities if censors were not an issue.

Shredder and Krang combined had the biggest arsenal of any villains in all of the cartoons.
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Old 01-15-2022, 01:53 PM   #6
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F the rainbow banadannas. They were stupid then and they're stupid now. You don't like red bandannas? Give them all black ones then.
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Old 01-15-2022, 02:23 PM   #7
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F the rainbow banadannas. They were stupid then and they're stupid now. You don't like red bandannas? Give them all black ones then.
What Andrew said. Changing them to sell toys was juvenile & lame. I abhor the color coding. Doubly so when someone does "fan art"/homage to a Mirage cover but color codes the guys.
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Old 01-15-2022, 05:09 PM   #8
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I have my preference but at the same time it's a thing that I'm honestly aghast that people take as strong a stance about as they sometimes do, either way. A perfectly valid case can be made for (or against) either one and it really just comes down to which one the individual prefers. I don't see why it needs to ever be a Big Thing. I like one a little more than the other, but the reason is really nothing more than "Eh, I just kinda like it better that way for no particularly deep reason at all." Somehow, I think most people fall pretty close to that, honestly.

For me, it's about on par with "Should Superman part his hair on the left side, or right side?" I know which one I like better, but... I also kinda don't care very much?
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Old 01-15-2022, 05:18 PM   #9
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Old 01-15-2022, 05:24 PM   #10
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My search engine automatically makes all kinds'a crazy assumptions as soon as I type "v" so I didn't even get that far.
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Old 01-15-2022, 11:46 PM   #11
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IndigoErth already gave the perfect explanation.

They perfectly represent each individual character. It’s been pointed out here before that the colors make them instantly recognizable...literally instantly.

Drawing each one a little different is also good for setting apart but nothing is as impactful as those colors. Both from the audiences standpoint and character individuality since they are all the same basic design.

It’s why no other Sonic character is Blue. Each have their own palette. Colors matter in character design.
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Old 01-16-2022, 12:11 AM   #12
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IndigoErth already gave the perfect explanation.

They perfectly represent each individual character. It’s been pointed out here before that the colors make them instantly recognizable...literally instantly.

Drawing each one a little different is also good for setting apart but nothing is as impactful as those colors. Both from the audiences standpoint and character individuality since they are all the same basic design.

It’s why no other Sonic character is Blue. Each have their own palette. Colors matter in character design.
These are all reasons why NOT to give them the rainbow bandannas. They need to feel unique? They want to broadcast their individuality? Saying to the world "I am an individual!" This is metrosexual weirdness. Splinter should smack them with a stick and say, "stfu! You're a ninja clan! And our clan color is RED!" Because they are ninja. They're supposed to be living and breathing their training in a sewer closed off from mankind to one day kill a guy, trying to be the best fighters they can be. Sure they have off time and sure they are aware of pop culture and that might shape their personalities to a degree, but the mission is first and foremost.

It might make sense after they killed Shredder -- their whole life goal -- to adopt different colored bandannas. Though honestly, by that point they really should've just stopped wearing them at all.

And "I can't tell 4 non-identical green-skinned brothers apart unless they're wearing color-coded bandannas for my benefit!" You know what that sounds like? Well. Let's pretend instead of 4 green-skinned brothers we're talking about 4 black-skinned African American brothers, and if you said the same thing. It would be racist and I'd actually agree that it was. But let's compromise and just call it "incredibly stupid."
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Old 01-16-2022, 12:26 AM   #13
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Suddenly the source of some people's hate for other kinds of argued about masks is very clear. You just hate masks.
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Old 01-16-2022, 01:15 AM   #14
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These are all reasons why NOT to give them the rainbow bandannas. They need to feel unique? They want to broadcast their individuality? Saying to the world "I am an individual!" This is metrosexual weirdness. Splinter should smack them with a stick and say, "stfu! You're a ninja clan! And our clan color is RED!" Because they are ninja. They're supposed to be living and breathing their training in a sewer closed off from mankind to one day kill a guy, trying to be the best fighters they can be. Sure they have off time and sure they are aware of pop culture and that might shape their personalities to a degree, but the mission is first and foremost.

It might make sense after they killed Shredder -- their whole life goal -- to adopt different colored bandannas. Though honestly, by that point they really should've just stopped wearing them at all.

And "I can't tell 4 non-identical green-skinned brothers apart unless they're wearing color-coded bandannas for my benefit!" You know what that sounds like? Well. Let's pretend instead of 4 green-skinned brothers we're talking about 4 black-skinned African American brothers, and if you said the same thing. It would be racist and I'd actually agree that it was. But let's compromise and just call it "incredibly stupid."
I can kinda understand the ninja standpoint but just because you’re hidden from the public does not mean you don’t desire expressing individuality even if just for you. People get secret tattoos or wear stuff that’s unnoticeable like a charm.

The race argument is just silly. It crossed my mind when I posted but I did not think you’d be the one to use it. I know you’re not serious but still.

Even human cartoon characters need some color difference. They did in it the Real Ghostbusters with the jumpsuits and so do many others.

Not saying they should then do it for the GB movies it’s just different. It depends. Human cartoons still get “color coded” when turned live action because it’s part of who they are.

The Turtles are basically quadruplets and as in real life they would NOT all wear the same thing. Especially when all they do wear is a bandanna and pads/belts.
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Old 01-16-2022, 04:57 AM   #15
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Because they are ninja. They're supposed to be living and breathing their training in a sewer closed off from mankind to one day kill a guy, trying to be the best fighters they can be.
And the Riddler is "supposed" to be a goofy, relatively-harmless game show host type of villain, who's main concern is vexing Batman and not killing him, or killing anyone really.

Buuuuut, in some other iterations, it's not that way, and we have to deal with it being different "because it's just different now".

Sometimes, "Different Iteration = Different Motivation" really does have to count. In this case, it makes little sense to project the Mirage characters' feelings and motivations onto those same characters as they exist in other iterations, because let's face it, they're only BARELY the same character to begin with. Mirage Leo, FW Leo, 4Kids Leo, and Nicktoons Leo, for example, all may share a few traits but ultimately no two of them could ever be confused for each other. They're the same guy in name (and occasional color scheme) only.

Obviously, we each on some level want our personal favorite iteration to be the one that is paramount and in turn informs everything else, but the reality is that it almost never works that way.

Your logic of all-red bandannas makes some amount of sense for the Mirage iteration of TMNT, absolutely. It does NOT automatically make absolute sense in most others, though. It CAN if they chose to go in that direction with it, but again, outside of Mirage each iteration has its own sense of priority. Like how Oroku Nagi is VERY important to the Mirage version of things, but so not-important to most others that he doesn't even exist there.

I feel like by now it should on some level be accepted by all that from universe to universe, these are only loosely the same characters to begin with. Projecting Mirage priorities into other iterations (or vice-versa) is rather silly. It's clear that in each iteration the characters' entire life experience, personalities, and priorities are entirely unique for the most part.

"This is how it SHOULD be?" Maybe, if that's your favorite version of things. You can't expect ALL of them to share the same priority, though. It's never like that with anything.

If we can accept Mirage Raphael and FW Raphael each being "Raphael" despite having nothing in common except their weapon and the color red, I think we can accept that not all of them share the whole "We're a ninja clan, we all wear a uniform color" priority as in Mirage. Not the same universe, barely the same characters.

Point of fact, I am on record as not liking how there are SO many disparate iterations of TMNT and have often at the least pleaded for more consistency. I'm outvoted, though, and clearly we're too far gone to ever have that be the case, so it is what it is by this point.

If I was introduced to the characters in all-red, I'd probably like that better. As-is, colors are what I'm used to. If it became all-red across the board, for some reason, I wouldn't cry about it. I just think it's a little silly why anyone would ever care a ton. Like yeah, the colors were done to sell toys and appeal more to children. But a valid case could be made (even by NOT-children, such as people who study art for example) that the all-red scheme is visually "boring". And that's an opinion, too.

I think literally every position put forth from either side of the argument has merit. It ALL makes sense, to me. But I don't think, and never will think, it's a "Right/Wrong" scenario. I think it really is just individual personal preference and that it's not a hill anyone need die on.
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Old 01-16-2022, 06:17 AM   #16
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I hate color coding but I prefer the turtles wearing colored masks rather than them having weird stereotypical shapes of the head.
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Old 01-16-2022, 06:35 AM   #17
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I'd rather see the guys never wear bandanas again than see them stick with the "you are an idiot" color coding... because thats the only reason TPTB color coded them... great that most folks live down to their expectations.
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Old 01-16-2022, 07:05 AM   #18
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I'd rather see the guys never wear bandanas again than see them stick with the "you are an idiot" color coding... because thats the only reason TPTB color coded them... great that most folks live down to their expectations.
I am quite certain it had a lot more to do with Playmates realizing - correctly - that parents were not going to buy their kids the same identical action figure four times over.

For better or worse, if the Turtles don't get color-coded masks, the toy line never gets off the ground, the cartoon show developed for the sole purpose of advertising said toys never gets made, not a single person here ever becomes a TMNT fan and we're not here talking about any of this Today. These are Facts. The brand would have died, invisible, unless that specific compromise was made, among others.

Because Playmates was right. Parents would NOT have bought the same toy four times over. Most parents already bitched and moaned even though they DID have the colored masks. "Why do you NEED all four? It's the same exact figure! Can't you just PRETEND the blue one is the purple one? Come on."

Parents already looked at the TMNT toys as a blatant cash-grab by having four near-identical main characters. And that's AFTER the masks were colored differently. All-red masks, then Playmates (or any other company) would simply not have developed the line. It was a smart move on their part. Looking at the Big Picture, it was the correct decision. After all, TMNT still exists... Barely.

It's a business. And it was a business-driven decision, not a "BUT BRUH they're a ninja clan" decision. I bet even Kevin and Peter rightly bit their tongues about it when someone from Playmates told them outright, "So this is how it's gonna be." I doubt they even pushed back for two seconds. I bet as soon as they started talking about the money involved, even Ol' Stick In The Mud Purist Pete Laird was like, "Hmmm... I bet Leo would actually look great in blue!" Because whatever he is, he's not a moron.

I know some people have a strong Mirage bias - though I confess to wondering why, a lot of it is SO BORING even though it's inarguably better-written than most TMNT comics have been, but again that's a very low bar to clear - but what makes no sense to me is how so many people are so "purist" that it seems like their preferred reality is one where none of the things that actually made TMNT popular ever came about, and in turn the brand died in obscurity around issue 4 or 5 of a comic book nobody had ever read.

Makes no sense to me, I'unno.
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Old 01-16-2022, 01:00 PM   #19
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On that note, that's one thing I never heard from my parents, even though of course they'd do whatever to save a buck. They bought my bro and I He-Man toys back in the day and when our interest went into TMNT, they had no problems in getting us the figures. My mom would watch most of the cartoons with us so she'd see that none of them were 'bad' or whatever. I mean the Turtles were heroes and goofy and loved pizza, the villains were as comedic as the heroes. No problems there. I'm pretty sure my mom's logic was 'the show has 4 turtles, naturally my kids would want all 4'.

So they never had a problem with us getting 4 of the exact same figure so to speak, they were more concerned about accidentaly getting us a Donnie when we already owned a Donnie. That's why whenever my bro and I were at the toy store, we'd usually get the Turtles and their variants, but whenever it came to birthdays and Christmas, we'd get the Shredders, Rocksteadys, Mondo Geckos, etc to avoid getting us a repeat Turtle.

One of the genius things Playmates also did was give the Turtles smaller less expensive vehicles. Back then most if not all MOTU vehicles were expensive and you could probably get 2 figures for the cost of one vehicle. But the Turtles got the Cheapskates (heh), Sewer Tubes, the Footskis and easier to purchase vehicles that cost less than the Party Wagon and Foot Cruiser. The TMNT line was the first toyline in which I also bought the vehicles alongside the figures themselves.
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Old 01-18-2022, 02:35 AM   #20
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For children's versions, multi-colored masks work fine. For projects aimed at older audiences, they can where the red masks. We'll be able to tell who is who through their weapons or voices. It's a better alternative than differentiating them through body shapes.

Batman alternates between black to blue sometimes.

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It’s why no other Sonic character is Blue. Each have their own palette. Colors matter in character design.
I would argue skin is a different case from mask color.
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