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Old 04-18-2022, 01:44 PM   #1
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How would you rank the Turtles from 2k3 in order of preference?

For me, I'd say:

1st - Leonardo: I mean, he's clearly the favourite of the writers. The one who got the most attention. And this version of his certainly is an improvement over the boring Leo from the FW series.

2nd - Raphael: He was my favourite when I was a teenager. But he got worse as the series went on, and the older I get the less I identify with angry Raph. He's just an angsty teen really.

3rd - Donatello: He's... OK. Nothing annoying or too outstanding about him tbh. Don't like him as much as his FW version, but it's still a good characterisation of Donatello.

4th - Michelangelo: This is where Michelangelo being insufferable began. Especially at the end of season 2 where he won the Battle Nexus by a ridiculous fluke and became very arrogant for it. Not to mention he was a chicken. A cowardly ninja is absurd. Making Mike the comedian of the group was a big mistake.

What about you?
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Old 04-18-2022, 05:16 PM   #2
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Interestingly for me while Michelangelo is my overall favorite character I feel forcing him to carry all the humor to fit Laird's preferences hurt his character in this version and going forward as he becomes as dumb as Don is intelligent opposed to average intelligence with a flair for athletics and surfer culture.

Raphael I prefer to have a sarcastic side. It's the personality that Rob Paulsen injected into Raphael that made me enjoy the character. Removing that to make him edgy makes him less interesting to me. While my name is MikeandRaph87 and they are my #1 favorite character and close #2 I largely lean to the 1987 cartoon for my appreciation of the characters.

All of that being said I actually prefer Leonardo and Donatello my #3 and #4 Turtles since much of the key aspects of Michelangelo and Raphael are not highlighted in the 2003 cartoon. Leonardo had a strong character arc and growth that I appreciated. Donatello was also more interesting and able to contribute beyond impossible inventions. The 2003 cartoon presented my favorite version of both Leonardo and Donatello, however, overall I prefer Michelangelo followed by Raphael.
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Old 04-18-2022, 07:27 PM   #3
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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.
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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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Old 04-18-2022, 07:45 PM   #4
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Personality-wise as odd as it may seem I am a blend of Michelangelo (1987) and Leonardo (2003). Michelangelo (1987) is the kid in me that has always been there while as I matured I took on personality traits of Leonardo (2003) to balance me out. I resent the 2003 cartoon for what it did to Michelangelo and he never recovered from. I thought initially maybe because Michelangelo is the one that the little kids like I liked him the most. I re-watch the 1987 cartoon to this day and I see that it's not that. I wish overall the character of Michelangelo could be fun loving and take things more seriously, however first I realize the character himself needs to be taken seriously first, not a dumping ground for humor.


Yes, I know that the sarcastic hothead really emphasized the sarcastic and specialized in pun humor, well its the humor that appeals to me the most. I just feel that this trait was taken too far in the 1987 cartoon and suppressed elsewhere.

There was a new article posted on CBR suggesting the Silver Age ruined Superman. I will send it to you in a PM so not to derail the topic of the thread.
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Old 04-18-2022, 08:00 PM   #5
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Leonardo is the best turtle in the 2k3 series for sure. Raphael is the second, he is really cool and also has his fair share of funny moments.

Donatello and Michelangelo had me thinking a bit. Michelangelo, like Raphael, has his funny moments but was also really annoying at times.

Donatello, while not as eccentric as Raph/Mikey, and not as developed as Leo, is still a really nice guy and there's nothing offensive about him. So I'll rank Don about Mikey.

So my final ranking is:
Leo > Raph > Don > Mikey
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Old 04-19-2022, 08:48 AM   #6
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I agree with nearly everything Leo656 said. He put into words a lot of what I wanted to say.

Personality wise, I’m a cross between Raph and Leo, especially the versions from the 2003 series.

Mikey’s my third fav. See bits of my past self in him (reading comics, playing videogames, etc.)

Don is my least fav, as he’s the turtle I don’t have much in common with interests wise. I’m not a science or technology person.

I really like them all, though.
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Old 04-19-2022, 09:07 AM   #7
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Kind of hard to rank them. I guess Leo comes out on top because he gets the most development, Don is second because he has some of the better episodes focused on him and Raph is third because he's kind of static. That said, I don't really dislike any of those three and I might be swayed in a certain direction depending on which episode I watch.

Number four is Mikey though, easily. I don't know why the cartoons feel he should be an insufferable moron but that is generally what the cartoons make him out to be. When it comes to this show in particular, I don't really think I can stand his "Turtle Titan" or "I'm the Battle Nexus champion!" schticks, it just makes him an annoying asshole. I think the only good Mikey-centric episode is the Christmas one and that's just because it's a fairly straight adaption of a comic where he isn't an asshole. In general, Mikey is a better character in both Mirage and IDW, which is why it annoys me that the cartoons just feel he should be such an idiot.
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Old 04-19-2022, 12:48 PM   #8
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I've never been a huge Leonardo fan tbh. Mostly because the FW version of the character was the dullest of the 4 in the series. Not to mention sometimes it felt like Donatello was more of a leader than him.

As for movie 1 Leo, well Raphael was my favourite one in that movie. So hopefully that says it all.

2k3 was the first time I found myself liking Leonardo. His personality fit the show and it was obvious he was the leader and the best fighter. That isn't to say he didn't annoy me a few times. Like when he was duped by Oroku Saki momentarily and his edgy phase in season 4.

Michelangelo however, he hasn't been tolerable in nearly 20 years by now. He's the poster boy of kid friendly TMNT. And the most famous Turtle as well. And that's a shame. As silly and dated as FW Mikey is nowadays, at least he was never annoying. He was actually pretty chill and likeable. Michelangelo is just not fit to be a comedian/wise guy. Especially when combined with his hyperactivity. M
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Old 04-19-2022, 12:50 PM   #9
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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.
Yeah, there's been no definitive take on Mikey in any spinoff universe. Just annoying, leering grinning psychopaths that share his name.
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Old 04-19-2022, 12:55 PM   #10
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Yeah, there's been no definitive take on Mikey in any spinoff universe. Just annoying, leering grinning psychopaths that share his name.
Mikey has suffered the most from TMNT becoming a kids property.

Although Donatello seemed to be heading that way based on the few Nick Toon episodes I saw as well.
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Old 04-19-2022, 01:55 PM   #11
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Mikey has suffered the most from TMNT becoming a kids property.

Although Donatello seemed to be heading that way based on the few Nick Toon episodes I saw as well.
It might be because in the initial three years of the franchise Michelangelo was the least developed so the other media had the most leeway to work with. Once entering other media and that happened with Laird at the helm he did not want Leonardo to have any humor nor Donatello and wanted Raphael to not lean on his sarcastic wit that I love him for and embrace more of the questioning hothead that he is. That leaves Michelangelo left to carry the humor alone instead of Michelangelo AND Raphael or sprinkled here and there depending on the situation and ingrained somewhat in each of them.

I would argue that it was Laird's preference and the feeling humor is needed so stick it with the one the kids liked the most the first time around. So Mike is a victim of circumstance in underdevelopment and then Laird's preference to maintain humor but lean it on one individual. The culmination of this is seen in Turtles Forever when Raphael (2003) goes 'oh, great we have five Mikeys' now!'. That is an insult to my favorite Turtle and my favorite incarnation of the franchise which showed me how little they were thought of. Much later we would get Rise of The TMNT and the series premiere told me, 'yeah, these are five indistinguishable Michelangelo (2003) characters' referring to the four Turtles and April of the series.

Having the burden of carrying the humor set him up for the Nickelodeon era and the misunderstanding of Michelangelo's personality as the fun-loving, artistic, athlete interpreted as an annoying unintelligent food obsessed slacker. Yes, other media helped develop the character, but it also got him wrong when taking aspects originated in the 1987 cartoon. Contemporary versions like the New Line Films and Archie's TMNT Adventures got it so when setting up the second era Michelangelo's characterization was lost and has never recovered. However, he was done justice in IDW.

Btw, Leo. It looks like I was right to send you the Silver Age ruined Superman article. It appears that you agree with much of what was said. I don't have much opinion as I am more of a TMNT/Batman guy and I could ague that Frank Miller ruined Batman, but you made overall respectable and valid points.
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Old 05-13-2022, 12:45 PM   #12
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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.
--------------
Hell. Even in the Archie comics, which were directly based on the FW TMNT, the writers went with the "angry loner Raph" persona rather than the sarcastic one. Because they know that's what Raph is about. Even The Next Mutation got that right.

As for me it's

1) Raph: this is the closest version of the character we got to the crazy bastard from the comics. His badassery knew no limits

2) Leo: another badass and the only version of the character I actually like.

3) Donny: my favorite version of the character. Introverted, intelligent but not the dork he became in later years.

3) Mikey: my least favorite turtle but I still like him despite being extremely annoying at times
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Old 05-13-2022, 04:47 PM   #13
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Unfortunately Michelangelo goes through heavy flanderization as the show went on, even well before the final two seasons.
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Old 05-14-2022, 06:09 AM   #14
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Unfortunately Michelangelo goes through heavy flanderization as the show went on, even well before the final two seasons.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, yeah.

He became the show's official buttmonkey. They at least acknowledged that if he put his mind and skills to it, that he'd be a powerful adversary...but they did always add a ton of jokes to that as well.

Anyway, my rank is Leo (because Leo tends to be my #1 in every canon, though he's especially amazing in this show, and probably one of my favorite versions of him, Michael Sinterniklaas is also my ideal Leo VA along with Jason Biggs...), Raph (though I dislike his voice in this show...), Don, Mikey. I like the 2003 turtles overall, in spite of the crappy writing they had at times.
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Old 05-15-2022, 01:53 PM   #15
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Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, yeah.

He became the show's official buttmonkey. They at least acknowledged that if he put his mind and skills to it, that he'd be a powerful adversary...but they did always add a ton of jokes to that as well.

Anyway, my rank is Leo (because Leo tends to be my #1 in every canon, though he's especially amazing in this show, and probably one of my favorite versions of him, Michael Sinterniklaas is also my ideal Leo VA along with Jason Biggs...), Raph (though I dislike his voice in this show...), Don, Mikey. I like the 2003 turtles overall, in spite of the crappy writing they had at times.
Making Michelangelo the funny guy was a terrible creative decision. I know that FW Raphael is quite different from source material Raphael, but it's not like Mirage Mikey was a jokester either. But I guess the writers and producers feel like in a group of 4 there always have to be the token funny guy.

Raphael in the FW series had great delivery, not to mention he wasn't a hyperactive attention whore like Mikey is in 2k3. Raphs jokes also were more clever. I don't think Mikey had any good ones really.
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Old 05-15-2022, 11:02 PM   #16
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I mean, every crew needs a jokester. So I don't have a problem with Mikey getting that role; better him than any of the others, honestly.

It's just that the writers in recent years insist on writing him as "funny" in the sense of what a 5-year old would think is "funny", and it's not funny, it's unbearable.

Season 1 Mikey wasn't all THAT bad, but oh man, he got pretty terrible pretty fast.

And he just gets WORSE in every new version. I hate that. He can be "the goofball" but for f*ck's sake, add some depth and balance. Nobody is ever Just One Thing. Making him some ADHD-riddled spastic is a disservice to both the character and his fans.

And yeah, I'm aware that's an "offensive" descriptor, but I don't care, it's apt.
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Old 05-16-2022, 05:40 AM   #17
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I mean, every crew needs a jokester. So I don't have a problem with Mikey getting that role; better him than any of the others, honestly.

It's just that the writers in recent years insist on writing him as "funny" in the sense of what a 5-year old would think is "funny", and it's not funny, it's unbearable.

Season 1 Mikey wasn't all THAT bad, but oh man, he got pretty terrible pretty fast.

And he just gets WORSE in every new version. I hate that. He can be "the goofball" but for f*ck's sake, add some depth and balance. Nobody is ever Just One Thing. Making him some ADHD-riddled spastic is a disservice to both the character and his fans.

And yeah, I'm aware that's an "offensive" descriptor, but I don't care, it's apt.
Yep, this is my take on it as well.
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Old 05-16-2022, 10:04 AM   #18
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I liked Mikey well into the show's run. He absolutely opens his mouth more often after Season 1 but I liked that they gave him something other than just "comic relief character." He's more arrogant after Battle Nexus, but he's also more confident. He's clearly the most creative of the four and he begins allowing it to show through in his strategies and fighting style. As Seasons 3 and 4 progress I see his quips more as him cautiously processing the situations rather than fodder for the audience.

I really enjoyed his Battle Nexus rematch in S4, because it was a "Mikey actually does something right for once" episode that felt earned because it was built up over the last couple of seasons. We watch Mikey learn that he could be more than how he perceives himself and slowly, through his own methods, he matures into a warrior that could reasonably win a true rematch. Season 5 went too far for me, and I think it was because the show kept all of his aspects fans consider annoying without any of the development. Maybe 2k3 Mikey getting any sort of development is a breath of fresh air for me compared to 2012's post-S1 brain-dead drooling village idiot moron Mikey, who knows.

Leo's still my favorite of the show for the same reasons above, his arc in S4 is the highlight of the series imo. From there, Mikey is probably my 2nd favorite.

Then Raph, who is a little static but I really enjoy that they tapped into his emotional side in a hating-injustice manner instead of a "secret softie" like other versions of him.

Don's my least-favorite when he's usually my favorite in other TMNT media, because he doesn't get as much development as the other three. The show's Don-centric eps like The King and SAINW are also series highlights but they're too few and far between. I still really like this telling of the character though.
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Old 05-16-2022, 01:59 PM   #19
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That's a fair take. I just think most people didn't have the patience for this version of Mikey to be able to really take all of that in.
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Old 05-16-2022, 02:57 PM   #20
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I mean, every crew needs a jokester. So I don't have a problem with Mikey getting that role; better him than any of the others, honestly.

It's just that the writers in recent years insist on writing him as "funny" in the sense of what a 5-year old would think is "funny", and it's not funny, it's unbearable.

Season 1 Mikey wasn't all THAT bad, but oh man, he got pretty terrible pretty fast.

And he just gets WORSE in every new version. I hate that. He can be "the goofball" but for f*ck's sake, add some depth and balance. Nobody is ever Just One Thing. Making him some ADHD-riddled spastic is a disservice to both the character and his fans.

And yeah, I'm aware that's an "offensive" descriptor, but I don't care, it's apt.
Well, so far I haven't seen any good examples of Mikey as the funny guy of the crew. Raphael was rather successful doing the act in the 87 series, at least. Which iwls why he doesn't get nearly the same amount of dislike as Mikey does in the 2k3 series.

So unless I ever get to experience an iteration where Mikey is actually funny as the comedy relief, I'll keep in thinking it's not a good idea to put him in such role.

Raphael was someone with laughed with. Mikey was someone we laughed at.

As silly as 87 Michelangelo sound sjeosdays with the constant pizza puns and surfer slang, at least he wasn't annoying.
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