By Taylor Rice
After its initial release in July 2018, Rise of the TMNT received a lot of backlash from the public. The grievances ranged from hating the design and art style, to criticizing the portrayal of the characters themselves. However, today I’m here to clear the air and to tell us that our opinions were wrong.
To start, our grief over the end of the 2012 TMNT series has clouded our judgment. The 2012 TMNT series ended in 2017, and the release of RISE a year later was too soon. Nostalgia for the old show was too strong. It caused an emotional whiplash, since the overall feel of RISE was so much lighter and more comedic than TMNT 2012.
However, this doesn’t mean the show is bad, just different.
The comedy of RISE 2018 isn’t on Teen Titans Go level of stupidity. Unlike Teen Titans Go, RISE isn’t a pure comedy show for children. There’s still a clear plot to follow. However, this allows for character development and world building. We get to see the relationship between the Turtles, April, and Splinter; along with their conflicts with their villains.
Another supposed issue that people have with the show is they claim that the turtles all have the same personality, which couldn’t be further from the truth. This version of Donnie is the most fleshed out version of his character that we’ve ever had. Donnie isn’t just the tech guy, though that is very much still his favorite thing to do, he’s also the funny one. Another great thing about him is the representation. In the show Donnie is confirmed autistic, and the representation is highly accurate and brilliant to see in the TV series.
Mikey still tells jokes and such, but has been cemented as the heart of the team. We also see him truly embody the younger brother, but that doesn’t mean he’s not still strong. In fact, Mikey is one of the strongest turtles in RISE. We also get a little more character development, and learn that he loves to draw.
Raph in this iteration is the leader of the team. He’s the biggest and oldest turtle so this makes sense. However, he’s still Raph. He still rages, except he’s learned to reign in his temper more since he is the older brother. His love for his brothers is really shown in the show. They are his anchors.
Finally, many people complain that Leo is supposed to be the leader. However, “leader” is not a personality trait. RISE Leo, while not the initial leader of the team, still displays the rest of Leo’s iconic character traits. He’s still the one who comes up with plans and strategies. He’s also still hyper aware of his brother’s health, well being, and needs; perhaps even more than past iterations of his character since he’s the team’s medic in this remake.
The turtles’ personalities are all really diverse and interesting, making their family dynamics the most intriguing and fluid out of any prior iteration.
However, one critique is the hesitancy towards liking the new Master Splinter. Instead of the wise, old, ninja master who raises the turtles, we instead get a lazy couch potato who sits around all day watching TV. Though, as the series progresses we do get to see Splinter’s back story, and his innate depression makes a lot more sense. We get to see the love he has for his sons, despite his absent parenting style, and the old rat can still kick butt when the situation calls for it. On the whole, I could see where they were going with his character, and it’s good, but he’s so different from any other Master Splinter that it’s rather jarring.
Now, people seem to have issues with the art style and animation. This again, seems to be an issue with having nostalgia from the 2012 TMNT series, whichused 3D animation. However, RISE actually has very good character design. Each character has a distinct silhouette and the coloring is very well done. The animation for RISE is also very fluid, on par with Avatar the Last Airbender.
Finally, to the people who claim RISE is too childish and only a comedy, they clearly haven’t watched much of the series. There’s multiple instances where we see characters get heavily injured on screen. While they never show really gruesome injuries, they actually show blood on the characters, that’s more than a lot of other shows can say. We’ve even seen on screen deaths; like in the TMNT RISE movie where future Mikey and Leo die in the first five minutes into the film. This show is by no means childish, but actually shows how teenagers would perhaps act if their life was dedicated to fighting crime. They wouldn’t be all doom and gloom. They would still have some fun family moments.
Overall, RISE of the TMNT is a great show. While it may not be for everyone, people looking for a new action adventure, family TV show, or people looking for a continuation of the turtles will find this show very enjoyable.