Of all the wonderful franchises concocted by the fat, greasy, greedy swine in charge of coming up with products for children, the Ninja Turtles sit proudly at the top of the pile. Simultaneously the most entertaining 90s TV show, 90s toy brand, and 90s movie trilogy, this juggernaut of a cultural obsession showed that they were more than just Ninja Turtles. They were TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.
Now, everyone is familiar with the origins of these adorable reptiles (hopefully), but for those who aren’t, it goes as follows. A man named Hamato Yoshi flees from Japan and ends up in New York city where, for some creepy reason, he decides to live in the sewers. One day, a careless child trips while carrying a fishbowl full of his pet turtles and spills them down into a sewer grate. Shortly thereafter, Hamato Yoshi stumbles upon the little turtle dudes while he is feeding his pet sewer rats. Curiously, the turtles are covered in a strange, glowing green ooze. The ooze is no ordinary green goo and instantly starts a strange chemical reaction in both Yoshi and the turtles. The turtles, having most recently come into contact with Yoshi, begin to turn human. Yoshi, having most recently been in contact with his pet rats, begins to turn into an overgrown, talking rat. Makes perfect sense, right?
As the turtles begin to grow and mature over the years, Yoshi trains them to master the art of ninjitsu. In addition to bestowing them with awesome ninja ass-kicking skills, Yoshi (adopting “Splinter” as his own new moniker) also gives them badass names in the spirit of his favorite renaissance painters. Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo are born.
Also, for good dramatic measure, an unforgettable villain is thrown into the mix. Oroku Saki, better known as the Shredder, is a thorn in Splinter’s side from back in Japan and followed him to America where he leads an evil criminal organization called the Foot Clan alongside a talking brain named Krang.