Saturday, April 13, 2013
The second theory is a very interesting one, and I think most people have the same thoughts on it. I don't really share this school of thoughts, but probably I'm in the minority. You'll see why in a minute.
We've already been reminded several times in the show that Splinter had a daughter who is believed to have burned to death along with his wife years before the story began. In no other incarnation does Splinter have a biological child. A lot of people think that they've reminded us so many times of his child is because she's not actually dead. There's a very good chance that instead of the Shredder getting caught in the fire accidentally, he got his burns by running into the fire to save Tang Shen and, when he couldn't get to her, rescued her child, Miwa.
A lot of people are saying that Miwa is actually Karai, and that the Shredder renamed her and raised her as his own child as a sort of revenge against Hamato Yoshi.
Now, I'm not saying this isn't possible, because it's completely possible. They writers have set it up so that Miwa could in fact be alive and well, and we'll see her at some point. It also makes complete sense that it could be Karai. She's the correct age, she seems to be of an Asian ethnicity, and her skill in ninjitsu is undeniable (not that skills are necessarily hereditary, but it couldn't hurt). It would also explain why Shredder raised her as his own since he doesn't seem to be a family man in any sense of the word. BUT... I have to say that although it would completely work, I don't think that will be the case.
Why do I think this? For one good reason- It would be too easy.
As a writer, especially one for a television show, their main goal is to surprise and shock the viewers with plot twists. If something happens that everyone expects, no one is surprised. If Karai did in fact eventually turn out to be Miwa, then it wouldn't be a surprise. Everyone would either expect it, or be prepared for it. The writers would then not be doing their job, at least in my opinion. Now, some things are okay to not be too surprising. Some things, like Donnie and Leo's respective crushes, are cute and just things that the fans wanted to see. Something like Miwa's Reveal, on the other hand, would be completely different. Karai as Miwa would by that point be just ordinary, and instead of fans being super surprised, they'd just say something like "Well, finally." That's not the reaction you want when doing a grand reveal.
I think that they might very well build up people expecting Karai to be Miwa, and then at the last second pull a gigantic flip. Like, Karai is really just an orphan that Shredder picked up and adopted, and Miwa is actually someone else. Or maybe she is in fact really and truly dead.
Honestly, I expect them to do something like make it so that instead of Karai being Miwa, it's Irma Langenstein, who is supposed to make her debut appearance in Season Two. Now, the how and why of Irma being her is up in the air, since obviously Irma is just an example. Miwa could still be in Japan as an orphan for all we know. I just mentioned Irma because in her quick Easter Egg appearance in "Mouser's Attack", her appearance seems, to me, Japanese. It could be anyone, she was just the first Most Unlikely Candidate for me to think of.
I would put a better picture of Irma up here for us to see, but since she's not in the show yet there's no good ones. This is the best I could do to help make my point. If you want to see for sure if she looks Asian, you can re-watch the episode Mouser's Attack.
So that's my personal take on the Miwa Theory. I don't really have anyone in mind as to who it might actually be, I just don't think it's Karai. It would be way to obvious. But if I'm wrong, we'll just see in the future.
Karai's first appearance in the TMNTverse was in the original comics. She wasn't a teenager in those, but she was a member of the Foot Clan and Shredder's Right Hand Woman. Originally she has a daughter, but her child is killed on one mission or another. I don't think the turtles did it, but I could be wrong. Interestingly enough, she later sleeps with Casey, or it's strongly suggested that she does. Casey and April are at that time separated, so although he's incredibly guilty, I don't think he's doing anything terribly wrong. Especially since he has no idea where April is and he hasn't seen hide nor hair of her in two years. But I digress.
Karai also appeared in the 2003 cartoon series as a nemesis and eventual ally of the turtles. While she and Leo have some sort of chemistry, she ends up with a guy named Bishop who has had a long time crush on her. Hey, good for them I say. Also in this show she's like 10-15 years older than Leo, so that probably could have played a deterrent in the writer's setting the two of them together.
She doesn't appear in any of the live-action movies, but she's in the 2007 film, as the leader of the Food since Shredder's untimely demise. In this one, she has a distinct accent. I'm assuming she also has one in the comics, although of course there's no voice for her in that. I don't think she has one in the 2003verse, but I don't know that for sure.
In any case, in THIS series, Karai is, yes, in the Foot, and is Shredder's adopted daughter. He's not exactly fatherly to her, as I'm sure you've deduced, but since he's raised her she has a great deal of love and affection for him. Probably she gets her ruthless personality from his upbringing, and she continues to be somewhat heartless because that's the only way to get his approval. Karai is also a teenager, probably April's age, and unlike the 2003verse, she and Leo definitely have a very obvious thing for each other, or at least Leo has a crush on her. Karai uses that to her advantage, of course.
As far as Karai/Leo shipping goes, I actually like it a lot. I know some people are sick of the whole Batman/Catwoman thing going on here, but it's always been something I've enjoyed. I also think that if they didn't have the whole Family Feud thing going on, they'd actually be a pretty good team. She's playful and mischievous, so she could help lighten him up in his more serious moments, but he's very loyal and steadfast, which I think is something she'd really like. Growing up in Shredder's world has obviously made her distrustful and unable or unwilling to make many friends for fear of betrayal. But for some reason, she lets Leo in right away.
I was both proud of and disappointed in Karai in this last episode- this is a good thing because it means the writers did a good job. Basically (and here's the obligatory warning about spoilers) she and the turtles form a secret alliance in which they both go after a kraang ship that has been transported from Dimension X (I swear, I really will talk about that at some point). In order to get the turtle's trust, she volunteers to go steal a rocket launcher from Shredder's latest weapons delivery. Raph convinces Leo that this is the best time to take out the Shredder because they'll know where he'll be and he won't be expecting them. But Karai finds out and foils their plot and is furious, of course, because the Shredder is her father.
Now, I love this episode, because it really goes into Karai's bond with the Shredder. When she goes after Leo for trying to kill him, Leo says that Karai herself said that the Shredder drives her nuts, and she responds with "Of course he does, he's my FATHER!" This is perfect because it shows that she recognizes that she's going to have issues with him from time to time, but she'll love him just the same. If I were a writer, I'd be super proud of this character development from her.
At the same time, I'm a little disappointed by the fact that Leonardo failed to bring up a very valid point on his part- Yes, the Shredder is Karai's dad. But her dad is not only trying to kill Leo's dad, but himself and all of his brothers! And he's doing it for something that the SHREDDER caused all those years ago! If I were Leo, I would have demanded to know what Karai would have done in his situation, because she's already done that! She defended her father with his life, and she was going after Leo to KILL HIM.They are in the exact same position. The Shredder is out for blood, so whether the turtles like it or not, it's kill or be killed. What the hell else did she expect him to do? I could totally see Leo saying "How DARE you judge me for taking action in the exact same way you would?!" Not only that, but she abandoned his brothers and him to the monster, Justin, just a few episodes before. Frankly, I think it's very naive of her to expect that they would actually trust someone with her track record in her position.
But the sad thing is that Karai didn't expect them to betray her. She even says to Leo that she thought he was her friend. Maybe she thinks that because he saved her life, but either way, it's really sad that maybe her first friend ever hurt her that way. Although honestly I don't blame him in the slightest. I sincerely hope they have a serious discussion about their fathers and their death-feud.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Xever's last name is never given, nor is any information on his family. In the very latest episode, he talks about growing up as a thief on the streets of an unnamed city in Brazil. He says the first lesson he learned is "If there's something you want, you take it." Or something along those lines. Basically I'm guessing that he's got no family to speak of, hence his distinctly non-Brazilian sounding name. As you can tell from the delightful gif at the top of this page, his signature weapons are flick-knives. He says he's seen some time in prison after being arrested for theft (a job at which he had been very good at up until that point). That's where he met Shredder and becomes his thug, eventually working his way up to the same level of command as Bradford.
From what we know of him besides his limited history, he's pretty bloodthirsty and ruthless. Whether he's always been like that, or whether the Shredder eventually just turned him to his way of thinking is unknown.
Anyway, I love Xever. I even love him after Chris Bradford the Idiot gets him turned into a gigantic FISH.
He gets the mechanical legs from Baxter Stockman after he becomes the fish. They're pretty awesome. I don't really like the change from awesome guy to walking food, but he seems to have adjusted fairly well. But I really hope they change it back at some point.
In the latest episode he sort of forms a begrudging respect between himself and Raphael, so I'm thinking that maybe somewhere along the line, Raph might convince him to at least consider leaving the Shredder and not being so cut-throat. I highly doubt he'll ever be a 'good guy', but maybe he won't be so antagonistic. At this point they could really go anywhere with him. He's still really bloodthirsty, but he kind of saves Raph's life (after Raph saves his) and they actually have a decent conversation. So who really knows what'll happen.
EDIT: I just re-watched the latest episode again. The part where Raph asks Xever why he's with Shredder... the look he gets is so telling. I never would have expected Xever to answer, but he looks so shocked that someone would even bother to ask him something like that. I get the feeling that this is where Xever starts having a little bit of respect for Raphael. I hope they go somewhere with this, because it'd be wonderful.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
So now we start in on the villains of the show. We begin with Chris Bradford. Why? Because I FEEL LIKE IT. I started on Shredder, but then I decided "Naaaah, let's mix it up a bit."
As far as I know, Chris is a complete newcomer to the TMNT universe. I even checked the TMNTpedia. All the info on him was from this series, so I'm just gonna roll with the assumption that he's an original and has no predecessor.
Before I begin, I just want to say that I'm sick of putting up the spoiler warnings. I'm just gonna throw it out now that if you come here, you're gonna get spoilers. Maybe not all of them, but a good amount. So prepare to get all the dirt on dear ol' Chrisy here.
We first meet Brad in episode four of the new series, and he's a world-famous martial artist and body builder. He is introduced to Mikey under the premise of friendship. Well, actually Mikey sort of ambushes him after Chris accepts his friend request on some Facebook-esque website without knowing who Mikey really is (obviously). At first he's all friendly and nice, but the reason for this is, surprise surprise, because he's Shredder's top pupil and right-hand man, so obviously he's trying to pump our favorite nunchucker for info. Long story short (since I don't want to ruin the whole episode) he betrays Mikey and is revealed to be a bad guy. Now, his history with the Shredder hasn't been delved into at all, but I'm guessing that Shredder picked him up out of the gutter when he was nothing, or took notice of his natural talent as a martial artist. I liked this guy. A lot. He was awesome. He got his butt kicked by the turtles every time he went up against them of course, but that's not really a shock since, y'know, everyone gets their butt kicked by the turtles unless they're Shredder himself.
So, yeah, he's pretty cool... Until episode nine, where he suddenly becomes a total DUMBASS and turns himself into THIS:
Creepy, much? Oh, yes. Very much so. Wanna know HOW he does this? He PURPOSELY (and this is where you just have to face-palm and groan at stupidity) breaks the glass to a defunct bomb that holds like a lake's worth of mutagen. If you don't know what mutagen is, it's the stuff that turned the turtles and Splinter into their current forms. It seemingly mutates whoever touches it into whatever organic object they last touched. So Bradford, having last touched a dog, got turned into, you guessed it, a gigantic dog monster now called Dogpound. Now, WHY does he willingly get himself doused in this stuff? Well, at the time he's cornered by the turtles, and while they wouldn't kill him, the Shredder has made it clear that by that point, it's success or death.
So I've come up with two theories as to his thought process: The first one is that he didn't know that the glowing green stuff would do something bad to him, which, to me, says volumes about his intellectual level since pretty much anyone would stay away from glowing liquid on principle that things that glow are rarely safe, with the exception of glow in the dark food products. But mutagen is most definitely NOT a food product, so he really doesn't have an excuse there.
The second theory is that he figured that, hell, he's lost to the turtles enough times that one more failure means automatic death via Shredder-rage. Since he's probably seen what the Shredder-rage does to people, he might have figured that it's better to kill himself than have his boss to it for him. So being pushed off a building by a wave of what might very well be radioactive poison might be a quicker and more painless death. I have to admit that this logic, wanting to escape a horrible death, is one I can get behind. I do not now, nor have I ever condoned suicide, but his reason for considering it is sound if you're looking at it from his perspective. I think he's stupid for wanting to, but I can see why he would.
Bradford's transformation is ultimately a good thing though, since his new form is much stronger than his last one. Unfortunately this also means that he can kiss that multi-million dollar fighting franchise goodbye. He might be able to keep the money, but the way to get it is long gone. And since he now looks like he weighs roughly about half a ton, he's probably spending a good amount of that on raw meat for dinner. And if he's not spending it on meat, he probably will on grooming fees. I mean, seriously. A coat THAT SIZE?! With all the fighting he does?! When does he have time to get himself a flea bath?
Probably in the future he'll either be turned back into a human, or be destroyed one way or another. I hope he's around for a while though. Other than the idiot way in which he was transformed, I really like what they've done with him. We'll see where he goes from here.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Okay, here's where I start going into things that I don't particularly like about the show. I don't dislike April's character, or her age. I think both of them are great. A feisty, courageous, smart, redheaded teenage version of April works really well with the show, and I agree when the producers when they said that it makes more sense for a teen to be running around with other teens than a fully grown adult woman. I don't have a problem with any of those things.
I have a problem with her OUTFIT.
I mean, REALLY. Just look at it!
Who in the heck dresses like that?! It's just stupid! I like the t-shirt and shorts. I even like the boots. But the leggings and the undershirt? Good Lord, whoever thought that looked good should be strung up by their thumbs. Look, I know they wanted to get the fact that she's a tomboy across, but you don't have to have her dress like a jock guy for the viewer to get the message. The fact that she spends her spare time running around with four mutant ninja turtles illustrates this pretty well. Also, she doesn't need a headband to go with her ponytail. You need one or the other, not both. If she were wearing jeans instead of leggings and shorts, and sneakers instead of boots with huge socks that peek out a top, that would help it along a lot. Plus... wrist guards. I know you can't see them in the second picture, but you can in the first. Overall, she just doesn't look that good.
Other than the fact that she looks like a mix between a deep-sea diver and a female football player, I really like what they've done with her. She's the perfect mix of cunning and tenacity. I also really like how they made Donnie have a crush on her. While I think ultimately it'll end really badly for Don, it's something that gives her an entirely new dynamic with the guys. She's always been the mother/sister/best friend type, and no one has ever ventured into the realm of her being something more with the turtles. I'm glad that they've finally done that. But I have to say that I'm a hardcore Casey/April fan. They just work together better than Donnie and April do, and plus, while she likes Donnie as a friend, it's incredibly obvious that she doesn't see him as anything more. If anything, it looks like she thinks his crush is a little annoying. There's no way she doesn't know he has one on her. It's terribly obvious.
I'm really looking forward to the day when it's April verses Karai. We all know it's only a matter of time, especially since (SPOILER ALERT!) she's being trained as a ninja by Master Splinter herself as of episode seven! It's going to be awesome.
Ah, Master Splinter... Where to begin? I suppose first we'd have to discuss the differences between this show's version of Splinter and previous versions.
In every incarnation of the Turtles, the back story is always the same, or nearly always the same. It begins in Japan anywhere from 20 to 30 years before the turtle's stories begin. Hamato Yoshi and Oroku Saki, both masters of ninjitsu fall in love with a lovely Chinese doctor named Tang Shen. What she was doing in Japan, Lord only knows. She could have been trying cultural cuisine for all we know. Anyway, she chooses Hamato Yoshi, and in his rage, Oroku Saki breaks off all friendship and contact with his old friend Yoshi. Now, whether or not both were at fault at their loss in friendship, or whether Oroku takes all the blame varies from series to series. But in all versions, he somehow causes the death of Tang Shen and sometimes manages to kill Yoshi as well. It's the details in which this is done that vary.
So, in the original Mirage Comics and the live action movies, Splinter was actually the rat of Hamato Yoshi, and learned all the ninja master's movements through sheer observation (very clever, even for a rat). When Saki makes it clear that he's out for blood, Tang Shen convinces Yoshi to run away with her to New York, where they live pretty happily for an unspecified amount of time. Inevitably, Saki catches up with them and kills them both. Splinter the rat escapes into the sewers where he is exposed to Mutagen and begins the transformation into the rat-humanoid. He finds the four baby turtles who eventually become our daring heroes also in the sewers and raises them as his sons and students, dubs himself Splinter (for reasons unbeknownst to me; I would have picked a cooler name myself), and Oroku Saki becomes the Shredder.
In the 1987 cartoon series, Splinter is actually Hamato Yoshi himself who turned into a rat. So he's actually a qualified master. This, to me, makes his ability much more plausible. Other than that, it's pretty much the same. He and Shredder are enemies ever since Tang Shen who is now dead, etc etc.
Now, the 2012 series takes a spin on this. Splinter is still Hamato Yoshi, and Shredder is Oroku Saki, and they both loved Tang Shen, but events play out a little differently. (SPOILER ALERT) Splinter admits to Raphael in episode three that after Oroku found out that Tang Shen chose him, Oroku came insulting his old friend to goad him into a fight. It worked. Instead of calming him down, he beat Oroku's butt, sowing the seeds of hate that would later sprout into the poisonous flowers of MURDER... I get chills just writing that! So it doesn't say how much time passes, but after Tang Shen and Hamato are married and have a baby girl named Miwa, Oroku comes back to kill Hamato. In the process of killing his new enemy, Oroku burns down their house, killing Tang Shen and Miwa via a candle that falls on the floor. Bet he feels stupid over that mistake. Now, whether Oroku meant to kill his old flame and her baby is up in the air right now, but I'm willing to bet money that that was an accident, and Oroku-now-Shredder blames Splinter for everything.
Splinter in this particular incarnation is deeply attached to his sons, and often calls them as such. He's stern, but kind, always willing to offer advice when they need it, and defending them when he needs to. He doesn't often fight, but from what we've seen via his battle with Leatherhead and his brief brainwash incident with the Rat King, he's absolutely TERRIFYING in battle. Seriously, you do NOT want to be on his bad side. At the same time, he's surprisingly gentle and compassionate, illustrating to his sons the importance of both the need for strength and softness simultaneously.
So as far as his design goes, I really like the fact that they made him middle aged. I'm guessing that he's probably in his mid-forties. Assuming he got married around 25 and Tang Shen and his baby were killed just a few years later, he'd roughly be in his early 30s. Since the turtles are 15 when the show starts, and he's not in his 50s, 44-46 is probably a good age to pin him at. In any case, he's not as old as previous versions of Splinter, which I think makes sense. If they made him too old, he'd be more like a grandfather, and less able to train them. A 60 year old is in no position to be fighting a group of 15 year olds, no matter how skilled he may or may not be. And this way, he can show them things without having to worry too much about his back giving out.
I have a secret confession- I think it'd be cute for Splinter to find himself a lady-friend. It will never in a million years happen since it never has before and that's not likely to change now, but I think it'd be sweet for him to have a thing for a lady around his age. I'm not a total romantic fanatic or anything like that, but I think that it'd be cute for him to have that side of him.
Donatello. By far one of the best turtles. When I was very small he was my favorite. Why you ask? Actually it was mostly because his favorite color is purple, and so is mine. How can someone with the same favorite color as me be anything but awesome? THEY CAN'T. THE END.
But also he was my favorite simply by virtue of the fact that he was a nerd. He had absolute enthusiasm and love for little things that no one cared about in the least, and yet he was always trying to show them to his family and friends in a vain attempt to get at least one person to say whatever it was was indeed cool. Usually they didn't. And yet when something needed inventing or fixing, who did they run to? Donnie. (I actually used to spell his nickname Donny, but apparently the 'ie' ending is the correct one. You learn something new every day.) He was the one who invented the vehicles, the phones, the things that would manage to stop the enemies machines, etc etc. But I will tell you this, being the go-to-fix-it-girl for my own family... It gets really old, really quickly. Even if you have no idea what the issue is, everyone expects you to solve their problems. Someone like Donnie has to have the patience of a saint.
Also, I have to respect someone who can wield a wooden stick larger than I am with as much ease as he does. I mean really, he could give someone a major concussion using that thing right, and I'm sure he has. No matter what Leo or Raph might say about the lethality (or lack thereof) of his staff, it can certainly be a very debilitating weapon at the very least. Plus, having to twirl that thing around as fast as you do in order to make it that effective is not easy. I've tried on backyard branches, which, granted, are not staffs (or staves, whichever you prefer), but the basic principal I think is there.
Besides these things, there's always the fact that he's completely adorable, especially in this new version of him where he's got this very relatable crush on April. It's not relatable in the sense that there's a giant turtle with a crush on a human, but it's relatable because there are times when you have a completely one-sided crush, and the object of your affections not only gently rebuffs your advances, but tends to not even notice them in the first place. I feel bad for Don because April just utterly ignores or blows off all his attempts to get closer to her.
It's pretty pathetic... However, although I don't support the pairing, I can see why some might like it. But to be completely honest, I don't see it going anywhere but heartbreak for Donnie. But I'm actually looking forward to it. Not because I'm a sadistic creep who likes to see people in pain (even fictional characters), but because it'll be a defining moment for him. That's when we'll see a huge amount of character development for this guy. It'll either turn him into a bitter jerk for a while until he gets snapped out of it, or he'll be sad and overcome. I can't see him trying to fight over April because he'll probably realize that it's a lost cause, partially because she's never shown any interest for him, and also partially because I expect by then she'll be head over heels for Casey. Or eventually succumbing to it.
Hopefully whatever happens, it won't hurt Donnie too badly because he's a really sweet guy. But I foresee him getting pretty crushed as time goes on. But I guess we shall see as it continues.