At some point I’ll probably do a Many Intros article for all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shows over the year, but given I just got off a huge Transformers fest I want to give myself some breathing room. However, I was watching the first installments of Phelous’s reviews of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation and not having a topic in mind for today…except I just remembered the topic I wanted to do this week so I’ll have to hopefully remember to do it tomorrow, it sparked this installment of My Not-So-Favorite Intros because I just learned it technically has another intro, or at least a different theme song. I’ll get to that.
For those of you lucky enough to miss this show, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation was an attempt by Saban to create a live-action Turtles series, having lost Masked Rider and Beetleborgs when those series source material dried up. (Kamen Rider took a short break while Beetle Fighter went away with the rest of the “metal hero” genre in Japan.) This also gave us the fantasy-inspired sentai-ish Mystic Knights Of Tir Na Nog. However, Saban took a few liberties. Early reports were that it would continue the 80s cartoon, but it was closer to the movies with an ear-sliced Splinter and the Turtles living in the hidden abandoned subway station. April and Casey didn’t appear, though rumors suggest a second season might have introduced them.
The real controversy came with the addition of a fifth Turtle, Venus de Milo (real name Mei Peh Chi, changed by the boys, possibly due to knowing branding by now), because there weren’t any famous Renaissance women painters, at least outside of the art community. Unlike Jennika in the current IDW comics, Venus’s appearance was controversial for the wrong reasons. Jennika at least had already gained some fans before the human was mutated into a Ninja Turtle and it became part of the character arc. Venus’s addition was more because of the usual sentai mindset from Power Rangers and wanting a girl for the heroes, since April, their longtime human ally, was not on the show.
While Kevin Eastman liked her Peter Laird hated her with a passion and tried to wipe her from history when Eastman sold his half of the rights to Laird. Eastman hopes Nickelodeon, now full owner of the characters, might bring her back, but the fans may not agree. While she has her supporters many fans didn’t like how her addition changed the brothers into more “brothers in arms” than biological brothers so they could potentially have a romance, which never happened. Her “ninja magic” (despite growing up in China, which makes all kinds of no cultural sense) was seen as a deus ex machina and showed up way too often. Some just don’t like the idea in general, but that’s kind of the case of the show overall. The intros do not make this any better.
Credit where it’s due: the intro does summarize the story. Rat finds Turtles, another soon arrives from Chinatown (where she washed down and was found by our Chinese shinobi, who later went back to ninja China to mentally keep the dragons from coming through a mirror), and now there are five of them. The intro also shows off the enemies added to the series, including the aforementioned dragons that were the new main antagonist after Venus put some kind of whammy on Shredder.
However, I don’t really care for the song. It matches the tone of the show…which just makes it worse since if you’ve watched the show or Phelous’s reviews it wasn’t very good. It’s not a horrible theme song. We’ve heard worse in this series. I just don’t personally care for it. It’s not my style of music generally, and the montage changes scenes so fast that you can’t really follow it, so when the enemies show up you can’t get a good look at them.
For some reason when Shout Factory released the show on home video they changed that theme song, despite the song showing up in the DVD menu and in a music video made to promote the show. That’s where I thought this would make a decent article because I hadn’t heard of it before. So let’s take a listen, since the visual part is still the same. Oddly this was easier to find since it’s the one that showed up most in a quick search. I had to hunt a bit to avoid using a recreation using the original theme that, again, is on the DVD itself.
I like listening to it more at least. It has kind of a club beat but I’m trying to decide if it’s a Euro beat or something more Japanese. It’s not from Europe; they got the same theme song just with “Hero” taking the place of “Ninja” since they still feared ninjas out there for some reason. They were also still anti-nunchuck so Mikey had tonfas instead. However, it also loses points in not really going over the backstory, making Venus’s appearance confusing. If they were going to “fix” anything it should have been the group shot just before the logo, where Leonardo had the test color of yellow mask and bands since they wanted to make them different from Venus’s and “change the new character’s color” didn’t enter their minds. Jennka in the IDW comics now sports that color, but whether it’s a nod or a coincidence I haven’t heard.
Overall the show itself isn’t very good. The costumes are too bulky, the foley artist was out of control, and the stories just weren’t interesting overall. Even good plots didn’t make for good stories for a number of reasons. Watch Phelous’s episode by episode review and that will be clear pretty quick. I call this show “The Next Mutilation” for a reason. I mostly did this article since if I ever do make that Many Intros set for Ninja Turtles I wanted to remember the Shout Factory alteration. Maybe by the time I get to it that will have an explanation?