Episode 51: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Side-By-Side – 1987 Vs. 2003

Turtles Forever

The Mirage Era goes out with a bang

We’re back to a standard episode this week to do a very special Ninja Turtles retrospective. Today we talk about the ’87 Turtles, the ’03 Turtles, and everything in between. Joining us again this week are JT of Authentic Geek and Kittyhawk of Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki.

We love the Turtles. Though only one show can emerge victorious, this isn’t quite the landslide that was our X-Men Side-By-Side. Both shows here are recommendable. Just stay away from anything involving rewinds or red skies.

April’s cleavage
Destroying the Technodrome cures Splinter
Battletoads still sucks ass
Donatello and Jack Kirby save Asgard
Shredder vs. Skeletor vs. Cobra Commander
Neil can find cartoon-accurate live-action hotties


We loves us some sexy April!

Sexy Irma

JT is responsible for this, and he will pay!

April’s well-animated ass in an otherwise poorly-animated cartoon

Click here for even more ’87 Ninja Turtles animation errors.

16 thoughts on “Episode 51: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Side-By-Side – 1987 Vs. 2003

  1. Great episode, I’m just jealous I wasn’t on it.

    I loved me some Turtles in the late 80s, but I agree with JT, the 2K3 Turtles was a better show, and Turtles Forever was BRILLIANT!

    You guys didn’t mention how in the UK they had to rename them “Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles” due to children’s censorship issues.

    • Yeah, we totally forgot about that. To be honest, we didn’t learn about that in the states until well after the show had gone off the air. And that had to be a major pain in the ass, because as with GI Joe and it’s British counterpart Action Force, they probably had to redub every single time they said the word “ninja” in the show.

      Britain has relaxed on that since then, right? I hope so.

  2. Also I am one of the people that hate the way they characterized the 87 Turtles in Turtles Forever.

    Sure the 87 Turtles were goofy, but not all of them!! They all didn’t act like mikey 24//7. In Turtles Forever even Leo acts super goofy. Which aint right because in the 87 series he was the slightly more serious one outta the four. Sure he has his moments, but he wasn’t as goofy as the other three.

    • I would say that Leo was proabably the shakiest of all of them. Even so, I don’t think that it was that far off the mark. He’s still kind of goofy in the old show. The thing is, that series was meant to be lighthearted. The Turtles never took Shredder seriously in that show, at least not to the degree that the ’03 Turtles did. I mean, even when they would have to rescue April, there was never any concern that April was ever in mortal danger. So yeah, the ’87 Turtles are going to come off as goofy in a universe that has a more serious edge to it.

      I think a more serious version of ’87 Leo might have been a problem for character development. The whole point was to highlight the tonal clash between the two shows, and making any of them super serious would have gone against what they were trying to trying to do in the movie.

      Overall, I have no problem with how the ’87 Turtles came off. I think the only time it really took me out of the movie was when Shredder took the Technodrome to destroy Turtle Prime, and the ’87 Turtles didn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation. That’s the only time it seemed out of place, to me.

    • I rewatched the first miniseries. Yes, they were all that goofy, Leo included. They had eps where they had Leo cracking jokes. Maybe it was supposed to be Raph or Mikey because the turtles switch colors and weapons and voices mid scene all the damn time in 87.

        • Maybe when they cut scenes… No, the turtles switched while the camera is still on ’em. It’s amazing and magical really.

  3. That was a wonderful episode but I had one thing of confusion.

    Was the CG movie really that terrible? Didn’t get a chance to see it when it was in theaters but it didn’t look that terrible. The tiny mention it was given during the episode painted a really terrible picture of it.

    Where did it fit in terms of relevance to any of the various shows or incarnations?

    Sorry for so many random questions, it was a really good episode though to listen to while working and it left me wondering for more than just what a quick drag net over the web can answer.

    • The CGI movie wasn´t TERRIBLE, it was just underwhelming.
      It had a lot of build up for many things (like a promising scene with Leo and a sword collection) but no pay off.
      Also, the movie centers more on the villain´s story than in the Turtles´, even though there´s a lot of drama there, all Raph and Leo, almost no Don and Mikey.
      As for relevance, the movie tries to be a sequel to the live action movies (it has various nods to that) but it´s also vague enough to let it blend as a sequel to any of the tmnt series.
      The CGI is ok, but it takes a long while to get used to the character designs and it could have been used to enhance many of the fight scenes, which sort of just happen off screen times.
      There´s one GOOD scene in the movie, you´ll realize which one it is the moment you see it.

  4. I just realized something. The 2003 series was co-oped with 4Kids Entertainment. Oh my, if Mirage Studios wasn’t there to keep an eye on this show, it would have become close to the 87 series, thank God. I liked 87 but let’s not go backwards. By the way, I’ll do that thing Ben mentioned, I’ll show my little sister (9) both and see what she says, that’ll be fun.

  5. By interesting coincidence I was just watching the episode “Splinter No More” (second season), the one where they cure Splinter for a day and Shredder tries to open a portal to Dimension X in the subway tunnels. April has cleavage drawn in about half of her shots in this one. Maybe it depended on which studio was drawing it that day? Like most 80’s cartoons they were off-model almost as often as they were on.

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