Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Name: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Abbreviation(s): TMNT, Ninja Turtles
Creator: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, Mirage Studios
Date(s): 1984-present
Medium: cartoon, comics, films, video games
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: wikipedia
Turtles in Time! by barebalu (2013)
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a media franchise about a team of four mutated turtles who were trained by a ninja rat and fight crime in New York City. The series was created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman as a dark and gritty spoof of popular comic books during the 1980's such as X-Men and it's spin-off New Mutants (which originally focused on teenage mutants) and Daredevil (which featured ninjas). After retaining the rights for so long, Laird sold it in 2009 to Viacom, becoming a major addition to the Nickelodeon channel.


The series first appeared as a self-published comic book Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (May 1984).

The Main Characters for this fandom are:

  • Leonardo (Leo) - Blue Mask; the leader and often bears the burden of responsibility for his brothers
  • Michelangelo (Mikey) - Orange Mask; team's easy-going and free-spirited prankster
  • Donatello (Don, Donnie or Donny (2k3)) - Purple Mask; scientist/inventor/engineer/tech genius of the group
  • Raphael (Raph) - Red mask; team's bad boy - has a bit of an attitude but loves his family and friends
  • Splinter - a mutated rat who adopted four turtles and raised them as his own, teaching them the art of ninja.
  • April O'Neil - the first human to befriend the turtles
  • Shredder - the main antagonist for the series
  • Casey Jones - a vigilante who wears a hockey mask to protect his identity who teams up with turtles; in a relationship with April in most incarnations


TMNT has a large fanbase, with a lot of fanworks centered around the turtles family dynamic. One of the most common subjects is Raph and Leo's relationship in regards to how they each think the team should be run. The majority of TMNT shows, comics, and general media tend to focus on Leo, and Leo and Raphs fight over who should be leader, or how he should act as a leader. The fan base also reflects this by have a large amount of fanworks about the two characters dynamic, and how it affects the rest of the team and other characters. Fans also tend to favor Leo as the 'favorite' in some iterations, and sometimes treat him as the 'main character' of the franchise. All the turtles vary in popularity from show to show, but characters such as Splinter, Casey, and April seems to vary more, due to their personalities and the fact that the character sometimes drastically changes from version to version. The main fandom pairings (Both platonic and romantic) are between the turtle brothers (Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo and Leonardo), as well as ships between April and the turtles (although canonically it's only ever usually amounted to crushes on the brothers' part, until the 2K12 series). April/Casey is a popular het canon pairing.

Comic Fandom

The original comic series is darker and more violent than the later incarnations.

1980s Cartoon and First Live-Action Film Trilogy Fandom

The TMNT fandom between the trilogy and the 1980s animated series introduced a lot of fans to the series. This period is sometimes referred to as "Turtlemania", because during this period the Turtles became an international phenomenon

1980s-1990s Animated Series Fandom

Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation Fandom

Live action series produced by Saban, set sometime after the original animated series and the first three movies. The series introduced a new character, "Venus de Milo", a female turtle, who is contentious among fans and creators. Nonetheless, some fans took to doing fanworks dedicated to her. This incarnation of the Turtles also appeared alongside Saban's own Power Rangers in the "Power Rangers In Space" episode "Shell Shocked".

2003-2009 Animated Series Fandom

A popular series due to it being closer to the comics and darker than the original animated series. It's mainly known as 2K3 universe.

2007 Animated Film Fandom

TMNT 2k7 is the fandom term for the universe. It focuses on Leo and Raph's relationship, and as such is popular among fans of turtlecest.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)

TMNT 2k12 is the fandom term for the universe.

A series that has become very popular. A fandom favorite is the canon relationship between April and Donatello, although Raphael/April is shipped as well (since originally Raphael was supposed to have a crush on April).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows (2016)

TMNT 2k14/2k16 is the fandom term for the universe. It's often criticized for its design of the turtles and starring Megan Fox as April, although others enjoyed her as April or liked the film regardless.

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2018)

ROTTMNT, Rise, TMNT 2K18, and/or Rise of the TMNT are other names for Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This series was unfortunately cut short, with its second season only having 19 episodes, compared to the expected 26. This was mainly due to fan backlash at the changes the series made to the characters and plot, as it deviated greatly from the previous iteration which had a much darker tone. Many fans completely refused to watch the series, leading to low revenue and toy sales, which contributed to the cancellation. A TV movie, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie was released on Netflix in 2022, giving the fandom a sudden revival. Fans were able to keep the movie trending on several social media apps for around a month after release, sparking an ongoing media campaign to renew the series for a third season. As of Feb. 2024, there are no confirmed plans to renew the series, although many fans are still holding out hope. This iteration of TMNT is one of the most popular in terms of fanworks, with over 13,000 fanfics posted on Ao3, far outstripping the other iterations.

Mutant Mayhem

The movie appears to be catering towards a younger audience, with animation reminiscent of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse and Puss in Boots:The Last Wish. The current film synopsis is "After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers. Their new friend, April O'Neil, helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them." The movie is also meant to focus more of the 'teen' aspect of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and center heavily on the youth of the turtles and the experience of an adolescent.


Note: Miyamoto Usagi and Yuichi Usagi are sometimes used interchangably for these ships, due to the characters being incredibly similar. The version they are shipped with usually depends on which iteration of the turtle it is, as well as fan preference. So far, Leosagi has shown to be vastly more popular than Donsagi.

Note: this ship is more commonly shown in Tiktok videos or fanart, rather than fanfiction. It is also usually with ROTTMNT (2018) Mikey. FAIR WARNING: The term 'Shell Shock' is commonly used in reference to the effect war had on soldiers, and is one of the earliest acknowledgements of the existence of PTSD. If you search for the term 'Shell Shock' without adding in TMNT or something else to indicate you are looking for the ship, you may see depictions of war and/or war related trauma.

Note: the only difference between Baron Draxum/Lou Jitsu and Baron Draxum/Splinter is the time in which they fall in love and/or get together. There is no real difference between the two, but Baron Draxum/Lou Jitsu implies that they fell in love/got together before Lou Jitsu was mutated, or in an AU where Lou Jitsu doesn't become 'Splinter'.

  • the pairing of Big Mama/Lou Jitsu or Big Mama/Splinter does not appear to have a proper pairing name, and is usually just known as 'Big Mama/Splinter'. This pairing also only exists in the ROTTMNT (2018) verse.
  • Mikeymondo is the pairing name for Michelangelo/Mondo Gecko. This ship is usually found only in the 2k12 verse.




Example Art Gallery




Archives and Communities


Fannish Links


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