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Krang, Utroms, and the Kraang

krang_utroms_kraang_thumbKrang is one element of the classic cartoon TMNT that in retrospect I’m not all that fond of. The toy, on the other hand, brings back some “fun memories.” “Nostalgia” might be a better word…I don’t know.

I recently posted about finding Classic Collection Krang at Toys R Us, and having that figure now adds a character to a small grouping that I own, that have appeared in some form across all three “main” TMNT toy lines (1980s, 2003, 2012).

While the pink brain itself has been missing from my collection for I-don’t-know-HOW-many-years, the Krang’s Android Body has been around my apartment for awhile…a cool (if incomplete) oversized “figure.”

krang_android_body_empty

The android body is about 2 1/2 times as tall as a basic Turtle, though the angle of my photo makes it look a bit bigger.

Krang’s walking contraption is–at top of the bubble–about as tall or only slightly shorter than one of the turtles.

krang_figure01

Of course, though it was the basis of the “main” figure itself for awhile, the bubble contraption I believe only appeared in the first handful of episodes of the cartoon before the android body was introduced.

krang_android_body_with

Though the idea of this creature essentially being a “brain in the stomach” was odd to me at first, back in the day. It wasn’t TOO long, though, before I discovered via the comics that Krang was based on an entire race of aliens from the comics…

utroms

…and part of what I so greatly enjoyed about the 2003 animated series was its adherence to the core elements of the Mirage comics. Here are three Utroms with android bodies from the 2003 line. They came with the little hover-platforms, so can fit either into the android body or as they’ve been shown to get around on the hover platforms without the bodies.

kraang

While Utroms were consolodated into the singular Krang character for the 1980s cartoon, they were introduced as generic villains in the 2012 series as a race called The Kraang…in OBVIOUS homage to the 1980s. These again are brains in the android bodies, though I haven’t bothered to pull enough to pop one out…they don’t come RIGHT out, and I don’t feel like tearing one if they’re really glued in there.

krang_utroms_kraang

So, as with the turtles themselves, I now have a full complement across all 3 “generations” of figures for a given character.

Of course, I’d love to find the “regular-size” figure that came out late in the 1980s run. Sadly I doubt I’d find one for a decent price…I’d be happy to find one “loose” for under $10. Still sounds a bit steep, recalling the turtle figures were once $3.49 apiece. But then, many modern figures are $10 anyway, and to get a vintage figure even without the card for that price isn’t horrible. I do remember seeing it once or twice, but had “outgrown” getting the turtle figures at that point (obviously I’ve grown back in).

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Classic Collection Leonardo – Out of His Shell

While it seems lately I have waaaaay too many figures that have remained in their packaging (I need to work on a shelving system to display ’em), the Classic Collection Leonardo is one that I almost immediately opened up (He’s currently on display at work above my cube).

classic_leo_01

One of the first things I noticed–and the MAJOR disappointment–is the shoulder joints on mine are STUCK, and do NOT move up and down–though they look like they’re supposed to. So the arms are stuck being held outward at a rather awkward pose, rather than being able to have them down closer to the character’s sides. I felt like I was going to break the arms off trying to get either joint to move, before giving up and settling (for now).

classic_leo_04

I do like the stand the figure comes with, as well as the hands’ ability to actually grip the swords. Not the best grip ever, but satisfactory, especially in the face of the shoulder-joints’ issue.

classic_leo_05

I like the coloring and shaping of the figure overall. While not a huge fan of the mask’s rigidity on some of the figures, the shaping on this figure is much more to my liking. This image also shows that shoulder-joint: it’ll swivel, but won’t actually move up/down.

classic_leo_02

I like the detail on the scabbards, though I don’t remember the character ever having the blue strap in the cartoon. It works well enough with the general color scheme here, though, emphasizing that this is indeed Leonardo. The scabbards are one piece, but “plug in” to the shell, and the piece is easily removed, though thankfully doesn’t seem QUITE “fall-out” easy to remove.

The shoulder issue really limits the playability and posability of the figure; I very quickly lost interest in playing with posing due to that, as the character is quite limited with arms stuck straight out perpendicular! I intend to “research” the issue before I’ll buy any more of these–if it’s a common issue, I probably will hold off. If it’s just a glitch on the figure I got, I might try to work it loose and see what I can do with it from there.

all_leonardos

While–again–I’m not a fan of variants on the figure within the same “line,” here are the “main” Leonardo figures from four different lines.

TMNT Toys Through Time

I recently discovered a new version of the Halftone app, Halftone2, which basically combines the original Halftone app with a frames app I had been using.

Rather than show off the various turtles in a bunch of individual photos, I had some fun messing around with the new app, with the results you see below.

The three different sets of turtles:

tmntfigures-all

And then the individual turtles:

tmntfigures-leonardo

tmntfigures-donatello

tmntfigures-raphael

tmntfigures-michelangelo

And then all the figures together by turtle:

tmntfigures-all-byturtle

Now, if only I had recognized the value in the figures a few years ago based on the original Mirage comics designs, I’d be alllll set!

TMNT Forever? [Movie Review: Turtles Forever]

Though I largely lost track of the TMNT animated series the last several years, I’ve tuned in here or there to see where things are. I’d thought the series was nothing but re-runs at this point, and with the sale of the TMNT to Nickelodeon, hadn’t expected anything new to be aired. Thankfully, I was wrong, as this ‘Turtles Forever’ tv movie aired this morning.

The purple dragons find themselves under attack as they seek to rip off some high-tech equipment. Splinter finds his soap opera interrupted by news of four green individuals caught on camera–apparently turtles. However, his sons are all home and haven’t been out. Cue Hun, responding to the Dragons’ having captured the Turtles. Sure enough, four Ninja Turtles have been captured…but they’re not any Hun has ever seen before. Determining they’re of no worth, he orders them killed…but that’s when the “real” (2003) turtles burst in.

After a fight, the two teams of teenage turtles size each other up. One group–pudgey and goofy, the other taller, leaner, and more serious. Before long, the time-tossed turtles from 1987 are introduced to Splinter–who, notably, looks much different. The Technodrome is brought in, as is the bumbling Shredder, Krang, and even the robotic foot soldiers. Bebop and Rocksteady make their requisite appearance.

Realizing that there are other-dimensional versions of the turtles he knows, Bumbling Shredder (1987) uses the Technodrome tech to locate this dimension’s Shredder–not in the USA, Not on Earth, but significantly further away–and beams him into the Technodrome. This dimension’s Shredder, however, is not the human Oroku Saki, but an evil Utrom Ch’rell. The Ch’rell Shredder wakes, makes short work of Bumbling Shredder, Krang, & Co., and implements a new plan–retrofitting the Technodrome with Utrom upgrades, transforming it into a far deadlier, more effective “ultimate weapon” than any previously seen.

The two groups of turtles survive an attack by a mutated Hun (remember the pink mutagen that changed someone into whatever creature they were last in contact with?), and with a dimensional-portal-stick find themselves back in the 1987 world–reversing the groups’ disorientation. The 2003 turtles meet the Hamato Yoshi Splinter, who offers a calm, serious, yet compassionate air to the time-tossed teens.

When the turtles check back in with their home (2003) dimension, they see Ch’rell’s upgraded Technodrome causing loads of destruction, withstanding the best the Military can throw at it…and they realize the box of anti-Technodrome gadgest they have isn’t gonna cut it.

Upon returning to rescue Splinter (2003), the turtles are all captured, held to particular points in a massive chamber, their essense to play a role in locating “Turtle-Prime,” the SOURCE of Ninja Turtles in the Multiverse. (And reminding me a great deal of Alexander Luthor’s tower from DC’s Infinite Crisis).

The Ch’rell Shredder shares what he’s learned, displaying images of virtually every other incarnation of the turtles out there–The 1990s movies, various incarnations from Mirage, and Archie, the newspaper strip, the 2007 movie, and so on. All are branches coming from the source being sought–destroy the source, and all the others will cease to exist. (Destroy a branch and others will continue to flourish).

Before the turtles can be completely dismantled by the device, Karai beams them away, saving their lives, as the Technodrome fades away to this Prime dimension. Another encounter with Hun as the world turns to black and white and then whites out of existence leads the turtles to modify their dimensional stick and they, too, fade out to the Prime dimension.

Arrival there introduces black and white turtles–the ORIGINAL Mirage TMNT. Accurately, the “source” of every other incarnation of the turtles.

The three groups team up to face the threat Ch’rell now poses to the multiverse.

As the story draws to a close, the other turtles return “home,” and the Prime-turtles are left to reflect on what they’ve just been a part of. Finally, they leave with Leonardo’s narration seeing them out. “We are the Teenage Mutant Ninja TUrtles. We strike hard, and fade away…into the night.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this when I first discovered it. A friend posted a link to the wikipedia page on my facebook, and I researched a bit from there, ultimately recording the movie and watching it this evening. A blending of the old and new/current cartoons was interesting as a concept, but I figured it would be some goofy, hokey thing that wouldn’t really be much more than “fanservice” or such.

However, goofy as it was at points, I really greatly enjoyed this. The movie REALLY accentuates the differences in the turtles’ incarnations. The “classic” 1987 turtles are goofy, hokey, and not very serious on the whole. The 2003 turtles are far more serious (though Mikey remains a bit of a goofball–but not nearly on the level of all the ’87 turtles). And of course, both incarnations are significantly “lighter” than the original 1984 Mirage turtles.

As far as I could tell, the voices of the 2003 turtles are the same as the long-running series. None of the voices for the classic turtles seemed at all familiar–which was disappointing, though I’d’ve been shocked if they could reassemble those regulars 20ish years later. Still, the attitudes of the characters showed through.

I did feel that the Splinters, as well as April and Casey (2003) got shortchanged…though I could’ve done with a little less than the brief bit we got with the 1987 April. I must admit it was sorta cool seeing Bebop and Rocksteady again, though they, too, were really shown to be the goofy caricatures they were.

Though brief overall, the Prime-turtles were rather cool to see–and it may just be my own prior comparisons of the incarnations that made it stand out for me–but they seemed all the more dangerous and deadly appearing alongside the colorized counterparts.

The movie ending with these turtles first striking the pose on a building that should be familiar to anyone who’s seen the covers to the original TMNT #1, TMNT #50, and so on. Then the thing closed out with Leo’s narration from the ending of that original TMNT #1…

Which truly brought things full-circle. Even though mere glimpses were provided of the numerous versions of the turtles through the years, that technically means they were included here. And so this capped off–“series finale”-style–the animated series that’s been running since 2003, as well as referencing/capping off the 1980s-1990s series, and everything that’s come before in the extended multiverse of TMNT.

I loved the references to past elements of the series. The classic lines were all there. Familiar nuances to voices were present despite different voiceactors–from Bumbling Shredder’s frustration to Krang’s gurgling/burping. The visual styles were consistent at least with what I remember of both series. The Prime turtles seemed a bit off, but the visual cues were absolutely unmistakeable.

This whole thing reminded me a bit of that Batman: The Animated Series episode with the kids relaying their different versions of the Batman, that included the various visual styles of the silver-age Batman, Miller’s Dark Knight, and so on.

All in all, it’s hard to capture every last detail or every last thought and such from the movie. Suffice to say that there are a number of other specific touches that pushed all the right geek-buttons for me.

I sincerely hope this gets released on DVD, whoever puts it out (provided it’s not vastly over-priced for being only about 75 minutes of content).

One of the commercials indicates it’ll be airing again over the next 3 weeks, so if you have not had a chance to see it, and you’re a fan of (particularly) either of the animated series, this is incredibly worthwhile.

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