Welcome to another classic TMNT episode recap! Real quick, I just want to say that I appreciate all the new traffic this website has been getting an encourage you to please also check out and subscribe to my YouTube Channel to get some videos of me eating new foods and playing with old toys.
With that said, lets get into business: we’re watching some Turtles and man, is it difficult. Also, I’m watching these on DVD and you have no idea what a pain in the ass navigating a DVD is now that we’re spoiled with on-demand and streaming services.
I actually had to get up and switch out the disc today! Absurd!
But we keep moving forward and deal with the struggles that have been laid upon our shoulders. Let’s watch some TV.
S03E13 (Ep. 31): The Ninja Sword of Nowhere
Original Air Date: October 11, 1989
Shredder’s annoyed that Krang woke him up so early, but it’s because his technology has discovered some ancient alien shit on the surface that will allow him to take over everything. Sweet. Plot of the day.
The Turtles themselves look to be getting up early and Raphael sounds like he’s got a new voice actor. Let’s pause and do a little research…
…Holy shit he does!
Up to this point, Raph was voiced by the legendary Rob Paulsen who has been the voice of probably a billion characters you love, but today it’s Thom Pinto who did voices for 10 episodes in this series, but only performed as Raphael for two. Hm. That’s an interesting little tidbit. I mean, it was incredibly noticeable from his first line so you don’t have to be the hardest of core fans to have picked up. OK, so now that I’ve spent 15 minutes looking into the first 120 seconds of this episode, let’s continue.
According to Donatello, today is National Sensei Appreciation Day which is a bullshit Instagram holiday if I’ve ever heard one, but the Turtles decide they gotta get the old man a gift to celebrate. They put on their trench coats and head to the pawn shop to see if they can find something within their budget and end up with an ancient samurai sword. Oh, I get it, this is going to be the Ninja Sword from Nowhere.
Of course, Shredder shows up with Bebop and Rocksteady looking for the same sword just as the Turtles are leaving because it must be made with the ancient metal Krang wants. Naturally, they have to follow the Turtles where a Pier 6 brawl ensues. Shredder takes control of the sword, but upon swinging it, opens a portal between dimensions and disappears. Bebop and Rocksteady immediately run to Krang to tell him the boss disappeared, but Shredder pops back into the control room of the Technodrome because he’s learned how to control the sword.
The Turtles tell Splinter about everything that’s gone on and he devises a plot to lure Shredder into a trap. It works in the sense that Shredder shows up with Bebop and Rocksteady, but in the kerfuffle, Shredder takes Splinter into limbo and leaves him between dimensions where he shall be trapped for eternity unless the Turtles…I dunno, until they give up or some shit, I guess. Shredder already has the sword so I don’t know what else he thinks he’s really going to get here.
Once again, the Turtles lure Shredder and his crew into another trap, this time in…HOLY SHIT, new Raphael voice actor is fucking terrible. Every single word being said is…
Hold up! An alien spaceship that doubles as an antique store arrives out of nowhere to take possession of the sword. It’s two middle-aged aliens who kind of look like old, weathered Snorks.
They tell the Turtles to put anymore shit like this to the side for the next time they come back looking for missing items. The ship heads back into the same type of portal that the sword opens and Splinter, sitting there waiting for his moment, jumps through to get back to reality before it has time to close. Once everyone is safe on the ground, Shredder waves his fist with rage and declares he’ll be back before loading up his goons and drilling more holes into NYC to head back to the Technodrome in Modules.
As I’m watching this, I’m sitting here wondering how in the bluest of fucks writers were able to drag 193 episodes out of this without having anything even resembling cohesion or continuity. It really is wild to watch this back and compare it even to the newer iterations of TMNT which blow this out of the water. Flip side: none of the newer versions sold a trillion dollars in toys soooooo…
With the way these episodes are scripted, you don’t even get nicely flushed out stories of the parties involved because they’re all just doing stuff for the sake of doing it. Sure, the Turtles themselves each have something (and it’s not a lot) that distinguish them, but the bad guys are…just bad. There could have been full arcs about Krang and the methods behind his madness but – while they are mentioned – it is only briefly and never dug into. There’s so much meat left on the bone with this and I know it didn’t hurt their marketing and was really just a product of kids entertainment for that time period, it is disappointing to watch back now and not have that nostalgia for something you loved as a kid.
Main Man Standings
Another rough episode. Hell, the story of this sword alone could have been a five-part episode arc had they really wanted to get into it, but they presented something just dumbed down because kids don’t like smart things, apparently.
Single main man. One star. I was going to give it another half-star, but the replacement Raphael voice was so distracting that it lost points just for that.
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