april o'neil

Meet the first African-American April in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first look!

Nickelodeon will offer up a new animated series about the crime-fighting crew with emerging ninja powers later this year. Right now, though, you can get a peek at the characters who are voiced by some familiar names — and they come with a few twists…

April O'Neil

The first African-American April O'Neil — a savvy New Yorker and first human ally of the turtles — is played by Kat Graham!

Donatello

Soft-shell turtle and tech hero Donatello (Josh Brener) rocks a tech-bo staff and impressive coding skills.

Leonardo

Leonardo (Ben Schwartz) is a red-eared slider who boasts “irreverent charm and a rebel heart.” Weapon of choice: ōdachi sword.

Michelangelo

Box turtle/skateboarder/artist Michelangelo (Brandon Mychal Smith) is the youngest brother — and dangerous with a kusari-fundo.

Raphael

Raphael (Omar Miller) is now the leader and oldest brother, a snapping turtle who brandishes twin tonfas as his weapons.

Splinter

Splinter (Eric Bauza) is part father figure, all sensei to the turtles!

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EXCLUSIVE REVEAL! Official character art for @nickelodeon‘s all-new series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Coming this fall.

Watch co-executive producers Ant Ward & Andy Suriano discuss the series along with Rob Paulsen & Kevin Eastman.

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here they are, the 2018 TMNT designs, and oh boy. things have certainly changed. how exciting! canonical individual species for all the brothers? a change up in leadership and age order? new weapon assignments? black April returns?! so much is going on here, gosh.

i’m just going to ignore gremlin splinter, he’s not important.

now i know the majority of people are going to be on the fence about how they feel about these changes. trust me, you’re not alone. i’m cautiously optimistic, if only because i want to believe they can succeed in bringing to life a brand new TMNT for us all to enjoy.

but before anything else, i’d just like to put my two cents in on possibly why people maybe won’t like them at first, and why they should give them a chance.

my theory for why the vast majority of people who are going to immediately react with negativity is that we’re really not used to this type of animation anymore! not with the turtles at least.

for the past three iterations, they’ve been in 3D and quite darkly colored. these new kids are in good old 2D and seem to be stark primary colors, which is about far opposite from the past three series as possible. it’s reminiscent of the 2003 TMNT days, but even those guys had a darker color palette than this first look at 2018.

i think the majority of the fandom came in around the point 2012 was released, which i believe is the most popular out of all the iterations, if the size of fanfic and tumblr tag sections are anything to go by. follow that up with the portion that’s die hard for 2007, and the smaller but no less present 2014/16 bayverse movie fans, and you’ve got a collection of people who are used to very different characterizations than these kids are going to have.

and before anyone gets worked up about the team lineup changes, or the altered personalities and such- i’d just like to say 2012 April also went through a massive personality and agency change. she ended up being able to vaporize people for god’s sake, and was the product of a war mongering race hell bent on taking over earth. totally different from her past selves, who’d been for the most part supporting members of the team rather than front line fighters. local punk Casey Jones got a bit of a serious make over too, and an iconic one to say the least.

these two really got to shine in the 2012 series- though not as much as i would have liked- and it’s because of their characterization and design changes. which were very positive ones in my opinion, once they really got rolling with their character development. :D

plus^^^^: tall Splinter. new, accepted immediately, actually pretty cool until he totally fell down on the job raising his kids. his other iterations were all short and rats right from the beginning, while this Splinter used to be the human Hamato Yoshi. quite the change.

all i’m saying is that every series goes through a big shift in look, tone, and characterization- this one is just more notable in spots than the last few, and i don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing!

a new generation of turtles for a new generation of fans, and personally? i think we could use some serious shaking up in this fandom. the same characterizations are only so entertaining for so many times around, and we’ve been in a bit of rut the past couple years. only digging deeper into the same stuff we’d been on about since, oh… early 2000′s?

time for a breath of fresh air in this dusty old fandom, and i’m going to remain optimistic for the time being! if anyone recalls, the 2003 turtles didn’t look so attractive in most of their advertisement artwork. perhaps that’s how it is for the 2018 turtles.

also:

this is already cute as hell for a dynamic between these two, and i want to know whether they’re going to try at romance again (which struggled badly at times in 2012) or shoot for a great friendship (which went wonderfully in 2003 and 2014/16).

td;lr i really want this one to pull a win, mostly because i believe in the possibility of revitalizing the franchise after the hot mess 2012 became, and i desperately want to see the return of black april go well. (i worry that if this fails, people will blame her race change and predictably never bring it back again.)

please keep an open mind for the time being, and that’s a request coming from someone who regularly rants about the awfulness of how 2012 TMNT went, as well as the over all plot and characterization of 2007 TMNT. cynicism can come after we’ve all seen it in action, and i promise i’ll follow that guideline if everyone else does.

I could possibly be fading
Or have something more to gain
I could feel myself growing colder
I could feel myself under your fate

Mazzy Star - “Into Dust”

Super quick sketch! I wasn’t even that invested in Mutant Apocalypse and I still managed to make myself sad. :( Headcanon here is that April died instantly of the mutagen bomb without mutating and robo-Don was there to collect her remains…

(what a total bummer for Apritello week, lol. Sorry guys orz)