RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (PLAYMATES)
“Donatello is the coolest tech wiz ever! Being a soft-shell turtle may be a drawback in the ninja world, but with his series of battle shells and transforming bo staffs, Donnie can take on any foe!”
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in a near constant state of reboot, and have been pretty much since they began. Their ‘80s cartoon served to retool the comics, and was itself followed closely by the movies, which were then followed by The Next Mutation. The less said about that the better. With all that in mind, there’s traditionally at least some form of grace period between incarnations. The latest reboot, dubbed Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, broke that pattern, being announced six months before its predecessor had even finished airing. It’s still being met with some mixed reception because of that, but time will tell how it’s ultimately received. The toys have just started hitting retail, and, like always, I’ve picked up the newest Donatello.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Donatello is part of the first basic series of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. He’s based on Donatello’s brand-new look from the new show. It seems to take a little bit of influence from the recent movie designs, as well as keeping up with the 2012 show’s skinnier Donnie design. While I’m still not 100% sold on the new designs in the actual show, I must admit, they seem to translate pretty darn well into toys. The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation. He’s definitely the most posable Turtle I’ve ever gotten from Playmates, rivaling the NECA releases in that regard. He’s still got a few areas where they could improve, but at this price point, joint layout is definitely a pleasant surprise. The sculpt is clean, sharply detailed, and about as faithful as you’re going to get in the transition from 2D to 3D. The shell and belt are separate pieces from the main body, as has become the common practice on the more recent turtles. He’s also got his removable exo-shell, which slots well into place. Like the sculpt, Donnie’s paint is clean and sharp. There’s not a ton of detail, but what’s there looks nice, and he’s certainly bright and eye-catching, especially when compared to the 2012 and movie figures. He’s got pupils in his eyes, which is accurate to the cartoon, of course, but also notable because the first round of Turtles from any given incarnation are usually pupilless. Not sure what changed this time. While I’m topically not a fan of the pupils, they actually don’t bug me as much here as I thought they might. For accessories, Don is packed with two different versions of his new and improved Tech-Bo, a pair of throwing stars, and a backpack piece, which is apparently Donnie’s battle drone Sheldon. That’s adorable.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When the 2012 series launched, I went all-in on the initial figures, and really enjoyed them. And I enjoyed the first season of the show quite a bit too. Then I fell out of watching it, and just sort of forgot about the whole thing. When the reboot was announced, I wasn’t really sold, but then, I’m really only a minor TMNT fan anyway. With the new toys hitting, I figured I’d at least pick up Donnie, since he’s always been my favorite, and I did want to give the new line its fair shake. I have to say, this figure really surprised me. He’s very nicely done, and I can see myself possibly tracking down some of the others. I hope Playmates keeps the momentum going.