TMNT’s 5th Turtle Breaks 1 Rule from the 90s Cartoon

admin2021May 25, 2023

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been a mainstay for comic book/cartoon fans since the late ‘80s/early ‘90s, and with it came the established lore of the series, complete with a full set of rules–both official and unofficial. Well, in the current TMNT continuity, the newest addition to the Ninja Turtles, the Fifth Turtle, actually broke one of those rules from the ‘90s cartoon, and Michelangelo himself called it out.


TMNT’s Fifth Turtle is Jennika, a formerly human ninja and member of the Foot Clan who suffered a near-fatal injury and needed an emergency blood transfusion from Leonardo in order to survive. The exposure to Leo’s mutant blood caused Jennika to mutate into an anthropomorphic turtle as well, and given her retention of all her previously acquired ninja skills, Jennika was quite literally a Ninja Turtle. Since she already was the unofficial Fifth Turtle before becoming a Mutant Turtle, Jennika was taken in by the team immediately as the official Fifth member. However, right off the bat, Jennika breaks one of the longest-standing rules of the TMNT: she wields more than one type of main weapon.

Every Ninja Turtle has 1 Type of Weapon, & Jennika has 2

TMNT's 5th Turtle broke a franchise rule.

In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #98 by Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz, and Michael Dialynas, the mutants of New York City have gotten their hands on a weapon that has the power to mutate people into mutanimals. Anyone exposed to this mutagen is molded into a humanoid beast. The purpose of this was to shine a light on the abuse mutanimals have suffered since they were unnaturally created, while also evening the playing field by creating a mass of them. Meanwhile, Jennika is still getting used to being a humanoid turtle, and has already picked up a mask and some new weapons to better meld with the group. However, as Michelangelo points out, Jennika equips herself with two different types of main weapons: a katana and claws–which she didn’t know was apparently a big no-no.

While Raphael does tell Mikey to leave it alone since he also uses other weapons besides his nunchucks, Raph isn’t accurate in his statement. Sure, Mikey uses other weapons in battle just like everyone else, but his main weapons are and have always been nunchucks. This is something that goes back to the ‘90s cartoon, and even before, as Leonardo was introduced with two katana, Donatello a bo staff, Raphael twin sai, and Michelangelo nunchucks. Then, when Jennika joins the crew, she shows up with a katana and claws, thereby breaking the TMNT’s longest-standing tradition.

Jennika’s minor disruption to the franchise norm shouldn’t be too surprising, as her mere existence alone shook the TMNT to its core. While her inclusion was well received by fans, the position of Fifth Turtle (especially a fifth female turtle) is something that has been met with apprehension since Venus was introduced in the ‘90s live-action TMNT series, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation. Jennika’s meta origin is one of controversy and rule-breaking change, so it only makes sense that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Fifth Turtle would break the one rule introduced in the original comic and fully established in the ‘90s cartoon, as franchise-wide change is almost literally written in the DNA of the Fifth Turtle herself.

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