Who is the coolest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?

Teenage-Mutant-Turtles

Image Credit: Everett Collection

As reported exclusively by EW earlier today, Sean Astin has officially joined the 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. When I interviewed Astin, he asserted that Raphael — the red-masked, sai-wielding brother who famously gets along terribly with basically everyone on Earth — is, quote, “Everybody‘s favorite Ninja Turtle…the coolest, no question about it.” This assertion totally blew my mind. When I was a kid, my friends were split in three very distinctive directions when it came to the Turtles: My cool friends who played sports liked Leonardo; my friends who didn’t play sports but considered themselves cool liked Michelangelo; and I liked Donatello, which now that I think about it explains everything I have ever done since childhood. Nobody liked Raphael. But maybe I just didn’t know enough badasses with hearts o’ gold? As part of PopWatch’s ongoing quest to answer all the most important questions in culture via plebiscite (a.k.a. “mob rule”), let’s run through our Turtles essentials and put it to a vote: Who is the coolest Ninja Turtle of them all?

Leonardo:
Mask Color: Blue.
Weapon: A pair of katana, which are arguably the coolest weapons in the world. (See: Pulp Fiction.)
Theme Song Defining Trait: “Leads”
Named after: Leonardo da Vinci, frontrunner for Most Brilliant Human Being in History.
Most Played Song on his iPod: Al Pacino’s speech from Any Given Sunday.
Conclusion: Earns points for being the Turtles’ leader, although like most leaders, he’s doesn’t have very much personality. He’s the Robb Stark of the franchise.

Donatello:
Mask Color: Purple.
Weapon: A wooden bo staff, arguably the Sad Trombone Sound of cool ninja weapons.
Theme Song Defining Trait: “Does Machines”
Named after: Donatello, a brilliant Renaissance-era sculptor who notably has a much smaller Wikipedia page than Donatello the Turtle. Did we mention the Sad Trombone Sound?
Most Played Song on his iPod: “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn.
Conclusion: Beloved by nerds and people who love nerds. But only for very nerdy reasons.

Raphael:
Mask Color: Red.
Weapon: A pair of sai.
Theme Song Defining Trait: “Is cool, but rude”
Named after: Raphael Sanzio da Urbino, the short-lived artist who’s probably best known for creating The School of Athens.
Most Played Song on his iPod: “F— tha Police” by NWA
Conclusion: Depending on how you look at it, Raphael is either a totally badass loner dude, or an utterly annoying teenager who will never listen to anything his incredibly understanding parental figure tells him. In his defense, Sean Astin likes him a lot.

Michelangelo:
Mask Color: Orange.
Weapon: Nunchaku, inarguably the coolest weapons in the arcade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game.
Theme Song Defining Trait: “Is a party dude”
Named after: Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, who sculpted the Statue of David, painted the Sistine Chapel, and generally rocked the house in Renaissance-era Florence.
Most Played Song on his iPod: Every Andrew W.K. song with the word “Party” in the title
Conclusion: Loves to have fun, but is not very bright. He’ll go far in this world.

Okay, everybody, time to pick: Who’s your number one Turtle?


Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

Comments (85 total) Add your comment
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  • Danny

    ‘Every Andrew W.K. song with the word “Party” in the title…” I’m pretty sure that is every Andrew W.K. song.

    • Apos

      Yup yup. Pity that I’m more Raphael than ‘tello.

      • PartyDude24

        All the good ones end in O!!!

  • Ems

    Donatello FTW!!!!

    • Meier

      I like how this article neglects to mention that Donatello was voiced in the first movie by Corey Feldman. Something else to consider before voting.

  • John K

    Loved Donatello – the Bo staff rocked in the arcade game!

    • Stacie

      Bo staff. Always.

      • bamalam

        Yes! Bo staff. Always!

  • Sarah

    Originally, I was all about Michelangelo. But Raphael snuck up on me – he’s got that dry sense of humor.

    • Meier

      Yup, Team Raph all the way. He may have been confused with the appropriate handling of his designated weapons, but he’s an essential entry in the long line of cartoon heroes with attitude along with Buttercup the Powerpuff Girl, Bart Simpson, and Stewie Griffin.

  • alex

    UM Michaelangelo. He’s a PARTY DUDE! PAARRTAYYY!!

  • alex

    i loved how much they loved pizza. because I loved pizza and it helped me relate.

    • Hermione

      That is the silliest comment. It made me chuckle tho.

    • Kat

      LOL.

      • alex

        i agree. it’s silly, but it made perfect sense to me as a kid!

    • mscisluv

      I have to agree with this statement wholeheartedly. As a child, I was pretty sure Michaelangelo and I were destined to be together. My favorite color was green – he was green. I loved pizza – he loved pizza. I liked having fun – he was totally fun. As an adult, I’m more a Donatello girl, though Raphael tugs a bit at my heartstrings.

  • Michelle

    It’s ALWAYS been Raphael for me. Always. Which, looking back, says so much about me. Clearly I have a type. ;)

    • Steph

      Agree. Raphael is, has been and will always be the coolest turtle.

  • AAR

    I loved Raphael, but when I played Ninja Turtles with the neighborhood boys, I was always Donatello, because I was nerdy and they didn’t want to be purple. At least they didn’t make me be April O’Neill (who I despised).

    • s

      I honestly could have written this same exact post! I always liked Raphael…hated April!

      • Well…

        My sister was April for Halloween a couple years ago. She got MAD hit on by an entire generation of dudes. Hate April all you want, but I think she holds a special place in collective unconscious.

      • LL

        Oh man… great costume idea! I’m a redhead so I always base my costume on my hair (Jessica Rabbit, Emma Stone in Easy A, and Red Fraggle are a few recent ones). Totally yoinking this.

  • Hermione

    Leonardo. DUH!

    • Annie

      Leo all the way

  • Jill

    Seriously, it’s Leonardo. NO ONE liked Raphael. He’s lame.

    • PedroBiltah The Scottish Love Mahine

      No one liked Raphael??? Girl is you crazy?

      • Disagree

        Jill is correct. NO ONE liked Raphael. I liked Leonardo the best, but I have to admit that Michaelangelo was still the coolest.

      • ismael rodriguez

        um true raphael saved Leo donnie in 2012 mikey saved raph mikeyy is my favorite longest weapon also what if a foot clan was gonna kill Leo in 3 secoounds mikeyy would save him because his nunchucks are long so mikey my favorite team mikey

    • Shasta

      I can’t believe what I’m reading in these comments. Raphael was ALWAYS the coolest! And I’m not just saying that because I was Raphael in our group of friends in elementary school. No one wanted to be boring Donatello or Leonardo!

  • Jen

    Michaelangelo was the coolest turtle when all we had was the cartoon, because he said super-cool things like “Cowabunga.” However, in the MOVIE, Raphael was given the best storyline as the troubled bad boy. After that, he was the coolest turtle and my taste in men was doomed.

    • PedroBiltah The Scottish Love Mahine

      Jen, thats hilarious

    • ree

      lol!

  • Amy

    Most definitely Donatello. He’s awesome with machines and computers, and that skill is pretty much necessary nowadays.

    Also, who could forget his little misplaced exclamation in the cartoon? “Turtles fight with honor!” lololol

  • nightingale1872

    I love you so much, Darren.

    And my favorite Ninja Turtle was Michelangelo. My reasoning as a child was that his favorite pizza was plain cheese, and so was mine. Clearly, that’s legit.

    • ismael rodriguez

      my favorite to

  • two cents

    Leonardo was too serious and Raphael too whiny. I loved the bromance between Donatello and Michelangelo. But alas, the class clown has always had my heart. Michelangelo all the way!

  • Splinter The King of the Bedroom

    let us not forget the comedic stylings of Bebop and Rocksteady

    • the Krag-Nator

      I’m sorry guys… I love all 4 of em but Mikey is My all TIme Fave!!!!

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