Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Legend of the Kuro Kabuto review

The Turtles and Foot Clan play capture the flag over Shredder’s helmet. Here's David's review...

Plot-wise, not much happened this episode. A thief stole Shredder’s helmet, the Turtles accidentally got it, and the Foot Clan chased after the Turtles. Character-wise, “The Legend of the Kuro Kabuto” was huge.

***SPOILERS FOR FUTURE EPISODES FOLLOW***

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“The Legend of Kuro Kabuto” brought back an old character and introduced Anton Zeck (J.B. Smooth), master thief. Zeck’s costume design is similar to The Incredibles‘ Frozone; he’s lithe, tall, and wears a skinny visor. Outside of the color scheme, the only major difference is that he has a massive purple OMAC mohawk (and some added neon TRON piping).  He’s also constantly doing a fast tempo scat. It’s definitely Michael Jackson influenced (there’s a lot of “HEE-hee” going on), but it’s still jazzy. One could even call it bebop.

Yup, the show just introduced a certain warthog that fans have been clamoring for since before the show even started. As for Rocksteady; we met him last season. He’s Steranko, the Russian arms dealer from last season’s “Enemy of My Enemy.”

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While this is pretty cool, the episode dips a bit in enjoyment if a viewer doesn’t pick up on it. Without knowing where it’s going, Zeck comes across as a throwaway character. He’s a character with some weird quirks that they seem to have slapped together to pad out an episode; he’s Stefan Urquell as played by a charicature of Zooey Deschannel. Knowing he’s Bebop adds some depth to it.

There’s set-up to them having a past (Zeck’s responsible for Steranko’s missing eye); they have great chemistry together and it’s good that that last scene won’t be the end of them. Knowing that Zeck will interact with the Foot Clan again adds some weight to the antagonism between the two. He’s still a somewhat disappointing character, but because he goes well with Steranko, at least there’s the hope of a good payoff for him in the future.

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***END OF SPOILERS***

The plot might be the simplest one they’ve done, but the the episode works because the show has a great cast of actors with well-defined characters that can bounce off of each other.  Steranko hires Anton Zeck to steal the one ancient artifact he doesn’t own; Kuro Kabuto, Shredder’s helmet. Zeck breaks in to the Foot Clan base and steals the helmet, setting off a chase. While Zeck with Steranko is pretty fun, Zeck by himself is a good reminder that this show is aimed at kids. It’s not necessarily bad; it just skews young and doesn’t have as wide a scope as some of the other humor does. He’s a bit like a public domain Michael Jackson sound board; it makes weird noises and says some out of date phrases from the ’80s, but there’s no music or Jackson’s flair to sell it.

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The Turtles accidentally run in to Zeck. Literally. They hit him with the Shellraiser while he was invisible and end up with the helmet. Shredder sends the Foot Clan out to retrieve it, leading to villain pairings and lots of running/fighting. Stockman and Fishface are fine together, but the shining moment is Tiger Claw and Rahzar. The two have a conversation about working together and Tiger Claw says that it’s ridiculous to think that they’d hate each other just because they were cats and dogs…and then follows it up with a beautiful punch line of “Although I do want to eat Fishface because he is a fish.” It’s so silly and feels ad-libbed, which makes Rahzar’s response, “I’d eat him just to shut him up” that much better. The villains work so well together and I hope there’s more of these two together. I’m curious to see if their working relationship will continue or if dogs and cats living together will cause mass hysteria.

Leo escapes from the Foot Clan with the helmet and returns to Shredder’s throne room. He offers to exchange Kuro Kabuto for Karai’s freedom. Leo asks how he can know that he won’t be attacked and Shredder continues being an honest villain by telling him, “Of course I’m going to attack you. Did you think you’d get out of this without a fight?” Leo’s not much of a match for Shredder, but the other Turtles arrive to hold him off long enough for Leo to grab Karai and flee. Afterwards the Turtles realize that maybe they shouldn’t trust the villain when they discover that Karai was actually just a robot with a bomb for a head. Whoops.

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Random Asides:

TMNT’s Steranko seems to have led a pretty interesting life (Soviet arms dealer and collector of ancient artifacts), but it’s still nothing compared to Jim Steranko, the real life comic artist and writer that he’s named after. If you haven’t yet, follow him on Twitter at @IAmSteranko; Boardwalk Empire is nothing compared to him.

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– Alongside Kirby O’Neil and Jack Kurtzman, Steranko is at least the third “new” character named after a comic book artist (assuming we don’t count Kurtzman). Any predictions on which comic artist they’ll name check next?

– Steranko’s collection includes a polar bear, the Speak of Destiny, Alexander the Great’s breast plate, Excalibu- wait, is that a rhinoceros?!?

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– Karai is still locked in a Foot Clan cell, but she’s slowly working her way through filing the bars. She should be free by the time season 4 comes out.

– “I’m like a two pizza all by myself guy.” You and me both.

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– Fishface calls Baxter Stockman a buzzkill; Mikey interjects that that’s what he should have named him.

– “Dude has a million eyes; you’d think his aim would be better.”

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Rating:

3 out of 5