Mutant Turtles: Superman Legend Review


It’s time to look at an old TMNT OVA. This is the kind of OVA that is so obscure you could easily be a big fan of the franchise and not have heard of it. I certainly wouldn’t fault you for missing out on it, but once you know that it exists you have to change that. It’s a very different take on the series which throws in giant robots, cosmic fights, and stuff like that. The first episode even seems to be a sequel to the manga I read a long time ago which is definitely cool. It’s very comedic and all, but it’s a fun enough story.

The first episode involves Krang and Shredder working to revive the dark fairy of legend. When they wake her up she will destroy the world which will eliminate the turtles once and for all. Shredder isn’t too happy about losing the planet, but he knows better than to defy Krang so he goes along with the plan. The Turtles quickly find out about this and step in to stop him. The rest of the special is basically a series of big fights which concludes with a battle in space with planets hanging in the balance. That’s not something you’d ever expect to hear about TMNT.

This episode was pretty good thanks in large part to the nonstop action. It was cool to see the back and forth as both group started out in base form and then gradually transformed more and more. It was also a little nostalgic seeing their manga forms make a comeback. I also can’t stress enough how nice it was to have a villain who could actually shatter planets with a single energy blast. She really felt like she didn’t belong in a TMNT adventure in the best possible way. It was like throwing an evil Sailor Scout into the mix. The turtles are lucky that they had the Saint form and even then they would have lost. She still had the upper hand and that’s not even considering that they had a 60 second time limit. She is truly the strongest TMNT villain of them all.

Then you’ve got the second episode which is certainly weaker. The turtles head to Japan where it turns out that the Shredder and his lackeys are attacking Splinter’s men. There is a ghost haunting the castle and artifacts of immense power. These gems will allow the turtles to transform again or it may just give the villains the upper hand. Either way the turtles have to make sure that they stop Shredder and his cronies but it won’t be easy. The turtles are in unfamiliar territory after all and haven’t exactly looked all that impressive so far. Although the same can be said for the villains.

Compared to the first episode this one just felt pretty uneventful. I also think it’s because this one was more dialogue based than the first episode and since this series isn’t exactly known for its writing that didn’t work very well. The ninjas who were made up for this special also weren’t all that interesting. There’s nothing really wrong with this episode, but I missed the high stakes and the cool action scenes. This should have been episode 1 instead.

In terms of animation it’s got that old Transformers vibe. It holds up pretty well without looking all that special. I’d consider it to be fairly standard animation quality, but that’s more than good enough to give you some good action scenes. I really did enjoy the fight between the divine turtle and the dark fairy. It was the highlight of the whole special. The battle with Godzilla Shredder was also really good. The energy blasts are nice and you may even recognize some of the sound effects. Animation is probably the best part of this OVA. If it had a good script and was taken more seriously this could have even been great.

Alas, that wasn’t the case. This is still a comedy with a sub-par script. It is really being carried by the animation. It’s not boring or dull though which is important. You will ultimately have a good time with these 2 episodes and is that not the point of a good TMNT adventure? I think the short length also helps. This may not sound quite right but some series are better in small doses. If this had 30+ episodes it would probably end up hurting itself more because the gags would get old very quickly. As a two episode OVA it doesn’t really get hit by this. It’s different enough where the jokes don’t grate on you as much as they otherwise could have. It’s just entertaining in a corny kind of way.

There’s not much to say about the characters. All 4 of the turtles basically have the same personality with Michelangelo just being a little goofier than the other 3. Splinter looks and feels old here as he steps in to help once in a while but is basically a non factor. He can’t even transform so he is really left in the dust. Meanwhile Shredder feels like just another lackey. At least he talks back to Krang here and there, but ultimately it feels more like he is trying to hype himself up. He knows that he won’t actually stand up to Krang. At the end of the day Krang bullies him around whenever he feels like it. Krang definitely gets the most respect from the villains, but even he is comic relief for the most part. His plans aren’t always super well thought out and his robot body is super slow so the turtles just make fun of him and leave. They don’t even bother fighting him at times which is the ultimate disrespect. You might even feel bad for him at times.

Overall, Superman Legend has a cooler title than the OVA deserves, but it’s a quality watch. These may not be the turtles that I grew up with, but I’m glad that I got to see them at least once in a Transformers homage of sorts. I don’t really expect we’ll ever see that kind of thing nowadays so it was a good experiment. If you’re a really big TMNT fan then you owe it to yourself to watch this one. If you’re not then I suppose you’re not missing much by skipping out on it. There’s no real downside to at least checking it out though.

Overall 6/10