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More than a Party Dude: This is Michaelangelo Hamato


Leo most certainly does lead. Donnie definitely has machines, alien tech, and biological sciences down pat. Raph tends to be more cool than rude and if we’re being honest he is very rude! Michaelangelo? Well, he’s much more than comic relief, DJ,  and pizza cooker for the fearsome foursome. Michealangelo is the artist, the creative, the renaissance man… or turtle. Mikey is the culture of the ninja turtles. He is the heart. So I forgive you if you think because of these things, along with his goofy antics, and nonchalant attitude that he isn’t the best warrior out of his brothers. Spoiler alert if you are reading “The Last Ronin.”
I know what you’re going to say, “The best!? The BEST!? What you talkin bout Mr Mistah!?” Yeah I know. I need to preface this argument by saying Raphael for better or worse, is my favorite ninja turtle. I like his weapons, I like his attitude and my favorite color is red. Raph is powerful and is definitely the strongest. But he’s not the brightest. In fact in multiple iterations of the turtles, he is the one who usually is caught by the enemy or in fights where he is clearly in over his head. When Raph is angry he makes bad decisions.
         Like any of us. In these brief moments we can see where Raph’s loss of control has lead to some of the turtles most complicated moments. Case and point is the current run of “The Last Ronin”. In the second comic, they describe how Raph was killed.  I won’t go into the details, but needless to say, Raph went first is the indicator here of his skills being dampened by his anger issues. Michaelangelo is the Last Ronin. He is the last one alive to honor his family’s memories and legacy. Not Raph. And the second issue of the Last Ronin shows us why. 
What about Donatello? Surely he’s smarter than all of the turtles and so he should be the last ronin. He should be the one able to survive because of his genius level intellect, right? At the very least, his intelligence should place him ahead of Mikey as far as fighting prowess is concerned? Not necessarily. Donnie is smarter than he should be for anybody, much less his brothers in the sewers. Where he lives as well. And somehow gets wifi… But yes Donnie is a mental giant and should possess the skills to shut down the rest of his brothers. But he doesn’t. Donnie’s intellectual skill has often been displayed as something that makes him indecisive. So much so that in the 2012 iteration of the TMNT, there is an episode where Donnie has to learn to fight more instinctively and less reliant on his mind. When calculating all the possible abilities to counterattack instead of just responding, it puts Donnie at a constant disadvantage against someone like Leo or Raph. 
Even Bruce Lee discusses this concept in Enter the Dragon. Remember when he said to his student, “Don’t think! Feel, it is like a finger pointing away to the moon.” And  Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all the heavenly glory.”         That’s Donnie. Constantly fixated on the finger and missing the nuances of true combat. If you look at Donnie’s tech, specifically like his robotic creation, “Metalhead”. There you can see that if he could, he would avoid fighting altogether. Donnie is a powerful warrior. I’m not taking anything away from his Hamato Style Ninjitsu. I’m saying that this ninja turtle always struck me as a guy(or turtle) who if given the opportunity, would be anything else but a ninja. 

That just leaves Leonardo. There are episodes where Leo clearly wipes Mikey down. It’s happened a lot. On paper, Leo is a better martial artist and warrior than all his brothers. He always practices, he embodies the best of his sensei’s philosophies and values. He’s decisive, in control of his emotions, and wants to be the best shinobi he can be.

    So, what makes Michelangelo better? Mikey is not as dedicated to combat as Leo is. Yet when he is, he shows a level of skill that happens to transcend even Leo’s. If Mikey wasn’t as impatient as he can be, more focused on his training. He would give Splinter competition. Why am I saying this? Leonardo uses katanas, ninjaku, daisho, and in his latest iteration he uses a nodachi. Swords are dope. However, Mikey uses nunchucks. Not taking anything away from them. But if we’re being honest, out of all the Ninja turtles weapons, Mikey’s weapon is the most difficult to master. Yet he has it mastered. He loses to Leo but sometimes it’s close. There was a moment in the 87 iteration where Mikey really applied the pressure. He disarmed Leo and got control of one of his katanas. Yes he went down because of impatience but Mikey was pulling off wild attacks and combos. He fiercely rushed down on Leo. Mikey gave him intense competition, all because he wanted to eat his pizza and Cocoa puffs. That’s an unfocused Michaelangelo. 

Remember when I discussed the 2012 situation with Donnie? I talked about Donnie being too in his head and mental when fighting. To the point where he became predictable and indecisive. To teach Donnie this lesson, he used Mikey as the example. Quite simply, Splinter said Mikey “does not think” when he fights. Frankly, I agree.  
        When Mikey fights he just lets the chucks go. In the 1990 movie, we can see Mike get into a chucking competition with a foot clan member. I’m not saying it was the best display of skills in the movie. In fact it was physically impossible how he won that competition. But his brothers did not pull off any display of master over their weapon like Mikey did in that scene. As goofy as it was, this point should not be overlooked.
Raph is my favorite, Leo is my most necessary, Donnie is my most honest, and Mikey? Mikey is the embodiment of unrealized talent. Raw skill and natural ability. Though his values may not align always with that of his more serious brethren, time and time again he has still performed on the same level as his ninja brethren. He can walk the walk without ever really talking the talk. Like Donnie, he doesn’t want to only be seen as a ninja or a warrior. He doesn’t want to be a burden to Leonardo so he practices just enough to be able to execute his commands flawlessly. He is the last to go into a blind rage and let his emotions get the better of him like Raph seems to do. These are all the reasons as to why it makes sense to me that Mikey is the last Ronin. Why he was the one to survive where his brothers couldn’t. This is why he is the one to avenge the Hamato clan.

Michelangelo the grown turtle, the actualized adult, is the most dangerous of his brothers. Do you agree with me? Am I full of it? Are you reading the Last Ronin? Lemme know in the comments and as always, Thanks for stopping by the Nerd’s List. 

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