Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hold a very special place in my heart. I received my first Raphael action figure in kindergarten after trading a more “girly” toy to another child during a Christmas gift exchange. My younger brother had all of the Turtles toys and we enjoyed watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series. Even my name Dakster has origins in the TMNT universe, taken from my initials Dak and mixed with Baxter Stockman’s name (and we get Dakster).
As my son has started getting into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles world and playing with his generation’s variation of the toys, I’ve started to long for my old Raphael back.
In conjunction with a partnership with Toys “R” Us, Nickelodeon has brought back the classic Turtles in the “Retro Collection” of Turtles toys. I checked out the complete set of four Turtles, Shredder, Master Splinter, the Party Wagon, and Leonardo’s Mech Wrekker (the only toy not from the ’80s line).
As my brother and I pulled each toy out of the box, it was like we were little kids again. I started remembering all of the times I watched the animated series with my brothers and going to see the live-action movies in the theater (the first movie is my favorite). I also started to recall my biggest Turtles regret of passing up a chance to see TMNT Live in Concert because I was scared of performers in costume. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, head over to YouTube. You have no idea what you are missing.
We took our time with each toy. We pulled out and savored the memories of playing with the originals as kids.
The Party Wagon was the first thing we pulled out and it was just like we remembered it, from the accessories to the wheels. It feels like only yesterday that my little brother was playing with his Party Wagon in his room, having his Turtles action figures fight off the Foot Clan.
For me, the biggest prize in this giant cereal box was Raphael. He was just like I remembered him, weapons and all.
Growing up, Raphael was my favorite for his rebellious attitude and his sai weapons. I’d have to say I preferred him over the more “girly” toys, because I liked to pretend I was his sister and we would take on the Foot Clan together. Admittedly, I enjoyed having something that was considered a “boy toy,” but that was all mine and not my brothers’. Even in kindergarten, I was confused at the concept of boys and girls toys (that confusion has yet to go away).
I don’t recall ever playing with my brothers when it came to Turtles, but I remember the love we had for the Turtles was something we had in common. It was probably one of the few things we could relate to each other growing up, and I think my parents are grateful for that.
When it came time to check out Shredder, I started thinking about the latest incarnation of the character. It’s nice to know that my son will get to know a more menacing villain than the goofball I knew as a kid. I mean, let’s face it: Shredder in the ’80s was nothing more than a guy in a not-so-intimidating costume that mostly took orders from the Krang. Unlike the Shredder I grew up with, the Shredder of my son’s generation actually has something hanging between his legs.
Jumping off of memory lane for a moment, check out my video below showing you the quality of the toys, as well as some tips on how to make them safer for smaller Turtles fans.
While I still like the newer Turtles and all they have to offer my son, the ’80s line will always be my favorite (and “Cowabunga” will always reign supreme over “Booyakasha” in my house). If you are a Turtles fan, be it parent or toy collector, and want to take a walk back to your childhood, stop by Toys “R” Us and check out the Retro Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line. As an ’80s kid, I can promise that you won’t be disappointed.
A word of advice to parents wanting to buy these for their kids: Be prepared to explain why all of the Turtles look so different than what kids see in the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. My advice would be to show them some of the earlier cartoons or the comic books before purchasing these for them. They’re great toys, but the different look might throw some kids off.
The Retro Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line ranges from $12.99 to $69.99 and is available exclusively at Toys “R” Us stores.
GeekMom received these items for review purposes.