At a certain point in a series life, it becomes hard to review the DVD releases. With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 5 nothing of extreme importance is introduced in this season, although we do see the debut of Mondo Gecko and Shredder’s brother, but that doesn’t keep it from being as fun as the past seasons have been. There’s a ton of fun packed into the eighteen episodes in this DVD set and anyone who has ever seen the Turtles in action before know exactly what to expect.
Having not really grown up with the early seasons of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I never really saw much of the series on TV. By the time I was watching cartoons regularly as a kid, I was more into Batman and the Turtles were nowhere to be seen, although I wasn’t completely unaware of them. I got in on the end of their media reign and the films and series went unwatched by me for years (I admit to not having seen the live-action films until just a few months ago). Still, even though I was past the shows target audience, when the 2003 series started up, I was an instant fan and have watched every episode of that series (sans the recent Fast Forward toon). I attempted to watch some of the older series but after picking up the first DVD volume I was turned off by the way I am with most 80s cartoons. It wasn’t the voices that were doing it, those were diverse and wonderful, it was the animation and the use of repeated segments that bothered me. It’s hardly anything to complain about now as that’s what kept these toons on a low budget, but it’s still something I notice to this day, even while watching this set.
This season, as with the fourth, is noticeably goofier in content than the previous seasons. Like the films, they gradually became more watered down in content as time went on and the most noticeable trait of this is in the later seasons, where Mikey’s nunchucks turned into a grappling hook (thankfully we didn’t reach that point yet this season). Still, the show remains fun to watch for the fans of the Turtles and like most shows and cartoons you grew up with, it really comes down to whether or not you enjoyed the show as a kid. It’s a nostalgia trip you experience when watching these cartoons and while there is the fair share of entertaining exploits in this season, there are also some really horrible ones (I could barely finish “Muckman Messes Up”).
It all comes down to if you’re a fan of the Turtles. If you are, then you likely already have the set pre-ordered. Kids will likely enjoy watching the series as much as the 80s generation did, but those who are looking for a cartoon with solid writing and animation should look somewhere else. Entertaining only for its time, this season of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a Rental.
Well then! What this show lacks in quality it makes up for in the presentation department. Those who have seen images of the “pizza packaging” probably think they’re getting a standard digi-pak fold out of some sort, but that’s nowhere near what we get. Instead we get the set in a small cardboard box (made into the height of a regular DVD with a plastic slipcase and cardboard booster) that literally opens like a pizza box. Inside are three DVDs in a tri-fold tray, each with a different style pizza on them. Littered with humorous pizza styling’s such as “Original Classic Style” and a list of ingredients and nutrition facts, the set will no doubt move units based on the packaging alone.
As weird as it is, the packaging is quite awesome to behold and opening it up for the first time is like opening some sort of present all nicely wrapped up. Menus are in widescreen and sport the same “pizza” look with the checkered pattern and actual restaurant style menu’s for the…well, menu.
Video and audio quality of the release is comparable to past sets. There’s a lot of interlacing/ghosting to be seen in the video transfer and there doesn’t appear to be any digital clean up, but the transfer doesn’t look too bad. It is overly soft in spots, but the show never looks as bad as it would to watch it in its original broadcast state. Audio is clean and clear and I didn’t notice any issues with the dialogue being overcrowded by music or sound effects.
The extra’s on this set are all located on the third disc and are actually quite interesting. Well, the one is—two of the three extras are character profiles on Usagi Yojimbo and Baxter Stockman. While Stockman is just a clipshow, we hear a bit from Townsend Coleman, the voice of Usagi, who describes how he was in cast in the show and how Usagi was only in a handful of episodes (and literally a few frames after this, the featurette states he was in “several”—I’m not sure who is right, but seeing two different terms to describe Usagi’s series appearances in the span of ten seconds is quite strange).
The biggest surprise comes in the extra of “The Turtles: A Ninjatastic Look Back” which interviews with Barry Gordon (Donatello), Rob Paulsen (Raphael), Cam Clarke (Leonardo) and Townsend Coleman (Michelangelo). Running nearly twenty minutes, the four men recount the casting process and how each one got the role of the Turtles (with Cam Clarke and Townsend Coleman nearly switching roles with Leo and Mikey). There’s a touching bit at the end with how the fans have kept in touch with the voice actors after all these years and what it means to them. Paulsen is the chattiest of the four, although Coleman belts out his Turtle voice more than any of the other four do. Overall it’s a nice, lengthy extra that is well worth watching, die-hard fan or not.
Overall the set is an impressive three-disc set and while it’s not as weighty as the last set, it’s well worth owning for the Turtle fans out there. Those looking for some new entertainment for the young ones will no doubt find value in the eighteen episodes featured on the set (especially since it’s being priced below $20 in most places). For the fans this one comes Highly Recommended; for others, give it a Rent.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 5 is now available on DVD.