List Post II: “TMNT” (2003) Characters who are Fathers

Splinter occasionally gets some funny expressions, and I love this particular one.

If TMNT can be said to have a theme, it is that of fathers and the effects they have on their children.  In contrast with the original animated series, Splinter’s parentage is made into a major part of the series, and several other characters gain additional storytelling weight by serving as mirrors to that relationship.  This, more than anything else, is why I really like the idea of Karai as the Shredder’s daughter, as problematic as her demotion can be.

Most of these, I should note, are cases of adoptive fatherhood, which brings up the secondary theme of the series, which is that family is not inherently biological.  The Hamato line, in particular, is, as far a we know, continues only via adoption, and will continue to do so, given the biological realities of the turtles.

In any case, the list.  If I’ve missed one, or you simply have something to say, feel free to bring them up in the comments.

  1. Splinter (father to Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo)
  2. Oroku Saki, a.k.a. The Shredder, a.k.a. Ch’rell  (father to Karai Saki)
  3. Arnold Casey Jones Sr. (to Casey Jones)
  4. Harry (to Nano*)
  5. Hamato Yoshi (to Splinter*)
  6. The Daimyo of the Battle Nexus (to The Ultimate Ninja)
  7. Doctor Dome (to Ananda)
  8. Ammag (to Kluh)
  9. The Ancient One (to Hamato Yoshi, Yukio Mashimi, and Tang Shen)
  10. Mr. Hambrath (to Starlee and Glaxor Hambrath)

* Although the “children” in both cases see these people as their fathers, it is unclear that they would describe the relationship in that manner.

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4 Responses to List Post II: “TMNT” (2003) Characters who are Fathers

  1. Derek says:

    That image of Splinter is great–I just imagine him saying, “That’s All Folks!”

    Great work on this list and the one for Gargoyles. I like the fact that there are generational parallels in the stories for both that series and TMNT, as parental honor becomes such a factor, and it is interesting to see how the younger characters navigate their way between satisfying the expectations of parental figures while satisfying their own desires.

    Concerning other parents in TMNT, I wonder about Cody Jones. I do not remember Fast Forward showing images of his parents–in fact, it’s been so long since I re-watched the entire series that I forget how many generations Cody is separated from April and Casey. But I wonder whether a case could be made for Serling as a foster parent. I remember the episode in which Serling puts so much work into Cody’s birthday, and how he reflects on the fact that, ignoring the turtles, he is basically the only _good_ family Cody has left.

  2. Ian says:

    Hello, Derek. I thought about including Serling, based on the idea that he’s by all accounts the closest thing to a parent Cody had after the death of his mom and dad (and maybe even before that). In the end, though, I don’t think they think of each other quite in that manner, similar to how the Fred Wolf turtles never quite saw Splinter as anything other than their “Master”.

    Of course, the fact that they don’t see themselves that way in no way diminishes Serling’s importance to Cody. In fact, given Darius Dun, their relationships is one of the better examples of the show’s argument that blood isn’t necessarily thicker than water.

  3. Loudo says:

    If I remember correctly Hun’s character sheet in the old 4kids site said something about him looking at the Shredder as a father figure.
    While it is never mentioned in the show itself, I think it makes a lot of sense and explains perfectly Hun’s behaviour. How Hun is so competitive with Karai (that the Shredder treats like a daughter, unlike Hun), how he feels betrayed when he discovers the Shredder lied to him about his true nature, how he is ready to jump back into his arms when the Shredder treats him with kindness in Turtles Forever…

  4. Zack says:

    Intriguingly harry and hamato yoshi are both voiced by Eric Stuart

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