Time for more Japanese TMNT madness from Hiroshi Kanno’s all-too-obscure early ’90s manga series: Mutant Turtles Gaiden!
Chapter 3 is the penultimate installment in the Mutant Turtles Gaiden manga, but it’s actually the finale of the ongoing storyline (the fourth and final chapter is, in fact, a standalone tale). So with that in mind, you’re about to get some closure on the ongoing arc of this series. Weird, unsettling closure and maybe a little G-rated bondage if that’s what you’re into.
As always, these hard-to-find comics have been translated and you can read along if you wish. Just head over to TMNT Entity for a full directory of links to all the Mutant Turtles Gaiden chapters and more!
“The Strongest Weapon: The Devil’s Monster”
Not that you need me to tell you this, but the story begins with the Turtles lounging around the sewer lair eating pizza. Donatello laments that the Shredder’s been inactive lately, only showing his face to rob a nuclear power plant. Splinter, who looks more like a shaggy dog than a rat, barks discipline at his students for being so lazy and tells them to go looking for Shredder.
And speaking of completely worthless, down in the Shredder’s subterranean lair, Rocksteady is busy trying to explain how he forgot to steal the operating program. Shredder needs the coil to open the portal to Dimension X, so he decides to go back with Rocksteady to the power plant and get the program himself.
Now we have an opportunity to see one of Hiroshi Kanno’s more kickass redesigns of a vehicle from the cartoon series. Remember the driller modules that Shredder used in season 3 to taxi himself from the Earth’s core to the surface? They looked like this:
I always knew Rocksteady had rabies.
The Turtles follow the hole left by the driller module and arrive just in time to see the Shredder call forth his new engine of destruction: The Devil’s Monster!
Like the Technodrome didn’t look silly enough already…
After an impressive display of firepower from the Devil’s Monster, Shredder orders the Turtles to stand still and be executed, lest he kill the helpless April O’Neil. Then, recycling pretty much the exact same conclusion from the previous issue, Kanno has Splinter conveniently arrive to tell the Turtles not to lay down and die. Because Jesus, the Turtles are way too willing to do just that in this manga series. So the Turtles destroy the coil and cripple the Devil’s Monster and Shredder escapes by rocketing away on the top of the creepy daruma head. But not before causing his base to self-destruct, of course.
While it was neat to see the overarching plot get some form of a payoff with this third chapter, it’s still my least favorite episode of Mutant Turtles Gaiden. The way it recycles the exact same ending as Chapter 2 is pretty lame, though I’ll give Kanno credit for making a joke at the expense of the “burning justice” cliché he used in Chapter 2.
On the bright side, there’s still one more chapter to Mutant Turtles Gaiden! And it is hands down the weirdest and funniest, too.