TMNT: Mutant Mayhem shows a lot of appreciation for pop culture properties, including anime. In fact, it uses one to help the turtles come out on top.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem wears its love for nerd culture on its sleeve. From name-dropping Avengers: Endgame to debating which Hollywood Chris is the best, the movie does its best to touch on projects its audience will recognize. But there’s one property that Mutant Mayhem shows its appreciation for more than all the others — Attack on Titan.
Originally a manga by Hajime Isayama, the Attack on Titan anime series began in 2013 and quickly became a phenomenon. It’s been referenced in The Simpsons, Marvel Comics and much more as it’s continued its meteoric rise to one of the more popular anime in the world. But how Mutant Mayhem uses Attack on Titan differs from what’s come before because it goes as far as to use the series as inspiration for taking down its bad guy.
Anime Is a Major Part of Donatello’s Story
Being that the turtles are all teenagers in Mutant Mayhem, it makes sense that they would like things that real-life teenagers do. Michelangelo is really into comedy, while Raphael takes a liking to sports, going out for the high school’s wrestling team once he and his brothers enroll. But it’s Donatello that finds himself obsessed with all things pop culture, especially anime.
When the turtles first head up from the sewers for a grocery run, Donatello brings out his iconic staff, which features several stickers, including one of Saturo Gojo from Jujutsu Kaisen. And once the brothers realize they want human clothes, Donatello finds himself a Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure hoodie, which he eventually wears to school at the end of the movie. But the moment that gets Donatello the most excited is when he and his brothers first enter the school with April O’Neil, and he finds an Attack on Titan sticker on one of the lockers. It leaves such an impact, in fact, that it gives him an idea when he needs one the most.
How Attack on Titan Helps the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
After the turtles meet Superfly and learn of his plan to eradicate the world of humans, they realize they have a fight on their hands. At first, they have to go up against Superfly and his gang of mutants, but soon enough, the villain’s forces turn against him, not wanting to be part of his scheme any longer. However, despite the good guys’ best efforts, Superfly falls into a body of water filled with ooze and morphs into a kaiju-like creature. He immediately puts his sights on New York City, wanting to get revenge against those that rejected him.
The gang of mutants and the turtles try everything they can to stop Superfly, but he’s just too strong. Thankfully, April had stolen a bike from TCRI that housed a mutant-destroying device, giving the heroes a shot at winning. The first time they use it, all it does is remove a single horse from Superfly’s leg, but that doesn’t deter Donatello.
Using his knowledge of Attack on Titan, Donatello knows the best way to take down a kaiju is to go for the nape of its neck, just like Captain Levi, Mikasa and the rest of the Scout Regiment do. And it just so happens that Superfly’s nape is where his blowhole is, making it the perfect opening to toss the device in. Of course, that’s exactly what the turtles do, proving that Donatello’s love for anime is more than just a childish obsession.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is in theaters now.