Raphael (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
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Textless cover of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Micro-Series #1 (December 2011).
Art by David Petersen.
|Publisher||Mirage Studios (1984–1995, 2001–2010)|
Image Comics (1996–1999)
IDW Publishing (2011–present)
|First appearance||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (May 1984)|
|Created by||Kevin Eastman|
|Team affiliations||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|
|Notable aliases||Nightwatcher, The Shredder|
|Abilities||Highly skilled in ninjutsu|
Olympic-level agility, speed, and strength
Mastery of kobudo
Master of stealth
Mastery of twin offensive/defensive sai
Mastery of twin tonfa
He is usually depicted wearing a red eye mask; in this regard he is the only turtle to retain the color in all media, whereas the others each received a different color. Raphael wields twin sai, the points of which are usually sharpened, as his primary weapon. He is generally the most likely to experience extremes of anger or rage, and is usually depicted as being short temper, aggressive, sullen, maddened, and rebellious. He also speaks with a Brooklyn accent in most incarnations.
The origin of Raphael's anger is not always fully explored, but in some incarnations appears to stem partly from the realization that they are the only creatures of their kind and ultimately alone. He also has a somewhat turbulent relationship with his older brother Leonardo because Leonardo is seen as the group's leader. He is the second eldest of the turtles, and second-in-command. Like all of the brothers, he is named after a Renaissance artist; in this case, he is named after the 16th-century Italian painter Raphael. In 2011 Raphael placed 23rd on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes, a list that did not feature any of his brothers.
- 1 Comic books
- 2 Television
- 3 Movies
- 4 Video games
- 5 Reception
- 6 References
- 7 External links
In the earliest black-and-white Mirage Comics, Raphael was the most violent turtle and had a tendency for going berserk either in battle or when his temper flared up. He has a somewhat cynical and sarcastic sense of humor. In later issues, it's shown that he is not particularly fond of the supernatural, stating so explicitly in Tales of Raphael: Bad Moon Rising.
Raphael mellowed somewhat as the series went on, possibly a key moment for his character development was when he allowed Leonardo to go in alone to defeat The Shredder after nearly being killed by the Foot Elite. Since then, he has been less likely to challenge Leonardo's leadership, and on the whole is more friendly towards his family and allies.
Of his three brothers, Raphael is actually closest to Michelangelo, having stated this in the fourth issue of the original TMNT comics. Raphael often shows a caring, more laid-back, side of himself when around his youngest brother, frequently indulging the youngest turtle emotionally when at home and ferociously protecting him from harm when in battle. Raphael openly admits that the mere thought of his youngest brother being grievously injured causes him to experience violent rage. In his self-titled one-shot miniseries, Raphael meets human vigilante Casey Jones, his foil, who is more violent and unstable than he was. Despite their brutal first meeting, the two have since formed a close bond.
In the comic book series' Volume 4, he is still the most violent turtle, but is more sociable. After having been bitten by a vampire-like creature, he experienced a further mutation, and became a large, dinosaur-like version of himself. He went into a state of berserk animal rage because of it, but with some guidance by an inner manifestation of Master Splinter, he regained his original mentality and later assisted Leonardo and Casey Jones in tracking down the vampires who attacked him. This is also somewhat similar to an earlier storyline during Volume 1, where Raphael was attacked by a leech-like creature who, when sucking his blood, also drained him of the mutagen in his body and reverted him to a small turtle. The leech itself mutated and vanished, prompting the remaining turtles to follow it. Finally, after tracking down the creature, Raphael manages to bite it and pierce its skin, thereby drinking its blood and mutating back.
In the Image series that treated the first two volumes of the Mirage Comics as canonical, Raphael was blasted in the face and disfigured. After that, he wore one of Casey Jones' hockey masks for much of the time, and eventually just an eye patch. Later, Raphael wore Shredder's armor in an attempt to psychologically dominate a number of the New York Mob, with whom the Foot Clan was engaged in a losing gang war. He donned a slightly variant version of the armor, and pretended to be the Shredder to get the advantage on his pursuers. He succeeded in defeating them and was then accepted into, and given control of, the New York faction of the Foot Clan for a brief time. In the independent published series of the Image Comics #24, Raphael had an eyepatch and red bandana for the whole issue and was even angrier than ever. He killed Cheng with whom he had been friends in issue #25, and as soon as Pimiko was killed by the gauntlet of Lady Shredder, Raph removed his bandana and eyepatch to reveal his left eye was no longer disfigured but was back to normal. He later said to Leonardo he had a thing for Pimiko, and like Donatello with Baxter's help on ridding him of cyborg parts, Raphael kept his crush on Pimiko a secret.
The Archie comics series was titled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures and began as a direct adaptation of the popular cartoon series in the late 1980s. After the second story arc, Raphael changed costumes and began wearing an all dark ninja outfit which he won during an Alien Wrestling Match. He would be the first member of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to have a girlfriend, meeting Ninjara in issue #28 and breaking up near the end of the magazine's 75 issue run. In the future, Raphael would lose an eye during a conflict with the Shredder, Verminator X, and Armaggon (in most of the future timeline incarnations of Raphael, his left eye is missing). He would time travel after his brother Donatello invents the technology and eventually retire on the island Turtleco (which used to be Manhattan) and become a bar owner.
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1987 animated series
Raphael's personality in the 1987 animated series deviates the most from all other incarnations, though the show's theme song states that Raphael is "cool, but crude" (he takes a slice of pizza with his sai and shoves the rest of it onto the screen). Despite the theme's reference to his crudeness, he had a more toned-down attitude in this incarnation opposed to all other incarnations, as this series was based primarily on humor. Raphael is a sarcastic wise-guy, and supplies comic relief alongside Michelangelo, whose humor is usually attributed to his ignorance and spaciness, whereas Raphael is more sarcastic and witty. As a result, Michelangelo is the subject of Raphael's jokes more than any other Turtle. He frequently makes jokes that break the fourth wall.
This incarnation of Raphael is entirely different from other variations. He has a far less confrontational relationship with his friends and fellow Turtles — the most striking example being his lack of a sibling rivalry with Leonardo. Raphael has no desire to steal anyone's thunder or become a leader; he's perfectly content providing the wittiest of the cartoon's jokes, being the most humorous turtle of the group. Despite this, Raphael usually served as a contrast to Leonardo's "gung-ho do-gooder" persona with his pessimistic sarcastic remarks. However, Raphael did challenge Leonardo's leadership once in the season 8 episode "Turtle Trek".
In the Season 4 episode "Raphael Meets His Match", Raphael was paired off with a mysterious mutant female named Mona Lisa, who might have been considered as a potential girlfriend for Raphael. Despite following the Turtles back to New York City, Mona Lisa was never seen again.
In the season 5 episode "Raphael Versus the Volcano", due to a malfunction in Donatello's Healthometer, Raphael was convinced that he soon was going to die and decided to end his life as a hero named the "Green Defender", saving people from dangers and stopping criminals when he thought he had nothing to lose. When the Healthometer malfunction was discovered, the other Turtles tracked him down to tell him he wasn't going to die.
In the 1987 series' original English-language version, Raphael's voice actor is Rob Paulsen from season one to season nine with Thom Pinto as the 1989 alternate, Hal Rayle as the 1993 alternate, and Michael Gough in the final season. In Turtles Forever, the 1987 version of Raphael is voiced by Sebastian Arcelus. Raphael also made a couple of appearances in the 2012 series in the episode, The Manhattan Project. He and the other turtles along with Casey and April are seen through a portal by their 2012 counterparts walking on a road and he made a speaking cameo along with the other turtles at the end of the episode when a space worm from the 2012 dimension started terrorizing the street. All four turtles see the worm and spring into action while shouting their famous catchphrase, 'Cowabunga'. This would be Rob Paulsen's second role in the 2012 series, the other being Donatello while he returned to his role as Raphael for the cameo. This would mark the first time in over 28 years the 1987 TMNT cast would return to their roles. Paulsen once again provided the voices of the 1987 Raphael and the 2012 Donatello in the season 4 episode, "Trans-Dimensional Turtles".
1997 live-action series
2003 animated series
In the 2003 series, Raphael was voiced by Frank Frankson (Eiji Miyashita in the Japanese version), and speaks with a Brooklyn accent. In this incarnation, he has a dark, bright green skin color, much more vivid than those of his brothers. This version of Raphael has a personality which is more akin to his original incarnation - he is angrier and more sardonic, but not quite as violent unless extremely angry - as proven in one incident where he almost smashed Michelangelo's head in with a pipe after Mikey beat him in a sparring match. The theme song for season 1-3 did not have a part that actually described each turtle individually, but from season 4 onwards it was changed, and stated that "count on Raphael to throw the first punch".
He often argues with Leonardo and Michelangelo, although he is depicted as being very close with both at times. He is the first of the turtles to cry (or at least, shed tears) when Leonardo is gravely injured and might not survive. Raphael is generally very protective of his brothers, getting angriest when an enemy harms them or captures them. His relationship with Donatello consists of poking fun at his intellect or annoyance at his long-winded explanations. Raphael considers Donatello as something of a dork, yet still his brother, and he still cares for Donatello just as much as he does Leonardo and Michelangelo. His best friend is generally regarded as Casey Jones - and is the best man as Casey and April's wedding in the final episode of this series. In all incarnations of the turtles except for the 1987 cartoon, Raphael appears to live in the shadow of Leonardo and resents his brother's social position in the group. However, his rivalry with his brother is heavily toned down in comparison to the comic books and rarely shows a deep hatred towards him as the series progresses. He is shown to be a skilled motorcyclist. It has often been hinted that Raphael has entomophobia, the fear of insects. He has shown on many occasions an unrivaled hatred of bugs, however unlike the 2012 incarnations he shows more violence than fear when near a bug.
Raphael's relationship with Michelangelo is unique in this series. Michelangelo has a tendency to severely annoy his brother, from playing pranks, to taunting, gloating, and overall rubbing his accomplishments in Raphael's face. Despite his rivalry, Raphael also expressed his pain and fear of losing his youngest brother and his older brother, when Leonardo was nearly killed by the Foot, to the point where he even started crying. As Leonardo recovered, Raphael was also the one who supported Leonardo the most, even helping him to forge Leonardo's two new katana, and paying the greatest attention to the care of his brother. In the episode "Ultimate Ninja" Raph attempted to protect Leo from the Ultimate Ninja when he challenged him and lashed out in anger and fear when Leo was nearly hurt. Raphael continues to challenge Leonardo's decisions in this incarnation as well, as Raphael and Leonardo often argue over what to do in certain situations, Raph usually favoring a direct and confrontational approach. Despite differences, Leo and Raph arguably have the closest relationship of the Turtles emphasized in the series, as their conflicting views and care for one another is a key point in many episodes throughout the entire series. Raphael will often put himself in danger, going as far as disobeying Splinter and Leonardo to protect his family and friends, but he will react immediately (and harshly) if they are in danger. He has an extremely loyal side and is always the first to react when another of his brothers is in trouble. This happens on numerous occasions, like when he stops a blow from hitting Leonardo using only his sai, or kicks the Shredder away from Donatello when the former is about to attack.
2012 animated series
Raphael is voiced by Sean Astin in the 2012 series. In this incarnation, he is described (in the theme song) as having "the most attitude on the team". During the first portion of the first episode, "Rise of the Turtles", it was shown that he has exceptional agility, able to dodge all of Donatello's bo staff strikes, before snatching the staff and breaking it. It is also implied that he has won several times before, as he says to Donatello "drop the staff, and no one gets hurt" to which Donatello replies, "I did last time, but you still hurt me." After defeating Donatello, Raphael then won the training tournament by throwing Leo with one of his sai. However, when Splinter congratulated them, Raph bragged about his victory, which caused Splinter to hit a pressure point on his neck and forced him to compliment his brothers. He is once again an impulsive hothead, and also has a normal pet turtle named Spike, which later mutates and becomes this show's version of Slash.
His relationship with Leonardo was generally tense, Leonardo's more patient approach contrasting with Raphael's aggression, but he developed a greater appreciation for Leonardo's skills when Raphael's own attempt to serve as the leader showed him that he couldn't cope with the pressure of taking responsibility for his brothers' safety, preferring to risk himself rather than them. With Michelangelo he insults him but he cares. This is shown when in "New Friend, Old Enemy" he comforts Mikey when he is feeling down, by telling him that he is an awesome guy. Raphael's relationship with Donatello involves (rarely serious) threats, glares, hitting and insulting, like in "I, Monster", where he throws a rat at him to get him to stop talking. However, Donatello cares for Raph, for instance having a hard time insulting him in "Turtle Temper", and trying to give him a hand when he is later in the van with the Kraang. Raphael is also petrified of cockroaches until he managed to defeat the mutant cockroach, Spyroach.
Raphael's character design was updated, giving him green eyes as well as a small, lightning-shaped chip out of his plastron across his left shoulder. His shell shows a great deal of distinct battle damage (considerably more than those of his brothers), and the tails of his mask are tattered and worn. In this sense, he does not care about getting hurt too much in a fight. In "New Girl In Town", he states that he has no problem risking his own life, but he cannot stand to, and therefore will not, risk the lives of his brothers.
2018 animated series
In the 2018 animated series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Omar Benson Miller voices "Raphael, as the oldest and physically biggest brother, he is now the leader and his enthusiasm and bravado puts him front and center for most of their bizarre adventures." Unlike past versions, he does not use his trademarked Sai's, but rather he uses Tonfa. He is also considerably less angry and serious than previous incarnations, though still eager to get into fights.
Original trilogy (1990-1993)
In the 1990 film adaptation, Raphael is voiced by Josh Pais. He speaks with a distinctive tough-sounding New York accent (that was imitated in the later versions of TMNT), and is the turtle whose character is explored most completely. He has a quick temper, uses profanity and verbally challenges his older brother Leonardo. This film focuses more so on his feeling of isolation from his brothers and sense of regret and anger when Splinter is eventually captured from the Shredder. Here, it is established that he shares a closer relationship with news reporter April O'Neil having saved her from the Foot Clan on several occasions.
In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, he is played by Kenn Troum, and voiced by Laurie Faso, and in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III film he is played by Matt Hill, and voiced by Tim Kelleher. In the films, he is still angry and occasionally goes off by himself in the second movie, but has a soft spot for the young people the team meets. It is also shown that he has an appreciation for nature as it appears to calm him.
In TMNT, Raphael serves as the main protagonist in the film, voiced by Nolan North. In Leonardo's absence, he has spent his nights as an armored vigilante known as The Nightwatcher. His time as the Nightwatcher is one of the few during which Raphael uses a different ninjutsu weapon, the manriki: weighted chains that can be concealed in the hands and used from considerable distances. Unlike his sai, the manriki are typically not lethal weapons, though they could crush a skull if used with enough force.
In this movie, the animosity between Raphael and Leonardo is the most straight-forward due to Raphael's anger at his brother leaving. He resents Leonardo's bossing them around and treating them like "[Leo's] little soldiers" when he (at least in Raphael's opinion) abandoned them for at least a year. This leads to a physical confrontation between Raphael and Leonardo and resulting in Raphael almost mortally wounding Leonardo before retreating - suddenly realising what he was about to do, and running in fear from his anger. After Leonardo is kidnapped, Raphael then acknowledges his mistake to Master Splinter and confesses what happened and why he understood the reason Leonardo was chosen as the leader. Master Splinter then explains to Raphael that his tendency to put the world's problems on his own shoulders as a protector of the weak is a great quality and that while he may not be his favorite student, it does not mean he is his least favorite son. Master Splinter then tells Raphael that his strength, his passion, and his loyalty to the people he cares about are also merits of a great leader, if it can be tempered with compassion. After Raphael, the Turtles, as well as Casey and April rescue Leonardo, Raphael is shown to be eager to fight alongside his brother instead of against him.
Raph's relationship with Donatello is also explored more when Donatello makes it clear that he doesn't like the Nightwatcher. This is due to the Nightwatcher using tactics like Raph's and due to the reason that Donnie believes that the team still exists where as Raph does not. Donnie also doesn't support Mikey's admiration of The Nightwatcher and even though Donnie doesn't know that Raph is The Nightwatcher, believes that Raph should get a normal job to support the family. Donnie's dislike of The Nightwatcher alone seems to mildly anger Raph and then there's the fact that Splinter put Donnie in charge of the turtles while Leo was away. This factor annoys Raph a little more and leads to Raphael almost punching Donnie in the face; smirking when his brother flinches.
Raphael appears in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles portrayed by Alan Ritchson. In the film, he is aggressive and struggles with following orders. He often loses his temper and has fierce independence, which does not sit well with his older brother Leonardo. He is the first turtle that April O' Neil sees after stopping the Foot Clan, although she does not get a good look at him and thinks he's a man. When April takes their picture, Raph threatens her even after Donatello erases her phone's memory data. In the battle at the turtle's lair with the Foot, Raph is crushed under rubble and is presumed dead. Because of this, he is the only turtle not captured by the Foot. When he awakes, he finds a dying Splinter who tells him and April to save his brothers. They team up with Vern Fenwick to help him save them from Sacks Industries, where he fights Shredder to buy April and Vern time to do so. After rescuing Leonardo, Donatello, and Michaelangelo and defeating the Shredder, Raphael and his brothers use the mutagen to save Splinter's life. He along with Donatello and Leonardo don't try to get April's attention unlike Michelangelo who does voice his feelings to April. Although in the end of the movie he does show appreciation to her for sacrificing everything for them. In this incarnation, Raphael isn't as hot headed and doesn't clash with Leonardo over leadership however they have a brief argument over the Hatamishi which Raphael refuses to go to and claims he'll leave which Leo debunks. He is more close to his brothers in the film than in most adaptations. He does still get annoyed at Donatello when he does talk of his calculations in a way the others don't understand. Also, it should be noted he is the only turtle in the film to stay true to his other adaptations by not wearing any footwear.
In the sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Raphael is shown to be more like his standard self. He becomes enraged when he learns Leonardo has commanded Donnie not to reveal to him or Mikey about the Purple Ooze being able to turn them into humans, stating that Leo broke the third code of the ninja (honor) by lying to his brothers. He disobeys direct orders from Leo and has no problem lying to April and Casey in order to get them to go along on a mission with him. He does still show caring for his brothers as him and Mikey are shown to be very close, with the two of them pulling pranks on Casey Jones and Raph becoming enraged when Krang nearly kills Mikey. Raphael in the film is also shown to have a fear of great heights, possibly due to the events of the first film; while the other turtles leap out of an airplane with little thought Raphael puts on a parachute and even then must psych himself up to perform the jump.
In the first few video games, based on the 1987 cartoon, Raphael was an unpopular character because of the short range of his weapon. He is the weakest Turtle, the same goes for the video game based on the 2007 movie TMNT. He appears in TMNT: Smash Up as a playable character, with Frank Frankson reprising his role. The Nightwatcher also makes an appearance as a separate playable character.
Raphael is one of the main playable characters in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows videogame, where he is voiced by Carlos Alazraqui. His special move is Iron Fists, where he puts on iron gloves which have extremely high power, but little range. Raphael also appears in the 2014 film-based game, voiced by Roy Samuelson.
Raphael is featured as one of the playable characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as DLC in Injustice 2. While Leonardo is the default turtle outside the gear loadout, he, Michelangelo and Donatello can only be picked through the said loadout selection similar to the premier skin characters.
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