Well, first and foremost, the â€œSeason 4â€ 2-disk DVD set does not contain the entire season, despite the back of the box telling you the season was only 14 episodes-long. It contains all the episodes of the season that hadnâ€™t been released on DVD yet, the earlier episodes of season 4 having been smattered randomly across various single disk DVDs. Well, despite a bit of false advertisement, it is good to get the last of the episodes on DVD (well, almost last, since â€œNinja Tribunalâ€ is being saved for the Lost Season DVD set). The set also comes with something the previous DVDs have been lacking: actual extras. Whoopee!
Season four of the new TMNT series was very strong, particularly toward the end. So really, thereâ€™s hardly a loser in the whole set. â€œStill Nobodyâ€ features the return of Nobody, Jim Lawsonâ€™s shameless Batman knock-off. Theyâ€™ve always been rather upfront with the similarities, though. The animation is rather good and I do enjoy Sean Schemmelâ€™s (Goku on Dragonball Z) voice for the character. Itâ€™s the last we see of Hun and the Purple Dragons for the rest of the season, though. â€œSamurai Touristsâ€ is a real gem of an episode, featuring lots of goodies for long-time fans of the TMNT. Not only does it bring back Usagi Yojimbo and Gen from Stan Sakaiâ€™s comic (I love these crossovers), but it also has a number of Easter Eggs for people who remember the 80â€™s cartoon (â€œRocksteadyâ€ and â€œBebopâ€ show up, sorta). â€œThe Ancient Oneâ€ is an important episode in that it finally ties-up the whole â€œEmo Leoâ€ plot thread that has been hanging around since the season started. An important episode but almost ruined by the numerous juvenile fart jokes.
â€œScion of the Shredderâ€ and â€œProdigal Sonâ€ form a very cool and very daring arc which deals with Karai as she takes on the role of the Shredder for keeps. A very intense pair of episodes that introduce quite a bit of change in the series, and trust me, this is no cop-out like in â€œBad Dayâ€. â€œOutbreakâ€ sets up the whole monster-hunting angle of the rest of the season which is probably the seasonâ€™s weakest arc. Still, you can tell there was a lot of thought put into the arc, as a seemingly meaningless incident in the episode sets up a big 3-part arc for the season finale. We also *finally* see Agent Bishopâ€™s origin story, albeit briefly. â€œThe Trouble with Augieâ€ at last ties up the loose end left-over from â€œAprilâ€™s Artifactâ€ and is really quite dark. A race of inter-dimensional lizard people want to invade Earth so they can eat all the humans; thereâ€™s even a scene where the leader is shown gnawing on a fleshy human femur. Nasty. You also get a cameo from Aprilâ€™s sister, Robin, who appears from time to time in the Mirage comics.
And, of course, thereâ€™s â€œInsane in the Membraneâ€, the infamous banned episode. â€œInsane in the Membraneâ€ was banned from US television for being so dark and grotesque. The plot has Baxter Stockman clone a new body for himself, but things go wrong, and he starts to decompose alive. The visuals are incredibly gruesome and pretty gory for a â€œkidâ€™s showâ€. Thereâ€™s even a scene where, after Baxterâ€™s arm rots off, he reattaches it to the elbow with a hammer and some nails. But thereâ€™s more to the episode than just the excess gore. Itâ€™s a deep character piece for Baxter Stockman, looking into his troubled, lonely childhood where his only source of inspiration and compassion was his Mother, who died when he was still young. Itâ€™s very moving and adds an extra dimension to the villain who was previously just an annoyance. Definitely one of the strongest episodes in the set, if not the whole series; made me completely rethink my opinion on the character.
â€œThe Return of Savanti Romeroâ€ 2-parter adapts the last issue of the first volume of the Tales of the TMNT comic (#7, to be precise) and also brings back Renet the Timestress along with the title villain. Itâ€™s an okay 2-parter and a pretty faithful adaptation, though not one Iâ€™d commit to repeat viewings. We get a brief origin for Savanti Romero and his end is pretty intense. This show really pushes the line on whatâ€™s acceptable for American Saturday Morning Cartoons, and I love it. â€œTale of Master Yoshiâ€ is a much-needed episode which delves into the back story of Hamato Yoshi, his connection to the Utroms, how he met Splinter, the Ancient One, the Foot, the Shredder and covers a lot of ground. It also brings in a part of his origin from the comics: Tang Shen, the woman he and Oroku Nagi fought over (which resulted in Nagi killing Tang Shen and Yoshi killing Nagi in revenge). While the episode changes Nagiâ€™s name to avoid the connection with the Shredder (who has a completely different origin in the cartoon apart from the comics), it still remains faithfully violent, with both deaths included in the story. Itâ€™s an important episode, if absent of turtles, for the most part.
The set ends with â€œAdventures in Turtle-Sittingâ€ and the â€œGood Genesâ€ 2-parter which ends the whole monster-hunting plot line. The main draw of the arc is Don being mutated into a Gamera-like monster (which originally happened to Raph in the Mirage comics) and the TMNT going to Agent Bishop, their enemy, for help. Thereâ€™s also an important subplot about the liberation of the Foot Mystics from Karai. My only real complaint with the arc is that it resurrects Baxter Stockman, who really shouldâ€™ve stayed dead after â€œInsane in the Membraneâ€, as that was a very tragic and fitting end for the character. But donâ€™t worry, heâ€™s not very happy about coming back, either. We also get to see more Leatherhead, which is cool, since heâ€™s one of my favorite supporting characters.
The extras on the set arenâ€™t much but at least theyâ€™re something. You have a handful of animated shorts which are actually rather entertaining. When I read about it on the back of the box I was expecting the poorly flash-animated shorts theyâ€™d been showing on 4Kids TV, but these are actually some good quality shorts animated by Dong Woo. Theyâ€™re mostly for fun, with at least 2 being definitely non-canon. The last one was rather funny, though. Then thereâ€™s some episode animatics. Iâ€™ve never been big into animatics, but if itâ€™s your thing then youâ€™ll love em.
Itâ€™s a good set at a cheap price with some *great* episodes and a fair amount of never-aired content. While it doesnâ€™t contain the complete 4th season like it advertises, it does contain some of the best episodes. Check it out.