Ninja Turtles Names: A Guide to the Iconic Characters

ninja turtles names

Anyone growing up in the ‘90s and early 2000s is well-familiar with the iconic Ninja Turtles. This franchise follows four humanoid turtles who defend New York City from evil, all the while getting into all kinds of trouble.

Whether you’re new to the story and need an intro, or you’re feeling nostalgic and want to refresh your memory, here’s a guide to the Ninja Turtles’ names and colors. Read on!

Ninja Turtles: An Introduction


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Developed by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an entertainment franchise that follows four anthropomorphic turtles. After being exposed to radioactive ooze as babies, these turtles grow up to be highly trained ninjutsu warriors who live in NYC’s sewers. Under the tutelage of Splinter, a rat who adopts them, the four brothers fight evil forces and keep people safe.

Interestingly, Eastman and Laird came up with the idea of the Ninja Turtles as a joke. They wanted to create a parody of some of the most popular superhero comic book tropes, and they thought writing about four mutant turtles was a hilarious way to achieve that.

Neither artist expected the comics to blow up, but that’s what happened. Within a short period, the comics became bestsellers, and Ninja Turtle cartoons, video games, and toys were all released in subsequent years. These were followed by several movies, even more video games, and popularity that not many other stories could rival.

Nowadays, almost 40 years from their first appearance, the Ninja Turtles are as popular as ever. Nickelodeon is still developing cartoons and putting out games, ensuring that even more generations can grow up with the iconic characters.

The popularity mostly stems from how well-written and interesting the main characters are. After all, they are the heart and soul of the entire franchise.

Ninja Turtles Names and Colors

Since the authors came up with the four turtles in an attempt to create a parody, they had a lot of fun naming them. All four brothers are named after famous Renaissance artists. In addition, all of them wear gear in a specific color, which is how people are able to tell them apart on screen.

Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about the Ninja Turtles, from their names to their most important qualities.

1. Leonardo


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Named after the famous artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, Leonardo is the oldest of the four brothers. As such, he serves as their leader. However, it is not just his age that makes him a good fit for this position. Leo, as his brothers call him, is dependable, responsible, and level-headed when things get tough. What’s more, he is strong and courageous, never showing any weakness in battle.

Leo is extremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat, but his specialty is fighting with weapons. He always carries two swords, a katana, and a shoto on him. In addition, he always has a few smoke bombs in his arsenal. Aside from these weapons, you can easily recognize Leonardo by his blue bandana and knee wraps.

2. Raphael


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Raphael is the most rebellious of the four turtles, famous for his red bandana and fiery personality. He gets his name from the famous Italian painter from the 15th century. His short temper often gets the brothers in trouble, as he is known for starting fights and acting without thinking things through.

But deep down, Raphael is extremely loyal and would do anything for those he loves. He protects his family fiercely, which is what makes him so beloved by fans of the original comics.

Raph fights with his twin Sais. However, he is also an expert in using a ninja glider and grappling hooks.

3. Donatello


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Donatello bears the name of the Renaissance sculptor most famous for his masterpiece David. This Ninja turtle goes by the nickname Don, and he uses the Bo staff and a naginata to fight.

Out of all the brothers, the purple-adorned Donatello is the closest to being a true ninja master. He has the best knowledge of all ninjutsu disciplines and is the most skilled at hand-to-hand combat.

Though he is a fantastic warrior, Don is actually the brain of the group. He is great at science and engineering, making him a doubly important asset to the rest of the team. Thus, he is an excellent inventor, coming up with all types of weapons on his own.

In addition, Don is the least violent of the bunch. He prefers to solve problems through negotiation and outsmarting the opponent rather than through fighting.

4. Michelangelo


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With his orange bandana and Dual Nunchucks for weapons, Michelangelo is the youngest Ninja Turtle. He is the most easy-going in the group, often cracking jokes and being goofy even in the most serious situations.

Though he is infamous for his love of pizza and mischievous nature, Mikey is also a great combatant. He is quite agile and can easily outrun and outlast most of his opponents.

Michelangelo’s name comes from the famous Italian sculptor, painter, and poet of the Renaissance era, who some consider to be one of the best artists of all time. It comes as no surprise, then, that the Ninja Turtle bearing his name is also the most popular and beloved one in the group.

Due to his witty humor and infectious laughter, most fans favor Michelangelo. His adventurous spirit and innovative solutions to problems make people fall in love with him easily. In addition, kids relate to him because he is the most child-like of the brothers.

Featured image source: Pinterest.com

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