The TMNT’s Only Anime Gave Them Superpowers… and Their Wildest Journey

By Marcel Green Published 17 minutes ago

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ latest iteration is given something akin to superpowers, but they’ve actually had super abilities since 1996.

The TMNT's Only Anime Gave Them Superpowers... and Their Wildest Journey


  • In Mutant Turtles: Superman Legend, the Ninja Turtles transform using muta stones, becoming the Super Turtles, but their powers only last three minutes.
  • The Turtles can merge to become the mighty Turtle Saint in order to defeat powerful enemies like Shredder and Krang.
  • The anime series "The Legend of the Super Mutants" pays tribute to the Japanese culture popular used as the basis for TMNT.


Under the training and watchful eye of Splinter, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles developed into one of the most powerful superhero teams that never needed superpowers to be effective, but in an anime adaptation of the original cartoon series, the Turtles have the ability to power up to superhero status, and it's incredible to behold.

In The Legend of the Super Mutants (alternately titled Mutant Turtles: Superman Legend), Shunji Oga's 1996 original animated video (OVA) the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, are summoned by the Spirit of Light, a fairy from Dimension X's Neutrino Kingdom, who asks for their assistance in fighting Shredder and Krang, who moments before invaded the kingdom. After agreeing to help, the Turtles are gifted four special gems called "muta stones" which upon uttering the magic words, super mutation transforms them into super-powered humanoids, known as the Super Turtles.

The TMNT's Only Anime Gave Them Superpowers... and Their Wildest Journey

Their superpowers are not permanent, lasting only three minutes before they revert to their anthropomorphic forms. The muta stones' abilities don't end there, however. When the Turtles face an overwhelming threat, the muta stones allow them to literally merge together to create the winged warrior "Turtle Saint" who is so over-powered he can defeat Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady with a wave of his battle sword.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fuse in Their Anime

The Legend of the Super Mutants by Bee Media and Tsuburaya Productions


The Turtles were the masters of the multiverse before it became the principal basis of mainstream American comics. Considering their backstory and the series' strong ties to Japan, it was only a matter of time before the Turtles ended up exploring that alternative universe that is Japanese anime. The Legend of the Super Mutants however, maintains a strong link to the original by largely maintaining most of the characters, plot points, humorous undertones, and even the animation style of the original American series, which was in the last year of its run, when this series debuted.

The OVA's first episode was made to market the Supermutants line of TMNT toys while the second was a vehicle for the Metal Mutation line.

The two-episode OVA, which was only released in Japan, included a number of notable elements that were common to anime at the time. First, there's the mega stones' ability to produce a temporary power-up ability. Immediate comparisons to Super Sentai are obvious. The heroes in almost every Toei super sentai title, access their special abilities via some device that gives them special powers and weapons, often color coordinated, for a short period of time. Fittingly, the TMNT would actually meet the Power Rangers a year after Legend of the Super Mutants was released.

Second, there's the mega stones' ability to allow the Turtles to merge into one superhero deluxe. This concept was popularized in Japan by another Toei Productions cartoon, Armored Fleet Dairugger XV, parts of which were later adapted to become the Voltron animated series. Armored Fleet, which debuted in Japan in 1982, was a classic mecha anime with a twist. Armored Fleet included super robots that were created through the combination of several other smaller and less powerful robots. The interesting twist that the Super Mutants added was that the power allowed biological organisms to combine.

The TMNT's Only Anime Gave Them Superpowers... and Their Wildest Journey

Given that they are ninjas, it's no wonder that a wide variety of TMNT media has taken plenty of inspiration from Japanese culture (even though the TMNT started as a parody of Daredevil). Given this, it's only fitting that the Ninja Turtles would get their own anime, even if it was just a two-episode OVA. Super Turtles add to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' legend by showing what a version of the Ninja Turtles actually produced by Japan might look like.

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