Donatello is a spiny soft-shell turtle who was mutated to become part human and is the team's resident tech-head. He is one of the main protagonists of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Of the Mad Dogs, he is the one with the fewest changes compared to previous incarnations. He wielded a high-tech version of the bō staff but converted to using the traditional staff.
Donatello has jade green skin with purple pixel designs on his upper arms and thighs, a light brown plastron, and a dark brown and green carapace. The bumps of his spine can also be seen from underneath his carapace. Donnie also has a large head, thick black eyebrows, black eyes, three fingers on each hand, and two toes on each foot.
Donnie wears a purple mask that pulls over the top of his head (with short square-cut mask tails), silver convertible goggles with a red and blue lens, and a purple battle shell that fits over his real shell. He also wears purple fingerless gloves with matching socks on his feet, a silver tech-gauntlet with a blue touchscreen, purple elbow and knee pads, and a purple belt with color-matching pouches and Turtle emblem.
Like his previous incarnations, Donnie is the brains of the Mad Dogs, as well as fairly neurotic. He prefers tech over mystic powers. Donnie also has a tendency to go over the top with his plans, such as desiring uranium for his machines. Donnie can also be passive-aggressive; instead of confronting his brothers about their bad habits, he made "gifts" that would force his brothers to give up their habits.
Unlike his previous incarnations, Donnie is more reckless as he is stated to be an adrenaline junkie. Donnie is very sarcastic; he usually insults his brother especially when he's not in the mood for their company. He’s very cocky and loves to show off. He is constantly annoyed when his brothers don’t listen and/or appreciate his intelligence. He sometimes relies on his tech more than ninja training which applies to his brothers as well. Donnie is also crazy and would most likely snap when he doesn’t get his way. On top of that, he is also obsessive and stubborn if he's determined to get what he wants.
Donnie can also be irresponsible, such as putting blame on his mistakes or denying the responsibility of his actions. But aside from that, Donnie is shown to have a bit of a softer spot towards his brothers, especially with Mikey.
Despite himself believing to be an emotionless bad boy, Donnie is actually quite a softie and gets emotional very quickly. He longs for validation and praise, especially from adults. In "Turtle-dega Nights: The Ballad of Rat Man" Donnie was beyond excited to spend some time with Splinter in a father-son car competition. However Splinter had lied about his intent, which was to enter the Turtle Tank in a Yōkai demolition derby, and Donnie was genuinely upset and hurt by this deception.
Donnie is musically-gifted as he can sing and can play musical instruments such as the guitar and the saxophone. He also has a passion for dancing as seen with his password being "Bootyyyshaker9000" as seen in "Stuck on You", and for electronic dance music as seen in "Smart Lair" and "Al Be Back". Later he used his former password Bootyyyshaker9000 as a username in "The Purple Game".
In "Donnie vs. Witch Town", Donnie is shown to be quite skeptical when it comes to magic. He does everything he can to prove to the witches that science is superior to magic.
Like his brothers, Donatello began his life as a baby turtle in the castle laboratory of Baron Draxum. Wishing to make mutant soldiers for a private army to fight humankind, Draxum sought out Lou Jitsu (real name Hamato Yoshi), a human former martial arts film actor who had since unwillingly become the most formidable warrior of Big Mama's Battle Nexus; Lou agreed to be Draxum's laboratory subject in exchange for being freed from Big Mama's service. Draxum used Lou's DNA to mutate Donatello and three other baby turtles into a half-human mutant turtle, but Draxum's arrangement with Lou soured when Lou learnt of Draxum's plans for the turtles, as Lou did not approve of the exploitation of such innocent young creatures. Lou destroyed the lab equipment, freed Draxum's other caged specimens, and escaped with Donatello and the other turtles, but not before an exposure to the chemicals Draxum was using caused Lou to begin his own gradual mutation into a half-human half-rat mutant. Donatello was at least one year old and less than two years old when he mutated.
For the next almost thirteen years, Lou Jitsu, now only calling himself Splinter, retreated to a lair in the sewers of New York City and raised Donatello and his brothers as his sons—which, upon mutation, they had become. Donnie showed an aptitude for science and technology, and would always crave the pride and moral support that Splinter would seldom give him. Splinter, for his part, trained his sons in basic ninjutsu, but Splinter would quickly grow fat and lazy and stopped training his sons. Donnie had been trained to use the bō as his primary weapon, but would later invent a Tech-Bō to replace it. Since, as a soft-shelled turtle, Donnie's carapace never hardened and could not function adequately as an armor, he also started constructing and wearing a series of bright purple battle shells to fit over his carapace; these prosthetics could also be equipped with a wide variety of other technological devices Donnie would use on an everyday basis.
Donatello is the coolest tech wiz ever! Being a soft-shell turtle may be a drawback in the ninja world, but with his series of battle shells and transforming bō staffs, Donnie can take on any foe!
- Intellect: A mad genius! Donnie's tech savvy nature is his superpower. However just because he's talented with tech doesn't make him the wisest of his brothers.
- Ninjutsu: Being raised by Splinter, Donatello, like the rest of his brothers, is skilled in basic ninjutsu.
- Stealth: As a practitioner of ninjutsu, Donatello can slip in and out of areas undetected. These skills significantly improved after additional instruction in "The Ancient Art of Ninja Hide and Seek".
- Pressure points: As shown in "Jupiter Jim Ahoy!", Donnie is shown capable of reversing Marcus Moncrief's nerve pinch technique by using pressure points.
- Ninja mind meld: Donatello can merge minds with his brothers, share plans instantaneously.
- Hamato Ninpō: By tapping into the Hamato family energy, Donatello can unleash his own mystic might.
- Weapon Generation: Using ninpo, Donnie uses random objects to form weaponry, namely, a bo staff.
- Tech Formation: Using his ninpo, Donnie can create or link with variations of his inventions, even improving them.
- Singing: In both "Mystic Library" and "Snow Day", Donatello exhibits his singing ability.
- Animal communication: In "Todd Scouts", after Splinter took away his tech, Donnie gains the ability to communicate with the forest animals as seen when he made the treehouse with their help and when Donnie tells the animals to burn down the treehouse.
- Baron Draxum: Upon meeting his other father for the first time, Donnie demonstrated the greatest skill among his brothers in one-on-one melee combat with Draxum. Draxum would be the Mad Dogs' adversary throughout season one, and even after Draxum became part of family life since the season two episode "Repairin' the Baron", Donnie still remained cold towards him. But compared to his brothers, Donatello's personality is actually closest to that of Draxum, as they are both sullen, flamboyant mad scientists with a smug arrogant streak, similar tastes in laboratory decor, and even the same distinct moody style of black eyebrows.
- Hamato Karai: After learning that Karai is his Gram-Gram, Donnie is quick to try to impress her with his tech, and is immediately rewarded with a basic compliment from an authority figure—something Donnie had struggled to get out of Splinter all his life.
- Hamato Yoshi / Lou Jitsu / Splinter: Donnie has a love-hate relationship with Splinter. He punishes Splinter taking the turtle tank on a joyride in "The Fast and the Furriest" just as Splinter would do to him as a father. However, it is shown in "Turtle-dega Nights: The Ballad of Rat Man" that he deeply desires Splinter's attention and will forgo his typical logical approach just to spend time with him.
- Leonardo: Despite them being the middle brothers, Leo and Donnie don't get along very well, with Donnie hating Leo's motormouth remarks (even trying to get rid of them in "Donnie's Gifts") and crazy schemes, and Leo thinking Don needs to loosen up. They do love each other though, and will always have each others' backs.
- Michelangelo: He cares a lot about Mikey, as all of the brothers do, and has had a minor adventure with him like in "Repo Mantis". While Mikey can annoy Donnie at times they seem to get along very well. Donnie takes Mikey's advice seriously in "Breaking Purple" and trusts that Mikey would help with personal missions as seen in "Mind Meld". He thinks Mikey needs to stop jumping around recklessly or he might get hurt as seen in "Donnie's Gifts".
- Piebald: Technically Donnie's sister, though they did not meet as mutants until "Flushed but Never Forgotten".
- Raphael: With Raph being his older brother, Don has a unique relationship with him that he doesn't have with the others. He finds Raph to be a bit crazy, but he loves him all the same, and respects him. Raph treats him very gently and has trouble telling him off, which may spoil Donnie a bit. Raph considers him as his "3rd favorite brother".
- S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N.: Donnie initially created S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. to do chores for him and his brothers. However, as time went by, Donnie appeared to grow more attached to S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N., forming a father-son relationship.
Friends and allies
- Mayhem: When they first meet, Donnie thought that Mayhem was a St. Bernard. They share the same favorite Jupiter Jim movie.
- Todd Capybara: Donnie helps Todd build a facilities for his Cuddle Cakes Puppy Rescue. He does not share Todd's love for the wilderness but still holds at least some respect for him.
- Marcus Moncrief:
- April O'Neil: April and Donnie are close friends, prone to feeding off of each others' adrenaline highs and going on crazy adventures. They are also prone to moderate arguments.
- Red Fox:
- Stanley / Bullhop:
- Sunita: Donnie likes Sunita's fashion sense.
- Albearto: He created the upgrades that turned Albearto evil, but denies this and claims he has no memory of doing so.
- Big Mama: Big Mama was apparently the first parent aged adult to compliment Donnie work, and he initially liked her very much, until she revealed her betrayal of the Mad Dogs.
- Foot Clan:
- Oroku Saki / The Shredder: Donnie has shown deep fear of the Shredder, as seen in "Many Unhappy Returns." At the docks, Shredder destroyed his tech including his battle shell, and was about to slash him until a napkin was thrown into the Shredder's eyes. Oroku Saki is also technically Donatello's human ancestor as he is the ancestor of the Hamato bloodline through Karai.
- Purple Dragons: Donnie initially admired the Purple Dragons, and briefly joined them under the name Othello von Ryan to get one of their purple satin jackets, which itself had technology the Purple Dragons secretly used to steal Donnie's tech.
- Kendra: The two actually share the same sharp banter and relatively inflated ego. She blew him a kiss while sending his battle shell against him. Kendra later tricked him into piloting a robot that attacked New York City and his brothers.
- Repo Mantis: He and Mikey bargained (later stole) the Jupiter Jim Moon Buggy (later modified into the Turtle Tank) from Repo Mantis Salvage.
- Mezmer-Ron / Hypno-Potamus:
- Warren Stone:
- Rupert Swaggart / Meat Sweats: He was kidnapped by Meat Sweats, nearly being cooked by the pig mutant, but was saved by his brothers.
- Donnie is a soft-shell turtle, which means that he might have a more sensitive shell than his brothers, as well as previous incarnations of the character.
- To compensate for his soft shell, he built an entire fleet of battle shells.
- This Donatello is the third version of the character to have an artificial carapace. The first is the Image version, whose shell was shattered from a high fall, but whose life was saved by a shape-shifting A.I. who, among its various forms, fashioned an artificial shell. The second is the IDW version, whose carapace is prosthetic after having lost his original biological one.
- Unusually, Donatello pulls his body into his shell in "Lair Games" (only having difficulty because of a leg cast), something actual softshell turtles can't do
- He's stated to be a little bit more confident than his previous incarnations and he also knows that he's good at what he does.
- Donnie is revealed to be an adrenaline enthusiast.
- Donnie is the only turtle to have visible eyebrows. According to "Lair Games" he had drawn them on for nine years.
- Donnie is prone to cracking when annoyed, shown when Mikey kept interrupting him to the point of passive-aggressiveness in "Shell in a Cell".
- Donnie also tends to not think things through when he is excited.
- In "Mascot Melee" he kept forgetting that he and his brothers had to deal with crooks because one of them was dressed as his childhood idol Atomic Lass.
- In "Mystic Library" he was so excited to be in the enormous library from the Hidden City that he forgot to keep his voice down, resulting in him being locked up in the kiddie room.
- In "Turtle-dega Nights: The Ballad of Rat Man" he was oblivious to the fact that Splinter brought him and Mikey to a demolition derby due to him being overeager to spend time with his dad.
- Donnie is the first turtle in the series to be seen without his mask.
- Donnie has a peculiar fear of beach balls, showing that he has some form of Sfairesphobia.
- Donnie has previously worn glasses when he was younger.
- Donnie is the only turtle that doesn't have any mystic powers due to the fact he doesn't have a mystic weapon of his own.
- Instead of a weapon, he carries a mystic crystal in his goggles, which makes him able to see mystical activities and energy hidden from the naked eye.
- Donnie's field of study revolves around engineering, robotics, and technology. He thinks Geology is lame.
- Donnie's Tech-Bō is made out of high-grade titanium. He also has a bust of his head made from the same material.
- A running gag is that Donnie's inventions tend to go rogue.
- In "Smart Lair" Donnie made an A.I. robot named S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. to clean up the lair.
- Donnie seems to be very fond of S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N., as he states in "Cloak and Swaggart" that S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N.'s coolant should be changed thrice daily and that he likes a scritch behind one of his nine ears.
- In "Many Unhappy Returns" the prototype of S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. can be seen rolling out of Donnie's battle shell during his fight with the Shredder.
- Donnie apparently has several inventions that are in "beta", such as his FAB (Foam Agent Bonding) spray and his giant drill (as seen in "Donnie's Gifts" and "Stuck on You", respectively).
- Due to his love of dancing, Donnie's computer password is "Bootyyyshaker9000".
- This was also used as his username in the Purple Game.
- Donnie can memorize anything in song form, like rapping.
- As mentioned by Raph in "Snow Day", Donnie sings all the musical parts of Jupiter Jim's Pluto Vacation IV.
- Donnie's least favorite animals are monkeys.
- Donnie's catchphrase is "no probbles".
- In "War and Pizza", Donnie stated that his type is "cute and mean".
- He has a crush on the fictional character Atomic Lass.
- The reason Donnie doesn't wear jackets is that they could get caught in the rotors of his battle shell.
- As shown in "Air Turtle", Donnie is bad at shooting a basketball to the net.
- As shown in "Donnie vs. Witch Town", Donnie believes that he wouldn't be needed if magic is shown to be superior to science.
- He doesn't like Hawaiian Pizza, although his voice actor does.
- Donnie claims to record everything in "The Clothes Don't Make the Turtle".