Master Splinter, once known as Hamato Yoshi and by the stage name Lou Jitsu, is a descendant of the Hamato Clan, a former martial arts movie star and the (partially/its complicated) biological father and (sometimes) sensei of the Mad Dogs.
As a human, Yoshi was a tall and lean Japanese man with black hair combed over into a pompadour, black eyes, light-toned skin, and perfect abs. His attire usually consisted of outfits resembling wingsuits, with glasses or sunglasses worn over his eyes.
As a mutant, Splinter is a short, plump rat. His color palette resembles his 2012 TV series incarnation compared the more typical brown rat design: grey fur, as well as white fur in his ears, white hair with a section tied into a top bun, white bushy eyebrows and a goatee to compliment. He has golden yellow eyes, a red-pink nose, black whiskers on his cheeks, his arms and legs are pink (with his hands having five fingers instead of the usual four) and a small tear on his right ear. Splinter wears a black hair tie to hold up his white chonmage and a brown yukata with orange trim and red lotus flowers printed on it.
In some episodes of Season 2, his yukata appears to be longer, much like a kimono, and the Hamato Clan symbol is branded on the left side of his chest.
Splinter, unlike his previous incarnations, is laid-back and very lazy. He is absent-minded and seems to have trouble remembering his sons' names, often referring to them by their mask colors. He also attempts to stir up mischief and trouble with his sons when bored, including stealing the Turtle Tank in "The Fast and the Furriest." Splinter came off as an extremely flawed (albeit loved) father figure; he often treated his sons flippantly and was mention to not spend much time in family outings ("Turtle Tots", "Turtle-dega Nights: The Ballad of Rat Man"). However, he is shown to take action when needed, like in episodes such as "Origami Tsunami" and "Mrs. Cuddles." Also as shown in "The Evil League of Mutants," Splinter deeply cares about his sons and their safety.
How strictly he treats the boys can vary. He slowly grew more serious as the first season progressed, especially after learning of the existence of the Shredder. Despite his previous indolence, Splinter became very serious in training the Mad Dogs to perfect their fighting skills, albeit in unorthodox ways (e.g., Lou Jitsu movies). This apparent contradiction was eventually explained, as in the past he developed a distaste for fighting, refusing to put himself (or his sons) in that position again.
Childhood and rise to fame
Hamato Yoshi is a descendant of the Hamato ninja clan who defeated the Shredder 500 years ago and trained themselves to be warriors to fight against the Foot Clan and prevent the Shredder's return. When Yoshi was just a boy, he heard the story of how the Shredder was defeated from his grandfather, Sho, but on that same day, Yoshi's mother, Atsuko, left her father and son so that she can perform her duty as a Hamato, which greatly saddened Yoshi.
For many years afterwards, Yoshi trained under Sho in martial arts so that he may defeat Shredder should he be resurrected, quickly becoming a master of it. However, Yoshi's sadness over his mother leaving him eventually turned to bitterness towards his own clan, leading him to disbelieve the existence of the Shredder. Then one day, as a teenager, Yoshi entered an argument with his grandfather, which led to him deciding to abandon his family duties so that he can pursue his dream of going to Hollywood to become a movie star.
Using the skills he was taught, Yoshi quickly rose to fame and fortune as the action star known as "Lou-Jitsu". Then one day, he was visited by Grandpa Sho, who demanded that Yoshi end his career so that he can come back home to fulfill his true destiny. However, Yoshi sternly refused one more time before closing his trailer's door in his face. Seeing that Yoshi has truly cut ties with his clan, the saddened Sho chose to respect his grandson's wish and left, never to speak to him again. Yoshi watched from the window as his grandfather walked away, slightly remorseful for he treated his former teacher.
Kidnapping and mutation
When shooting for a film, Yoshi met Big Mama, who drove his trailer, and the two started a romantic relationship. However, Yoshi was unaware that she is a Yōkai, despite some obvious signs. After attempting to propose to her, he was thrown into the Battle Nexus , where he triumphed over his opponents. Sometime later, Yoshi had sworn off of fighting in the Nexus and tried to resume a more peaceful lifestyle where he not harm any living creatures.
However, his fame in the Battle Nexus attracted the attention of Baron Draxum, who wished to use his DNA to mutate an army that would serve him. It was through this process that the Mad Dogs were mutated from ordinary reptiles, making Yoshi the biological father of their human genes. However, unwilling to watch innocent creatures be turned into monsters for Draxum's cause, Yoshi freed himself and destroyed Draxum's laboratory, causing Draxum to believe that the Mad Dogs had been killed in the fire. In the midst of his escape, Yoshi released Draxum's other test subjects and a rat bit his finger just after his exposure to the ooze, causing his mutation. He doesn't remember everything from his transformation into his current form.
Splinter remained unaware of his sons' contact with Draxum and the Foot Clan until the events of "Shadow of Evil". Upon discovering evidence of the Foot Clan, he impersonated a teenager and managed to spy upon his enemies, discovering that they were reassembling the Kuroi Yōroi. Realizing that this foreboded the possible return of the Shredder, Splinter pretended to be a member of the Clan in order to take a piece of the armor. This attempt was thwarted by Draxum and, unwittingly, his sons. Upon escaping without the armor piece, Splinter promised to tell his sons "everything" and stated that they were "way behind" on their destiny.
As reflected in his status as the most popular martial arts movie star of all time, Splinter is a very skilled fighter, capable of defeating all four of his sons at the same time even when out of shape. He has also shown to be an extremely adept improvisational fighter, using items such as fish and ladders as weapons.
- Raphael: Apart from Mikey, Raph and Splinter seemed to have the most conversations that showed their bonds of family. In the episode "Mrs. Cuddles", Splinter helped Raph defeat the giant rabbit growing from screams. After locking her away, Splinter announced they should free his brothers and April, who were all taken captive by Mrs. Cuddles. However, he then says "Eventually", being well aware this was their fault to begin with for teasing Raph over his fear of the puppet. In the season 2 finale, he demotes Raph of being leader of the team and gives the position to Leo, much to Raph's sudden shock.
- Donatello: They have somewhat of an difficult relationship. Splinter trusts Donnie with taking tasks more seriously and Donnie likes getting attention from him.
- Leonardo: Leo was the one that would get on his bad side most of the time. But there are times that he gets impressed by him. Splinter makes Leo leader in the season 2 finale.
- Michelangelo: Splinter loves his most affectionate son. Mikey helps Splinter improve his relationship with Draxum in "Hidden City's Most Wanted"
- April O'Neil: As a close friend of the family, April is much like a big sister to the Mad Dogs. But April's relationship with Splinter is not quite like that of Splinter's relationship with his sons; Splinter and April are not responsible for or answerable to one another other in the ways a father or daughter would be. They are nevertheless still close friends, no matter how badly Splinter behaves or how strongly April criticizes him. Splinter is also less hesitant to express his appreciation for April's talents, even as he seldom expresses similar appreciation to his own sons who crave it from him all the more for being their father. It was not difficult for Splinter and his sons to regard April as a kind of surrogate family, but later on April would formally be acknowledged by clan matriarch Hamato Karai as truly being a member of the Hamato Clan.
- Piebald: Piebald was his beloved pet fish. After she mutated, she revealed that saw Splinter as her father. They have since gotten along well, conspiring along with Franken-Foot to play a prank on the Mad Dogs for having originally flushed Piebald down the toilet and lying about it.
- S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N.: When Donatello first invented S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N., his first tech demonstration was to show how S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. could make Splinter's life more convenient. S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. was also made sentient in his own right, and when Draxum, before his redemption, had captured the Mad Dogs and held them hostage, Splinter recruited S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. as part of a B-Team (along with Splinter, April, Bullhop, Franken-Foot and Todd) to go rescue them. Later, when Donnie upgraded S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N.'s software to version 13 and S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. started behaving like an obstinate teenager, Donnie would start frequently yelling at S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. and handing out harsh, arbitrary punishments. Donnie's brother Michelangelo pointed out that the way Donnie was treating S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. was the same way Splinter treated Donnie, establishing a multi-generational pattern of parental dysfunction. This also acknowledged that S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. was effectively Splinter's grandson, though the two were never shown interacting much after S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N.'s first appearance. S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. would later sacrifice his own life trying to save his family from an onslaught by the Shredder during the destruction of their lair.
- Bullhop: For a time, Bullhop lived in the lair with Splinter and the Mad Dogs as they helped Bullhop adjust to his new mutation. Splinter and Bullhop were never shown interacting much, but when Draxum (before his redemption) had captured the Mad Dogs and held them hostage, Splinter summoned Bullhop's help as part of a B-Team (along with Splinter, April, Franken-Foot, S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. and Todd) to go rescue them.
- Todd Capybara: Splinter once entrusted Todd to teach the Mad Dogs wilderness survival training. And when Draxum, before his redemption, had captured the Mad Dogs and held them hostage, Splinter summoned Todd's help as part of a B-Team (along with Splinter, April, Bullhop, Franken-Foot and S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N.) to go rescue them. Splinter, like so many others, is fond of Todd's lemonade.
- Baron Draxum: The other of the Mad Dogs' two fathers, along with Splinter. Draxum and Splinter share a complicated history that goes back to shortly before the Mad Dogs were mutated. Draxum was no fan of Lou Jitsu's movies, but he was nevertheless in awe of Lou's formidable might and fiery will, and coveted the human warrior's DNA to create formidable warriors who would be raised to serve Draxum. Draxum helped Lou escape Big Mama's servitude in exchange for Lou agreeing to be Draxum's laboratory subject, but their arrangement quickly soured when Lou opposed Draxum's plan for the mutant turtles they had just created together, and Lou destroyed Draxum's lab and fled with the turtles who he would raise as his own sons. Draxum was reintroduced to the now-teenage Mad Dogs almost thirteen years later, recognized them and demanded they serve him as warriors as he had intended; unlike Lou Jitsu, Draxum still had too much darkness in him and wanted to possess his creation, rather than seeing them as his sons as Lou had. It was through Draxum that the Mad Dogs learnt for the first time that their human mutation father had always been Lou Jitsu. But it wasn't until Draxum met Lou again in person that he learnt Lou had become a mutant rat who called himself "Splinter;" it was through Draxum at the same time that the Mad Dogs discovered for the first time that their father Splinter had actually been Lou Jitsu all along. Later, Draxum captured the Mad Dogs, holding them hostage and demanding Splinter exchange his last piece of the Kuroi Yōroi for their safe release, which Splinter eventually relented to. Draxum and Splinter met again later, after Draxum had already been betrayed by his Foot Clan partners, his life force drained almost to death by the dark armor, become a wanted fugitive unable to return to the Hidden City, and their son Michelangelo shown Draxum the real love of a son. Mikey had tricked Splinter and the rest of his family into having dinner at Draxum's new apartment, but Draxum and Splinter loathed each other and the other sons didn't think much better of Draxum. Mikey's influence would later be instrumental in Draxum coming to a genuine change of heart by willingly risking his own life to save the lives of strangers; from then on, Draxum's sons started to accept him, and he gradually started loving them as his own sons, but Draxum and Splinter were still openly hostile to each other. Later, during a family tourism trip to the Hidden City (where Draxum wore a cloaking brooch to disguise himself from the authorities), Mikey arranged for Draxum and Splinter to be his only company during their outing, in the hopes that he could inspire them to finally get along, After some initial conniving between the two fathers, Draxum's cover was blown, and all three had to hide from the police in a dumpster; here, Draxum and Splinter were finally forced to face each other and talk, at first as a paint-peeling verbal fight about all the reasons they despised each other. But, almost like a miracle, Splinter realized he would never have had his sons in his life if Draxum had not made it happen, and Draxum recognized that he had wronged Splinter and appreciated that they were both fathers of a son who loved each of them, and this was enough for Draxum and Splinter to at least start trusting one another as the other of two parents of these children they had created together. From then on, for the most part, Draxum and Splinter started treating each other with respect, at least in front of their sons, and they would join together to fight in the defense of their sons when they were in danger. Later, after the Shredder had destroyed the lair and taken both Draxum and Splinter prisoner without their sons, at first it seemed that Draxum would again readily betray Splinter for Draxum's own self-interest, but Draxum had only feigned betraying Splinter in an attempt to attack their captors; when Splinter apologized for momentarily doubting Draxum's honor, Draxum replied, "You better be." The two fathers were now truly allies, with or without their sons, and would not turn on each other again.
- Franken-Foot: When Draxum, before his redemption, captured the Mad Dogs and held them hostage, Splinter recruited Franken-Foot as part of a B-Team (along with Splinter, April, Bullhop, S.H.E.L.L.D.O.N. and Todd) to go rescue them. Franken-Foot also once conspired with Splinter and Piebald to play an elaborate horror prank on the Mad Dogs to punish them for previously flushing Piebald and lying about it. Franken-Foot otherwise lives in the lair with Splinter and the Mad Dogs.
- Cassandra Jones: This Foot recruit was initially ordered by her Foot Clan superiors to watch more Lou Jitsu movies, at a time when none of them even knew if Lou Jitsu was still around, much less that he was a mutant rat who would become their enemy. On this basis, Casey had already come to hold Splinter in esteem, even when they were on opposing sides. One time, when Casey had briefly taken Splinter prisoner, and she came to realize that her brownie business would not help the Foot Clan in the ways she had hoped, the two ended up bonding, with Splinter cheering Casey up with a pep talk and telling her a story about April and her lifetime of perseverence, though without mentioning April by name. From then on, even as enemies, Splinter and Casey considered each other friends. It was later, when Casey felt split between her loyalty towards the Shredder and her desire not to harm Splinter, that she finally made a choice to turn against the Shredder and protect Splinter; very soon after, Casey helped the rest of the Hamato Clan finally destroy the Shredder. No longer bound to the Shredder or the Foot Clan, Casey was finally not just a friend, but also an ally to Splinter and his family.
- Mayhem: Splinter and Mayhem have never been shown interacting much, but Mayhem as April's pet is a frequent visitor in the lives of Splinter and the Mad Dogs. When Splinter had been injured in a fight with Draxum after the latter had started wearing the fully-assembled Kuroi Yōroi, Mayhem teleported Splinter to safety.
- Sunita: Splinter and Sunita have never been shown interacting much, but Sunita as April's friend is an occasional visitor to the lair, and Splinter once entrusted April and Sunita to be the lair's housesitters when he and the Mad Dogs intended to head out for some wilderness survival training.
- Big Mama: Big Mama was the first Yōkai (or mutant of any kind) to become a regular part of Splinter's life, back when he still used the stage name Lou Jitsu. Big Mama originally worked (or posed) as the truck driver of Lou Jitsu's filming trailer; Lou fell for Big Mama, but she also loved him back in her own duplicitous way. One day, Lou asked Big Mama to marry him, but it was then that Big Mama finally dropped her human disguise, revealed that she had always been a spider Yōkai, and kidnapped him to the Hidden City, an act which effectively permanently disappeared him from human society and forced him to begin a new life in the Hidden City. Big Mama forced Lou to fight in the Battle Nexus as her mightiest champion; the two broke up, and Lou gradually became a broken man without passion in his life, and this was the condition Baron Draxum found Lou Jitsu in when Draxum helped him escape Big Mama's servitude. But even after all this, and after Lou mutated into a rat, started calling himself "Splinter," and became the single father of four mutant turtles, he still loved the person Big Mama had once been to him before his kidnapping. When the Foot Clan used Draxum to help them complete the Kuroi Yōroi and the Shredder was let loose on the world, Splinter and Leonardo approached Big Mama directly at the Grand Nexus Hotel. Big Mama found Lou Jitsu even more attractive as a mutant rat, and their mutual chemistry for each other proved undiminished even if they now had little reason to trust one another. To Splinter's horror, Leo struck a bargain with Big Mama, involving his own father fighting once again in the Battle Nexus arena against a particularly deadly set of opponents in exchange for a device in Big Mama's possession which could imprison the Shredder; Big Mama treacherously tried to alter the terms of their agreement at the last second, but Leo had already predicted this, and ended up outwitting both Big Mama and his own father to execute his cunning plan. The former lovers would part on affectionate, if not entirely happy, terms. Big Mama would later use the enslaved Shredder, disguised and now called "Shadow Fiend," as part of a plot to take over New York City and turn it into the new Battle Nexus, which involved enslaving nearly all the city's inhabitants—Splinter included—inside the Mystic Orb that Draxum had once bartered to her. In the course of events, Draxum managed to free himself, Splinter, April O'Neil and the Foot Recruit from the orb on their own, but they were forced to face Shadow Fiend. The ensuing battle ended up backfiring on Big Mama when the Foot Recruit seized control of the Shredder from her. Before this could happen, Splinter arranged an escape for himself, Draxum and their family, and surprisingly also asked Big Mama to escape with them, as the two still loved each other even after all that had happened and Splinter believed there was some redeemable good in her. Splinter ultimately failed to save Big Mama, and she was helpless to prevent a wrathful Foot Recruit from completely toppling her high-rise hotel in revenge for having enslaved the Shredder; Big Mama's own life was spared so that she would have to live with what she had lost. Later, after the Shredder followed Hamato Karai to the Mad Dogs' lair, destroyed the lair and captured Splinter and Draxum, the Mad Dogs tracked Big Mama one more time to her Yōkai hospital bed and told her what happened to Splinter; while Big Mama now had the more-than-well-earned status of being the Mad Dogs' enemy, her love for Splinter was still believably genuine, and she peacefully gave them the information they needed to locate Splinter and save his life. Whenever Splinter and Big Mama are together, even when they meet as enemies, they are quick to tactile affection and addressing each other with endearing pet names.
- Mrs. Cuddles: Splinter hates Mrs. Cuddles for kidnapping his family and her show taking over his TV schedule.
- Huginn & Muninn:
- The Shredder: The Hamato Clan was in possession of the Kuroi Yōroi's face plate for generations as a family heirloom, which they had come to use as a tea kettle they named Skully. The reveal of the Shredder being real is what led Splinter to take training the Mad Dogs more seriously.
- Foot Clan: The Foot Clan are the sworn enemies of the Hamato Clan.
- Kristoff Van Bradford: Splinter describes him as "An Atrocious Actor Who Is Dishonorable To His Core". He hated him for taking over his Lou Jitsu Dojos and his dishonored cheating ways of fighting.
"I will never marry any of them off."
"You will never walk the Earth again, Shredder."
"Oh, and Blue you are the leader now."
- Splinter is voiced by Eric Bauza, the same actor who voiced Tiger Claw in the 2012 TV series.
- Throughout most of Season 1, it was hinted that Splinter was once Lou Jitsu (and Hamato Yoshi).
- Throughout Lou Jitsu's appearances until "Shadow of Evil", he has been credited as "Additional Voices" and not as "Lou Jitsu".
- Like with most celebrities, he keeps copies of most of his merchandise. But the episode "Late Fee" suggests he may not keep copies of all his own films, as he had rented one of his films and the episode's plot involved his sons' attempts to return it on time.
- The name "Lou Jitsu" appears to be a pun of the term jiu jitsu, an outdated romanization of the word jūjutsu (柔術), which is the name of a Japanese martial art. The former variation is still used in derivative arts, such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
- Lou Jitsu's human form slightly resembles the singer Elvis Presley. and the actor Jackie Chan.
- According to an interview, the reason that Splinter seemed out of shape is without immediate the threat of the Shredder, Lou's growing disgust for fighting, and (based on Baron Draxum's comments) his fear of treating his sons as weapons, he had no exact reason for training the Turtles. However, after they learn about threats such as Baron Draxum and the fact that the Foot Clan is planning to revive the Shredder, he begins training the Turtles more seriously.
- According to Leo, Splinter always falls asleep after eating milk and cake.
- Lou Jitsu's eyewear as a human strongly resembles Kamina and Simon's sunglasses from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
- While in Big Mama's Battle Nexus, Lou Jitsu briefly had a pet rat. This was a reference to previous incarnations of Hamato Yoshi having a pet rat that would later become Splinter.
- Splinter is the one of only two main characters in "Tales of the Hidden City" who does not get arrested, the other being Michelangelo.
- Out of the four Turtles, Splinter refers to Donatello and Leonardo by their mask color the most.
- In a flashback, Lou's difficulty coming up with good names for the Turtles might be this continuity's explanation of why the Turtles wear colored headbands versus the Hamato Clan's colors (which appear later) being all red.
- The running gag of being unable to tell his sons apart (which is sometimes implied to be intentional teasing) is ironic given each turtle is a different species in this continuity.
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- Hamato Yoshi (Rise of the TMNT)/Animations
- Hamato Yoshi (Rise of the TMNT)/Appearances