Her original Chinese name, Mei Pieh Chi (in Wade-Giles romanization system), was given to her by Chung I. Prior to Venus' 1997 introduction, the 1985 TMNT RPG's producer (Palladium Books) released a source book for their "Ninjas and Super spies" line called Mystic China in 1995. It included translations for the components of her name.
Mei can transcribe:
- 美: beauty
- 眉: eyebrow
- 梅: plum
Pieh can mean:
- 河: river
- 鱉: (soft-shelled) turtle
Chi can mean:
- 志: energy
- 气 or 息: breath
- 笛: flute
- 机: machine
However, note that the sources contain several errors:
- 河 'river' is romanized as Ho, not Pieh
- 志 means 'will, determination, aspiration', not 'energy' and is romanized as Chih
- 气 roughly means '(vital) energy' and is romanized as Ch'i
- 息 is romanized as Hsi
- 笛 is romanized as Ti
The most obvious component of her name is 'turtle' (specifically, soft-shelled turtle), although since she was found washed in the sewers, 'river' could also be significant.
Whatever character represents 'beauty' would make sense with her later appearance. It is possible that by the time she was found, she might already be humanoid enough to be considered beautiful to Chung. As the turtles do not have eyebrows, that is not a likely meaning. Nor do we know if Chung is a plum fan.
The 'chi' component is the least obvious. Venus inherited some mystical 'chi magic' abilities, so it could refer to Chung being a proponent for chi-related mysticism. It could also refer to the amphibious nature of turtles in that they can breath in both air and water, so to speak.
In Episode 3, Splinter tells Venus that Chung I told him he thought Venus was good luck, his "Beautiful Turtle of Energy" when he found her in the sewer water and decided to take her back to China with him. While not explicitly stated in any source material to be what characters are used for her name, 'Beauty' (美) 'Turtle' (鱉) and 'Energy' (气) are the most likely based on this line from the television show. Even so, 美鱉气 translates to English "beautiful (soft-shelled) turtle's (vital) energy".
Her bandana is cyan colored, a much lighter blue than Leonardo's. It is braided in the back to resemble a ponytail. Due to being a different gender, she is thinner, leaner, more athletic and slimmer than the other turtles, who are generally stocky and bulky. Her plastron is shaped that at the front, the underside has round protrusions resembling breasts.
Her background involves her being a fifth turtle that was covered with the Mutagen that had mutated the other Turtles, but swept away in the sewers to New York City's Chinatown district. There, she was found by a Chinese Shinobi master known as Chung I. Chung I took her back to his hometown of Shanghai, China, and taught her the way of the Shinobi, raising her for 18 years. Chung I was in possession of a mystical mirror, which kept the dreaded Dragonlord and his minions entrapped within it. Chung I, the appointed guardian of this mirror, was attacked by the Dragons when they crossed over into the realm of dreams, mortally wounding him in his sleep and kidnapping the spirit of Chung I's dream realm friend, Splinter. On his deathbed, Chung I revealed to Mei Pieh Chi her true origin in New York.
Mei Pieh Chi traveled to New York and met the other four Turtles. After using her Shinobi magic to dispatch the "Shredder" persona from Oroku Saki's mind, she went to the dream realm to rescue Splinter's spirit. In doing so, she inadvertently gave the Dragons a way to enter the physical world. The Dragon Lord and his minions first attacked when Venus was alone in Central Park. During combat, the head of a statue of a woman was broken off; 20 minutes later Raphael came to help her. The statue's head was taken to the Turtles' lair and served as inspiration of the male Turtles' nickname for her.
Fictional Character biography
Venus was one of five turtles exposed to mutagen in the sewers. When Splinter gathered up all the turtles, he mistakenly left Venus behind. Somehow making her way to Chinatown, she was discovered by a shinobi magician called Chung I. Chung I took the turtle with him to China where he raised her as a daughter and named her Mei Pieh Chi. He also trained the turtle in the art of Shinobi.
Apparently, Chung I would, on occasion, travel to the realm of dreams and encounter Splinter. Each swapped stories of their turtles, choosing to keep them a secret until the time was right. In his possession, Chung I also had a glass mirror, within which were trapped humanoid Dragons. It was Chung I's purpose to make sure the Dragons would never escape the mirror. The Dragons eventually crossed over into the realm of dreams, attacking Chung I and kidnapping Splinter's spirit. On his deathbed, Chung I revealed to the female turtle her true origin and told her her place was in New York.
Life in New York
The female turtle traveled to New York, where she encountered the four Ninja Turtles watching over the body of their Master, whose spirit was trapped in the realm of dreams. After helping the turtles put an end to the Shredder and the Foot Clan, she then led them on a dream walk to rescue their Master's spirit. Unbeknownst to her, the Dragons used this opportunity to enter the physical world.
To celebrate their seeming victory, the five turtles and Splinter went for a picnic in the park but were attacked by Dragons. In the struggle, a statue of a woman is damaged with her arms broken off. After the turtles win the battle, the female turtle takes the statue with her to the lair. This statue inspired her nickname.
Venus seemed to have lived a sheltered life in China. During the show, Venus was portrayed as blissfully ignorant of some parts of Western life and culture and at times, equally ignorant of life in general. While proficient in fighting techniques, Venus was not trained in Ninjutsu like her turtle friends; in battle, she would use mystical orbs to various different effects.
It was established early on in the series that while the four turtles were raised as brothers, none of them (including Venus) were biologically related. This was done by the writers so as not to eliminate the possibility of a romantic relationship between Venus and one of the four male turtles (with hints leading primarily to the rebellious, quick-tempered Raphael and/or the stalwart, even-keeled leader Leonardo).
Life from 1997 to 2000
After the cancellation of the show, Venus' adventures with the TMNT continued for several years. On the official website a "second season" of sorts was formed in the letters section. Starting in 1996 the Turtles would keep journal entries about their adventures in a shared universe with characters from Mirage continuity, Archie Comics, and the cartoons all together. On October of 1997 "Venus' Venerations" were added to the website, coupled with four tremendously excited Ninja Turtles each expressing their feelings on the new member of their team. Although she only wrote a little more than a dozen letters, she co-existed with Mirage, Archie, cartoon, and Next Mutation characters until the year 2000. In 2001, "Venus' Venerations" was discontinued, and the current storyline continued without any explanation or acknowledgment to her prior existence.
During this time Venus shared many adventures with the boys while they lasted, such as the time they defeated Bonesteel and got him arrested. Then there were two trips to China; the first was to get the rest of Venus' belongings, and the second was to answer the threat of the Dragon Lord. On March 1999 the Turtles had finally ended the Dragon Lord's reign of terror; unfortunately because of Venus' mind trick on the Shredder, he was now a greater threat than ever. Shredder, now reunited with his inner self, attempted to lure Raphael to the dark side, to no avail, and became even more determined to achieve his vengeance. Krang however, offered to help the TMNT put Shredder away for good because he blamed him for all the failings they've had over the years. While the Turtles didn't trust Krang they agreed and secretly planned to end them by trapping them both.
After all the major villains were "defeated forever" for the moment, they decided to help their friends, the Mighty Mutanimals, defeat Murk Mariner. Venus planned to get captured and defeat the pirates from the inside, but Leo and Don especially hated the idea. It reopened just how important she was to them and their species, and caused great tension. However, they were eventually forced to carry the plan out and no one was hurt (with the exception of the pirates). In the last adventure she had with them, Rat King had broken their truce and his minions had eaten or destroyed nearly everything in their lair. After a grueling battle the TMNT were finding it hard to deal with their losses when suddenly the character retroactively ceased to exist; the Rat King had still destroyed their lair, but suddenly there were only four turtles again. No canonical explanation was ever given for her disappearance.
In a 2007 interview director Kevin Munroe elaborated on the instructions Peter Laird gave to him for TMNT. Munroe admitted that among those rules was, "There’s absolutely no mention of Venus de Milo, the female Turtle. You can’t even joke about that with Peter. It’s just one of those things that he hates with a passion.". It is currently unknown if Venus will make future appearances, but seems highly unlikely.
However, in an episode of the 2012 series, Raphael paints a female turtle-human hybrid, done in the style of fifties pin-up girls, named "Venus" on the side of the Turtles' new Party Wagon, and Donatello admires it approvingly.
Venus' existence is considered one of the major controversies regarding TMNT history. She was not well-liked by most fans of the series, and to many, felt like a shoehorned Deus ex Machina.
One source of dislike targeting her stemmed from the fact that Next Mutation was one of the few TMNT universes that explicitly stated that the Turtles were not blood relatives (whereas others would either avoid the issue altogether, or specifically state that they were related, such as the 2007 film). This opened up Venus as a romantic interest for any of the other Turtles, specifically Leonardo and Raphael.
Another source would be the inaccurate portrayal of "Shinobi" arts being treated as some sort of magic, and separate from Ninjutsu. In reality, Shinobi (忍び) is simply another word for Ninja (忍者). Furthermore, Chung I, who was from China, was shown as a Shinobi master. While it is not impossible for a Chinese man to have learned the arts, Shinobi/ninja originated from Japan, and thus, this was an extremely uncommon occurrence of a Chinese ninja in media.
The strongest source of discord from the female Turtle would come from general distaste in the Next Mutation series, which to many was seen as poorly written, and containing goofy humor.
Following Next Mutation's cancellation, Venus has not been featured in any other TMNT media, even as a joking reference. Co-creator Peter Laird has been outspokenly opposed to Venus ever returning in other installments of the TMNT franchise. Her biography on the official site was removed for some time following the series' end, but was restored some time later, on page 2 of the profiles page reserved for "Classic Characters". Page 1 was reversed for "2K3 TMNT Universe Characters".
Kevin Munroe, writer and director of the 2007 TMNT film, was given a set of elaborate rules by Peter Laird regarding the treatment of the characters. In an interview, Munroe remarked that amongst these rules was:
"There’s absolutely no mention of Venus de Milo, the female Turtle. You can’t even joke about that with Peter. It’s just one of those things that he hates with a passion."
When Kevin Smith's friend and frequent collaborator Jason Mewes found out Smith was voicing a role in the 2007 film, Mewes unsuccessfully lobbied to be cast in a role as well. Amongst the pleadings Mewes used, according to an interview with Smith, was "Can't I be the girl turtle?"
Despite a majority of the series' fans having generally negative feelings about her, she does retain a small fanbase, including those rallying for Nickelodeon to return her to the series as well as those who continue to want her out of the franchise.
After multiple letters came in asking if Venus would be in the comic book, Gary Carlson finally wrote in a female turtle as a one page gag in an issue of TMNT Volume 3 (Image). The creature on Vanguard's ship turned out to be an alien that could morph into anything it desired and oddly enough kissed Michaelangelo.
In addition to the TV show, Venus has appeared in various coloring and activity books, as well as an adaption of the episode arc Unchain my Heart and original stories like Shells of Steel and Double Dragon.
In the comics published by Image, Gary Carlson received only a few rules on what not to do, one of which was "No female turtles". However the character is parodied in issue 12, when an artificial morphling named Lurch transformed into a female turtle which looked similar to Venus. Some issues were advertised with the slogan "No girl turtle guaranteed".
2012 TV series
- During 2007 in the 50th episode of Robot Chicken (S3E10 Moesha Poppins) Venus makes a very short cameo 1 minute 26 seconds into "Girl Toys" a segment 3 minutes 50 seconds long, during the show. It reveals that after she was kicked out of the team, she tried to flush herself down the toilet and drowned.
- Adult Swim makes the video available at http://www.adultswim.com/videos/robot-chicken/girl-toys/
- By her admission, Venus can read and write 14,000 characters in 8 dialects of 3 languages spanning the last 10,000 years.
- When wearing the turtle suits, the suit-actor's vision is extremely limited (they are presumably only able to see through a pair of slits that exist under the turtle's bandana along the bridge of their snout), due to this they are nearly blind during certain scenes. This, along with poor editing, results in some interesting mishaps during the show; such as Venus outright missing giving Michelangelo a high five in one episode and Donatello accidentally grabbing her breast in another.
- Each standing at around 5ft in height, there were reportedly three "Venus suits" created for the show, each designed for specific scenes (action scenes, posing scenes, etc). One of the full Venus suits resides within Chiodo Bros. Productions, Inc.; the creative studios behind the costumes for Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, as of 2014.
- Her Name "Venus" is also the name of the Roman goddess of love and desire, known in Greek as Aphrodite. The Venus de Milo is also a statue of Aphrodite found on the Greek island of Milos and housed at the Louvre museum in Paris.
- In "East Meets West, Part 1", Splinter mentions that Raph and the rest of the turtles are almost 18, and by the time of "Enemy of my Enemy", Raph mentions that he and the rest of the turtles are 18.
- Despite popular belief, co-creator Kevin Eastman actually likes Venus as a character and even hopes that she can make a comeback someday now that Peter Laird no longer owns the franchise.
- Her favorite music is from her homeland and Pop music.
- Her favorite foods are soups and tea.
- Her favorite book is "Winnie the Pooh" by A. A. Milne.
- "Venus' Venerations", ninjaturtles.com. Retrieved on 2010-10-27.
- "Director Kevin Munroe on TMNT". Animated-Views.com. April 9, 2007. Retrieved April 17, 2007.
- "TMNT: The Rennaissance Reptiles Return", Kung Fu Magazine. Retrieved on 2010-08-18.
- Animated Views. Retrieved on March 17, 2009.
- ComingSoon.net. Retrieved on March 17, 2009.
- "Nickelodeon: Bring Venus Back", iPetitions. Retrieved on 2012-01-30.
- "Nickelodeon: Keep Venus Away", iPetitions. Retrieved on 2013-02-26.
- Books & comics, Archive Retrieved 2017-11-21.
- E-mail interview with Gary Carlson, Retrieved 2010-07-06.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 3 #12, Retrieved 2010-07-06.
- Kevin Eastman Talks TMNT 2, Comic Death, And Venus De Milo [Awesome Con], Retrieved 2018-03-24.