Michelangelo is known for his love of pizza and innocent comic relief. He loves to skateboard, surf and party. Michelangelo has a free-spirited character, with a hopelessly innocent and romantic heart. When he meets Kala, the Neutrino girl from Dimension X, he develops a crush on her which is reciprocated. He is sometimes seen preparing meals for the group. Michelangelo is often the target for Raphael to mock and there is a recurrent theme of him exceeding the low expectations that others have of him - and sometimes even his own expectations of himself.
In two episodes, Michelangelo assists a superhero he admires named Bugman. He also collects comic books of his adventures and his action figures. In another, he demonstrates his ability to communicate with a pigeon named Pete.
Michelangelo was well known for his surfer lingo and the catchphrase "Cowabunga" and became perhaps the most recognizable of the turtles in the early 1990s.
Michelangelo was sometimes seen as the most empathetic with the group, connecting with a young alien in "The Starchild" despite the alien's destructive powers. Similarly, he is able to form strong friendships with a futuristic robot named Big Macc and the mutant outcast Mondo Gecko. This version of Michelangelo later appears with a few recognizable cartoon characters in Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue.
He also seems to have a strong affinity for animals, ranging from a stray kitten that wandered into the lair to exotic pets like a parrot he named Ditto. Unlike the other Turtles, he has had multiple pets or animal companions, which he typically became very emotionally attached to, to the point of chasing his pet fish Max into a sewer full of migrating fish. He had a particularly strong bond with Pete, the pigeon that he nursed to health after finding him with a broken wing.
In one point of a season 3 episode, Usagi Yojimbo Donatello called Michelangelo “Mikey”. This is the only instance in the 1987 series where one of the turtles is acknowledged by their nicknames.
He and the other members also appear in the 2012 series, first making a brief cameo in Wormquake! and then The Wrath of Tiger Claw. Unlike Turtles Forever, he and the other characters are voiced by their original voice actors. They all then appeared in "Trans-Dimensional Turtles", "Wanted: Bebop & Rocksteady", "The Foot Walks Again!", and "The Big Blow-Out!".
Mikey's personality is that of a "party dude" who adopts the lingo of a California surfer. For the most part, his default mode is light-hearted and upbeat. He’s very positive, although there are occasions when he sulks, such as when he believed the other Turtles had forgotten his birthday. Michelangelo is not as intelligent as the other turtles. However, he often surprises those around him by exceeding their expectations, as he is capable of creative tactics and intelligent maneuvers in battle.
Skills, Powers and Abilities
- Enhanced Strength: Michelangelo possesses significant physical strength, and is capable of overpowering a majority of his foes in combat. He can push and lift things several times bigger and heavier than himself, and run at high speeds while weighted down by objects larger than him. With a single kick, he was capable of sending a foot-bot flying, stagger the extremely powerful Slash, and tear robots apart with only his hands.
- Enhanced Speed: Michelangelo is able to move at great speed, able to free run on rooftops without losing momentum. His reaction speed is faster than the average person, allowing him to dodge projectiles, such as lasers from Kraang's blasters, Kraang Subprime's razor, and attacks from several opponents. He can also spin his nunchaku at incredible speed to add momentum to his strikes, as well as deflecting projectiles with them, even gunfire. He can run faster than even the Olympic-level athletes.
- Enhanced Agility: Michelangelo is the most agile and acrobatic of all his brothers. His bones, muscles, and joints have more elastic strength and endurance, allowing him to perform gymnastic and contortionist maneuvers without damaging his bone structure. He used his agility to outmaneuver and beat multiple Foot soldiers at once, dodge the lasers from the Kraang's blasters, and he seemingly a master at all parkour techniques, and he can easily perform graceful acrobatic maneuvers with ease.
- Enhanced Endurance: Michelangelo's muscles and bones are much harder/denser than normal humans. Michelangelo can survive getting caught in the crossfire from all angles from Bebop and Rocksteady's blasts, as well as enduring a collision when Rocksteady charged at him at full speed, and take a beating from Bebop (which only knocked him out cold briefly). Mickey can also withstand multiple hits from foot-bots, Shredder, and Krang.
- Enhanced Stamina: Michelangelo's body creates far fewer fatigue producing chemical toxins in his muscles than ordinary beings. He can exert himself at his peak performance for an hour without stopping or slowing down. And as a turtle, Michelangelo has exceptional lung capacity, which lets him hold his breath underwater for long periods of time.
- Balance: Mikey's skills as a skateboarder and a ninja give him a great ability with balance.
- Okinawan Kobudō (Nunchaku): Michelangelo was trained by Splinter in the art of the nunchaku. Aside from using them to wrap around an opponent's joints and weapons to disarm, Mikey swings and strikes with them in the manner akin to flails. Given Mikey's unpredictable nature, his able to make extensive use of his nunchucks in rather uncommon but effective ways in a fight as well as mix his attacks with the capoeira fighting style. However, it is highly noticeable that as great as Michelangelo's skills may be, it is nowhere near to the superior level of combat skills his 2012 counterpart has demonstrated. For example, in Wanted: Bebop & Rocksteady, Michelangelo has been trained by his 2012 counterpart in both armed and unarmed combat during his basic training.
- Mastery of Ninjutsu: Mikey is the most agile of all his brothers; his training as a ninja helped to balance and improve this, but his skills in skateboarding and dancing also gives Mikey an edge that will often shock his brothers. Mikey is an extremely good fighter. He's got a great knowledge with ninjutsu, which is why he is a good fighter. He may have the most raw talent of the four, but he does not seem to have the skill or the inclination to develop it.
- Shurikenjutsu: Michelangelo can throw shuriken with remarkable accuracy.
- Master of Stealth: As a ninja, Michelangelo could freely move about New York City while remaining undetected, as well as watch the extremely vigilant 2012 Turtles without them noticing. Additionally, Michelangelo is able to be one with darkness and hide and move within the shadows without being noticed.
- Aviation: Michelangelo has been shown to be able to pilot aircraft, although there has been no story covering how he has developed this ability, outside of potentially clocking in hours on the Turtle Blimp.
- Charisma: As the most fun-loving and easy-going of the turtles, Michelangelo makes friends without much trouble, even in circumstances where he would ordinarily not be able to, and arguably much easier than his brothers.
- Food preperation: Michelangelo is often the one who cooks the family's pizzas when not ordering out or visiting a dining establishment. His concoctions are bizarre and potentially sickening to most people, but his brothers like them just fine.
- Mutant turtle physiology: Michelangelo has the advantages (and potential disadvantages) with being a bipedal turtle of humanoid size and stature. Most prominent, is his shell, a natural armor comprised of the carapace and plastron. Michelangelo also has the capability to swim in a class far exceeding any human, and has additional underwater-based attributes such as the ability to hold his breath longer, increased visibility, and better mobility.
- Unstable mutation: In the end stretch of the series, the turtles underwent secondary mutations caused by the unstable mutagen in their blood. This made the turtles stronger, tougher, and more durable, at the expense of their mental stability and speed, agility, and dexterity.
Weapons and equipment
- Nunchaku: Obviously his signature weapon in most incarnations, his nunchaku are made of two blocks of wood each, chained together. Although the weapon was ordinarily used for locking opponent's joints and trapping weapons, he utilizes them in a way that are potentially equally efficient: as striking flails. This method was popularized by Bruce Lee.
- Manriki-gusari: In A Thing About Rats, Michelangelo proclaims himself "master of the manriki-gusari" before flinging the chained weapon at a pair of Foot Soldiers and wrapping them up with it.
- Turtle Line: The Turtle line is the turtles' grappling hook, with the hook and rope portions receding into a small shell-like design before use. Although all of the turtles used these from time to time, Michelangelo's inability to use the nunchaku due to United Kingdom broadcasting standards had him relying on the Turtle Line much more than the others.
- Bandana: This was the first appearance of what would become his signature orange bandana.
- Joint pads
- Belt: Mikey's belt carries his nunchaku and/or Turtle Line, as well as other minor equipment. It also has an "M" buckle.
- As seen in Turtles on Trial, he suffers from severe stage fright.
- He repeatedly exhibited the ability to pilot aircraft, although it is never revealed how he learned to do so. Episodes in which he pilots planes include Funny, They Shrunk Michelangelo, H.A.V.O.C. in the Streets, and Divide and Conquer.
- Michelangelo is right-handed, as shown in "Michelangelo's Birthday".
- His favorite comic book series is Bugman, which he considers to be "the greatest comic book series ever."
- Michelangelo has had at least two pets, the fish Maxwell and the parrot Ditto (whose actual name was Polly), as well as a monkey named Clyde which he almost immediately returned. He also is inclined to buy pets for others, as he once bought Raphael a pair of Siamese fighting fish.