Oroku Saki (also known as The Shredder) was the leader of the Foot Clan. He was the main villain of the Fred Wolf Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Animated Series. Shredder was frequently assisted by his mutant henchmen, Bebop and Rocksteady, and was bossed around by Krang, until season 9, where he was replaced by Lord Dregg.
Shredder was mainly voiced by the late James Avery, who was known for playing Phillip "Uncle Phil" Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. However, in a few episodes, he was voiced by Pat Fraley, Jim Cummings, Townsend Coleman, and Dorian Harewood as fill-in actors. From the eighth season onward, Shredder was voiced by Bill Martin.
As evidenced by his brother Kazuo Saki, in this adaptation, Saki was the family surname of Shredder and not his given name, as it is in all other incarnations.
In that incarnation, Oroku was used as his given name (whereas it is normally his family surname).
In other incarnations, "Oroku Saki" is the Japanese order of the character's name (family then given) but it was used as the English order (given then family) in this series. This would make the Japanese ordering of this incarnation "Saki Oroku", which would normally be the English ordering of the character's usual name.
However, in the episode, "The Legend of Koji", Oroku Saki was the descendant of Oroku Sancho, and thus retained the Japanese naming order.
Oroku Saki is a member of the Foot Clan, a Japanese ninja dynasty founded by an ancient ancestor of Hamato Yoshi, whom Saki came to view as a rival. Jealous of Yoshi's leadership, Saki concocted a plan to usurp him. The arrival of a visiting master sensei to the Foot School proved the perfect opportunity for Saki to make his move. As the class bowed before the visiting sensei, Saki pinned the back of Yoshi's kimono to the wall with a knife, preventing him from bowing to show respect for the sensei, and everyone considered an insult. Then, when Yoshi found the knife and pulled it out, they considered it a plot to kill the sensei, so Yoshi was banished from the Foot Clan. From then on, Saki took over the Foot Clan and took the once noble clan and turned it into an army of crime. Not content with having banished Yoshi from the Foot, Saki went after Yoshi and followed him to New York. We assume that was when Saki somehow met up with Krang, the alien warlord from Dimension X, who armed him with all sorts of technology that ranged from robotic Foot Soldiers to the colossal Technodrome. Wearing new steel bladed armor, Oroku Saki became The Shredder.
After eventually finding Yoshi, Shredder tried to kill him by pouring the mysterious chemical Mutagen down a drain onto him, not knowing it would instead mutate him into a giant rat named Splinter, and also give birth to his worst enemies, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
In the 1987 incarnation, Shredder was voiced by James L. Avery, Sr. most of the time from 1987 to 1993. In total, he played the role in 103 episodes.
After the seventh season, Bill Martin took over the role and voiced the villain in 7 episodes from 1994 to 1996.
Three different voice actors provided Shredder's voice on a fill-in basis during the original Turtles series. Jim Cummings voiced him in 9 episodes between 1991 and 1993, Townsend Coleman (the voice of Michelangelo in the series) voiced Shredder in 7 episodes in 1993, and Dorian Harewood filled in for the role in four episodes between 1989 and 1990 and Pat Fraley also voiced him as baby Shredder in one episode (Leatherhead: Terror of the Swamp) where Shredder fell in mutagen water.
Battles with the Turtles
Shredder brought his crime wave to New York City and sent his men to steal all sorts of advanced technology throughout the city, as well as posing as a security service, where he sent his own men to rob the places that he was supposed to be securing later. When news reporter, April O'Neil started reporting the possibility of Ninjas being responsible for those crimes, Shredder sent his Gang of Thugs to silence her. April, however, was rescued by the Turtles. Later, April discovered Shredder's security front, and he sent his Foot Soldiers to kidnap her, but the Turtles rescued her from the Foot. He even tried flooding the building that April and the Turtles were into the point to which it would explode, not knowing that the Turtles would still escape alive. Shredder then asked Krang for advice, to which the brain reminded him that he gave him all of his technology in exchange for a body that he was supposed to create for him. Krang gave Shredder the idea to mutate his own henchmen into killer mutant animals more powerful than the Turtles and Splinter, and thus, Shredder turned the punks Bebop and Rocksteady into a mutant warthog and a mutant rhinoceros, respectively.
One of Shredder's robots captured Splinter and forced the Turtles to enter the Technodrome to rescue him. There, he attacked them with all sorts of death traps. Once the Turtles made it to Splinter, Shredder formally introduced himself to them, explained his part in the origin of the Turtles, and asked them to join him. When they refused, he sent Bebop and Rocksteady after them. The Turtles defeated them and escaped with Splinter. Next, Shredder tried to kill his enemies by using Baxter Stockman to create an army of Mousers. Shredder managed to capture Michelangelo and had the others surrounded by the Mousers. When Krang saw that his plans worked too well, and thus gave Shredder no need to build him the body that he promised, he himself set Mikey free and helped him destroy the Master Control for all the Mousers. Still refusing to give Krang his body, Shredder instead tried to pull advanced weaponry from Dimension X through the Technodrome's Trans-Dimensional Portal. Doing so, he accidentally set the Neutrinos free into the city. Krang's Rock Soldiers soon followed, and Shredder sent them after the Turtles. After the Turtles sent both the Stone Warriors and their new friends, the Neutrinos back home, Shredder saw that he had no choice but to build Krang his body.
Shredder, however, also invented the Retromutagen Ray Generator, a device that undid mutations. Shredder used it as bait to lure the Turtles to him since he knew that they wanted to restore their Master to his human form. Splinter went alone, since his sons could also be turned back into normal turtles with that device, and was captured. As the Turtles arrived at the Technodrome, they defeated Shredder's forces, as well as Krang's giant-sized robot body, rescued Splinter, and sent the Technodrome back to Dimension X. Stuck in Dimension X, Shredder was forced to follow Krang's orders.
Wanting to return to Earth and get his revenge on the Turtles, Krang finally sent Shredder back to Earth, but completely alone, without his Foot Soldiers or any fancy weaponry. First, Shredder took over a dojo and formed The Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang to frame the Turtles, and then he once again employed Baxter Stockman to help him defeat the Turtles. Though the Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang was soon defeated, Shredder continued to use Baxter for a while until he got fed up with his failures. Krang finally sent Bebop and Rocksteady back to Earth, in exchange for Baxter, which lead to Krang accidentally turning him into a mutant fly. Eventually, Shredder finally gathered the power that he needed to return the Techondrome to Earth, but thanks to Donatello, it was trapped at the bottom of the Earth and was unable to move.
Shredder continued his plans, thanks to Krang's transport modules which lead them to the surface to continue their plans to either destroy the Turtles or gather enough energy to make the Technodrome mobile again. Once the Shredder got the Technodrome back in action, their next move was to open a portal huge enough to send Earth through, where Krang's Stone Warriors would open fire on it. But again, thanks to Donatello, the Turtles sent the Technodrome itself through the portal, had the Stone Warriors open fire on it, and had the Technodrome be stuck on an asteroid in Dimension X. Even that wouldn't be enough to keep the Shredder gone for long, as they used the Dimensional Portal to return to Earth to continue their plans.
The Technodrome continued to be stuck in other places like the bottom of the ocean and the middle of the Arctic until the Turtles finally managed to send the Technodrome back to Dimension X but without Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady in it. The villains resorted to running from hideout to hideout with the Turtles hot on their heels.
It was during that arc that the "Red Sky" Seasons began and Shredder committed one of his most memorable acts. During that time, his goofiness had vanished and Shredder was full of anger and bloodlust to kill the Turtles. While still looking for an appropriate replacement hideout, Shredder was ambushed at the Hall of Science by Berzerko, who kidnapped Krang. After he came to the wrong conclusion that the Turtles had captured Krang, Shredder decided to give them the choice of giving Krang back or letting him blow up the Channel 6 building. After the Turtles fought Berzerko and got Krang back, Shredder laughed triumphantly that they were too late. However, the building was still there and made the Turtles think that Shredder was bluffing. Shredder then said: "I never bluff" and made the building explode. That forced April to get a new job as a freelance reporter and had Burne Thompson start a permanent anti-turtle campaign throughout the city, and blame the Turtles for all of that.
After that, Shredder helped set up their new base in the Hall of Science. Desperate to be rid of the Turtles, Shredder offered the Rat King some mutagen for his rats in exchange for getting rid of the Turtles. However, after the Rat King had managed to temporarily remove the Turtles from the action and claimed his prize, Shredder was shocked to see him betray them for Krang's ultimate weapon. He later kept quiet during the time that H.A.V.O.C. was busy battling the Turtles, and chose instead to focus on getting a portal to Dimension X open to retrieve the Technodrome. Shredder even shot down the ship of warlike aliens to attempt to break the dimensional walls in Earth's dimension to merge Dimension X into his but was stopped by April, Casey Jones, and the Turtles. Shredder had his final battle with the Turtles in Dimension X, where the latter finally trapped Krang and him in there for good in a nearly destroyed Technodrome.
Shredder and Krang would never have returned if it weren't for Mung, who heard rumors about them in "The Power of Three." After Mung told Lord Dregg about their history with the Turtles, Dregg sent Shredder and Krang back to Earth. Shredder didn't want to work with Dregg, so instead, he became a victim of his plans. Dregg had the Turtles, Krang, and Shredder captured and used a device to drain the Turtles' life energy, Shredder's ninja skills, and Krang's intelligence into himself to make him unbeatable. Dregg, however, didn't notice that Shredder had already gotten free, and had escaped with Krang. Shredder later gave some of his own life force to revive Krang, and they both decided to return to finish off Dregg and the Turtles. In the final battle, among the crossfire, the Turtles managed to send Shredder and Krang back to Dimension X. They were never seen again. In the final battle against Lord Dregg, the Turtles returned to Dimension X to find Krang's android body in the Technodrome to use against Dregg, but neither Shredder nor Krang (or Bebop and Rocksteady for that matter) was anywhere to be seen.
However, Shredder's ultimate fate was retconned in the 2012 series finale. Bringing the Technodrome to the 2012 TMNT universe, he and Krang recruited the local Bebop and Rocksteady to help them conquer that universe and, eventually, their native universe as well. Although this Bebop and Rocksteady proved far more competent than their 1987 counterparts (who had been left stranded in the 1987 TMNT universe, still at the center of the Earth), they both betrayed Shredder after realizing his plans would bring about the end of the world. Their betrayal enabled the TMNT of both universes to destroy the Technodrome once and for all, resulting in Shredder and Krang's capture. The 1987 TMNT proceed to bring Shredder and Krang back to the 1987 universe, and it can be assumed (since they no longer have the Technodrome) that both villains were turned over to the police and ultimately incarcerated. In response, the Bebop and Rocksteady of the 1987 universe decide to give up their life of crime and pursue other passions.
It should be noted that Shredder started out as quite the dangerous and merciless villain, especially during the first season. But, as the show got sillier (starting with half-way of season two and the beginning of season three), so did his character, who spouted out wisecracks and one-liners in between fights with the Turtles. Shredder, however, still had impressive ninja skills and was, for the most part, able to take on all four of them at once. As the show got more cartoonish, so did Shredder's plans. His plots were now as silly as to create a fake pizza parlor to lure the Turtles into ordering whatever kind of pizza they wanted, and when Shredder was convinced the pizza was ordered by the Turtles, he put a homing device that looked like an anchovy on it to lure them to the Turtles' Lair. Another such plot had him take over the city's automated garbage trucks and program them to capture the Turtles, but in turn, they captured every kind of normal sea turtle throughout the city. Another plan was to clone Michelangelo, but Shredder was hit by the ray from the device, which made him think that HE was Michelangelo. No matter how complicated or important Shredder or Krang's plans were, they always trusted the always-bumbling Bebop and Rocksteady to carry it out, which of course, lead to their downfall.
It was due to Shredder and Krang's Mutagen that led to most of the mutants and other beings on the show, whether they sided with them or not. Some of the mutants created by Shredder besides the main cast, whether intentional or not, would include The Punk Frogs, Leatherhead, Groundchuck, Dirtbag, Mutagen Man, and Muckman, as well as turning Baxter Stockman into a mutant fly. Shredder was also responsible for the creation of Chrome Dome, and he also created the Turtle's Rogue Gallery. It was also his version of the trans-dimensional portal that interfered with Donatello's version that led to Usagi Yojimbo being stuck in their world.
Shredder and Krang also argued a lot, mostly due to the fact that Shredder despised taking his orders when he used to be the guy in charge. Despite the fact that Shredder had double-crossed Krang several times in the past, during their final appearance, it appeared that their friendship had grown. There were many times that Shredder could have just left Krang at the mercy of the Turtles or Lord Dregg, but he always rescued him and even went as far as to donate his own life energy to save him.
Shredder's Family was presented in three episodes. In the episode, Shredder's Mom, Shredder's mother, Miyoko Saki, helped Shredder and Krang in an attempt to destroy the world's climate. In that episode, Miyoko first learned of her son's criminal activities and proved herself to be just as villainous. However, Miyoko constantly treated Shredder like a baby, until he got fed up with it and transported her back to her retirement home on Earth.
In the episode, My Brother, the Bad Guy, it was revealed that Shredder had a younger brother, Kazuo Saki who worked as a police lieutenant in Tokyo. Kazuo and the Turtles tried to join forces to stop one of Shredder's plans, but his fervent respect of the law clashed with the Turtles' "whatever it takes" attitude.
Finally, the episode, The Legend of Koji featured Saki's distant ancestor, Oroku Sancho, who lived in Japan in 1583. He was the leader of a small clan and was every bit as wicked as his descendant. When Shredder offered to help him find magical relics that would provide him with power and wealth, Sancho took the Shredder's information, betrayed him, and ordered his men to kill him. However, Sancho was also a coward, and when he broke down in the face of danger, his men abandoned him.
That family tree leads to a bit of confusion regarding whether Shredder's given name was Oroku and his last name Saki (as indicated by the fact his brother shared the name Saki), or the other way around (as indicated by the fact his ancestor's name was Oroku). That question was never resolved on the show, although Mirage Comics added more evidence for Oroku being the family name; Saki's brother was Oroku Nagi. This follows Japanese naming conventions, which place the family name before an individual's given name.
Shredder, along with Krang, Rocksteady, and Bebop, was the main character in Turtles Forever. After a routine battle with the Turtles in which the Technodrome's Interdimensional Portal was accidentally damaged, a temporal anomaly occurred which trapped the Technodrome and all participants in the 2003 Universe. Shredder sought aid from the Utrom Shredder to help defeat the Turtles, but that attempt backfired: Ch'rell simply took over the Technodrome and upgraded it to a lethally armed mobile fortress. Shredder and Krang appeared as background characters following that coup d'etat, finally grew disillusioned with Ch'rell, and they aided the Turtles in their final battle against their common enemy. Afterward, Shredder and Krang returned with 'their' Turtles to their home dimension on a temporary truce, though they swore that they would get back to business with their archenemies soon enough.
2012 TV Series
Shredder is seen inside the Technodrome along with Krang to activate the Interdimensional portal to invade New York City in the 2012 Universe. Shredder notices they are going without Bebop and Rocksteady making him furious at Krang for leaving them behind, they go through the portal to the next universe. Shredder and Krang arrive at the foreign universe where Saki realizes he is more solid and is confused on where they are since Rocksteady and Bebop are still in the 1987 Universe, Shredder opens a message calling any mutant warthog and rhinoceros for work. Shredder and Krang are at a coffee shop where they meet the counterparts of Bebop and Rocksteady, Anton Zeck and Ivan Steranko. During the interview, Shredder denies giving the jobs to them because they look more ridiculous than the original Rocksteady and Bebop. After being forced by Krang, Shredder takes Bebop and Rocksteady for a test to see if they could take him down. Many attempts later, the two mutants succeed in impressing the Shredder and beating him. Shredder invites them back to the Technodrome and needs their help to power it back up to invade New York. Shredder is happy that the Turtles had been captured but his celebration ends when the 2012 Ninja Turtles arrive. Krang panics and tells Shredder that those Turtles are way more dangerous than "their" turtles, Shredder orders Bebop and Rocksteady to destroy the 2012 Turtles but they fail and they get away with the 1987 Turtles.
An angry Shredder blames Bebop and Rocksteady for their failure and sends them to get a transmitter chip from the Earth Protection Force's base, but this time, he unleashes the Foot Soldiers to assist them with their heist. When Bebop and Rocksteady were in trouble by the 2012 and the 1987 Turtles along with April O'Neil and Casey Jones, Shredder entered the battle with his Foot Soldiers shocking everyone. While he was taunting, Karai appears and confronts Shredder and swears to take him down this time, a confused Shredder did not have a chance to fight back because he doesn't fight girls and he is easily beaten by her who is then attacked by the Foot Soldiers. After the battle, Shredder and Krang force Bebop and Rocksteady into labor by cleaning the floors and doing laundry but gets mad when they messed his socks up. They send them on a mission to infiltrate TCRI to get Kraang crystals and later assists them as their "Getaway Driver" before running over Slash and Leatherhead.
Shredder and Krang are so happy Bebop and Rocksteady got the Kraang crystals so they finally appreciate their work by allowing them to help them with the destruction of the world. Shredder activates the drill of the Technodrome to reach the surface. Krang notices that the Turtles and Mutanimals are fighting back against the Technodrome so he unleashed a portal to Dimension X so that the Rock Soldiers can come through while Shredder is drunk from partying and assures a frustrated Krang that they will succeed. Shredder attacks the Turtles again and nearly succeeds but Bebop and Rocksteady turn against them and assists the Turtles in beating Shredder and Krang. After the failed invasion, they blow up the Technodrome with Shredder angry at them for doing that and betraying them but Shredder is then knocked out by Leatherhead who is tired of seeing Shredder every time. Shredder and Krang are banished back to the 1987 Universe.