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Some TMNT stuff really isn't for little kids.
Turning Japanese is issue 31 of the TMNT Adventures, and was published in April 1992.
- Major characters: Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Splinter, April O'Neil Fu Sheng, Chu Hsi, Oyuki Mashimi, Ninjara, Izanagi, Izanami
In the wilderness of Japan, Leonardo and Splinter are dueling. Splinter teaches Leo the basics of Zen, which are the roots of master swordsmanship; to simply “be” and nothing else. As Leo begins to grasp the lesson, Splinter calls their sparing off for lunch. Elsewhere, the Turtles, Ninjara, Fu Sheng, Chu Hsi, Oyuki and April have gathered for a picnic. The Turtles are repulsed at the idea of eating sushi, though Splinter thanks Sheng for preparing the meal nonetheless. After eating, Splinter suggests that the Turtles explore the birthplace of the Foot Clan and their own origins as well, and that they do so individually. Raphael and Ninjara head out to investigate the torii, where the evil from the underworld had seeped through. Michelangelo goes with Oyuki to fly a Japanese kite. April continues a private picnic with Chu. Donatello goes alone to oversee the reconstruction of the demolished power plant. And Leonardo stays behind to continue his training with Splinter.
Raph and the slinky Ninjara check out the torii, which Ninjara explains is a gateway to the realm of demons. Though typically a large amount of power and the proper incantations are needed to activate it, sometimes an open mind is all that is required. As she speaks, Raph begins to hypnotically march toward the torii. Ninjara sees what is happening and pulls him back, remarking that his mind must be full of negative energy in order to appeal to the demonic forces within the torii so quickly. Flirtatiously, she whispers that she likes that in a man. However, her amorous banter is cut short by the scent of cologne on the wind.
At the power plant, Donatello is overseeing the reconstruction and he isn’t pleased. He thinks the idea of ceiling off radiation with concrete is crude and that the entire ordeal reminds him too much of Chernobyl. His finger-wagging is interrupted by a large glowing orb that mysteriously appears before him. Don isn’t sure if it is something demonic leftover from their previous battle or a form of radiation oozing from the power plant.
As the sun sets, Leonardo and Splinter continue their duel. Splinter knocks the katana from Leo’s hand and reminds him of his lessons.
On a hilltop, Oyuki and Mike fly a kite, discussing poetry all the while. Oyuki thinks it’s cool that Mike is into that sort of stuff and the pair begin spouting off goofy haikus.
Elsewhere, Fu Sheng continues to train Chu in controlling the Warrior Dragon as April practices her swordplay. After much effort, Chu manages to transform into the Dragon without growing to skyscraper size. April is impressed and offers him a flower as congratulations.
Back at the torii, Raph and Ninjara are attacked by a gang of thugs; the same thugs that attacked Raph and his brothers in the sewers when they first arrived in Japan. As they take the thugs out with ease, one of them refers to Ninjara as “the greatest thief in all Japan”. Raph is honored to be in her presence.
Don opens up a dialogue with the glowing orb, which reveals itself to be the dual spirits of Yin and Yang. Don follows the orb up a hillside overlooking the concrete radiation enclosure. Before vanishing, the orb tells Don that “every saving has its cost”. Don looks upon the lid of the enclosure, seeing it resemble the yin-yang symbol.
And at the torii, Raph and Ninjara clean up the last of the thugs, though as the final one passes out, he groans that he had actually come to Ninjara for help. Ninjara brushes his words off and wraps her arms around Raph; the fighting having gotten her all frisky.
Speaking of “frisky”, April and Chu are busy making out in front of a full moon. April regrets the kiss as soon as it happens and asks Chu if they can slow down. Chu understands, and together they decide to pay Sheng back for the lunch by taking him out to dinner.
And elsewhere, still practicing, Leo finally forces Splinter to a draw when their katana both shatter upon impact. Splinter reassures Leo that they will acquire a new pair and compliments him on his progress.
High above Japan, the spirit of Yin and Yang transform into the spectral forms of Izanami and Izanagi.
- This story is continued from TMNT Adventures #30. The story continues in TMNT Adventures #32.
- The torri's ability to reach the Underworld will be seen in TMNT Adventures #46.
- Raph and his brothers faced the street thugs in TMNT Adventures #28.
- Mike’s interest in poetry and writing seems to have seeped over from his Mirage counterpart. He was shown taking in interest in the hobby in TMNT (Vol. 1) #17 and, much later, made a career of it in TMNT (Vol. 3).