I just rewatched Toy Story 3, so I’m in an extremely nostalgic mood today. Going with the feeling, I decided to pay a visit to my parents’ home and snag my bins of action figures from The Long, Long Ago. Yes, I have a Buzz Lightyear, and a Woody, but neither of those are my favorite toy ever. That special honor goes to Michelangelo, or more specifically, my Michelangelo capable of mutating into a baby turtle. Take a short trip with me now while I describe this Forget-Me-Not.
Ninja Turtles were just a thing I knew and loved all throughout childhood. I worshipped the four ninja teens like they were rock icons and collected every single piece of merchandise I could come across. Naturally, birthday parties were an event I expected at least one new Ninja Turtle action figure to make an appearance, and while I can’t rightfully recollect the exact date I received my Mutating Mike, I can recall that he became invaluable within my life.
The reason behind this was his added range of motion over the standard “classic” Michelangelo figures. Classic Michelangelo could move his arms up and down, and his legs were connected to his body on pivot joints, but other than his head moving side-to-side and his wrists having twist joints, he couldn’t move in any elaborate fashion. That’s where Mutating Mike had the advantage: His shoulders were pivot joints and his feet could bend at the bottom of the shin, meaning he could pose like he was swimming, diving, leaping, kicking, or all sorts of other moves.
The way I played just demanded more from him in terms of range-of-motion. I had plotlines within my toys, but most of those plotlines eventually broke down into all-out brawls. Dragonball Z overtook the majority of the main characters, like a whole squadron of Buzz Lightyears invading the toy room, but Mutating Mike stayed the center of all the action, thanks in part to those extra ball joints at his shoulders and hips, as well as his flipping feet.
A few of my favorite plotlines included the Turtle Blimp dangling Mike from a rubber band, leaping off a giant cliffside (my bookshelf), and deciding to quit the hero business altogether until the very last second, ala Peter Parker in Spiderman 2.
I even had a Mutating Donatello from the same line, but he was relegated to the sidekick role alongside Mondo Gecko. Why? I was never quite sure. I had a plotline later on where Mike was prepping Don to take over as the main character should he die for one reason or another (an army of Majin Buus were a looming threat), but Don just couldn’t fill that hero role well enough, therefore Mike was brought back in to save the day.
He was the leader of all my toys and should they wander around my room when I’m away, I have no doubt Mutating Mike is the one up on the box with a loudspeaker in hand instructing the other toys what to do during the next move. Goku’s probably standing nearby trying to teach the other toys how to transform into a Super Saiyan, but Mike will just roll his eyes and remind Goku that he’s a toy. A Japanese toy, but a toy nonetheless.
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