The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are very popular, and the adventures of these four ninjas are present in different forms of media. People usually speak of them as a collective unit, although each turtle is very individual and has specific personality traits that distinguish it from its brothers. In that aspect, while we usually do speak of them as a unit, we can also analyze them individually, and we are going to do just that by telling you who the smartest, weakest, most, and least intelligent turtle is, so keep reading to find out!
The Strongest Ninja Turtle: Raphael or Leonardo
This category was the toughest to call, so we have decided not to make a call at all and to declare it as a draw. Namely, when sheer power is considered, Raphael is certainly the strongest among the turtles, but we cannot ignore Leonardo’s skills and composure. This is why we have decided not to call this one but to let you make the call for yourselves based on our arguments.
Raphael, the “red Turtle,” is usually depicted as being the most stubborn and hotheaded among the four brothers. Although the original animated series didn’t stress that out too much, later iterations did it. Raphael was even close to becoming somewhat of an antihero rather than a true hero at one point. He is very skilled and generally depicted as the best fighter of the group, likewise the strongest among the four turtles. He trains the most, and he always cherishes both a dangerous situation and a tough opponent, as he is always ready for a challenge.
Still, when he triumphs with his powers, he lacks the necessary composure, which is why he is not the group leader. He cannot really control his emotions that well. He is usually angry and very sarcastic and doesn’t always listen to reason. This is how Raphael’s strength is somewhat balanced out, as his temperament is his biggest, significant weakness.
This is where Leonardo comes in. Namely, Leonardo, the “blue Turtle,” is the group’s leader. Although he also has emotional outbursts, he is generally very calm and rational, i.e., he embodies a true leader. He is by far the most skilled among the turtles, as he has invested a lot in the more transcendental aspects of ninjitsu, going a level above the traditional fighting skills; he is also Splinter’s best pupil.
While Leonardo is not as powerful as Raphael, he is more composed and skilled, making him stronger in a certain way. He also knows how to think straight in difficult situations, making him a better fighter than Raphael, who will easily lose it and perhaps do something stupid. The chance of that happening to Leonardo is much smaller.
Would Leonardo beat Raphael in a fight? Probably yes, but that is certainly a tough call. Raphael is stronger, but Leonardo would probably find a way – as he is a much better tactician – to defeat his brother. Luckily, they are on the same side, despite the not-so-uncommon clashes they have from time to time. And this is why we decided not to call this one straightforwardly but to list both of the turtles as “winners.”
The Weakest Ninja Turtle: Donatello
Okay, let’s be honest – pinpointing the weakest in a group of four mutant ninjas is rather silly since all four of them are exceptionally powerful, but we had to do that, too. Still, we’d like to stress out that the weakest here means only that he is not as strong as the other three… not that he wouldn’t kick our asses in a matter of seconds.
Now that we have cleared this up, we can state that the weakest among the turtles is Donatello, the “purple Turtle.” Donatello wields a bō staff that is exceptionally effective when in his arms, but the fact is that Donatello is just not that focused on fighting.
He is an inventor and the creative genius of the group, and although he is a great fighter, his powers just don’t match those of his brothers, simply because that is not his primary goal, nor was he imagined to be “that turtle.” Donatello prefers inventing and brainwork to classical fighting, so we have listed him as the “winner” in this category. However – and we cannot stress that enough – he would kick our asses in a matter of moments because he is still quite skilled in ninjutsu.
The Smartest Ninja Turtle: Donatello
Do you all remember the intro of the original TMNT series from 1987? You don’t? Let us revisit it:
One of the most epic cartoon intros ever says, “Leonardo leads, Donatello does machines,” right as the “purple Turtle” is depicted working on an overly elaborate coffee-making machine that backfired and exploded. The animators wanted to make the children laugh, but the lyrics don’t lie, as Donatello is the smartest among the turtles.
This was really a no-brainer, as Donatello is depicted and described as the smartest among the turtles. He is an inventor and was able to come up with a variety of very useful inventions throughout the comics and TV shows. He is also very curious and well-read, much more than any of his brothers, making this a pretty clear situation.
Although his inventions tend to backfire and be overly elaborate (which reminds us a bit of Wile E. Coyote) occasionally, this doesn’t change the fact that he is a genius and is definitely the most creative among the turtles. This is why we have listed him as the clear “winner” in this category.
The Most Carefree Ninja Turtle: Michelangelo
Finally, we have decided to name this category “the most carefree Turtle” because calling the “winner” dumb would be mean and far from the truth. But before we announce him, let us revisit the 1987 intro. In it, the singer says: “Raphael is cool but rude; Michelangelo is a party dude,” as we see Mikey dance on his shell on an improvised dance floor. And there we have our winner – it’s Michelangelo!
Michelangelo is definitely the most relaxed and the most childish member of the group. It’s not that he cannot grasp the seriousness of a situation. It’s just that he decides to live a relaxed life because it suits him. He is a skilled fighter and far from being stupid, but he doesn’t take things as seriously as his brothers when he doesn’t have to. He adores pizza (the biggest connoisseur among the brothers), likes to party and play games, and is known for “Cowabunga!” which doesn’t mean anything specific in this case but shows Mikey’s worldview.
Ironically, despite being the most likely to do something reckless, Michelangelo is the last surviving turtle in a dark future where Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo have been killed, and Michelangelo has to become The Last Ronin to avenge his fallen brothers. Talk about a dark twist to the story…
What do you think about who is the strongest, weakest, and smartest Ninja Turtle? We would like to hear your thoughts in the comments below!