Oldest Teenage Ninja Turtle

4 Oldest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

If you’re the 80s, 90s, or early 00s kid, you have probably spent your childhood enjoying one of the most outlandish franchises – Teenage Ninja Turtles. The comic book with the same name by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird is the origin of this unique animated series for children.

Eastman and Laird wrote the story in 1984, following the lives of four anthropomorphic turtle brothers named Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo. 

But these four weren’t only turtles with human characteristics. They were also ninjitsu fighters whose goal was to combat the evil on the streets of the city that never sleeps – New York. 

However, Teenage Ninja Turtles (TNTN) wouldn’t be a story that many kids worldwide love without its supporting characters.

Among them are brothers’ rat-sensei Master Splinter, their human friends April O’Neil and Cassey Jones (who don’t appear in the original animated series), and their archenemies Krang and Shredder. 

Even though the comic book creators started TNT as a parody of various superhero comics elements that were popular in the 80s, they were successful from the get-go. Their success was palpable across the entertainment industry, as Turtles action figures became the third best-selling toy figurines. 

The Rise of Teenage Ninja Turtles Animated Series

Teenage Ninja Turtles animated cartoon started in December 1987 and had a more light-hearted tone than the comic. The four turtles were funny but skilled fighters. 

They also loved pizza and odd toppings, making them appear more relatable. Besides, the brothers’ surfer lingo reflected the culture of that era and left us with many memorable expressions, such as cowabunga and tubuloso. 

People still love and remember this franchise and see it as one of the most revered products of the 80s.

We’re taking you down memory lane to answer one of the most common questions fans had over the decades – who is the oldest Ninja Turtle? 

4. Michelangelo

Age: 13-15 (depending on the series version)
Bandana color: Orange
Skills: Taijutsu, hensojustu, intonjutsu, shurikenjutsu, kyujutsu, kayakujutsu, shadow puppetry
Personality: Fun-loving, playful, outgoing

Michelangelophoto source: Wikipedia

Michelangelo’s age depends on the series version, but regardless of edition, he is always the youngest of four brothers. No wonder he often gets the title of the most immature and adventurous turtle. 

Mikey is also smaller than his brothers, but many consider him the most talented. In the 2012 Nickelodeon cartoon series, Master Splinter said that Mikey has raw talent, making him naturally gifted. 

This fun-loving turtle uses the dual nunchaku as his primary weapon, leaving everyone in awe of his skills. But shadow puppetry is his unique ability. 

For instance, Mikey can simulate the shadows of various animals and objects, thanks to his ninjitsu training. That enables him to deceive his enemies and win the combat.

Did You Know?

Mikey might be a prankster and the youngest turtle, but he was most people’s favorite in the 80s and 90s. However, the newer TNT series has invested more in the character development of his older brother, Donatello, placing Mikey in second place.  


3. Donatello

Age: 15
Bandana color: Purple
Skills: Naginata, stellar communication, bōjutsu
Personality: Quiet, reserved, intelligent

Donatellophoto source: Wikipedia

It is hard to tell which of the two brothers is older – Donatello or Raphael. The two turtles are the same age in every series version, but various sources and fans claim Donatello is younger. 

Moreover, many consider Donatello the most intelligent turtle, especially regarding tech and science. He is innovative and can create outstanding technology devices with almost no resources. 

Donatello is skilled in wielding a bō staff, which is also his signature weapon in every series version and media. Another intriguing fact about this intellectual turtle is that he is the tallest of the four brothers. 

However, Donatello is likely the weakest in combat, as he’s focused on tech gadgets and uses his top-notch communication skills to get through most situations. Although he is a stellar communicator, Donatello is calm and avoids confrontation. 

Did You Know?

Donatello is the favorite turtle of TNT’s co-creator, Peter Laird. Laird also served as the basis of Donatello’s personality


2. Raphael

Age: 15
Bandana color: Red
Skills: Physical strength, agility, using sai, speed, endurance
Personality: Sarcastic, short temper, passionate

photo source: Wikipedia

Even though some fans might disagree about the age order, Raphael is likely the second oldest turtle. That would also explain why he is highly protective of Donatello and Michelangelo and often feels an urge to compete with Leonardo. 

Other than that, Raphael is known for his hotheaded temperament and sarcastic attitude. He is the only one who wears a red bandana in both the animated series and comics (all four brothers wear a red bandana in the original comic book).

Raphael’s signature weapon is the twin sai, a traditional Okinawan stabbing weapon. People usually like Raphael because he is flawed and may appear more relatable than his brothers. 

Sometimes he struggles to stay composed and lashes out, but it’s a mystery why Raphael has unresolved anger issues. However, some sources say it might be because he feels lonely and isolated due to being one of only four of his kind in the world

Did You Know?

The rivalry between Leonardo and Raphael is among the most intriguing parts of Teenage Ninja Turtles. However, Raphael has a soft spot for his youngest brother, Michelangelo. He shows his caring side with Mikey and might feel more attached to him than the other two. 


1. Leonardo

Age: 15-16
Bandana color: Blue
Skills: Using katana blades, strategic thinking, kenjutsu, swordsmanship
Personality: Disciplined, witty, courageous

Leonardophoto source: Wikipedia

Leonardo (Leo) is the oldest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle leader of the pack, and the most mature, composed, and disciplined of the four brothers. He wears a blue bandana, which is no coincidence. 

The blue color represents wisdom, stability, intelligence, and loyalty. These are all the characteristics that apply to Leo’s personality. 

His signature weapon also aligns with Leo being the principal hero of the group. Leo uses twin katanas, and only a Samurai should use a katana. However, he rarely sees himself as a leader and dislikes giving orders. 

But the creators might have explored Leo’s personality the least, even though that didn’t affect his popularity among kids. His focus is to protect his brothers and the city, and episode three of the 1987 animated series has shown he would rather quit than not be a good leader. 

Did You Know?

The original animated series (1987) subtly portrays Leo as a bookworm. Often, when the brothers were at home, he was reading a book and enjoying his time.


The Takeaway

Teenage Ninja Turtles are many people’s favorite childhood comic book and animated series. Although quirky, this franchise never failed at being fun, engaging, and with a sense of purpose. 

That’s why the four humanoid turtle brothers with the names of Renaissance painters are so beloved. Fans still enjoy discovering new facts and things about them or rediscovering old ones. 

For instance, one of the most common questions people have had about the brothers since the franchise started is who the oldest turtle is. Even though it became well-known Leo is the oldest and Michelangelo is the youngest, it’s still as intriguing to read about them as it was in 1984. 

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