Ninja Turtles Metal Mutants: Then & Now

This post is a simultaneous look at two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Metal Mutants toy lines–1995 and 2015–and how influenced we can be by “the one that got away”.

Nostalgia can be a tricky thing. For so many of us, being able to re-experience something from our youth has this air of excitement and comfort that can be very difficult to achieve otherwise. The simple joy of picking up a toy that we played with for hours on end can put a smile on our face and trigger happy memories of days gone by.

However, sometimes, a similar nostalgic feeling can be triggered by something you never actually owned. For some, advertisements for games are cemented in their memories, regardless of whether or not they ever actually played the game. Others remember the missing VHS volume from their collection, the toy that got away, or any number of experiences they missed out on the first time around.

For me, this feeling gets triggered frequently. Most recently, it was triggered when I saw the Target-exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Metal Mutants Turtles + Fugitoid 5 Pack.

Target-exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Metal Mutants Turtles + Fugitoid 5 Pack

This feeling wasn’t triggered by the inclusion of a Fugitoid figure. It wasn’t triggered by the space suits reminding me of the cover art from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Guide to the Universe. No, this feeling was triggered by chrome-plated plastic and the words “Metal Mutants”.

When the Ninja Turtles’ popularity began to wane in the mid-nineties, I was still a big fan. I was even a fan of The Next Mutation, picking up the toys whenever my mom would take me to KB Toys and managing to score a copy of the East Meets West VHS at the now-closed Suncoast in the Town East Mall. Unfortunately for me, as the Turtles’ popularity waned, it became a bit more difficult to find the toys. As a result, I missed out on the original line of Metal Mutants.

The original Metal Mutants line was a series of figures that tied into the second of two Japan-exclusive Ninja Turtles OVAs, “The Coming of the Guardian Beasts – The Metal Turtles Appear!”. Though the OVAs were never released in the United States, Playmates still released the action figures to the U.S. audience in 1995.

Though I don’t recall seeing the 1995 Metal Mutants figures in a toy store, I do remember seeing a shiny Ninja Turtles figure in the lost and found area of my local barbershop. I stared at that figure for years, mesmerized by the design. Ina lost and found filled with baseball caps and sunglasses, that figure stood out like a crown jewel. In my teenage years, I considered asking to to simply take the figure home (at this point, it was clear that nobody would be claiming it). Alas, I never mustered up the courage to ask. When the barbershop moved to a new location, the figure disappeared and my opportunity vanished.

I’ve always regretted that I missed out on the original Metal Mutants line (though, admittedly, eBay helps to alleviate this). While this new line of Metal Mutants has almost nothing in common with the old one (other than the fantastic chrome-plated plastic look), I knew I had to pick this set up before I was once again filled with regret.

They may not be the Metal Mutants that I longed for, but this set is a very good alternative. The spacesuits have pop-up visors, the weapons look a little bit like lightsabers, and I finally have a Fugitoid to call my own. With five great figures and a price under fifty dollars, this set is easily worth the investment. Kudos to Playmates on yet another great set in a long line of excellent Ninja Turtles toys.

If you’re interested in picking up the set, head over to Target and pick one up before they’re gone—you won’t regret it.

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