Ninja Turtles' Names (& Colors, Personalities) - Explained! (2023)

The Ninja mutant hero Turtles were characters created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1984. They were human-like crime fighters, and have remained popular with children, despite the passing of time.

They were initially comic books, and then a series of cartoons and films, games, toys, and other merchandise followed.

The comic books were quite dark, and the characters less pronounced. However, the cartoons are child-friendly, with humor being dominant. Each of the characters is named after a famous personage, which gives you an opportunity to teach your child some history.

Table Of Contents

  1. Storyline of the Mutant Turtles TV Series
  2. Leonardo, the Leader with Color Blue
  3. Raphael, the Dynamo with Color Red
  4. Donatello, the Inspector with Color Purple
  5. Michelangelo, the Turtle with Color Orange.
  6. Leonardo Da Vinci for Leonardo
  7. Raphael the Painter for Raphael
  8. Donatello the Italian sculptor for Donatello
  9. Michelangelo the Renaissance Artist for Michelangelo
(Video) How the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got their names - TMNT History

Storyline of the Mutant Turtles TV Series

There is a man called Yoshi, banished from Japan, who has to live in the sewers of New York City. He finds four young turtles who are dropped into the sewers and are transformed to become human-like. While Yoshi becomes more rat-like when exposed to the same substance. He names them after his favorite Renaissance artists.

The turtles become crime fighters and learn martial arts from Yoshi. They begin fighting crime but have to fight Yoshi’s old enemy, Saki, from Japan. In the meantime, they make friends with some reporters, who help them retain their good name.

Saki and friends try to take over the world, and the turtles try to stop them.

After series 8, the storyline becomes a lot darker and more serious, along with the colors of the cartoon.

Here is a short episode made for children:

Names of the 4 ninja turtles, their colors and personalities

In this section, I’ll discuss the Ninja Turtles’ names, colors and personalities. This will give you an idea of what the Ninja Turtles are all about.

(Video) Which Ninja Turtle are YOU!?

Ninja Turtles' Names (& Colors, Personalities) - Explained! (1)

Leonardo, the Leader with Color Blue

Leonardo is the oldest turtle of the four, and the leader when Splinter isn’t around. He’s responsible and organized. He is not only energetic but also helps people when they are suffering because he’s conscious of their needs. This is connected to the fact that he wants the best for others, and is empathetic and a humanitarian.

He focuses on values and vision and is optimistic and prepared. What’s more, he’s geared towards improving himself – always.

He uses two swords or katanas as his weapons of choice.

Raphael, the Dynamo with Color Red

Raphael is the second oldest, and a real hothead. He often quarrels with Leonardo, being a defiant personality. He thinks he’s right all the time. He’s bold, and a risk-taker. Raphael is direct and insensitive, but sociable. He’s impatient and unstructured, but perceptive and original. He focuses on detail, which makes him miss the big picture.

As a weapon he uses a twinsai.

Donatello, the Inspector with Color Purple

Donatello is often second in command. Donatello is responsible, organized, and neat. He enjoys procedures and precision. He upholds regulations, and works steadily, which makes him productive. Being conservative and keeping traditions are important to him. He doesn’t call attention to himself and is straightforward and affectionate.

He fights with a bo staff.

Michelangelo, the Turtle with Color Orange.

This warm turtle is people-centered and easy-going. He’s the youngest of the four.

(Video) 107 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Facts You Should Know | Channel Frederator

Being intuitive, he focuses on possibilities and is very creative and artistic. This means he gets bored by details but gets the big picture. Michelangelo is vivacious, energetic, passionate, and loves to help others. He’s also very expressive.

He’s emotionally fervent but sympathetic. Uniqueness is important to him.

He fights with nunchucks.

Origin of the ninja turtle names

Leonardo Da Vinci for Leonardo

Leonardo da Vinci was a scientific and mathematical genius and inventor, who also painted extremely well. He invented the helicopter before its time and painted the Mona Lisa, one of the most famous paintings of all time. Leanardo’s character is based on this historical figure.

Raphael the Painter for Raphael

Raphael is based on the painter of the same name. This historical figure was a painter during the Renaissance. Raphael’s work is known for its clear form and easy composition. He depicts human grandeur well, which was a philosophical, Neoplatonic idea.

Donatello the Italian sculptor for Donatello

Donatello was a renowned Italian sculptor, who created the famous statue of David. He sculpted during the Renaissance in bronze, wood, and marble. He was the first sculptor since antiquity to create anatomically correct statues.

Michelangelo the Renaissance Artist for Michelangelo

Michelangelo was an Italian Renaissance artist who gained fame from his painting in the Sistine Chapel. He also sculpted anatomically correct statues and was an architect and poet. He and Leonardo da Vinci overlapped in era and friendship circles. Michelangelo sculpted the Pieta, one of the most moving pieces of art in the world.

Why do ninja turtles have different colors?

That color of the ninja turtles represents their personality. So it’s with some expectation that we look for meaning in the colors that the turtles wear.

(Video) 10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Moments That Are Not For Kids

However, the creators have established that this was not the case. Back when comics first came out they were black and white, so no colors were used there. Secondly, once the cartoons and movies came out, there was never any discussion as to who would be assigned which color. They were simply randomly given a color.

In fact, they were simply given a color to fit in the cartoon genre and style. So, there is no meaning at all behind the color of the masks.

What Can You and Your Child Learn from the Ninja Turtles

There are a surprising amount of things to be learned from these ninja hero turtle characters.

Firstly, as we’ve mentioned, you can teach your children about history through the names of the characters. There is a lot of good about the Renaissance which children can learn through the names of the turtles.

Secondly, there is a lot to teach your young ones about personalities, people’s strengths and weaknesses, and how they resolve conflict. You can teach them how to accept other people, and give them the benefit of the doubt. The issue is not that you can resolve conflict with everyone, especially not with ‘the bad guys’. But that love and loyalty to friends and family come first and foremost, and we always move to resolve conflict.

Thirdly, the ninja mutant turtles can teach people about the value of standing up for what’s right, even in the face of extreme opposition. In these cartoons, evil is depicted as very bad, but sometimes in life, evil isn’t so clear. It appears as something good, even tempting. You can discuss the difference with your children but can point out that sometimes wrong is simply wrong.

Final Thoughts

The teenage ninja mutant hero turtles are iconic, and their popularity hasn’t waned over time. They have enjoyed several revivals over the years and made many movies and series. As previously mentioned, they teach good values about overcoming evil and conquering challenges, and that family and friends are important.

It’s perhaps this that has caused the show to carry on.

(Video) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) - Elevator Freestyle Scene (8/10) | Movieclips

Perhaps you even want to name your sons after these heroes. After all, what could be a better name than Leonardo? I’ve also written some articles about how to select a second name for your child. You can also use the Ninja Turtles’ names for naming your stuffed animals.


What was the personality of each ninja turtle? ›

Leonardo is the head-strong leader. Donatello is usually the brains of the group. Michaelangelo is the free-spirited, fun-loving comic relief. Raphael is the masculine, more serious one of the group.

What do the Ninja Turtles colors represent? ›

For the TV show, TMNT creator Peter Laird decided to give each Turtle a different color to make it easier to tell them apart: Leonardo has a blue bandana, Raphael a red bandana, Donatello a purple bandana and Michelangelo an orange bandana.

What do the names of the Ninja Turtles mean? ›

They are named after artists from the Italian Renaissance (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael).

What are the four Ninja Turtles and why do they relate to this? ›

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were named after Renaissance artists. 4. The original names of the Ninja Turtles were Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael. 5.

What is Raphael personality? ›

Raphael is known for his temperamental and cynical personality, being short-tempered, aggressive, sullen, maddened, sarcastic, and rebellious.

What is the purple ninja turtle personality? ›

Donatello is calm, sensible, quiet, friendly, and gentle. He does not get into a lot confrontations with his brothers. He is more interested in his work than in his ninjutsu but he still attends to ninja practice and works hard there as well as his projects.

Why is Donatello purple? ›

The mask worn by Donatello is purple for perseverance.

Is the yellow ninja turtle a girl? ›

The Origin of Jennika the New Yellow-Masked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. A human woman named Jennika, or Jenny for short, has been making waves in the series of late, as she is both the love interest of Casey Jones and a member of the Foot Clan.

What kind of turtle is each ninja turtle? ›

In that series, each turtle is a different species: Leonardo is a red-eared slider, Raphael a snapping turtle, Donatello a softshell turtle and Michelangelo a box turtle. As red-eared sliders were kept as pets, they began to be released or escaped into their environments.

Which Ninja Turtle says Cowabunga? ›

Michelangelo is depicted in the live-action movies as the easy-going, free-spirited turtle. One of his movie catchphrases is, "I love being a turtle! " and "Cowabunga!" Owing to his popularity with children, he is given many lines and comes up with several (slightly outrageous) plans to advance plots.

What is the 5th Ninja Turtle? ›

Venus de Milo, the first official fifth Turtle of a Ninja Turtles team.

Who is the smartest Ninja Turtle? ›

Widely considered to be the smartest Ninja Turtle, Donatello is a known for his skills as a scientist, inventor, engineer, and technological genius. Because he's so damn smart, he does what he can to avoid conflict when possible, instead solving situations with his cunning intellect.

Can you tell me all the names of the Ninja Turtles? ›

Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, trained in the art of ninjutsu by a wise rat sensei they call Master Splinter. Is New York City ready for these radical reptile brothers?

Who is splinter named after? ›

Yoshi raises the turtles by himself and gives them the names of his favorite Renaissance artists: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Yoshi is given the nickname "Splinter", due to his proficiency at breaking wooden boards, and he teaches them the art of ninjutsu in order to protect themselves.

Who is the strongest ninja turtle? ›

However, one comic issue proves that Leonardo is by far the strongest of his brothers, and it is all thanks to his darkest era.

Who is Raphael's crush? ›

Mona Lisa (real name Y'gythba) is a anthropomorphic, female salamander character and Raphael's girlfriend/ future mate from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012 TV series.

Who does Raphael have a crush on? ›

Mona Lisa: Raph falls in love with Mona when she gave him an uppercut attack saying that he has never been hit like that before and he liked it.

Who is the smallest ninja turtle? ›

Impulsive, creative and very social, Michelangelo is the heart and soul of the Ninja Turtles. The runt of the litter, he may be the smallest of his mutant brothers, but that doesn't make him the weakest (just harder to catch).

What was each Ninja Turtle known for? ›

The Turtles' hold distinct personality traits and skills, including: Raphael, as the oldest and biggest brother, he is the leader full of enthusiasm and bravado; Leonardo, the self-professed 'coolest' brother possesses irreverent charm and a rebel heart; Donatello, a mechanical genius and tech wizard whose ninja skills ...

What personality type is Raphael TMNT? ›

Raphael “Raph” is an ISTP personality type. He is practical and loves understanding how things work.

What personality type is Mikey TMNT? ›

Which personality type is Michelangelo "Mikey"? Michelangelo “Mikey” is an ENFP personality type. He loves people and craves deep connections.

What kind of turtle is each Ninja Turtle? ›

In that series, each turtle is a different species: Leonardo is a red-eared slider, Raphael a snapping turtle, Donatello a softshell turtle and Michelangelo a box turtle. As red-eared sliders were kept as pets, they began to be released or escaped into their environments.


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