Master Splinter or simply Splinter is a character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe.
In the original comics, Splinter was the pet rat of a ninja named Hamato Yoshi in Japan. Intelligent for his species, Splinter was able to learn his master's art by mimicking his movements while he practiced. Yoshi became embroiled in a dispute with a fellow ninja by the name of Oroku Nagi and was eventually murdered by Nagi's brother Oroku Saki.Without a home, Splinter was forced to run away and live in the New York City sewers. Due to a traffic accident, four baby turtles and a canister of radioactive ooze were sent down into the sewer, where the ooze mutated both Splinter and the turtles. Splinter named the four turtles: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo (after a book on Renaissance artists that he found in a storm drain) and trained them in the arts of Ninjutsu, while still raising them as his own sons. Splinter died of old age in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (vol. 4)#10.
The Archie Comics Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures series, being a loose adaptation of the Fred Wolf animated series, once again had Splinter be a mutated Hamato Yoshi. When the comic ceased adapting episodes of the cartoon and started doing its own material, later issues revealed more information on his former life. It was revealed that Hamato Yoshi learned about Ninjutsu from his great uncle Giyogi, who was blinded during the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. The 45th issue of the comic also featured a retcon of Splinter and the Turtles' origin where Shredder got Yoshi kicked out by framing him for an actual murder as opposed to attempted murder and the Turtles grew up to teenagehood instead of being teens the instant they mutated.
During the Year of the Turtle story arc, Splinter was eventually restored to his human form by the talisman used by The Shredder. The same talisman was used to demutate Michelangelo back into a normal turtle. After The Shredder was defeated for good and the talisman's power was neutralized, Michelangelo was restored to normal form, but his mind was taking time to recover. While Mikey's mind caught up, Yoshi told him about what had happened on the Turtles' last adventure, eventually revealing that his demutation is wearing off as well and he will soon be a ratman again. However, he assures his sons not to pity him because he will always be grateful that his sons have fought to make the world a better place.
1987 TV SeriesIn this series, Master Splinter, instead of portraying the Mirage Studios origin of Splinter being a pet of Hamato Yoshi, Splinter was Hamato Yoshi. Before meeting the Turtles, back when Yoshi lived in Japan, there was a Ninja Clan known as The Foot, which was led by Yoshi. One of his students, Oroku Saki (aka The Shredder), constantly challenged him in an effort to usurp his leadership, finally causing him to be banished from the Clan. Yoshi fled to the United States in poverty. He was forced to live in the sewers, where he befriended the rats. One day, a small child was returning from a pet store, carrying four baby turtles in a fish bowl, when he tripped and fell, causing the bowl to crash on the street and the Turtles fell into a drain. Yoshi had found four new friends. One day, Yoshi discovers the Turtles are covered in "goo", which he later realizes was actually some kind of mutagen that caused whoever touched it to take the form of the animal it most recently came in contact with. The Turtles became humanized, with their recent contact with Yoshi (with his attempt to clean them up), and Yoshi becomes a mutant rat with his recent contact with rats.
Since then, Yoshi raised the Turtles by himself, and gave them the names of his favorite Renaissance artists: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo, who were to be distinguished by personality and headband color. He also taught them the art of ninjutsu in order to protect themselves better, since people above ground would not accept them.
Yoshi was given the nickname "Splinter" by his students, due to his proficiency at breaking wooden boards. On one occasion Donatello was able to use the remnants of the ooze that transformed them to restore Yoshi's human self, but the process was only temporary and soon wore off; however, Splinter, having seen how humans could treat each other at times, concluded that he preferred his new state, particularly due to the relationship he had with his students.
Splinter does not hold a father/son relationship with the Turtles, as the Mirage Studios, Movie, and 2k3 stories suggested, but more of a teacher/student bond. However, in an episode titled "The Old Switcheroo", Splinter showed a glimpse of fatherly concern for Leonardo when he was slightly injured by one of Donatello's contraptions. Splinter also mentions in the series (episode: "Snakes Alive!") that Leonardo is his most gifted student. Splinter even gets the chance to be human once more in an episode Splinter No More, but realizes he much more prefers being with the Turtles. Splinter is always there for the Turtles to give a wise/grasping quote or speech to try and ease the Turtles' troubles. He'll also show a little ninja action just in the nick of time when it seems the Turtles are in for impending doom that is inescapable. In this series, Splinter is voiced by Peter Renaday.
This Splinter had a brief role in Turtles Forever where he meets the Turtles from the 2003 TV series and was seen giving 2003 Leo and Raph some rice to nourish their bodies and souls. '03 Leonardo commented during their time with this alternate Splinter that it feels right to be there with Splinter regardless of the differences between the two worlds. Splinter's assurances that he feels the same, coupled with his comment that Leonardo and his brothers will always be welcome there, helps Leonardo see the common similarities between the teams, regardless of their different styles and methods. He never mentioned to them that he was Hamato Yoshi at all and after that he's never seen again.
In the first anime sequel to the 1980s cartoon series, Splinter shows amazing power when he is able to stop a huge energy blast with his bare hands sent by a godzilla-sized super-dragon-shredder.
The Next Mutation (1997)
Splinter is a more elderly rat than seen in most other incarnations and is the adoptive father to the four 18-year-old turtles. During his spare time, he is seen meditating in a supernatural dimension known as the realm of dreams and plays chess with a blind man called Andre, whom he invites to live with him and the Turtles, when Andre is evicted from his apartment. Splinter is also an old friend of a mystical Shinobi Shaman named Chung Li, who warns him of the Dragonlord's plan and demands of Splinter's release when he is kidnapped, unfortunately at the cost of Li's own life. Splinter remains in a comalike state for a few episodes, until the Turtles free him from the Dragonlord's domain. He then reveals that he knew all along about the existence of the fifth turtle Mei Pei Chi (better known as Venus De Milo) and welcomes her into their family, as his daughter. He encourages Venus to no longer mourn Chung Li's passing as he 'has gone on to a better place'. Splinter still shows formidability and exceptional skill in combat, as he is seen easily defeating entire hordes of Foot soldiers and Dragon warriors. The only warrior shown better than him in combat is the fierce Dragonlord himself. Splinter still shows a sense of humor, often making jokes and wisecracks like his students when battling or simply in the comfort of his own home. He was going to be shockingly killed off in the second season (most likely by the Dragonlord), leaving the Turtles to learn how to fight without their master's guidance or presence, but it was cancelled before this could happen.
2003 TV Series
2012 Nick Series
Yoshi used to be friends with The Shredder. Things went downhill when Yoshi fell in love with Tang Shen, filling Saki with envious rage. Saki insulted Yoshi, and Yoshi was so angry that he fought Saki and the two became enemies.
It was Yoshi's rivalry with the Shredder that resulted in his wife Tang Shen being killed and his daughter Miwa to be taken away from him. Hamato Yoshi subsequently moved to New York, where he bought four new pet turtles and got into a fight with two Kraang, who noticed him when he accidentally stepped on a rat's tail. The two Kraang dropped a canister of mutagen during the squabble, mutating the Turtles into humanoid forms and Yoshi into a ratman.
Splinter has a green hard crystal as a cane.
Since then, Splinter has been training his four new sons in ninjutsu for the inevitable day that they are ready to return to the surface. The day finally came on the fifteenth anniversary of the day they all mutated.
The movie origin followed more closely to the original Mirage Comics than the 1987 series. Splinter was the pet rat of Hamato Yoshi in Japan who followed the teachings of his owner from his cage. When forced to America after his master's death, Splinter found himself in the sewers of New York where he found four turtles.
One morning Splinter awoke to find the turtles playing in a glowing green "goo" spilling out of a broken canister. Soon, he noticed that not only were the turtles changing, so was he. Eventually, he grew to his fully mutated form and began to teach his adoptive sons the ways of honor and the path of the ninja. This version of Splinter is still a brown rat but is not as active like most other versions of Splinter. He is seen wearing tattered grey rags in this movie. Raphael is depicted as being the closest to him of all the Turtles. Splinter also gives advice to a foot clan member named Danny Pennington and convinced him to leave the clan. In the climax of the film, Splinter saves the Turtles from The Shredder and sends him off the side of a building into a garbage truck.
Where in the first film Splinter was a dignified father figure for the Turtles, in the subsequent sequels he became more of the "hip" elderly person offering more and more one-liners with each sequel.
Finally, in the 2007 film he had once again reverted to his origins of the dignified master and father with only a handful of humorous scenes in his role.
Coming Out of Their Shells Tour
Splinter in the Coming Out Of Their Shells Tour makes a few appearances during the concert. He comes out during the instrumental introduction to his song “Skipping Stones”, explaining how rings in the water ripples, like people’s emotions, can spread. The story leads right into the song.
The other time we see Splinter is when the Turtles are forced to retreat due to the DeHarmonic Convergence Converter that steals music (and coincidentally can suck the life force from the Turtles and Splinter). Splinter tries to keep the Turtles calm and collected until Raphael lashes out at him. Then Splinter makes a final appearance, as well as most of the cast, during the song "Count On Us" as a finale to the show.
Splinter's “Skipping Stones” is also found on the studio soundtrack. Splinter is voiced by Mark Enis for both the concerts and studio recordings.
Splinter's physical appearance remains fairly consistent in all incarnations of the character, with slight differences. He is portrayed as an elderly rat dressed in robes. He also lacks at least part of his right ear in the movies and The Next Mutation, which was cut off by Saki when the rat struggled with him. In the 2003 animated series, Splinter is depicted as having gray fur as opposed to brown fur in his other incarnations. In the series TMNT: Back to the Sewers, his look is slightly changed to resemble the 2007 movie. The 2012 show depicts Splinter as having a primarily brown fur color with some black and white highlights. He is also rather tall when compared to previous incarnations of the character.
Splinter is portrayed as wise, intelligent and a skilled martial arts teacher. He is nearly always calm, and even when angry refrains from raising his voice.
He cares for his adopted sons with fierce devotion, rescuing them in very critical moments in the series such as when Shredder attempted to execute the four on a building or when Bishop tried to literally tear them apart for science. He went berserk with fury when the Foot attempted to slay the Turtles with a robot Splinter and going all the way to Japan after the four had been kidnapped by the Tribunal. Anyone who tries to harm them severely is nothing more than a threat in Splinter's eyes, proved when he pounced on and attacked Casey when he stumbled into their home not knowing he was a friend, of course. Splinter apologized for having nearly killed him (but he also quickly and angrily told Jones be more careful in the future). In fact, a recurring gag in the 2003 series is that Casey often and unintentionally annoys Splinter with his immature and accident-prone behavior, to the point of him being more than willing to send the Turtles to the surface if this means that he will be free of Jones. But despite this, Splinter and Casey are in good terms with each other, and Splinter can serve as a father figure for Jones from time to time, visible when he helps Casey in expressing his feelings for April, even despite the fact that he knows very little about (romantic) relationships.
Splinter's protectiveness of his adopted family likely stems from the loss and destruction of his previous family through the murders of his owner Hamato Yoshi & Yoshi's lover, Tang Shen. This loss of Yoshi was especially hard on him. It is likely this and his inability to protect owner/father figure/teacher has apparently made him very protective of his adopted sons.
However, regardless of his love, he can be fairly militant to his sons, especially when they were very young and inexperienced, but nowadays he isn't like that. Splinter's main fear is that he and his family will one day be exposed to the outside world for what they are, and is understandably protective. He is not above disciplining the Turtles whenever they become disobedient or unruly, (such as making them do backflips repeatedly in the second live-action movie).
Splinter isn't without his soft side. He has a normally tender and self-sacrificing heart, insisting the Turtles not give up their weapons when Hun took him as a prisoner in Rogue in the House, Part Two-(this was ignored by his sons, choosing to drop their weapons anyway) and was most hesitant about letting his sons die alongside him in Exodus: Part Two. Another characteristic is his dry sense of humor, cracking jokes while maintaining his serious demeanor.
Also, he could be heard telling everyone in "Reflections" that he thought the Turtles, as infants, "were all so cute."
In the Ninja Tribunal series, he was haunted again and again with nightmares of his sons being slaughtered. When it appeared to actually happen, Splinter was lost in despair, but quickly turned to relief when it was apparent they had just been knocked out. He is also reluctant to allow his sons to be trained by the Ninja Tribunal, as he hadn't forgiven them for not helping Hamato Yoshi and the Utroms combat the Utrom Shredder, Ch'rell (believing their cold indifference lead to Hamato Yoshi becoming a victim of the Utrom Shredder and felt if they had heeded Yoshi's warning then he might not have died in the first place).
In the Back to the Sewers season, he admitted that, even when he was in pieces in Cyberworld, he had an intense yearning to see his family again.
Splinter is not completely cut off from the pleasures of modern culture: he enjoys soap operas. This is more fully displayed in Fast Forward, when his hobby is mentioned several times.
In the IDW and 2012 continuities Splinter began to deviate from his calm persona established in the past incarnations, he is shown shouting at his sons in his past life as Hamato Yoshi in the comics, and in the 2012 TV show Splinter's apparent temper is the reason why his friendship with the Shredder deteriorated.
In the 1987 series, he was voiced by Peter Renaday in the American version and by Hideyuki Umezu (TV), Yuzuru Fujimoto (NHK-BS2) and Kiyoshi Kobayashi (VHS) in the Japanese versions. The film Turtles Forever features this incarnation, voiced by David Wills.
In Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation Splinter is voiced by Stephen Mendel. In the 2003, Fast Forward, Back to the Sewer and Turtles Forever American version, Splinter is voiced by Darren Dunstan. In the Japanese version, he is voiced by Shōto Kashii.
In the first two movies, he is voiced by Kevin Clash, and in the third, he was voiced by James Murray. In the 2007 animated film, Mako voiced him. Splinter was Mako's final role before his death. In the Japanese versions he was voiced by Kiyoshi Kobayashi and Joji Yanami in the first film, Michio Hazama in the second, Hideyuki Umezu in the third and Shoto Kashii in the fourth.
In the TMNT 2007 game he is voiced by Terrence Scammel. In the 2012 series, he is be voiced by Hoon Lee.
In the 2013 game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows (Video Game), he is voiced by Feodor Chin.
Appearances in Video Games
In most games Splinter is an non-playable character that often has to be rescued, usually being captured immediately after the player has rescued April O'Neil.
Splinter appears in the opening cutscene alerting the turtles that April O'Neil must be saved from a burning building. After the skateboarding level, he is carried away by Mousers (not sure how that makes sense) and must be rescued from the boss, Granitor.
Splinter provides advice during the pause screens, alerting the player when a level boss is near. He is kidnapped after the second level and must be rescued from the Mecha-Turtle boss.
In the Arcade version, staying still too long makes April appear to remind the player he has to move. In the SNES version, April serves the same function. He also appears during the game's ending, winking at the camera during April's report on the Statue of Liberty's return. Similarly, he appears in the final scene of TMNT Hyperstone Heist- Genesis. In the SNES version, he also officiates the 2-player VS. mode.
Splinter's head will appear on a floating monitor and drop a red ball. Collecting the ball will allow the character to utilize their Super Move, which will at that time also free the ball to be used again by either player. After defeating Shredder at the end of the game, the floating monitor explodes to reveal Splinter himself! (What, was he imprisoned in that thing or something?)
In the introduction of the game, the Turtles are on the couch see a commercial for a tournament and see Shredder's name on the entry. Splinter suggests the Turtles place their names in the entry to find out what Shredder is up to and possibly to stop him.
In the story mode, Splinter and April are kidnapped before the game begins. A mysterious ransom note attached to an arrow inexplicably interrupts the turtles in their sewer lair altering them to the situation.
Splinter is kidnapped by the evil TMNT clones while meditating in the park. The plot of the game centers around the turtles and their allies fighting evil clones of themselves across the universe in order to track down Splinter's captors in Dimension X.
Splinter explains how to play one of the hidden mini-games.
Splinter can be seen in a pizzeria during the first level. He appears in a later level giving the Turtles a ride on the Turtle Blimp.
In the beginning, Splinter is kidnapped by the Shredder along with Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and April O'Neil. He is the next-to-last prisoner that needs to be freed, and his key is guarded by Scale Tail.
Splinter makes his debut as an unlockable playable character in 2003 game, appearing after the player has completed Story Mode with all four turtles and has entered the correct code. He is also playable in the game's 2-player Versus mode. Splinter is once again a playable character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus (unlockable), and TMNT: Mutant Melee (base character). In Mutant Melee, he has his own storyline in which he must personally seek vengeance on the Shredder for his deceased master, Hamato Yoshi.
Splinter (along with April and Casey) gives the player mini-games, as well as appearing throughout the cutscenes based on the movie.
Splinter is a fully-playable base character, with his appearance from the 2007 movie but voiced by Darren Dunstan. He wields his traditional walking stick and is designed as an "Agile" character with strong fierce attacks and above average jumping ability.
- Creepy Crawlin' Splinter
- Movie III Splinter
- Movie Star Splinter
- Mutatin' Splinter
- Road Ready Splinter
- Shogun Splinter
- Supermutant Splinter
- Splinter (Next Mutation)
- Splinter (2003 toon)
- Ninja Action Splinter
- Paleo Patrol Splinter
- Splinter (Fast Forward)
- Splinter (TMNT (2007 film))
- Splinter (1988 Reissue)
2012 Splinter Action Figure
Also see, Splinter/Gallery