A number of stories starring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would make good film adaptations but The Last Ronin, published in 2020, is the most recent and salient example.
Not only is it a dark territory that brings the Turtles to their bleakest point ever, but it also reduces their ranks to the loneliest number of one – hence the title – against impossible odds.
Well, a YouTube content creator and an animation studio took the bare background of the story and adapted it into a short that is so incredibly high-quality and detailed, you’ll be amazed they didn’t go through the Hollywood system to make it.
Named TMNT: The Last Ronin Animation, the animated video shows the last surviving Turtle after he’s lost everything. He mourns his fallen brothers and his “father,” Master Splinter, as he recollects their defeat and prepares to end it all by committing hara-kiri.
He stops only when he passes out and has a vision of his three dead brothers. Comic readers – and not to mention those who browse the spoilers online – will know the last Turtle standing is a Michelangelo whose mirth is completely gone following his personal tragedy.
The short was made by the YouTuber Magnus Edlund, creator of the channel Speedokaggen. He produced and directed the piece while also having a hand in the VFX animation with animator Robin Andersén and modeler/rigger Kristian Howald.
Everything was done in-house with all who pitched in performing multiple duties. Sound designer Andrej Kotevski Lindwall also provided the voice of The Last Ronin/Michelangelo.
A special dedication to Last Ronin crafters Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, and Tom Waltz for the work they put into the dystopian story and the years they committed to putting out TMNT content.
“Thank you!” it says, “This film is dedicated to Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz and all other who have worked with TMNT.” It adds, “Thank you very much for all the joy you have given us turtle fans.”
The Last Ronin Animation arguably deserves to go on the list of things that give joy to Turtle fans somewhere close to its inspiration, which we may not have seen the last of.
Though Eastman called the tale “a Dark Knight Returns sort of final Turtles story” in an interview with CBR this year, he also said “the door’s open to go other places.”
After all, it ends on a “To be continued…” note, and Waltz promised more is coming from the “Ronin-verse.” He said to CBR recently, “Oh… standby, sports fans. I can’t give specifics yet, but suffice to say, we are not done with what we are now lovingly calling ‘The Ronin-verse.’ Big announcements coming soon!”