Raphael, the team's "rebel".
|First appearance||Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
|Created by||Kevin Eastman
|Team affiliations||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|
|Abilities||Highly skilled in Ninjutsu.
Olympic-level agility, speed and strength.
Mastery of kobudo.
Master of stealth.
Master of twin offensive/defensive sai.
In the Mirage comics all four turtles wear red bandanas, but unlike his brothers in the maintream version, he retains wearing a red bandana. The origin of Raphael's anger is not always fully explored, but in some incarnations appears to stem partly from the realization that they are the only creatures of their kind and ultimately alone. He also has a somewhat turbulent relationship with his older brother Leonardo because he is the group leader. He is generally the most likely to experience extremes of emotion. He is named after Raphael Sanzio.
Raphael wields twin sai as his primary weapon, although historically, sai were never used by ninja as the sai is a Kobudo weapon originating in Okinawa. They also traditionally would not be sharpened, nor are they generally offensive weapons. Raphael also rarely changes the way he holds the sai (though this was amended in TMNT), when a traditional wielder would frequently change grip on the weapon, so as to take advantage of offense and defense. Little research went into the creation of the Turtles and these weapon inaccuracies therefore became a regular part of Raphael's character. In the Next Mutation series, his sai stick together to make a staff-like weapon.
In the earliest black-and-white Mirage Comics, Raphael was the most violent turtle and had a tendency for going berserk either in battle or when his temper flared up. He has a somewhat cynical and sarcastic sense of humor. In later issues, it's shown that he is not particularly fond of the supernatural, stating it up front in Tales of Raphael: Bad Moon Rising.
Raphael mellowed somewhat as the series went on, possibly a key moment for his character development was when he allowed Leonardo to go in alone to defeat The Shredder after nearly killing the shredder himself in issue #21 of Volume 1. Since then, he has been less likely to challenge Leonardo's leadership, and on the whole is more friendly towards his family and allies.
Of his three brothers, Raphael is closest to Michelangelo, even having stated it in the fourth issue of the original TMNT comics. Raphael often shows a caring, more laid-back, side of himself when around his youngest brother, frequently indulging the younger turtle emotionally when at home and ferociously protecting him from harm when in battle. Raphael openly admits that the mere thought of his youngest brother being grievously injured causes him to experience violent rage. In his self-titled one-shot micro series, Raphael met human vigilante Casey Jones, his foil, who was even more violent and unstable than he was. Despite their brutal first meeting, the two have since formed a close bond.
In the true comic book series (Volume 4), he is still the most violent turtle, but is more sociable. After having been bitten by a vampire-like creature, he experienced a further mutation, and became a large, dinosaur-like version of himself. He went into a state of berserk animal rage because of it, but with some guidance by an inner manifestation of Master Splinter, he regained his original mentality and later assisted Donatello and Casey Jones in tracking down the vampires who attacked him. This is also somewhat similar to an earlier storyline during Volume 1, where Raphael was attacked by a leech-like creature who, when sucking his blood, also drained him of the mutagen in his body and reverted him to a small turtle. The leech itself mutated and vanished, prompting the remaining turtles to follow it. Finally, after tracking down the creature, Raphael manages to bite it and pierce its skin, thereby drinking its blood and mutating back. It should be noted that even as a small turtle, Raphael seemed to retain some intelligence, as he both recognized his brothers, and apparently had a desire to return to mutated form.
In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness roleplaying game, Raphael appeared in a comic strip for the After The Bomb expansion as the master of a group of mutant turtles. He was shown to have lived to an advanced age, and while he had mellowed considerably, he was still an effective fighter, and the people of a nearby village turn to him for protection.
In the Image series that treated the first two volumes of the Mirage Comics as canonical, Raphael was blasted in the face and disfigured. After that, he wore one of Casey Jones' hockey masks for much of the time, and eventually just an eye patch. Later, Raphael wore Shredder's armor in an attempt to psychologically dominate a number of the New York Mob, with whom the Foot Clan was engaged in a losing gang war. He had accidentally stumbled into a battle between Foot members and these gun-toting Mobsters and was chased right into Shredder's old forge, where he crafted his armor and weapons by hand in Ninja tradition. He donned a slightly variant version of the armor (which had far more blades on the arms than just the two held on the hand by a type of brass knuckle band seen in other versions of the Shredder), and pretended to be the Shredder to get the advantage on his pursuers. He succeeded in defeating them and was then accepted into, and given control of, the New York faction of the Foot Clan for a brief time. The current series produced by Mirage Comics, Volume 4, does not treat the Image series as canon.
Raphael's personality in the 1987 animated series deviates the most from all other incarnations. The show's theme song states that Raphael is "cool but rude", as opposed to being angry and sullen as in other versions. Raphael is a sarcastic wise-guy, and supplies comic relief alongside Michelangelo, whose humor is usually attributed to his ignorance and spaciness. As a result, Michelangelo is the subject of Raphael's jokes more than any other Turtle. He frequently makes jokes that break the fourth wall.
This incarnation of Raphael is entirely different from other variations and has a far less confrontational relationship with his friends and fellow Turtles. The most striking example with this is his lack of a sibling rivalry with Leonardo. Raphael has no desire to steal anyone's thunder or become a leader; he's perfectly content providing the wittiest of the cartoon's jokes, being the most humorous turtle of the group.
In the Season 4 episode "Raphael Knocks 'em Dead", Raphael was being a comedian for a comedy club while investigating.
In the Season 4 episode "Raphael Meets His Match", Raphael was paired off with a mysterious mutant female named Mona Lisa, who might have been considered as a potential girlfriend for Raphael. Despite following the Turtles back to New York City, Mona Lisa was never seen again.
In the season 5 episode "Raphael VS the Volcano", due to a malfunction in Donatello's Healthometer, Raphael was convinced that he soon was going to die and decided to end his life as a hero named the "Green Defender", saving people from dangers and stopping criminals when he thought he had nothing to lose. When the Healthometer malfunction was discovered, the other Turtles found his farewell note and tracked him down to tell him he wasn't going to die.
In the original English language version of the 1987 cartoon show, Raphael's voice actor is Rob Paulsen; in the final 1996 season, he is voiced by Michael Gough. In the "Vacation in Europe" season, his lines were voiced by Hal Rayle. In the Japanese language dubs of the series, he is voiced by Hiroyuki Shibamoto in the TV Tokyo dub, by Kaneto Shiozawa in the first through twelvth Tōwa video cassettes, by Yoku Shioya in the Tōwa video cassettes as of the thirteenth volume and by Sukekiyo Kameyama in the BS2 dub. In Turtles Forever, the 1987 version of Raphael is voiced by Sebastian Arcelus.
In the 2003 TV show, Raphael's personality is more akin to his original incarnation-he is angrier and more sardonic, but not quite as violent (although he is still impulsive). One incident where he almost smashed Michelangelo's head in with a pipe is shown here, as it did in Raphael #1. He also talks with a similar Brooklyn accent used in the movies. He often argues with Leonardo and Michelangelo, although he is depicted as being very close with both at times. His angry personality may be a cover up for his true feelings towards his brothers. His relationship with Donatello consists of poking fun at his intellect or annoyance at his long-winded explanations, more or less thinking of him as somewhat of a dork, yet still his brother. His best friend is generally regarded as Casey Jones. In all incarnations of the turtles except for the 1987 cartoon, Raphael appears to live in the shadow of Leonardo and resents his brother's social position in the group. This was only confirmed in the new cartoon, and the reasons for so stated, where in his pre-teen years, he competed with Leonardo for leadership of the Turtles (because he is the strongest in might though he is the second youngest according to the creators) by virtue of the belief that the leader would also be the best and bravest fighter. However, his rivalry with his brother is heavily toned down in comparison to the comic books and rarely shows a deep hatred towards him as the series progresses. He is shown to be a skilled motorcyclist.
It has often been hinted that Raphael has entomophobia, the fear of insects. He has shown on many occasions an unrivaled hatred of bugs. Mikey once joked that there was a bug crawling up Raphael's back, causing him to panic until he realized he was tricked.
Raphael's relationship with Michelangelo is unique in this series. Michelangelo has a tendency to severely annoy his brother, from playing pranks, to taunting, gloating, and overall rubbing his accomplishments in Raphael's face (which leads him to knock Michelangelo down a peg and Raph would often slap Michelangelo upside the head). Though, it has been shown that he deeply cares for his brother. Raphael showed concern for him when he thought Michelangelo had been killed by a rampaging Leatherhead and was the first to try to come to his aid when he found out Michelangelo's Battle Nexus rematch was rigged. He also expressed his pain and fear of losing his leader and brother when Leonardo was nearly killed by the Foot to the point where he even started crying. As Leonardo recovered, Raphael was also the one who supported Leonardo the most, even helping him to create new swords and paying the greatest attention to the care of his brother. In the episode "Ultimate Ninja" Raph attempted to protect Leo from the Ultimate Ninja when he challenged him and lashed out in anger and fear when Leo was nearly hurt. Raphael continues to challenge Leonardo's decisions in this incarnation as well, as Raphael and Leonardo often argue over what to do in certain situations, Raph usually favoring a direct and confrontational approach. Despite differences, Leo and Raph arguably have the closest relationship of the Turtles emphasized in the series, as their conflicting views and care for one another is a key point in many episodes throughout the entire series. Raphael will often put the security of his family and sometimes friends in danger as far as disobeying Splinter and Leonardo, but will react immediately if they are in danger.
He has an extremely loyal side and is the first to react when another of his brothers is in trouble. This happens on numerous occasions, like when he stops a blow from hitting Donatello using only his sais or kicks the Shredder away from Leonardo when the latter is about to attack.
Raphael is voiced by Frank Frankson, who since the Season 3 episode "Touch and Go", is credited as John Campbell. In the Polish language, he is voiced by Dariusz Odija, best known as the Polish voice of Optimus Prime in Transformers series. He is voiced by Eiji Miyashita in the Japanese dub.
In the 1990 film adaptation, Raphael is voiced by Josh Pais. He speaks with a distinctive tough-sounding Lower East Side accent (that was imitated in the later versions of TMNT), is the turtle whose character is explored most completely. He has a quick temper, uses mild language (the word 'damn' is pretty much his catchphrase, and says 'bitchin' at the very end of the movie), verbally challenges Leonardo and is the first one to meet the human characters, April O'Neil and Casey Jones. In the middle of the film, he is ambushed by the Foot Clan and severely injured (this happens to Leonardo in the original comics and the 2003 series); after this, his role is lessened somewhat, although he recovers. At the end of the movie in the battle with Shredder, Raphael is the first to get rid of his weapons upon the Shredder's demand in order to save Leonardo's life; once again this shows his values of family precedes anything else, even his own ego.
In the second, he is played by Kenn Troum, and voiced by Laurie Faso, and in the third film he is played by Matt Hill, and dubbed by Tim Kelleher. In the films, he is still angry and occasionally goes off by himself in the second movie, but has a soft spot for the young people the team meets.
At the start of the 2007, CGI sequel TMNT, Raphael is voiced by Nolan North. Here, he is shown growing increasingly frustrated and violent, to the point of becoming a masked vigilante, the Nightwatcher, going to the surface at night and fighting crime in very brutal fashions. When Leonardo returns from Central America he confronts him in his Nightwatcher disguise, and toys with Raphael who, using the manriki, is not a match for Leonardo. Leonardo knocks off his helmet with an uppercut and then, seeing its Raphael, starts to lecture him. He and Leonardo then come to blows over this, and in a bout of focused rage he breaks Leonardo's ninjikens and pins him to the ground, his eyes showing bitter hatred, his sai striking an inch from his brother's head. Leo's staring causes him to snap out of it and retreat, unable to bear what he has nearly done. After Leo is kidnapped by the War Generals and Foot Clan, Raphael attempts to save him, but fails, and returns to the lair, distraught at being unable to help. Here, it's stated that some of his jealousy towards Leonardo is because he was the apparent favored son of Splinter; after Splinter assures him that he is just as valued as all his brothers, he effectively leads the Turtles (joined by Splinter, April and Casey) in a rescue, giving Leo a new pair of swords to replace the ones he destroyed in their fight, effectively passing the baton to his brother and accepting him as leader.
Donatello was also angered by Raphael's personality, complaining that Raph wasn't pulling his weight around and does little to support the family and the team. This was explained earlier in the movie where Don and Raph argued. Like Leonardo, Donatello also disliked the Nightwatcher, because he wasn't sure whose side he was on.
Splinter describes Raphael as passionate, strong, loyal to a fault, and someone who takes on the burdens of the world, who would make a great leader if the aforementioned qualities are tempered with "patience and humility".
In the TMNT movie prequel comics, Raphael becomes the Nightwatcher after failing to save an old man who was once a crime-fighter, and promising to take the man's gear and get his revenge. He starts this career in Harlem, which the comic vividly shows to be full of gangs and other illicit activities. Raphael actively feels that he has a responsibility to help the neighborhood, especially after the old man, David Merryweather, is shot while Raphael is on the phone with Leonardo, who is about to leave on his training pilgrimage. When Raphael admits his mistake to Splinter, his relationship to Michelangelo as an older brother gets a spotlight; Michelangelo, who admires the Nightwatcher and, by proxy, Raphael as a hero, is expressively let down in this scene by the vigilante anti-hero. His time as the Nightwatcher is one of the few during which Raphael uses a different ninjitsu weapon, the manriki: weighted chains that can be concealed in the hands and used from considerable distances. Unlike his sai, the manriki are typically not lethal weapons, though they could crush a skull if used with enough force.
In the first few video games, based on the 1987 cartoon, Raphael was an unpopular character because of the short range of his weapon. In later games, he was designed to be the fastest turtle to give him more of an advantage. In games based on the 2003 animated series, he is the strongest and toughest Turtle as opposed to the fastest, reflecting his "tough guy" personality. He appears in TMNT: Smash Up as a playable character, with Frank Frankson reprising his role. The Nightwatcher also makes an appearance as a separate playable character.