Four pet turtles are exposed to a liquid mutagen during a traffic accident at which their young owner is a bystander. The mutagen causes animals to become more human-like in intelligence and dexterity. Also exposed to the mutagen is Splinter, a rat once owned by a ninjutsu expert named Hamato Yoshi. As a fantastically talented pet, Splinter taught himself the art of ninjutsu by mimicking Yoshi during his practice sessions. Yoshi emigrated from Japan to the United States in an effort to escape a bitter love triangle that resulted in the death of Oroku Nagi, a fellow member of his ninja clan. However, Yoshi was pursued and murdered by Nagi's younger brother, Oroku Saki, who grew to lead the American branch of the Foot Clan as the villainous Shredder. Yoshi's death leaves Splinter homeless, wandering the streets and sewers of New York City alone. Splinter happens upon the Turtles, still fresh from their accident and wallowing in mutagen, and adopts them. Within days Splinter and the Turtles grow to humanoid size and develop the power of speech. It is then that Splinter decides to train the young Turtles in ninjutsu, so they can grow strong enough to exact revenge on the Shredder for the murder of Splinter's beloved Master Yoshi. Splinter chooses names for the Turtles from the pages of an old discarded book on Renaissance art: Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo. The Turtles challenge and defeat the Shredder and his Foot clan in a rooftop duel.
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