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TMNT: “Kagayake! Kintaro” Review

And with that, we’ve finished another Tale. “Kagayake! Kintaro” saw the climax of the Usagi Yojimbo arc and it centered around Kintaro’s power as the Golden Child awakening. The episode featured our heroes’ journey through the snow covered mountains on their way to the Temple Palace of the Sky Buddha. The well paced adventure saw the Turtles and Usagi battle the elements,  battle with ninjas near the top of the mountain, and finally come face to face with Jei. All in all “Kagayake! Kintaro” delivered on the promises of the arc, and proved an enjoyable finale.

As mentioned, the episode centered on Kintaro. If he ever hoped to achieve his full potential, he had to see past his self-centered and mean ways. While shades of his growth can be seen in the last episode, Kintaro really changes here. He starts off as his normal boastful, conceited self, insulting Usagi and extolling about his future power. When the party comes across a massive boulder blocking their way, Donnie and Raph tease Kintaro into trying to move it. He of course cannot move the boulder, and the two Turtles let him have it. Leo stops them however, giving Kintaro credit for trying. They ultimately get past the boulder when Usagi slices the tree that was holding it in place, teaching Kintaro that strength doesn’t always solve everything.

Strength and skill their place though, as the party finds out when they are attacked by ninjas hiding in the snow drifts of the mountain! The Turtles and Usagi hold their own and even Kintaro attempts to stand his ground before retreating. The fight scene was another great set piece, with the cat ninjas disappearing into the drifts before popping out again to attack. It also showed off the skill of the Turtles. Despite being caught off guard, they know the fighting style of ninja and do a great job anticipating where attacks will come from. Seeing Donnie no-look bat away attackers was suitably bad ass.

Ultimately, the cat ninjas get the upper hand on Kintaro, their target all along. Attaching a chain line to the mountain and dropping him down the cliff, the fight shifts to a race to the bottom to get Kintaro! With characters leaping and bounding down the cliff, coming together only to clash, this part of the fight was very entertaining. It ultimately ends, with Usagi saving Kintaro after dispatching three ninjas down the mountain.

Before reaching the temple, Leo takes on the task of protecting Kintaro. He takes a quiet moment to congratulate Kintaro on his courage. It’s another moment of our heroes showing Kintaro kindness, and in so doing, showing him how to grow up. It’s a small, touching moment, with Leo giving Kintaro the encouragement he needs.

Of course, this is what Jei wanted all along. After finally reaching the temple, they find it abandoned. Obviously suspicious, the Turtles and Usagi enter the grounds on high alert. When they think they have found a remaining priest, they are instead greeted by Jei himself, flanked by Sumo Kuma. He explains that he needs Kintaro at the temple in order to perform a ritual. Sumo Kuma takes on Usagi, while Jei goes after the Turtles. It doesn’t take long for Usagi to overcome the heavy brute, but when he turns to the Turtles, he can only watch as Jei takes the Turtles back under his control.

What follows is a quick beatdown of Usagi by the four Turtles. Just as it seems as the mind controlled Leo will deal the final blow, Kintaro comes out of hiding to save Usagi, his powers finally awakened. He blocks Leo’s sword and it shatters. He then easily dispatches each turtle and even Sumo Kuma! But this is what Jei was waiting for all along. He brought the Turtles to this dimension. He put them on the path with Usagi and Kintaro. He knew that together Usagi and the Turtles would teach Kintaro humility, compassion, and courage. All to awaken the boys powers so he could take them for himself. The ritual will be used to transport Jei’s soul into Kintaro’s body, giving Jei ultimate power on his deluded quest for his gods. He easily takes down the already wounded Usagi.

Jei doesn’t know, however, that Kintaro’s attacks on the Turtles cleansed them of his influence. Now free of Jei’s control, the Turtles pretend to still be under his influence in order to get close. Once in place, Leo throws his sword into Jei just as his spirit is flowing into Kintaro, forcing his spirit back to its source! A fight ensues, but Jei uses Kintaro as a weapon to ward off the Turtles. Witnessing his brutality, Usagi goes into a rage rushing the wizard. Despite his skill, Usagi is bested once more by the immortal Jei. Just as Jei is about to claim victory, he is distracted by Kintaro who bites him on the arm. This gives Usagi the opening he needs to use Leo’s still embedded sword to throw Jei off the cliff, separating his soul and his body, and finally killing the sorcerer.

“Kagayake! Kintaro” proved to be an entertaining conclusion to the Yojimbo tale. The growth of Kintaro was pretty much confined to this episode and it would have been more fulfilling if it started early in the arc. That being said, the rest of the episode more than made up for this shortfall. The setting allowed the animators to come up with interesting and visually striking action set pieces, and it was fun to learn about the new world. Rabbit warriors, Wolf sorcerers, Bear priests, Cat ninjas, and Divine Dogs all came together for a great adventure anchored by our Turtles. With the Turtles now returned home, it will be interesting to see where the next Tale takes us.



Editor's Rating

"Kagayake! Kintaro" saw the climax of the Usagi Yojimbo arc and it centered around Kintaro's power as the Golden Child awakening. The episode featured our heroes' journey through the snow covered mountains on their way to the Temple Palace of the Sky Buddha. The well paced adventure saw the Turtles and Usagi battle the elements,  battle with ninjas near the top of the mountain, and finally come face to face with Jei. All in all "Kagayake! Kintaro" delivered on the promises of the arc, and proved an enjoyable finale.

The Author

Dan Spitaliere

Dan Spitaliere

Dan Spitaliere is a sound designer and engineer, voice over artist, and a lifelong shellhead. He grew up on a healthy diet of Turtles movies, comics, cartoons, and toys, and can recite the first movie in its entirety from memory. He is excited to be a part of such a great team in the middle of this current Turtle Renaissance!

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  • Totaldrama Icequeen

    The arc was ok, but I felt like the TMNT were only secondary characters in this arc. It just didn’t give me the wow factor I wanted.

    • William Kerfoot

      Duh! They were supposed to be and it was no worse the wear for it. This was Usagi’s world, it had Sakai behind the pen, this was his villain; the turtles taking over would’ve been absolutely unfair! This was a great arc, especially for a show that has been on life support this whole season–if not last season as well.

      • Totaldrama Icequeen

        Life support?

        • William Kerfoot

          As I said, S4-5 had been that bad up to this point.

          • Jaros Bodytko

            Oh come on, season 4 was by no means a bad season, especially by the second half. 5 was ok so far, the Kavaxas stuff was rushed by the end and When Worlds collide was a fun standalone episode that was fairly inconsequential, and the Usagi arc was fantastic. We’re not even halfway through this season so there is a lot of goodness to be expected.

          • William Kerfoot

            Actually the second half was worse than the first. Karai’s arc should’ve been the backbone of that part of the season, Shinigami proved to be pointless (as was April’s arc), etc. Plus, have you seen the titles of the upcoming episodes? Particularly the Savanti & Renet episodes? It’s the Kavaxas arc all over again XP

          • Totaldrama Icequeen

            You really need to have your mind cleared

          • William Kerfoot

            You’re delusional.

          • Totaldrama Icequeen

            These seasons are not bad

          • KB

            I agree with you. I thought the seasons were good. I’m not hardcore person though but I think that means I’d be part of the target/mainstream casual viewer? The last episode I watched made me so sad I had to see if anybody else felt sad, too and I wound up here.

  • Totaldrama Icequeen

    What I’m really looking forward to is next week’s episode when we watch Lone Rat and Cubs!!! We get the turtles as kids AND babies AND we get to see Splinter!! Oh man! Every female fan will be squealing at the top of their lungs!

    Also, the fact that this is one of the episodes on the Wanted: Bebop and Rocksteady DVD, which is the crossover arc, is going to make my head and heart explode with joy. *fan girl scream* 😀😆😀😆😀😆

  • newsball

    well and it looks like next week’s episode is a one-off episode

  • Totaldrama Icequeen

    Cannot wait for this week’s episode review

  • William Kerfoot

    While these two didn’t have the same level of quality as “Yojimbo”, it’s kind of almost expected when you go from Stan Sakai to Brandon Auman to Henry Gilroy. “Yojimbo” is definitely one of the best episodes of the series but it also provided a good stepping stone to have this be the best arc of the season. Plus, having Keone Young voice Jei and Yuki voicing Usagi definitely helps.