One of the early plot points in the TMNT universe was Splinter’s concern that the outside world would shun them because of what they were. However, the 1987 animated series made that a non-issue by introducing dozens of new mutants to the toy line and TV episodes, giving the turtles numerous allies beyond April O’Neil and Casey Jones. Because of this, the turtles gained some rather unique and downright odd friends over the years, each adding something useful to the fight against evil.
Zach, the Fifth Turtle, was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ biggest fan. He dressed like them, trained like them, and tried to become their friend. When the turtles first encountered Zach, they believed he was nothing but a nuisance. But Zach was able to prove himself, and became the honorary fifth turtle. He showed up enough throughout the series that his entire family became aware and accepting of the turtles. Zach had a great imagination, which saved the day several times, including foiling Wingnut and Screwloose’s plan to turn kids into zombies.
Mondo Gecko’s story started with the turtles, when the lizard fell into the same exact mutagen puddle. While Splinter found the four brothers, a man named Mr. X picked up Mondo. Mr. X was a bank robber that taught the mutated lizard to follow in his footsteps, and Mondo did so without objection until he met Michelangelo. Mikey convinced Mondo Gecko to give up his criminal ways, and together they stopped Mr. X for good. With nowhere to go, Mondo accompanied Mikey to the sewers, and moved in next door to his new friends.
Fed up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Krang sends some mutagen to the Florida everglades, causing four innocent amphibians to change into the Punk Frogs. Shredder convinces the four that he is a hero trying to defeat the evil turtles, and Attila the Frog, Genghis Frog, Napoleon BonaFrog, and Rasputin the Mad Frog head off to destroy the true good guys. Shredder’s plan was far from foolproof, however, and the turtles save their amphibious enemies from peril. The Punk Frogs realized they were duped, and together the two teams defeat Shredder. The frogs returned to Florida, now friends and allies to the turtles.
When the turtles needed a top-notch pilot to handle aerial combat, they looked no further than pal Ace Duck. Krang was hungry for some duck brain from Dimension X one day, and had one transported to Earth. But unsuspecting pilot Ace Conrad was caught in the transportation beam, and mutated into a duck man. Ace crashed in the sewers of New York, meeting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and becoming their friend. Ace Duck found two successful careers, one as a movie star and a second as the personal pilot of the Turtle Blimp. With Ace Duck at the controls, the turtles never worried about flying during a fight.
Carter was another human ally dragged into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ world unexpectedly. Carter was a student of Master Splinter’s, training to be a ninja. However, he was exposed to some of the mutagen, and it transformed him, too. Carter was able to control his mutation, though, changing at will between his human self and a giant yellow mutant with super strength. He joined the turtle team while they searched for cure, but the best Donatello could do was stabilize the changes. Carter eventually returned to college, but still hoped to be cured someday. Ultimately, he traveled to the future to find his answers, and presumably never came back.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had many odd allies throughout their struggle. These five may only represent a small sampling of the friends they made, but they also represent some of the best and strangest. Humans, mutants, and former villains all found reason to stand with the turtles, and the world was better for it. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles proved that Splinter’s concern was unfounded, and that they would find acceptance and respect among peers.