Chinese language Ninja Turtles comic from the 1990 Taiwan movie release

Written byZoe Mei

I can remember being amazed at the trailer for the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie on Saturday morning TV. Yes, it was right around the time that we were being promised Back to the Future hover-boards by the year 2000. So much for that.

Anyway, while visiting home during the New Year holidays, Taiwanese blogger 台北人大元 stumbled across their copy of the 1990 comic book that accompanied the movie release in Taiwan. The comic book contains the Chinese language version of the comic, along with localised content such as information about the local movie release and even Taiwanese ads featuring the Turtles.

As you can see from the cover, the name Taiwanese name is 忍者龜 (忍者龟 Rěnzhě guī) “Ninja Turtles” with no reference to them being teenagers, or mutants, though this is what most people call them in English anyway.

Did you notice the play on words? In addition to being the first character in the word for ‘ninja’ 忍 (rěn) also means to ‘endure/bear’. The question reads 你能忍多久?(Nǐ néng rěn duōjiǔ?)which means “How long can you endure?” and follows up at the bottom of the page with information about the Chinese language comic and says 你能忍得住不去買嗎? (你能忍得住不去买吗? Nǐ néng rěn de zhù bù qù mǎi ma?) “Can you bear not to buy it?”.

Interesting to note is that the Chinese names used for the Turtles here are different than the names that are used now. After checking the Chinese Wikipedia page for the Turtles it seems that the names shown in the image above could be based on the Hong Kong versions and may have been adapted by the translators before the Taiwanese names had been standardised.

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