Way back in 1987, during the first season of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, we saw the debut of the intergalactic hot rodding teenagers from Dimension X; Zak, Dask and Kala, otherwise known as the Neutrinos.
The Time-Traveling Teen from Dimension X
Released in 1992
The Dude from Another Dimension
Released in 1992
The Cool Cruisin’ Cosmic Chick
Released in 1992
Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t know much about these cool cats or what inspired their elvish appearance. But what I don’t know about them, I really dig and I think it says a lot for the first animated series as a whole. No one really talks about this, but the Neutrinos are seriously anti-war and are all about peace, love and happiness. Since these guys hail from Dimension X, a place of constant intergalactic war, they are mercilessly pursued for their stance against armed conflict. I won’t go into specifics, but by the end of their first appearance, they decide to head back to Dimension X and fight for their right to live peacefully, have fun and just be young.
So yeah, the Neutrinos, much like the Turtles, become child soldiers. That’s deep, man.
The figures themselves have a great (dare I say) alien appearance to them as well. While they look human, their skin tone has an off-white look to it with a bit of a waxy shine that sets them aside from the other human figures in the line. One of the best aspects of these figures is their wacky hairstyles that almost look like some sort of helmet, or maybe they just use a can of Aqua Net a day. Their clothing is a great spoof on old school science fiction films of the fifties and sixties, showing off just how ridiculous we thought we were going to dress in the future post 2,000.
Their clothing and hairstyles do much more than just grab your attention, as the Neutrinos of the cartoon spoke in mostly 50’s-era American slang, drove in flying cars that resemble 1950-something Cadillac convertibles. Their action figures followed suit, but also gave them hoverboards, jet packs, and Kala even tore up the skies in a pair of anti-gravity boots (that are supposed to clip on over her feet, but they don’t really accomplish this feat). I will say that while the Neutrinos are peace loving characters, they come armed to the teeth with several laser rifles and handguns; although Kala also comes with a hairbrush and a mirror. What is with giving all of the female characters in this toy line a bunch of makeup inspired accessories?
One thing that I feel that is sorely lacking in these figures is their articulation. While Dask has the standard seven points of articulation, Zak and Kala, while having the same articulation, have very, VERY, stiff joints that don’t turn in any direction whatsoever. I can’t even get a decent neck pivot out of them. Perhaps it’s due to their age, as they are twenty six years old as of the time I’m writing this. Also, it should be noted that Zak is a repainted re-issue of a figure that was released in 1991, as part of the basic assortment of figures, called Zak the Neutrino. While his updated paintjob is a nice addition that fits in with the other two Neutrinos, his level of detail sets him apart from the other two hot rodding teen. While Dask and Kala have a sleeker design, Zak is loaded with extra details, like a knife tucked into his left boot, buttons and rivets on his suit and he a bit more muscular than his friends. This doesn’t take anything away from his figure, but once you notice it, you realize that Dask and Kala could’ve had more.
I am very happy that these figures made it to the toy line as they didn’t have many appearances throughout the animated series, having appeared in only five episodes. But they were kind of an important part in expanding the mythology of the universe that the Turtles inhabited. Being fun loving teenagers from an alien world that was constantly at war with itself, it made you realize that there is more to this nebulous, unknown world that was a constant bad-day generator for the Turtles. It showed you the heartbreaking reality of a race of people that were persecuted just for wanting to be young and have fun. It showed us that there were three kids that had the wherewithal to understand that youth is fleeting ad it is important to make some great memories along the way. And that is a great person for a little kid to look up to.
Also, Kala totally had a crush on Michelangelo. It was adorable.
Turtle Trivia: The Neutrinos appeared in the TMNT comic published by IDW Publishing. While they maintain their 50’s-era look, they are hardcore soldiers that almost take out the Turtles with giant comic book-sized guns.
*Zak, Dask and Kala are known as Toon Zak, Toon Dask and Toon Kala in the Toon Turtles variant line released in 1992.