Here at Cracked, we like to deal with world-changing, philosophical questions. What is the meaning of life? Is death the end? What's the deal with Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? As you can probably tell from the title of this article, one of these questions is far more important than the others.
The saga of the screeching brain that lives in the stomach of an obese bald robot in a Speedo is a mysterious one. But some answers can be found in what seems to be a totally different series in a completely different medium: Metroid. So strap on your Varia Suit and order a bizarrely topped pizza, folks. Here's why Krang and Mother Brain, the space-pirate-controlling asshole from Metroid, are the same character.
5Both Are Interstellar Crime Bosses Who Happen To Be Brains In Jars
As far as social profiles go, it's pretty rare to be a brain living in a jar, and Krang and Mother Brain are definitely in the 99th percentile on the grand scale of brain-in-jar success. This is true not only in real life but also in the universes of Metroid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In the Metroid franchise, we see exactly one sentient brain in a jar: the Mother Brain. In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe, we also see exactly one sentient brain in a jar: Krang. This is despite the fact that both franchises are up to their little turtle headbands in technology, to the point where you can't even own a farm without worrying about killer mutant cyber-cows.
It's true that, in TMNT, the antagonist is called Krang, while in the Metroid games, the antagonist is called Mother Brain, but there is a good reason for this. "Mother Brain" is a code name -- one that law enforcement uses to refer to him. I say "him," but remember, we're talking about brains in jars. In other words, "Mother Brain" is a criminal moniker, just like "The Zodiac Killer" or "Mike Huckabee."
Its greatest weapon is the ability to ponder things.
There are no occasions in the Metroid franchise where space pirates use the phrase "Mother Brain." A legitimate name exists only in the mouths of Krang's enemies, specifically the ones hunting him all the way over in Dimension X. Speaking of which ...
4The Asteroid In Dimension X Is Just Like Planet Zebes
Midway through the first animated TMNT series, Krang and Shredder are banished to an asteroid in Dimension X. There, they bicker over various revenge schemes, presumably while Krang paced about the Technodrome smoking cigars, as Shredder followed him with an ashtray.
I think Public Enemy did a song about it in the early '90s.
Right away, we see that the Technodrome -- an interconnecting network of metal pipes and rooms -- is within walking distance of an active volcano, which, in turn, is surrounded by a jungle next to a sea. What the writers of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles thought was a fantastical otherworld is actually just a small replica of south Florida.
Now, if we take a look at maps of Zebes (the planet where you Metroid the crap out of Metroids), we find the same basic structure: Tourian, an interconnected network of metal pipes and rooms that is within walking distance of Norfair, an actively volcanic area. Overlapping with both is Brinstar, a jungle, and in the SNES version, Brinstar also borders Maridia, a sea.
Video game geography is weird.
So the biomes on Zebes are extremely close together, just like the ones on Krang's asteroid, and they both have the same type of arrangement. Here, look at this very short video for a comparison:
Now, strictly speaking, Krang's base is an asteroid, while Zebes is a planet. However, the difference between planets and asteroids is one of degrees. It's determined by size, by how many similarly sized objects are close to it, and by whatever we've decided "dwarf planet" means, among other things -- Ceres, a real-life borderline case, has been alternatively categorized as a planet and an asteroid for the last two centuries, for precisely this reason. So despite being called an "asteroid base," Krang's hideout can still orbit Zebes' sun, have Zebes' atmosphere, and, well, be Zebes.
Of course, you might be wondering about the inhabitants of these places. What kinds of lifeforms can thrive on planets that seem to be actively trying to kill everything that comes near them?