|Weapons||Katana, Tekkō-kagi, "chain-whippy thingie"|
|First Appearance||City at War, Part 1|
|Voiced By||Karen Neil|
An alternative version of Karai (voiced by Karen Neil) is a major character in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series by 4Kids Entertainment and Mirage Studios. The supervising producer Lloyd Goldfine envisioned the cartoon Karai as having a "sleek, no-nonsense, commanding, Japanese accent. "The original comics' (and Karai's) co-creator and the show's consultant Peter Laird agreed, but emphasized that she is also "a powerful and dynamic individual". Laird opposed to having "all kinds of goofy, ludicrous weapons systems built into Karai's new Shredder armor." He was also "disappointed" to see Karai at April and Casey's wedding and fighting on the side of the "good guys" in the end. Regarding Karai being called "Leo's girlfriend" by the time of the show's third season, Laird noted that "contrary to what some TMNT fans might fantasize, Turtles don't mate/have love affairs with humans."
As a child, Karai was found and adopted by Ch'rell, the Utrom Shredder, after her parents abandoned her at a young age (in the original comics, Karai had no relation to him). He took her in and raised her as his own, teaching her ninjutsu. An aspiring practitioner of Bushido, she became his most trusted follower, even trusted to his true identity as Ch'rell and told her that the Utroms were savagely hunting him. When the Utroms fled for New York, Karai remained in charge of the Japanese Foot Clan. Karai first appears as one of the highest-ranking members of the Foot Clan, similar in status to Hun (who holds a grudge against her); eventually, she becomes the clan's leader. Throughout the series, she appears both as an ally and enemy to the Turtles, sharing a complicated relationship with Leonardo. Karai was the only Foot member who knew that the Shredder was really an Utrom other than the Foot Mystics. After Ch'rell's exile at the end of Season 3, Karai spent all of Season 4 and Season 5 trying to make the Turtles pay for this. When she appeared as a guest of April and Casey's wedding, her vendetta with the Turtles was confirmed to be over.
Karai made her animated debut in Season 2, in the series' loose adaptation of the Mirage Comics' "City at War" story arc. When the Purple Dragons, the Mafia, and the Foot were fighting for control of New York City after the Shredder's reported demise, Karai arrived in the city after hearing the news of the gang war taking place and quickly enlisted the aid of the Turtles to stop it, promising an end to the Foot’s vendetta against them in exchange for their assistance. Leonardo, believing that Karai was honorable despite her legacy, convinced Donatello and Michelangelo to aid her. Raphael initially refused, although he later recanted. Together, Karai and the Turtles eventually retook control of the New York Foot and consequently its underworld. However, the end of the story, it was revealed that Karai had been manipulating the Turtles (much to her dismay), and had been working with the not-dead Shredder all along. However, she showed sadness when the Shredder (Ch'rell) vowed to get revenge on the Turtles after she had made a truce with them. In a homage scene, the way Karai held Leonardo hostage is exactly how the Shredder held him in the first live-action film to force the other three to surrender.
Karai and the Foot reappeared in Rogue in the House, Part 1, where a fully-healed Ch'rell retook control of the Foot. As his first order of business, he deployed a killer robot (disguised as Splinter) to eliminate the turtles. Realizing that their agreement with the Foot had been recanted, the turtles decided to face the Foot again in their temporary HQ—a ship stationed at the docks. Leonardo, Raphael, and Splinter were taken hostage during their encounter, and Karai was forced to fight Leonardo. Despite Leonardo’s lack of resistance, she proved unwilling to kill him.
Karai’s internal conflict—her loyalty to the Turtles as fellow Bushido-practitioners vs. her loyalty to her father—was the main thrust of her Season 3 storyline, as she was pulled from both directions to take a side during their various encounters, even working together with the Turtles at times. She also appears in a cameo in Japan. Karai managed to stay in the graces of both sides until the Turtles faced the Shredder again in the season’s finale. As the Turtles were chasing Ch'rell, Karai tried to reason with Leonardo, pleading him to let her father leave. When Leonardo refused to let Shredder go, Karai fought alongside with her father and (unintentionally) accidentally stabbed Leonardo in the shoulder with his own sword, damaging his carapace, although she later prevented the Utrom Shredder from killing the Turtles while they were unconscious. Despite her efforts, however, in the end, the Shredder was taken prisoner and exiled by the Utroms, while Karai and the young Foot Tech Division Head Dr. Chaplin are also captured and sent back to Earth and placed in a prison. Before disappearing with Dr. Chaplin, Karai cried out to Leonardo: "This is not what I wanted!"
With her father gone and dead in the eyes of the world, Karai took over the Foot as well as the mantle of the Shredder (in a deleted scene she even says that Karai "no longer exists", completely replaced by The Shredder) sometime after she and Dr. Chaplin got out of prison. This new Shredder "would retain the traditional iconic elements, but have a different treatment". Furious at what she saw as a betrayal by the Turtles, Karai plotted her revenge against them, first attacking them on the psychic plane via Foot Mystics, and later coordinating and leading an assault against them at their lair, which she believed successful. She later once again duels Leonardo (who was not at the lair at the time of the assault), who defeated her but then departed with the warning to leave his family alone and giving her one last chance for redemption.
Karai next faced the Turtles during their attempt to retrieve a Foot artifact, an amulet called the Heart of Tengu. Despite her efforts, she was unsuccessful in stopping them.
Back To The Sewer
She has appeared in 25 episodes & 1 movie:
- City at War, Part 1
- City at War, Part 2
- City at War, Part 3
- Rogue in the House, Part 1
- Rogue in the House, Part 2