April O'Neil is the pentagonist in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and all related media. In each of the many TMNT continuities, she is the first human ally friend of the Turtles: Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo.
Animated series (1987–1996)
In the 1987 TMNT animated series, April O'Neil was a television reporter for Channel 6 News. She was employed by Burne Thompson, though she expressed frequent disagreement with his assignments for her due to her headstrong nature and passion for her work. She also butted heads on a regular basis with Vernon Fenwick, the director/camera operator whose enormous ego compelled him to scoop April on her stories whenever possible. April was best friends with Irma, the receptionist at Channel 6. Her Channel 6 News Van was a blue van that had classic headlights and the Channel 6 News logo on each side. April could usually be found wearing a distinctive yellow jumpsuit with white boots. She lived in an apartment in New York City, though during the course of the series, she was forced to relocate several times due to a variety of indirect Turtle-related mishaps.
In the 1987 series, April was reporting a series of thefts of high-tech scientific equipment, apparently by a ninja, when she came under attack by a gang of street punks. Thinking quickly, she managed to squeeze into a storm drain and ran from the mob until she hit a dead end. The Turtles were nearby and defeated the punks for her. She was taken back to their sewer lair, where they explained their origins to her. At first, she believed them to be responsible for the equipment thefts, but they agreed to provide her with the true culprits if she provided her assistance and didn't tell people about them. April quickly became the Turtles' major link to the outside world, since their unusual appearance effectively precluded them from functioning above ground without some sort of disguise.
April's friendship with the Turtles resulted in the opportunity to film exclusive footage of their encounters with Shredder, but despite her intimate knowledge of the details of their lives, she tended to keep her professional news reports about them impersonal and mysterious. She was a vocal champion of their cause, despite the opinion of Burne Thompson that the Turtles were a menace to the city, and most episodes generally showed her attempting to convince Burne and the New Yorkers that the Turtles are not the criminals he is convinced they are; by the episode "Doomquest," she finally succeeds by exposing Lord Dregg's propaganda campaign and plans to take over the Earth to the public. April was frequently kidnapped by Shredder, quite often as bait in order to lure the Turtles out of hiding in order to unleash his latest attempt at destruction upon them.
April revealed her age in the Season 3 episode, "Leather Head - Terror of The Swamp". While in Florida for vacation, the Turtles meet with her, and join forces with the Punk Frogs. They find a body of water contaminated with mutagen, which makes mutants feel youthful, while physically de-aging humans into 4 year old versions of themselves. Donatello does not allow April to enter the water, to which April laments, "Oh, great! I'm doomed to be a decrepit twenty-eight year old hag!"
Her Aunt Agatha ("Aggie"), who appeared in the episodes ("Case of the Hot Kimono" and "Sleuth on the Loose"), is a detective.
April was normally portrayed as a capable independent woman. Her most important contribution to the Turtles was her experience in doing research on the Channel 6 computers and alerting the Turtles to trouble and possible case leads. Following the destruction of the Channel 6 building in the eighth season April continued to work for Channel 6, but by the ninth season, April worked freelance for reasons never specified. During these three seasons, she exchanged her yellow jumpsuit for a brown leather jacket. She continued to help the Turtles, even after the defeat of Shredder and his subsequent exile to Dimension X.
April was voiced by Renae Jacobs. There was also a two-part OVA series in Japan, in which April was voiced by Emi Shinohara. In the 25th Anniversary crossover movie, Turtles Forever, she was voiced by Rebecca Soler.
Animated series (2003-2009)
In the 2003 animated series, April O'Neil was once a scientist working for Stocktronics and under the employment of Dr. Baxter Stockman. Suspicious of his dealings, she went to the underground lab to uncover his dark secret. However, Stockman saw that and tries to feed her to his Mouser robots, but was rescued by the Turtles. She is voiced by Veronica Taylor.
- Along with Casey Jones, her primary love interest in the TMNT-franchise, April is the closest human ally of the turtles and Master Splinter.
- While April's very close to all four of the turtles, she's usually closer to Donatello than she is to the other three turtles, due to their similar interests in science and technology. However, this wasn't seen in the 1987 cartoon or the films.