An action cartoon franchise from America; this entry covers the first series.Ben 10 revolves around the adventures of Ben Tennyson, a 10-year-old boy. While on summer vacation with his grandpa Max and cousin Gwen, he comes into the possession of a mysterious alien device - the Omnitrix - that allows him to change into a multitude of alien heroes. At first, there are only 10 aliens (hence the name "Ben 10"), but more forms were eventually discovered.Why isn't the device in more capable hands? Well, once it attached to Ben, it was stuck there. It won't come off.There's more to this show than meets the eye, however. For example, while this and most other American cartoons either Never Say "Die" or push the Thou Shalt Not KillAesop, "people" in this show get killed with reckless abandon with hardly anyone batting an eye. The show's also infamous for the Kissing Cousins vibe between Ben and Gwen. Plus, it has plenty of Nightmare Fuel.Currently, the Ben 10 franchise has four separate series: the original show, the Time Skipped sequel Ben 10 Alien Force, the sequel to Alien Force,Ben 10: Ultimate Alien and the sequel to Ultimate Alien, Ben 10 Omniverse. The foursome who created the original series, known as Man of Action, went on to create Generator Rex, and later work on Ultimate Spider-Man.Movie-wise, this (the original series) has three based on it. A Live-Action AdaptationBen 10 Race Against Time (Notable for starring Lee Majors as Grandpa Max), a regularly animated hour long flick Ben 10 Secret Of The Omnitrix, and an all CGI film called Ben 10 Destroy All Aliens.Not to be confused with the Bren Ten.
This show provides examples of:
Abusive Parents: Kevin's, who apparently threw him onto the street. Later Kevin himself, using his son Devlin to get his revenge on Ben.
It's hinted that it's not the case with Kevin: he either ran away on his own and was thus lying, or his parents threw him out for being freaking nuts and not because of his powers, but in Kevin's mind, his "freakish" powers were the reason.
It is revealed in Ultimate Alien that while they were disturbed by his powers, they never intended to kick him out. But in Kevin's mind, they may as well have. As his stepfather puts it, "We didn't kick you out, Kevin. You demolished our house!"
Almost every episode he abuses his power ends up with him accidentally angering someone and setting off the plot. A good many of his villains are his villains just because he's tried to be selfish with his powers, such as Kevin.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Gwen smacks Ben-as-Four Arms on the arm after he accidently wrecks a town fooling around with a giant ball of rubber bands. Given Four Arms' size and strength, it's surprising that a ten year old girl could hurt him.
Artifact Title: From the moment Ben discovered the eleventh alien in the Omnitrix.
Ben himself in the episode "Gwen 10" where Ben loses his powers, Ben still proves to be pretty badass, even using Grandpa Max's BFG with no problem.
In "Grudge Match", Ben manages to defeat an alien robot even after his Omnitrix times out. Admittedly, he already weakened it as Diamondhead, but it was still more than capable of killing him.
Be Careful What You Wish For: The beginning of an episode has Ben easily thwart a robbery. At the end of the preview, he outright states if there's anyone who can give him a challenge. Just so happens, it was the Negative 10 episode.
Berserk Button: Let's just say that if you ever hurt anyone Ben cares about, you're going to regret it. A LOT.
There's a shocking number of comic book characters in "Ready to Rumble" getting the treatment: Wolverine, Cyclops, Wonder Man, Killer Croc, even a gang boss based somewhat on Kingpin. The clincher? Wolverine and Killer Croc were adopted by Aunt May.
Fourarms actually switches to Goro's wardrobe later in Ultimate Alien.
Cerebus Syndrome: While the series never loses its humor side, it gets a lot more serious and dramatic. Last chapters? Fighting the Knight of Cerebus. First chapters? Fighting Mega-Whatts, a bugman, and a doctor who has a device that basically destroys any laws of biology through use.
Cute Monster Girl: In "My Big Fat Alien Wedding" the majority of the shapeshifting aliens are very ugly non-humanoid sludge monsters in their true form. The non-evil one (who's marrying a human) oddly looks like a fairly attractive purple-skinned woman in her true form. Despite being the daughter of the episode's villains.
Description Cut: Vilgax, in the first episode, prattles on about how no one in the universe can stop him. Then the scene cuts to Ben, in school, throwing a paper airplane at his teacher before the bell rings.
Also, JT and Cash seem to resemble Toji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida from Neon Genesis Evangelion
Face Fault: Look hard enough, Gwen in Charmcaster's body in "A Change Of Face" has these.
Flanderization: Early on, the Omnittrix is fairly reliable, only transforming Ben into the wrong alien once every few episodes, and Ben is justifiably surprised when it happens. Fast forward to the Season 3 finale, and out of the four times Ben transformed in the first part, he only got the alien he wanted once, and he's reduced to frantically begging the Omnitrix to please cooperate with him this time...
Justified in that he totaled the controls a few episodes back to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.
Family Friendly Firearms: Sometimes justified by the sci-fi setting, but really...where are ordinary gang members, mall cops, and other assorted armed Muggles getting their sci-fi firearms?
Foreshadowing: There are many hints that Max wasn't just a normal Plumber, such as knowing that Heatblast is not a monster but an alien, and mentions of Vilgax making him tense.
Hurricane of Puns: Witty one-liners make up a good 75% of dialog, mainly when Ben is in alien form.
Hypocritical Humor: A bit of it in "Gwen 10", where Ben keeps telling off Gwen for doing things he knows perfectly well he did in the past.
I Am Not Left-Handed: A couple of occasions, but possibly the most awesome is in "Grudge Match", where Kevin 11 has Ben trapped, and boasts that he can handle any of Ben's 10 aliens, since he IS all those aliens combined. Ben then reveals that he's unlocked a new form since Kevin last saw him: Cannon Bolt. Kevin gets hammered.
A similar, if more subtle version comes from "Ben 10,000", when Vilgax makes the same boast about all TEN THOUSAND of Future Ben's aliens, except that Future Ben has one form Vilgax overlooked: human.
I Never Said It Was Poison: Max inadvertantly reveals that he wasn't a normal plumber when he tells Ben he doesn't want him fighting Vilgax - unfortunately, he mentions Vilgax's name before Ben tells him what it is.
Fight Fire With Fire: Present in the very first episode, Ben accidentally starts a fire, Grandpa Max tells Ben that in order to stop it, he should start another one.
Knight of Cerebus: The series, at it's heart, is about a kid who does heroics and stupid things with his Omnitrix, but when Vilgax or Kevin appear, the episode's gonna take itself fairly seriously. Zs'kayr and the Forever Knights to a lesser extent, they made only a few occasional appearances, but they did establish themselves as threats later on.
Lamarck Was Right: Averted in "Ken 10"; Kenny needs his own Omnitrix to get his own powers.
Laughably Evil: Many secondary villains such as Dr. Animo, Charmcaster, or the Circus Freaks are this, contrasting to the more serious Big Bads.
Magic Misfire: Gwen, too. She even figured out how to use the misfire to her advantage. Sort of.
Magic Pants: ANYTHING that Ben was wearing before he goes alien - no matter how badly it was ripped during the transformation sequence - will be back, in perfect condition, when the Omnitrix runs out of juice.
Man Behind The Curtain: In Secret of the Omnitrix Ben and company confront the creator of the Omnitrix, a giant alien with a booming voice. It turns out to be a biosuit. Azmuth is tiny.
Man Hug: When Max runs into his old plumber buddy Phil, the two greet each other with a hug.
Mook Horror Show: Ben sometimes invokes this on criminals. This includes one time when he was fighting two robbers as Ripjaws. However, the most noteable time is when he literally scares Zombozo to death as Ghostfreak.
Motive Decay: in his debut appearance, Dr Animo wanted to get a price that was taken from him; all his next appearances in both the original series and the sequels has him either wanting to conquer or mutate the world.
There's also the live action movie Race Against Time. Now if only the guy who directed Men In Black directed this movie and Tommy Lee Jones played Grandpa Max, the movie would've been a thousand times cooler.
Multiform Balance: Theoretically, each of Ben's alien forms have powers applicable to specific situations. In practice, due to Ben's lack of tactical thinking and the Omnitrix's tendency to be uncooperative, whether an alien will be used in the appropriate role is never certain.
Negative Continuity: Later in the series, almost all the time, ranging from changes in height to more plot related problems (Stinkfly's sudden inability to swim in They Lurk Below, the event noted in the Ben 10 entry in Freaky Friday Flip, etc.)
No Ontological Inertia: The episode "The Big Tick" features an Eldritch Abomination which completely ravages its surroundings for several hundred meters around. After it's destroyed, the local area returns to its former state immediately, despite there being nothing to suggest that the destruction was illusory! For some reason, the characters find this to be perfectly acceptable.
No Sense of Humor: Adult Ben, as seen in the episode "Ben 10,000". He gets better in the end and continuing into "Ken 10".
Oblivious Mockery: Early in the What If? episode "Gwen 10", Gwen gets the Omnitrix stuck on her wrist and turns into Heatblast. Ben, who remembers going through this before, warns her about the danger of using fiery powers in the middle of a forest. She immediately responds that only an idiot would set the forest on fire. Naturally, that's exactly what Ben did in the first episode.
Retroactive Precognition: Ben has this in "Gwen 10" when he gets mysteriously transported to the past, and remembers everything that happened over the past several months, but nobody else does. In an odd case of Plot-Induced Stupidity, it takes Max a while to believe Ben, despite the fact that Ben now knows about Vilgax, who only Max has met, and the Omnitrix, which is unknown to most people on Earth.
It seemed less like disbelief and more like denial.
Unfortunately for Ben, things have changed enough that his knowledge of future events is limited in its usefulness.
Not to mention the fact that, when the Big Bad finally absorbs this ultra-powerful energy source into his Powered Armor, the most he can think to do with it is use it to shoot rather mediocre eyebeams.
And in Ben 10,000, to unlock ten thousand alien forms in thirty years would require an average of one new alien form every single day for the entire time, though that would leave a bit of extra time.
Or once you unlock master control a few thousand aliens come with it.
Self Guarding Phlebotinum: The Omnitrix generates a small field around itself when someone who is not the person who it is currently attached to tries to touch it. However, it should noted that the Omnitrix is neither Empathic nor Loyal and only tries to protect itself; in fact, one way you can obtain it is to kill the current user and then take it for yourself.
Silver Age: The show looks almost like a love letter to the Silver Age.
Snap Back: Ben never seems to learn from the Aesop in any episode and at the start of the next episode continues behaving like an idiot bent on doing things his way no matter what, despite his level of intelligence and understanding to the contrary.
This is actually lampshaded at the end of the CGI "Destroy All Aliens" film.
Tastes Like Friendship: Subverted. Feeding theobromine compounds to an extra-terrestrial may not be the best idea...
The Group: The Forever Knights' cover name is The Organization.
Theme Naming: Ben Tennyson is ten years old. Kevin E. Levin is eleven.
Ben gives his alien forms extremely marketable names based on their appearance or powers.
This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: In "The Big Tick", the episode where Ben first unlocks Cannonbolt, he initially hates the alien form for being unwieldy and uncontrollable, and refuses to use it again. Guess which alien turns out to be the only one capable of defeating the Eldritch Abomination threatening the Earth that episode?
XLR8 is exactly as fast as the plot calls for, and no faster. Sometimes it's literally too fast to see, most of the time not so much. Thus, aliens with nowhere near its speed can still hit it.
The Omnitrix's "ten minute" time limit is usually quite a bit shorter than that, to ensure that Ben can't beat the Monster of the Week too quickly.
From the moment when the Omnitrix starts beeping and flashing red, there is variable time until the moment Ben returns to his human form - sometimes it is almost instant, and sometimes... it takes a while.
Tree Cover: In "The Visitor", Ben eavesdrops on Max and Xylene by turning into Wildvine and merging with the tree.
What If?: The out-of-mainstream-continuity episode "Gwen 10"; some would classify the "Ken 10" episode under this.
Not to mention the show's last episode: "Goodbye and Good Riddance"
Word Of God in the DVD commentaries states that the "Ken 10" episode is one of "many possibilities" of the future.
What Could Have Been: Some of the concept art for Ben 10 included superheroes, rather than specifically aliens, one transformation of which was a girl, which could have a set off a Gender Bender trope.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Uncomfortably applied at the beginning of the series,given that Ben isn't human half of the time.Subverted in later episodes
Would Hurt a Child: Subverted in the sense that whenever Ben transforms and does battle, he gets beat up pretty graphically, which would look unsettling if it was happening in his human form. Played straight when he reverts back to Ben and his enemies don't hesitate to take advantage of his vulnerability.
Wrench Wench: Road Crew member Turbine is a villainous version.
You Must Be This Tall To Ride: In the episode "A Small Problem", Ben is told he's too short to go down a water slide, which he immediately decides to rectify by turning into Ripjaws. Maybe it's for the best that he ended up as the less-noticeable Grey Matter instead.