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Western Animation / Ben 10

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It started when an alien device did what it did
And stuck itself upon his wrist with secrets that it hid
Now he's got super-powers, he's no ordinary kid,
He's Ben 10!
So if you see him you might be in for a big surprise,
He'll turn into an alien before your very eyes,
He's slimy, creepy, fast and strong, he's every shape and size,
He's Ben 10!
All new powers, he's on the case
Fighting off evil from Earth or space.
He'll never stop 'till he makes 'em pay,
'cause he's the baddest kid to ever save the day!
Ben 10!

Ben 10 is an American action/adventure series created by Man of Action Studios (a group of comic book writers consisting of Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, and Steven T. Seagle) that aired from 2005 to 2008. The show revolves around the adventures of Ben Tennyson, a 10-year-old boy who, while on summer vacation with his grandfather 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 ten aliens (hence the name "Ben 10"), but more forms were discovered as the series goes on.

Why isn't the device in more capable hands? Well, once it attached to Ben, it was stuck there. It won't come off. And with that problem established, Ben and his family decide to continue traveling the United States, fighting off evil from Earth or space, all while slowly discovering that Ben getting the Omnitrix may not have been as much of an accident as previously thought and that Grandpa Max may know far more about these alien threats than he lets on. Also, don't worry about Gwen being left out in all this: she eventually gets her own skill set.

The show is notable for being primarily aimed at kids, yet including a substantial amount of Character Development and universe-building, as well as two big Plot Twists in the first and second seasons, respectively.

The beginning of the original continuity in the franchise, three more series follow in this timeline: the Darker and Edgier Time Skipped sequel Ben 10: Alien Force that follows Ben as a teenager, then Ben 10: Ultimate Alien (which immediately follows the events of Alien Force), and finally the Lighter and Softer Ben 10: Omniverse that immediately follows Ultimate Alien. The foursome who created the original series went on to create Generator Rex, and later work on Ultimate Spider-Man, before returning to reboot this series with Ben 10 (2016).

The original series also has three television movies based on it; Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix, which serves as the canonical Grand Finale of the original series,note  an Alternate Universe Live-Action Adaptation Ben 10: Race Against Time (notable for starring Lee Majors as Grandpa Max), and a 2012 all-CGI film called Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens that was later Ret Canoned.

Not to be confused with the Bren Ten.

This show provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The episode "Permanent Retirement" ended with a Limax escaping in its spaceship and another remaining at large at the retirement resort, but nothing was made of it, not even in the three Sequel Series.
    • The Sequel Hook of "Ben 10 vs the Negative 10" hinted that the Forever King/Driscoll would return, something never followed up on in the original series due it ending with the fourth season. Driscoll would return in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien under different circumstances.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Kevin's, who apparently threw him onto the street. Later Kevin himself, using his son Devlin to get his revenge on Ben. Future retcons would only muddle this further.
    • 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.
    • Also, Hex serves as an abusive parental figure to Charmcaster, which comes back to bite him in the ass.
  • An Aesop:
    • In any given episode, Ben almost invariably tries for one of the physically strong characters in the watch, only for the Omnitrix to shift him to a form that could actually handle the crisis better, or just required him to think outside the box. The Aesop being that 1) muscle isn't everything; 2) if you're not handed what you wanted, work with what you have.
    • "You shouldn't be a hero for the thrill of it and the praise afterwards. You should be a hero because it's the right thing to do." An entire episode was dedicated to teaching Ben this, and it's something that can easily apply to other fields. You shouldn't do good things because of praise and/or because you find it exciting. You should do good things because it's the right thing to do.
  • Aesop Amnesia: The sheer number of times Ben has learned lessons about being nicer to Gwen, using the Omnitrix smarter not harder, and respecting other people, only to promptly discard them by the next episode is truly staggering.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Happens in "Side Effects":
    Max: It's your hives. The cold must have turned them into pus-filled pockets of
    Gwen: Pure putridness!
  • The Alcatraz: Incarcecon, the prison satellite.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Most aliens are able to speak perfectly in English without the use of a translator, and not just the ones that Ben turns into.
  • All Bikers Are Hell's Angels: Rojo's gang.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: Its 2012 film, Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens.
  • All Myths Are True: On average, for every five or six that can be attributed to aliens, there's one that can't.
  • All There in the Manual: Pop-up commentary during a Ben 10 marathon revealed a lot of facts that aren't stated in the show, most notably an extensive backstory for Ghostfreak and even a true name for him: Zs'Skayr. They also spoke about certain characters that would appear in later series, like SevenSeven, older brother of SixSix.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Kevin 11 to Ben's original 10 aliens.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The show has a different ending theme for the Japanese version called "Ladybird Girl", a love song, which is not very fitting for a show about transforming into multiple aliens.
  • An Aesop: Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.
  • Animesque: The art style is semi-realism, which is generally used in most anime.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • In "The Big Tick", the titular monster is a Planet Destroyer which has inflicted a Class X on every world it visited by rooting into and feeding off the core: the tick's influence first mutates the floral and fauna before the planet suffers an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. It's responsible for destroying the homeworld of Cannonball's species just a week before this episode takes place.
    • In "Camp Fear", the fungal Monster of the Week intends to release billions of Mushroom Man spores into the atmosphere, which Gwen notes could spread over the whole state or country in a Class 0.
    • In "Dr. Animo and the Mutant Ray", Animo threatened to cause a Class 4 or a Class 6 variant by mutating the Earth's entire biosphere into Omnitrix alien fusions, intending to use his Doomsday Device in conjunction with a satellite.
    • In Season 3, Zs'Skayr attempts to inflict The Night That Never Ends on Earth as a form of Hostile Terraforming, by covering the planet in a Corrodium shield. The fact the Corrodium will effectively cause a Class 4 by mutating all animal life on the planet into monsters is thought to be merely a side-effect.
  • Argument of Contradictions: What some of Ben and Gwen's conversations boil down to.
  • Artifact Title: From the moment Ben discovered the eleventh alien in the Omnitrix.
  • Artistic License Biology: In an episode, some cows and a human were turned into mutant monstrosities due to exposure to an alien mutagen. Fortunately they were 'only briefly exposed', so the mutation reversed itself by the end of the episode. Needless to say, that's NOT how biology or radiation work!
  • Asimov's Three Kinds of Science Fiction: The show being Space Opera, it falls squarely in the Adventure classification. Kid Hero Ben Tennyson stumbles onto the alien-originated Omnitrix, a device that allows him to turn into a roulette of aliens, each with their own unique set of superpowers. The exact inner workings of the Omnitrix are spoon-fed to the audience, though never completely revealed and the social implications of such technology are never even glanced at. What the series cares about is Ben fending off extraterrestrial bad guys and sometimes going galaxy-trekking.
  • The Atoner: Tetrax.
  • Author Avatar: The kid Ben tries to save in the pilot episode? That's Glen Murakami.
  • Ax-Crazy: Kevin 11 is shown to have sadistic and violent tendencies.
  • Badass Biker: Rojo a Hot-Blooded (bordering on Ax-Crazy) biker.
  • Badass Family: Max Tennyson and his grandchildren travel the country fighting world-threatening aliens.
  • Badass Normal: Max Tennyson has been fighting powerful aliens for years in spite of just being a human being with no powers.
    • 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.
      • During the final fight of "Secret of the Omnitrix", Ben fights off Vilgax's forces without using the Omnitrix almost all the way through. Before Azmuth comes back to reactivate the Omnitrix, Gwen rightfully reminds Ben of all the times he had helped others in the past WITHOUT being an alien.
"Don't you get it? You don't need that thing. What about all the times you saved Grandpa, or me, or lots of other people when you weren't an alien? You are a hero, even if you can't go hero!"
  • Baseball Episode: The episode "The Unnaturals" in which the Cannons (their hometown and Ben's school baseball team) and their opponents named Squires (disguised as baseball players but actually they are robots) had a baseball game in Philadelphia. One of its team are the school bullies named J.T. and Cash. During the game, XLR8 sabotages them before acting in favor of the team. Later in the episode, Ben sneaks into the Cannons and wears Cash's baseball t-shirt with the inscription "23" on the back of it. He failed to bat the ball two times but when he bats it successfully, he runs from his starting point up to the umpire or referee and from that part of the field, he turns into Four Arms.
  • 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.
  • BFG: Some of Max's guns.
  • Big Bad: Vilgax in season 1, Kevin 11 in season 2, Ghostfreak in season 3, and the Forever King in season 4.
    • Vilgax, being the Arch-Enemy, also had the role of secondary Big Bad in seasons 2 and 4.
  • Big Damn Movie: Secret of the Omnitrix.
  • Big Eater: Ben's alien form Upchuck can eat pretty much anything...except human food.
  • Birthday Buddies: Cousins Ben and Gwen Tennyson share the same birthday, and since they are both 10 years old that means they were born on the same day. Since they are both spending the summer travelling with their grandfather Max, they get into an argument over whose birthday should be celebrated on the actual date of their birthday.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: As Wildmutt, Ben lacks eyes, yet still experiences "images" of what's around him. This perception is probably scent-based, as the images grow sharper when he takes a breath and he had trouble navigating when Ben changed into him while having a cold.
    • Clockwork from Ben 10: Ultimate Alien has a temporal sense that sees into the past. He can project this effect into a whole area by winding the key on his head.
  • Black-and-White Morality: The show is mostly this trope, but the main hero's character flaws can push it slightly into Black-and-Gray Morality at times.
  • Black Box: The Omnitrix itself. Even its creator doesn't know exactly what he's made.
  • Black Magician Girl: Charmcaster has magic powers.
  • Body Horror: For a kids show there sure are a lot of them...
    • Many of Ben's transformation involve this.
    • Kevin after he is forced to be a conglomerate of Ben's original 10 forms.
    • The Stock Footage transition montage could become this as well.
    • The way the flesh on Ben's wrist stretches like chewing gum when Vilgax removed the Omnitrix.
    • The mutations inflicted by Corrodium in the episode "Under Wraps" were particularly unnerving; monstrous, twisted, black shadows with glowing purple lines gouged across them. Later on, in "Be Afraid of the Dark", when we actually see the mutations taking place as the entire populace of Earth is subjected to them, it's even more disturbing.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • In the Ghostfreak two-parter, tries to do an Aesop about teamwork. Unfortunately, this fails when The Hero is armed with one of the most powerful artifacts in the universe; try as they might, Gwen and Max really don't compare. It's like Tien and Yamcha trying to teach teamwork to Super Saiyan Goku. Also, at the beginning of Part 2 ("Be Afraid of The Dark"), Gwen tells Ben "We don't need your help". Frankly, the story makes it seem like she's jealous of the Omnitrix, and having sidekick issues. Max has a lesser case, but, not being ten, he knows when to shut up and get on with things. At the end of the second episode, Ben ends up learning his aesop about teamwork after... he uses his Omnitrix to save Gwen and Max's asses as they plummet from space to Earth.
    • She is also guilty of a Broken Aesop in the opposite direction. The first season episode "Lucky Girl" revolves around her becoming a superhero based on a magical charm she finds. After losing it and finding out that the Big Bad of the episode possesses many similar charms to augment his magical power, she opts to destroy them rather than use them herself, justifying it as a decision to "just be me". Unfortunately, this Aesop is broken for two reasons. First, her stance on not relying on such power tends to be overshadowed when her cousin keeps using that Omnitrix thingy, especially since she benefits from it as much as everyone else. Second, what does she do in later episodes? She readopts the persona briefly after finding an even better charm. Then she learns that she is capable of using magic, and (with a few tools stolen from one villain) starts regularly using it herself. In fact, in the future-based episodes, she carries and uses the exact same charms that she destroyed in that first episode! It seems those powers are just too cool to pass up after all.
  • Came from the Sky: This is how Ben got the Omnitrix.
  • Circus of Magic: Implied. Zombozo is the head of a circus act that gets people to laugh before using a machine to suck all the happiness out of them to fuel his own health and abilities. However, their supernatural abilities are never attributed to alien activity, implying that they're somehow magical in nature, as Zombozo was bitten by a zombie prior to the series.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The Omnitrix latches onto Ben's wrist and sticks there for the remainder of the series.
  • Collector of Forms: The Omnitrix slowly acquires new alien species for Ben to transform into over the course of the series by a variety of methods, but most commonly by scanning DNA from new species Ben meets.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Stories based on this show were featured in the earlier issues of Cartoon Network Action Pack. As the comic book continued publication, it stayed up to date by switching to adaptations of Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: "Ready to Rumble" - The mother of two mutant kids was tied to a conveyor belt in an old wood mill. She was heading towards a wood saw that's right between her legs.
  • Cool Old Guy: Ben and Gwen's grandfather Max Tennyson is a retired member of an organization known as the Plumbers, who specialize in policing aliens.
  • The Corruption: Corrodium (it's even in the name!), a high-energy mineral of alien origin which is harmless to aliens from the Anur system, but causes any humans or Earth-native animal life that are exposed it it to mutate into surreal-looking monstrosities.
  • Cowardly Lion: Gilbert in "Camp Fear". When he's not running around screaming his head off, he's quite helpful fighting off the mushroom monsters and protecting the younger campers.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Vilgax trying to get the Omnitrix for his scheme was what eventually led the device to end up on Earth and stick itself on the wrist of Ben Tennyson. This even gets a lampshade in Ben 10: Omniverse.
  • Creepy Child: Meet Kevin, eleven years old and willing to kill a subway load of people without a second thought.
  • Crossdressing Voices: Tara Strong as Ben and Upgrade.
  • 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.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Played with in regards to Charmcaster. She does sincerely have the background of a normal DMG (raised and trained by an evil, abusive guardian,) but she actually chooses to be evil rather than join her Magical Girl counterpart.
  • 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.
  • Disney Death: Happens twice in The Movie, albeit fairly convincingly compared to other examples.
  • Doomsday Device: Animo's telescopic Transmodulator, the Loboan's makeshift receiver designed to spread Corrodium over the Earth, etc..
  • Dream Intro: An episode has Ben transform into Wildmutt (one of his aliens) in order to rescue a boy stuck up a tree. The viewer then notices something is wrong when Ben, as Wildmutt, starts talking. The reason this is wrong is because Ben cannot talk while he is Wildmutt. The boy then transforms into Ghostfreak and then Ben wakes up.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Storyboarding the Apocalypse shows that the titular Planet Destroyer in "The Big Tick" eventually does this to every planet it feeds off.
  • Eating the Enemy:
    • One of Ben's aliens, Upchuck, is a Gourmand, a species of big eaters capable of devouring practically anything inorganic. In his first appearance, Ben uses him to eat a robot machine that hijacked his grandpa. Strangely, while he can eat inorganic things, he can't digest organic matter.
    • Various aliens have tried to make a meal of the characters. A notable example being the Mycelium who was a giant fungus brain who wanted to devour ever creature on Earth and take it over.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Great One from "The Big Tick".
    • The Mycelium in "Camp Fear".
  • Elemental Powers: Several of Ben's alien forms have powers based on a specific element, the most obvious one being Heatblast.
  • Emerald Power: The Omnitrix glows green when active.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Omnitrix.
  • Enemy Without: Early on, Ghostfreak was implied to have a mind of his own and even secretly possessed Ben. In the second season, he finally escaped the Omnitrix.
  • Evil Counterpart: Kevin 11 to Ben, especially after he copied the powers of Ben's original ten alien forms by draining the energy of the Omnitrix. Charmcaster to Gwen because they both have magic powers.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Hex is a sorcerer and one of the show's recurring villains.
  • Expository Theme Tune:
    It started when an alien device did what it did
    And stuck itself upon his wrist with secrets that it hid
    Now he's got super powers, he's no ordinary kid
    He's Ben 10! (Ben 10, Ben 10!)
  • Expy: Zombozo demonstrates similar behavior to Pennywise, he even turns into a giant spider in a hallucination(?)!
    • JT and Cash resemble Toji Suzuhara and Kensuke Aida from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: As a Fantasy Kitchen Sink show borderlining on World of Weirdness, it's really inconsistent with regards to whether the existence of aliens, robots, and mutants is commonly accepted knowledge, or whether such things are supposed to be regarded as myth by the general public.
  • Face Fault: Look hard enough, Gwen in Charmcaster's body in "A Change Of Face" has these.
  • 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?
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Kevin 11 killing sentient robot Slix Vigma by impaling him on his Diamondhead arm, and almost give the same fate to Ben. Another example includes villain Ghostfreak, who was burnt to ashes. Twice.
  • Flanderization:
    • Early on, the Omnitrix 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...
    • Ben himself also suffers from this Is quite obvious in the 3-minute shorts that frequently appear on Cartoon Network.
  • Flower Mouth: Ben's Blitzwolfer form has a snout that opens in four different directions.
  • 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.
    • In "Kevin 11", Kevin boasts that he's "taking all of [Ben's] alien powers". In "Framed", its revealed that he did. But by the end, he bit off more than he can chew.
    • When Vilgax personally shows up in "Secrets", he has an Imagine Spot of an army of Omnitrix users taking over the cosmos with him at the helm to showcase his evil. Notably, a Four-Arms changes in real-time into a Heatblast. This isn't an exaggeration, but a future ability of the Omnitrix that occasionally gets used in this series, is mastered by Ben's older self, and learned properly by Ben 10: Alien Force.
    • When the Omnitrix first falls to Earth in "And Then There Were Ten", it doesn't just land near Ben; it actually changes its path to fly in his direction, as if personally seeking him out. This hints at a later reveal that The Omnitrix was sent for someone with the same DNA as Ben i.e. Grandpa Max.
  • Foul Medicine: In "Side Effects", Ben catches a cold from getting inside an ice cream truck, which also affects the powers of his aliens. Grandpa Max buys him a medicine which both tastes and smells terribly.
  • Fiery Redhead: Gwen has red hair and is often ill-tempered.
  • The Freakshow: Source of the Circus Freak Trio.
  • Freudian Excuse:
  • Full-Contact Magic: Played perfectly straight; mixing a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and magic alien energy-manipulation powers gives Gwen dynamic and fluid fighting scenes.
  • Future Badass: Ben 10,000, Gwendolyn, and cyborg Max. That is all.
  • Future Me Scares Me: When Ben and Gwen go to the future, Future Ben is pretty much a jerk.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix / Out-of-Character Alert: Ben realizes that the Forever Knights trapped him in a Lotus-Eater Machine when he encounters a dream version of Vilgax who only tried to send him to the Null Void and wasn't even after the Omnitrix.
  • Grand Finale: "Secret of the Omnitrix", as Word of God confirms it takes place after "Ben 10 vs. the Negative 10" (canonically speaking), which means the movie is episodes 49-51 in official order of the show note . The actual last episode of the series is "Goodbye and Good Riddance", but that episode is a non-canon What If? story.
  • Grand Theft Me: Charmcaster can't get the Omnitrix off Ben, so she's just going to do this instead.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Xylene.
    • With Non-Mammal Mammaries, even after she states that her race does not take care of their young at all ("On my planet, once you hatch, you're on your own.")
  • Growing Up Sucks: Ben 10,000 has Ben decide that being an adult isn't cool if he's going to be a jerk. This statement causes his future self to change his ways and become a better person.
  • Height Insult: Gwen teases Ben several times about being too short un "A Small Problem": first after being denied access to a water slide that Gwen is tall enough for, later after turning into Gray Matter (although he wanted to turn into the much larger Ripjaws) to try the water slide, and then at the end of the episode after Ben turns back to normal.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Season 3 introduced in one episode an werewolf-like alien who was seemingly killed at the end of his episode, but was revealed to have built a machine as a Sequel Hook. A mummy-like alien is then introduced in a later episode. Both come back and are revealed to work for a new villain named Dr Vicktor in the first part of the season finale...and then it turns out Dr Vicktor himself was The Dragon to Ghostfreak/Zs'Skayr, a villain who had been introduced in a previous season 2 episode.
  • Hour of Power: The Omnitrix only allows Ben to be an alien for a limited time. After the time limit runs out, he returns to normal and has to wait for the Omnitrix to recharge before he can change into an alien again.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Many of the aliens vaguely resemble humans.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Witty one-liners make up a good 75% of dialog, mainly when Ben is in alien form.
  • Hybrids Are a Crapshoot: Ben accidentally removes the faceplate from the Omnitrix, which results in his aliens being fused together, often with disastrous results, such as a combination of Fourarms and Stinkfly that is much weaker than Fourarms but too heavy to fly.
  • 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 inadvertently 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.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Happens in an episode when Ben offers another character a piece of chocolate, which turns out to be highly poisonous to his species.
  • Implacable Man: Vilgax. No matter what happens to him, he won't let it stop him from hunting down Ben and trying to get the Omnitrix.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: The Omnitrix.
  • In Case of X, Break Glass: Inverted when a giant lightbulb containing and powered by a swarm of Megawhatts is labeled with "In case of emergency, do NOT break glass".
  • Instant Expert: Gwen when she gets the Omnitrix in an alternate timeline. Subverted with her magic, which she bumbles through for many episodes before getting good at it.
  • Intangible Man: Ghostfreak.
  • I Owe You My Life: In "Grudge Match", a gladiator named Technorg offers Ben to be "master" after Ben spared his life in battle. Naturally, Ben refuses the offer and forces Technorg to get off the Mega Cruiser while he still can
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Ben 10,000 has been wearing a set for years, apparently.
  • Joker Immunity: Vilgax. Helps that he's Nigh-Invulnerable, of course. It's a bit hard to kill somebody who survived being nuked. And has upgraded himself since then.
  • Jumped at the Call: Ben was quick to accept the idea of using the Omnitrix to save the world.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Kevin's "crash a passenger train" plan. Fastest partnership breakup ever.
  • Kid Hero: Ben is only 10 when the show starts.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: Every iteration of the series has featured at least an adventure with Ben meeting himself as an adult, usually going by "Ben Ten Thousand". Gwen as an adult is usually featured in such stories.
  • 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 its heart, is about a kid who does heroic and stupid things with his Omnitrix, but when Vilgax, Kevin and Zs'Skayr appear, the episode's gonna take itself fairly seriously.
  • 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.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo:
    • An alien version of Billy in Ken 10. Even shares the same VA.
    • Versions of Konohamaru and Team Ebisu from Naruto in the Christmas episode.
    • A Sakura Haruno near the end of "Super Alien Hero Buddy Adventures".
  • Legion of Doom: The Negative 10. Several of their members were villains Ben had previously fought, even ones that hadn't been seen since the first season like Clancy and Rojo.
  • Leitmotif: Several, including ones for Ben's aliens and a one for the occasional instances of Sky Surfing that happen a few times over the series.
  • Limited Wardrobe: A subtle nod to this in "Gwen 10": Ben throws several shirts identical to his own out of his suitcase while he's searching for a lost item.
    • Subverted in the live-action movie of course. But Ben wore this very shirt later in the movie.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: "Perfect Day" had Enoch attempt to trap Ben in one so that he could easily remove the Omnitrix.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The earlier seasons can stumble onto this territory. To name a episodes that does...
    • "The Big Tick" has an Eldritch Abomination capable of destroying the Earth, why it chooses to do so nobody knows.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: The Omnitrix can turn Ben into a variety of things, some more disturbing than others.
  • 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.
  • The 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.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The show had a LOT of toys made for it, and the toyetic nature of Ben's alien forms would only get more obvious with each following series in the franchise.
  • The Men in Black: The Plumbers, who are a secret organization
    • Subverted a bit with the Special Alien Containment Team (or SACT) because they are obviously government-affiliated, but one can't help but notice their similarities to the Plumbers.
  • Missed the Call: The Omnitrix was intended for Grandpa Max and not for Ben.
  • Monster Clown: Zombozo.
  • Monster of the Week: The show lives on this. Considering the strange and varied varieties of trouble that tend to occur wherever Ben goes, one feels sorry for this kid's hometown if summer vacation ends. Yeah, it gets toasted.
    • Sometimes inverted in a few seasons, where the Monster Of The Week wasn't just what Ben faced, but what he became.
  • 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 prize that was denied him. In the remainder of his appearances, he just wanted to either conquer or mutate the world.
  • The Movie: Two of them - Secret Of The Omnitrix, and the live action movie Race Against Time.
  • 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.
  • Mundane Utility: Sometimes Ben uses his alien forms to do something as ordinary as looking for a prize in boxes of cereal.
  • Mushroom Man / Plant Mooks: The Tennysons face an army of them in "Camp Fear".
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg "...and leave the rest to the game pros... and Ben."
  • Near-Miss Groin Attack: Happens to Grandpa Max, with crystal spikes landing all around his body as he keeps backing up to avoid it hitting his groin.
  • 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.)
  • Never Say "Die": All the deaths are either offscreen, not outright stated, or obscured by explosions, with a good dash of What Measure Is a Non-Human? to 'lighten' it further. It's a touch jarring when Ben says "Gwen's dead" in the movie Secret of the Omnitrix. She's not.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Zs'Skayr (to whom sunlight is fatal) tries covering the sunlit side of the Earth with a shell of radioactive material in "Be Afraid of the Dark", so he can rule it as his domain. (The fact that this will mutate the entire population of the Earth is an unfortunate side effect to him.)
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Super Alien Hero Buddy Adventures" features an actor named Abel North, who played a television hero Ben grew up with called Kangaroo Commando. He's quite obviously a spoof of Adam West and his role as Batman in the 1966 television series.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: How Vilgax says hello.
  • 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.note 
  • 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.
  • Off-Model: At the end of "Side Effects" Ben has Gwen's eyelashes.
  • One-Winged Angel: Both played straight and nastily subverted.
  • Only Six Faces: Averted. Even with cousins Ben and Gwen.
  • The Other Darrin invoked: Discussed in-universe in the episode "Super Alien Hero Buddy Adventures", where Ben mentions that his favorite television hero Kangaroo Commando, usually played by Abel North, was instead played by Abel's brother Kane in one episode.
  • Papa Wolf: Grandpa Max towards Ben and Gwen. Ben himself in the future, where his son Kenny is concerned.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Ben's future self Ben 10,000 becomes a hypocritical parent in the episode "Ken 10". When his son Ken is excited about getting his own Omnitrix for his 10th birthday, Ben tells his son that saving the world isn't kid's stuff, despite the fact that he himself first became a hero when he was his son's age. Later, Ben 10,000 asks where his son gets his attitude shortly after Ken gets angry with his father and acts the same way Ben did whenever he got into a disagreement with his grandfather Max. Both occasions hang a lampshade by having Grandpa Max give a scornful look at Ben whenever he makes his hypocritical statement.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: In "Big Fat Alien Wedding", Joel's parents are pretty much against his marriage to Camille, a Sludgepuppy, which would cement a treaty between both human and Sludgepuppies. This is because both Gordon and Betty Jean (Joel's Parents) are Plumbers who have been fighting Sludgepuppies for the longest time, and are thus slow to trust a species that's, only until recently, been their mortal enemy. During the wedding itself, it's revealed that Camille's parents (who, up until this point, seemed like nice people) hate the idea of the wedding uniting the enemy races. The end of the episode has Gordon and Betty Jean warming up to their daughter-in-law.
  • Phantom Zone: The Null Void. Unusual in that things were let out before the viewer was let in on it.
  • Planet Destroyer: The tick monster mentioned below moves from planet to planet, mutating and ultimately destroying each one for sustenance.
  • Planetary Core Manipulation: In "The Big Tick", the planet is attacked by a tick-like alien which destroys other planets. When doing so, The Great One injects its tentacles deeply in the planet to its core, devouring it from the inside out.
  • Plant Aliens: Wildvine is an example of this.
  • Post-Adventure Adventure: From the perspective of Grandpa Max, the events of the show are this for him. Max is a retired Plumber, an organization of humans and aliens sworn to defend Earth from alien attack. When Max was in his prime, he defeated Vilgax, romanced an Anodite named Verdona, among many, many other things over the course of his career before eventually retiring and settling down. When Ben retrieves the Omnitrix, Max's former skills are put to good use in supporting his grandson's efforts to battle the neverending supply of alien bad guys looking to take it from Ben. Max alludes to his adventures fondly in flashbacks, but the viewer never gets to see all of them.
  • Power Perversion Potential: The Naljian Destructor copies everything it sees and mimics the intention behind it.
  • Production Foreshadowing: One of the Vilgax drones causes Rojo to mutate like an EVO.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: "Ready to Rumble".
  • Psycho for Hire: Kevin 11. As noted in "Grudge Match", while his main desire is revenge on Ben, he likes to seek any excuse to fight, brutalize, or even kill various opponents.
  • Puny Earthlings: Humans are the only species that doesn't have at least one ability that would be classified as a superpower. That said, Humans appear to also be the only species capable of breeding to create human/alien hybrid offspring, like Kevin and (one generation removed) Gwen.
  • Puppy Love: Ben and Kai.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Tetrax berates Ben for relying on brute strength to solve every situation, and never using strategy. Ben takes this to heart and later uses Gray Matter to win against the last two bounty hunters.
  • 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. Out of denial or disbelief though 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. Unfortunately for Ben, things have changed enough that his knowledge of future events is limited in its usefulness.
  • Rhyme Theme Naming: Ben has a cousin named Gwen, who has an older brother named Ken. Kevin finds this amusing.
  • Rule of Cool: The show stars a ten-year-old boy with a watch-like device stuck to his wrist that enables him to assume a variety of different alien forms, which he uses to fight crime.
  • Rule of Fun: Especially compared to its Darker and Edgier Contested Sequels, but actually less so compared to its Denser and Wackier Contested Sequel.
  • Running Gag: How many times was a hotdog cart knocked over again?
    • "It's too quiet...Where's Ben?"
    • "Grey Matter?! Aw, man..."
    • The many, many times Ben tries to turn into one alien but ends up as one that's more suited to the situation.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • In "The Return", Vilgax has knocked out Gwen and Max and threatens to kill them if Ben doesn't surrender.
    • In "Back With A Vengeance", Vilgax and Kevin 11 kidnap Gwen to force Ben to hand over the Omnitrix.
    • In "Ghostfreaked Out", Ghostfreak possesses Gwen and threatens to make her fall to her death if Ben doesn't drop the sun gunnote , at which point Ghostfreak will possess him and gain control of the Omnitrix.
  • Schmuck Bait: "It" in "Tourist Trap".
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • In Negative 10, the power source has "as much power as the sun." Then Max goes on to say that if it goes off, it can blow up a continent the size of Texas to outer space. An energy source that powerful would blow up more than a continent, much less Texas. And then 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.
  • Transformation Exhilaration: The first time Kevin mutates after absorbing the Omnitrix' power in "Kevin 11", he clearly enjoys the experience, judging by his expression. Subverted in the end of "Framed", when he painfully becomes an amalgam of Ben's aliens, and in the next spin-offs.
  • Transformation Trinket: The Omnitrix
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot:
    • 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.
  • Tuck and Cover: Cannonbolt's function in a rescue operation.
  • The Unchosen One: See "Missed the Call" example above.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • The third time Kevin shows up (despite apparently being killed previously), his explanation of how he survived boils down to this, as well as a recap of what happened last time. He doesn't actually use the phrase, but it's implied.
    • At the end of Tough Luck, both Hex and Charmcaster's powers were sucked by the destruction of the Charm of Bezel. Yet, when we see them come back, their powers have come back without any clear explanation. Averted with Hex turning back into a child however, as it's specifically said that the Fountain of Youth's effect were temporary. Played straight in that we never see how Charmcaster retrieved her magic bag after the end of A Change of Face, though it's shown to have a level of sentience so it probably made its way back to her on its own.
  • The Unintelligible: Wildmutt and Sixsix.
  • Third-Person Person: "No-one boos Technorg! Technorg is champion!"
  • Transforming Conforming: The Omnitrix gives Ben amazing powers, but also the limitations to each alien he transforms into. Ripjaw barely can breath out of water, Heatblast can burn things accidentaly, Four Arms doesn't fit in small spaces, Grey Matter can be caught easily because of his small size, etc.
  • Webcomic Time: The summer road trip lasted nearly the whole of the original series (four seasons or years in real life).
  • Weirder Than Usual:
    • In "Last Laugh":
    Gwen Tennyson: Ever since we decided to go to the circus, you've been acting weirder than normal. What are you scared of?
    Ben Tennyson: I'm not scared of anything.
    • In "A Change Of Face" when Charmcaster was inhabiting Gwen's body.
    Ben Tennyson: Grandpa have you noticed Gwen has been acting weird lately? I mean weirder than usual?
  • Wham Episode: "Secrets", which resolves the Myth Arc hinting at Max's past and formally introduces Vilgax to Ben's life.
  • What If?: The out-of-mainstream-continuity episode "Gwen 10".
    • The show's last episode: "Goodbye and Good Riddance", which takes a look at what Ben's life would be like when summer vacation ended but is declared non-canon.
  • Where's the Fun in That?: In the What If? episode where Gwen was the one the Omnitrix attached itself to, Vilgax has her restrained and selects from a range of sharp-looking tools to forcibly remove it from her.
    Gwen [nervously]: Couldn't you just slip the watch off?
    Vilgax: And what fun would that be?
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In Ben's case, clowns. In the case of the clowns, Ghostfreak.
  • The Worf Effect: All of the original aliens fail to put a scratch on The Great One in "The Big Tick". It's only the newly-acquired Cannonbolt that's able to destroy it.
  • 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.
  • You and What Army?: Ben asks this Dr. Animo when the latter announces he will Take Over the World with the mutated Lepidopterran he created out of Ditto's DNA. Animo's response is "this one" and the Lepidopterran clones itself into an army in a similar fashion to Ditto.
  • 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.
  • You Won't Feel a Thing!: Ben defeats a cyborg Rojo by merging with her as Upgrade and says "This won't hurt a bit" before adding "Okay, I lied".
  • Your Other Left: Totally played straight when Gwen is trying to ride on Ben (as Wildmutt)'s back after he is rendered "blind" from a cold.

Alternative Title(s): Ben Ten


Finding the Árbol del Matrimon

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