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Western Animation / Ben 10 (2016)

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Once more around the Ben.

Ben 10 (2016) is the fifth iteration of Cartoon Network's Ben 10 franchise following Ben 10: Omniverse, and a Continuity Reboot for the entire franchise. It is also the only installment other than the original series to have series creators Man of Action Studios involved in its production, now serving as showrunners as opposed to creative producers.

The series takes a "back to basics" approach and keeps it simple. Once again, we follow 10-year-old cousins Ben and Gwen on a summer road trip with their Grandpa Max, having various adventures across the United States (and later the world), fighting a myriad supervillains and aliens using an alien watch called the Omnitrix, which got stuck onto Ben's wrist some time shortly before the show started.

In a departure from all prior iterations, the reboot is a quarter-hour series, and while it maintains an overarching Myth Arc, has a heavier focus on comedy and slapstick than any other installment.


The series premiered in most European and South Asian countries in October 2016 as a result of the franchise's huge popularity in those regions (especially the latter), while the United States premiered it on April 10, 2017.

Ben 10 provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • While still far from handsome, Stinkfly is at least humanoid now instead of a gigantic insect.
    • Bizarrely enough, a vehicle gets this. The Rustbucket goes from, well, a rustbucket, to a mostly shiny new camper.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Sixsix and Kraab, who in the Original Series were recruited by Vilgax, turn out to have been Good All Along in this version- they were actually trying to prevent Vilgax's return.
    • Phil gets in too. In the previous series he was introduced amoral con-man who released alien criminals from the Null Void to recapture them and eventually became a Terrorantula/human hybrid, joining the evil black ops Plumber team, the Rooters. Here he's a friendly engineer who leads a construction team with an interest in the mechanics of the Omnitrix and the abilities of Ben's alien forms who helps monitor Ben when he starts uncontrollably switching forms.
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    • Perhaps due to how they developed in previous incarnations, Kevin and Charmcaster are less evil here than they were in the original series, with Kevin being an obnoxious bully instead of a murderous psychopath and Charmcaster reserving her villainy for the Tennyons (mainly Gwen) rather than gleefully committing crimes just because she can.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Gwen's rougher edges are smoothed out, and while still more mature than Ben, she's more outwardly nice and supportive of him.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection:
    • Rather than being Hex's niece, Charmcaster is now a normal girl who became magical due to buying Hex's spellbook, which only ended up being put on the market thanks to Ben and Gwen defeating Hex in "Freaky GwenBen".
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • While Gwen is still the more mature of the two kids, she is far more likely to join in on Ben's more questionable schemes and misadventures. Overall, Ben and Gwen are amicable to each other and behave more like close friends, in contrast to the regular fighting and snark that formed their Idiot Hero and Sarcastic Devotee dynamic in the original 2005 series.
    • Hex's seriously malicious personality has been traded out for a hammier one that is so thoroughly entrenched in magic and fantastical elements that he will believe literally anything, such as confusing sleight of hand for real magic and zombie cosplayers for actual zombies.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Tetrax; his second appearance has him going after Ben, specifically for the money it would get him, and resorts to some particularly vicious methods to get him to come with him.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Grandpa Max has been downgraded to an average grandparent whose main contributions to the plot are his elderly wisdom and wilderness knowledge, as this incarnation of the franchise lacks the existence of the Plumbers organization, thus removing his more badass traits such as advanced weaponry knowledge.
    • Zombozo is far less horrifying than the original, being a regular human out for profit rather than a vampiric creature who feeds off people's life-force.
    • Billy Billions appears to be a regular Spoiled Brat rather than a child genius in this version, and since this takes place when Ben is still 10, he didn't get sent to Another Dimension, nor did he end up taking over an army of killer robots.
    • As stated above, Hex is still just as powerful this time around, but he's also gullible and superstitious to the point of ridicule.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Ripjaws, Ghostfreak and Wildmutt are left out of the original 10, replaced by Overflow, Cannonbolt and Wildvine.
  • Age Lift: Both Micheal Morningstar and Frightwig were much older in previous series (Frightwig an adult in the original and Micheal a teenager in Alien Force). In this series, they're both at least Ben and Gwen's age, although Michael might be a little older due to being taller.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • Despite being a reboot, the show expects you to already know some bits of information, both minor and major, that has carried over from the previous continuity. The biggest example, however, is how Ben originally got his watch. Said event is only implied by a meteor falling to Earth during the opening sequence, and the time-travel episode involving it doesn't do much to explain the details either.
    • The "Alien Worlds" shorts explain the worlds of the various aliens Ben transforms into through the Omnitrix, with a narrator heavily implied to be Azmuth.
  • Art Shifted Sequel: To separate it from any of the previous series and reflect the new tone, this one has a looser, rounder look with the characters looking less realistic and Animesque, putting it in line with Cartoon Network's other comedies, such as Clarence and The Powerpuff Girls (2016).
  • Asteroids Monster: The Hydromander, once it eats enough, divides into a swarm of infant versions of itself.
    • Slap Back, one of Ben's new aliens from Season 3, duplicates himself each time he is hit in the back. Each time the clones are twice as small, heavy and strong as the original.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In "Drone On", Vilgax achieves exactly what he wanted and escapes.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Ben fighting a polar bear in "Poles Apart".
    • Also Yawkwawi, an evil, magical trickster bear from "Mayhem in Mascot", even if he pretended to be a subversion.
  • Big Bad: Vilgax, as per usual. While most of season 1 was devoid of any major threat, the "Omni-Tricked" special introduced the franchise's most iconic villain, this time as a Knight of Cerebus that restores him as The Juggernaut since the original series, and he's been featured in a recurring role since as one of Ben's greatest adversaries.
    • The Season 2 finale brings us High Override, leader of the Fulmini. He's so big and bad that Vilgax actually has to team up with Ben in order to fight him.
    • Season 3 appears to be setting up another Big Bad in the form of the Forever Knight.
  • Broken Aesop: Both episodes with Simon Sez seem to center around Ben learning a lesson in respecting Simon, even though he's a kid with a Hair-Trigger Temper and a robot recalled for safety reasons who in short order goes on a rampage, going far beyond any wrongdoing Ben could be responsible for, damn near approaching Anti-Villain levels.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sally and Todd, a recurring couple who exist for no other reason than to have their happy moments ruined by the problem of the episode.
  • Cat Girl: Gwen in the Season 3 episode "Rath of Con". Justified in that the Tennysons are in a Cat Convention.
  • Canon Character All Along: Vil as it turns out is Ben's Arch-Enemy of the original series, Vilgax.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The lone fangirl who comes to Michael's aid at the end of Bright Lights, Black Hearts? She's Charmcaster.
  • Christmas Episode: The episode "The Feels."
  • Composite Character:
    • This version of Stinkfly has elements of Big Chill incorporated in his design, including a more humanoid body shape.
    • Wildvine was given legs and a humanoid body shape similar to Swampfire's.
    • Frightwig has the same abilities as herself from the original continuity (prehensile hair), but her being close to the age of Ben, her having similar, but darker, personality traits as him, and being an independent antagonist is more like Kevin 11 from the original series.
    • Kevin 11, who shows up in Season 3, has a red-themed copy of the Omnitrix (called the "Antitrix"), which makes him less like the original continuity's Kevin, and more like Albedo, Ben's most prominent Evil Counterpart from Alien Force and onward.
  • Continuity Reboot: It goes back to the original premise of the 10-year old Ben and Gwen traveling throughout the world with Grandpa Max.
  • Decomposite Character: In the original show, Lucky Girl was Gwen's alter ego, here she's a character from an in-universe franchise.
  • Denser and Wackier: The characters look less realistic, new antagonists have sillier gimmicks, and even some of the older antagonists that were consistently serious like Hex aren't exempt from having funnier quirks.
  • Electrified Bathtub: In Frightwig's first appearance, she attempts to kill a pool full of people this way by dropping a laptop into the water before Ben stops her.
  • Enfante Terrible:
  • Engineered Public Confession: In "The Charm Offensive", Gwen plays back Michael Morningstar's Evil Gloating moment, which was recorded on the store's security camera to expose him as a Manipulative Bastard energy vampire to Heather Charmcaster, who puts Morningstar into her book of spells:
    Michael Morningstar: Who, Heather? She's a fangirl like all the other losers. They all love me, I'm an actor. I can be whatever they need me to be to fulfill their pathetic lives. But she's nothing more than a glorified battery to me.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Tim Buktuu, who creates the disasters that he saves people from.
  • Fantastic Racism: "Animo Farm" has Animo's mutants separated into Alphas and Accidentals based on their strength.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Charmcaster was an awkward, nerdy girl with low self-confidence until she gained magical powers from Hex's spellbook and developing a new, aggressive goth-like appearance and attitude.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Dr. Animo serves as this in episodes such as "Animo Farm" and "Hole in 10", being directly responsible for the existence of the episodes' antagonists despite never actually showing up in the episodes themselves.
  • Hypocrite: Simon Sez, from "Adventures in Babysitting", who accuses other people of being mean, not listening and/or name-calling.
  • It's All About Me: At least a couple of the antagonists, including Tim Bukktu, Simon Sez and Billy Billions.
  • Judgment of Solomon: Grandpa Max's solution to stop Ben and Billy from fighting over a trading card is to rip it in two and give them each one half. It's not made exactly clear whether this is supposed to be a punishment or Max is so old and out of touch that he doesn't know how trading cards work.
  • Large Ham: Tim Buktuu, voiced in glorious form by Travis Willingham.
  • Lighter and Softer: Moreso even than Omniverse. Episodes have also been changed to a 15-minute format like Cartoon Network's comedy programming. As fans of Steven Universe or Adventure Time will attest to, this doesn't necessarily mean it will stay that way forever, and indeed Vilgax is very notably not given this treatment when he shows up.
    • The transformations lack the Body Horror of the originals, becoming much more cartoonish in design.
    • Ghostfreak is nowhere to be seen in this series and Ben's more intimidating aliens have been either removed or redesigned.
    • Zombozo is no longer a Monster Clown and is now more of an Expy of the goofy Silver Age version of The Joker.
    • While he is still intimidating due to his powers, Hex's personality change makes him funnier rather than frightening.
  • Myth Arc: According to Word of God, this series will focus more on building these rather than the Story Arc style of the previous shows.
  • Mythology Gag: In "Freaky Ben Gwen", one of the items Ben suggests he and Gwen get at a bazaar is a mask that looks like Wildmutt from the original series.
    • In "Riding the Storm", the fusion aliens from the original series episode "Dr. Animo and the Mutant Ray" return, and in the climax, Ben transforms into an amalgam of his aliens much like Kevin 11 in the original series and Ultimate Alien.
    • In "Benwolf" of the original series, Ben learns about the Omnitrix's function to take new Alien forms if they scratch the watch. He laments that if he had known that feature sooner, he would have "made an awesome Vilgax" form. Come the first season finale, and Gax is indeed an awesome form.
    • Omni-Enhanced Wildvine has the "Venus Fly Trap" collar that the alien had in the original series.
    • Michael Morningstar eventually ends up sealed in Charmcaster's book, much like how he had ended up sealed within her bag in Omniverse.
    • In the Season 3 episode "Poles Apart," Ben is wearing the jacket teen Ben wears in Omniverse.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In "Innervasion", Glitch reveals that the Enhanced forms were because it used the Fulmini DNA to help fix the Omnitrix after the Season 1 finale. The problem is that the Fulmini DNA were put in the Omnitrix by the Fulmini as part of a Batman Gambit for an invasion, and Ben using the Enhanced forms only sped it along.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: An apparent recurrent device in episodes featuring Billy Billions as Villain of the Week.
  • Non Sequitur Causality: In "Ben Again and Again", Ben attempts to correct his and Billy's tampering with time by taking the Omnitrix with him back to the present instead of allowing his past self to claim it, which results in them and Gwen going through these every time they go back through the wormhole; first they end up in medieval times, then they're cyborgs, then they're cyborg pirates.
  • No Peripheral Vision: In "Recipe for Disaster", the villains fail to notice Ben transforming into Wildvine right next to them.
  • Not So Above It All: Gwen is much more willing to get in on Ben's plans in this version.
  • Out of Focus: Grandpa Max isn't part of the action as much as he was usually in the original series and mostly the sequels, to the point where in some episodes he doesn't even know that anything happened.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: In one credits scene, Ben, Gwen, and Max have this reaction to Ben as Diamondhead accidentally vaporizing the hair off Max's head.
  • Rearrange the Song: The 20-second intro uses a modified version of the original theme song.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • In "Screamcatcher" Ben hurts his teeth trying to bite into solid rock candy.
    • The Circus Freak Trio abandon Zombozo when they realize he's never going to pay them.
    • In "The Ring Leader", Ben is not off the hook as the referee disqualifies him for using the Omnitrix to get in a wrestling match.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Apparently Ben has run into a few of the villains before (such as Hex, Le Grange, and Animo) despite the new continuity.
  • Role Reprisal:
    • Tara Strong as Ben.
    • Dwight Schultz as Dr. Animo.
    • John DiMaggio as Four Arms and Zombozo.
    • Greg Cipes as Kevin.
  • Running Gag:
    • A recurring couple often get their dates ruined by whatever antics or fight Ben's involved with.
    • Ben's encounters with Billy Billions seems to be shaping up that neither of them come out ahead. When the boys fight over a rare one-of-a-kind trading card, Grandpa Max tears it in half and give half to each of them. They both throw a tantrum in response. Later, Ben challenges Billy to a game of Laser Town laser tag, saying the loser isn't allowed to ever play at a Laser Town ever again. At the end of the episode, the manager of Laser Land bans both boys from ever playing at any Laser Town anywhere ever again. Both are devastated.
  • Rushmore Refacement: "Ben Again and Again" opens with Billy Billions planning to carve his face into Mount Rushmore.
  • Shout-Out: "Animo Farm" is a rather obvious one, complete with evil leader pig named Napoleon pushing around animals that he considers inferior.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Arburian Pelarotas were Killed Offscreen in the original series, rendered extinct except for the sample in Ben's Omnitrix. They're alive and well in this series, judging by the Alien Worlds shorts.
  • Spoiled Brat: Simon Sez from "Adventures in Babysitting", and Billy Billions even moreso. Naturally, they eventually end up sharing an episode.
  • Squashed Flat: A credits scene featuring Ben trying to cannonball into a pool as Cannonbolt ends with him bouncing off an inflatable and accidentally flattening Max against a wall.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: On occasions Ben will thwart the villain to keep them from causing destruction to the surrounding area but said villain will still end up getting away with what they wanted i.e Hex gaining a magical artifact or Viglax gaining material to build a spaceship.
  • Thin-Line Animation: Clearly so.
  • Tickle Torture: Used by Ben as Grey Matter in one episode, tickling Gwen's bare foot with a feather to get her to break a vow of silence. If you're wondering, she's clearly ticklish since it causes her to jump but still doesn't speak.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Played with in "Creature Feature" with Hex. Ben saves his life, and he stands down from turning on Ben as a result. But according to him, this is not out of gratitude - one of the laws of his magic is that he must obey a life debt. He insists that next time they meet, the debt will have been paid and he won't hold back.
    • Also played with in "The Charm Offensive", as Charmcaster leaves Ben and Gwen alone because she IS grateful for Gwen saving her from Morningstar - but that gratitude is also part of why she declares herself The Rival to Gwen and vows to defeat her if they meet again, since it's a reminder of how weak she was in this situation and she can't stand that.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Hex and Charmcaster are not uncle and niece in this continuity.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In this incarnation of the franchise, most people have little to no reaction to Ben's alien forms or even Ben transforming right in front of them. That's to say nothing of all the aliens, mecha tech, superpowered beings and monsters running around. Everyone generally takes such strangeness in stride, so long as things don't escalate into danger. Even then, as soon as the danger passes, things simply go on as normal. This is occasionally addressed, with some characters wondering why others appear to be over- or under-reacting to the madness.
    Ben (after transforming): This doesn't weird you out at all?
    (Geezer Bob shrugs and motions towards the goblin army taking over the park)
    Ben: Yeah, good point.
  • Very Special Episode: In "The Charm Offensive", Michael Morningstar has Charmcaster trapped in an abusive relationship where he's leeching off of her energies, and Gwen stands up for Charmcaster, even though they're not exactly on friendly terms:
    Gwen: [to Morningstar]: Quit it! You're not just a fake, you're a bully!
    Charmcaster: Why are you standing up for me? I'm your enemy!
    Gwen: Because, it's the right thing to do! And deep down, I think you know that Morningstar is a chump. He's just using you, so dump him!
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Despite the Lighter and Softer tone of the show, Vilgax remains virtually unchanged from his original incarnation and is treated seriously.
    • Likewise, High Override, leader of the Fulmini, is a completely serious, legitimate threat.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Ben in this continuity has a fear of squids rather than clowns (though he still dislikes the latter), due to an embarrassing incident in a school play. He gets over it in order to fight a threat designed as such.
  • The Worm That Walks: One several stories tall, courtesy of the Magg-o-net.
  • You Don't Look Like You: In this series, the majority of the characters and aliens have been redesigned to the point that nearly all of them look completely different from their original models. Which makes sense, considering that this is a different universe.


Example of: