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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 Badass: In this version The Circus Freak Trio are well coordinated enough to give a hard fight to Ben's aliens.
    • Vilgax is once again an One-Man Army and a juggernaut, in contrast to the previous series' continual Villain Decay.
    • While Zombozo is no longer an Eldritch Abomination, he is a better fighter than in previous shows, even fighting several of Ben's aliens.
    • Kraab was by far the least impressive of the three bounty hunters Vilgax employed in the original series. Here, he outlasted Sixsix in every fight they had with Ben and got the drop on Tetrax, even shattering his arm and forcing Ben to save the Petrosapien.
  • 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.
    • While not heroes, Kevin and Charmcaster are less evil here than they were in the original series. Kevin is an obnoxious bully instead of a murderous psychopath, while Charmcaster reserves her villainy for Gwen (and by extension, the rest of the Tennysons) rather than gleefully committing crimes just because she can.
    • Likewise, Billy Billions also has more redeeming traits and Hidden Depths than he did in Omniverse.
  • 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 who also has magical powers, 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 Gwen Ben".
  • 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.
    • While Gwen is involved far more often in Ben's adventures thanks to them having a friendlier relationship here, and still remains as the brains of the duo, she lacks the magical abilities that she'd receive over the course of the original series.
    • 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. Subverted in Season 4, as Ripjaws and Wildmutt are planned to appear according to DNA pods, although Ghostfreak still doesn't seem to be appearing anytime soon,
  • 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.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Ryan, Simon's older sibling: he is constantly on his phone and nothing seems to faze him, including his little brother going on a rampage. Despite this,he is the only person Simon obeys to.
  • Art Shift: The scenes inside the arcade machine in "Xingo's Back" are animated in a more "pixilated" style to better match the visuals of an old videogame.
    • Season 3's "And Xingo Was His Name-o": the part of the episode inside Xingo's cartoon are drawn in a smoother, simplified style.
  • 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: Following the original's format, there's one for each season.
    • Season one was largely devoid of any definitive villain until the four-part finale "Omni-Tricked", reintroducing the franchise's most iconic villain, Vilgax, as a Knight of Cerebus that marks the show's turning point into telling a more long-term narrative.
    • Season two has Vilgax in a recurring role as Ben's Arch-Enemy and one of his fiercest adversaries until the five-part finale "Innervasion", where they must pull an Enemy Mine to defeat the High Override of the Fulmini Empire, whose arrival has been heralded throughout the season by Ben's new alien, Shock Rock.
    • Season three initially has Kevin Levin as a recurring personal enemy of Ben, and the mysterious Forever Knight who is gathering a team of Ben's Rogues Gallery to go back in time and stop aliens from arriving on Earth, eventually recruiting Kevin as well. By the season finale, Forever Knight emerges as the Big Bad with Kevin being one of his Co-Dragons.
  • 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.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Man, the new Omni-enanched forms of Ben looks really cool, right? Well, they are being used by a Galactic Conqueror to find Earth and destroy it for harvesting its energy.
  • 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 he does, 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.
  • Discard and Draw: In this version the "Ben 10" logo avoids becoming an Artifact Title, since every time Ben gains a new alien form, another gets locked. The one time it didn't happen (when he unlocked Gax in the Season 1 finale "Omni-tricked") the Omnitrix starts malfunctioning.
  • 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.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Ben and Gwen get into an argument because Ben refuses to believe camels are real. He then tells her "Next you'll be telling me that reindeer exist."
  • 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.
  • Harmless Freezing: In "The 11th Alien" Gwen, Max and several other people are completely frozen due to the Omnitrix's Power Incontinence (actually because of the Weather Heads) but are perfectly fine when Vilgax thaws them out.
  • 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.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When the characters visit a 90's themed swap meet, this argument happens. Keep in mind the original Ben 10 series came out in 2005.
    Jerk: "I could swear I heard someone talking, but nothing made after Y2K exists at this swap meet!"
    Ben: "Hey! I was made after Y2K!"
  • Lighter and Softer: Moreso even than Omniverse. The show now has 11-minute episodes, has far more emphasis on comedy, the transformation sequences lack the Body Horror of the originals, the more intimidating/creepy alien ones have been removed, and (with the exception of Vilgax) villains are generally less threatening.
  • 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 Gwen Ben", 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 classic continuity.
    • Michael Morningstar eventually ends up sealed in Charmcaster's book, much like how he had ended up sealed within her bag in Omniverse.
    • When Vilgax warns him of the danger coming from the Omnitrix in "The Innervasion", Ben at first is afraid it is going to explode, much like in the "Secret of the Omnitrix" special.
    • In the Season 3 episode "Poles Apart," Ben is wearing the jacket teen Ben wears in Omniverse.
    • Every time we are shown a flashback of Ben in school, he is wearing his original series outfit.
  • 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.
  • Not So Different: Kevin and Ben. Both of them are mischievous, egotistical pranksters who possess similar devices that allow them to become aliens. They both even have the same tendency to give their aliens silly names.
    • This is a major reason as to why Charmcaster has such fury toward Gwen; not in regards to present Gwen, but because Gwen reminds her of her former self.
      • As their squabbling in "Which Watch" shows, Kevin and Charmcaster are rather similar in personality: both arrogant, immature, obsessed with defeating a Tennyson kid, and self-esteem issues that they mask by being aggressive and rebellious.
  • 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.
    • In "Big in Japan": no, Buktuu, doesn't matter how much people considered you a hero before, they'll turn against you if they see you shooting missiles at a kid.
  • Remember the New Guy?: By the time the show starts, Ben has already run into a few of the villains before (such as Hex, Le Grange, and Animo).
  • 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.
  • Secret Identity: The show completely drops this: Ben freely transforms in front of people and does nothing to hide his powers.
  • 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.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In "Big in Japan", Four Arms is having troubles fighting a dragon, and comments that punching usually works at some point. A few seconds later Gwen sees them and makes the exact same remark.
  • Super Mode: In the second Season Ben's aliens get more powerful forms thanks to Shock Rock's influence due to a Batman Gambit of The High Override, the leader of the Fulmini empire, who is using them to open a gateway to invade Earth.
  • 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.
  • Third-Person Person: A curious case: Tetrax spoke like this only in his first appearance, making it a case of Early Installment Weirdness. Kraab does this in his fourth appearance, well into the third season, making it a case of Later Installment Weirdness.
  • Tickle Torture: Attempted 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. While Gwen does react to it, she manages not to laugh.
  • 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 appeared to not be uncle and niece in this continuity, but "What Rhymes With Omnitrix" hints that they actually still are.
  • 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 all this strangeness in stride, though it is occasionally lampshaded, 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 a miniature golf course)
    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.


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