Who is Ben10?
Ben Tennyson is no ordinary 10 year old. He has been the star of Cartoon Network’s Ben10 series since late 2005. It all started during a camping trip with his grandfather, when he found a mysterious watch called the ‘Omnitrix’. He put the watch on his wrist but found he could not remove it. Even more incredibly the watch gave him the power to transform into a number of unique, super-powered aliens. These alien life-forms, each have a different power, that Ben calls upon to defeat a bunch of villains who threaten Earth. The Omnitrix gave Ben great responsibility to use it to help others with his ‘hero’ like abilities, but he also has fun along the way with his cousin, Gwen, and his new found alien friends.
To date there have been two series – the original and the sequel Alien Force, where Ben is now 15 years old and has a newly evolved Omnitrix. A third series, Evolutions, is also in the pipeline and is due to be released after the end of Alien Force in 2010. Ben will then be 16 years old, with another new Omnitrix, and is widely acclaimed as an international superstar following the revelation of his secret identity.
When Ben becomes attached to the Omnitrix he gains the power to transform into a number of different alien forms. Initially there were 10 aliens, such as Diamondhead, Fourarms and Ghostfreak. They were all unique with their own special powers which Ben used to fight the baddies.
In the second season of the original series Ben unlocked another 10 alien forms by luck or by using DNA sampling. These characters, such as Benwolf, Cannonbolt and Upchuck are not as well known as those from the first season.
Moving onto the Alien Force sequel, Ben gained another 10 aliens in his newly evolved Omnitrix, such as Spidermonkey, Swampfire and Humungousaur.
You may also hear of other aliens, such as Spitter and Buzzshock. These come from episodes set in the future, such as Ben 10,000, where Ben is 30 years old or from Ken 10, an episode about Ben’s son.
The whole premise behind the Ben10 cartoon is that he uses his Omnitrix and the powers that this gives him to fight evil forces. This evil portrays itself as numerous villains – some of the main contenders are listed below:
- Vilgax is Ben’s most powerful nemesis, who wants to take control of the Omnitrix so he can build an army and conquer the galaxy.
- The Forever Knights are a secret society whose primary purpose is to collect alien technology, hence their interest in Ben and his Omnitrix.
- The Highbreed alien race want to cleanse the universe of any races other than their own as they believe they are superior.
The Omnitrix is the watch like device that allows Ben to transform into any of the alien life forms. Ben can choose which alien to transform into and the Omnitrix combines his DNA with that of the alien to produce this alter ego. The Omnitrix dial is turned to see each available alien and is then pressed down by Ben to make his selection.
Between the original series and Alien Force when Ben is 5 years older, the Omnitrix reconfigures itself, changing not only the aliens that are now accessible but also the way they are displayed to Ben. He no longer sees them in silhouette on the dial but now as a holographic image projecting from the watch itself.
Ben10 Episodes & DVDs
There are 49 episodes in the original series of Ben10 divided into 4 seasons of 13 episodes each. Season 4 actually only has 9 episodes but also includes the film, ‘Secret Of The Omnitrix’, as the season finale. Each season is available as a separate DVD although all four can be purchased as a box set.
There are 3 similar seasons for Alien Force. Season 3 will finish being aired in 2010. Each season is being split into 3 volumes and each volume is available on DVD.
‘Secret Of The Omnitrix’ was the first animated film length version of Ben 10. In this film the Omnitrix is accidentally set to self destruct and Ben10 must find the person who created the Omnitrix in order to stop it.
There are also two live action films either made or in the pipeline. The first, ‘Race Against Time’, from 2007 was about a mysterious alien called Eon leading an invasion to earth, and the second, ‘Alien Swarm’ which is due for release later this year (2009). Here Ben, Gwen and their sometimes friend, sometimes enemy Kevin, will find themselves facing yet another intergalactic threat to save the planet from aliens.
The Ben 10 toy brand is the hottest boys’ brand of the moment, and it not only won ‘Toy Of The Year’ 2009 but also ‘Boys’ Range Of The Year’. The range, made by Bandai, centres around action figures of the aliens, villains and Ben himself and a role play model of the Omnitrix, the Ben10 watch.
The Ben10 figures come in varying sizes, from 10cm up to 30cm, with each size offering differing features. Most are fully articulate and all are well detailed. The Ben10 Omnitrix comes in various versions, namely the FX, the Deluxe and more recently the Ultimate from Alien Force. Each one does different things and in some respects you get what you pay for, with the cheaper versions not offering nearly as much fun as the others.
The toys are aimed at boys aged 4-12 years old.
As well as the ever popular figures and role play toys, there is a varied range of Ben 10 games available. If you are after a battling game, try the ‘Alien Force Quickshot Game’ where two players shoot marbles at each other’s alien pieces in an attempt to knock them down. If you want a board game, the ‘Total Transformation Game’ makes you fight villains after transforming into whichever alien the Omnitrix dictates. The ‘Aliens v Villains Game’ is similar but you have to beat four villains to win. The ‘DVD Game’ asks a player to try a series of mini games where you transform into one of Ben’s aliens and then you test that alien’s skill, so for example you might get a strength game if you are Four Arms. For younger Ben 10 fans, ‘Top Trumps’, the popular and easy to play card game, comes in a Ben10 version. ‘Guess Who’ also makes an appearance in the Ben 10 range where you have to decide which alien or other character your opponent is. There is a basic matching pairs game called ‘Memory Game’ which includes 72 cards featuring the favourite Ben 10 characters. And if that is not enough for you, there is a wide variety of puzzles to choose from.
Other Ben10 Merchandise
Ben10 is so popular you can now buy branded merchandise in many different forms. As well as the expected toys and games, there are also DVDs, books, video games (‘Ben10 Protector of Earth’ and ‘Ben10 AlienForce’), clothing, outdoor toys, school equipment, bedroom accessories and party supplies.
Ben10 Online Games
CartoonNetwork.com has a wide selection of games to play online. Choose from games such as Cavern Run, where you draw floors and barriers and change into aliens to escape from dangerous caverns, or Power Splash, where you team up with Ripjaws and Stinkfly for an aquatic rescue mission, or many more.
Theme Song With Lyrics
If your children want to sing along to the theme song with on screen lyrics, check out the following Ben10 video:
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