Ben 10: Julie Yamamoto's Potential and Michelle Hallam (OC)

  • So, soon after I posted my previous article about Julie Yamamoto, I had a conversation with Little Moments and Breaking Point writer, shadows59, in regards to Julie and my article about her. There were some pretty interesting points that were made during the conversation that I would like to address. Some of you reading this may be wondering whom this Michelle Hallam is in the title. She's a major supporting character in Little Moments and Breaking Point; Gwen Tennyson's best friend in the story. I'm going to be addressing and analyzing her in relation to Julie Yamamoto's analysis so yes, once again (for god knows how many times now), I'll be referencing the Little Moments series created by shadows59, focusing mostly on this very original character. This can basically be summed up as part 2 of my previous article, Ben 10: How to Fix and Improve Julie Yamamoto and there will be some spoilers to the Little Moments fan fiction series.

    While I still find Julie being a Plumbers' kid to still be an interesting direction that could help improve her as a character, her original role in the actual shows did have some significant potential. Something that doesn’t get a lot of focus on in the shows yet would’ve been quite significant to the story and main characters is bringing a sense of normalcy; to display a more normal side of Ben and Gwen’s lives. Life for Ben and Gwen shouldn’t be and isn’t always about fighting bad guys and saving the day. They need to be reminded of the real world. In fact, come to think of it, this makes their more heroic side of their lives almost seem like a fantasy to them and therefore, there are certainly going to be times where Ben and Gwen do need something or someone to help ground them back into reality. Now sure, there’s still justifying that this still doesn’t make Julie a necessary character since that Ben and Gwen do have other factors that gives them some normalcy such as school and their parents and surely giving more screen time on stuff like this would’ve helped improve the shows a little. However, I don’t think this is as significant and impactful to the story and characters as having an outside character be involved such as Julie. This is where Julie’s true potential in the shows comes in. She had the potential to help ground Ben and Gwen back into reality; to give Ben and Gwen that sense of normalcy; to bring Ben and Gwen back to the real world. Julie also had the potential to form her own reaction and set of conflicts as a result of learning about and being involved with Ben and Gwen’s hero lives that could help build up her growth as a character. I find that it could be pretty interesting to see her learning about Ben and Gwen’s hero lives and the existence of aliens and magic and then have her sit herself down and decide if she really wants to be involved in that sort of stuff or not; if that’s the type of life that she really wants to be a part of. However, this is not what we got but instead, as I stated in my previous article, Julie ended up being a wasted character who was reliant on being with Ben in a failed attempt to be interesting and compelling. Julie, as portrayed in the shows, was really nothing more but a Satellite Love Interest and her being Ben’s girlfriend was really the only reason for her to exist in the shows. Julie’s potential as a character was squandered. However, there is still potential for the Ben 10 franchise to have a proper supporting character that can fulfill what the writers didn’t do with Julie. This is where Michelle comes in.

    In the Little Moments series, Michelle Hallam is a Lebanese girl who has been in all sorts of places in Europe before her family moved to the US due to her father, being a military Colonel, being assigned to set up a new military base in Bellwood. How convenient considering all the strange activity that’s been happening in Bellwood ever since Ben and Gwen arrived back home after the events of the Original Series. She first appears in Chapter 14 of the story, one year into the events of it, where Gwen meets her for the first time in French class on Gwen’s second day in Adams Middle School and soon after, they become close friends. Much like with Ben, Michelle also has quite a cocky and fun-loving attitude and this mostly, if not entirely, stems from her being the daughter of a high-ranking military officer. In fact, much like how Ben call Gwen a “Dweeb”, Michelle also has her own version of that, nicknaming Gwen as “Crazy” due to the events of their very first meeting together. As such, one way to describe Michelle in Little Moments is that she’s almost like a female version of Ben, which leads to some plenty of hilarious moments of Gwen getting double teamed by both Ben and Michelle in Breaking Point. Of course, there’s more to Michelle than that though. There are plenty of things that Michelle does in the Little Moments series that are quite significant and impactful to the story and main characters. However, what I find to be the most significant aspect about Michelle so far is the conflict that the author plans to have her go through in regards to Ben and Gwen’s hero lives. Much of that conflict has been portrayed in the story but Breaking Point is still on hiatus so there’s unfortunately no conclusion to it until the development of the story becomes active again. Anyways, Little Moments and Breaking Point portrayed Gwen and Michelle having formed a strong friendship and displaying a lot of chemistry to each other. Gwen doesn’t like having to lie to those close to her to keep her hero life a secret and Michelle doesn’t like being lied to when something serious happens. She’s already had enough of that from her father due to the dangers that he would be in because of his military career. Eventually in Breaking Point, Michelle does learn about Ben and Gwen’s hero lives and her reaction to it is most certainly realistic given how she is as a character. Michelle lives a normal life and therefore, she became so freaked out over it; over Gwen having the ability to cast magic and her and Ben reacting to an alien encounter as if it’s an everyday occurrence. That’s part is pretty much self-explanatory since that it’s not normal for something like that to happen to her. What’s even worse though is that Michelle felt betrayed. She trusted Gwen and she thought that Gwen trusted her so it’s also pretty much self-explanatory on how Michelle would be very much upset towards Gwen for having to lie to her and keep secrets from her. Reminds me of how Max kept his Plumbers life a secret from his family, as well although granted, Gwen didn’t take the revelation of it as bad as Michelle did with her. How bad? The prequel chapter, Little Moment: Stone in the River, revealed that Gwen and Michelle are no longer friends. That Michelle cut ties with her. Yeah, that bad but with Gwen’s future self having used the time traveling spell to change the past, Gwen now has a chance to prevent that from happening while Michelle would have to make a very important decision. To decide on whether Ben and Gwen’s hero lives really is something that Michelle really wants to be a part of. Hopefully Breaking Point will eventually become active again and readers get a chance to read about that.

    Anyways, it’s stuff like this that makes Michelle such a significantly important character that would fit in well in the Ben 10 franchise. If Julie Yamamoto were to be removed from at least most of her scenes, it really wouldn’t impact the shows that much because she’s just such a wasted and unnecessary character. However, to remove Michelle from the Little Moments series would certainly cause a significant impact to it. Many of the scenes in the Little Moments series wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for Michelle. Some aspects of Gwen’s character development wouldn’t have happened if she didn’t meet Michelle. Michelle Hallam is the very character that Julie Yamamoto should’ve been. In fact, Julie is one of the reasons why Michelle was even created in the Little Moments series. The author realized the potential that Julie had as a character and fulfilled that very potential with Michelle. Michelle brought that proper sense of normalcy to Ben and Gwen’s lives but of course, Ben and Gwen’s lives were never normal to begin with and eventually Michelle would find herself to be a part of their lives if she does decide to be involved in it. If Julie were handled in a way that Michelle was, she would’ve been a much better character than how she was actually portrayed as in the shows. Michelle is another prominent example of how to fix and improve Julie and if this article didn’t really explain that well enough to anyone reading it, then I recommend reading up on Michelle in Little Moments and Breaking Point and see for yourselves on how this fan fiction series portrays Michelle and her importance to the story and main characters.

    If anyone has any thoughts of their own in regards to the topic of this article, feel free to leave a comment down below.

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