Bring Back Body Horror Transformations
Tactical Ochoa last edited by Tactical Ochoa
The name says it all here. The Original Series showcased a body horror style to Ben's alien transformations and I say no other show in the franchise has managed to top that. I would even argue that Ben's transformation sequences have gotten worse over time. What really made the Original Series transformations so special was that one, there was a really good level of detail to the animations of Ben's transformations and two, well, Ben looks like he's actually transforming. You can see his body literally changing before your very eyes. There's also variety in how Ben transforms into each of his aliens. Ben's transformation into Heatblast is different from his transformations into Four Arms, XLR8, Grey Matter, Ghostfreak, Stinkfly, Wildmutt, etc. Most of the time, each alien has their own unique transformations from one another and they all look very cool.
What followed with the rest of the shows feels like a downgrade compared to the Original Series transformations. When it comes to Alien Force and Ultimate Alien, those transformation sequences feel so bland and got boring really quickly. This is most often because it's an x-ray shot of Ben's skeleton and silhouette changing its structure. This makes the transformations between each of Ben's aliens often feel same-y and repetitive. Also, the transformations feel as if they lack so much detail because again, we're shown x-ray shots of Ben's skeleton instead of being shown Ben himself actually transforming.
Omniverse and the reboot show weren't really any better either. Ben's transformations in those shows often look as if he's putting on a costume instead of actually transforming. From what I recall, the reboot show is more guilty of this than Omniverse though. Either way, it just looks lame simply because it doesn't even look like Ben is actually transforming into his alien forms. I don't think there's any other better way for me to elaborate on this here. It's that simple. It just looks lame.
Bring back the body horror style transformations that the Original Series had. I think that's one of the many things that Ben 10 needs in order to be improved and made better. Some would argue that it would be too expensive to animate. I say that it's not worth the diminish in quality. Sometimes it's better to go that extra mile to really make something special and great.
Some of the original series transformation even with the original 10 aliens reused a portion of the transformation where Ben's blood veins starts popping up big and turns red which was made for four arms but they reused it in some other aliens. Not every alien in the original series had it's own transformation. Even back then during the Original Ben 10 series Cartoon network was still trying to cut corners by reusing stuff from other aliens. How much money they can make or save is all what Cartoon Network thinks about.
Tactical Ochoa last edited by Tactical Ochoa
@npzman Which is why I said, "Most of the time." To acknowledge that there are times in the Original Series where they did reuse a transformation sequence from one alien for another alien.
And sure, Cartoon Network did cut corners in the past. I was trying to refer to how the quality of their shows feel as if they've diminished in recent years and how they need to improve. I'm not really sure about that ending to my post so I might change it later.
Edit: Decided to just remove that last part about cutting corners for now. I think the original post is better without it.
Which is why I said, "Most of the time." To acknowledge that there are times in the Original Series where they did reuse a transformation sequence from one alien for another alien.
I read too fast
To be fair some of Omniverse’s transformation sequences were great and they definitely had more effort put in than the UAF era. I think that it did come down to wanting to save money in the end though because nothing tops the original transformations. Which is a shame.
coreofthesun last edited by coreofthesun
For example, this Frankenstrike transformation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDc7qIOisM8) is
and this Gravattack transformation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIjN-4GM0z4) are examples of Omniverse's better transformations which are very well animated and involve the body horror somewhat to make it look like Ben is actually morphing.
I think that budget is also a factor which discouraged them from making these sorts of transformations. Take a look at the comparison of these transformations from the original series and UAF:
There is a pretty noticeable drop in quality in the UAF transformations compared to the original ones. I believe that the budget provided for the animation of the series was probably reduced by AF meaning that they couldn't get too creative with the transformations. Which sucks because as @Tactical-Ochoa said, the sequences were one of the best parts of the original series and are worth the money.
I'm not really fond of UAFs transformation sequences with the green filter on Ben's skeleton changing shape (with this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4br928FPllQ being one of the exceptions) and they got really repetitive. Even as a young kid growing up with UAF I felt that they were boring.
@coreofthesun Yeah, like I said, the reboot show seems to be more guilty of the transformations looking as if Ben's just putting on a suit. I do recall some of Omniverse's transformation sequences being better than others.
Sure, budget could be a factor and I get it. Cartoon Network wants to save money. Like I said though, it's just not worth the diminish in quality. I could be wrong here but I feel like budget shouldn't really be as big of a factor as many make it out to be though. There are plenty of low budget projects that were made that turned out to be freakin incredible in quality. John Carpenter's The Thing had a budget of $15 million yet it has some of the best practical effects ever while also just being one of the best horror films ever as well. Hazbin Hotel and Helluva Boss are independently made cartoons and they have really good quality to them (which reminds me, I need to catch up on Helluva Boss). Admittedly though, I don't know what the exact budget of those shows are and Hazbin Hotel is being supported by a network so expectedly, it would have a bigger budget. I don't think that's the case with Helluva Boss though because that's a web series that's not supported by the same network. In fact, there's a lot of independently made animations that I've seen on YouTube that are just so incredibly good.
@Tactical-Ochoa Or perhaps it was a creative choice, the idea behind AF was to make it a darker tone both in terms of themes and aesthetically so they may have changed the transformations because of that. But they never had the excitement factor of the original ones. In fact a lot of the times the "seqences" were simplified down to Ben's ribcage expanding which was just lazy (now that I remember, Swampfire's first sequences consisted of this. This was meant to be the first ever sequence of Alien Force and that's what they come up with?)
I really think that UAF could've worked with the non-skeletal transformation sequences. UAF Cannonbolt (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWP4tYLQyUM) and Rath (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A33EqlCD3fM) showed the potential for these sorts of transformations (even though they both have the green filter on) and it's a shame that they didn't go with more like these.
Also, I find it weird how in the UA episode "Fused" they show an AmpFibian transformation which is completely different to the usual sequences (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8cqhnC-QL4) and despite it being a relatively average sequence I still found it way more appealing to watch than the standard sequences.
I guess that there's also the concern that younger kids watching the show may get freaked out by the transformation sequences, particularly ones like Four Arms and Ripjaws (personally I used to get unnerved by the latter but now I find it really cool) hence why they simplified them or else made them look more like Ben was putting on a costume rather than morphing. Though Ben 10 was never meant to be a show just for kids, I do see the rationale in this kind of argument.
@coreofthesun I pretty much don't see that rationale. One, the Original Series was an incredibly popular show. In fact, one of Cartoon Network's most popular shows ever. People, including kids, liked it. I have a feeling that at least most kids that watched the show weren't freaked out at all over the transformation sequences. Two, Alien Force and Ultimate Alien have a lot of dark moments that I would argue are more scary than the OS transformation sequences. I mean, there were people that were straight up dying in those shows.
If this is a concern that came from Cartoon Network's publishing executives, I'm quite hesitant to buy into that as well. There have just been WAY too many moments that I've seen of publishing executives showing how stupid and out-of-touch they really are. How studio interferences more often diminished the quality of the projects that were being made. It's really hard for me to trust what publishing executives suggest what should be done for a project and why.
@Tactical-Ochoa I mean that is one of the only reasons which I can think of as to why they ditched the original style. I mean, personally the only one which made me uneasy was Ripjaws but only slightly, and I loved the others.
But obviously as you said that argument would directly clash with just how dark AF and UA were. I mean, there's an episode of UA called "Catch a Falling Star" where:
- Jennifer Nocturne is explicitly suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
- Ben suffers an actual injury by his arm being broken.
- Ben comes very close to death twice had it not been for Gwen saving him both times.
- Nesmith goes on a killing spree with the bodies actually shown on screen, including when Ben and Gwen find that he left his plastic surgeon to die in a freezer.
- A bunch of other unsettling smaller plot details
So I'll admit, Ripjaws' transformation did not freak younger me out nearly as much as this episode did as a kid and that's before I understood half of what was being portrayed. If they were willing to go that far with dark plotlines then the transformations shouldn't have been an issue.
Or maybe the simplest explanation was that the network were being greedy and wanted to squeeze every penny out of the sequel shows hence why the transformations weren't as good. Though I can still buy into the aesthetic side of it with the sequences attempting to fit into the tone of Alien Force, even if it did not work.
@coreofthesun Fitting the tone of Alien Force and Ultimate Alien sounds like a better reason for why the transformations look the way they do. The transformations themselves just didn't work out as well as the OS transformations did. Well, granted, Alien Force and Ultimate Alien's tone didn't work out well for Ben 10 either, as I have already explained before as to why.
Ripjaws' transformation sequence in the Original Series was certainly one transformation that stood out a lot. Usually, I expect for Ghostfreak's transformation to be the one that would creep people out the most. I don't recall ever being freaked out by any of the transformations myself when I first saw the Original Series. I turned 11-years-old a month after the show first premiered.
@Tactical-Ochoa It's just that the Ripjaws one looked especially painful to me, but given that I was something like 6 years old when I first saw it ...it makes sense why I got slightly creeped out, but nearly 11 years down the line I really like it. Ghostfreak's transformation was creepy but I think they nailed the subtle creepy vibe in the transformation without making it too horrifying. Although I am so grateful that I didn't see "Last Laugh" as a kid, only watching it fully when I did a rewatch of the entire franchise recently.
My personal favourite transformation sequence is Wildvine's but I have a lot of love for all of the original sequences, except maybe Cannonbolt's, it was ok but could've done with a bit more detail than Ben swelling like a balloon and then being fully transformed in the next frame. All of them were distinct and although there were some reused parts as npzman mentioned (such as the XLR8 transformation where Ben's arm muscles expands like they do for Four Arms despite XLR8 being opposite in build), they still all felt different enough.
@coreofthesun Speaking of Last Laugh, I was about to mention that the Original Series also had many dark moments as well and again, it's one of Cartoon Network's most popular shows. There were also a fair share of other shows during that time that also had plenty of dark moments and scary imagery yet they turned out to be really good and really popular. I mean, look at Courage the Cowardly Dog as an example. It's a horror comedy and it's filled to the brim with horror elements and scary imagery. Kids can handle dark moments, mature themes, and scary imagery. Therefore, maintaining the body horror transformations from the Original Series shouldn't be a problem.