Ben 10: The Complete Season 2

Ben 10: The Complete Season 2 (2007)
Warner Home Video
Extras: Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, How To Draw Heatblast, Secret Alien Info

The Cartoon Network show "Ben 10" is one of the better animated series to have graced the network in years. Unlike its "I-am-uglier-than-the-rest-of-the-world-so-remember-me" brethren making up the majority of the network's programming these days, "Ben 10" is a cool series that has a strong visual style and a colorful storyline.

10-year old Ben Tennyson is having the strangest summer road trip of his life. With his cousin Gwen and Grandpa Max sometimes it seems as if any cosmic clash is taking place right in front of their eyes. Or maybe it's just because Ben has a strange wristwatch, called the Omnitrix, which allows him to shapeshift into any of 10 aliens at any time. A 10-year old with such superpowers can barely contain himself, of course, and so Ben is often the cause for the mayhem surrounding his family, but all too often, Ben is also the target of other alien species, determined to obtain the Omnitrix from him.

So Ben finds himself fending off alien invaders and other villains who want to destroy him, his family and the world. But he couldn't do it without the help from his family.

When I first saw "Ben 10" I was pleasantly surprised over its graphical style. Backgrounds are often drawn in a gritty way that is not nearly as polished as you'd expect from one of today's cartoon shows. It shows the touch of an artist with a watercolor paint brush or applying a fine toothbrush technique. Animation of the show is handled very well also with fluid motion and cool, dramatic angles and camera moves.

While every episode stands for itself, the show has a bit of a red line tying them all together. As such it is easily possible to jump between episodes – which is a necessity for such television shows as they are all too often show out of sequence – yet enjoy the overarching storyline as a whole also.

The 2-disc DVD set presents the 13 episodes that make up the show's second season in their original fullframe aspect ratio. The transfer is clean and free of any blemishes or defects, while colors are strong and vibrant. The episodes never feel washed out and always exhibit nicely defined lines and good contrast.

The show's original Dolby Stereo track is included on the disc, as well as dubs in French and Spanish.

As extras the release contains some deleted scenes, which are directly accessible from the episode menu, showing up alongside the respective episode they belong to. Also included is some secret alien info and a tutorial on how to draw Heatblast. Selected episodes also come with a commentary track, making this a nice release that offers a bit of everything for all ages.

"Ben 10: The Complete Season 2" is a solid release of one of the better shows running on Cartoon Network. If you enjoy the show, get the DVD to see it over and over again, and see it in a level of quality you'll never be able to get from the broadcast.