Weekend Animation Round-up: Ben 10: Omniverse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Clone Wars

Happy Saturday, and welcome to our latest animation round-up! This week, Ben 10 took the universe to Kinko's, The Clone Wars suffered a death in the family, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles introduced us to Metalhead. So let's begin, shall we?


Ben 10: Omniverse S01E07: “So Long, and Thanks for All the Smoothies?”

Last week I put forth the notion that Ben 10 Omniverse is Ben’s years as a hero coming back to haunt him in particular ways (and I mentioned having barely watched the show before). You have to appreciate it when a show makes you look at least a little bit clever (but really just lucky) with an episode that follows such a reading.

When a ghost spaceship materialized above Earth, Ben and Rook set out to investigate. On board they found the Vreedle Brothers and Argit; the former were a pair of space hillbilly types that Ben had dealt with before (and who apparently were on their way to reforming prior to accidentally blowing up a Plumber Academy), and the latter was a scavenging con... opossum-looking species that Ben had likewise worked with and against before.

One of the benefits of the episode was that the relationship between Ben and the aliens came through clearly, and without the need for much exposition (compare it to the flashbacks used for Dr. Animo in “It Was Them,” and even those wasn’t very obtrusive), so the episode flowed well without causing a new viewer, such as myself, to be lost.

But what do we make of the big climax? The plot centered on control of a supposedly legendary, but in fact quite real, doomsday device, the Annihiarrgh (because you don’t have time to say the complete word once it’s triggered, which was cute). The weapon went off and started erasing the entire universe. Ben managed to get the Omnitrix to transform him into Alien X, and after debating with Bellicus and Serena, Ben was able to create a copy of the universe, but it wasn't exactly right, as the changed Mr. Smoothie sign demonstrated (as did Ben’s disappointment with the smoothie itself).

Not being overly familiar with this narrative world, I’m not sure about the potential ramifications—but anytime anyone decides to change the very fabric of reality, it’s never really a good thing. I see some of this as an extension of the notion of Ben changing and growing himself, but I admit I’m feeling a bit married to the idea about this iteration of the franchise addressing that. Let me know what you Ben 10 aficionados think in the comments.


Star Wars: The Clone Wars S05E05: “Tipping Points”

So we’ve arrived at the end of the Onderon arc. I wasn’t terribly impressed with last week’s episode, and this week’s installment was heavy on the action and the loss. It even seemed to justify the little sojourn to Florrum to visit Hondo in “Revival” at the start of the season.

Obviously the bizarre execution scenario in the previous episode wasn’t enough to get the citizens of Onderon (or, at the very least, Iziz) to start rioting and trying to tear down Rash’s regime, since Dendup did a quick holographic communiqué to the citizens (subjects?) in an effort to dismiss Rash’s war of words against the insurgency force. That appeared to work, as they started pelting the CIS droids with vegetables.

For the last big push, Dendup appointed Steela as the new military head honcho (Tandin, being the good soldier, took it entirely in stride) and they readied themselves for the final battle against the CIS forces, who were by then reinforced by new gunships (that I wish looked a bit more like unmanned aerial drones so I could make that connection, but oh well). Needless to say, the increased air support put the insurgency at a disadvantage.

At this point, there was another small debate about the Jedi’s involvement in everything, as Ahsoka pleaded for help and Obi-Wan not only shut her down, but told her to clear out should things get too gruesome. But Anakin, being the crafty devil he is, devised a proxy service (Hondo and his band of Weequay pirates) so they could mask Republic support for the cause. The point of the entire insurgency plot was so the Republic could fight by proxy against the CIS, and so this doubling-down on the idea may've been the last cog in streamlining the process for future planets.

Which leaves us with Steela’s death. It was a touch melodramatic (in a bad way), with the automated gunship getting off one last shot that disrupted Ahsoka’s concentration, but it was still fairly effective, as Steela is the only rebel who I think there was much connection with (though I never liked Saw, really). And it's also a tad irksome that the series killed off a strong female character, even if we were never going to see her again. The woman rarely missed when she fired, and she was a mediating influence on everyone else. It’s a real shame the narrative sacrificed her for the potential development of two male characters.

In the end, Dooku withdrew the CIS forces from the planet, and had Kalani assassinate Rash (meaning, really, the insurgency just needed to hang out in the highlands this entire time). Dendup resumed control of the throne, appointed Lux to be the senator for Onderon, and THE ENTIRE PLANET showed up for Steela’s funeral. And those final scenes reminded me oh-so-much of The Phantom Menace. (Minus the Gungan high school marching band, of course.)


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles S01E04: “Metalhead”

Speaking of drones, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles unveiled its version of Metalhead, a robot modeled after the turtles, in this episode. In the first animated series, Metalhead was made by Kraang to fight the turtles, and here we had Donnie using a remodeled Kraangdroid as the inspiration for the remote-controlled robot.

Everything went about how you’d expect, and the episode even did a bit of foreshadowing as Leo watched an episode of “Spaceheroes” that involved Dr. Mindstrong being taken control of by an alien bat-thing and the captain demolishing Mindstrong. So, yes, Metalhead wasn’t the best substitute on the team since he was loud, awkward, and easily taken control of by Kraangs (perhaps a helmet to cover the... Kraangport next time?). And, really, did Donnie need the robot? I could’ve sworn that last week his bo had a little curved blade that extended from one end...

While all of that was pretty rote, it was still generally entertaining from an action and humor perspective. However, I was rather skeeved out by Donnie using Metalhead’s camera to look at April. It was all very voyeuristic and male gaze-y, and considering that April’s barely appeared in the show since the premiere, it wasn't the best way to feature her in an episode where she played a sizable supporting role.


What'd you think of this week's episodes?

Comments (21)
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What's gonna happen with Clone Wars now that Disney owns Star Wars?
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Clone Wars will probably finish out its run this season and then it'll be scrapped. This season was expected to be its final season anyway (I think).
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Ben 10 Ominverse was okay. I am glad that Ben is finally able to use Alien X. It was big let down with they first introduce him in Alien Force. As for the new TMNT; It is good that showed April in this episode but I wished they show her in previous episodes so viewers could get to know her more.
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For those interested, tweets circulating saying that it seems that DC Nation episodes will be airing on Boomerang starting on Saturday night: https://twitter.com/nickandmore/status/262609292618776576

No word on if the episodes or new or not, or if this is official. Probably a check your local listings thing.
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Why not upgrade to a metal staff? Also, considering April's like 14? Is it okay for Donny to be perving on her even if he's only like 16? Also, should April's boobs be that big? I don't know, but something seems off in the role model world.
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Ahsoka still sucks at the Force, apparently. She had no problem picking her boyfriend up and setting him down, but Steela who is 5 feet further away you'd think weighed 10 tons the way Ahsoka showed so much strain and difficulty dealing with, and then Ahsoka gets SHOT IN THE BACK BY A SPACESHIP and all it does is singe her shoulder and cause her to drop Steela - not LOSE AN ARM or DIE like it should have.

Obi-Wan was also woefully inconsistent, for some reason the show makes him into a douche at every opportunity, so the opportunity here is not missed. Yet after he comes down so hard on the idea of even remotely helping out, Anakin convinces him - why Anakin even needs Obi-Wan's blessing, I don't know - to supply arms through a pirate, how exactly does this not violate everything Obi-Wan just said? And yet he's on board, I guess giving equal douche time to both sides.

And then the Onderonian rebels win, that easily, just shoot down a few gunships and dig in, their numbers being somehow not depleated despite taking heavy losses. Rash is shot before even making his plea, once again confirming that the CIS doesn't give a crap about how its systems see that leadership and how they interact with those systems.

I didn't feel like Onderon was part of Star Wars much, the planet didn't seem to matter to the Republic, only Ahsoka was willing to stay involved, and the story arc covered a lot of ground that I don't think will matter in a week. It wasn't a terrible episode or arc, but I found myself bored by the whole thing, and the political writing was pretty annoying stuff, missing the boat on all sides.
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I think Obi-Wan's concern was more so the appearance of direct support, which would lead to one too many appeals to the council. He's very hung up on the whole "we can't fight a war for you" ethos. Sending Hondo in to deliver goods is just another way to avoid it.

The ease at Dooku withdraws troops is just odd (as if the terrain would really be that much of an issue; clearly those BX-series commandos weren't having a problem. And a little bit of me is depressed I knew they were BX-series without having to look it up. Sigh.

And you may get a reprieve from the political stuff. Maybe. Next week is either Yoda helping younglings get their lightsaber crystals or Padm investigating banking corruption. Occupy the Coruscant financial district!
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What happened to Young Justice? Did they really go on a 4-month break only to return and air 3 episodes before taking another break for several weeks? Has it been cancelled or something?
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The DC Nation block returns in January. The reason it was pulled after 2 new episodes has not been given.
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The reason has been explained easily enough with 4 simple letters, DC/WB. DC/Animation is notorious for these type of issues. With the new Batman show set to start next year its easy to conclude they are stalling the rest of (what is most likely the last season of Young Justice) to accompany Batman and help pull in ratings. For an Animated Batman tv show without Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill or Bruce Timm its going to need all the help it can get. Why do we have to keep rehashing the same DC material over and over again and cant get a good Animated version of The Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, or even Wonder Woman is beyond me. Shoot even a Animated series based around Thanagar and The Hawks would be more interesting seeing the Dark Knight animated Yet again.In my humble (but biased) opinion, No Conroy/ Hamill No animated Batman then end.
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That's not really a reason, though. Yes, they are notorious for this sort of behavior, but it's the suddenness of the pulling that is a bit out of the ordinary, and even the shows' producers were not informed about this sudden schedule change. Hence all the conspiracy theories that circulated (It was Stephanie Brown! It was toy sales! It was a Milestone copyright issue! It's bad blood between DC Animation and Cartoon Network! It's production delays for the DC Nation Shorts!).

Certainly the scheduling theory that you, and others, have advanced seems the most likely, but there's no reason for them not to announce that was the plan when they pulled both shows.

As for the re-hashing of the same properties, well, that's just business. It's far easier to sell a well-established and popular property than launch a new one. You can even look at the DC Animated Films that you mention down below for evidence that the studio isn't really all that interest in developing avenues for new characters.

On the upside with Beware The Batman, you have Glen Murakami as an executive producer, and they've already stated that they decided to dig in deep with the villains, including making Anarky the primary antagonist. We'll see how it goes.
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Donatello's Staff did have a blade but it was broken in two seconds....so yeah. Decent Episode, good humor and action though I was disappointed there were no Epic battles with Metalhead :/



Description for next weeks Episode sounds crap, but after that we're getting some Epic episodes like the Battle with Shredder for example!



This is still a Great Show! Turtle Powers going strong :)
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I don't know why Ahsoka couldn't have just gone and assassinated Rash. She alone could easily slip into the palace and kill him in his sleep. But maybe that's not the jedi way, or maybe the jedi aren't supposed to play roles that big in wars they're involved with.
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Bad dark side mojo, probably, taking a life in cold blood like that. Plus, then everyone would be clamoring for the Jedi to come and assassinate leaders.
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Case in point, Annakin killing the sandpeople who took and killed his mother. This was one of the first major turning point in Annakin turning to the Dark Side in which Obi-wan warns Annakin that the pursuit of such matters (revenge) is the path to the Dark Side. In the words of master Yoda- "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." Revenge is another form of Fear.
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Woot! A animation section. I wish Korra was on. Next season is going to be soo good!
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Off-topic question:



I love Young Justice and really appreciate what they've done with it.



That being said, do you think America will ever be ready for a Young Avengers show that accurately depicts the Hulkling + Wiccan relationship?
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On a show aimed at kids? Maybe in like 10, 15 years? Maybe? But maybe a live-action primetime version on...well, ABC Family, I guess (since it probably doesn't fit ABC's target demos)? Yeah, that could work.
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I won't really see Clone Wars until whenever Teletoon airs it because they aired the new Justice League movie last night instead
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Was this Justice League: Doom? Did you enjoy it?
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Meh, it holds little weight up against the recently released "The Dark Knight Returns pt 1" A beautifully animated adaptation of Frank Miller's masterful Batman graphic novel. At first i was hesitant about a full length Batman Animated film without Kevin Conroy but as soon as i saw Peter Weller as Batman all doubts were cast aside. The only downsides being that Michael Emerson as The Joker feels like someone doing a terrible impression of The Joker by Mark Hamill. And having to wait a year for Pt 2. But alas Maybe if DCAU gets their head out of their arses they will make Killing Joke into a DCAU feature film and Hamill has already said he'd come out of retirement for that, SO MAKE IT HAPPEN!
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