Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Naruto Reference You Never Noticed In Ben 10

A Cartoon Network staple for nearly two decades, Ben Tennyson has appeared in a number of series and films over the years. Beginning with 2005's Ben 10, the premise of Ben's story is simple yet effective: Ben (voiced by Tara Strong) finds a mysterious device called the Omnitrix, which affixes itself to his wrist and allows him to transform into 10 different aliens with an array of powers. Things change considerably as Ben masters his transformations, encounters enemies with their eye on the Omnitrix, and gains access to new forms. It sounds crazy, but it mostly works thanks to the series' strong foundation.

Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto couldn't be more different, even if it boasts transformations of its own. Centered around the titular ninja Naruto Uzumaki (Junko Takeuchi/Maile Flanagan) and his quest to become the Hokage (or leader) of his village, it's seen a number of adaptations just as Ben 10 has. Naruto is unique among his peers, as his father made him the host of the powerful fox Nine-Tails, but it doesn't always earn him praise — quite the opposite, actually. Over the course of the series, he proves his worth, though he has more problems than just wanting to become the Hokage as things progress.

For all the differences between the two series, the creators of Ben 10 are clearly Naruto fans, as they snuck a reference you may not have noticed into the episode "Merry Christmas."

An uncanny resemblance

After their RV breaks down, Ben, his cousin Gwen (Meagan Smith), and their grandfather Max (Paul Eiding) stumble across what at first seems to be an abandoned holiday theme park. They quickly find, however, that its Christmas-themed Holiday Village is inhabited by elf-like people and reindeer. It's all fun and games at first, but town mayor Mr. Jingles (Richard Doyle) has other plans: turn Max into a veritable Santa Claus, and keep Ben and Gwen as elves. Indeed, just as an elf named Elsgood (Kim Mai Guest/Dee Bradley Baker) warns a skeptical Ben and Gwen of this, their bodies begin to shift, becoming increasingly elfin. Luckily, Elsgood knows just how to foil Mr. Jingles' schemes and revert things to normal.

After saving the day and breaking the Christmas curse, they find a much older Elsgood exploring Holiday Village with grandchildren of his own. Those grandchildren look almost exactly like Konohamaru (Ikue Ōtani/Colleen O'Shaughnessey), Moegi (Noriko Shitaya/Wendee Lee), and Udon (Tomo Shigematsu/Kate Higgins), members of Team Ebisu (originally called Konohamaru Army Corps) from Naruto. The color schemes are a bit different and the one who resembles Moegi is gender-swapped, but it's an unmistakable reference. As if the hair styles, headbands, and open-toed shoes weren't a dead giveaway, the Konohamaru-esque kid's even wearing a shirt printed with a design quite similar to that of Konohagakure, the Hidden Leaf Village that Team Ebisu hails from.

It makes you wonder what other little references the creators of Ben 10 managed to slip in. Let the search begin!