While ramen bowls and instant rice make for a quick, cheap meal, the premade bento box featured in grocery stores is the dinner for kings – some say it’s even to die for. Today, an anime centered on retrieving that ultimate dish not only for the driving guts, but for the incomparable glory.
Yo Sato, a high school pervert who revels in playing old SEGA games, decides to purchase a bento box from his local grocery store when he realizes that was his first mistake. Waking up from his unconscious state, he sees that all of the bento are gone. “Wolves,” intense brawlers who live thrive for the taste of a half-priced bento fight in the store until only the mighty survive. Yarizui, the “Ice Witch,” is the head of the Half-Pricer Club at his school, and upon his cold knockout, forces Sato to join the club and to enter the battle of the bento!
Taking an unnecessarily serious approach to the art of low-budget dining, Ben-To is hilarious. There really isn’t much more to say. It is a pure comedy, lacking any dark history or overly dramatic plot twists. The show is perfect for “rinsing your anime palette,” especially after watching something really intense.
The characters are also light-hearted. They each have their own unique names they are coined for: “Ice Witch,” “Lady of the Lake,” “Wizard,” so on and so forth. Over the course of the show, you begin to realize how they got their name, their concentrated strategies and styles, but most important, their motive and willingness to fight – the honor of the bento. None of the characters come from a distorted past, meaning that they are pure enjoyment! That’s not to say that “what you see is what you get,” however; you’ll be surprised by the interesting personas provided by each character.
It’s also amusing to watch the stereotypical archetypes duke it out in what? A grocery store. The quiet girl, the perverted girl, the ordinary high schooler, the “older sister,” the twins, the leader type – it all works, and it’s fascinating! J
I’ve never seen animation by Production David, but they did a fine job with the dramatic brawls that unfold in the store. And while the characters look really beautiful up close, specifically the eyes, even a couple feet away from the viewer the characters’ eyes appear really spaced out/messed up. It becomes distracting after a while, and during a few of the softer moments it kinda trashes the overall appeal.
Interestingly enough, the OST for Ben-To features many brass instrumentals, which is a cool change in music compared to other anime. For those who’ve seen it, it’s reminiscent of C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control.
The saucy opening “LIVE for LIFE” by Aimi matches perfectly as far as lyrics and context. The in-depth views of characters in the supermarket make the scene look very busy, and in the anime, it most certainly is! In contrast, each day concludes peacefully with the ending, “Egao no Housoku” by Mariya Ise, featuring a soliloquy-esque spotlight by the cerulean-haired red-eyed babe Yarizui.
There is plenty of ecchi scenes and fanservice, and while I’d like to say it’s for the girls, for a change it’s actually for Sato. Oshiroi, the perverted girl and innocent classmate, never stops shipping Sato with the other boys and older men in the series. She reminds me of Rikka from Haganai. Characters such as the student council president or the head of the judo club also have a bolt to pick with him. As a guy, the natural hatred by the setting followed by the slow growth to fondness is comical. Besides this, there are still plenty of skin-revealing scenes for everyone, so yeah . . . awesome.
There isn’t really much else to add besides the known fact that Ben-To is a must-watch comedy series. The ”shop till you drop” story makes for fantastic hand-to-hand combat, my favorite being Shaga, though I also like Yarizui, and it never loses its touch. Though the show’s not family friendly because of the platefuls of fanservice, it’s definitely a great watch after a really sad/dramatic or intense thriller anime. Ben-To will make you hungry, so why wait? The laurel wreath sticker has been placed, the “Wolves” are ready at their marks, the doors close, finally BAM – it’s time to dine!!
“Say your thanks before you eat.” – Sen Yarizui
Thanks for checkin’ out my rather quick review of Ben-To, a comedy action series booming with fun! I have not seen the dub yet, but I love Trina Nishimura, so yeah, got to check it out. Please give me a like if you enjoyed the review, as it makes my day! Until next time, this has been
– Takuto, your host