First Impression – Ben-To

And you thought you took your food seriously…

  You have no idea how many times my hand has gone for a price-slashed item in the supermarket only to be sabotaged by someone else reaching for the same thing. Ben-to is basically what I would do if I knew I wouldn’t be arrested, and that is bash their goddamn brains in. THAT POTATO SALAD WAS MINE GRANDMA! BACK OFF!
  Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians! Maybe if you’re too lazy to make turkey you can pick up a cheap, half-off bento. That’s how I survive campus life when I have classes from morning until night. I’m just lucky that no one tries to kick my face in when I go to buy them.
  Hey Zabo, hey folks. Shows like Ben-To are always kind of odd when you read such a ridiculous premise as this one – fighting over lunch food. If I continue watching this show, it’ll only be during my lunch hour; just seems so apropos.
  AND HERE IT IS! THE MOST ANTICIPATED SHOW OF THE SEASON. A FREE-FOR-ALL FIGHT OVER FOOODDDD~ THIS IS TOTALLY MY SCENE!  …Ahem.

Ben-To begins as our poor protagonist, Satou, wakes up on the ground of the convenience store, all beaten and bruised. He thinks back on his life, which is rather eventful seeing as he almost got blown up at his father’s work as a child. A store employee walks up and seems to have seen such scenes before. However, before he can help, Satou gets up, deciding that dying on an empty stomach kind of sucks. As he walks by the window, he sees a girl staring at him. As he leaves the shop later on, he thinks back to the girl, wondering if she has a thing for him. He ends up passing out from all the blood rushing to his head. xD

The next morning, he has to walk to school from the hospital.  A girl in glasses approaches him, marveling over his injuries and his lack of memory as a result. When they arrive at school, he sees the girl from the night before with a bunch of trash. She makes him help her out and tells him to stay away from the convenience store. Later on, in class, Shiraume, the class rep, confronts him about hanging out with Oshiroi, the glasses girl he walked to school with.  She has issues with him being around Oshiroi for some reason…

Uhm. Ouch?

Later on, Satou attempt going to the convenience store and is delighted to see half-price bento. However, just as he’s about to grab one he gets knocked out AGAIN. He wakes up in the store room of the shop, with Oshiroi is passed out next to him.  An employee lectures him about how people take these sorts of things very seriously. The employee gives them some food and sends them off. Of course, Satou has to put his SoyJoy, foil wrapper and all, into the microwave causing a power outage at his dorm.

You are SO dead. So, so dead.

The next day at school, everybody is pissed off about the SoyJoy incident and Shiraume gets on Satou’s case about Oshiroi again.  Even so, he ends up meeting her outside the convenience store again and they attempt to strategize. As soon as the half-price stickers come out, however, it’s a complete and total war-zone. Satou attempts to take advantage of the fray and sneak in but he gets beat up by the more experienced fighters. Into the fight steps the girl from earlier, the mysterious Ice Queen. She kicks complete and total ass, including Satou. She takes the last bento and extends an invitation for him to join her club. Otherwise, he’s never going to survive. xD

End Thoughts: 

You will believe that lunch is srs bsns. Oh, yes. For starters, the OP is awesome. I loved the animation and just how lively and fun it was (always a good note for a comedy to start on). The way things played out though were awful disjointed. It was a series of random and seemingly stale interactions before we got to see anything interesting. The actually glimpses we got of the ben-to wars was pretty good, though. Love the slow-mo.

Production quality seems pretty high, as was proved by the other main focus of the episode: THIGHS. Shiny, luxurious thighs! Oh, they were so beautiful! I’m glad we got to stare at them, both stationary and curving to round-house kick our hero, in such excruciating and rendered detail /sarcasm. The characters are pretty likeable so far though, standard, but likeable. I totally relate to Satou, meals for one really aren’t economic at all, buddy, I hear you. With my budget I’d go mad at seeing half-priced bento too…

Anyone else think “THIS. IS. LUNCH!!!!!!” when he said “this is madness.”? Or has that internet meme been long dead? The ED was surprisingly pretty and despite my bashing of the fanservice, I do like like the Ice Witch. She is pretty kick-ass, and I hope she continues to be. I see moe-potential…which scares me. It did have a sort of Baka-Test feel to it because of the main seiyuu, and the whole hearing questionable noises behind a closed door at the end gave me Haruhi Suzumiya vibes. Burrr *shivers* Now that was frightening.

Wait, why did I think this was about bentos that come to life and fight with you? I clearly misread the summary and now the actual anime actually ISN’T as whacky and quirky as I expected. I’m a bit disappointed that it’s not a new Fighting Foodons with bentos that try and punch you out. Oh well, this is probably a better idea, because it’s just a smidgen more believable. It’s still WTF-inducing, but my imagination went wayyy out of control. With such a crazy concept, it’s nice that Ben-to doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s all about the fun, action and absurdity of it all. The cheesiness is intended.

So far I’m surprisingly in love with the whole battle royale bento concept. What should be stupid is actually quite cool, as the fights over the bentos are of epic proportions. As a battle/gag anime, it would be great. The only thing is…the show isn’t really funny. You would think a show about hospitalizing people for the sake of a few dollars saved would be filled with more gags, but it was incredibly focused on setting everything up. There really isn’t even that much to set up either, you can throw in a few more jokes. Please note that an over protective character that slaps the lead male isn’t a joke, nor is a super neurotic girl that fangirls over everything that happens. Come on, if you’re going all out with something like this, at least make me laugh.

All in all, it wasn’t bad. It was an average first episode with characters that must have had their personalities copied out of the anime character creation textbook. I don’t expect every character to be original, quirky and lovable, but I’d like some variety from cycling through the same stereotypes. Aiyaaa. The thing that kept me watching was the novelty of FOOD FIGHTS and the fun fight scenes. They weren’t gorgeously animated, but they served their purpose in entertaining me. I’ll keep watching since the first episode was alright, but I’m afraid this is another summer show I’m not expecting a whole lot from.

This fall season has seen a bevy of odd first episodes. Majikoi and Horizon started with over-the-top action, but because Ben-To’s premise is so absurd, it’s kind of funny to see how the show introduces the concept of lunch wars. I’m trying to imagine me at my local grocer having to punch dudes just to get a steak or whatever. An American version of this would play up the laughs, try to make humor out of each little thing (coupons, reward cards, shopping carts), but Ben-To has this way of playing it straight that’s a little weird, yet kind of fun. That was one thing I liked about the episode in that it wasn’t super slapsticky; there might be some stuff later on, but Ben-To didn’t bog itself down with referential humor or go over-the-top with a joke. It’s as though David Productions already knows the premise alone is doing that.

The characters are actually very interesting, enough so that I have interest in seeing layers pulled off and learning more about Satou and the Ice Witch. Satou does kind of seem like the wimpy guy, but I found him to be one of the better lead male characters for this season. He seems like a cool dude and I want to root for him. He also had his eyes exactly where I would of –  on that hot, delicious zettai ryouiki of Ume’s. Which is another thing I was concerned about – the ecchi. Preseason, I wondered if this anime would have been housed with Majikoi or Maken-ki, but thankfully (it would seem), Ben-To isn’t gonna give us panty shots aplenty and the story is far less trite than those two.

I’ll admit I’d never heard of David Productions before this show was a thing. Things look alright on the animation front; nothing blows me away (besides that hot, delicious zettai ryouiki), though I did like the animation of the OP, and it always helps to have a catchy tune. I actually do like all of the character designs and wonder if the action can pick up any more after the beating Satou took this episode. I’m planning on keeping up with Ben-to during my lunch hour.

Well dang. This turned out to be better than I thought. First off, it was absolutely HILARIOUS. I never thought that crazy fights over food could be so delightful! I mean, I knew what was going to happen but it was just SO GREAT actually SEEING it. It was intense!  And EPIC. And it wasn’t even just the plot itself. The characters are absolutely HYSTERICAL. Satou is a perfect lead, especially with his stupid moments (like putting a foil wrapper in the microwave) and his voice imitations (the teacher one was epic).  Oshiroi is a complete dork and her enthusiasm is something else entirely. It’s these little things that make shows breach the border between just funny and downright laugh-your-ass-off hilarity.

So my inner feminist that I’m always trying to suppress is kind of pleased that the strongest fighter in this show is a woman. Seeing her take down all those dudes was pretty exhilarating. I mean, I know that there are a lot of strong heroines in a lot of anime but it’s an entirely different matter to see a woman so revered and intimidating. The Ice Queen was a complete and total baller. She’s strong and, objectively speaking, hot. I’m looking forward to seeing different sides of her. I feel like she might have a little tsundere in there somewhere. Maybe. Her interactions with Satou should prove to be interesting… xD

I really enjoyed the presentation of this show.  First off, it has much higher quality than I had initially expected; it’s smooth, sleek and gives off this faux-action vibe that makes it much, much funnier. Ben-To is definitely going to be the light at the end of the tunnel in my ridiculous schedule this fall. It just might be able to battle the depression that is Chemistry with pure, unadulterated humor. I cannot wait for the rest of this! Also, as a food-lover myself, Ben-To definitely hits the spot. Haha. See what I did there? xD

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We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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8 Responses to “First Impression – Ben-To”

  1. Joojoobees says:

    It isn’t great, but the story has me more hooked than some of the other battle shows that premiered this season (Maken-ki, Maji de, Horizon). The concept of fighting for marked-down food is just so relatable that, for now, I’m willing to overlook the lack of high production quality and the cardboard characters. I don’t know how long it can hold my attention, but I’ve already dropped the three shows I just mentioned, so it is doing well for now.

  2. Reaper says:

    The first time I saw this, I could not help but think of Rei from Evangelion…somehow, I can imagine her going Rambo for the sake of bento but where there’s a Rei, there has to be an Asuka…*cough* Ume Shiraume *cough*. Poor Satou, I feel his pain, especially when getting lunch on campus can be expensive over time…my wallet cries every time I walk somewhere nearby with food…I don’t mind the slightly lesser quality in animation especially with the story being a bit more out there with the idea of the ultimate clashes for bento and the pride and respect of such in-fighting; it honestly has me laughing when I start to imagine this in real life…all I can say is if this happened in RL…oh god, I would fall over from laughing before finally launching my own attack for the discount bento XD

  3. kluxorious says:

    I dropped this half way through. Too much crap is unhealthy for my body.

  4. BlackBriar says:

    I didn’t realize fighting over one’s favorite food at half-price could be so dangerous. I mean there are other foods there, imagine if famine came in. It would be an all out war. Back up, Jack!!! That’s MY Ben-To!! And I agree if you’re dying, at least get a last meal. Going out on an empty stomach sucks.

    The title “Ice Queen” is well suited. She looks cold and heartless especially the way she single-handedly kicked everyone’s ass, including Satou. She reminds me of another Ice Queen, Mizore Shirayuki and Evengelion’s Rei Ayanami. I’d gladly join her club if it means avoiding a daily, brutal beating like that.

    More respect to the Japanese for taking something that seems so insignificant and irrelevant into something that can be taken seriously and turn it into a battlefield with countless casualties.

  5. akagami says:

    This show is so silly that I’ll probably check it out for a few more episodes.

    By the way, do people actually fight to get certain items on sale (or even try to get it before you)? Every time I go grocery shopping it’s always very civilized. Is this an Asian phenomenon?

    We had a food fight once in the school cafeteria… it was fabulous and we managed not to get in trouble. Food fights are fun =)

  6. Amutofan123 says:

    I liked it. It’s nothing super special, but it was certainly entertaining and weird enough to keep me interested.

  7. Dan-go says:

    Woweee, this is abit of a dark horse, low low expectations, and it turned into a very pleasant surprise, probably dropping one of the more lacklustre so far, ie hunterxhunter or persona4 for this

  8. [...] “So far I’m surprisingly in love with the whole battle royale bento concept. What should be stupid is actually quite cool, as the fights over the bentos are of epic proportions. As a battle/gag anime, it would be great. The only thing is…the show isn’t really funny.” – Metanorn [...]

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