Time Enforcer Anubis here with a fresh review!
Some anime can be best described by simply stating their premise. This is an anime that revolves around highschool students fighting over half-priced lunches at the grocery store.
Ben-To is a poignant social commentary on the current state of the economy, where highschool students, who are broke, but can’t find jobs in the poor job market, fight each other over half-priced boxed lunches every day, in a desperate effort to get a good meal on a student’s budget…
No, not really.
Ben-To is an anime by David Production that tells the story of highschool student and loyal Sega fan Yo Sato, who accidentally discovers the world of half-priced bento fighting after getting knocked the hell out as he was reaching for one of the coveted half-priced boxes. Thus begins his foray into the brutal world of the Bento Brawl, joined by Hana Oshiroi, an easily-excited yaoi novelist who uses the fights as material for her books, and Sen “The Ice Witch” Yarizui, a veteran bento fighter who agrees to teach him the ins and outs of bento fighting.
The first thing to notice about Ben-To is the combat. The show is filled with fast-paced, brutal fight scenes. It isn’t afraid to show some people getting royally jacked-up. The each of the main characters has their own particular style, from Sen Yarizui’s focus on powerful kicks to Ayame Shaga’s creative use of chopsticks in combat. It’s incredibly exciting to watch and occurs often enough that there’s no hunger for more when an episode ends.
The show is has a lot of ecchi fanservice, both subtle and overt. It ranges from “interesting” camera angles (For example, one character, known only as “Brunette,” is almost always seen with her chest to the camera, her face out of view) to occasional full-on nudity and shoujo-ai.
A show with a premise this ridiculous couldn’t survive without comedy, and Ben-To definitely doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The premise, the characters, and the situations play together in a perfect, laugh-out-loud hilarious way that makes the non-fighting scenes just as fun to watch as the combat.
However, while the ecchi, the comedy, and abundant female characters might make this seem like a thinly-veiled harem show at first glance, it doesn’t really feel like a harem show. Even though the male lead is surrounded by women, each has their own motivation, and none of them are really looking to win his heart. The half-priced bentos are the goal here, and that’s made abundantly clear.
Apart from all that, the music is something of particular note. The soundtrack comprises of a diverse array of musical sounds, all of which are perfect fits for the situations they’re played in. The character designs fit the characters very well. Some (like me) might particularly enjoy them, but otherwise there’s not much distinctive about them.
Ben-To is an anime with a strange premise. However, between taking its premise seriously and providing gut-busting hilarity, it strikes a perfect balance. If you’re craving a hilarious action anime and can handle some very tasteful fanservice, Ben-To needs to be on your list.
‘Till next time!