Synonyms: Bento, Ben-Tou
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 9, 2011 to Dec 25, 2011
24 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.611 (scored by 33547 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisSato Yo is a high school boy who likes SEGA games. One day, he enters a grocery store to buy some food for dinner. When he tries to take a bento box, he loses consciousness. He comes around to find all the bento sold out. He notices there is a war game going on at grocery stores and players called "Wolves" compete for the half-priced bento. Yarizui Sen, the leader of the Half-Pricer Club, forces Yo to join the club and he enters the bento war.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Ben-To
Other: Ben-To Picture Drama
Characters & Voice Actors
Director, Episode Director, Script, Storyboard, Series Composition, Animation Director
Episode Director, Storyboard
Episode Director, Storyboard
It's like Fight Club with Lunchables.
As always, my reviews are spoiler free.
But there isn't a whole lot to spoil here. When I first saw this series on the coming-season chart, I laughed at the ridiculous premise. Just read the description! Teams of high school students fighting over discounted groceries, all while following some sort of highly regarded honor code? "This show has to be absolutely mindless," I thought. It is. But that's okay, because Ben-To is completely self-aware. It knows you didn't come here for the plot. You came to be entertained. And you shall be entertained.
Story - 5/10
As you would expect, the story is an absolute trainwreck. To put it briefly, at certain time in a certain convenience store, a special sticker is placed on food to mark it as discounted. Logically, there are dozens of people, waiting like vultures, to swoop in and beat each other senseless to save a few yen (sounds a bit like Black Friday, but I digress). There are leaders in these battles, such as Sen "Ice Witch" Yarizui, the president of the "Half-Price Food Lover's Club" that You Satou, the MC, happens to join. These leaders battle it out, claiming the sticker as a trophy of their victory. Those who fight with honor and abide by the rules of bento brawling are given the title of "Wolves."
This is about as bad as a story can get. The reason it gets an "average" 5 is because it is able to build a complex system around this idiotic premise, a system which happens to be interesting and funny at the same time. The customs, titles, everything about it has been thought out to an unnecessary level of detail. Really, this is as much a comedy as it is an action series.
Animation - 7/10
Ben-to is surprisingly well animated. The fight scenes are choreographed well, and there is a large variety of character models which each get their own style. There is a significant amount of blatant fanservice, if you're into that kind of thing.
Sound - 4/10
It has a pretty bad sound track consisting of several background convenience store songs and corny action music. I have no complaints about the voice cast. I don't put much weight into this category anyway.
Characters - 6/10
If you like cheeesy, over the top characters, you came to the right place. While the main character resembles Harem Protagonist #652, nearly every other character is highly entertaining (if shallow). You have the cold, calculating Ice Queen, the formidable "Kyou" sisters, the incredibly violent lesbian Ume who is constantly after Hana, who only joined the Half-Price Food Lover's Club because she wanted material for her yaoi muscleman fanfics. Lastly we have Shaga, who is one of the main fanservice magnets, and while the other girls were by no means left constantly covered, I felt she was the main source of the series' tissue material.
Enjoyment - 8/10
Let me compare Ben-to to junk food. It's bad for you, has no real value, and you know deep down you shouldn't like it. However, that never stopped me from loving every bite of this anime. If you can sit down and turn off your brain for a bit, I promise it will leave a smile on your drooling, vegetative face.
My brain is too numb for thoughts, but I will leave you with a quote. "To the winners go glory and half-priced bento! — Ayame Shaga"
Ben-To is philosophy. Ben-To is art. Ben-To is everything, but bad for your health.
How does a show deliver such greatness that cannot be matched by other action shows? The answer is simple: Ben-To knows its place as an over-the-top parody work. Most shows suffer from being blatant copies of each other and turn bland by the time the second episode pops up. However, every single episode of Ben-To is simmered, well-roasted, and served with refreshments.
The show’s main appeal is its dramatic fighting sequences and Production David does well. Do not fear the “absurd” premise. In shopping malls, it is a well-known fact that discounted goods are pretty much fought over; Ben-To just takes it into account and increases the fighting factor. The ridiculous over-the-top action scenes are rendered and always intense; not even a typical pool episode can hinder the awesomeness of punching people’s stomachs for the sake of an unagi don bento. Speed lines are used graciously and the action can be seen easily due to the presentation it is drawn, the OP being a great example.
Do not also be let down by the huge amount of cliches and archetypes; this is a parody of action shows. You have the Rei Ayanami clone, the perverted ordinary high school student, a perverted girl, and more. However, what Ben-To does is something spectacular: it plays with the tropes and archetypes and puts it into the most awesome setting of all, a supermarket. There is a lot of interesting twists into an archetype, trope, and setting that is admirable in creative standards; it is very rare to see a work so understanding and playful of its tropes and Ben-To does it well.
Yet, this work is tainted by the huge amount of fanservice. Most of the characters are females with noticeable cleavage and this can be distracting and sexist to many. I have trouble liking Oshiroi’s character sometimes as all she does is make sexual innuendos. It is problematic that the action clashes with the fanservice in many times.
The OPs are beautifully animated and highlight the show’s distinctive features. "Live for Life" is a catchy, irresistible theme song that I hum every time I remember Ben-To. The background music is pretty wacky and cool at times, showing the effort done in the sound department. All of the seiyuus sound about right, though there isn’t anyone who did a spectacular job.
The reasons that you may not watch this show become the reason you will watch the show. Its ingredient list can be skeptical at first, but it is godly. The show is more addictive than Dr. Pepper and tastier than Kettle potato chips.
Why are you waiting in line at the restaurant? Go to your nearest supermarket today and grab a bento.
Itadakimasu! read more
Who would think that you could get a serious Anime from either story lines, but somehow the people who came up with the idea for both made it work. There is humor built into the story line too and it is very enjoyable despite the corniness.
They are similar in the fact of having a cute shy main character who ends up in the center of a big competition.
The comedy is fairly similar.
The "weak" protagonist (really, it's just that everyone else is too strong) is often subjected to physical punishment. In Baka Test it's getting his butt handed to him in summoning fights and by tsunderes, while in Ben-To he gets his ass kicked plain and simple... over food. (Don't worry though, they both overcome their underdog status in their own way)
They also both have a sort-of stalker who's weak to romace cliches. A male in BakaTest, a female in Ben-To. Also, they're also both poor, starving students.
The difference is the protagonist of Ben-To isn't "the dumbest idiot around".
Yoshii Akihisa (Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu) and You Satou (Ben-to) Have the same Voice Actors (Hiro Shimono)
Both shows fight for one thing that isn't normally fought about (Grades and Half-priced food)
Both have the same Ecchi-like comedy style
The randomness, the action and the comedy go hand in hand with these two shows.
If you like one of them you'll probably like the other
Baka's an over-the-top school scenario with lots of randomness mixed in with the fighting. Baka's humor and action carries it through and makes it enjoyable. you'll find many similarities, from humor style to voice actors, but baka definitely proves itself worthy in its own right.
Opening Theme#1: "LIVE for LIFE ~Ookamitachi no Yoru~ (LIVE for LIFE ～狼たちの夜～)" by Aimi (eps 1-3, 5-11)
#2: "Treasure" by Emiri Kato (ep 4)
#3: "Egao no Housoku (笑顔の法則)" by Mariya Ise (ep 12)
Ending Theme#1: "Egao no Housoku (笑顔の法則)" by Mariya Ise (eps 1-11)
#2: "LIVE for LIFE ~Ookamitachi no Yoru~ (LIVE for LIFE ～狼たちの夜～)" by Aimi (ep 12)
Which fansubbers do you like the best? Click + to approve of their subs for this show. Click - if you don't think they did such a great job.
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