OP Sequence

OP: 「LIVE for LIFE ~狼たちの夜~」 (LIVE for LIFE ~Ookamitachi no Yoru~) by 愛美 (Aimi)
Watch the OP!: Streaming ▼

「ネバれ、納豆オクラ丼ぶっかけチーズトッピング弁当 440kcal」 (Nebare, Nattō Okura Don Bukkake Chīzu Toppingu Bentō 440 kcal)
“Sticky, Natto Okra Rice Bowl with Cheese Topping Bento 440kcal”

So think Dragon Ball Tournaments, but held in a supermarket, where the prize is a half-off bento. Now you’ve got the gist of this aptly named anime, “Ben-To.

The first time I’ve heard of Ben-To was during a marathon of Patrik’s light novel reviews, which you can read in particular for Ben-To right here. I like stories where the setting is rather normal except for a couple twists, so I’m not exactly unfamiliar with the territory. While the synopsis might sound weird to newcomers of anything Japanese, I can only say, bring on the crazy.

Given that you’re not already tired of high school settings with the typical archetypes floating around, Ben-To’s not really that different in this aspect. Sure, the heroine is a white-haired kuudere goddess whose design fits my tastes almost perfectly, but a kuudere is a kuudere, and a loser protag is a loser, and a clingy wacko girl with a protective bodyguard is a clingy wacko girl with a protective bodyguard. Buuuut, they’re mixed in a combination that’s just fresh enough, and the voice actors along with their written personalities so happens to hit all the right notes. I wasn’t annoyed one bit in my entire viewing, and I even liked the opening and ending songs (I usually don’t, no real reason).

If you like to be informed, david production handles the, well, production, and they have a track record of Level-E and Book of Bantorra to name a few from the top of my head. My general gathering of data over the years informs me that they’re a mediocre animation company that does an ambitious job at adaptations, but fall slightly short most of the time when they’re not jointing with another company. Regardless of that description, I’m quite pleased to say the fight animation is admirable work (especially in the opening), but the show as a whole isn’t polished like a P.A. Works. Just saying. The extra style injection is much appreciated though, such as chopsticks snapping for scene changes. Those clever dogs.

For a first episode, color me intrigued. They’ve hardly answered much, but that’s also the reason why I want to know more, if only just because. Had some good laughs too. I’d say the most enticing reason to keep watching would be because of how much effort they put into the fight scenes. The choreography is dynamic and kick ass, and they have the animation to support it. Characters aren’t annoying, therefore the inevitable harem won’t be annoying, and face it, fighting’s way better animated. Oh, and a jazz soundtrack. Last I heard one was in Cowboy Bebop. Classy.

Oh, and to avoid redundant questions, I will be covering Ben-To and only Ben-To as it airs every Saturday. Posts will vary from Saturday night to Sunday, and no, I don’t personally see this as me returning to the site. It just so happens there was an interesting show on a weekend when I’m less busy from schoolwork that no one could/wanted to/etc. cover, and the stars aligned. Surprise?

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「笑顔の法則」 (Egao no Housoku) by 伊瀬 茉莉也 (Ise Mariya)
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼

Preview

66 Comments

  1. Food is SERIOUS BUSINESS.

    Seriously, this show is awesome. I liked it the moment I read the premise, expecting it to be incredibly absurd and over-the-top. I was not disappointed, seeing people engage in brawls over cheap lunches was hilarious, and it didn’t shy away from showing off its hot girls. All the character stereotypes worked great for the purpose of comedy. They even have a bit of food porn(those lunches did look good after all). Hopefully it can keep up this ridiculous awesomeness for the rest of its runtime.

    P.S. Nice to see that Kiiragi is still around.

    fragb85
      1. Oppss… , i guess i miss out that part lol^^ . i kinda hope that you will continue blogging again if you have found any interesting anime which fall on weekends. anyway thanks for blogging ben-to !!

        shinkirou
  2. I came in watching this with no particular expectation other than ‘another high school comedy’. But like you said they pretty much remixed it making it feel sorta fresh.

    I’m certainly entertained, it’s not quite surreal, but that soundtrack+those thoughtful angles+lighting. It’s like wandering around a mediocre casino with a sorta nice fountain.

    WANT OST, Side note director Shin Itagaki also directed Black Cat + Basquash!

    stainglass
  3. KIIRAGI!! I know your not coming back but seeing you blogging make me want to read your writing again.

    I like the first sentence. It’s very catchy.

    I also agree that the opening is good but I can’t say the same for the ending though.

  4. This is the first time ever I’ve been bothered by the use of the “Violence is okay if it’s female on male” trope, as performed by the slap-happy bodyguard. Other than that, this seems like the sort whacky show where the comedy can make or break it.

    Fadeway
  5. Confusing first episode. But I guess they made it as confusing as it is for the protagonist. I’m interested to see where they go with this. The characters haven’t annoyed me too much yet, though this is only the first episode. Will probably watch a few more episodes at least.

    x
  6. Excellent fighting. The upwards plam to the chin by the busty girl looked like an actual martial arts move while the foot to the fist move was very much like those shonen style combat. They just need some name for those moves and its a combat shonen.

    The slap happy girl does seem irritating now but since she does not seem to be on the side of the protangonist now, it doesn’t matter. Maybe he’ll get to smack her back but it seems it will end up more of a girl vs girl match

    Zaku Fan
  7. after rewatch this episode, it seem that their have ‘food chain’ in this supermarket
    top chain – ice witch
    second top – the monk and brown hair girl.
    the quotation ‘ weak will perish’ kinda remind me of abba’s song – winner take it all

    shinkirou
  8. Surprise?! I’m uber madly pleased! Welcome back, Kiiragi!

    Now… to wishfully hope a fujoshi would step in and start reviewing Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi. Then my dreams for this side would be fulfilled.

    core
  9. I just can agree with previous comments that this Anime has the typical stereotype characters but mixed it up so it looks completely new and different in a positive way. Loved to watch the first episode and will without a doubt continue to do so.

    W0rldTRav3l3r
  10. Supermarket Sweep crossed with Ikkitousen?

    Well it’s certainly a unique idea lol. If the anime could also fit in some ‘Jackie Chan’ style fights utilising dumb objects (shopping trolley kung fu vs frozen swordfish fencing) then it would be hilarious.

    Ninja Penguin
  11. Btw kiiragi………..ive seen that name in a number of manga translations as a translator typesetter etc……..just wondering is it you or someone else iwth the same name?

    Torrigan
  12. Welcome back, Kiiragii!

    I enjoyed this premiere. I occasionally combat the wolves and ice queens at my local Japanese market in the evening for half-priced sashimi and bentos, so I can identify. But please – get someone besides Hiro-hiro to play 15 year-olds. It’s gotten quite absurd.

  13. Yay it’s Kiiragi! 😀

    Thanks for covering the show. I thought it was hilarious and was disappointed when it looked like it wouldn’t be blogged after all. I’m looking forward to your future posts. 😀

    Chloesong
    1. AH!!!! Cannibal!!! O_O XD lol

      But yeah, just seeing the premise got be interested overall…okay, maybe it was the hot girls, as usual…*sigh* ~_~ lol but yeah, it does look like it’ll be pretty entertaining, but maybe more like Kenichi with Bentos involved, lol. Otherwise weak, loser guy gets trained by hot girl(s) and other dudes and works up to becoming one of the best and starts fighting the best of them as the series goes on, lol.

      HalfDemonInuyasha
  14. seems like the seiyuu for the MC really did a great job as being funny
    i lol’ed hard when he imitates his dad’s voice and i thought, “yeah, his dad is Norio Wakamoto”

    Hayate
  15. I don’t know about this story. A supermarket where students fight each other violently in order to save money and get lower-priced food? A foreshadowing of our economic situation in the USA and a taste of what’s going on in Japan and possibly elsewhere in the world? In real life you would see escalation to the point of knives and guns. People will only take so much abuse until you see “combat multipliers” come into play.

    I’m also worn out with the girls being several levels above the guys in martial arts. Wimpy guys getting beat up by girls older and younger than they are. What I’d love to see at this point is the “indestructible” guy who doesn’t take abuse from girls just because they are female. The class rep that thinks slapping a guy is permissible action during a conversation would end up with several crushed fingers after the second slap.

    From the reaction of the main guy’s father on the phone about the hospital bill, it would seem that “tough love” is a common theme, even from the supermarket deli super. So where’s the protection for the weak?

    jhpace1
    1. “In real life you would see escalation to the point of knives and guns.”
      other than for a planned dramatic turn of event in the storyline, your escalation theory doesn’t seem like it would fit the world much since after the bento has all been claimed, we see the kids otherwise happily walk away from each other.

      “So where’s the protection for the weak?”
      considering the show concept i wouldn’t expect too much “protection for the weak”. otehr than perhaps Sen’s implied offer to help Satou survive the battles.
      especially since the show’s already presented the half-priced bento situation as a survival of the fittest situation.
      as the supermarket guy said, if Satou doesn’t want to take part in it, he doesn’t have to. if he does, he’s going to have to prove he’s the fittest.

      “In real life…”
      fortunately it’s not real life, it’s a fairly absurd cartoon that’s not trying to be in any way realistic.
      if you’re going to be so turned off by it’s unreal absurdity, then clearly its not the show for you.
      i don’t say that to be snarky; but the show is what it is, and it does what it does, intentionally. it’s not doing anything wrong as much as clearly it’s not an anime you’re looking for.

      Bob
  16. The premise is idiotic ( in a good way xD) I’m excited what this anime will become

    Glad to see you’re name again, Kiiragi. thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I saw your name xD

    Alec
    1. That’s strange… I noticed a lot of the music especially during the rubbish bags scene and that random ‘African’ music when the Class Rep combo-slapped the main character.

      ..And of course the cheesy supermarket music.

      Hrmmm
  17. A hilariously over-the-top premise that does exactly what it says on the label? I might give this a go.

    Anyone who has been to Japan would realize the prices for almost anything is ridiculously high. Even more so for a student. I know a few friends who studied there who tell me they would always be on the lookout for any discount tags in the supermarket and convenience stores.

    Though not to the point where they’ll resort to such epic fisticuffs just for a half-price ben-to. lol

    Kinny Riddle
  18. I just watched the first episode, and personally i really enjoyed it. The entire show has an absurd premise that works well for entertainment and laughs. The animation is good quality, and most importantly its not nearly as ecchi as i thought it would be, the main focus of the show is not showing panty shots and what not, which was more what i was expecting of the show.

    Quikbeam

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