The Complete Series
Ben-To (Pronounced Bento, I was pronouncing it literally Ben Too until about nine episodes in.)
Every day an epic struggle rages in grocery stores across Japan — the battle for half-priced bento boxes! Once the discount stickers go on, ravenous brawlers start throwing punches in a knockdown, drag-out war over who gets to take home the cheap eats. When a young, broke high school student named Sato joins the Half-Priced Food Lovers Club, he proves to be a rising talent in the world of insane food fights. But does he have what it takes to become the king of clearance cuisine? From the director of Black Cat comes a very different type of hunger games. Welcome to the world of Ben-To, where chopsticks are lethal weapons, the supermarket is a battleground, and there’s nothing more delicious than a deep-fried win.
While this anime didn’t look promising, or sound promising, at the beginning I was expecting to give this title a two out of five rating.
However as I progressed through the series I found myself engaged with it, laughing, and even anticipating a bit of action.
I’ll start with animation.
Perfect and colourful, complementing the theme. Just as with the likes of Fairy Tail, Durarara, and the upcoming Good Luck Girl. Vivid colour, defined clearly.
Next up, the fighting scenes (because most anime isn’t complete without a bit of action, with exceptions of course.)
The fight scenes were very good and held attention. I didn’t spot any training montages, and every one seemed to be an en par combatant with ease. Then again when hunger strikes I’m sure it brings out the beast in all of us.
The plot, yes, there was plot. It was however a little thin. This anime is a slow burner; you have to watch it until episode five at least before you find yourself starting to get into it all and learning all the nuances of the characters, and also getting to grips of what the plot actually is.
Saying that it takes five episodes to get into a twelve episode series, you see where I’m coming from it takes way too long to get into the anime. Other than that we do have a couple of fan service episodes; it is a 15s rating after all.
The characters, in the end, were funny, not much emotional depth, but hilarious all the same.
The main characters are engaging once you get into it, and it gets difficult to take your eyes away just in case you miss something. As for character development we only see this in the last few episodes, in an attempt to bring some emotional depth to each of the main characters.
The bonus features on the discs include
Textless opening and closing theme,
An episode or two of commentary,
A trailer for itself.
And oddly enough part of the production team engaging in their own Ben-To battle, which was both amusing and excellently put together.
All in all, a good watch, despite how odd the synopsis sounds. It’s unique definitely so slightly refreshing to see it.
I’m giving Ben-To 4 out of 5
The complete series is due for release on dvd on 16th March 2015