Have you ever had something that you’d consider a guilty pleasure? Tiramisu? Apple pie? Good cup of coffee? Or whatever it may be. Well in Ben-To, it’s half priced bento boxes. Yes you read that right, half priced bento boxes.
The story begins with Yo Sato finding himself beat to hell and laying on the supermarket floor. He soon learns that he was in the middle of a half priced bento brawl. Yo is soon invited/coerced into joining the Half Priced Food Lovers Club by one of the top bento brawlers Sen Yarizui and she becomes his mentor. Don’t think it’s just all out fighting though, there are rules to the bento brawls that are taken very seriously. Without giving away too much of the plot, Ben-To actually has some harem elements too so there’s definitely more than just the brawls.
Ben-To isn’t just about the brawls though, there are enemies, clans, “assassins” and others who are involved. While these others are also bento brawlers, some are organized like a criminal syndicate, causing problems for the lower class brawlers. In the world of bento brawlers you start out as a dog, working your way up to wolf. Just like wolves, the wolves usually hang out in packs. Along with dogs and wolves, there are also boars who are regular customers who happen to bully their way into the bento brawls and try to take everything. Being a wolf is what you want to be and as you keep getting more of a rep, you’re given a nickname. This name sticks with you as long as you’re a bento brawler and even after.
The characters truly make this show, as much as the ridiculousness of the plot. Yo Sato is is just a typical teenager but the girls stand out. Sen Yarizui is a seemingly cold girl but very straight laced and misses jokes and innuendo all the time. You also have Osharoi who is a perverted nerdy girl who writes boy love stuff starring Yo Sato, she is a support character who provides comedy relief for the most part. Sato’s cousin Shaga is in love with him and tries to put him in awkward situations, she is usually trying to come on to him. But the one character who really stands out is Ume Shiraume, she’s the student council president and very into Osharoi, so much so that if Sato is even hinted as doing something to do, she goes after him. She even ends up looking like a molester when she goes after Shaga for fondling Osharoi. Almost every scene she’s in will leave you laughing or in shock because how she comes off as a lecherous uber lesbian.
The opening music is fitting, the art fits the show but the ending music is odd to me. I’ve seen this in several fighting type shows though like Deadman Wonderland and others. They have the music to get you hyped in the beginning and then the cool down music at the end? Not sure if that was the purpose but that’s what it seems like. There is one minor issue I saw, whoever did the dub could have paid attention to the jacket for the Hunting Dogs, it says KKK. Dumbasses. Unless of course they did that on purpose, then it’s even dumber.
Ben-To is a fun anime that adds comedy to a ridiculous concept and gets it right. This is a show I’d recommend to someone who is looking for something a little different. Something with a little comedy, a little ecchi, a little fighting, just has a bit of many genres meshed together. I’d probably consider this to be like a gateway anime.