Disclaimer: If You’re Underaged, It’s Best That You Stay Out Of This
In a land far, far away…
Saitou, the peerless Muscle Detective has discovered the mystical, divine food, known to mere mortal men only as…
But, right now, standing between Saitou and the mystical food, known only as bento, is Orthrus, the fierce two-headed guard dog from Greek mythology and his long time nemesis, The Security Guard Serial Killer!!
“You will never get past me,” said the serial killer. “I have already won!”
“What are you talking abo–”
Suddenly, Saitou felt a chill ran down his spine and his whole body began tingling. His vision began to blur and the sight of his arch-nemesis no longer invoke a feeling of dread but a pleasurable feeling.
“Haha! How do you like this new aphrodisiac of mine?”
“Hahahaha! Your body betrays you! Behold, the Muscle Detective, trembling before me, ready for some training!”
As his vision fades away, Saitou began dreading the lecherous things the serial killer will do, and fearing for his own sanity, he started to plead: “Please…insert…gently…”
Oshiroi-san will be proud of this review.
Satou Yoh, (not Saitou) a high school student walked into a supermarket to buy dinner, but somehow after he came to his senses, he was bloodied, injured and lying on the supermarket floor. He had no ideas as to how he was injured and all he remembered was an unknown kuudere/girl wearing a school uniform looking at him from outside the supermarket. Later the next day, he went back to the same supermarket trying to regain his memories, only to beaten unconscious again. This time, it was revealed to him by a supermarket employee there that he had unknowingly tread upon a battlefield among Wolves for half-priced bentos (boxed meals).
Wolves, a term used to call people who fight over these half-priced bentos, gather at supermarkets nationwide in Japan to test their wits and hone their skills for the ultimate price: the half-priced bentos. One particular Wolf, known as the Ice Witch is the strongest of them all in the Western territory, and it turns out that the supermarket Satou frequents is the hunting ground for this Wolf. And for some reason, he is recruited into the Half-Pricers Association by the Ice Witch to train as a Wolf himself.
Plot & Settings:
Okay, I want to get this out of the way: The plot is garbage, and delightfully so. Seriously, did you read the summary above? I can spot 3 or 4 cliches right off the bat and I haven’t even gotten to the part where they fight over cold, half-priced packed lunch yet. I mean, seriously, what the heck is going on? The writers know the plot is complete garbage, from the premise to the cliches and nonsensical plot elements, and delightfully emphasizes on it. The best thing about this show is that it doesn’t take itself very seriously, casually inserting bundles of jokes up the show’s alley. *wink*
That said, if you’re in it for the plot, you had better just leave. There is nothing mind-boggling, nothing thought provoking, and sure as hell, nothing interestingly sophisticated. If you’re looking for complexity, I suggest you leave.
The show often attempts to increase the melodrama of the plot to unbelievable levels, then all at once crashes it with its humour (mostly sexual). Running gags, illogical situation and casual inappropriate sexual jokes are run-of-the-mill elements of the show, and alongside the overly melodramatic rubbish plot, it makes for a rather awkward but enjoyable show.
The first half show of the show was quite enjoyable, in fact, as a comedy, it even made me laugh out loud quite a number of times. But, when in the second half of the show, the serious plot elements started to kick in and the show starts taking itself seriously. As a result, the later half of the show becomes rather preachy, annoyingly drawn out and downright ecchi just for the sake of it, making it seem like a very long, awkwardly sexual advertisement for supermarket chains.
The action in this show is decent. Some diehard fans say this show’s action is phenomenal, but in my opinion, it is pretty bland. Aside for two breathtaking fight scenes involving the Ice Witch and another Wolf (ves) (keep your eyes peeled for those), the other action sequences were very short and not well-choreographed at all. Most of them were too short and aside from a few close up shots of the characters fighting, nothing really interesting happens at all. The most disappointing one of all is the finale fight sequence, cutting right to the end and just showing us the result of the fight. Come on, man, it finished right before it started!
Like the plot and the settings, these characters are also garbage, most of them in a good way, some not so much. Let’s start with the good ones.
First of all, the main characters. Satou, is your typical main character, dumb, dense and a very obvious plot device. No backstory, no sophistication required, just him being dumb would be good, because due to deus ex machina plot elements, everything bad that happens, happens to him. A banana peel? He slips on it. A train ticket? His to lose. A maniacal, even comical security guard with a penchant of inserting 9V batteries into people? Well, I think you get the point. Basically, Satou is the butt of jokes. In a way, he is an integral part of the comedy, and his dumb antics and (sexualized) commentaries are quite funny. However, at the end of the day, he is what he is: a plot device.
And basically, everyone in this show is a plot device. You have the Ice Witch, a kuudere type character who is awfully strong, but from time to time, displays a weak (read: cute) side to the viewers. Then, you have Shaga, the mischeivous cousin type character who is borderline annoying but actually a thoughtful person. Of course, we have the comic relief characters like the fatso, Oshiroi, Shiraume Ume etc.
Then, you have the supporting cast. They are there for no purpose whatsoever, aside to provide the usual exposition on the past. Then, there’s the twin sisters, Sawagi Kyou and Sawagi Kyou, introduced in the later half of the series. These two, especially the elder one, are incredibly annoying. Their actions do not justify their long ass screentime at all, and the show becomes unbearably annoying when these two are on screen.
Graphics & Soundtrack
The graphics are decent to say the least, it’s not the best but it’s not too bad either. David Productions, known for their work with Inu X Boku SS and JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken, shows a level of consistency throughout this show and some (read: SOME) of their fight scenes were exhilarating. Credit should be given where it’s due, and I think they did a pretty good job at animating this show, at least for a small production studio like theirs.
The soundtrack, for me, was the cherry on the cake for me. It had a wide variety of genres and the most memorable ones were the ones when they complimented the show really well. The soundtrack was, by no means, like Yuki Kajiura or Sawano Hiroyuki, but for a comedy show like this to offer such a ingenious platter of soundtracks is surprising. The hilarious opera soundtracks during comedic scenes complimented the scene really well, and the techno soundtracks that go alongside the fight scenes were gripping too. Now, if only we had more good fight scenes to begin with.
I have heard quite a number of people on the Internet saying this is the best show in anime. I beg to differ, as I have seen quite a lot of good and great shows, and this is nowhere near greatness. I must admit, it is pretty good in the beginning, but it was ultimately bogged down by the dredgingly slow later half of the show. However, it is a bite-sized piece of comedy anime that is quite enjoyable and is the kind of show to watch if you are feeling bored.
That said, this show’s humour cannot be appreciated by everyone, and some might find it unappealing. The lack of complexity and coherent plot may tick some off, but overall, this is a pretty decent comedy action anime.
So, after meticulously calculating the points awarded for plot, settings, characters, graphics & soundtracks, and of course, my personal enjoyment, I present you the rating for Ben-To:
I hope you guys enjoy this review and next week, we will be seeing the end of the masterpiece that is Koutetsujou no Cabaneli, so, you can bet I’ll be praising the heck out of it. Sakamoto desu ga is also on my hit list, although technically we still have to wait for the Blu-Ray for the final episode.
So, thanks for reading, and as always, I will see you in the next one. Ciao~