Ben-To 01: Super-Market Fighter IV Anime Edition
Why, yes, half-price bento is serious business.
Our protagonist this time is 1st year high schooler Satou You, who is the quintessential 15 year old – not particularly interesting, hormonally charged.
Also, he’s wonderfully self-deprecating with a firm grasp of deadpan delivery. And he sports a killer arch look, rivalling that of my beloved Ayase-tan. (Although that swollen eyelid might have something to do with it.)
I like this kid already.
But you know what I like most about Satou? (I’m not about to start confusing people by referring to him as “You”)
His hormonally charged vision.
He looks at all the places that a 15 year old boy is expected to look at. Those places that a 21 year old like myself is supposed to refrain from observing, and can no longer so much as glance in the direction of a well-endowed female without inciting the disapproval of the morality police.
tl;dr, Satou’s line of sight (and his fantasies) is a godsend.
Also, it’s causing me to develop a thigh fetish.
It certainly doesn’t help that Yarizui Sen, Satou’s senpai and known as “The Ice Witch”, has a fighting style that flaunts those killer thighs.
And she has the killer body to match.
Excuse me a moment while I… do something else.
Also, in the cast is Satou’s class president, Shiraume Ume. Ume is the proud owner of her own set of killer thighs.
(Do kindly refer to the above collage to scrutinize Ume’s delicious Grade-S zettai ryouiki.)
But argh. This thigh fixation. There are now two girls in the cast with exquisite thighs. I was initially favouring Sen’s stocking covered delicacies, but to gaze upon Ume’s cotton thigh-high socks with that slightest tantalizing glimpse of bare skin…
Wait- the FOOD. This anime is about FOOD. LET US TALK ABOUT FOOD.
Look at the effort that goes into the art.
The finish on those rice grains. The careful contrast of colours that the Japanese would demand of their cuisine.
The painstakingly animated steam rising from a hot, delicious, entrée…
Satou has won my approval from the first episode by daring to enter this battle royale. Even though he got thoroughly destroyed.
Because there are too many male anime protagonists who are emotional, self-doubting, etc (I feel like I’ve complained about this enough) and it’s supremely refreshing to see a guy who looks at a screwy situation, shrugs his shoulders and dives into the fray.
If there’s one thing about Ben-To that I’d like to highlight, it’s the humour. It’s very much like Itami Jūzō classic film, Tampopo – which was an insightful satire on the role of food in Japanese culture.
Ben-To borrows that style of comedy: exaggerating the fuss that over a mundane activity, and dramatizing the actions of the people involved. Ben-To is alot like Yakitate!! Japan or Cooking Master Boy, and I’m thankful that this sort of satirical comedy has returned to anime after a long drought.
Oh, and if there was a second thing I’d like to mention, it would be the music. Ben-To’s music is by Iwasaki Taku, the same guy who did KamiMemo’s music (music alone couldn’t save that trainwreck), and his signature Jazz style is wondrous here. Be it the slow-paced, tense track that played when Satou talked to Sen for the first time, or the exuberant fast-paced action theme for the battle, it’s all awesome.
It made be feel like I was watching Sin City, but with the drugs and blood and moral corruption replaced with an honourable battle for packed meals. It was glorious.
(Also, it reminded me of Ryu Ga Gotoku, which is always a win in my book.)
Ah, Sen. You’re not my favourite girl of this season, but you’re definitely in second place.
Do note that I’m using Ben-To to test screencapping with subtitles. I’m still against it (since I’m a snot-nosed purist wannabe), but it has its advantages. I’ll see how it goes for the duration of this season and if it works, I might adopt it for all my future reviews.