In the animal kingdom when it comes to feeding time it is a matter of survival of the fittest. In Ben-To the oddball cult classic 2011 anime series the same is true in the grocery store. Half price bento are the prize and the wars waged over these discounted delights takes center stage in what is arguably one of the most strangest premises for an anime series ever. In spite of its bizarre concept Ben-To winds up being one of the best slice-of-life series in recent memory.
Right from the get go, Ben-To grabs viewers by the throat and gives them an immediate taste of the wild action that follows. The general concept is that there are people who will do anything to get discounted bento boxes even if it means brutally beating down upon one another. What results is some electric action sequences that simply must be seen to be believed.
At its core Ben-To is a slice of life comedy series, however the wars over discount bento adds in a mix of the action genre that is more than a little unexpected but in context it feels just right. The way in which the combat is framed and directed actually gives it a cinematic feel that is almost unheard of in series of the same genre.
Ben-To is ridiculous to say the least but it is relentlessly enthusiastic about its concept and plays it straight with genuine commitment to the idea of its supermarket battleground that it is a real treat to watch. That is really what makes Ben-To a cut above the rest of the pack in the same genre. It is pure unbridled fun and it isn’t at all ashamed to go all out. There is something about that kind of commitment to something silly that is admirable and in Ben-To it becomes a charming quality.
In terms of animation the series is gorgeous to say the least, cinematic at its best. The character designs are truly memorable, in particular the Ice Witch Sen who is instantly recognizable. The combat sequences are richly detailed and a real sight to behold. Even better is the rip-roaring soundtrack that gives Ben-To its frenetic energy and sense of excitement.
This Blu-Ray release from Madman Entertainment has been a long time coming, with delays unfortunately pushing back its release. But it was absolutely worth the wait, the series is beautifully rendered in Blu-Ray and with some fantastic bonus features including episode commentary and a brilliant English language dub. It must be said that Madman and Funimation have done an excellent job with this release which wholly does the series justice.
Ben-To is absolutely nuts and if a bit of crazy is your kind of thing you’re going to love the epic bento brawls and the supermarket wolves who want nothing more than a discount dinner. Very few series have the guts to throw caution to the wind in such a way and the fact that a series as unique as this one was able to made is proof that there is still a place for offbeat anime such as this. This is really one series that must be seen to be believed. Who ever thought a show about fights over discounted bento could be this good? If you’re hungry for an unbridled fun anime series, Ben-To is just what your looking for.
You can pick up a copy of Ben-To over at Madman’s Online Store.