Posted by psgels on 31 October 2011 with categories: Ben-To

Okay. So this episode had fanservice. Heck, there was more fanservice than compared to most moe shows.

Thank god this show knows what it’s doing, though. The fanservice in this episode thankfully 1) was creative and 2) didn’t reduce its female characters to morons. There were times when it went a bit too far like with the incest jokes, but this episode made me laugh quite a few times thanks to the great characterization of this show.

There are also these weird characters like that girl whose eyes we never see, and who looks like an important character, yet has nothing to do with the story. Or take Ume Shiraume, who has absolutely nothing to do with fighting over lunches, but makes the rest of this show hilarious with her antics. With the way that Shaga was introduced in this episode I expected this stereotypical love interest who walks over everyone, and yet she was actually no match for both Shiraume and Yarizui. Combined with good acting around this parts lead to a well fleshed out character within the episode she was introduced in, even though she started as a big stereotype. It really is the big difference between this show and just about all other moe shows for me: the acting nearly always seems either too bland or too forced to me. Here, the characters have their over the top concepts, like obsessive stalker, deadpan and tomboy, and yet manage to give enough sides to them to have them move away from these stereotypes.

And on top of that I have to praise David Production for animating great fight scenes over and over. It’s not like they have a lot of budget, but the sense of timing in these battles is just impeccable. The rituals before and after each battle (quietly waiting for the discounts to be handed out, and collecting the spoils of war) also work really well with it.

I have been criticized of treating some of the moe shows like Mayo Chiki, Utapri, Sofuteni and Idolmaster too harsh, when they’re supposed to be light entertainment. but the thing is, for entertainment, I sure as heck wasn’t getting entertained by these series that all just look like each other and feel half-hearted in their execution. These criteria are of course different for everyone, and if you enjoy them: good for you. But when I watch a show that focuses on entertainment, I really want to watch something that actively tries to be as entertaining as possible (not just in the way of Majikoi of having one entertaining episode… only to be followed by a ton of boring stuff where you feel like hardly any effort was spent on it). I found these series earlier this year with shows as Level E and Dororon Enma-kun, and now I’ve found another with Ben-To. It’s only got 12 episodes, so let’s see if it can keep this pacing up all the way.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

7 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    If by UtaPri you mean Uta no Prince-sama, then I have to correct you. UtaPri is NOT MOE, it’s a reverse harem.

  2. Zadown says:

    “Incest jokes”? She’s his cousin, and while that’s still pretty close relative, it’s not incest as such and there shouldn’t be a Westermarck effect. That made it a lot more amusing and realistic to me than the usual sister/brother stuff. I mean, I thought my cousins were pretty hot back when I was a teenager, not that I would have ever done anything about it, while I’m not able to see my sister like that at all.

    I agree about the moe-shows but there seems to be a huge audience for them, no matter how badly they are made, so they’ll keep on churning them out…

  3. jzar says:

    This one is going places …. It makes me laugh and the fight scenes are the best. The fighting looks over the top yet very real at the same time. They did a great job with the movement and the way they make the fighting move smoothly. They don’t spend the whole episode building up just the fight scene nor do we have to watch them training endlessly. How refreshing….not that those are bad things, its just a nice change.

    The male lead has some real brains and courage and we don’t spend endless hours having to watch him angst over getting better at fighting or some other nonsense.

    I think it’s my top pick for the season, its just so well done. Not that everything is perfect but it kicks ass in making even the bad moments good enough to enjoy.

  4. gandalf8 says:

    I’m sad that you didn’t mention about how Shaga felt about being friend zoned by Sato. That moment when she hugged him and muttered that line which while Sato kept thinking was a joke we could clearly see the pain she felt at saying it.

    On Idolm@ster, I don’t deny that some of the episodes, especially the early ones were a bit boring, but I still enjoyed watching each episode. Like you said, different strokes for different folks.

  5. Cytl says:

    It’s always refreshing seeing males free of any angst, just kicking an punching everything in sight; being perverts as most teenagers are (without being retarded at it). This series may have one of the worst plots at the end of the season but it’s almost unbeatable in entertaining value.

    Also, I agree with gandalf8 about Idolmaster, the only episodes I didn’t enjoy were the 2,3 and 16. Even if the characters are a bunch of cliches they’re handled really well IMO. It would be good if you gave it a chance (this is coming from someone who sure as hell didn’t wanted to have anything to do with the series).

  6. nodbgp says:

    If only the stalker girl died – or didn’t exist -, I would like this show so much more. The main character should lose once in a while too, I mean, hes like super man already. But yeah, that’t the only criticism I have about it, and I sure as hell don’t like harens and fanservice. And yet those things didn’t annoy me here.

  7. dominus says:

    The main character did lose a lot in the first episode hell he got trashed 2 times in a row also he still is not near the strength of the ice witch or the wizard, and Shaga that seemed unbeatable got a k.o from the ice witch in no time .
    Its a pity that this is only 12 eps because it still has a lot more characters to introduce(for example the ice WITCH sister)lets hope this gets a second season .

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 10:22 PM)
    @Aidan: it does seem like you’ve actually seen Xavier, in which case I’m impressed. Didn’t think you had it in you.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 09:35 PM)
    Speaking of errors, can anybody else open Evil Genius Scanlations page? I keep getting a gateway error. I know there should be a new Berserk on there but some force is keeping it from me. This is messed up.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:38 PM)
    @Bam, Easy. 404 not found
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:45 AM)
    It takes a true magnificence to propose such a grand question as: What dot life?!
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    @Kaiser: the show does vary in quality, but for the first season they generally crank up the insanity with every episode until a very remarkable season finale where Xavier faces his worst enemy.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Bam: Oh in symphogears case, I certainly laughed but I wasn’t supposed to.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:39 AM)
    @Bam: While it didn’t always work, that first episode of renegade angel was amusing, I particularly liked the part where he went on about Aids being invented.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:22 AM)
    and don’t be fooled by the simple graphics, the crudeness is completely intentional.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:21 AM)
    @Kaiser: as far as Xavier goes I implore you to download and watch the first episode to get the gist of it. That show is the pinnacle of absurdist and meta humor. It’s strangely adored within the animation circles, getting very high praise from the industry, but it’s very dense and bizarre so people either love or hate it. If you’re anything like me it might become one of your most beloved shows.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:17 AM)
    @kaiser: If Symphogear gets as bad as Valvrave then we’re talkin. Few companies make entertaining trash like Sunrise does.

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