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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  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:39 AM)
    @Bam That’s a good way of putting it. We’re definitely going through an anti-intellectual period in anime right now, which is arguably just symptomatic of an anti-intellectual period in Western society in general.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:38 AM)
    @Emma: Yup! I actually bothered to go buy those. Dat line-work ;)
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:37 AM)
    @Emma I also felt that Askeladd was the most entertaining character, but I also think the way they wrote him out of the manga was necessary for the progression of both Thorfinn and Canute.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:37 AM)
    Vagabond is one of those manga I’d actively ask people to buy, viz gave that manga great treatment with those giant sized volumes.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:35 AM)
    I wish we had a poll to see what percentage of visitors have read Vagabond. I’m sure even in this corner of the web the results would still surprise you.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:33 AM)
    @Ninja: it’s a generational thing. In a world where Akame ga Kill! is argued to be Seinen the whole demographics are deemed meaningless. Back then when people started reading manga they followed up on finding the more intellectual and artistic ones, now the kids mostly want wish-fulfillment and ostracize the “pretentious artsy ones” like Mushishi.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:32 AM)
    Historical set series are probably some of my favourite genres/series in the medium. But while Vagabond is a beautiful manga, after about 7 volumes or so I found it running its course. Vinland has its greatest peaks when Askelad was around but after that the pacing weakens but its gotten back on track lately.
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:23 AM)
    @Bam I dunno, I feel like Samurai manga have definitely become a lot less popular in the past decade or so. Ten years ago, LWAC was like Akira or Nausicaa, in that almost everyone who counted themselves as a serious manga fan had read it. Nowadays, most manga fans haven’t even heard of LWAC let alone read it. I also agree that Vinland Saga has slowed down, in the same way that Vagabond has, but I think it's because both manga have been embroiled in long pacifist arcs for quite a while now. But I love that both manga advocate pacifism, or at least focus on it as an alternative to violence.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:23 AM)
    *Vinland Saga is
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:19 AM)
    @Vincent: Vagabond is also in my top three “can’t wait to update” list. It has lost some steam since the 2nd act tho, but that might be partially due to the slow release schedule (a la Berserk).
    I’ve been reading both since they premiered, but that’s beside the point. whether now or back then, there was never too much spotlight placed on Vagabond, outside of niche seinen circles that is.

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