Posted by psgels on 25 December 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Ben-To



To say that the moe genre nowadays is overcrowded is an understatement. I’m sure my bias against this genre wouldn’t be as bad if it wasn’t just so bloody everywhere, and I don’t even like most of them, and the comedies in this genre are no different. The exceptions for me are the ones who really put in effort. Not the ones who get lucky on one episode and then keep screwing up afterwards. No, the ones who try to be genuinely entertaining, week after week. Ben-To understood this.

This show just pushes the boundaries in the genre of the fanservice comedy. Gone is the copy and paste formula: this show just takes a crazy formula and goes to town with it: people fighting over half-priced lunches. There is a lot of neat stuff you can do with that, and this show realized that.

And the setting isn’t the only thing that the creators spent attention at. The animation and action are really meant to be as fun as possible. The soundtrack is actually the single best soundtrack of the past season in how over the top it is. The action scenes are excellent because of this. Every single one of them is really fun to watch.

And on top of that, this also is a very well told series. The build-up in this series is actually very good: it knows exactly how to lead its atmosphere into the food battles with a slow and subtle parts to increase the tension. The acting also is far from the usual you see in moe shows. Sure, it’s incredibly over the top like it should be, but at the same time the actors also know when to show restraint. The characters in this series are because of this much more colourful than usual.

Overall the story in this series also keeps it nice and tight, and both major arcs in this show are interesting enough to keep up with this series. It’s unfortunately not the most consistent series, and there are a few parts here and there that go off track. Especially in the second half the fanservice suddenly goes out of control at times, which leads to shows that are just too forced because of this. Thankfully this doesn’t involve the final episodes, so this show can still close off with a bang, but still. The fanservice in this series usually is subtle (especially for Yarizui), however at others the creators go completely overboard on the penis jokes. Thankfully these scenes are a minority, rather than the majority.

Ben-To and Dororon Enma-Kun. If you want to watch fanservice series that are actually entertaining, rather than completely lazy in terms of storytelling, these are the two shows I recommend above all others with on a third place Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. Especially the first two though: these two realize that pushing boundaries doesn’t mean trying to out-gross each other, but to try out new things in terms of storytelling and scenarios.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Really knows how to be entertaining. Great build-up, really fun food battles.
Characters: 8/10 – Nothing amazing, but this show still has some really solid characters that are surprisingly well acted at times.
Production-Values: 9/10 – This has the best soundtrack of the season, and while the visuals are inconsistent, they do know how to animate a good action scene with restrictions.
Setting: 8/10 – Thank you for being a moe show with an actual inspired premise.

Suggestions:
Dororon Enma-Kun Meerameera
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt
Hyakko

6 Responses

  1. gandalf8 says:

    I really have to agree with you there that the fanservice and sex jokes were very wince worthy at times. In fact I would have preferred if they concentrated more on the bento fights instead of just switching on Satou’s POV for the nth time. If there was one thing that kept bugging me is why can Oshiroi get a bento. I mean, she never fights the other wolves, but instead just slips through the fights to snatch the bento. While the other wolves, even though they may already be near the counter and easily grab a bento, would instead turn around to face the other wolves.

    Overall though, I do agree that this is definitely one of the better fanservice show with an actual interesting setting instead of the usual cliches. And Ume should really just get expelled from their school and move somewhere far away from Oshiroi and Satou.

    • xyshtoph says:

      Oshiroi gets bento’s because she is fearless, just like other wolfs, when it comes to going for the food. She isn’t strong, sure, but knowing that she still goes into the fight. That makes her worth getting some even if she doesn’t kick asses and has huge luck. That’s why she got her nick from the other wolf’s too.

      As for Ume… the episode with her is imho the best yuri accent in normal oriented anime ever. I was enthralled and raptured by her madness. The fact that the studio dared to go that far, even if it meant getting many people hate her, made the show for me.

      Overall, great surprise of the season. I wish there were more of these..
      Also, waiting for the OST. Hell yeah.

  2. RM says:

    The Kyo twins are amazing. They made the series for me. My only complaint is that they should have shown how they were beaten in the last episode. Everyone ganging up on them in order to hammer the nail. A real chance at a reverse “Wonderful Life” ending. Would have been perfect for Christmas.

  3. jzar says:

    A good solid story and lots of fun to watch. I enjoyed the unexpected ending very much.

  4. Zenstrive says:

    This is the show of the season, not even Fam’s Exile could keep up with its freshness and fun. Simple premise, over the top actions, tight camera controls, and wonderful actings make this one #1 for me.

  5. C says:

    How’s this compare with Ramen Fighter Miki? Thanks.

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  • 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.
  • k-off
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:16 AM)
    @Aidan Could you assign tags to the series you’re reviewing? It’s for the convenience of the readers and for my own meticulousness.
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:10 AM)
    @Bam For my money though, Vinland Saga is the best running historical/seinen/action manga. Vagabond is the more impressive artistic feat, but I think Vinland Saga is just written better. Both mangas are absolutely essential reading for historical/seinen fans.
  • ninjarealist
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 07:07 AM)
    @Bam Not to be a hipster but I’ve been reading Vagabond since 2007 and from my perspective it seems like the manga has gotten less popular over time, not the other way around. Back then every seinen fan worth his salts had read Vagabond as well as all the classic Goseki Kojima Samurai manga. Both mangas have fallen out of popularity.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 06:58 AM)
    I just want to say that Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue is one of the most badass manga of all time. It’s crazy how many avid manga fans never even heard about this well-told and incredibly-drawn manga. I mean seriously … this is criminally under-appreciated.
  • Vincent
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 06:52 AM)
    Damn, none of my manga are updating. ;( Time to read a book I suppose. Or look at planes. I’ll look at planes.
  • Asuka111
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 05:23 AM)
    @Eeelo Erhm, what? We shouldn’t be sad that a fellow Canadian died on our own soil? Those conditions you listed, that’s exactly why we’re sad. This isn’t a combat zone.
  • Eeelo
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 05:21 AM)
    Well, that isn’t my fault for wanting people to think. Getting mad at the politicians don’t do anything

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