Ben-To is an anime which I’ll admit wasn’t on my radar until I read a review of it by The Otaku Judge (this is the post which I recommend you read). This anime is about a high school student called Yo Sato who along with his friends, Sen Yarizui (The ice witch), Ayame Shaga (The beauty by the lake) and Hana Oshiroi compete for half price lunches with other people known as wolves. He gets roped into that crazy world when one day he realises that he’s broke and decides to buy a half price lunch only to get beaten up, in fact if it happened in real life, this would have been the reaction of most people who witnessed it.
This is one of the funniest anime that I’ve watched so far and when I think about the premise, there’s really no reason not to laugh. This is a fun, light hearted anime which doesn’t seem to have much of a story but that’s fine because it makes up for that with fan service, great fight scenes and comedy. There is an interesting cast of characters however, the show doesn’t do a lot to explore them (something that I assume is handled better in the Light Novel) and as a result it seems like the stories presented in the show are rushed. There were certain elements of battles that I felt received less attention than they should have but I’ll let you watch the show to find out. For 12 episodes, this show definitely did a great job of making the characters likeable, it let me know what I needed to know about the characters such as Hana being a pervert who writes yaoi (this is where a lot of her humour comes from) and has an almost lesbian friendship with Ume Shiraume who is another student or Sen not knowing much about anything outside of half price food battles. I wish that this show had more episodes to really delve into others things though.
This is an anime that you don’t watch for the story. It helps to pay attention but the fight scenes are easily the main attraction of every episode, I can honestly say that watching people fight over food has never looked so epic and I enjoyed the fighting more in this anime than I did in a lot of others that I’ve recently watched (the original Hellsing and Kurozuka to name some). For an anime that looks as if it’s had its story compacted, nothing seems out of place which is amazing and it makes for a great watch when you want to watch something that you don’t want to actively keep up with.
Favourite scene: Every fight is my favourite scene
One reason that I took to this anime so well is because I could imagine something like this happening in real life. When I was at university and I went shopping, I always made sure to check the reduced prices section for food (life of a student) and there were so many people lurking around there just like the wolves. The fight scenes immediately reminded me of my secondary school days where people in my year group used to play this “game” called scramble, where somebody would throw some money on the floor and we would all try to get the money whilst fighting off other people, needless to say a few people got hurt but it was fun.
Other thoughts: Fan service, so much fan service. I was very confused at the twins given that both of their names were Kyo Sawagi (I understand that the characters are different but I have a very limited understanding of the Japanese language). There was a character called brunette and I don’t know if I ever saw her face, even worse I’m not sure if it matters. The soundtrack to this show was smooth, I can’t complain. I know that anime is perverted but seeing Ayame flirt with Yo whilst knowing that their cousins was too weird (and wrong) and that’s not the worst that this show did. I’m sure that Monk is based on Krillin.
Recommendation: I think all anime fans 14 and over can watch this and enjoy it. I don’t know if this is an official gateway anime like Death Note but I would definitely recommend this to someone for their first anime.