First Impressions – Ben-To

Maybe there’s some other show that I’m unaware of, but Ben-To has, without a doubt, one of the most ridiculous premises for comedy series that I’ve ever seen. For all intents and purposes, a story this bizarre should be comedy gold, and with all logic immediately thrown out the window, the writers can do pretty much whatever they want with the plot and no one would bat an eyelid.

I must confess, I was very excited for Ben-To for those very reasons, and while it isn’t exactly incredible or as good as I’d hoped it would be, it’s certainly a worthwhile comedy series.

So the plot focuses on battles fought over half-priced bento boxes, because apparently there are tons of people so strapped for cash that they don’t mind competing in a battle royale, where it seems like they could die, just to save a couple hundred Yen. Luckily, the show is aware of just how ridiculous it is, and things are taken over-the-top, much to its own benefit. The characters aren’t great so far, our protagonist Satou is fairly bland, but entertaining as the everyman caught up in a bizarre situation. Then there’s the Ice Witch, a girl at the same school as Satou who’s both feared and renowned due to her deadly combat skills. But characters aren’t what make Ben-To enjoyable, they’re mostly being used as vehicles for comedy, and Ben-To is definitely funny when it gets going. Only problem is, it took until a few minutes before the end to pick up, but now that it’s gotten the introduction to the combat out of the way, the series should hopefully get a lot funnier from here on out.

The production values never move above average, which is a shame, given how much the fight scenes could have benefitted from it. The music is just kinda there, the character designs are ok, and the animation is average at best. This is probably one of David Production’s (known for Level E, which I was not a fan of, Ristorante Paradiso, which was OK, and the Dogs OVA, which really should have been a full series) most mainstream and potentially profitable works, so it’s a real shame that looks how it does, I hope they eventually hire better animators or something, they really do deserve to have their work look a tad better.

So would I recommend it? Yeah, it’s not trying to do anything particularly incredible, it just wants to be entertaining, and in that respect, it most certainly succeeds. It’s simple fun that won’t challenge the viewer in any way, and I can’t fault it for nailing exactly what it set out to do.

Will I blog this?
I don’t think so. I really do enjoy it and I’ll definitely keep watching it, but I won’t have much to say about it each week. So it looks like I’ll be going with Persona 4 and Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai, but if Ben-To gets a particularly good episode, I’ll let you know.


4 Responses to “First Impressions – Ben-To”

  1. 11 October 2011 at 2:13 am

    Ironically I’m not sure how extreme the premise for the series is. You can see some ugly battles on days like Black Friday or Boxing Day. People can go insane for deals :).

    It should be a fun series to just relax and watch though. Not trying to push anything too far and just being what it is. Of course if the visuals step up that’ll be nice. Either way still good for some laughs.

  2. 11 October 2011 at 3:41 am

    This idea certainly has merit, but I’m still waiting to see them do something really interesting with it. As you mentioned, the action wasn’t particularly impressive. I’m willing to give it another episode or two to make its case, but I’m not sure this one is worth watching.

  3. 10 November 2011 at 7:49 am

    My 2nd favorite show this season. That is all.

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