The Cambridge Geek

Ben-To - Anime Review

What. The. Flip?

Fight Club was an influential film. People have conflicting opinions about whether or not it's good, so I'll leave that particular decision up to the reader. But you know what I never thought while watching Fight Club? "I wonder if I could remake this, so that instead of using violence to deal with existential angst, the fighters were involving themselves in bare knuckle beatdowns to determine who gets to go home with the half price discounted food at the end of the day."

But someone did. And that's why we have Ben-To, an anime about people going a little bit too far to get cheap food.

One morning, Sato our protagonist finds himself waking up with no recollection of what happened to him after a trip to the local shop the previous evening. All he has are flickers of a woman in tights and a half price food sticker. Through a slow journey of recollection, he discovers that he has accidentally become entangled in a school club entirely dedicated to these fights. It's an immensely popular pasttime, which you can tell by the fact he's the second club member. These fights are ritualised, with their own honour code.

Apparently you can scare off children with a price gun.

It is absolutely as funny as this premise requires. Though an attempt to play it seriously would have been something to see, they were well aware that this was utterly ridiculous. It has the required amount of insane characters, with the food-obsessed club leader, the protagonist-obsessed (germophobe) porn writer and the porn writer-obsessed evil stalker girl who tends to be more than a little possessive.

Sato is as unnecessarily pervy as needed, while still being a shambolic fool, especially when compared to the other players involved in the brawls, such as "The Wizard", the "Hunting Dogs" and various other cool names. Even so, he's unexpectedly good at it, frequently contributing to the club's album of half-price food stickers.

You could call it a "Panini" album. (Sorry.)

Impressively good, for such a ludicrous topic. Has some delightfully evocative music, with jazzy pieces, a few film noir inspired works and the ever-present shop jingles, which tend to be rather silly, especially when played over ultraviolence. Bit like a cut-price version of Clockwork Orange's Thieving Magpie. And there's the usual sexiness, but it's more Carry On than you'd expect. Few years old now, but one to dig up if you've never seen it.


Tagged: Anime Comedy Schooldays Fighting Funimation Dubbed