Redpill Anime Review: Ben-To

It’s too good to be true! Half priced ben-to boxes. A full meal which sounds weird to western ears but hot damn does that sound awesome. Eel cooked all fresh like and half off because it’ll go down well and it’s a fantastic on the summer solstice. And there are those who are hungry, ravening wolves who can’t afford it full priced because life wants them to spend money on other things.

These fighters, these wolves, fight for the best bentos, the finest deals and the freshest, most delicate dishes. Is nothing better than the contest? To pit one’s will and hunger against others, so that the winners eat and the losers must suffer instant ramen. Oh how terrible a fate! There’s Satou (The pervert) The Ice Witch, Beauty of the Lake, Monarch, the Wizard. These are the wolves who haunt the lanes of the supermarket.

Calling anime or most other Japanese media Redpill is a misnomer. They are in it for the story. Propaganda exists but can be avoided easily. If the story is poor, the anime is rated poorly and so on. They are a shrewd bunch. Of course, one may delve too deep and become something one is not. But then again, too much of anything is bad. That said. Let’s talk about it, and something that is interesting. I’m in it, and life, I guess, for the ride, not the ideal. And this is a fun ride.

My poetic language aside, the anime is about a small group of those wolves and their adventures. Some are villains, heroes, etc. But they all fight for the best bentos. There is the ‘Boar’ (an obese old woman with a shopping cart and pig attitude) who eats beyond her need, and so is heartily despised. She is not despised because she is fat (several of the background wolves are fat.), but because of her excess. And there’s those who pursue legacies.

Legacy is a pretty terrifying thing. There is power in titles. People forget this. A man who has the title ‘The Butcher’ probably earned it and there is a terror in such a title. Some or most titles are jokes, but others, like the Club of Hercules and Monarch, are not. I like this part of the anime. One can earn titles through valor and combat the same through being a famous character. I like these things. It can back fire, but when honor is on line, it works out.

In between fight scenes, hunger and plot, there is oodles of comedy and romance, which is fortunately light and very focused. It is obvious there is a little something between the main character and the Ice Witch, but the episodes don’t focus on it. Instead, they focus on the drama inherent in the bento fights. Which are melees involving every hungry wolf who visits the store. Some places even cater to the wolves, leading to hilarious water park fights over tropical styled bentos.

Something to pick up is in the last series. Because these words are meaningless to my readers right now, I’ll just state names. Orthus is publicly shamed and excluded for being just too good. Like, eat the best stuff and leave scraps good. It’s a rabbit tactic, as Vox Day would say. It was successful once, as Jap society is pretty shame based when it comes to individual actions, so it hit Orthus pretty hard. What prevents disaster is the main character fighting anyway. Funnily enough, the villain for that vignette later proves to be a baddass, but not baddass enough to fight literally everyone of importance. So he’s got that over the rabbits of sci-fi eh?

Over all, it’s not a magnificent show like Kill la kill or Gundam Unicorn but it is one of those small, quiet shows like Free which strike at the heart and bring a smile. Lets hope it comes out in English some day.

If you’re interested, head over here to watch it.


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