August 22, 2014

Ben-To! Ep07

Ha-ha!  I bet you didn't expect to see another one of these for a couple of weeks at the earliest, and maybe not for months and months.  Well, you were wrong, weren't you?  It's okay, it's totally understandable; it's not like I've had a great track record when it's come to the episodic writeups for Ben-To!.  I admit that.  Not only do I admit it, I embrace it.  I cherish it.  I make it my own.  And then I crumple it up into a small little ball and throw it away, because this here, this now, this is the way things'll be done around here when it comes to our little show about food fights!  If you smell what the Rock is cookin' Because Stone Cold said so Whatcha gonna do when Duckamania Dead man walkin' Vanilla midgets Y2J Rabid Wolverine Will somebody stop the damn match And besides, this episode is supposed to take place in a waterpark, and forgive me, but I just don't see any way that that can be bad.  I don't.  I really, really don't.  Which probably means I haven't been reading my own writeups, but let's just go with it for now... I Am The Game.  Welcome to Ben-to Ep07 is Jericho!  Bang bang!

As the episode begins, Shaga shows up with four tickets to "Totally Hawaii", the newly opened theme park.  Seems the conglomerate that runs Ralph Store ("...we do more than just Ralph!") runs the place and gave their employees free tickets.  Macchan gave her tickets to Shaga, and since she no longer has any friends from The East, decided to offer them to Our Hero and the rest of the Half-Pricers Association.  Our Hero, in a feat of mental ingenuity unsurpassed since man first put cheese on a hamburger, realizes this means swimsuits... particularly for the Ice Witch.

Needless to say, he is enthusiastic about this idea, and truth be told, it's kinda hard to blame him.  I was enthusiastic about it when I first heard about it myself, and yes, I know that sounds rather lame of me.  Yup, perhaps so, but then again, I also spend multiple hours typing episodic writeups for an anime about martial artists kicking each other nigh unto death for Happy Meals.  Of course I'm going to be enthusiastic about a swimsuit episode!  And since we're amongst friends here, you can freely admit the fact that you are too.  Because you know the animation quality of the swimming scenes is going to be top-notch, and we're all here because of the animation quality of Ben-To

Or the titty jokes.

This is where I give my opinion on the featured bento of the week.  Well, I can talk about Loco Moco, and it's fairly easy for me to go "Eeeeeeyuck."  A bed of rice, a patty of some meat (hamburger, chicken, fish, Spam, whatever), a fried egg, topped with brown gravy.  It's a Hawaiian thing, apparently... paging our local haole Avatar for confirmation.  The other bento, however, is a plot point to be discussed later in the episode.  No, I'm not joking.  Seriously.  Why would I joke about something like that?  Believe me, I wish I was, it'd make this a lot easier.

Apparently "Totally Hawaii" is a good two-hour train ride from The City, so Our Hero spends that time well: wondering what type of swimsuit the Ice Witch wears.  I was a teenager once, I vaguely remember having hormones squirting out my pores, so I guess I can relate.  Y'know what?  No, no I can't.  I never did spend two hours wondering what type of swimsuit some girl or another wore.  Besides, this is Northern Illinois we're talking about here... sweaters were the name of the game!  Particularly sleeveless turtlenecks... oh mama.  I may have allowed my enthusiasm to have gotten the better of me for a second there.

As is always the case in shows like this, and often enough in real life to give it some bite, Our Hero winds up having to carry everybody's bags, because they're helpless little girls (for the record ).  And, gee, guess what?  Shaga lost one of the tickets!  She gets one, Desaturation Lass gets one, Ice Witch gets one, Macchan gets in free since she works for the company... but Our Hero?  He gets stiffed.  Again, as is the usual for shows like this.  Look at how easy it is to write a script, kids!

Swimsuits!  Thanks for coming, good night, everybody!  No, I'm just kidding, come back, come back, put the pitchforks down and leave the torches in the water barrel out front please.  Our Hero is informed by PCB that his Wolf name has been decided... he is heretofore to be called "The Pervert," due to his manner of dress in Ep05.  The name has already been spread around, too, so no way to change it.  On the one hand, he's a full-fledged Wolf now... on the other, well.  Ice Witch, Beauty of the Lake, Monarch, Wandering Butterfly, The Monk, The Wizard... The Pervert.  Yeesh.  See how easy it is to write a script, kids?  I could be watching something good, like Kanon '06 or ARIA or Mysterious Girlfriend X, heck, you could even convince me that Upotte!! is better, but instead I'm watching this pile of dreck.  You're welcome.  No, really.  But even if I like the damn show, I don't deserve crepe like this.

This, on the other hand, I do deserve.  In large amounts.

I understand the attraction of the bikini-style swimsuit in all of its myriad forms, and far be it for me to discourage any wearing of them when it's appropriate.  On the whole, however, I find the one-piece swimsuit to be a more subtle, and thus more exciting, experience.  The bikini is for fratboys drinking Natty Light.  The one-piece is a smoky sipping whiskey in a private library with a lot of hardwood and bookshelves everywhere.

Yes, almost exactly like that.  I think the painting of the sailing ship over the fireplace is a wonderful touch that just ties it all together, don't you? 

I'll point out that there is nothing wrong with the bikini, it's just a different experience, more visceral.  A punch in the gut as opposed to a caress on the cheek.  I'm thinking waaaaaay too much about this, aren't I?  Yeah, let's keep moving on... it's good to see Desaturation Lass earning her nickname again.  Cue the frolicking!

Shaga, being Shaga, tends to do serious harm in her frolicking, in this case spiking a inflatable ball off Our Hero's face.  Understandable.  Grumbling, he leaves the pool to retrieve the ball... and we get a weird meet-cute when he bumps into...

OH GOD HER NECK!  SOMEONE GET THE STABILIZING COLLAR, MAYBE SHE WON'T BE PARALYZED!!!  Seriously, I know it's animation and all, but good lord that head-tilt just looks painful.

Of course, Our Hero apologizes and continues on with his day, not realizing that he's just had An Important Encounter (cue dramatic music).  We only know it because the Production Staff lingers on the two striking twins for far longer than is strictly needed if they were just random passersby.  We don't see them again for the rest of the episode, however, leaving some room for doubt... unless you've read the light novels, seen the rest of the series, or read the manga.  I'm going to pretend that none of the above are true.  I'm also going to pretend that one day I'm going to casually bump into a pair of young hot twins like this and not step on my tongue afterwards.  A guy can dream.

Once Our Hero recovers his balls, he returns to the group.  He finds out how Ice Witch got her name (she bought a can of "Ice Cold" beer because she liked the packaging... underage, of course).  When he asks Shaga about "Beauty by the Lake", she demurs... until PCB pipes up.  "You ate your first wreathed bento on a bench by a lake, then fell asleep."  Yup.  Glamorous.  Can I give up now or do I have to keep going?  Keep going?  Really?  Dammit.  An announcement is made: bentos are now available at the concession stand.  Ah... now we come to it.  Meanwhile, out front:

Brunette, Goatee and Monk have arrived, their tickets given to them by Macchan as well.  Premium sh*t-stirrer, that one.  A few moments later, riding on top of a Pocari Sweat truck...

...Ms Fortune arrives.  Hail, hail, the gang's all here.  It should go without saying that she found a ticket just laying around where Shaga left it.  Ha-ha, Our Hero, you suck!  And why, he asks casually as if the answer wasn't obvious, have all these food fighters arrived at this one spot at this time? 

Because they have half-priced bento, too.  The hamburger-and-rice Loco Mocockie on the right is only sold at Totally Hawaiian, but the Omelitties is the grand prize winner of a Ralph Store conglomerate employee contest.  Eggs and rice, with condensed milk inside and various other things... it was actually Macchan's recipe!  PCB is suddenly very interested indeed.  Now it's all over but the waiting...

...ohfertheluvvapete.  THAT'S the Half-Priced God?  As it turns out, it can't really pull the stickers off the sheet, so it tears a flipper off the costume to do so.  PLOT POINT!  Loco Whatever is the wreathed meal, but then something odd occurs.  The bentos are loaded into watertight pods and sent afloat in the pool.  No normal fight here!  The Half-Priced Dolphin leaves the field of battle, and...

..let slip the Wolves of Dinner.  Everything goes as normal, just with an aquatic theme, until there is only one obvious bento left.  Ice Witch got the Omelitties after nigh-on drowning PCB, Ms Fortune got one by accident, and then Brunette loses her top.  This... um... distracts Our Pervert, and a sneak attack (aka belly-to-back hold potentially leading to a german suplex) from Shaga makes things even worse for him, if you know what I mean.  You don't?  Okay, fine.

...there, you happy now?   The Pervert breaks away and swims to the side of the pool, removing himself from the fight while he... um... deals with the problem.  Almost immediately, though, he's back and moving at rocket speed!  Vents on the side of the pool have given him a speed boost, and he's slaloming through people like he has a rudder.  Kill me right the hell now.  Just... seriously, kill me.  Sunuvabitch, it can't get any worse than this.

If you can't tell, that's the Half-Priced Dolphin's flipper (PLOT POINT!) that was acting like a rudder.  I can't believe I'm posting any of this.  Still, it's can't realistically get any worse.  Short of tentacle porn, this is about as gutter-level as a writeup is ever going to get. 

I was wrong.  I hate all of this.  I hate all of you.  I hate everything about anime.  I hate the life that has brought me to this point.  Hate hate hate hate hate.  And then Shiraume Ume, the ultraviolent class rep with a thing for Desaturation Lass shows up and...

...kicks The Pervert into next week.  I don't even care where she came from.  Good job, class rep.  Some time later...

...turns out Shaga ended up with the last bento.  It all tastes good.  Fade to black, roll credits.

Man.  The swimsuit episode wound up hurting more than I expected.  Well, it had it's moments, and that's all I can ask for, I suppose.  Next time, something else happens... and more zombies!


Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:59 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 1930 words, total size 16 kb.

1 Mmmm, that is a nice one piece, but you had to mention sleeveless turtlenecks....

Black ones especially. Maybe worn over a white skirt, and boots.

/drooling like Homer over donuts.

Posted by: Mauser at August 23, 2014 04:22 AM (TJ7ih)

2 I tried loco moco (haven't seen it with any meat but a hamburger patty, which lends me to believe that's the normal way of eating it here - because believe you me, if someone was going to replace it with spam, they would do that here.) It's... I have mixed feelings about it. It's not -bad-, by any means. It's just kind of... it never really comes together, y'know? I'm not convinced that the rice, gravy, egg, and meat taste better as part of one dish than they would separately.

Actually, it might work better with spam. Hm...

That said, any place that has loco moco will also have chicken katsu, or failing that, kimchi fried rice. Mmmm. L&L's katsu gives you like a pound of chicken in there, it's a little scary. Also, two scoops rice and one scoop mac, it's the land of the carbo load.

Posted by: Avatar at August 23, 2014 02:08 PM (ZeBdf)

3 I have to admit, I was expecting dramatic chipmunk.

Posted by: rickc at August 23, 2014 06:38 PM (0a7VZ)

4 How did you make this post move above one (F1 Quals) which was entered later?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 24, 2014 01:59 PM (+rSRq)

5 I made it a stickied post, Steven.

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 24, 2014 06:31 PM (eNsTS)

6 I didn't know we had that ability.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 24, 2014 07:21 PM (+rSRq)

7 ...the entire series is like a Ranma 1/2 gag stretched out to a bunch of episodes, isn't it? "Martial Arts Ramen Delivery" and "Martial Arts Ice Sculpting" and so forth.

(Oddly enough, during my last visit to one of our better Hawaiian places in town I had the Loco Moco just to be different. I concur with Avatar: It's certainly not bad, but it's never better than the sum of its parts. *shrug*)

Posted by: GreyDuck at August 24, 2014 10:53 PM (CUkqs)

8 Re: the head tilt - it's possible because she's apparently tilting her shoulder up, thus less strain to the muscles.

I remember being skinny as a rail and a lot more flexible. It was just a long time ago.

Posted by: at August 25, 2014 10:44 AM (iXS2r)

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