September 10, 2012

Ben-To Ep02

So here we are again, at the intersection of 'lack of motivation' and 'sleep deprivation'.  It's been more than a few weeks since I tackled Ep01, which I'll admit was not my plan.  Still and all, "life is what happens when you're making plans," right?  Anyway, let us see where this odd little gem of a show takes us, shall we?

Oh, right, that.  A little bit of research turned up a fetish called "trampolining," where someone gets off on being stepped on and, I guess, jumped on, like they were a trampoline.  I dunno, man... I mean, one person's perversion is another person's turn-on and all, but this "trampolining" thing just sounds too weird for me.  What ever happened to simpler times, back when all you had to worry about was sax on television, or the debate about making Puerto Rico a steak.  Next they'll be wanting a baked potato with sour cream, too!  Wait... what?  It's "trampling," not "trampolining"?  Really? 

Never mind.  Turns out Desaturation Lass had a sore back from a late night of fan-fic writing, and The Ice Witch's legs looked soooo soft and... well, y'know.  Sen, the Ice Witch, gives our two rookies a quick little speech about not sitting at the club table unless they are prepared to become Wolves, and then...

...she tears off the head of our hero and swallows his spine.  Well, she did say that she's the only member of the Club, now we know why.  No, no, no, bad Wonderduck!  BAD.  You promised yourself to be closer to reality for this show, and already you've got The Ice Witch doing... terrible things.  Stop that.  The Half-Pricer Association now has three members, huzzah!

...and Ep02 is off to a rousing start.  Did I say "rousing"?  I meant to say "what the heck is this, soft-core pr0n without the nudity?"  Nope, it's Ben-to!

I like miso, but miso-flavored mackerel?  Yeeeesh... maybe not as bad as the natto and okra cheese-smothered rice meal from last episode, but that's not really saying very much.  I suppose a gyro with cucumber sauce (mmmm, luscious savory nomtastic cucumber sauce...) and fries would seem like an odd lunch to a Japanese salaryman, so I shouldn't be judgmental.  (pause)  Screw that: miso-mackerel sounds friggin' awful.

"The whole of this great arsenal of war factories in the Ruhr depends for its water on three enormous dams. The Moehne. The Eder. And the Sorpe. They control the level of the canals and supply a lot of hydroelectric power as well. When those are full they hold four hundred million tons of water. Just think of the chaos if we could break those walls down."  Sen begins instructing the n00bs in the art of bentobattlin', beginning with knowing your hunting ground.  These are all the supermarkets within the Western Territory, the land which The Ice Witch rules.  She instructs them on the fine art of target selection, directing them to a first level dungeon small supermarket, while she'll go hunting somewhere else tonight.  And then we learn the rules of the Wolves.

"You cannot make a move until the Half-Price God completes his work and leaves."

"Do not hunt for more than you can eat each night." Oh, and though it isn't directly stated, once you claim a bento, it is yours and everybody else must leave you alone. 

"It comes down to this: have manners and wager your pride."  Defeated soundly at the first supermarket of the night, our Intrepid Duo limps off to the second of the low-level stores.  Wouldn't it just be easier to, like, stop at a ramen stand or something? 

At the next place, we discover that Monk and Goatee are already there, discussing the expected appearance of someone who doesn't play by the rules.  Right, I'm calling foul on Ben-To right here.  The show doesn't consider that there are people out in the world who aren't participating in their life-and-death struggle for half-priced food.  There are no civilians: it's Total War for cheap miso-mackerel.  What about the old, infirm, or, like me, completely clumsy?  Meh, I'm thinking too much about it.  I don't want miso-flavored mackerel anyway.

But The Big Boar does.  Indeed, she wants everything, and she can't be stopped by anybody.  She runs over Brunette, crushes Monk and Goatee, humiliates the Half-Pricing God and takes all the bentos.  In short, she breaks all the rules of being a Wolf.  Here's the question: if one isn't participating in The Grand Game, how can one break the rules?  In any case, she's uniformly despised by every Wolf.  Of course, she also makes them look like idiots... which, in fact, they are, to any rational-minded individual.  But this is anime, and I'm hardly rational, so on with the hijinks!  Completely defeated, our Intrepid Twosome share a ramen (I TOLD YOU!) on a flight of stairs.

Meanwhile, they are unaware that a bishie watches them from nearby.  Oh fer the luvva pete... moving on to the next day.

Desaturation Lass and Our Hero are walking to class when she gets rabbit punched!  There is great rejoicing and much cheering amongst the viewers!

Even moreso when one realizes that she's being stolen from the show by the ridiculously violent class rep, Shiraume Ume with admittedly exceptional zettai ryouiki (not seen here).  Bye-bye, you two, have fun, take your time, no need to rush back or anything.  That night at the supermarket...

...everybody's leaving?  Dafuq?  See, not only is the Big Boar there tonight, but a group of rugby players called "The Tempest" is also in the store, and between the two there's no chance for anybody to get half-priced bento!  Our Hero is all "omgwtfbbq" and stuff, but Monk just says "Don't sweat it."  However, as they leave...

...Bishiemon pulls up!  He makes a Significant Eye Contact with Our Hero as he walks past and into the supermarket, while his appearance makes everybody else run away even faster, for Bishieboy is actually "The Wizard," a legendary Wolf.  The Tempest, the Big Boar and The Wizard?  Who the hell is writing this thing, L Frank Baum?  I can't wait for The Flying Monkey to appear.  Anywhodles, Our Hero goes back into the supermarket, ostensibly to get a ramen, but in reality it's because he thinks running away from a fight, no matter how lopsided, is wrong Wrong WRONG.  Into the fray he heads, knowing that the first opponent that must be stopped is the Big Boar.

...and he gets his arse handed to him in a paper bag and told it's lunch.  He's brave, this one.  Dumb as a box of hair, but brave.  However, the brief delay he caused allowed The Wizard to take the field... and as everybody knows, you aren't called "The Wizard" just because you put on a robe and hat.

Little known fact: shopping carts understeer quite badly ("If your car hits the wall nose-first, you've got understeer.  If it hits the wall tail-first, you've got oversteer." - Steve Matchett).  For what it's worth, this is far and away the worst shot, graphically, of the entire series.  In motion, it's quite obvious that The Wizard is overlaid on the background, like a Colorforms sticker.  When the episode first aired, I reacted quite poorly to the shot, derisively laughing at it... and time has not made it any better.  Yeesh.  The defeat of the Big Boar still means there's The Tempest to deal with, however.  BroForce: ACTIVATE!

For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt have cramps, side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up; urchins shall, for that vast of night that they may work, all exercise on thee; thou shalt be pinch'd as thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging than bees that made 'em.

There be some sports are painful, and their labour delight in them sets off; some kinds of baseness are nobly undergone; and most poor matters point to rich ends. This my mean task would be as heavy to me as odious, but the mistress which I serve quickens what's dead, and makes my labours pleasures.  It must be said that the Wizard pulls most of the freight in this combat team, he must be awfully hungry ("Wizard needs food badly!").  To be fair, however, Our Hero is holding his own against the unending swarm of rugby players that is The Tempest (seriously, how many people are on a rugby team anyway, because according to Ben-To, there must be a couple of hundred.  And another thing... RUGBY???  In JAPAN???  Seriously?  I know it showed up in FMP:Fumoffu!, but c'mon, that was a comedy show...). 

I'll rack thee with old cramps, fill all thy bones with aches, make thee roar, that beasts shall tremble at thy din.  Eventually the sheer numbers of hungry rugby players take their toll, and Our Hero is about to be blasted into some other show, when from out of the blue, all his attackers drop to the ground with surprised looks on their faces.

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.  Brunette, Goatee and Monk (and don't think I don't want to make a Tony Shalub joke) have returned, leading the rest of the Wolves back into the fray.  It's not that they were ashamed that a mere puppy went where they were afraid to tread, oh no, they were just hungry.  Once The Tempest is disposed of, the inevitable occurs.

The pack of Wolves turns upon itself, and the fight for the bento begins in earnest.  Our Hero dispatches his three saviors in quick fashion and helps himself to the spoils of war!  They say one's first victory is the sweetest.  After purchasing his prize, Our Hero returns to the Clubroom, where he left his bag.

Bow-chikka-bow-bowwwwwww!  Turns out Sen's been waiting for Our Hero... just in case he won a bento.  Last night, too, as a matter of fact but she doesn't want to talk about that; let's see what he's won!

A very ancient and fish-like smell.  It's the oft-mentioned miso-flavored mackerel with... a laurel-wreathed half-off sticker?  Holy crepemuffins!  The Ice Witch looks amazed: that's the symbol of the Half-Pricing God's favor; it was hand-picked by The Man himself because of it's flavor and overall goodness.  He who gets the laurel wreath is considered the absolute victor of that day and territory... and he didn't even know what he was doing.  *facepalm*  The two of them sit down and, after receiving poorly veiled death threats texted from Shiraume Ume for taking up Desaturation Lass's time, have dinner... their individual spoils of war.

Food porn in my fighting anime?  We never discover what she acquired, but the production staff sure put a lot of effort into animating her eating it.  Not that I mind in the least.  Fade to black, roll credits.  Then, when the credits are done, we get this:

I'm suddenly frightened to do Ep03 now.  

Basically another intro show.  Only this time, instead of "meet the characters," we got "meet the world."  Important, yes, but perhaps not the most interesting of things to watch.  Well, all I can say is it gets better from here. 


Next Episode: more zombies!

A kind of excellent dumb discourse.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:33 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 1869 words, total size 15 kb.


The rugby club is one of the eleventy-three people/groups slapping Sunohara around in Clannad, as well.  (He gets used as the ball for a scrum in one of the first couple episodes.)

So the question is, is the rugby team ever used for something other than comic relief in Japan?  (And how ripped must all these mangaka be to get away with it?)

Posted by: Mikeski at September 10, 2012 07:55 PM (1bPWv)

2 "Wizard shot the food!"  Hee!

Posted by: Mauser at September 12, 2012 12:59 AM (cZPoz)

3 I'm just waiting for The Gaijin to blunder in and, using his Gaijin Smash power, grab the half-price bento before the Half-Pricing God has finished his work.

Posted by: Will at September 12, 2012 08:35 AM (qVNAd)

4 Thanks, Wonderduck...  You're making the series much easier to.. ahem.. watch.

Posted by: Tom Tjarks at September 12, 2012 10:12 AM (T5fuR)


Is it only me or do some of the remarks appear like they are coming from brain dead individuals?

Like spammers?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 06, 2012 09:25 AM (+rSRq)

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