December 17, 2012
Or are you here for the hungry prepackaged foodfighters beating each other up for mediocre meals? We seem to have a new person on the battlefield today, someone intent on smashing everybody in the way of that lovely, lovely bento... bentos? Bentii? I'm two paragraphs into this post and I'm already confusing myself.
One with legs that appear to be six feet long, clad in Chuck Taylors... oh look, it's an American! Probably blonde, too, right?
Yeah, no bonus points for that guess for a couple of reasons. One, all Americans are blonde in anime, and two, I've seen the show already. Of COURSE I know the details behind this new bento battler. I'm pretending not to know what's going on so as to take you on a (simulated) voyage of discovery, so as to better connect with the reader. It's a standard literary technique, and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm not half-bad at it. Oh sure, one could accuse me of blowing my own horn, but I know what I'm good at, and I'm good at being ignorant. Did that come out right?
As our mystery babe makes her way out of the supermarket, hard-won dinner in tow, a sharp-chinned bishie watches her walk away, muttering under his breath "The Beauty Of The Lake." She doesn't seem moistened, nor is she lobbing scimitars at the rightful King of England...
Whatever you decide to call her, she's apparently important enough for the production staff to change the entire OP to suit. Not that I'm complaining, heavens no! It just seems somewhat early to have her take over the show is all. Oh well, what would you expect from a show as tightly crafted as Ben-To?
Finally, a meal I can recommend wholeheartedly without any reservation. I love a nice tonkatsu, and while I'm not fond of ginger as a side to sushi, cooking pork in ginger sounds quite tasty. Just make sure there's plenty of rice, and make the breading be soft, and I'm all for it! Add a bowl of miso and I'd be a happy man... duck... whatever.
Getting back to the show proper, as you might remember from the end of last episode, Our Hero wakes up with a hot blonde in bed with him. The actual story continues from that point; everything before this in the episode was, I assume, flashback. More importantly, what sort of self-respecting teen guy would have a Sonic the Hedgehog poster in his dorm room? Guess he really IS a Sega geek... well, we were warned about that last episode.
Oh, it turns out that Shaga is his cousin, she's half-Italian, and she's an incorrigible flirt. Seriously, she's evil. She's also the type who cheats at videogames.
Yeah, like that. For those of you who noticed the thing on the table in front of Shaga, that's a Sega Virtua Stick HSS-0136, a Japan-only version of the Saturn control unit. He's a definite nerd, since that was made in the '90s and would be around 15 years old now at best. Either he takes really good care of his devices, or he paid an arm and a leg for it online... and he's got two. As does she, ahem. For whatever reason, she makes a bet with him... we don't hear what she gets if she wins, but he gets... um... two, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. He loses. In fact, he gets skunked. Either he ain't as good as he thinks he is, or she's just darn hot. AT VIDEO GAMES.
And for losing, he has to go off and obtain a girls uniform for his school from Desaturation Lass... who has all sorts of weird thoughts about what he's going to do with hit. Man, ain't nobody in this show normal. So he gives the seifuku to Shaga, all the while thinking "I've got a baaaad feeling about this." The next day, he arrives at the clubroom to find...
...that she's the Beauty of the Lake. Which blows Our Hero's tiny little mind, since he didn't even know that she was a Wolf in the first place, not to mention one with a title. She needed the school uniform to get up to the clubroom, so she could challenge the Ice Witch! Seems that whenever a titled Wolf encroaches on the territory of another titled Wolf, there must be a duel. Sen's perfectly fine with that, agrees to the challenge, winner gets all of the loser's Gates or... something. It's not really mentioned if anything's being wagered, or if it's just a case of beating each other to a pulp for the honor of the thing.
Then Shaga casually molests Desaturaton Lass. Even the rest of the cast seems a little disgusted with the Production Staff right now. DL manages to break free and scampers away, but not without leaving her laptop behind... which Shaga immediately starts to intrude upon. Turns out DL really IS a slashfic author, and that's as far as I'm going to go into that.
Our Hero agrees, particularly as he's the main character in a story, such as it is, full of men. The one sentence read aloud ("It's your first time, eh? Heh heh heh heh heh...") is enough to let me know that I don't want to know anything more... ever. And then, just to top everything off...
Shiraume shows up, hell-bent on revenge for what's been done to her helpless little Desaturation Lass. Assuming that it's Our Hero's fault, she beats him to within an inch of his life. Flexible little minx, ain't she? She then turns to Shaga, criticizes her hair as being unkempt, and...
...drags her off to give her a hot bath. I... um... ain't nobody in this show normal! Too many damn hormones flying around; damn kids. Youth is wasted on the young. Cut to:
...bishie with the pointy chin reporting to some unseen superior. He's been doing intel work, finding out information on all the titled Wolves in the area, their territories, abilities, shoe sizes, everything. Pretty successful, too, as he's got 'em all except for one: The Beauty of the Lake. Cue ominous music.
Speaking of ominous, Our Hero is walking towards the location of that night's Bento Brawl when his phone rings... or, in this case, makes the sound of a 2400 baud modem connecting. Nerd. It's Shaga, begging quietly for help. When he arrives, he find her huddled in an alley, whimpering and crying to herself... in a wedding dress?
It seems that Shiraume really did drag her home and tried to give her a bath! And... um... other things.
As The Pond is a more-or-less family blog and I know my readers tastes quite well, I'm sure you wouldn't want to see the scene with them both in the bathtub. After more than a few moments of poor Shaga being groped terribly by Shiraume in somewhat intimate locations, she bolts, grabbing whatever clothing she could get her hands on during her flight... and thus, the wedding dress. Which she's going to be wearing...
....for the duel with The Ice Witch. It goes without saying that they both are going for the same bento, pork cooked in ginger. Of course. If you're going to fight each other, may as well put dinner on the line, too. Finally, after all the talking is over, the half-price god finishes his work and goes on his merry way. It's SHOWTIME!
The Beauty Of The Lake, simply put, kicks Wolf butt. There's nobody there that can stand up to her, and Our Hero doesn't even try. Not as dumb as I thought he was, I suppose. Eventually, though, it comes time for what we've all been waiting for.
Look, say what you want about the alleged plot, the characters, the animation, the fight scenes, you can say whatever you'd like and there's at least a halfway decent chance that I'll agree with you. One thing you have to admit, however, is that Ice Witch makes a dramatic entrance. The two have a staredown for a few moments, until finally one word is spoken by the Alpha Wolf on these-here parts: "Come." The fight begins, and ends rather quickly.
Round one to the Ice Witch. As Our Hero helps Shaga to her feet, he tells her to give up. Our half-Italian minx gives him the requisite "I have not yet begun to fight" speech, then charges back into the fray, this time with a surprise in store in the store.
Chopsticks as a weapon of war is a long-standing tradition, going all the way back to the War of the Ramen Vendors in 1336. The Beauty of the Lake is merely the latest in a line of stickfighters going back at least that far... or she would be if any of this was actually mentioned in the show and not made up out of whole cloth by your humble scribe. The two battlin' bento babes brawl to a seeming draw, until the Ice Witch points out that the Beauty of the Lake is concentrating on the wrong thing... she should be fighting for prepackaged foodstuffs, instead of fighting her. Since that's the case, she will lose, for the Ice Witch has something more important that she's fighting for. And then she strikes.
She strikes so hard, she knocks Shaga completely off-model for a bit. Yowza. The Ice Witch casually turns, chooses the bento of her desires, and reminds Our Hero that he needs to get himself a trophy, instead of just watching Shaga get redrawn. He disposes of his current opponent, turns to the bento rack, and...
...he's waylaid by pointy-chinned bishy! The two have something of a duel of their own for the last half-priced dinner, with Our Hero coming away the victor but only just. Afterwards, the Ice Witch doesn't recognize him, just saying that he's not from around here.
Our Hero has dinner with Shaga before she heads back to where she came from, and it becomes clear to everybody on the face of the Earth that she's got a thing for him. Everybody, that is, but him. Of course. Ain't that always the way? They argue and bicker until the credits roll and we fade to black.
Fun little episode, actually, and Shaga is the perfect combination of humor, pathos and fanservice on the hoof. We've finally begun to see the makings of a plot, too, what with Bishy-boy reporting to the unseen boss for reasons unknown. Mwah-hah. Hahahahah. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!
Next week: more zombies!
Posted by: JT at December 18, 2012 07:53 AM (iStSI)
You bloody-near make anime as attractive as a genre as SDB believes it to be.
But I will NEVER succumb to F1....(gr)
Posted by: The Old Man at December 18, 2012 02:29 PM (dBz2M)
Posted by: Wonderduck at December 18, 2012 06:55 PM (cymHZ)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 18, 2012 11:27 PM (PiXy!)
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