Summary: Tasty, but pack your suspension of disbelief and a thick skin with your lunch box.
Ben-Tou ostensibly refers to bentou lunch boxes, a staple in Japan with an incredible amount of variety. The title’s style of display makes it sound like sentou, i.e. “combat”, and this may be intentional; I’ll never know because the title’s in katakana, not kanji. (^^;)
Ben-Tou is about a hidden world of food fights: hungry “wolves” (okami) who battle for dibs on half-price tasty bentou boxes at stores and restaurants of various kinds. These battles have highly evolved customs, with the most notorious of combatants being known by noms-de-guerre. The main character picks up the “second name” of hentai, which is partly his own fault, and partly just bad karma and things inflicted by his friends and acquaintances.
So is it good? Yes, actually, it’s very enjoyable. The show stays true to itself until the very end, never lets up in animation quality or characterization, and has an overall strength to it. I must mention some important caveats, however.
This is a show that requires a thick skin for two things: violence and fetishes. In particular, this show is written by people who worship dominant female figures of various sorts and revel in showing them in what can only be described as sexual teases. The teases go far beyond any ecchi content actually shown, but nonetheless, mature viewers are recommended. (As in, don’t be too immature when you watch this stuff in spite of its absolute hilarity.)
On that note, this show’s very funny. You must have a thick skin and not worry too much about pesky details (like, where are the cops!?) in order to ride the wave and appreciate that this show is very funny and highly entertaining. Of course there will be tropes of various kinds, but it’s in the quality of the presentation that these things must be measured. Ben-Tou excels in presentation and deserves credit for that.
It wounds me to have to slap a rating to this, because it’s not for everyone but is great for those who can appreciate it, but I enjoyed it 8.0/10 because the “human spirit” and sincerity to oneself themes, hot girls and overall humor didn’t get stale. So get your Ben-Tou when it’s hot and appreciate it before it’s all gone. – J