Ben-To – 07

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After hundreds of iterations you wouldn’t think anime could still find something new to offer in the pool episode, but credit where it’s due – Ben-To sort of did.

This was a pretty good return to form for the series after what I thought were two overly serious and mediocre episodes in the “Mon-Arc”.  Ben-To is at its best when it’s more concerned with being funny and being ecchi rather than telling a serious story, and this episode is very much in that mode.  We even got a return to the “Satou-vision” of the first few eps, where the camera tended to look where Satou was looking, which in a swimsuit episode is some pretty obvious places.  And given that this show is well-animated with some very nice female character designs, that makes for quite the visual feat.

I don’t suppose it’s any sort of surprise that Satou is interested in Yarizui, but I don’t remember it being spelled out quite as clearly as it was in this episode.  At the prospect of going to a pool park with all the girls courtesy of free tickets from Matsy, his thoughts run only to seeing Yarizui in a swimsuit.  So it’s more than obvious where his affections lie, and while what follows is pretty predictable up to a point, it does get creative after a while.  Satou is nearly broke after the cost of the train fare, and ends up having to foot the bill for a ticket after Saga loses one of the free passes.  That leaves him with only 300 yen left to his name.

Enter the twist – despite being a water park, the place is owned by the same conglomerate as Ralph’s Mart.  That can only mean half-priced bento, which was the real reason Matsy invited the fab four along with a bunch of other Western Wolves.  These half-priced bento only go on sale on Sunday, and they’re floated in the pool in a sort of preposterous gladiator-style aquatic free-for-all.  I don’t even want to consider the liability issues there, but it certainly makes for an interesting variation both on the pool episode trope and the usual supermarket battles Ben-To is known for.  Complicating all this is Satou’s urgent biological discomfort after Saga gives him a back massage with her oppai, but Satou turns that to his advantage with the help of a conveniently discarded dolphin flipper.

A lot of what happens here is so thoroughly random that in almost any other series it would be groan-worthy, but here it sort of works.  Asebi shows up, having hitched a ride on a soda truck after finding Satou’s lost ticket.  Ume show up for no reason whatsoever, and kicks Satou after his trunks fall down (again for no discernible reason whatsoever).  That tarnishes his honor seal victory somewhat, but it’s still a victory – and Yarizui at least doesn’t witness his “triumph”.  For her part, she captures her chosen bento – the “omeletits” Matsu designed, complete with condensed milk.  It’s a wonder Satou didn’t try for that one.

Now of course, all of this is incredibly dumb, but in a good way. It’s all good fun, the physical comedy is well-staged and the fanservice is excellent.  Not enough Oshiroi lunacy to be ideal, but still a pretty solid episode.  If you want actual development, well – Satou does appear to have gotten his nom de guerre, “The Hentai”, as a result of his cross-dressing incident.  And we have a couple of new characters t look forward to, a pair of twins who don’t get any dialogue here but do merit a mention in the preview.

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  1. A

    The fact that the Omuppai actually was translatable made me crack up for about five minutes straight.

  2. S

    Everything was all good until Ume decided to show up and it seems like Shaga likes it BIG 😛
    I don't remember the show making it explicitly clear that Satou's interested in Yarizui as well but who can resist her with a body like that?

  3. Yes, and Oshiroi and Saga have terrible bodies… 😉

  4. A

    That sequence about Satou's rudder os one of the most surprising and laugh out loud moments of the series!

  5. A

    The leg cramps, swimsuit malfunction and later swim trunks drop and surprise Ume roundhouse, were all due to the appearance of Asebi and her contagious, pandemic level bad luck.

  6. Yep, I got that – but not until I saw it pointed out after the fact. So how come he still got the honor seal bento?

  7. A

    Raw hunger, perhaps? Or perhaps he accumulated enough bad luck for that value to overflow and go positive.

  8. d

    Perhaps Asebi's touch does not have an instantaneous effect.

  9. S

    Ah, So that's why Asebi was in the episode!
    Also, it's pitch dark, ass-freezing winter over here. Give me some romance, Ben-To!

    I'm dropping animes like they're hot this week. Are there only Ben-To, Mirai Nikki and Fate/Zero left to look forward to? Disappointing midseason.

  10. There's always Chihayafuru.

  11. t

    I'll add un-go

  12. A

    @Seishun Otoko

    Agreed, I'm actually able to get legitimate enjoyment out of this series when Ume isn't there to ruin a scene.

    Eps 5 and 6 both proved that she definitely isn't needed because she brings nothing to the show at all.

  13. A

    of course she voice by could a milf aka Ohara Sayaka give her casting type in it.

    really wonder is she also someday in real life & pool ep BEST. POOL. EPISODE. EVER!!!

    indeed now fighting on food in pool inside a ball.

    yea we got it all hey hello swimsuit malfunction to like some kind of “what” to help push sato get food but his “little jimmy” got exposed & wham kick by class pres?

    lol at bad luck lady riding on roof of truck & appear out of sewer hole.

    yea also mention omleetedoobi food really indeed yea who keep coming with all these foods & fights.

    wonder what next?

  14. S

    Of course, Chihayafuru! Appologies for forgetting. The last episode didnt make enough of an emotional impact on me for me to remember that particular moment. But I have all the patience in the world for it.

    i dropped Un-Go after the first ep, but I might pick it up, seeing it's getting positive reviews again

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