Ben-To – 11

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Satou may have lost his place in the OP sequence to Orthros, but at least the newest credited cast member is someone we can all agree on – Pocari Sweat.

Seriously, that unfortunately named but delicious beverage is my life’s blood when I’m traveling in Japan.  It really does seem to have some magically replenishing qualities that give you the strength to “Fight-O!” on a hot day when your body is ready to pack it in.  Alas, it doesn’t seem to have the same magical properties for curing colds, as Yarizui only got worse after Satou brought her a bottle in his first visit to her apartment.  He was pretty flustered to see her in pajamas, all sweaty with her hair down, and I can’t blame her as she was pretty adorable.  For all his ecchi flashes it’s pretty clear that Satou only has serious eyes for Yarizui.

The issue is getting The Ice Witch ready for the next big battle with Orthros, this time for the unagi specials on “Day Day” at Super Tokiwa.  I confess I wasn’t aware that the Japanese are so ritualized about eating eel in the summer that they even have special days set aside for it, but there you go – I can’t stand them myself.  I’m still not a huge fan of the Sawagi twins (well, I sort of like Kyo a bit) but at least they’re relevant to what the series is supposed to be about. Ben-To is just a better show when it focuses on the wolfish aspects, with a comforting dose of ecchi, rather than getting bogged down in Ume’s twisted mind games or too-serious plotlines. 

It looks like the finale may give us a little role reversal, at least if the legwork Nikaoidou is doing is to be believed.  After tracking them back to their old hometown, he discovers that they were vanquished by someone named Heracles (Ishida Akira) and in pretty tough fashion, too.  So much so that an old rival of theirs asks Nikaidou to “save them” from Heracles, who’s gotten wind of their reappearance in West Tokyo.  I guess that makes Heracles the final boss, which is well and good except that it feels a bit off to have a final boss not be properly introduced until the last episode.  And frankly, I’m really not feeling too sympathetic towards the twins and I’m not exactly jonesing to see The Ice Witch and The Freak battling side by side with them against a common foe.

All things considered, the last couple of eps have been a nice recovery from what was a short but deep trough.  You saw a lot of the visual cleverness that Shin-sensei is so good at, such as the aforementioned Pocari Sweat gag and Kyo’s “time out” during the meeting with Satou and Nikaidou.  The entire scene in Yarizui’s apartment was done in a very original way, in fact, with interesting camera angles and lighting tricks.    I also appreciated the preview sequence with the pharmacist, another example of how relentlessly creative Ben-To can be at its best.  It’s a maddening series – sometimes hilarious and clever, sometimes incredibly irritating.  I look forward to the last episode with a good deal of trepidation, because if the last 11 episodes tell us anything it’s that it could be a revelation, a complete disaster, or anything in between.

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17 comments

  1. A

    Is it just me, or does Heracles has some resemblance to Satou?

  2. It's not just you, but it's not close enough that I'm willing to call it more than character designer self-plagiarism yet.

  3. A

    Well like any good fighting game the "true boss" allways comes out at the last moment so Heracles fits right in and sure the last boss had to be something more muscular than a pair of cute twins(sure they hit hard but they are too cute for the role) .

  4. S

    The introduction of Heracles as the final boss doesn't sit quite well with me. It's going to be hard to see the Sawagi twins in a more sympathetic light after the rampage last week. Though I'm not a fan of Ume, the way she kidnapped Oshiroi this week was pretty funny…

  5. F

    I don't see what is so amazingly unsympathetic about the twins. I get the complaints about Ume, but…the twins are just being wolves. They are certainly strange, but they haven't done anything extraordinarily dickish.

    BTW, Satou deserves the Ume beating he's gonna get. He should have retreated as soon as she answered the phone.

  6. S

    @Fencedude

    I don't know, it seems no matter how hard they try, I just can't feel sorry for them at all. I just don't find them interesting or like how they came out of nowhere and suddenly start beating everybody and cheating while they do it.

    I really hope you're wrong about that Ume remark. Episode 9 was bad enough, we don't need another one.

    People don't like Ume because she she serves virtually no purpose at all within the series. Because if it's "comedy", very many would disagree. All she does is appear, attack Sato over some BS and leave, and maybe kidnap Oshiroi sometimes. In other words, she's completely useless and this anime basically has no need for her.

  7. F

    I like Ume (though I certainly can't defend her, so I won't bother) but Satou should know that the best way to handle her is immediate retreat.

  8. S

    @Fencedude

    It's perfectly fine if you like Ume, I'm just giving my opinion on her because honestly if she'd stop attacking Satou over nothing and act more like a human being I'd be fine. I for one am really hoping she gets some kind of comeuppance either from Satou himself, or another wolf.

  9. K

    It pisses me off that they add some guy we never even heard of as the final boss. After the beatdown the twins gave our main characters last week I was so looking forward to payback.

    It now very much appears that Satou and the Ice Witch will feel sorry for the twins and help them against this Heracles monster and his crew (assuming all those that surrounded the twins in that flashback were members of Heracles's posse).

    I also am wondering if this new final boss is related to Satou? Some older brother, cousin, or twin he didn't know about?

  10. K

    Great episode! Let`s hope the best for the final one! @Guardian Enzo Could you please, take the coverage of Ben-To in RC, too? I just heard that they drop this show =(

  11. @Kingdragun

    Sorry King, next week is the finale so there's not much point, is there?

  12. F

    After the beatdown the twins gave our main characters last week I was so looking forward to payback.

    They are wolves. There will always be another fight.

    I still don't get why the twins need "payback", they haven't done anything wrong! Other than be gratuitously strange.

  13. K

    @Guardian Enzo
    What about to post your final thoughts over there too?, I think this series deserves it! 😀

  14. If I like the final ep, maybe I'll mention it to Div. I'm not going to do it unless they give me something really worthwhile, though.

  15. A

    we get more on twins past give saw ben-to fights as little kiddies & they want to be "noble wolves".
    sato explain what happen to Oshiroi but she keel blah blah blah til point ume-kidnap "yea walk away & rid of filler."
    sato looking for sen but found faceless doobi give ice witch is absent oh called "stacked" in front of doobi.
    shaga doing some digging info while bad luck girl got bugged.
    sato found ice witch is sick & plans for eel fight.
    sato & racket guy encounter twins some saying & called them two dogs.
    after fight more info about twins sato ask shaga to send twin a message (yea guard with 4-d battery oh no run away).
    racket get info need cause 3yrs ago twins got beaten by gang lead by man in red hat named Heracle's Combo.
    oh sato get medicine got call by ume & yea ume being ume on sato.

    got wonder how fit it all twins, Heracle's Combo, eel, etc in next ep?

    yea last second curve ball by bringing guy in red hat aka Heracle.

    besides with assume how i'm guessing how finale goes yea any guess of what so ever expect like bonus ep or s2 on the way?

  16. d

    i think the reason why people are against the twins is because
    1. they are a pair (cheating!?!)
    2. they insult others
    3. they use baskets and humiliate people

  17. A

    @Fencedude:
    nah. The better solution is to have Satou sock Ume in the face, at least it might convince her to stop abusing Satou at least.

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