I knew the Sawagi Twins were wolves, and I knew there crazy as a loon. But I didn’t realize until this week that they were a true commando squad. Excalibur!
Ben-to is, without a doubt, the most irritating show of the season for me. All of its missteps are so easily avoidable, yet there have been so many of them. When this show is bad, it can be truly awful – but it’s so easy for it to be as good as it was this week. No Ume is the easiest fix of all, but beyond that it goes simply to staying focused on what the show is actually supposed to be about. Why did the bento wars completely disappear for three episodes? I have no answers, but I suppose we should be glad that the series apparently intends to finish up with an arc focused on its core themes.
The two Kyos are certainly filling their role as antagonists in a much more interesting way than The Monarch did. I don’t exactly like them, but I don’t think we’re supposed to like them. They’re compelling though, for their extreme weirdness if nothing else. And being voiced by Tamura Yukari and Horie Yui doesn’t hurt, either. they’re both great, but I especially love it when Hochan does a cool, sinister character like this – it’s outside what she’s normally typecast as, but she’s damn good at it. And both Kyos are really good at being wolves, too, as they’ve decimated the Eastern Wolves so badly that no one there will even challenge them.
It’s when they turn their attention to the west that things get interesting. Kyo the Elder’s obsession with Yarizui, apparently, is simply a desire to find a Wolf somewhere that can challenge her. Styling themselves “Orthros” after the mythological two-headed dog – apparently hell hounds are a common motif among the East Tokyo Wolves – the twins are so fearsome that no one can even remember their faces after being crushed by them. After they dispatch The Freak (who was back in the hospital when the episode started, confusingly) easily, they turn their attention to The Ice Witch. A fateful encounter follows, and they systemically decimate every major Western Wolf, including all of our heroes. Yarizui puts up a hell of a fight, but in the end even with Satou’s help she’s unable to overcome their mysterious hand basket techniques.
Finally, a Ben-To episode about bentos and ass-kicking. It’s not the violence in this series that bothers me, it’s the context. As long as the ass-kicking comes on the battlefield, it’s fair game – and as crazed as the twins are, they at least save their brutality for the supermarket. And the supermarket is a no-holds-barred environment and an equal-opportunity war zone, where the girls get beaten up just as much as the guys. Looks as if the twins are going to be the top boss, and no doubt it will fall to Yarizui to devise the strategy to beat them. That should provide the basis for the final episode and while I’d like to see a little more humor and even a little development between Yarizui and Satou, that’s still an ending that would feel perfectly consistent with the way the series started.