The previous two episodes of Ben-To, 8 and 9, kinda had me worried. I was digging them, but they were straying from the “kick ass to get half price food” bit that was the heart of the series. By focusing on that very specific motivation for fighting, Ben-To had basically become the best fighting anime since Air Master.
But those two episodes strayed from that. The food fighting was referenced. It wasn’t like it disappeared completely. But it was no longer the thing going on. Then the latest episode, number 10, got back to it and delivered the best fight thus far in the series.
I figured these twins were gonna be the second half’s big bad, but I was worried that whatever conflict they wanted to bring about was gonna stray from the path. They seemed to care more about stalking people and playing mind games rather than beating the shit out of you to get some cheap grub. Their antics were pretty amusing, which was a relief since most light novel adaptations tend to get pretty lame when they resort to “antics” to keep your attention.
Instead, all of that now feels like build-up for what went down in this episode. It’s like how the main villain in a shounen fighting series will talk and rant to his underlings or something while the main character wanders about and trains or something. They give you a reason to hate (or love to hate, or root for) the villain by letting him monologue or whatever. Except they’re trying to rape Sato while thinking he’s Ice Witch. Yeah. Something like that.
Whatever, man, I’m just grasping at ways to rationalize how the series went off track. Roll with it.
But damn. That fight where everyone got their asses handed to them by the twins was great stuff. Like, it’s probably the best anime action scene I’ve seen this year that wasn’t in Redline. But what particularly amused me about it was the stylized “blackness” that enveloped all of the twins’ attacks. It totally looked like the “ink” effects you see in Street Fighter 4. That’s especially funny because SF is made by Capcom and Ben-To is blatantly sponsored by Sega. By having the final big bads of the series use a technique used in a rival company’s game is a neat touch. Doubt it’s deliberate, but it’s amusing regardless.