Monday, December 12, 2011

Ben-To - 10

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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. 

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9 comments:

  1. All i waited for all episode was for finally orthos to be those twins. They dragged it out pretty long. For me only the last fight was awesome.

    The last good ep was in the swimming pool.

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  2. I agree with Anonymous. This episode felt very, very slow until the last fight began. The fight was very good and left me on the edge of my seat until it was over. I totally wanted Sen to win and totally felt how powerless the other wolves felt after she lost.

    I hope next episode focuses on developing the teamwork between Satou and Sen. Satou's development could include him defending himself / fighting back against random Ume appearance in episode 11. And then, in episode 12, Satou and Sen could work together to beat the twins.

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  3. All I know is they better totally destroy those twins for what they have been doing. If it ends the series as a stalemate or worse they don't get the mother of all beatdowns they deserve I will be pissed.

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  4. Just wondering, but did Hocchan play the older, more psychotic twin or the younger, quieter twin? I didn't recognize either her or Yukarin's voice (I've honestly never heard Yukarin do anything other than her squeaky, pitch-perfect Megumi Hayashibara impersonation).

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  5. @Guardian Enzo

    Ah, thanks. I figured as much. Has she played such a role in any other series?

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  6. Well, some fairly similar ones - though I'd say she was using her "Masako" voice from Mawaru Penguin Drum for this role.

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  7. GOOD GAWD ALMIGHTY! really this quite OH NO really of ep.

    indeed now twins are now biggest threat to beat really with shopping baskets of doom darkness are main weapons really double combo really beat up everyone it this ep alone really anyone or something to stop the twins?!

    especially pulling a con-basket-to on ice witch make her spin around if real life her neck could snap & yet more humiliated putting a basket of her head after being beaten really basket on head it like twins calling card.

    really got wonder what next?

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  8. @Enzo: i think the real reason Yaizuri lost cause it was 2 on 1.
    And the reason no one remembers them is cause they use baskets to cover their faces and uses the "corpses" as weapons like berserker does. people just see the attacks not the attackers
    No mention of the modified OP? the main character changed from Sato to the twins. lol

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