If you have a stocking fetish, you may as well drop everything and watch the first episode of Ben-To now. The camera seemed to be permanently fixed on the upper thigh region of every girl, showing off their shiny black stockings or a particularly nice example of zettai ryouiki. For everyone else, read on.
The story for Ben-To was probably thought up by someone who caught sight of a lunchtime rush to buy the last bread roll in school and decided to combine that with the sales rush after Christmas to create the ultimate battle zone. Ben-To is my least favourite kind of anime to review. It is neither good enough to praise nor bad enough to rip apart. In something like Phi Brain, where it takes its puzzle plotlines with utmost seriousness, apparently not aware of how goofy a line like “set those puzzles free” sounds, I can mock it until the cows come home. There’s no joy in taking the piss out of Ben-To when it’s already taking the piss out of itself.
But if you’re going to have such a nonsense premise, you have to be funny, and Ben-To just isn’t. The only time I laughed was at the halftime eyecatch because of how enthusiastically the man yelling the title. The animation is fairly atrocious too, with the fight scenes devolving into nothing more than shaky cameras, speed lines and stills. Despite the harem set up, there’s very little in the way of T&A (apart from the aforementioned stockings fetish), which I might normally class as a good thing, but the T&A might have at least distracted me long enough to not notice the awful animation.
And then there’s the main character. OK guys, imagine this craaaazy concept: A main character with a personality. Woooaaaah, I know. Revolutionary, right? You might be forgiven for thinking that having no personality whatsoever was a pre-requisite for being the lead character, especially if this anime season was anything to go by. But no, just look at Steins;Gate. That anime was based off a visual novel, where usually you’re just meant to project yourself into the supposed lead, but it managed to overcome that obstacle and provide us with one of the most memorable anime leads of all time. It’s not difficult you know. You gave the side characters personality. Now apply that same logic to the main character and hey presto, you’re already better than 80% of anime out there today.