When there is food on the line, people will do almost anything. People will steal the food just to fill their bellies. When the food is on discount, things can become as violent as a Black Friday sale. In the anime Ben-to, you can see how hungry school students get and how far they are willing to go for a discounted bento.
First, you must understand what a bento is in order to understand the anime. A bento is basically a boxed lunch that you can heat up. You can heat them up if you so desire, but you don't have to. They are sometimes home made and brought to school as lunch, but they can be store made,like in the anime.
The story in Ben-to is that Satou You, a normal high school student, goes to a convience store late at night to get some bento at a discounted price. However, he then is knocked out and doesn't remember a darn thing about the night before. When he finally comes around and a few days later, he learns that people fight for the half priced bentos in all out fights. He then joins these fights as a "dog" or someones that has yet to score a bento, in hopes of becoming a wolf, a person who has scored a bento.
With this anime, I hardly know where to begin. The story in full is actually quite preposterous, and the idea of people fighting for bento is not exactly conventional. Also,the story also feels rushed, such as the major chunk of the story taking place in the first six episodes, and perhaps a bit of a side arc in the last four,of course in between you have the normal "everyday" parts such as the obligatory beach/water episode and other various events. Basically the story was a far fetched idea, and personally,if the Blu-ray/DVD'd don't sell, I wouldn't be surprised due to the fact that for most people, this story line seems ridiculous. However, I will admit, it's so ridiculous that it works, and actually proves to be an interesting watch.
The characters in the story are in my mind, rather bland. It's essentially a harem, with the generic male lead, who looks like all the rest of the male leads, and the girls that are with him, although in the love between the characters category, this is not a harem. Along with Satou, we have Yarizui, the club president of the club that he joins in order to fight for the half-price bento, who is known by her wolf name "The Ice Witch." As the wolf name may suggest, she is a bit cold at first, and an excellent fighter, even becoming the center of attention later on in the series. Then there a girl who gets dragged into the fights named Oshiroi Hana, a yaoi writer, because those are important too for fighting for bento. Then there is a girl by the name Shiraume Ume, a girl who is over-protective of Oshiroi, and threatens Satou on multiple occasions, but otherwise doesn't contribute much to the story. Last, but not least, we have Shaga Ayame, Satou's half-Italian cousin. She is known as the "Beauty by the Lake," and she is an excellent fighter. One question remains for about her is the fact that if she is half-Italian, then how the heck is she blonde?
The art was decent for the anime. Each character was well drawn, and distinguishable, though some of the side characters were kind of bland, for example, the one that they call "Chipatsu," or "Brunette" didn't even have a face (Mrs. Bellum much?). The one thing about the art I had just a bit of a problem with is the fact that the fighting scenes were a bit unrealistic. When a group of people can basically fight in mid-air, let me know so I can get in on it. It was almost ninja physics when they fought, but it did provide interesting.
This anime overall was enjoyable, even though the plot was just a bit bizarre, but bizarre enough to make it interesting. I recommend this to almost anyone, even those hard core shounen fans that might be turned off by the girly art. Run to your local super market, grab some bento, and hope that you don't have to fight for it.