Hiro ShimonoAoi YukiKazuyuki OkitsuAi Kayano
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2011
Director: Shin Itagaki
Writer: Kazuyuki Fudeyasu
Original creator: Asaura
Actor: Ai Kayano, Aoi Yuki, Ayana Taketatsu, Emiri Kato, Eriko Nakamura, Hiro Shimono, Kazuyuki Okitsu, Mariya Ise, Ryoukichi Takahashi, Tomoyuki Higuchi, Yui Horie, Yuichi Iguchi, Yukari Tamura
Keywords: anime, favourite
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=12541
Website category: Anime early 10s
Review date: 8 March 2023
You know the cut-price shelves in supermarkets? With food near its expiration date, with a sticker saying "half price" or something? Most of the bargain hunters are polite, but every so often you'll meet a scary housewife who elbows you aside, or something like that. It's not impossible for things to get a bit competitive when a shop assistant's adding a new batch of stickered items. (The shop can help things by not having a fixed time for reducing its prices, thus preventing the vultures from gathering in advance.)
Britain tends to be polite. Japan is super-polite... but their supermarkets are full of bentou that are: (a) very impressive, and (b) only good for one day. You thus know when the half-price bentou are about to appear.
This show is all about the hunters of half-price bentou. They call themselves wolves and they have rules among themselves. You can't make a move while the Half-Price God is still on the shop floor. The stickers go on. You wait. The Half-Price God departs. You wait for the door to shut behind them. Once it does... BLOODY CARNAGE. Punches, drop kicks, fists, elbows, head butts, blood, ultra-violence, raging hordes, etc.
This is hilarious. It never got old for me. It's the contrast between the reality of ultra-polite Japan and the ludicrous shounen bloodbath of lunatics pounding each other senseless for the equivalent of one pound twenty. Not all viewers agree that this is funny, mind you, or else perhaps they found it funny for an episode or two before eventually dropping the show. It's a bit of a cult anime. I'd heard about it years ago and nearly watched it then, but dropped the idea on reading some unenthusiastic reviews. This was a mistake on my part and the show's silly and a bit dumb, but great.
I'm not normally a fan of fighting shows, but this one works because it knows it's silly. That's the point. Occasionally it overstepped the mark for me, admittedly. I'm not a fan of Asebi Inoue and her implausibly absurd bad luck. The joke's overplayed. She first appears in the stupid ep.5, which also has annoying security guards. The show also has moments of so-tame-that-it's-hardly-worth-it fanservice, with discretion shots and no nipples. Those minor issues aside, though, I like the show's tone. It's taking its daft premise seriously, which is what makes it funny. It's daft and it knows it. Mind you, the show's first half is more focused on bentou-hunting than the second half, probably because by that point it's run out of twists and observations on its joke theme. The pool episode (ep.7) would surely lead to fatalities in real life. Ep.8 is an idiot comedy that depends on Satou being mistaken for the Ice Witch because he's been wrapped (unnecessarily) in bandages from head to foot, although his "jumping for Saturn" made me laugh.
Our heroes include Satou (token male protagonist), the Ice Witch (facial expression never changes, always serious and Satou fancies her), Oshiroi (writes disturbing gay rape novels starring Satou and puts them on the internet, but otherwise lovable), Shiraume (scary intense lesbian stalker, regularly beats up Satou for the crime of being a man) and Shaga (blonde, boobs, flirty and over the top in pretty much everything). They're ridiculous, but funny. You'd get scared if you ever took them seriously, though.
I had a ball with this show. It's absurd, but accurate. The supermarket jingles, for instance. You really can hear that "sakana sakana" song over there, for instance. I love the triumphant celebration of ultra-violence in the finale. This show doesn't aim high, but it made me laugh.