Ben-To 06: Insult Progression
What’s going on with the background music in this show?! It’s so good, and it keeps changing each episode. You can tell it’s peculiar when even I notice it!
It’s always important to keep Socrates’ motto in mind: “I only know that I know nothing” and the fact that by this knowledge Socrates was considered the smartest man in Athens. Last episode I snickered when I heard that Monarch’s posse was called the Gabriel Ratchets. I thought it was just another case of Japanese creating random English-sounding names. Today I actually found out this is one of the names used to describe legendary hell hounds that roam the English countryside. The nickname is thus totally appropriate and I’m a fool.
The business of territories in this show (and in anime in general) always catches my attention. I honestly can’t remember if the location in Ben-To has ever been made clear. Is this Tokyo, another large city, a fictional place? We keep hearing of 2 districts (“ku” in Japanese): West and East. In point of fact Tokyo has 23 “ku”, two of which are called North and Central (West and East do not exist).
On the one hand, I think it’s likely that this district system in Ben-To is not an administrative division at all, but something instituted and recognized by the half-price bento gangs. On the other hand, in this episode you have highschoolers outside the supermarket mentioning East and West and it’s not clear if they’re bento warriors or not. Any which way it goes, I want to point out the parallels Hana no Asuka-gumi. In that shojo work, the main character is a tough girl from the so-called “3rd West District”. Maybe Asuka is a precursor of Sen Yarizui…
“Monarch’s” English is so terrible, it’s effective in having us (the viewers) develop a feeling of hatred toward him. “Half-price labeling time”?? Give me a break!
And Shaga really knows how to diss him! First she calls him a “brown rat”, though it sounds much worse in Japanese because in that language the brown rat species is literally called “gutter rat”. Not only does it sound bad, but it’s a big slap in the face for a man who wants to be no. 1. Just look at how common these brown rats are:
Next she rubs it in by calling him a grasshopper. There are over 10,000 grasshopper species in the world. Ouch. But Shaga isn’t done yet. She ends up calling him an “arinoko”. This literally means “ant-child” and it can mean a wingless ant, an ant egg, or an ant larva. Basically, a weak member of the ant family. “Ant-child” is also used in Japanese literature as a sign of contempt for something of low rank. Double ouch! Not to mention there are over 20,000 ant species in the world. My point is Shaga’s insults grow worse and worse and she’s doing it deliberately. Contrast this with the monarch butterfly, which is rarer and which does not even exist in Japan!
I especially like how Monarch has to fight Sato, Shaga and Sen at the same time and the anime makes no excuses for it. There’s no explanation for how this is somehow fair [and sure, there are plenty of possible excuses: the Gabriel Ratchets were all there, so Monarch is even more unfair; Sen has been beaten up badly; Sato is a beginner; but the show just keeps on going and doesn’t try to plead]. And Shaga and Sato fighting is just awesome, even if they copped out a bit and didn’t show us the fight…