Anime Review: Toradora: Ben-to no Gokui Special

Anime Review:
Toradora: Ben-to no Gokui

What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Toradora is a romantic comedy anime series that aired in 2009, as the mismatched duo of Ryuuji and Taiga slowly fall for each other during their second year of high school. On December 21st, 2012, a special episode, Ben-to no Gokui, or “The True Meaning of Ben-to”, was released as a bonus for the Japanese release of the complete Blu-Ray DVD boxed set.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Spoiler-free Series set-up: Yuusaku brings a grand boxed lunch to school that was prepared by his grandmother, causing Ryuuji to get irrationally jealous. As he obsesses over “winning” in the duel of boxed lunches, Ryuuji keeps trying to up his game, only to end up more and more frustrated at his inability to best Yuusaku. In the end, it is up to Taiga to show him the true meaning of bento lunches and set him straight.

My Impressions: Somewhat odd that more than three years after the original Toradora series came to a conclusion, we are presented with a whole new episode. Anything to up-sell an ultra-expensive complete DVD boxed set, I guess…

Well, in any case, it’s back for another visit with the comfortably familiar characters from one of the most beloved romantic anime comedies in the past decade. While I did find Toradora somewhat enjoyable, I was not blown away by the series like many others, and I would have probably rated it somewhere in the “B-grade” range. Even so, it *is* nice to see Ryuuji, Taiga and the rest of the cast one more time.

This episode doesn’t really add anything to the overall plot itself, it’s just an extra episode that falls somewhere in the middle of the series story-wise. Unfortunately, the main thrust of the humor relies primarily on Ryuuji’s least attractive, most annoying character trait: his OCD behavior as he ends up in a one-sided cooking duel of brinksmanship. I just wanted to reach through the screen and slap some sense into the idiot.

And the other big flaw of the episode? Not enough Minori Kushieda, of course. As far as I’m concerned, the Minori in an episode, the better. Yay.

Oh, this single episode is not going to set the world on fire, but if you’re a fan of Toradora (and you should be, if you have any sense of taste), then you’ll enjoy this episode. This is really just a “gimme” to the fans anyway. G’wan…you know you want to watch it…

The verdict:

For more information:

Sampling of Online Reviews:

  • “It could just be the nostalgia speaking, but I’ll always fondly remember this series for its ability to strike nearly a perfect balance between romance and comedy. This OVA was no exception.” – Random Curiosity
  • “Whooooaaa that was one great OVA! After watching that, I really want to go back and watch the series again!” – Metanorn
  • “Taiga was cute. Minorin was Hocchan-quality. Ami was almost non-existent. All this OVA really did was make me want to rewatch the 24-ep season… which isn’t such a bad idea.” – Absolute Territory
  • “It’s not the greatest episode of Toradora, but just seeing the cast in action again in new material was well worth the almost two-year wait.”> – Suguru’s Dame Dame Blog
  • “It is nice returning to the Toradora! anime realm, though this episode really had nothing in it of substance.” – AstroNerdBoy
  • “While this episode doesn’t contain any insight or uncharted territory (everyone is pretty much in default mode here, before things get all dramatic and serious), it does reinforce certain things we know about Ryuugi and Taiga in particular. What made them such a great couple to watch is that they’re always picking one another up, sometimes without even being aware of it. Taiga helps Ryuugi see the forest for the trees.” – Rabujoi


Thumbs-up for Round One: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Working Season 2, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Season 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose, Kyousou Giga, Gdgd Fairies, Toradora OVA

Thumbs-down for Round One: Morita-san wa Mukuchi Season 2, Kimi to Boku, C3: CubexCursedxCurious, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls, Shakugan no Shana Final, Mashiro-iro Symphony: The Color of Lovers, Persona 4: The Animation, Maken-ki, Cross Fight B-Daman, Digimon Xros Wars Season 2, High Score, Infinite Stratos OVA, Hidamari Sketch SP, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai OVA

Coming up next: Sengoku Paradise Kiwami, Sora no Kiseki, Lupin III Movie, Ao no Exorcist Special, Queen’s Blade Visual Book, Deadman Wonderland OVA, Dragonball Z Episode of Bardock, R-15 OVA, Hoshizora e Kakaru OVA

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One Response to Anime Review: Toradora: Ben-to no Gokui Special

  1. Pingback: Anime Review: Recap of the Fall 2011 Season (after watching the 1st episodes) | This Euphoria!

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