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Bento Harassment (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Shinohara Ryoko (Actor) | Matsui Rena (Actor) | Yoshine Kyoko (Actor) | Sato Ryuta (Actor)
Bento Harassment (2019) (Blu-ray) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
I want to be harassed with bentos.
March 30, 2020 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
Nobody wants to be harassed, unless it's with meticulous homemade bento lunchboxes – in which case, bring it on! Like When I Get Home, My Wife Always Pretends to be Dead, Tsukamoto Renpei's amusingly titled Bento Harassment is a slice-of-life family comedy-drama based on a true story shared online in Japan.

Shinohara Ryoko is single mom Kaori whose once precious little girl, Futaba (Yoshine Kyoko), is now a rude, disgruntled teen going through the "do not enter room" stage of adolescence. Since Futaba can't even be bothered to speak to her, Kaori decides to combine communication and retaliation through her daughter's daily packed lunches. Every day, she puts extra time and effort into making charaben, or character bento, for Futaba. Charaben is basically a bento lunchbox in which the food has been elaborately arranged to look like characters or other designs. Think rice balls shaped to look like animals and cartoon characters, complete with eyes and mouths formed by little strips of seaweed and cheese – that's just the beginner's level. These adorable, time-consuming creations are popular for kindergarten-aged tykes, but not so much for an angsty high school freshman. When you're at an age where everything your parents do seems embarrassing, having to pull out a charaben with silly characters and messages at lunch qualifies as annoying harassment.

Shinohara Ryoko is always a force to be reckoned with in every character she plays, and sure enough, her firm but good-humored bento-making mom is one tough cookie. No matter how tiring it is, Kaori takes the teen rebellion in stride, and persists with her bento harassment for all three years of Futaba's high school life. Though Futaba says she doesn't like the charaben, she – and all her classmates – begins to look forward to the daily ritual of opening the bento box and seeing what surprise awaits. The audience as well looks forward to seeing all the different charaben, and I greatly relate to Kaori's struggle to come up with new ideas every day.

Sprinkled with funny food and cheeky animation, this mother-daughter comedy is light and playful while also perceptive and heartwarming. Highlighting family love and communication, the drama empathetically portrays Kaori's challenges as a working single mother and Futaba's coming-of-age uncertainties as she approaches graduation. After all, the way to the heart is through the stomach.






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  • Region & Language: Hong Kong United States - English
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