October 19, 2007 at 2:01 pm (otaku word)

 Something is getting gradually popular among anime fans…yes, this is it, キャラ弁[charaben] which is an abbreviation of キャラクター弁当[character bento]. To get to the point, it’s a lunch box which is decorated as certain characters from anime or manga. Of course, it doesn’t mean the design of the lunch box, but inside of it…yes, as if painted onto a palette, a lunch box gets decorated with food. Before, this kind of thing used to be mothers’ thing for kids, so most of them used to make a キャラ弁 with an easy anime series such as Doraemon or Pokemon. I think this must be a very tiring work, so female otbakumatsu1.jpgbakumatsu1.jpgakus might be good at making a キャラ弁. Having said that, lately it has been getting more popular among anime fans. I don’t think even those who make this are willing to bring it to the company because it sure takes hours. How could they make such a gorgeous lunch box in a busy morning? Yes, mostly they bring it to otaku events such as Comic Market or cosplay exhibition, and enjoy to show each other. Of course, they shall take a photo before eating…

 Okay, as an otaku, as an otomen(they must be good at cooking. Actually in this manga, the protagonist can make a gorgeous lunch box himself) I shall give it a try. So I made a charaben last night, and below the recipe of mine though it is so pathetic.

 So this time, my first charaben is to be these two boys, 秋月耀次郎(Akidsuki Youjirou) and 神無月左京之介(Kannadsuki Sakyounosuke) in 幕末機関説いろはにほへと[Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto]. Nothing particular in reason, but I thought it seemed to be easy to make. But it wasn’t as a matter of fact… It took about two hours because I messed it up a couple of times…orz


1. First I worked on Sakyounosuke. I used a slice of cheeze to make his blonde hair.


2. Most charabenmakers use ham to make a face, and I used sesame seeds to make his jacket, and peeled carrot as the edges of the collars.


3. I used baked albumen to make his white shirt.

4. Next I worked on Youjirou. I used pasted seaweed to describe most of him.

5. This is the most tiring work. To decorate a face, I cut down dry seaweed like a needle…It should be treated very carefully.

6. Done. Salmonflakes are meant to be petals of cherryblossom…I mean.

Pathetic. I’ve got to practice more. orz



  1. w said,

    Hey, I think that was a pretty neat job! The cheese’s got Kanna’s hair colour right, alright. Although Akizuki looks like a thug from the alleyways, I have to admit (sorry please don’t hit me). But I don’t think I could ever do anything like that, I’m always so impatient…

    (By the way, it’s ham, not hum – almost thought you were speaking in Hokkien and where the cockles were)

  2. Cooking Recipes » Blog Archive » キャラ弁[charaben] said,

    […] ovens-support.info wrote an interesting post today on ã­ã£ã©å¼[charaben]Here’s a quick excerpt…a palette, a lunch box gets decorated with food. … otaku, as an otomen(they must be good at cooking. … charaben last night, and below the […]

  3. Avplaya said,

    Wow, you are one amazing, bona-fide otomen! I would think a charaben should probably be the exclusively be the fujoshi since most akiba-kei probably can’t cook very well (hence the need for canned ramen). I’m really more impressed that you actually made this yourself! The art is pretty decent too. But as an akiba-kei, you should probably make an Akiba-kei Charaben with say, Kagami and Konata (if you’re a lucky star fan ), since you know, you’ll be the only one in the world who would do this! I’d say this is the perfect bait for a fujoshi kanojou… you marrying or dating one, sir? wwwwwwwwwwwwww

    Hokkien? let me guess, you’re from Malaysia/Singapore, w-dono? 🙂

  4. orangee said,

    Brilliant! =)

  5. w said,

    Naw, if he wants to lure a fujoshi girlfriend wouldn’t he want to make *their* favourite characters? The very thought of it is so romantic and cute I’m already giggling. Heh…

    And I hail from the airconditioned island, yeah.

  6. bangin said,

    w-dono: It took hours…next morning I was almost late for work, and I was so sleepy whole the day. Oh no, I made a mistake again, now I corrected as ham. ^^
    Kanna is easier than Akizuki because cutting dried seaweed is a really hard work. I couldn’t cut well, so that’s why I used pasted one. But I think dried one must be neater, though. Kanna doesn’t need seaweed at all.

    And well, if I want to cook a charaben for a fujoshi, maybe it should be her favorite BL pairing such as Asuran x Kira or something like that. 😀

    Avplaya-san: Yes, I thought I was going to make a Suzumiya Haruhi or Lucky Star charaben. But the thing is the school uniform they wear. Look at Haruhi’s uniform. How can I get some ocean blue colored food in this world? Should I dye food or something? 😀 But only if I could get appropriate food, it might not be difficult. Because the design of Lucky Star seems to be simple. ^^

    Haha, no~, but if I pursue a fujoshi, I might make one to surprise her. Oh no, a man cooks a bento for a woman?! Not a woman cooks for a man? ARGH!(;゜д゜) This never happens even in a shoujo manga.

    orangee: Oh thank you. But I have to practice more! :))

  7. alafista said,

    wow thats is so cool

  8. Neohybrid_kai said,

    oh, wow! I’ve seen something this before, but this is the first time I see the “how-to”
    btw, speaking of otomen, what about a guy who like to watch something like “Ouran Host Club” “Gakuen Alice” or “Shugo Chara” ^ ^? does it count as otomen >_>? Its juts shoujo stuff, not otome stuff, I think.

  9. bangin said,

    alafista: Thank you, but I think I could do better next time. 🙂

    Neohybrid_kai: Well, Ouran High-School Host Club is a shoujo manga, so I think a guy who likes this should be labelled as an otomen. But if he loves a fan-made BL manga of it, he must be a 腐男子(fudanshi) or 腐兄(fukei). Umm, it’s controvertial because there are a lot of BL stuff at Otome Road. Shoujo stuff and otome stuff are available at the same place…so even if he insists he is just an otomen, he could be labelled as a fudanshi when he shops around at Otome Road. 😦 So I really wonder how people out of Japan feel about otome. Does it include those who love shoujo stuff only? Doesn’t it include BL?

  10. khursten said,

    Oh! I love these! I have also a Chiaki-sempai and mongoose (Nodame) bentou! ❤ ❤ My friends also creates these kinds of bentou. You can see some of her bentou at her website.

    Actually I also saw a website that creates food seen in anime and manga! XD

    On Otomen. I think Otomen are okay, but well, here in the Philippines, if the guy is really really otomen, we sometimes tease them as gay. Of course, we know better that they’re not gay, it’s just funny thinking that they are. As to thinking whether they’re fudanshi too… well, we can still distinguish who is fudanshi. We have friends who are not Otomen but like BL, so they’re fudanshi. And friends who don’t like BL but like doing otomen stuff! ❤ So, I guess we can still distinguish who is who. ^_^

    On a side note, men making bento are so cool! ❤ ❤ If a guy made for me a Chiaki Shinichi bento, I’ll love him! Maybe moyashimon! Hahahaha! :3

  11. bangin said,

    Oh thanks for the link, it’s brilliant!
    I think Nodame bento should be fine to bring to the company. It’s really common in public. 🙂

    Yes, the same goes here. In the manga otomen, the protagonist pretends to be so manly in public while he loves shoujo manga and to collect pretty dolls. If he comes out and admits he is an otomen, his classmates would tease him as gay. Having said that, so long as he only reads shoujo manga which is already accepted in public such as Moyashimon, Life, Honey and Clover, Nodame Cantabile, NANA, or Hanazakari no kimitachi e, it wouldn’t matter, I suppose so.
    Oh, I didn’t know fudanshi exists in Philippine. (゜д゜)

    So can you tell me what comes to your mind first when you hear of 乙女(otome)? Which does 乙女 mean basically out there, shoujo stuff or BL?

  12. khursten said,

    Oh! So reading Nodame and Honey and Clover is still something considered as a general act. Interesting. Well, they’re a bit mature, so I guess it’s okay. I mean I’d totally laugh when I see a guy reading “Zettai Kareshi.” Actually, there’s one time wherein I was in a train and I saw a guy reading Fruits Basket. And it’s not even volume 1 but a later volume (meaning, he really reads it!) I found it funny since FuruBa is really shoujo, even for me it’s too shoujo. XD

    As for what I think when I hear Otome? I think of 「お姫様」, so really girly and shoujo stuff. Only recently, when I heard of Otome road that I started to put it together with BL. lol. But even that, when I think of girly things and shoujo stuff, I still relate it to otome and I use fujoshi on girls liking BL things.

    Maybe Otome road should be named Fujoshi road. XD But Fujoshi sounds bad compared to Otome, ne? So I guess Otome is the better word to describe it.

  13. w said,

    So it’s just as I was guessing that those anime aired in “Noitamina” timeslot are generally anime that can be accepted by the public and something you won’t be afraid of liking, huh. Explains the ridiculously high ratings despite being a latenight slot I suppose. I guess it’s because the manga they’re based off (for stuff like ParaKiss, Moyasimon, H&C, Nodame) is generally accepted by the mainstream… but I wonder how, what kind of advertising do they do, what magazines do they appear in such that it’s a show you can make a bento of and nobody’d laugh at you? What makes them less associated with ‘kimo-ota’ aside their themes?

    I have never met a single otomen/fudanshi in Singapore unfortunately, but then again I don’t know many people. I’m not a big fan of BL or otome stuff, but it’d be really refreshing to meet some guy who has a taste that is not either just a. Gundam/macho series or b. moetastic eroge/lightnovel sort of stuff. Maybe all the otomen are just hiding…

  14. bangin said,

    khursten: I think fruba is still in the otaku field, but actually when I was a high-school student, the guys in my class already read Fushigi Yugi or Angel Sanctuary though they weren’t otaku. Nobody thought it was weird. Before, most girls used to hesitate to buy any weekly shounen magazines even though they liked when City Hunter, Saint Seiya, Dragon Ball, Fist of the Northern Star were popular. Nowadays, such shoujo manga has been a mainstream…I guess this is why general people started to accept shoujo manga…Having said that, if we can even see some stars inside her amazingly big eyes, it should be too girly such as Fullmoon wo sagashite…That kind of manga is less acceptable in public.

    Yes, otome has a better ring to it. I have seen a blog where some bloggers discussed a better name for Otome Road. One of them is Fujoshi Road. XD

    w-dono: Yes, Noitamina. I heard it a couple of days ago. Even though they are on the air so late, they can get high rates. Most successful anime are aired on Fuji-TV, TBS, and NTV. Of course we can see anime on other chunnels like TV Tokyo, but as far as I know, there’s not much series those could get such high rates like Otoboku, or Haru Toki. I assume the thing is the storyline where those who are in the 20’s show up. And the plot shouldn’t be far-fetched. Let’s see Honey and Clover, NANA, and Nodame. Those characters are so real, I mean, common people such as university students or amateur rock bands. The closer to the reality it is, the more acceptable. I think that is one reason those shoujo manga could be a live-action drama version, or a movie. Nodame has a drama version, H&C and NANA have a movie version…

    Otomen has not been generalized yet, so in my opinion, they are afraid of coming out. Akibakei has got common in general, though. I can go to Otome Road while I go to Akihabara. I am such a half-blooded, am I not? ^^

  15. My shot at bento, moyashiben! : punked noodle :: home of the crazy noodle said,

    […] of something new. Something came into my head when I thought of this new bento trend called “キャラ弁 — charaben” which is Japanese for character bento, meaning you’re trying to make an image of your […]

  16. Mer said,

    Way to go! I think this looks really good for a first try. And thank you for doing it “how to” style with step-by-step pictures and details about what food was used for each portion.

  17. bangin said,

    Thank you! Maybe I guess there would be much better food to design the bento. I saw your bentos, those are so nice!

  18. Teko-chi said,

    I’d fall in love with a boy to make me a yaoi bento! xD

  19. bangin said,

    I wish I could make another charaben…next should be yaoi one??

  20. Teko-chi said,

    Yeah, yeah!! 8D Do it!

  21. Fuuga said,

    Omg no your bento is cute~!!>w<

    Otomen are cool in my opion it just makes me sad to see they can do everything better than girl..*envious*OTL’

    I’ve been having so much fun reading your entrys and learning alot to! XD
    (I did not know that there were so many seme titles! and also your cosplays are very cool! You look very young!! 0A0)

  22. bangin said,

    Haha, thanks for coming! I am glad to hear this blog interests you. And thank you for saying like that about my cosplay!! I am trying to do my best to be a better cosplayer!

    My friend says I am the first man who claims himself to be an otomen in English. (?_?)

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