Character Bentos or kyaraben are elaborately decorated and arranged Japanese lunch boxes. To amuse children, the characters come from popular TV shows, movies, animation favorites, and cute animals. The thinking behind them is this: decorating a child’s lunch makes the kid interested in a variety of food and to encourage a wider range of eating habits. Kids at school admire each others lunches, and gain a kind of status with the coolest lunch boxes, causing rivalry among both kids and mothers. This has evolved to the point where national contests are held now for best lunch boxes, judged on design and nutritional values. Even cook books are being published on the subject. Some of these bentos are truly works of art, with great attention to detail. Others kind of resemble a dogs dinner.