Kyaraben is a style of elaborately arranged bento boxes which feature food decorated to look like people, animals, or pop-culture characters such as Hello Kitty or Pikachu. This style of bento art is so popular in Japan that kyaraben contests are hosted on a regular basis.

But making characters out of food is a tricky endeavor, and sometimes, regular folks just don’t have the skill to do the art form justice.

From deranged Sanrio characters to truly sad-looking snowmen, here’s a look at some bentos that have gone very, very wrong.

Pikachu is fed up that he got trapped in this bento box of struggle.

Someone took the news that Hello Kitty is not a cat too far.

WTF is this? An alien? Bigfoot?

Hide your kids, hide your wife.



Damn, we didn’t know Tim Burton designed bentos now.

Pro tip: Mayonnaise snot will never, ever be a good look.



We’re down for minimalism, but this is just plain laziness.



We love Kirimi, the Sanrio character shaped like a salmon fillet…but salmon has never looked less appetizing than it does in this #strugglebento.

This looks like some extra-struggly Naïve art.

Winter has officially been ruined.

The top penguin is kind of cute, but the bottom one looks like The Gimp with a lacrosse ball in its mouth.

Now, friends this Grim Fandango bento is how kyraben is really done…


Photo: kairamame