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Bento boxes and gear for hungry geeks (pictures)

From Kawaii Captain America to a walking carpet...bag, show what you love at lunch with these conversation-starting boxes, bags and bits of plastic. Of course, packing in the food is a hobby in itself.

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Kelsey Adams
CNET senior copy editor and contributor Kelsey Adams was raised by computer programmers and writers, so she communicates best by keyboard. Loves genre fiction, RPGs, action movies; has long, fraught relationship with comics. Come talk to her on Twitter.
Kelsey Adams
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1 of 8 Bento&co

A mighty lunch

Marvel Bento -- Bento&co. (Logo: $19, £12.13, AU$23.25; Comics: $21, £13.40, AU$25.70)

These Marvel boxes aren't for kids -- you can tell by the capacity, 850ml (about 3.5 cups). That's very large by bento standards, so they'd be good for someone with an appetite.

If you want something smaller and "cuter," there's also the 500ml Marvel Kawaii in Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man and now Thor and Hulk. Round. Cute, I guess. More snack-sized.

Related article: Bento boxes and gear for geeks with lunch breaks

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2 of 8 Amazon/Skater

You can get a Pikachu one too

Pokemon (Best Wishes) Monster Ball Lms3 Lunch Box with Bag -- Amazon ($32.22 and up), Rakuten ($14.50, £9.26, AU$17.71)

Even smaller at 170ml, about 3/4 cup, this Monster Ball box could still hold a snack or side dish. Plus you can bring along Pokemon chopsticks (several types, of course) or cutlery.

Related article: Bento boxes and gear for geeks with lunch breaks

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3 of 8 Bento&co

Two-tiered boxes are the best

Block Bento -- Bento&co. ($25.16, £16.06, $30.80)

Everything is awesome when your bento box has matching Lego drinking bottles and spoons and forks. You can even plan out your cooking experiments in a Lego Moleskine notebook. (You can get an official Lego lunchbox on Amazon, too, and put mini boxes inside it.)

Related article: Bento boxes and gear for geeks with lunch breaks

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4 of 8 Bento&co

My Bento is 640GB

Bento Colors -- Bento&co. ($25, £15.96, AU$30.60)

Of course, not everything "geeky" is part of a franchise. Choose the right color and your bento box could easily be mistaken for an old My Book-style storage drive. Blends right in on an office desk if you don't want to be conspicuous, and if anyone steals your lunch thinking it's hardware, at least you'll both be disappointed.

Another non-franchise option: the Book Bento. Something for your Tolkien and Jane Austen geeks, and holds more food than you'd think (I own this one). Also has a nice seal under the lid for slightly sloshier foods.

And why not bullet train chopsticks? Not everyone likes trains, but if you know someone who does, odds are that person is a geek about it.

Related article: Bento boxes and gear for geeks with lunch breaks

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5 of 8 ThinkGeek

It lights up <3

Star Wars R2-D2 Lunch Bag with Sound -- ThinkGeek ($19.99, US and Canada only), Amazon.com (from $16.08, can be shipped to "select countries outside the US")

Admittedly, this is not a bento box. But it's just so cute I couldn't leave it out. And though it would obviously be too much to throw in a matching R2-D2 soy sauce container or egg cup -- or would it? -- you'll probably want some of those light-up lightsaber chopsticks from Kotobukiya, via many sources including Amazon and Amazon UK.

Related article: Bento boxes and gear for geeks with lunch breaks

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6 of 8 ThinkGeek

A tauntaun would make more sense

Chewbacca Lunchbag -- ThinkGeek ($14.99, converts to £9.50, AU$18.35)

Or you could go with this insulated Chewbacca bag available via ThinkGeek, and if you think that's cute and/or disturbing, check out Bonnie Burton's DIY Chewbacca tablet cozy. Arrrgh, gets me every time.

Incidentally, this Clone Wars item is called a Funtainer. OK! At least it's not a Thermal Jar-Jar.

Related article: Bento boxes and gear for geeks with lunch breaks

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7 of 8 BentoUSA.com

So many suits, and then he blew them up, why

Iron Man Food Decorating Party Ring -- BentoUSA.com ($2.25, converts to £1.44, AU$2.75)

Since we're talking about accessories, people who like an excuse to spend money collecting random little things LOVE bento gear. People who don't should run, now. The number of tchotchkes you can find to stuff in and around your lunch is near-infinite. For example, these Iron Man "Food Decorating Party Rings" are designed to be jammed into your food as decorating...party...rings. Yeah, I'm not sure either.

Dinosaur food picks are a bit more obvious: roll up a ham slice or zoodle stuffed with cream cheese, and stab it with a Parasaurolophus. Done.

Related article: Bento boxes and gear for geeks with lunch breaks

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8 of 8 CasaBento

Ultimately, it's what's inside that counts

Superman Bento Boxes X3 -- CasaBento ($24.94, £16.04, €19.99, converts to $AU30)

Perhaps because most bento boxes don't have locking waterproof seals, they're traditionally wrapped in a cloth called a furoshiki (Batman-themed or otherwise). A drawstring bag with Superman, Super Mario or Dragon Ball Z does the same job at a lower skill level. This is the crafty sort of item people often put up on Etsy, with search terms like "bento bag."

Speaking of Etsy, check out these vintage-look "Star Trek" napkins. Two to clean up, Mr Scott. And if you like to pack a thermos of miso soup or cocoa sometimes, why not alien and robot mug cozies? THE CLAW! THE CLAW!

There are lots of bento suppliers that ship gear out from Japan or resell from other countries, so if you want something, you can usually find it. The key thing is to make sure a box is large enough before buying. For tips and recipes, I like JustBento.com.

Related article: Bento boxes and gear for geeks with lunch breaks

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