Toriko Vol. 1 (iPad) – Review
Do you want to read the most epic manga ever to be made? I kid you not here folks, Toriko just may be the most amazing manga I’ve ever read. Let me put it to you this way, take the zany bits of One-Piece add them to a main character that’s as insane as Monkey D. Luffy but as manly as Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star with an appetite that rivals that of Son Goku, and you’re still not even close to how great this book is.
I picked this up during Viz’s ‘Manga Madness’ promotion that has been going on all of March, where the company is offering the first volumes to many of their manga at a deeply discounted rate of only $0.99 each (plus tax). Considering the normal cost per volume is $4.99, I couldn’t pass this up.
The story, written by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro, takes place on a planet not too unlike Earth where only 30% of the world is hospitable to humans and is known simply as the Human World. The other 70% of the planet is considered the Gourmet World where beasts and plants of all types exist and are most assuredly delicious but ultimately lethal to most people to attempt to procure them.
This is where our hero the Gourmet Hunter, Toriko, comes into the picture.
When the food is to dangerous to capture on your own, you commission a Gourmet Hunter to capture or kill it for you and bring it back so that you can either eat it on your own or serve it to others. Pretty simple premise really, but this manga is just so…BADASS.
Toriko is one of the Four Heavenly Kings that are capable of singlehandedly hunting down many of the world’s more dangerous and delicious creatures. He is also known as “the glutton” as it would take the equivalent of five-thousand normal portions to get him full. In his hunting repertoire he uses special techniques known as knife (a cutting attack with his hand), fork (a method of holding his prey still while knife does its damage), and his multi-hit nail punch (just imagine his fist being the hammer). His main goal in life is to find all of foods that will make up his Full Course Menu, the menu that defines a gourmet hunter’s life, and the meal they wish to have before dying.
Joining him for the ride is his defacto sidekick for the entire series is the IGO (International Gourmet Organization) chef Komatsu, a small and defenseless character that follows Toriko in order to sample the best ingredients in the world and to see them in their natural habitat.
It does play out like your typical shonen manga (shonen is the term that is normally used to describe young men), in as much that it’s very serialized and is not showing any signs of stopping. Considering that it’s already reached its 14th volume in Japan, this series is promising to follow in the footsteps of other wildly popular series like One Piece, Bleach, and Dragon Ball Z. It’s a great read that had me sitting there speechless most of the time, and absolutely unable to put it down the rest of the time.
The best scene for me in this inaugural volume would have to be the battle with the Garara Gator (not pictured above), where we truly get to see how powerful Toriko really is. I don’t want to spoil it for any of you that haven’t read it yet, but if this series can keep the same energy that it has in this book, I’m sure to pick up each issue.
This is one of those rare manga that hits the ground running and doesn’t stop. If you’re wondering what will be the next big anime series to sell amazingly in America, this is the horse you need to put your money on right now.
My only gripes with this book is that the story, while good, leaves you to wonder if that there’s nothing else worth living for on the planet. The art for the issue is really well done…and let’s face it, you don’t get serialized in Shonen Jump without having the artistic talent to do so, but there were a few panels that I had a hard time figuring out what exactly was going on. I’m hoping that Shimabukuro-san steps his game up in the following volumes. If he does, there’s nothing to stop him.