In a world where the taste and texture of food are an extremely important part of life, a man with superhuman skills is regularly hired by restaurants and the rich as a hunter of precious foods. With the "help" of his timid accomplice, inspired by Toriko's greatness to accompany him, he travels to capture the evasive and ferocious animals he needs to create the ultimate dinner course.
In 2009, Toriko was nominated for the 2nd Manga Taisho Award.
The manga has been published in English by VIZ Media under the Shonen Jump imprint since June 1, 2010; in Brazilian Portuguese by Panini Comics/Planet Manga since April 2013; and in Spanish by Planeta Cómic since November 2012.
I bet you’re wondering “how can a shounen about food be interesting?”. I thought the same thing until I read it, and honestly it completely blew my expectations away... at first. I’ll explain what I mean later
- Unique concept and setting (Can you name another battle manga about food?)
- Godly world building. Seriously, it’s one of the best in manga
- Amazing art, with brutal action sequences
- The hype is over 9000!!
These are the only pros I can think of for Toriko unfortunately, because i felt this series had a lot more flaws.
The story takes place in the Gourmet age, a world
where people live and explore various delicious food to eat. Our main protagonist Toriko, and his partner Komatsu explore the world to find rare and exquisite ingredients, to accomplish Toriko’s dream of creating the best full course meal. Toriko’s the gourmet hunter who searches for the food and defeats any opponents that comes their way, meanwhile Komatsu’s the chef who prepares the food.
The plot is simple and repetitive e.g. Toriko and co. go on a quest to find a food-> Toriko arrives and has to fight some monster who doesn’t actually give af about the food-> villains shows up, Toriko fights them and wins-> Toriko gets a powerup from eating said food, then decides if he’ll put it on his full course. Rinse and repeat for 300+ chapters and you have Toriko.
There’s a diverse, large cast of characters, but they lack basic characterisation and meaningful character development. Our main characters, the four heavenly kings are just as bad in this aspect because they’re static and never really grow or change much throughout the course of the series.
Toriko is pretty much your typical shounen protagonist with nothing that really differentiates him to other shounen MCs. My problem with Toriko is he’s mindnumingly generic. Toriko will always do what’s right because of how righteous and kind hearted he is. He shares too many similarities to Goku e.g. Toriko loves fighting, he’s a glutton, he’s dumb but a genius at fighting and he even wears a knockoff gi outfit. Toriko is essentially Goku with blue hair.
Komatsu is our deuteragonist in the series, but we barely know much about his life. All we know is Komatsu is a weak coward who works as a chef in the famous Hotel Gourmet, that he went to chef school, he partners up with Toriko-san and goes on adventures with him and the rest of the heavenly kings.
That’s why the best written character is Midora because he’s one of the few characters who’s: fleshed out really well, has interesting abilities, a clearly defined personality and motivation, gets a proper character arc and good character development. The rest of the villains are poorly written and generic.
This brings me to my next point, the main cast become less interesting and sidelined as time went on. There’s blatant writer favouritism with Toriko who has 3 demons, yet they’re poorly explored. Before the timeskip, the 4 kings were around the same lvl, afterwards Toriko creates a large power gap and leaves them behind.
Komatsu becomes a gary sue chef e.g. any cooking competition, Komatsu’s able to prepare ingredients that would have taken 100+ yrs down to 30 mins. There’s no tension in his matches. He makes experienced chefs’ like Setsuna look like scrubs.
There’s a lot of nonsensical powerups our 4 heavenly kings recieve that become forgotten after the arc they’re introduced. The calories aspect to moves gets dropped too.
The timeskip was trash. The structure was atrocious e.g. the whole point of the timeskip got resolved during it- Komatsu got rescued. The 3 kings spent a year and couldn’t find air, yet Toriko comes back from training and finds it in less than 5 mins 🤦♂️
Everything goes downhill after the Pair arc. Sunny, Coco and Zebra’s journey for the main food that pertained to their dream got offscreened. That’s 3 wasted arcs. Zebra, Coco & Zebra Vs Joie got offscreened too.
There’s overused plot devices e.g. back channels, food luck. Food luck is the most nonsensical, broken ability I’ve seen in any shounen. It went from simple precognition to search for food, to characters spamming it in fights when food wasn't even relevant. I broke down in laughter when it was revealed astral spirits was what was helping them.
Furthermore, there’s the convulted drama with Accia, the talk no jutsu turning NEO into a good ‘thing’. Many plot points were never resolved. There’s a poorly written, one sided relationship with Toriko & Rin (which made their wedding look like a joke) and missed potential with space.
Overall, I enjoyed Toriko for what it is, which is a “fun, hype fuelled adventure story about food”. There’s not many manga where I’ve felt immersed into it’s world like Toriko. However, I won’t deny it went downhill after the timeskip and became worse as it went on. Toriko turned into DBZ so bad with a ridiculous power escalation. It went from "Toriko and Co. are going to hunt this rare ingredient and make a dish that will make you reader's mouth drool" to fighting some retarded Majin buu like blob that was going to destroy the planet because “he wants to eat it”.
Once you’ve gotten over the hype and start to analyse the story deeper, it isn’t that great. Toriko’s a mediocre shounen
This series is something that I will always have fond memories of. I read this all the way through high school and it was possibly one of my favorite series ever. Bursting with character, creative ideas both by the SHIMABUKURO and his fans, and really AWESOME fights, Toriko is definitely something to behold.
Food is not just food in this series. SHIMABUKURO, throughout the series, shows the importance that food can have on society and the individuals that inhabit it. It is used not only to give sustenance, but it can be used to make economies thrive and helps us
create deep, lasting relationships with others. Meals bring family's and friends together, and no matter how small or big the meal is, no matter how well it's cooked, it'll always be tastier when you and your loved ones are around the same table.
Though this series does have it's flaws (similar character designs, underdeveloped characters, a rushed final arc, etc.), I think it's still worth checking out.
Toriko is one of those series that comes sprinting at you with one goal in mind, and that goal is to entertain you with as much crazy bull-crap as it can before you get exhausted of it.
The manga is a fuel-injected testosterone trip about big men fighting excessively big monsters in order to make drool-inducing meals out of them. You get a one-two punch of cool action and delicious looking food. Expect anything more than that and you'll be sorely disappointed.
The characters are about as deep as puddle and merely get by on their big personalities. Any attempt to add depth to most characters comes
in the form of plot-twists and last-minute revelations that only serve to complicate their background rather than flesh it out. Most of the characters are left unexplored, though in some cases I'm fine with it as I didn't expect much depth in the first place.
The first two thirds of the series feature a fun variety of story arcs where Toriko and crew either have to explore fatally dangerous locations, track down ferocious animals, or fight against other super-powered humans who are after the same ingredients as them. There are some legitimately great story arcs with action that had me up way later than I should be because I just couldn't stop reading.
Where Toriko started losing me however, was in the last 100 chapters or so. Dozens of chapters at a time are dedicated solely to exposition, and it is extremely boring to read through. On top of that, many of my favourite characters like Sunny and Zebra are bumped out of the story almost entirely. After a while I just started skimming through chapters, only reading the bits that looked interesting to me. The final confrontation is at least as big and bombastic as I had hoped it would be, though having skimmed through much of the endless expository dumps, I was left confused by some details. My bad, I know.
The art starts pretty rough with some very questionable anatomy and perspective. As it goes on it becomes more polished, and the action carries a lot more motion and weight. The character designs are admittedly pretty weak for the most part, and I got many characters confused with one another as their designs looked so similar. There are definitely some gems here and there, like the insect-infested Tommyrod, or the intimidating Livebearer. The monster and creature designs on the other hand are a lot of fun, and were definitely the highlight of the series.
Toriko, at the end of the day, was at least a fun ride for most of its duration that I would happily recommend to anybody who loves over the top battle-shonen. It's outlandish, super macho, and made me pretty hungry on occasion.
This Review is for those who are intending on reading toriko so its About time someone gave an honest objective reason as to why someone should read the Manga without any spoilers...
So let me give you Toriko's main Pros & Cons:
+ World Building
This is where Toriko has an obvious advantage over the typical battle shounens. The sheer scale and diversity of the planet in which the story is set is awesome!.
The fights in Toriko highlight the "battle" in being a battle shounen. More often than not, in head to head fights there are no holds barred. Characters just don't give a flying F
about themselves during battle and risk it all - not going into any spoilers here, but manga readers will understand which greatly improves the intensity of each fight.
The added gore helps too, SO Much helpful than the anime version which never does it Justice Despite getting the push by the crossover with Dbz and One Piece in an anime special earlier.
Sometimes overlooked, but the author does manage to describe characters abilities and their concepts, giving a better understanding of the situation where things maybe seem a bit messy at first glance.
Admittedly Shima's story does deliver some impressive and unforeseeable events which leave the reader completely bemused.
+ Sheer Power
What I like a lot is The strength of some of the characters in this series can make the jaw drop...
Not to mention the creativity of some abilities are unique in its own way for a shounen its like a influence of Hokuto no ken, Dbz and Asura's wrath (Yes I mention Asura's wrath the video game in terms of all the Beasts and creatures called gohma that asura fights against,) Anyways what I will say is that The power scheme within this manga series is Damn Good.
- Slow Starter
The first 25-50 chapters of Toriko are rather vague as to what the series wants to achieve. The premise of being in a Gourmet Age where food (quality food) is the most valuable asset, and only capable hunters can procure the higher quality ingredients doesn't motivate the story until later on- where Acacia's full course is introduced. Only when all the heavenly King's are introduced fully does the story's momentum pick up.
Throughout the manga, especially in the earlier chapters, the story seems a little inconsistent, jumping from an epic, well foreshadowed battle to consecutive chapters of extensive dialogue which serves little purpose. The latter has been rare as of late, and it does seem like Shima has improved in this area greatly.
- Lack-luster characters
Hate to admit it, but it's true. Some of the characters, relatively speaking, are as bland as a slice of bread despite how their personality come across. Not trying to be harsh but I think they could be better Just saiyan.
Overall: Major stuff happen much Later on and let me tell you It gets even more Crazier. The Manga has so much going for it than the anime itself. All-in-all, I'd say give it a go especially if you are keen on it, again it might not be for everyone but for a battle shounen its up there along side Hokuto No ken, Dbz, one piece, Jojo Bizarre adventure Etc.
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