Tohei, the anime legend behind enduring classics the likes of Dragon Ball Z and One Piece return with an ‘insert-every food related pun here’ because Toriko is gourmet meets gargantuan Gararagators and other dangerously delicious beasts. Just make sure you are not hungry when you commence viewing!
Welcome to the Gourmet Age, a time when the world is full of deliciously deadly ingredients that the wealthiest appetites in existence can’t wait to devour. But only a mighty mercenary like Toriko can track down the rarest animals on the planet and put them on a plate! Toriko will circle the globe in search of the mouth-wateringly lethal ingredients that will one day make up his Full Course Menu of Life! The more ferocious the beast – the bigger the feast. “You gotta eat what you defeat!”
Would you want to eat that!?
This catch-phrase carries true for most of the series and the show is quite formulaic – always outdoing itself with the size and challenge of each meal but never on actual plot. In true DBZ style the fighting is ramped up and Toriko displays god-like skills taking down each creature that have challenge ratings as his sidekick Komatsu utilizes roleplaying game elements to track his progress. Thankfully Toriko is a (for now) smaller series than the mindless One Piece and DBZ series but still has that simplistic nature about it that an every-man can enjoy. Even if it does get out of hand episode-wise it’s pretty easy to start and stop a series of this caliber.
What I found particularly out-there about this anime is the subject matter itself – I don’t think any narrative has dealt with gourmet food in such an interesting way – each episode presents a different tasty but challenging morsel and eventually the real villains come into focus as does the real goal – the jewel meat and although Toriko meets some interesting characters on his journey they are superfluous to the central mechanic.
Friend or foe? Tasty?
Based on a popular manga series of the same name, Toriko is certainly rough around the edges. The art itself is rough and not very detailed, although this does help highlight the actual creatures more than say the backdrops, but this does become very noticeable further into the anime.
The dub is interesting, although I tend to avoid them like the plague, but in this case though the actors have recognized the absurd premise of the series and speak like the cast of Iron Chef.
The DVD has some commentary tracks that aren’t particularly interesting, textless songs (opening and ending) and the U.S trailer.
Overall Toriko is an easy-breezy fighting anime that has an intriguing premise guaranteed to leave your stomach rumbling.
Kwenton Bellette - follow Kwenton on Twitter here: @Kwenton
Toriko Collection 1 is out now on DVD from Madman Entertainment, with 2 to follow on the 19th June.
Kwenton Bellette is extremely passionate about Asian film and the resurgence of new waves taking place in Korea, Japan and China in the last 10 years. He joined the global site Twitchfilm in 2009, is the artistic director of the Fantastic Asia Film Festival is Melbourne and currently studies a film masters degree at Melbourne University. He is very excited to raise further awareness of the what he thinks is the most exciting film industry in the world.