Toriko Volume 19 (manga review)

Torkio volume 19Toriko Volume 19

Artist and Author: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro

U. S. Distributor and Publisher: Viz Media

U. S. Release Date: Dec. 3rd, 2013

Format: Manga / paper back /  200 pages

Genre: shonen, action, adventure, comedy

Publisher Age Rating: T

Overall Personal Rating: B


Toriko is set in a world in which food is highly prized. In this world,  Gourmet Hunters are a special breed of mercenary treasure hunters dedicated to scouring the Earth for rare delicacies and strange delicious animals. The IGO (International Gourmet Organization), a group organizing these brave explorers, even gives special capture difficulties to these various creatures and foodstuffs, from bizarre things like beer mammoths to building sized “BB corn”. Toriko, a legendary gourmet hunter (and exceedingly buff guy) goes on various quests to search for the ingredients for his perfect full course meal, along with friends like successful chef Komatsu and his genetically modified bio-wolf Terry Cloth. He is also allies with various other powerful Gourmet Hunters, such as the Four Legendary Kings.

Toriko and friends face off against the gruesome head chef of the Underground Cooking World, Livebearer, who wants nothing more than to eat their memories of food. In order to keep the contents of their brains from being scarfed down, Toriko will have to eat the grossest, squirmiest, biggest and most explosive foods ever to win a high-stakes game of “Gourmet Tasting”!
Now that they are facing off against a true cheater they know that they have to be at their best and of course they are. The way that Coco pulls off his magic and understands exactly how to take the head chef on it ends up being a rather entertaining game of cat and mouse. Shimabukuro does a fine job of bringing this along with explaining some of Coco’s choices, but not everything. There is also the way that Toriko manages to eat everything even when it looks like it should kill him. It also manages to showcase Komatsu’s talent as a chef. Even though Toriko is a rather odd story it is put together extremely well. There are moments when it comes across with a rather simplistic view point, but when you stop and think about the audience it seems to fit.
Much of this volume is set during the big battle and it play out rather easily. I still get the feeling that there is something missing. Maybe with the action being so subdued it just fell a little flat. For a series that sets up a rather strange premiss it does a fine job of delivering an entertaining product.  The art style fit well also. It runs with the best in shonen artistic handling of the subject matter. The writing stays imaginative and snappy. This keeps everything moving and maybe that might be a little out of the ordinary for some shonen, because we don’t get bogged down in a endless fight that comes to a lack luster conclusion. One thing that Toriko does do that is typical and that is make it a little too easy for the antagonist to switch sides. I guess there is still a solid grounding in my western ideals that the bad guys can’t switch side with a drop of a hat.
Overall Grade: B
Toriko is a fun series that has plenty to offer and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a strange action series. I would not jump in at volume 19 but rather start at the begining. The real winner behind Toriko is that it is for all ages even though it has a T for teen rating. I have a feeling that plenty of boys and girls under 10 enjoy this series just the way they enjoy Dragon Ball Z. The bottom line is that Toriko is a winner and that it should make it on all action adventure readers list if it is not already there. Toriko does prove that not every series has to be about fighting for fightings sake. Have fun and don’t be afraid of the food it could kill you but probably won’t.

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