The good folks at FUNimation bring the latest over-the-top
humorous fighting anime series to region one with the release of Toriko Part One. In the save
vein as One Piece, this show features bizarre
creatures, lots of action,
and some solid laughs. It's easy to see
why it's a hit in Japan.
As the narrator reminds viewers at the beginning of every
episode, "the world is in the Gourmet Age!
An age in which people quest for yet unknown culinary delights." People in this world really appreciate what
they eat, and vast fortunes can be spent on rare ingredients. To feed
world's insatiable demand for new tastes and textures a new profession
sprung up: the Gourmet Hunters. These are strong and tough fighters who are
willing to risk their necks traveling to the farthest reaches of the
bring back tasty eats.
One of the strongest and most famous Gourmet Hunters is
Toriko, one of the Four Heavenly Kings, a title reserved for the best
best. Along with his massive muscles
(and an equally massive appetite) Toriko has a very acute sense of
allows him to track just about anything.
In the first episode a young accomplished chef, Komatsu, has
been requested by the IGO (International Gourmet Organization -
government) to obtain and cook a Gararagator.
The cook hires Toriko to get the animal and the two set off for
swamps of the Baron Archipelago. There
they face many strange and deadly animals, but finally manage to kill
the giant lizard.
During their first adventure Komatsu confesses that his
dream is to become a master chef and Toriko relates his quest: To create and eat the ultimate full-course
meal. The two become pals and their
skills supplement each other, with the hunky Gourmet Hunter taking out
creatures and the chef preparing them.
The series soon picks up some other interesting
is another one of the Four Heavenly Kings and has a gentle and refined
manner. He's taken innumerable weak
doses of poison to make himself immune to venom, and now he's able to
over 500 toxins as well as exude poison from his skin.
He also has incredible vision and is able to
see much more of the electromagnetic spectrum than normal humans can
allow him to predict the future with a 97% accuracy (yeah, I know it
make any sense... just go with it).
Another of the Kings is Sunny, an effeminate man who is
obsessed with looking good. He has
of super strong hair fibers that are prehensile. Each
one is capable of lifting 500 pounds and
he uses them as his main weapon.
There's also Rin, Sunny's younger sister who has a crush on
Toriko and Tina, a reporter who follows Toriko around to get the latest
on what he's hunting.
The show is high on action, and short on plot. The main
conflict in this first collection is for Toriko to thwart the Gourmet
evil counterpart to the IGO from obtaining valuable food with their
Telexistence Robots, or GT Robos for short.
These robots are formidable, and able to take out monsterous
and most Gourmet Hunters without any trouble at all.
This show is definitely influenced by One Piece. There are a lot
of wacky creatures and a good amount of humor (including a lot of jokes
work surprisingly well.) The characters
are lovable too, and they really drive the show.
The main flaw is that there's not a lot of plot, at least in
this first set. It comes across as just
a series of 'get that monster' stories, even though some hunts go on
several episodes. What's here is
entertaining enough, but I do get the feeling that it will grow stale
This show might also offend some viewers. At
its foundation this is a show about
hunting, killing, and eating rare animals.
They do take time to mention that Toriko never kills anything
not planning on eating, but the fact of the matter is that he's
these creatures because there are so few of them in existence. They also have Roman Coliseum type battles
between differing species where rich people come to wager on the
outcome. The show make some weak excuse
about the IGO
using the data to come up with ratings for every animal, but the fact
cloned an extinct species so that it could battle in an arena will rub
(justifiably) the wrong way.
The first 13 episodes of the series come on two DVDs stored
in a single-width case.
Viewers have the option of watching the show in the original
stereo Japanese with (optional) English subtitles or with a DD 5.1
dub. I screened this in the original
language, but I watched an episode in English too.
Both tracks were very good, and though I
preferred the Japanese language audio the English dub was very good. Then
fight scenes in particular were more forceful on the dub track, which
surprising since that's the only option where the rear speakers and
are active. Fans watching either dub
should be pleased.
The 1.78:1 image was pretty good. There
were some minor aliasing issues, but
nothing significant. The colors were
strong and the lines were tight.
The set included a commentary track on the first and ninth
episodes by the English staff. I'm not a
huge fan of English anime commentary tracks, so I won't comment on it. There's also a clean opening and closing as
well as some trailers for other FUNimation shows.
A fun set of shows filled with likeable characters.
It's not as creative or exciting as One Piece,
but the humor largely
works. If you're a fan of wacky anime,
check this one out. Recommended.