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Toriko: Collection One

FUNimation // Unrated // August 26, 2014
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kyle Mills | posted September 8, 2014 | E-mail the Author
Content:
"Welcome to the Gourmet Age, An age where the world's manliest heroes quest for yet undiscovered culinary delights." This in a nutshell can sum up what Toriko is about. The series is a shonen anime much in the same vein as series like Dragon Ball and One Piece with the over the to fighting and humor. Toriko is about a famous gourmet hunter and his friends searching for the ultimate food conquests. With the first 50 episodes originally split up onto 4 separate parts (which were my very first reviews on this site), they're now being rereleased onto collection sets, with the first 26 episodes gathered for the first set, is the series worth your time?

As we start the show, we meet Komatsu (voiced by Josh Grelle), a young chef of a five star restaurant in Gourmet Town, who aspires to be the greatest chef the world has ever seen. He's been tasked by the International Gourmet Organization Corporation (called the IGO Corp) to track down a legendary heavenly king, a famous gourmet hunter by the name of Toriko and give him the job to help them hunt a Gararagator. Toriko (voiced by Space Dandy's Ian Sinclair), unlike the other heavenly kings (there are 4 in total), is on the everlasting quest to fill his full course menu of life and relates his dream to Komatsu's. He quickly bonds with the young chef and the two decide to embark on the mission together.

However, Toriko and Komatsu aren't the only ones after these rare delicacies. Also after these ingredients (and Toriko himself), is the Gourmet Corp. A ruthless organization who poach the rare ingredients and to utilize them for their own benefit, with their end game being to eventually control all of the world's rarest ingredients to establish a "Gourmet Empire" with the key ingredient being GOD, the end all be all for gourmet hunters, an ingredient so rare that only one man has ever attained it. Leading the Gourmet Corp. on these expeditions is Starjun (voiced by Scott Freeman), a man whom's own power surpasses even Toriko's. While occasionally going after the ingredient himself, Starjun typically dispatches subordinates to try and neutralize Toriko while also securing the ingredient. Among those dispatched are Grinpatch (voiced by Chris Rager), a total loon who sucks everything up through a giant straw and has his eyes set on Terry Cloth, Toriko's loyal battle wolf, and Tommyrod (voiced by Greg Ayres), one of the Gourmet Corp's most lethal members, whose strength rivals Toriko's.

As the pair begin to bond, they set off on more journies together. In this first box set, we span over several story arcs... after they do a couple of one off episodes hunting down various foods for the IGO, they come to their first solo adventure... Toriko and Komatsu decide to go after the Puffer Whale, a mysterious whale whom is rumored to only appear once in a calendar year that if handled wrong, can become deathly poisonous, rendering it uneatable.

After the Puffer Whale, Toriko decides to visit an old friend whom has organized an underground fighting tournament between rare animals, where Toriko has to save an endangered species known as the Battle Wolf, the last one known to exist. While there, they're tasked to go after the illustrious Regal Mammoth to retrieve a sample of their precious Jewel Meat. However, Toriko isn't alone here, the Gourmet Corp has dispatched two GT robots, strong suits of armor controlled by a user at the Gourmet Corp. home base, to retrieve it first.

My personal favorite arc of the first 26 has Toriko noticing that his battle wolf, Terry Cloth, is refusing to eat every single thing that is put in front of him. To remedy this situation, Toriko decides to trek off to the dangerous Wul Jungle with Terry to find something called the BB Corn, a corn that was rumored to be a delicacies to the battle wolves. The mission heats up on intensity when Toriko and Terry run into one of Gourmet Corp's assassins, Grinpatch, whom is also looking for the BB Corn. The set ends with the start of one of the lonest arcs of the series, where Toriko and Komatsu visit a chef that they both admire greatly, Granny Setsuno (voiced by Juli Erickson), whom asks them to find the final ingredient to her world famous Century Soup, which can only be found in the depths of Ice Hell, where unbeknownst to Toriko, one of the Gourmet Corps. toughest agents, Tommyrod, is there already looking.

While hunting these rare ingredients in this box set, Toriko, Komatsu, and Terry Cloth are occasional joined by Coco (voiced by Jarrod Greene), another of the heavenly kings whom has the powers to produce numerous deadly poisons, and has dropped out of the limelight (and the hunt) because of his own personal demons. Tina (voiced by Heather Walker), an annoying news reporter who constantly wants the food scoop. Rin (voiced by Leah Clark), an overly ambitious girl whom has a massive crush on our favorite gourmet hunter. Lastly, Sunny (voiced by Aaron Roberts), a vain heavenly king whom cares more about his appearance than anything else.

-Positives:

+ The dub is excellent. These actors fit right into their characters and they deliver some of the best performances of their voice acting career. Specific standouts to me in these first 26 episodes are Ian Sinclair, Aaron Roberts, Josh Grelle, Scott Freeman (couldn't believe this was him!) and Chris Rager, who ALL bring their A game to the table, and clearly have a blast with it.

+ The show is flat out fun.

+ Break neck pacing. Typically I don't like anime where their story arcs are 40 episodes long (I'm looking at you Naruto and Bleach.) Toriko doesn't have that problem at all. In this first collection, Toriko goes through about 6 different arcs, and starts the first few episodes of a new one to lead into collection 2.

-Negatives:

- With the breakneck pacing, there is one problem that comes with it. Some of the stories could be fleshed out a bit better.

- The plot of the series may seem a bit too kid friendly at times. A general complaint among fans is that Toriko is censored of any adult themes, whereas in the manga, it can be downright brutal. I would have liked to see how Toriko was originally meant to be, but I'm fine with the final product.

Video and Audio:
The visuals of Toriko are a bit mixed. At it's best, Toriko is a stunning show, bright and vibrant, truly a gorgeous show. However at it's weakest it can be poor, some faraway shots have no facial features whatsoever, or some characters will look a tad "off." Everything else is well designed.

The audio mix is very good. We're given the option to watch the series in it's original Japanese stereo track or the excellent English dub. I watched the series in the English dub (no one does Toriko like Ian Sinclair), but did sample the Japanese track and both are great! There were no signs of any kind of distortions or dropouts.

Extras: If you bought the first 2 separate parts, then what you had there was the same you're going to get here.

- Episode 1 commentary with Ian Sinclair and Josh Grelle, whom play the two leads, Toriko and Komatsu, respectively.

- Episode 9 commentary with Ian Sincair, Aaron Roberts and Leah Clark, whom all play Toriko, Sunny, and Rin, respectively.

- Episode 15 commentary with Ian Sinclair, Scott Freeman, Morgan Garrett, and Heather Walker, whom all play Toriko, Starjun, Tina, and Kruppoh (Tina's pet bird), respectively.

- Episode 20 commentary with Ian Sinclair, Chris Rager, and Chris Guerrero, whom all play Toriko, Grinpatch, and the Narrator, respectively.

- Episode 26 commentary with Ian Sinclair and Bryan Massey, whom play Toriko and Zongeh, respectively. They're also joined by Tyler Walker the ADR director for the first half of the dub, and Kyle Phillips, an engineer at FUNimation.

- Textless opening and closing themes.

- Standard FUNimation trailers.

- U.S. Trailer for the dub.

Overall: For me personally, these first 26 episodes of Toriko were excellent. A thrill ride from the first episode until the last that never really lets up. Toriko at the moment is my favorite shonen series on the market, it's just so unique and fun, that i have to urge you to watch this show. If you take Dragon Ball's action and mix it with One Piece's humor, and put a nice spin on it, you get Toriko. Highly recommended.

Buy from Amazon.com

C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Highly Recommended

E - M A I L
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