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Toriko: Collection Two

FUNimation // Unrated // November 4, 2014
List Price: $34.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kyle Mills | posted November 23, 2014 | E-mail the Author
"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 repackaged and rereleased onto collection sets. With the last 24 episodes gathered for this 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) is on the everlasting quest to fill his full course menu of life and relates his dream to Komatsu's. The quickly share a bond and they 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 whose 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. The primary foe dispatched to steal the ingredient in this set is Tommyrod (voiced by Greg Ayres), one of the Gourmet Corp's most lethal members, whose strength rivals Toriko's. Picking up where the first collection had left off at, Toriko, Komatsu, Tina, Takimaru (voiced by Todd Haberkorn) and Match (voiced by Jason Douglas) have travelled to the desolate Ice Mountain (aptly dubbed "Ice Hell") to find the final ingredient needed to perfect the famous Granny Setsuno's Century Soup, something that only emerges once every 100 years!

The gang realize this will be no easy task as they're already beaten and battered just making their way TO the frozen tundra thanks to various creatures including the Silver Grizzlies and Freezer Bison. Unfortunately to make matters worse for Toriko and friends, the Gourmet Corp. has also arrived at the scene, and they've unleashed the most deadly cook they have in their kitchen (so to speak), the vicious Tommyrod, a bug tamer, along with his subordinates Barrygamon (voiced by Mark Figert), who has super speed, brute strength and can produce a oil based shield that layers him and Bogie Woods (voiced by Jerry Jewell), who has a seemingly indestructible body and can take over someone's body, acting as a parasite.

Over the course of the first half of this box set, we get some good character development as the first 3 episode focus mainly on Match and Takimaru, who are both in search for the Soup for very personal reasons. As Toriko confronts Tommy, Taki and Match fight Bogie Woods and Barrygamon, respectively. These episodes move along at a pretty quick pace, but also drag in some spots mainly because you really want it to get to the fight between Toriko and Tommyrod. They do have a few quick fight sequences in short bursts here and there, but it's mainly lot of posturing as well. While Toriko, Takimaru and Match hold off the Gourmet Corp, The first few episodes also serve a purpose to include the introduction of Teppei (voiced by David Wald), a mysterious man who's helping Komatsu, Tina and Zongeh (voiced by Bryan Massey) search for the Soup, but also has his own motives in doing so.

Eventually the Ice Hell arc wraps up in spectacular fashion when we get a several episode long fight between Toriko and Tommyrod, where the two dish out every thing they have at one another. Soon Teppei arrives at the battlefield, and finally shows off what he's been hiding and reveals his motives. Suffice it to say, but the slow burn buildup is most definitely worth it.

After Ice Hell and the Century Soup, the longest arc in the series thus far is wrapped, The final ten or so episodes of the collection is structured in the same way as the fist collection. We have five filler episodes where the characters treat themselves to a healing spa (it's more entertaining than it sounds, I promise!) Another involves Toriko coming home to find his house gone (it was eaten as it's made of food), so he hires a famous construction worker named Smile (who ironically has lost his smile) to construct a new domicile for him. This is probably my favorite episode of the entire collection that gives us some fun moments with the characters. The final 2 episodes reunite the heavenly kings as they decide to enter a contest held by a wealthy manager of a famous restaurant chain, named Bohno, where the contestants try to get his Seven Colored Nessie (a dragon), to find the best possible food for him to eat. It's an endearing couple of light episodes that were fun to watch.

As we come back to the main storyline, Toriko visits his adoptive father, Ichiryuu (voiced by R. Bruce Elliot), whom is also the President of the IGO. Ichiryuu informs Toriko he is venturing into the deadly Gourmet World and wants Toriko to come with him as his partner. First he needs a list of ingredients, and at the top of the list is Ozone Grass, a test to see if partners can be compatible, and is located in the dangerous Vegetable Sky. This arc proved to be a great character development arc where Toriko & Komatsu finally solidify their partnership together.

The collection wraps with the Gourmet World arc, Toriko decides to test his strength by heading off to the feared Gourmet World alone, a location where only 1 person has ever survived the trip. These couple of episodes really grounds Toriko as a character, giving him some nice development and showing how far he's come, but how far he still has to go.

- 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. The dub cast truly fit their roles like a glove, however the standout is easily Ian Sinclair, whom is perfect as Toriko.

+ Some great character development in this box set, something that lacked in the previous box set in favor of action.

+ The show is flat out fun.

+ For a Shonen, Toriko has 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 these 24 episodes, Toriko covers three separate arcs, plus a few filler, "in-between" episodes.

- Negatives:

- 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.

- Nearly 2 years since the release of Part 4, there is still no news of Part 5.

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, with some faraway shots having 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, but I 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 original separate sets, then what you had there is the exact same you're going to get here.

- Episode 30 commentary with Ian Sinclair, Jerry Jewell and Jason Douglas, whom play Toriko, Bogiewoods and Match, respectively. Jerry also serves as the ADR director on the dub going forward from episode 37.

- Episode 34 commentary with Tyler Walker & David Wald. Tyler Walker is the ADR director of the dub for episodes 1-36, while David Wald plays Teppei in the dub.

- Episode 40 commentary with Ian Sinclair and Jarrod Greene whom play Toriko and Coco, respectively.

- Episode 46 commentary with Ian Sinclair and Josh Grelle whom play Toriko and Komatsu, respectively.

- Feast with the cast of Toriko! Episode 42 video commentary with Ian Sinclair, Aaron Roberts, Jarrod Greene, and Morgan Garrett, whom play Toriko, Sunny, Coco and Tina, respectively.

- Textless opening and closing themes.

- Standard FUNimation trailers.

- U.S. Trailer for the dub.

Overall: Toriko is a highly addictive, hard hitting, very fun series. These 24 episodes perfectly illustrate why, it's high on action, has loveable characters that have solid development, wacky humor and it never takes itself too seriously. This collection of episodes comes Highly recommended. Hopefully FUNimation will license the rest of the series now that it's concluded in Japan.

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Highly Recommended

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