Toriko – Review
Having just discovered my new favourite anime, I felt like I just HAD to post a review on it.
With the new trend of wimpy/slim-line heroes, it is a breath of fresh air to see a more “manly” main character. But this “manly” main character design was also the main reason why I put off watching this anime for a whole season. The only reason why I finally picked it up is because Takahiro Sakurai is one of the voice actors for the series. Though honestly, I could not care less after watching the first episode as I had been charmed by it.
The story revolves around Toriko who is one of the “Heavenly Kings” and also has a nickname of “The Glutton”. He is a Gourmet Hunter who specializes in hunting down rare and delicious ingredients. These Gourmet Hunters spend their life creating their ‘Life’s Full Course Menu’ consisting of what they think would be their ideal full course meal. Accompanying Toriko on his journey is a wimpy side-kick/burden called Komatsu. Of course a more sinister and deeper storyline brews in the background beneath the episodic/short arcs plot format that has been presented thus far. The world that this takes place in is a shared world with One Piece, personally, that sort of put me off as I do not like One Piece (not that it is bad, but I just can’t seem to get myself to continue past the first 40 eps) but the focus points of the series is so different from One Piece it really makes no difference if they are in the same universe.
Whilst I may love this anime, it is definitely not the best anime ever. I love it because it is such fun to watch, plus every episode starts off with some ridiculous food item like soba grown on trees, hamburger clovers, caramel islands, butterflies made out of fries (called butterfries, okay, this is the only one that gross me out) and it always leaves me hungry. The rest of the episode however is more about action and the chase of catching a monster that looks so unappealing you wouldn’t believe how delicious it is meant to be despite the descriptions that Toriko gives whilst stuffing his face. So in order to allow the viewer to connect with the ingredients of that world and give the viewer a slight impression of just how good it is meant to be, they describe by comparing it to the fine ingredients that we know of in our world i.e. wagyu, ootoro etc.
If you are getting the impression that this is a cooking anime or a food-type anime, you might be disappointed. Whilst a big emphasis has been placed on food, those food seem so unreal you don’t really feel a connection to it. It might make you wish they were real and you could get your hands on them, but it is not about make you run to the kitchen, whip out your frying pan and start cooking. At least not the way Yakitate Japan got me baking bread out of a rice cooker =_=”.
The animation and fight scenes might give off a “Dragonball-Z” feel at times but it is overall entertaining to watch. Realism is definitely not the main focus of these scenes and the animation is mediocre at best. The touching scenes are not going to tug on your heart-strings, and the action scenes are not going to get you jumping out of your chair. The comedy is not going to have you laughing till you cry and honestly, after this description you are probably wondering what’s so good about this.
Well, to me, it is the mixture of the light-hearted atmosphere with a little bit of everything that makes it one of those anime that you can watch daily without trouble, like a family show. Then again, it could just be the refreshing look of a hero who looks more like a hero than a regular John Doe. Or perhaps it is the vivid colours of the animation that makes it so much fun to watch. Too bad there is only one episode each week.
The characters are highly interesting and are filled with masculinity that you can’t help but feel like muscles are awesome by the end of an episode. It is easy to draw a muscular character, but to create a character that is masculine without having the thought of disgust pop into your head is such a delicate balance that Toriko just manages to pull it off. If you were to compare the version of Toriko in episode 2 with the Jump Festival special of Toriko, there is a vast difference in the character and had they stick to the Jump version, I probably would not like this show as much. Toriko in the series is more approachable in his mannerisms than his jump counterpart.
As for the fight scenes, brute force is not the only trick up the sleeves of the characters in Toriko. Nope, if you want some magical elements, there are “magical” powers as well. And the fight scenes thus far is highly entertaining.
FT island did the ending song for this anime. =)
The character designs are not pretty by any means and I honestly wished that they had refined the characters a bit more, but neither are they hard to watch.
Also, the show is filled with testosterone up to the point where after an episode I feel more manly. =_= (and I am not a male) Thus the female crowd might be put off by it.