Tentacle-Free Anime: "Toriko" Pt. 1 (2011) Impressions
- by Kazekun, 16 September 2013
Now for something a little different! In this new, ongoing but irregularly scheduled segment called SHONEN IMPRESSIONS I will be taking a look at the currently still running anime "Toriko", which I've been asked to watch in full. I will be going off the FUNimation released DVDs and giving my impressions of the series based off the episodes of the DVD sets (i.e. the Part 01 released set hold the first 13 episodes of the series, Part 02 holds episodes 14-26, so on and so forth). For this first installment I will be taking a look at the first 13 episodes of the series and giving my thoughts on them. Let’s go!
My first thoughts on Toriko is that it most definitely is a shonen anime, hands down. It follows the very guidelines to a shonen series to the t which in turn makes it a very different kind of beast than any of the regular series that I’m used to reviewing. Shonen series are designed to be long running, continuing stories with as much action and heart a creator can cram into it to make it engaging but not outright dribbling. These are the kind of the shows for the action lover in all of us, and when you go into a series like this expect to see a very heavy emphasis on style over story (mostly).
I did find myself laughing quite a lot throughout the story, especially in the later episodes on this set when certain characters were introduced (namely Sunny). The anime is named after the main character of the series, Toriko, who is a big blue haired hulking guy and is one of the four “heavenly kings” of the series, which you find out more as the story progresses exactly what that means. While I like Toriko and find him entertaining, I don’t feel like this series is really about him, but more about the people who surround him. By the end of this first set I feel as if I know more about the extended cast than I do about the main man himself, which I assume will be taken care of as the series progresses but we’ll see.
The first 13 episodes cover 4 ½ story arcs, the first introduces us to the world we’re going to be exploring, which is filled with all manners of ginormous beasts, that are filled with the most delectable meat and flavorings and what have you, for our heroes to consume after they have defeated the beasts. This world’s entire global economy is centered on food and the natural environment creates so many savoring natural foods that look and sound delicious. This whole series is food porn for the food lovers. The second story arc focuses on the “Puffer Whale” that surface from incredible water depths in a very secluded, hard to reach cave area once every 10 years and are said to be some of the most delicious tasting things in world if you make them right.
The third story arc sees the return of an extinct species being reborn in the midst of an illegal (more or less) cockfighting ring of beasts, and our heroes having to save it. And the current arc that I am on is not completed on this set but centers around our heroes and by this point extended cast trying to defeat the evil Gourmet Corp from needlessly slaughtering beasts of all kinds in search for a rare, delectable meat. I am enjoying this current arc quite a bit so far, as now our cast is more or less finally in place (at least it feels like it) and now we can focus on finding out what is most assuredly the big bad of the series that our heroes will have to consistently deal with.
Toriko and his fellow Gourmet Hunters do kill their prey often, but they also have a code of honor they go by which I love. They only kill what they eat, if they are not fighting it for the sake of eating it, they will not kill it if it is attacking them, just temporarily immobilize it while the evil group known as the Gourmet Corps needlessly slaughters for the fun of it. The characters are all fun and witty and I find myself rooting for every single one of them, which is a major plus.
The animation is colorful and crisp and brought to you by the same animators who have done DBZ and One Piece. It’s a brightly lit up world and very aware of its silly surroundings, taking full advantage of it. The voice acting is so-so to me right now, mainly because it’s a FUNimation dub so I’ve heard all of these voice actors before and I’m watching it in English. But I do have to give props to Ian Sinclair who does the voice of Toriko himself, having seen Mr. Sinclair in person at a recent Anime Convention I attended, his natural voice sounds absolutely nothing like the gruff and muscular voice Toriko has and I find that fascinating that he is able to change his whole persona for the character.
What the series is doing wrong though is that it does have a very rough start setting up its world, with some early episodes just being flat out boring. I really feel that when this current story arc started that the series finally began to shine, but you have to ultimately suffer through some mediocre content at the start to get to the good stuff. The villains need to be more fleshed out, as does Toriko himself I feel, so that I can begin to feel as if this show really is about him and not about everyone else. And unfortunately the series does do that one shonen thing that does irritate me to no end every time: when introducing an unbelievable super ability the main character can do, the story usually takes an entire episode to get you hyped for the ability and then later on when the character uses said ability again he can do it on the fly and with no problems or time waiting period like he had to the first time.
The story is still ongoing, so I cannot give it a proper rating. However I do find it enjoyable and will continue to watch it, and if you’re a shonen fan I say check it out, if you’ve never seen a shonen before I think it’s a good place to start as it does follow every shonen trope so you’re going to get pretty much the whole shebang in this series, especially in the first 13 episodes. You don’t need to enjoy food to enjoy this series; it’s about the characters and the action in the end before it’s about the food. At least that’s how I feel; the food just offers this rich, new tasty world for the viewer to consume and set up really zany threats for our heroes to face.
(Pt. 1) Final Score: 3 out of 5
How did you like this first SHONEN IMPRESSIONS segment? Do you enjoy "Toriko"? Let us know in the comments!
Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.