What They Say:
Toriko and Komatsu explore the despicable depths of Honey Prison as they make their way to the one called Zebra. Dare they hope to survive such a deafening encounter!?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Aside from a few minutes showing Toriko and Komatsu walking towards the Honey Prison, the entirety of this episode basically serves as a tour guide of Honey Prison. Once Toriko and Komatsu near the top of the steep cliff upon which the prison hangs from, we are introduced to Vice-chief Oban. Oban is a terrifying looking man whose face appears to be a sick mixture of a vampire and Frankenstein’s Monster. Oban leads our heroes down into Honey Prison all the while explaining the various security systems and torture methods employed there.
I feel as if this whole setup and walkthrough is a giant joke being played on the audience. To anyone familiar with the series One Piece, this whole episode is similarly structured to the introductory episode of Impel Down (the prison in the One Piece world). Each minute detail: the giant monsters that guard the halls, the elaborate torture environments to put the prisoners through the ultimate hell, and the bizarre appearances of the prison staff, it just feels like a re-hash. However, it seems as if this is completely intentional. Toriko has often been compared to One Piece since it first premiered in manga form. This is because it employs a similar light-hearted atmosphere with extremely strange character designs and inhabiting world. With this prison introduction a nod seems to be given to that comparison with a twist; everything is deadly serious! In One Piece’s Impel Down, all the staff and monsters are very bizarre but with a touch of humor that makes them laughable and fun. Here in Toriko, everything is played up in the most menacing manner possible. Everyone is disgustingly deformed, the monsters are terrifying beasts that one could actually believe upon first sight can actually act as appropriate security…everything. The tortures the prison employs are completely ridiculous and caused me to snicker a little bit but when put in the context of the world Toriko has established, these truly are the most mean-spirited and cruel punishments one could imagine.
That’s the twist but the joke is that everything serious is thrown completely out the window once we meet the warden, Chief Love. He (she??) is so over the top in both appearance and power ability that it seems as if they are trying to one up One Piece in this department. I won’t spoil the joke but….it’s pretty good. It just makes the whole dynamic of the One Piece comparison that much more entertaining. They lure you in and make it evil step-brother to One Piece and then flip it on its ears to become just as wild as One Piece. With Chief Love introduced, the final minutes are spent at Zebra’s cell where his crime is explained (sort of), his punishment is shown, and the immense level of just how badass he is, is revealed.
This episode was so full of information and general world building that I had to double take when the episode ended. There’s no way 22 minutes just passed! The episode is very fun but only because my brain starting connecting it to One Piece in such a bizarre manner. To most, the serious tone while leisurely touring the prison may not be the definition of an exciting time. The episode does pick up pace towards the end and becomes a much more generally enjoyable experience that really get the audience questioning the world and just how bad a dude Zebra is. By being able to plant nuggets of curiosity and interest into the viewer I’d say this episode is quite the success. Chief Love is great and now that we have met Zebra I cannot wait to see him in action!
Streamed By: Funimation
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