The arc transition volume to end them all!
Story: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
Art: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
Translation/Adaptation: Christine Dashiell/Hope Donovan
What They Say
With Komatsu’s completion of the Century Soup, Toriko has added another item to his Full-Course Meal! Now the Gourmet Hunter’s ready for a new challenge to prepare him for the eventual journey into the savage Gourmet World. Fortunately, the president of the IGO is there to personally issue a dangerous training mission. Toriko will have to brave killer storms to pluck a succulent grass that only grows in the stratosphere!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With all the high stakes and ultra-violent action in the preceding Century Soup arc, we finally wrap up all of those plot threads in a very subdued manner. This volume features the completion of Komatsu’s recreation of the Century Soup and the “everyone gets to eat it” section of the Toriko arc formula. These chapters are handled in a way that help elevate the spectacle of everything. Ture to its nature, Toriko remains larger than life and its over-exaggeration of everything, from how the soup tastes to everyone’s reaction to the soup, only make it that much more enjoyable to read.
After a quick chapter about Toriko getting a new house built completely out of sweets (I want to live in this world more and more) and showing just how happy Century Soup can make people; we start the build up to the next storyline. We see the leader of the Gourmet Corp taste the real Century Soup and become subsequently nonplussed by its taste. In discovering that not even Century Soup is enough to make him happy, the leader pledges that the Gourmet Corp will now prepare to head out into the Gourmet World and seek out God, the main course in Gourmet God Acacia’s Full Course Menu. We then cut over to Toriko meeting with the President of IGO and receiving a request from the old man. Toriko is given the task of acquiring particular high-end ingredients that will act as training required for him to enter the Gourmet World and seek out the ingredient God!
Now I know that simply by calling the ingredient God, Toriko may start to lose a few people as its subtext is less than subtle. However, that’s why this should be taken as a good sign for the series to come, the series lacks all sense of subtlety in aiming for the heavens! The remaining half of the books takes us up to Vegetable Sky where Toriko is tasked with capturing the ultimate vegetable, Ozone Grass. I have to give credit where credit is due here because this is not how a shonen fighting series starts its arcs out, let alone not how Toriko has previously started its arcs. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxing as their journey begins. Then, while traveling up the gigantic beanstalk that will take them tens of thousands of meters into the sky, we don’t see thousands of enemies bearing down on them, we don’t see everything getting so exponentially difficult that our heroes need to power up, we…well, technically we do be it isn’t what we are used to seeing. The enemy here is the weather, mother nature herself. While Toriko and Komatsu are climbing the vine, we see the various changes in the elements and get rather detailed explanation as to how these changes are affecting both their bodies and ultimately their journey. It is really a lot of fun to read as I prefer to take a break from all the fighting every once in awhile and get caught up in the moment. It is more interesting and ‘edge of your seat’ to have mother nature beating down on your characters to the point where they just might die, no chance of luck will save them; they just have to learn to adapt.
It’s great stuff that offers something a little different than what is excepted from this kind of title. This volume in particular is a joy because it provides an arc’s conclusion, an in-between buffer, and the entire journey and trial section of a new arc. Each piece flows so smoothly into the next that everything feels entirely natural and effortless. Yet our attention is commanded the whole time.
The Century Soup arc was a flawless fighting arc in my opinion. The pacing, the twists, the artwork, the violence, everything. It is almost as if that arc is nearly impossible to top; so why even try. This volume acts as a transition volume on multiple levels, both literally and in terms of style and tone. This is still Toriko no doubt about it, but it is no longer simply content with being a shonen fighting series that just moves from arc to arc with copious amounts of violence. The series always had something going for it that made it a better series both in terms of enjoyment and in writing, that was its over-the-top-ness. Toriko was a fighting show but it was super crazy! Much more violent than usual, much less kid-friendly with all the smoking and drinking, and completely insane in how it dealt with events (never forget Mansom healing a laser wound through his chest by pouring alcohol on it). Now, it is adding something much more unique, and that is simply a different approach. I am looking forward to how the series will continue to evolve and what adventures await both our heroes and the readers.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012