If action is your game, Toriko has you covered in spades!
What They Say:
Toriko, Komatsu, and a host of hopeful heroes bundle up and begin the treacherous trek into the chilling confines of Ice Hell! The prize that lies ahead, Century Soup, is among the rarest of gourmet treasures – and without a doubt, the most divine delicacy ever to grace a bowl and spoon. Once every hundred years this luxurious liquid forms at the center of a chilling continent crafted completely from ice! Toriko and his culinarily-inclined sidekick Komatsu are determined to slurp up the sweet rewards of their journey, but something evil stands in their way. While Komatsu desperately seeks the soup, Tommyrod – a Gourmet Corps henchman with insects on the inside – pushes Toriko to the breaking point in a bugged out battle for the ages. Gourmet glory awaits, but only if they survive!
The audio presentation this time around is exactly the same as before. No hiccups or surprises from what I could tell. The dub is getting extremely competent at this point in the game with everyone comfortable in their roles and delivering their lines in a manner that befits the show. The dub only jokes and fake cursing continues much to my chagrin, but it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon so…live and let live.
The video presentation is surprisingly good for a standard definition release. Through my Blu-ray player, the 480p/i video was upscaled to a crisp 1080i video that averaged at 8-9 MBps. This provided an extremely smooth visual presentation that did not present any anomalies that I was able to catch. In fact, the video looked so good through my setup, that some scenes where like I was watching the show for the first time. Much better than the simulcast streams! The great video quality paired with the absolutely gorgeous and fluid animation featured in these episodes made this set a feast for the eyes. Just lovely!
The packaging again repeats the same styles and motifs previously employed. It still makes for a pretty dull presentation but the consistency is admirable three sets into the series and makes everything extremely comfortable.
The menus on this set follow the exact same configuration and motifs used in the previous set. They are easy to navigate and use.
This time we get just a pair of commentary tracks by the English staff for episodes 30 and 34. We also get the opening and both closing themes in textless form. Very standard with no surprises. There’s also some FUNimation trailers thrown in there to make it look like there’s a bit more to the features than there really is.
The third DVD release of Toriko by FUNimation almost covers the rest of the Century Soup arc that started with the last few episodes of the second set, for a total of 12 episodes. Where we left our heroes off at, they had just arrived on Ice Hell with a large group of Gourmet Hunters all hired by a mysterious billionaire to search for, and capture, the Century Soup. The final episode of the last set gave us a very brief introduction to the villains of the arc: Tommyrod, Bogey Woods, and Barrygamon of the Gourmet Corp! Right from the start with this set, our heroes and the villains meet each other and full-scale war immediately ignites.
That is basically it for this set. Ten of the included twelve episodes encompass this full-scale war and it is really quite strange that it is so good! Not once during the proceedings does it ever feel like it is stalling for time of becoming dull. The series is able to pull off this unbelievable feat by simply orchestrating and planning each episode to have a singular focus but never drawing out the action in the traditional fashion. What I mean by that is this: the fight has four different story threads, including three separate fights, going on at the same time at first, the series then gradually combines the threads together until there is a single focal point at the end of the set. What Toriko does with these story threads that is a bit different from the norm is focus on a single aspect at a time. This reduces multiple repeated flashes between the different threads but also helps propel the show ever forward. By focusing on a main aspect during a given episode it forces all the other storylines to the background, including the storyline involving the main character, which actually helps give a strong sense of time and urgency. One of the typical functions of a big fighting arc like this is to structure the episodes as if everything is happening all at the same time. While there is inherently no issue with this approach, it has always worked well when done correctly, it is extremely interesting when that trap is avoided.
As I mentioned, each episode chooses a storyline to focus on while maintaining minor tabs on the other threads. What gives these episodes their urgency is that time never stops. When Takimaru is fighting against Bogey Woods, Match gets blasted across the scenery during his fight with Barrygamon. This particular episode uses this intersection to show us what is happening with that storyline but we are never given all the details. We don’t refocus on Match to see his fight from the beginning or anything along those lines. When the next episode finishes the Takimaru fight and shifts focus to Match, we are presented with a character who has already had the snot beat out of him and we are just coming in during the tail end of the fight. This goes double for Toriko whose fight is saved for last to be the focus. By the time we get around to him, Tommyrod has sufficiently wore him down; because they’ve been fighting the whole time! I really like the way the series does this because it creates an extremely powerful propulsion in the series that doesn’t just urge the viewer to keep going but actually makes it so the viewer has no idea how many episodes they are actually watching. A marathon feature would have been absolutely perfect for this set because of this!
Another thing these episodes include that make it stand out is the animation quality. You can visibly tell that there was a giant budget increase and holy crap does it look good! The episodes that focus on the Toriko/Tommyrod fight shows this off especially well. With all this fighting action pushing forward like a freight train that is incredibly well done and more than just a little entertaining…there has to be some flaws right? Well, yes and no. Toriko is a children’s series. While the manga is quite violent most of the time, the anime has always toned down the violence to be more acceptable for kids. This is the only thing that adds some sort of issue to this arc because of the way the anime circumvents the violence. BIG SPOILERS AHEAD!
During Toriko’s fight with Tommyrod, we get possibly the most intense fight in years! What makes it so intense is just how much is at stake, what happens to the characters and how it shifts the outcome to be less than expected. Regarding the violence: during the fight Toriko first gets half of his hand ripped off and the later gets his entire left arm obliterated. He know that this is real deal stuff and this adds to the intensity and suspense the show is going for. However, it isn’t exactly clear what is happening to Toriko when these bits of extreme violence occur. In order to tone down the fight for children’s TV, there is a lot of smoke added to hide the gruesomeness and there is absolutely no blood shown. Because they chose to use smoke we don’t really “get” that half his hand was ripped off and we don’t get that his whole arm was removed until quite a bit later. Does it lessen the intensity? A little bit but not much because of how well everything is handled. At one Tommyrod gets his entire arm cut off as well in addition to four giant holes punched directly through his body. This is much easier to see and understand and the censorship techniques used here are much more effective than it was with Toriko. But that is seriously the only downside to the arc that I could tell because of how wrapped up in everything I became. One of the other things this arc does extremely well that help it stand out from the pack, is the fact that our heroes don’t win. Period. Komatsu loses the Century Soup to the Gourmet Corp and Toriko is defeated by Tommyrod. This is not something that happens in your typical Shonen Jump fighting arc. I applaud the series for doing something like this because the sense of dread intensifies but the excitement never dies.
The last two episodes in the set begin the “aftermath” portion of the arc. We switch tone from non-stop action and high stakes to world-building and comedy. It’s tough to describe them as anything but terrific. The series knows how to have fun and the creativity of the world just speaks volumes. It’s the perfect wind-down to let everything soak in without immediately closing out the arc and jumping into the next one. It’s also pretty ridiculous. But, if you’ve been watching the show, by now you should expect ridiculousness and anticipate it greatly because Toriko does it like a master.
There’s nothing about this batch of episodes that carries over the same “shoot itself in the foot” shenanigans that plagued the first two sets. It knows what it’s doing, it understands the best way to do it, and executes every single portion perfectly. It felt like 2 hours went by while watching the 5 hours worth of material simply because it was moving at full speed without falling into tired tropes. Not once does it ever feel like DragonBall Z style standing around powering up to fill time; even though there are moments where that is exactly what’s happening. There is so much detail and richness going on around the focal points that it always propels forward. We’ve seen the series mature over the last 40 episodes and while it has still had its stumbling blocks, this really feels like a different show. This is what we’ve been waiting for and it is terrific in every way! The increased animation budget, the pacing, the action…very few shows have impacted me so much with this type of arc while still remaining relatively complex. Remember, with the final episode in the arc being in the next set, the whole thing is only 16 or 17 episodes long! That may seem like a lot but understanding the length of a simple arc in most other Shonen Jump series, this is crazy short! Especially since it still contains just as much material and importance as what the other shows fit in over a longer period of time.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Commentary for Episodes 30 & 34, Textless Opening Song, Two Textless Closing Songs
Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: C
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: C
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: March 19th, 2013
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony BRAVIA KDL55EX720 55-Inch 1080p 3D LED HDTV, Sony BDP-S580 Blu-Ray Player via HDMI cable set to Auto.