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Toriko Vol. #21 Manga Review

3 min read

Toriko Volume 21 CoverBig events are coming down the pipe that could dramatically alter the Toriko Universe, and it all starts with an isolated battle to the death.

Creative Staff
Story: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
Art: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
Translation/Adaptation: Christine Dashiell/Hope Donovan

What They Say
To capture the elusive Bubble Fruit, Toriko and Komatsu undergo intense training at Chowlin Temple. Toriko struggles to quiet his rumbling stomach and show gratitude for food, but soon a bigger challenge arises—Gourmet Corp. sends sinister new agents to crush the temple. Can Toriko master Honoring the Food in time to save it?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
After meeting up with Master Chin Chin-Chin, head of the Chowlin Temple, at the Vanishing Cuisine Restaurant, Toriko and Komatsu have finally reached their destination. To Toriko’s chagrin, however, Master Chin will not simply allow Toriko to attempt to capture the Bubble Fruit; Toriko must first complete the training of Honoring The Food.

Honoring The Food is yet another extremely quirky element of the Toriko universe. Much like Food Luck, it makes no real sense in our minds but fits perfectly within the series. It acts as a method of which Toriko can power up his fighting strength without some deus ex machina that just makes him stronger for the purposes of the story. It’s also really nice that he can become exponentially stronger by achieving what is basically a state of zen. Honoring the food and being respectful of the world you live in is what gives you strength and power, not lifting weights. I think that’s more than kind of nice. It continues forging a unique path for the series that stands out from other shonen fighting series.

Speaking of shonen fighting series, this volume gets down to the nitty gritty in its concluding chapters. A small scale war has broken out at Chowlin Temple by those ultimate antagonists, the Gourmet Corp. The fighting starts without hesitation and is among the most brutal stuff we’ve seen in the series so far. The artwork ratchets up a notch for these battle scenes and launches the series into the stratosphere regarding overall art and composition. The art balances between mean, rough, violent imagery and its basic cartoon-y and beautiful style with extreme ease. It makes the story become tense and exciting; but also heart-breaking. There are elements introduced with this battle that add some real stakes for the characters. It adds to the Gourmet Corp’s villainy and gives us a glimpse into what is not only to come, but at the larger picture the series has in store for us. Top notch stuff from cover to cover.

In Summary
The training arcs are fun and light-hearted. They move with impeccable pacing and unfold a story that reveals itself to us in real time with the characters. This makes the proceedings engaging for us as readers because there’s stuff hidden for us discover. The training arc also learns incredible lessons from other series by never outstaying its welcome. The quick, short arc approach that Toriko has adopted as of late continues to the series’ benefit here, and the readers’ as well. I’m extremely excited for the next volume! This book ends with a huge, impactful bang that is basically Toriko perfected, at this point. The action here is leagues above what has come before and that makes me salivate at the possibility of what lies ahead with this battle. This is why I always recommend this series to others, it’s unique and distilled down to be as perfect as it can be while still being what it is at its heart: a children’s fighting manga.

Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
MSRP: $9.99