Toriko Volume 1 Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
I tend to like cooking manga. I might not be compelled to collect every volume of a cooking manga series, but I generally like to sample the first few volumes. I’ve read and enjoyed Iron Wok Jan, Yakitate Japan, Kitchen Princess, and Oishinbo. I think I need to track down the final couple of volumes of Kitchen Princess, but for shonen cooking manga I’m generally ok with just reading the start. The endless cooking battles in shonen cooking manga do tend to get a bit repetitive after a little while.
Toriko puts a gourmet ingredient hunter spin on the familiar shonen cooking manga genre. In a distant future the world has become obsessed with fantastical food ingredients. Toriko is an overly muscled hunter with a luxurious mullet who is on a mission to seek out the perfect seven course meal. Along the way he find exotic game that he sells for incredible prices. If you’ve ever wanted to see the action and testosterone of a series like Hokuto No Ken combined with poop jokes and giant yummy crocodiles Toriko is the series for you. Shimabukuro does approach his series with a ton of enthusiasm, as shown by the gusto that he provides when drawing the demon face Toriko shifts into during the heart of battle, the improbable karate chops Toriko uses to bisect his prey, and the ropey saliva sprayed by a horde of six-limbed gorillas.
I don’t think it makes sense to critique things for being what they are. Toriko is pure formulaic shonen and within the limitations of its genre it functions very well. The anatomy on the drawings might be inconsistent and there are plenty of gross out jokes, but the manga does have a lot of energy. This isn’t the type of series I’d look to for character development as the main attraction is Toriko hulking out, clobbering exotic animals, and eating them. I enjoyed reading the first volume, but I’m not going to stick with this series. I generally like my shonen series with more character development and complex plots like Fullmetal Alchemist and Kekkaishi. if I’m reading formulaic shonen I want it to be absolutely crazy like Saint Seiya.
Review copy provided by the publisher