Watch enough good anime and you start to ask more from it as a medium, and then the malaise sets in. If it doesn't look as good as Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, sound like Nodame Cantabile, and touch you like La Maison en Petit Cubes, then there's no point in watching it whatsoever. Sound familiar? Let me offer you a re-calibrating balm: Toriko. If you don't find this one-shot animation funny, walk away from cartoons and don't come back until you've found your sense of humor.
Toriko plays out like the bastard child of Fist of the North Star and Iron Chef. Instead of fighting his way across a war-torn landscape looking for his brother, Toriko--the eponymous hero--follows his gut to the tastiest food in the land armed only with his fists and insatiable appetite. The one episode special follows him and the skittish hotel head cook, Komatsu, in pursuit of a single ingredient: a Galara Croc. The story proceeds on a ramrod-straight course that sees the mighty gourmet-warrior overcome several minor dangers before coming face-to-face with his quarry for a climactic showdown. At no point does the meager plot take time to reflect on the nature of friendship, the sin of gluttony, or the morality of consuming endangered species of animals as delicacies. Such reflection is weak-kneed dawdling that doesn't matter to the likes of Toriko. Instead, the anime turns up the camp and barrels forward at every possible opportunity.
The whole thing works because unlike, say, MD Geist or Black Lion, Toriko remains fully aware of itself. Not in a tongue-in-cheek manner, though. The special earns its laughs by piling on increasingly 'hardcore' and macho imagery and situations, cognizant that the situation passed ridiculous somewhere during the opening credits. For an anime that starts with a man drinking "Maker's Merc" straight from the bottle, the only logical to conclusion is two brothers-in-arms scarfing croc steaks by the light of a campfire.
As straightforward as the story, the character and monster designs come from the "standard anime imagery" bag. Toriko and Tom--the boat captain who gives the two main characters a lift to Baron Island--use the same muscle-bound, triangular appearance, whereas the wet-blanket Komatsu has more rounded features. The wildlife bristles with claws, teeth, and reptilian eyes, sufficient enough to make the creatures menacing and alien, but hardly original. Nor is the motion all that impressive, as the action sequences mainly feature static images and speed lines for MAXIMUM DRAMATIC EFFECT. Which, of course, can only be achieved through flawlessly composed stills. Any "movement" would mar the perfect visage of the gourmet, poised to strike against a foe, or show weakness in the face of puny dangers. Consequently, the most striking visuals occur when the show presents Toriko's increasingly more terrible battle aura as a series of monstrous visages overlaid on his body, culminating in his epic "FORK AND KNIFE" attack (which, of course, overlays a fork over his left hand and a knife over his right).
Of the aural component, the voice acting leaves the most to be desired. Toriko's macho shouts and solemn pronouncements fit perfectly with the character, while adding little nuance or dimension. Sadly, Komatsu's portrayal also fits perfectly with his personality, but his weak-kneed whines get old quickly and become more of an annoyance than genuine comic relief by the second half of the special (like the show needs any other source of humor apart from the protagonist being awesome). In contrast the music, while not sticking to any one tradition, matches the atmosphere and content well. Sadly, the lack of a high quality, campy opener or closer to the anime means that the score evaporates from memory almost as soon as you turn off your media player.
Development is for sissies, and Toriko proves it. Of the three characters in this special, two--Tom and Toriko--have achieved such levels of masculine perfection that any change in them could only be for the worse. In fact, the work speaks almost entirely for itself on this subject. Toriko can punch a crocodile in the face. IN THE FACE. Anyone who wants more out of an anime character is taking him or herself too seriously.
Much like a shot of your favorite fire-water, Toriko will put hair on your chest and improve your mood. Relentlessly funny and more muscle-bound than any two guys at your local gym, this palette cleanser is about as subtle as a brick to the head and only about half as pretty. BUT don't let that deter you. Even if he walks in jaded and critical, a healthy fan should emerge refreshed, laughing, and ready to catch his own food with his bare hands.
Toriko is what one would call a hardcore shounen anime. It does bare much resemblance to One Piece (as they are by the same creator) i.e. all the bad guys look like they're from a circus, when people attack they have their attack names in fancy font down below and the power gauge is really, really high. (by that i mean the raw power the main character and the people around him generally posses in comparison to other anime).
It revolves around a relatively simple, but truly mind blowing storyline. It talks of the world in the Gourmet age, where everything centers around food, there are entire cities composed of restaurants and drink vending machines that have star ratings according to the quality of their drinks. But that's not the main part of the story, the story focuses on the ingredients, in this "gourmet age" the anime speaks of there are highly evolved animals and monsters, all with a different difficulty of capture, the people who capture these ingredients are given a special title, Bishoukuya. They all have special powers and strengths that allow them to butcher monsters and dive in the deepest oceans, yet all this is done with the greatest respect.
This is an anime that never leaves you bored and you're always wondering what the next ingredient is, is it a giant cob of corn that when even one kernel is roasted, it pops into enough popcorn for 100 people? Or maybe a delicate tuna that is so rare that once it's killed, it turns into bubbles in 7 days if you don't eat it, or is it a rainbow fruit, that changes texture and taste 6 times in your mouth? The creations of food from this anime wonderful, creative and if you love food i HIGHLY RECOMMEND this for you, when people eat, the narrator breaks down the taste for you in addition to you having to look at the inhumanly tasty food.
Although do not be fooled, the anime does not lack it's portion of action, i must say the fighting is very similar to one piece, but thankfully, do not tend to last long, the fun part is that the main character may fight a beast or another human, this mixes it up a little bit and makes it interesting.
The downfalls of this show is that i find it slightly... ever so slightly bara. That's right, if you're a seasoned anime viewer you should be able to spot different kinds of fanservice when you see it and the scene may bother you. i would also not recommend it for those who cannot stand annoying characters because this anime has a few of them, the male characters in this show generally rock but i can't say the same for the females (not to be sexist of course). The flow of the episodes is also slightly corny and so are the emotional scenes, but it's humour and single-mindedness to see amazing food really does outweigh the rest of the down sides.
I'm proud to say the anime has almost no fillers. Though coming back to the characters they all have very strong, prominent personalities (shounen style) and in my opinion are pretty well crafted, the art is... again, very hardcore shounen, most of the guys have bulging muscles and bright clothing, the girls have huge boobs and when people cry you know their whole face is going to be bathing in tears.
This is an enjoyable anime if you simply want to sit back and enjoy, it doesn't give you too much to think about and is very creative and unique, the story keeps coming and i assure you won't be bored, for it keeps you laughing, drooling and wanting more as you go.
Manlier than GAR, tastier than bread and with more powerlevels than DBZ can ever hope to reach, Toriko takes you on an epic quest to hunt down the fierce 300 tough, cold winters old Galara Croc!
That’s all there is to know about this 28 minute long OVA. It’s a parody / comedy episode full of muscle, gut, monsters and delicious meat bone. It’s crude, but funny. Stupid, but epic. If you consider your sense of humor not too snobbish, give this beacon of MANLINESS a shot!