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Toriko: Part One (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

January 6, 2013 by  



The hit anime series “Toriko” gets its U.S. release with part one featuring the first 13-episodes.   Definitely a unique anime series which combines the concept of gourmet, finding rare ingredients with an action-driven storyline.  Full of adventure and a lot of fun, “Toriko: Part One” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2012 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Toriko: Part One

DURATION: Episodes 1-13

DVD INFORMATION: 4:3, Bilingual Japanese & English, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: 13+

Release Date: January 22, 2013

Originally created by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro

Directed by Akifumi Zako

Series Composition by Isao Murayama

Music by Hiromi Mizutani

Character Design by Hisashi Kagawa

Art by Masanobu Nomura

Anime Production by Toei Animation

Featuring the following voice talent:

Romi Park/Josh Grelle as Komatsu

Ryotaro Okiayu/Ian Sinclair as Toriko

Akio Ohtsuka as Livebearer

Akira Ishida as Tommyrod

Asami Tano/Leah Clark as Rin

Banjou Ginga as Yosaku

Hideyuki Tanaka as Acacia

Hiro Yuuki as Ootake

Juurouta Kosugi as Mansam

Kenji Matsuda as Zebra

Kenjiro Ishimaru/Chris Guerrero as Narrator

Kenyuu Horiuchi as Ichiryu

Kokoro Kikuchi as Kruppoh

Masahito Yabe as Bei

Masaki Terasoma as Midora

Masaya Onosaka as Teppei

Mitsuo Iwata/Aaron Robers as Sani (Sunny)

Nana Mizuki/Morgan Garrett as Tina

Sakiko Uran/Juli Erickson as Setsuno

Shinichiro Miki/Scott Freeman as Stajyun (Starjun)

Shinji Kawada/Robert McCollum as Johannes

Takahiro Sakurai/Jarrod Greene as Coco

Tetsuya Kakihara as Tom

Toshiyuki Morikawa as Jirou

Yuji Mitsuya/Chris Rager as Grinpatch

Welcome to the Gourmet Age, a time when the world is full of deliciously deadly ingredients that the wealthiest appetites in existence can’t wait to devour. But only a mighty masticating mercenary like Toriko can track down the rarest animals on the planet and put them on a plate! This gluttonous gourmet hunter is one of the four Legendary Kings, superhuman warriors born to battle the likes of Troll Kongs, Gararagators, and Devil Pythons.

Accompanied by his loyal Battle Wolf and the promising young chef Komatsu, Toriko will circle the globe in search of the mouth-wateringly lethal ingredients that will one day make up his Full Course Menu of Life. The more ferocious the beast, the bigger the feast, but never forget the code of a true gourmet hunter: you gotta eat what you defeat!

In Japan, we have seen Shonen Jump series that have had a long life, not just as manga but as anime series.  From the “Dragon Ball” series, “One Piece”, “Naruto”, “Bleach” and another series that has captivated readers and viewers is “Toriko”.

Created by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro in 2008, the manga series has been published on “Weekly Shonen Jump” and is currently on 22nd tankobon volume, while the anime series produced by Toei Animation is still being broadcast since 2011 on Fuji TV.  And now the anime series will be released in the U.S. courtesy of FUNimation in January 2013.

The series is directed by Akifumi Zako (“Fresh Pretty Cure”, “Ashita no Nadia”, “Ojamajo Doremi Na-i-sho”), series composition by Isao Murayama (“Saint Seiya Omega”, “Kaidan Restaurant”), music by Hiromi Mizutani (“Hell Girl”, “Hyakko”), character designs by Hisashi Kagawa (“Bomberman Jetters”, “Hataraki Man”, “Fresh Pretty Cure”) and art direction by Masanobu Nomura (“Blue Drop”, “The Big O”, “K”, “The Idolm@ster”, “Gurren Lagann”).

It’s important to note that in Japan, the first episode was a cross-over special with “One Piece”.  For the U.S. DVD release, this cross over episode is not included.

Toriko takes place during a time where gourmet is important. The taste, the texture of food and rare ingredients are what chefs seek for, but in order to get rare ingredients and animals, major organizations hire Bishokuya (which are “gourmet hunters”).

The series begins with a chef named Komatsu who is dispatched by the International Gourmet Organization (IGO) to find Toriko in order to capture a rare animal known as a Gararagator (level 8).  When Komatsu arrives, he sees the gourmet hunter easily catching a Pincer Fish.  When Toriko finds out that Komatsu is trying to catch a Gararagator, Toriko who loves the challenge, agrees.

While Komatsu is timid and often scared of the creatures in the swamp and jungle, they come across a Gararagator, which is a gigantic red alligator and Toriko manages to kill it with his “Fork and Knife” technique but instead of giving the Gararagator to Komatsu for his organization, his intention to catching it was for a full-course menu.  Wanting to become a world-renown chef, Komatsu feels that by being with Toriko, he can achieve that. So he asks if he can accompany Toriko on his adventures capturing animals for gourmet and Toriko accepts.

But as the two embark on their mission, they are challenged by a rival organization known as the Gourmet Corps who are bent on controlling the world’s ingredients and wanting the two dead.

“Toriko: Part One” features the following episodes (Note: Just to remind everyone that the episode 1 special featuring “One Piece” is not included.  So, episode 1 for the U.S. DVD release starts at episode 2):

  • EPISODE 1 – Toriko and Komatsu try to capture a Gararagator.
  • EPISODE 2 – The IGO commissions Toriko to find a Rainbow Fruit, but as he and Komatsu make their way to find it, they realize it is guarded by the Troll Kongs.  Meanwhile, a reporter named Tina tries to get footage of the two trying to get a Rainbow Fruit.
  • EPISODE 3 – Toriko and Komatsu are requested by one of the Four Heavenly Kings, Coco, try to capture a rare Puffer Whale which appears every ten years.
  • EPISODE 4 – Another hunter trying to capture the rare puffer whale has captured Komatsu but nearby is a Devil Snake.
  • EPISODE 5 – Toriko and Komatsu continue to capture a Puffer Whale.
  • EPISODE 6 – Toriko, Komatsu and Coco exit a cave to search for a mysterious creature known as the GT Robo who have been attacking Biotopes and stealing Rainbow Fruit.
  • EPISODE 7 – Toriko confronts a Battle Wolf.
  • EPISODE 8 – Komatsu learns that Mansem has a special ability, meanwhile the GT Robot attempts to kill Toriko.  Chief Mansam explains to Toriko and Komatsu that there is an evil organization known as the Gourmet Corps trying to take control of the world’s ingredients and they are targeting a Regal Mammoth.
  • EPISODE 9 – As Toriko, Komatsu, Mansem and Tina head off, they try to find and a Regal Mammoth from the Gourmet Corps.
  • EPISODE 10 -As Toriko and others hunt for a Regal Mammoth, they come in contact with the Heavenly King, Sunny.  Meanwhile, the GT Robots and Rock Drums are hunting after them.
  • EPISODE 11 – Toriko must take on an Obasaurus and Komatsu learns about Gourmet Cells.
  • EPISODE 12 – Arriving at the Devils’ Playground, Toriko takes on a Soldier Frog, Axeox and an Avian Beast.  Meanwhile, a GT Robot is stalking a Regal Mammoth.
  • EPISODE 13 – Toriko saves Sunnya nd Komatsu from a Regal Mammoth, meanwhile a giant GT Robot is nearby.

The main characters of “Toriko” are:

  • Toriko – A gourmet hunter and one of the “Four Heavenly Kings” who loves to eat!  Toriko does not kill and just eat any animal, he only will kill those that he wants to eat.  A man with animal-tracking senses, superhuman strength, fighting skills and immunity to many poisons.
  • Komatsu – A five star chef who works for the Hotel Gourmet, a prestigious restaurant owned by the International Gourmet Organization.   A highly skilled chef who wants to get better and that is why he wants to join Toriko on his mission to find rare ingredients and become the best chef in the world.
  • Coco – One of the “Four Heavenly Kings” who is a fortune teller and has exceptional stealth techniques and a wonderful animal tracker who is also immune to many poisons.
  • Sunny – One of the “Four Heavenly Kings” and the older brother of Rin.  He has a talent of sensing ones physical state.
  • Zebra – One of the “Four Heavenly Kings” and is the most powerful of the four. Often angry and has a short-temper.
  • Rin – A member of IGO who is tomboyish in nature, she has a major crush on Toriko and the younger sister of Sunny.
  • Mansam – The IGO Development Bureau Director and Gourmet Research Facility Chief.  An old friend of Toriko.
  • Tina – A television reporter for “Gourmet News” who is following Toriko and Komatsu.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Toriko” is an anime series that is full of detail for a TV series.  Produced by Toei Animation, the animated series has a style of a classic old school anime series in terms of character design but what catches your eye is the detailed art backgrounds which are fantastic.   Some scenes are in CG (such as water effects) but I really enjoyed the animation for this series.

As for audio, “Toriko” is presented in English 5.1 surround and in Japanese stereo.  The English 5.1 soundtrack has better dynamic range when it comes to use of the surround channels but both are well-acted.  For the English dub, both Ian Sinclair and Josh Grelle are both FUNimation veterans who are well-known for their voice work on series such as “Black Butler”, “Bird the Mighty” and “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”.

For the Japanese soundtrack, you also get to hear veterans Romi Park (best known as Edward Elric for the “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” series and Toushiro Hitsugaya in “Bleach”) as Komatsu and Ryotaro Okiayu (Katsuhiko Jinnai in “El Hazard”, Scar on “Fullmetal Alchemist” and Kunimitsu Tezuka of “Prince of Tennis”) and Park’s delivery of the constant fear that Komatsu is often encountering is well-captured in her voice.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Toriko: Part One” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Ian Sinclair (Toriko) and Josh Grelle (Komatsu).
  • Episode 9 Audio Commentary– Featuring audio commentary by Ian Sinclair (Toriko), Leah Clark (Rin) and Aaron Roberts (Sunny).
  • Textless Opening and Ending Songs – Textless opening for “Gatsu Gatsu!!” by Akira Kushida and closing for “Satisfaction” by FT Island.
  • U.S. Trailer – FUNimation trailer for “Toriko”.
  • Trailers – FUNimation trailers

While I know that “Toriko” is a popular manga and anime series in Japan and I have friends who are crazy over the series, I haven’t watched or read the series yet.

But now watching the first 13 episodes, I have to say that the gourmet concept is rather intriguing and in some way, it reminds me of older “Dragon Ball Z” episodes when young Gohan had to catch his own food and going after dinosaurs and other creatures.  In the case of “Toriko”, it has the fun of a series like “One Piece”, a protagonist that reminds me of “Hokuto no Ken” (Fist of the North Star) with its buffed out character, Toriko and of course your timid follower, who wants to be grow and mature with the character of Komatsu.

While I have read many manga and watched many drama that had centered around food, “Toriko” is rather interesting in the fact that these surprising ingredients tend to be exotic fruit guarded by monsters or some type of behemoth or animals that look like they come out of the Jurassic age.

So far with the first 13 episodes, the adventures are quite enjoyable as Toriko and Komatsu are on various adventures commissioned by the International Gourmet Organization to find an exotic item for a dish or some dangerous animal.  Toriko like Kenshiro of “Hokuto no Ken” is gifted with tremendous fighting ability, while Komatsu is well… a good companion and a chef that wants to be the world best.

While the first 13 episodes does provide a glimpse of the missions these two will be on and the trouble they will come to face with a rival organization stirring up trouble, fortunately each episode introduces a different character.  I’m not sure if Tina the reporter or others will remain as permanent characters following Toriko and Komatsu but for these first 13-episodes alone, I do find it to be quite entertaining and fun, but admit that it can be repetitive if every episode is about taking on certain monsters for food.  Hopefully, we get to see various story arcs that keep the series entertaining and the fact that the series is ongoing and over 85-episodes have been created, that this series does have staying power.

As for the DVD, the picture quality is pretty cool with the old school style of animation in combined with modern style of detailed art backgrounds and CG use.  The series looks very good and it’s a colorful anime series that doesn’t look too soft.  And for special features, you get two audio commentary from FUNimation English voice dub talent.

If there was one negative that hardcore anime fans of “Toriko” may find with “Toriko” is the omission of the first episode that features the crossover with “One Piece”.  I would imagine that licensing rights for that episode was probably too expensive or difficult to get.  Fortunately, episode 2 is still an excellent starting point as it does introduce Komatsu and how he partners with Toriko.  But it would have been nice if that crossover special episode was included. But only those who followed the Japanese episodes will probably notice.

Overall, “Toriko: Part One” is a fun animated series that combines the concept of gourmet and finding the best ingredients and meat with heavy hitting action.  The concept is surely unique for an anime series and for the first 13-episodes alone, it’s an anime series worth recommending!

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