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March 28, 2011

Bento Bako Weekly: Slam Dunk 15, Toriko 4

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Written by: Kristin
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It’s another shonen dump day, where I try to get some of this shonen I’ve let pile up reviewed and shipped out to good homes. Today I’ve dug out the always exciting Slam Dunk, as well as a bizarre fighting manga bout gourmet food hunters called Toriko.

Title: Slam Dunk
Author: Takehiko Inoue
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump)
Volume: Volume 15 (of 31), $9.99
Vintage: 1993 by Shueisha in Japan, April 5, 2011 by Viz Media
Genre: Sports, drama, comedy

[Volume 13 review here, and to be honest, I didn’t even notice I hadn’t read volume 14.]

The Shohoku High boys’ battle continues against the boys from Kainan. There is a mere four-point lead for the Shohoku boys to close, but there are only two minutes left in the game. Rukawa is at his limit. Mitsui goes for a desperate 3-pointer, but misses. The team scrambles to save the ball, and they manage a shot, but it’s the last burst of effort Rukawa can manage, and he’s off the court for good. The game goes on, even fiercer, but Shohoku is clearly tiring. An exhausted Mitsui spaces out on the court and misses a pass. Grabbing at straws, the team decides to purposefully rebound the ball and rely on the players under the basket to score off the rebound. Sakuragi shows his training has been paying off with a stellar fake leading into a slam dunk. Relying on a foul shot rebound to win the game, Sakuragi purposefully misses the shot and the team goes for another 3-pointer. The shot just barely misses, and the fate of the game is again in Sakuragi’s hands, but a fatal mistake made in exhaustion causes Shohoku to lose the game. It’s not over yet, though. If Shohoku wins their next two games, they may still advance. The guys struggle to stay awake through a day of classes, but at practice, Akagi is on crutches and must stay off his ankle, and Sakuragi doesn’t even show. Haruko, the girl of his dreams, gives him a helpful pep talk, but it takes a throw down with Rukawa to get him out of his funk. As the volume wraps up, the boys begin a scrimmage to prepare for their next challenge.

It’s more of the same. I can’t really say anything that I haven’t said in my previous reviews of the series. It’s exciting. It really gets your adrenaline going, as if you’re in a stadium watching a real basketball game. That’s the best thing I can say about Slam Dunk, but it is not an insignificant comment, and it makes the series well worth checking out.

Title: Toriko
Author: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump)
Volume: Volume 4 (ongoing), $9.99
Vintage: 2009 by Shueisha in Japan, March 2011 (out now) by Viz Media
Genre: Action, comedy, food

Yup, that’s right. Genre: Food. This is by far one of the strangest manga I’ve ever read. Toriko takes place in a savage world filled with bizarre, fierce creatures, dangerous locales, rare and difficult to find plants, and powerful hunters who scour the world looking for…the rarest and best ingredients to make the world’s tastiest foods. Our hero, Toriko, is on a quest to find and devour the rarest, tastiest foods on the planet. Along his journey, he met the head chef of an IGO (International Gourmet Organization) hotel, named Komatsu, who decided to accompany Toriko on his journey. On one of their outings, they come across a strange creature that turns out to be a GT Robot manufactured by IGO’s rivals, the Gourmet Corp. The GC’s next target is the rare and ancient Regal Mammoth, and it’s up to Toriko and his friends to capture it first. At the end of volume 3, Toriko was watching an arena match with a battle wolf, but stepped into the arena himself when he noticed the wolf was trying to give birth. Unfortunately, a GT Robot was also in attendance, and blasted both Director Mansom and the battle wolf with its beam weapon.
With Toriko and Rin’s help, the battle wolf and her newly born pup are able to experience an important, affectionate moment before the mother dies. Mansom was about to step in and tear the robot apart with his own hands, until he noticed Toriko, filled with rage, burning with battle fever in the arena below. The robot is enhanced with powerful fortifications, so Toriko pushes himself to his limit to bring it down, all the while trying to discover who is controlling it from afar. After the fight, the baby battle wolf forms an unlikely attachment to Toriko, and the normally savage, human-hating creature becomes a personal pet Toriko names Terry Cloth. To celebrate the victory, Mansom creates an enormous feast of rare dishes to feed his guests. Toriko devours plate after plate, his wounds healing with each bite. Then suddenly, in the midst of their celebration, the group remembers the reason they’re all there – to find the regal mammoth. Rin assures them everything is fine, as her brother, Sunny, is already on his way with the mammoth. Sunny arrives with the massive creature supported on one hand (and thousands of hair sensors, of course), but unfortunately, he’s only captured a baby. Meanwhile, back at Gourmet Corp. Branch #6, Bei (the member who attacked the arena) is admonished by the Gourmet Corp. Vice-Chef, Starjun. Annoyed at how long the hunt for the regal mammoth is taking, Starjun decides to take matters into his own hands and go out to investigate in person. On their way to the regal mammoth’s lair, Toriko’s group is attacked by a group of rock drums, a powerful, capture level 27 creature. Toriko, still worn out from the previous battle, is already having a difficult time, when Rin exacerbates the problem by accidentally deploying battle fragrance, thinking it was relaxation fragrance. Sunny refuses to help until Toriko convinces him that it’s worth his time to defeat the rock drums. Sunny makes quick work of the rock drums, but fails to completely finish one off, and he and Komatsu are punted across the plain, away from the rest of the group.

What a bizarre series. I wonder what person at Viz Media thought this would be a good title to publish? I don’t mean to say it’s a bad series. There’s nothing explicitly terrible about it, but who is its intended (American) audience? The structure is nothing new; it’s a fighting/battle series. But its “foodie” nature is so out there, I’m rather baffled it was chosen to be licensed. Toriko’s main attack is his five-fold spiked punch, which can take on the form of various kitchen utensils (in this volume, a fork and an ice pick). Komatsu is essentially powerless, but has an excellent cooking ability. Sunny is perhaps the strangest. He is able to use his massive head of hair as a weapon, each strand boasting thousands of super fine, super strong sensors capable of carrying a massive object, of delivering a devastating punch. Rin works with scents, that act sort of like smoke bombs. Each character has their own unique abilities, drawing on their personal and physical characteristics. I’m not a big fan of the artwork, here. The overly bulky and buffed up look is not for me. The creatures, however, look amazing. Unfortunately, I don’t have much else to say about it. There isn’t exactly a lot of depth here. It’s just a goofy action series, and it’s mostly nonsensical.

On a personal note, today is my little sister’s birthday. Happy birthday, Megan!

Editor’s Note: ComicAttack.net has been officially nominated for an Eagle Award! Please click here to vote for us in the “Favorite Comic Book Website” category (question #27). Thank you for your continued support!

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_kris

Review copies provided by Viz Media.

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3 Comments



  1. […] of Lady Kanoko (Manga Village) Connie on vol. 13 of Slam Dunk (Slightly Biased Manga) Kristin on vol. 15 of Slam Dunk and vol. 4 of Toriko (Comic Attack) Diana Dang on vol. 2 of The Story of Saiunkoku (Stop, Drop, and […]



  2. […] [Volume 15 review.] […]



  3. […] The writing and art by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro is great in this weird little title. I love his monster designs and admire his creativity for taking such an odd pairing of ideas and blending them in together to make a comic that works magic and is a fantastic read! His battle sequences, from Toriko’s to the wolf Terry’s, are all excellently drawn and laid out, and his humor from Rin’s crush and so forth give us plenty to smile about in this interesting action-comedy. To sum it up, it’s a title you have to read to believe (and you better believe it’s awesome!). Toriko volume 5 is out on stands now! [Ed. Note: Bento Bako reviewed volume 4.] […]



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