Featured Columns

August 22, 2012

Bento Bako Lite: Toriko volume 11

Toriko volume 11
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump Line)
Story and Art: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro

Toriko volume 11 is out now, giving us an exciting wrap-up to its Century Soup saga, complete with giant monsters, blood filled battles, and even an old woman, in the wackiest Shonen manga about food that has ever been penned.

It’s the end for Tommyrod, as he summons up the last of his energy and unleashes a Parasite Emperor from his body, an insect which turns giant and is a species combined of multiple lethal bugs. Luckily Teppei has revived the Hellboros, a giant reptile that looks like a demonic version of Biollante from the Godzilla-universe, which immediately goes into combat with the Parasite Emperor. As the two duke it out kaiju-style, our weakened heroes, including Toriko with his missing arm, start to regroup and deal with the loss of the Century Soup, and the fact that not even Teppei can revive it. Teppei is able to heal the group, and as luck would have it they can pull out one last drop from the Century Soup, which Komatsu tastes so he can remember the flavor forever and create a new soup from scratch. At this point, Alfaro from Gourmet Corp shows up to gather his villains and take them home. At the same time, old woman Setsuno shows up to gather our heroes, and right on time too, being her power prevents Alfaro from killing the weakened characters. Gathered together safe and with Setsuno, our heroes split, Komatsu going back to his kitchen to begin the long process of creating a new Century Soup, and the rest going to Teppei’s home in the country of Life, where all the crazy healing abilities in the world are. While in Life, the group comes across fellow hunter Sunny, rejuvenating his beauty, and Teppei’s legendary master Yosaku, who agrees to grow Toriko’s arm back! The arm regeneration process is a long, painful, and bizarre one, but makes for fascinating manga none the less. The volume ends with a cliffhanger about Komatsu, which we won’t give away here.

Toriko continues to charm readers and seriously just gets better volume after volume. Both a foodie-comic and Shonen adventure in one, author Shimabukuro can give us the human violence of Fist of the North Star in one panel, the spectacle of a Godzilla movie in another, and wrap it up with a Dr. Slump worthy laugh, over and over again. He really has hit a great pace and style by this point in the manga, giving us something from every kind of manga a Jump-reader would like, while making it his own, and now avoiding the pitfalls of being too much of one thing or the other, with an equal balance of the genre types here. His art is good and the world he creates is just a fascinating adventure to be on. He also is a blast for readers, still drawing different bizarre monsters and food that his readers submit to him (kind of like how the monsters were created based on reader submissions for the old Kinnikuman manga by Yudetamago that ran in Shonen Jump for years).

Toriko volume 11 is a great read for both Shonen and action-comedy fans. Available both in digital and print from Viz.

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

Review copy provided by Viz Media.

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