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July 20, 2012

Bento Bako Bonus: Toriko volume 10

Toriko volume 10
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump Line)
Story and Art: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro

[Volume 9 review.]

Toriko, the most wildly odd series about food, food hunting, and beating the crap out of your enemies who are trying to get the same rare food as you, hits volume 10 with a non-stop, kick ass, blood filled beat down from the pen of Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro. Enough to make even Akira Toriyama shed a tear from the sheer pure-perfect fusion of humor and over-the-top action embodied in these pages.

Volume 10 continues the numerous battles that started in the last volume, as two clashing sides duke it out to secure the Century Soup (a soup that only appears every 100 years). Takimaru squares off against Bogie Woods. Bogie’s skeleton not being that of a normal human and having over 4000 bones as compared to the normal-human 206, causes Takimaru to go all out until neither one is left standing. Match and his mafia square off against the barbarian-like Barry Gamon. Gamon literally pounds Match’s mafia boys into piles of meat into their deaths, as Match builds up enough rage to properly use his energy techniques, again, bringing both parties down. Finally we focus back on the Toriko versus Tommyrod fight, which goes to the J-Horror of Tommyrod regurgitating thousands of live killer-insects to battle Toriko. That leads into an almost absurd Fist of the North Star-esque splatter battle, with limbs being lost and blood spurting everywhere. Beneath the ice, Komatsu searches for the soup, and it turns out he has been working with Teppei, who is not a gourmet hunter like Toriko, but a gourmet reviver, who makes sure that rare food, like the Century Soup, never becomes extinct from the world’s food system and can always exist in continuity. The volume ends at a cliffhanger, where just as it looks like perhaps Toriko and Tommyrod may join the rest of the fighters in rendering each other helpless, Teppei steps in to take on Tommyrod, worried about forever losing the soup.

Toriko continues to rock, and here as mentioned in this volume goes from Dragon Ball ridiculous to Fist of the North Star ridiculous in terms of fighting. Although an increase in blood flow happens, Shimabukuro never loses sight of what the manga is about, and that is battling for these rare foods, and the humor that comes with the concept of how over-the-top these guys become in practically killing each other to secure these exotic meals. Shimabukuro, over the past few volumes, has really come into his own here. Early volumes of Toriko were more of an action-comedy, then mid-volumes started to lead into a typical Shonen Jump trap of everyone fights each other, like Dragon Ball. However, finally in these recent volumes, he has found balance, keeping the comedy, keeping the adventure/monster hunting antics of finding this food, all while now mixing it in with the Shonen Jump-favorite pastime of extreme fighting. Toriko has turned into a manga that really is a fusion of what is the best-of-the-best in all the previous Jump titles that were hits and ran before it. With such a flawless blend, it has become a hit itself over there that is not considered a copy cat, but an all-star that has risen from being on the shoulders of giants into a giant itself. More and more between Shonen Jump Alpha and the anime streaming online, Toriko is becoming a bigger thing over here State-side, too, and in this reviewer’s opinion, thank god for that. When this Shonen Jump stuff is done right, and not just done as “well this is what readers expect in our magazine,” it amazes and enchants a reader to fall in love with the title and its main characters, no matter how wacky or bizarre Toriko may appear.

Volume 10 may be more of just a pure fighting volume where all the other wacky antics are still there, but not as prevalent. However, it’s done good and done right, and for that we have to continue to gush over this title and recommend you pick it up, available both in print and digital from Viz. Toriko also runs weekly in the digital Shonen Jump Alpha.

Drew McCabe

Review copy provided by Viz Media.



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