Toriko Manga Volumes 11-15 (Some spoilers for earlier volumes)

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Anime Reporter is back with another helping of Toriko, investigating Volumes 11-15 of the shonen manga series. (If you haven’t yet, then check out our reviews of volumes 1-5 and volumes 6-10.)

Toriko 11_CoverWell, well, well, who can forget the ending to volume 10 of Toriko? When we left him, he was still facing off against Tommyrod and minus one of his arms! What’s more, Tommyrod has yet to unveil his most terrifying and ravenous insect. Toriko hasn’t been this badly wounded in a fight so far and things are only becoming more dangerous. Ice Hell is starting to feel the strain of the high-powered battles taking place and so the clock starts ticking, not just in terms of century soup or the battles to claim it, but also to escape before being buried under a mountain of ice. The Century Soup arc comes to a stunning end with Toriko and his new comrades very much licking their wounds. But there is hope.

(As you can tell from the manga covers) Toriko has a chance to regrow his missing arm with a procedure which poses great risk to his life, can take up to twenty years and still may not work. While Toriko recuperates, Komatsu takes it upon himself to hone his cooking skills to an entirely new level and it’s refreshing to see him getting some focus as a skilled member of the duo and breaking away from his standard role so far of watching Toriko in awe. It’s also pretty interesting to see a shonen character really growing in a way that doesn’t directly feed into doing more damage to enemies. As Komatsu’s skill as a chef grows, he also finds that he has a knack for understanding the nature of ingredients  and that his talent may lie in tracking down and harvesting food as much as in cooking it.

Toriko 12_CoverOnce Toriko’s healing and Komatsu’s training are done, it’s back to business as usual. Volume 12 starts off with Toriko returning home, only to find that his edible house has entirely vanished and so begins a short and light arc about Toriko gathering the necessary candy ingredients to build a nice new house for himself. This arc is harmless enough and really serves as a palette cleanser between two heavier storylines.

After completing work on his house, Toriko visits his old mentor, the president of the IGO and adopted father to the Four Heavenly Kings, Ichiryuu. Ichiryuu tasks Toriko with a near impossible task to test if he is ready to enter the Gourmet World. He must retrieve the Ozone Herb from high in the Vegetable Sky, an island rooted in the clouds which produces the most wonderful vegetables the world knows of. An arc full of danger and a couple of game-changing surprises, it also tests and demonstrates the strength of Toriko’s and Komatsu’s partnership, forcing them to work in sync and truly calling for Komatsu’s subtlety as much as Toriko’s brawn. This story arc continues well into Volume 13 and turns out to be just the first of many trials Ichiryuu has planned for Toriko.

Toriko 13_CoverWe get to see Toriko take his first steps into the Gourmet World, where he meets a vaguely familiar face and learns what he’ll need to do in order to not only survive, but surpass the dangers of the Gourmet World. On top of some unparalleled danger from flora and fauna, the weather, terrain and even the gravity are wildly unpredictable and Toriko will have to teach his body to adapt to it all if he can hope to survive. This is where Ichiryuu’s list comes in, sending Toriko around the human in world in search of ingredients to test the limitations of his body. These story arcs see Toriko challenged in new ways by his surroundings and give battles a taste of variety by changing up the different aspects of his environment that Toriko has to overcome. The Melk Stardust arc sees both Toriko and Komatsu growing in power and continues throughout Volume 14.

Toriko 15_CoverVolume 15 is the big one! If you’ve been reading all along then you’ve seen his name being mentioned, you’ve noticed the fear on character’s faces when they think of him and now, at last, we get to meet… Zebra.

Admittedly, it’s not the most awe-inspiring name in English, but this guy is brutal. The member of the Four Heavenly Kings that frightens them all, the one so dangerous he had to be locked away in one of the three greatest gourmet prisons of the world and Toriko’s about to enlist his help. After the simple matter of breaking him out, of course.

The following is a bit of a description of Zebra’s abilities and character, so be warned, if you’d rather find out for yourself (and that is worth doing), then you can skip over the next paragraph.

Spoiler Alert

Zebra boasts abilities based on sound, enabling him to hear with great accuracy and even to project sound at various frequencies with fantastic accuracy. This can mean something akin to a dog whistle to attract animals or it can mean turning his mouth into a sonic bazooka, devastating anything in its path. What makes him truly intimidating is his personality, his viciousness towards anything he doesn’t like. What he doesn’t like can be summed up fairly neatly: “There’s nothing I hate more than people who’re cocky.” The world trembles in fear at his rage but to Toriko he’s just his grumpy older brother and they set off across scorching desert sands to the Gourmet Pyramid in search of the Mellow Cola.

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Volumes 11-15 are great examples of change across the series, with a great amount of emphasis on characters struggling and growing. It’s easy to see that Toriko is influenced by what has come before, with high gravity training in particular feeling like a nod to Dragon Ball Z’s Son Goku and the prospect of the Gourmet World coming across as something of an echo of One Piece’s Grand Line. That said, the series maintains its own voice and characters, remaining very much its own tale.

The action is revved up to exciting new heights that should keep readers hungry for volume 16!

Toriko volumes 11-15 and then some are available now from Viz Media!

Suspense:                  9

Action:                        8.5

Plot:                            8.5

Entertainment:           8

Characters:                8

Toriko Komatsu Kitchen knife

84%- “Heating Up”

Toriko Volumes 11-15 bring the tale to new heights and promise more, more, more on the horizon. Read this series!

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Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan- Demon Capital

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Anime Reporter leaves the night-light on before delving into Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan- Demon Capital Part 1 (episodes 1-13).

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Moving on after the events of the original series (reviewed here), Demon Capital spends a lot of time looking to the past and setting the stage for a much darker tale unfolding just after the Nura clan’s hard-earned victory in defending their territory.

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Much of the stage-setting takes place about 400 years before the main story arc, detailing Rikuo’s grandfather’s youthful exploits and his ascension to Lord of Pandemonium. These episodes covering Nurarihyon’s rise to power focus on what is essentially a more confident and ambitious version of Rikuo’s yokai form and one which is much more interesting to watch than Rikuo, the actual protagonist. When one of Nurarihyon’s first great foes returns much more powerful after the centuries, Rikuo and his night parade of one hundred demons are put to the test on a drastic new level.

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Having accepted his heritage in the past series, and boasting considerable raw power, Rikuo’s yokai presence is certainly a force in the demonic world. That said, he’s going to be playing with the big kids now as he moves towards Kyoto, the Demon Capital. The events of the first series saw the Nura clan clash with another clan in decline. Now, it’s Rikuo’s time to rise up against a force that has been building against his grandfather for literally ages, gathering a fiercesome army in the wake of its destruction.

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The viewer’s experiences of the yokai world also undergo significant growth when Nura ‘s abilities are called into question and his grandfather sends him away to a different clan for some tough love training and his powers develop to new levels of darkness.

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It’s not just the yokai who benefit from an upgrade in this story arc. The onmyoji, the yokai hunting clans, which we saw last series in the form of Rikuo’s classmate Yura are given a lot more attention. Early in the series, we see the appearance of her older brother, a powerful practitioner in addition to being a cunning liar, who sees through Rikuo with little difficulty. The ongoing plot of Rikuo trying to hide his yokai self is put on the shelf and the real business of an all-out war brewing soon shifts into focus. The mythology and history utilised so well before is expanded into a fiendish fairy tale that moves past the portrayal of most yokai as mischievous scamps. In this arc, most yokai seem to have a habit of harvesting human livers to increase their power and the younger the human, the better.

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The darker sides to yokai and onmyoji alike are given their places, though the theme of crime families (or Yakuza) is left entirely intact, with wars across centuries being likened to grudges between rivals across 20 or 30 years for a human.

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While the world and the different groups are expanded upon and to great effect, it really should be noted that individual character growth grinds to a halt with the exception of Rikuo’s demonic abilities. Anyone hoping to learn a little bit more about some of the supporting Nura members is likely to be disappointed.

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Suiting the darker tone of the series, the animation has taken on a new style with darker shades and thicker lines giving new weight to the characters and their actions. Rikuo spends less time in his human form and the action plays out much faster as a result. His training gives him some new abilities which make combat much more interesting as well as being damned cool to watch in action. Mercifully, the tediously expositional narration at the beginning and end of each episode is absent, letting the show speak for itself, which it manages to do well.

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In many ways, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan- Demon Capital Part 1 feels like the real show is just beginning and it leaves behind some of the less gripping aspects of the story in favour of something with more teeth. While more character development would be nice, there’s only so much you can ask from a series about Yakuza demons.

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Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan- Demon Capital Part 1 is available on DVD in the UK and Ireland now from Manga Entertainment. For more info, check out the Manga UK twitter page and stay with us here at Anime Reporter for more news and reviews.

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Like grandfather, like grandson.

Action:                        7

Darker Themes:         8

Plot:                            6.5

World building:          8

Animation:                 9.5

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78% – “Packs a Punch” – Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan: Demon Capital takes the foundation from the first series and trims away the excess (as well as some of the heart) for a series which feels all the grittier and more demonic for it. Whether this is a positive or negative change, is up to each viewer.

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Toriko Manga Volumes 6-10 (Spoilers for vol. 1-5)

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Toriko 09_CoverAnime Reporter returns for five more courses of gourmet manga with Toriko volumes 6-10 (chapters 44-88).

When last we left Toriko and friends, at the end of volume 5 (Volumes 1-5 reviewed here), they were still facing off against the very, very deadly GT robots to see who would claim the rare and highly sought after jewel-meat of the regal mammoth. Volume 6 sees this story arc draw to a close and reveals much more about the gourmet cells alluded to in volume 5. The history of these cells and something about the nature of the powers they grant are revealed and the effect is to enrich Toriko’s world. What’s more, learning about the gourmet cells and their unique properties sheds some light on the incredible abilities some characters, including Toriko himself, have displayed up to this point.

Given that ToriToriko ako boasted phenomenal strength and resilience from the beginning of the series, there seemed to be little room for him to grow. However, in the true nature of manga and anime, he soon finds himself up against a variety of foes whose abilities outrank his and, as the nature of gourmet cells is revealed, we learn that Toriko’s current abilities are really just the beginning of where these marvellous cells can take him and he begins his own process of growth which will likely take him across the series.

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Upon first glance, Volume 7 of the series feels like something of a gap between major plot arcs, concerning Toriko and his companion battle wolf, Terry Cloth who escaped mention in our last review for fear of spoilers. Terry, the orphaned newborn, is already a ferocious fighter but following the regal mammoth arc, refuses to eat most of the food at Toriko’s disposal. Hearing rumours that the foods wild battle wolves would likely eat exists in the Gourmet World, far away from human civilisation, but that one example of a Gourmet World ingredient may have been planted in the wildest parts of the Human World. Toriko takes Terry into the true wilderness, far beyond what they experienced in the biospheres of earlier volumes. In truth, despite what feels like a rather flimsy starting point for the tale, Volume 7 contains some of the best action so far in the series, with wild beasties and terrain eager to kill the pair every step of the way for no reason other than to eat them. In this land, hunting for the food which has almost been dismissed as a food of myth, the BB Corn, Toriko and Terry will encounter not just a preposterously hostile environment, but also their first flesh and blood encounter with one of the Sous Chefs (or vice-head chefs) of Gourmet Corp (or Bishokukai in Japanese). This adversary, Grinpatch, has something of a mosquito motif and attacks mainly through the use of a giant straw which he reveals was actually harvested from the mouth of a Devil Mosquito. Using this, he unleashes a variety of long-range attacks which, coupled with the limitations of their surroundings, push Toriko’s Knife and Fork attacks to their limits. The story lapses just past the end of the volume and is ultimately a satisfying serving of intense Toriko action, also setting the scene quite nicely for the story arc that will take up volumes 8-10 and beyond.

Toriko 10_CoverVolume 8 sets the scene for the Century Soup arc which sees Toriko and Komatsu, hired by the mysterious old trillionaire Colonel Mokkoi, along with dozens of other gourmet hunters. Their mission: to venture to the frozen continent aptly named Ice Hell in order to retrieve the unsurpassed soup which appears only once every (you guessed it) one hundred years, when the ice thaws and the stock formed from many frozen, now extinct, ingredients, seeps into reach. Among the various gourmet hunters is Zonge, whom readers should remember as the loud, hairy barbarian from outside the puffer whale cave quite a few volumes back. We’re also treated to a few new characters in the form of Match, a member of the Gourmet Yakuza, organised criminals who nonetheless seem to serve some code of honour and Takimaru, one of the Gourmet Knights, an order of gourmet hunters who shun anything which isn’t found in nature, including medicine, food and technology. While these and many other gourmet hunters are in competition for the life-changing sum of money offered by Colonel Mokkoi, it soon becomes apparent that they’re not the only players in the game for Century Soup. Gourmet Corp has sent along a few Sous Chefs to make a bid for the legendary broth and, much more than Grinpatch, these chefs are fighting to win, in particular, Tommyrod, a beetle-winged powerhouse who takes Grinpatch’s insect theme to a true extreme. Capable of playing host to a great many eggs for giant insects, each with a devastating Capture Level of their own, Tommyrod can bring these eggs forth at will and send them into the world to do his bidding, meaning that Toriko’s brute force is rendered useless by the sheer number of sizeable insectoid foes.

Toriko 06_CoverThe first five volumes demonstrated that a manga dealing with the pursuit of food in a world obsessed with gourmet can be more than the silly premise suggests. Volumes 6-10 teach that this manga can have as much heart, humour, grit and action as anything else out there.

Toriko Volumes 6-10 and a great deal more are currently available from Viz Media. For more information, check out the Viz Media website, the Shonen Jump Toriko page and of course, stay with us here at Anime Reporter for more anime and manga reviews!

Toriko

 

Action:                                     8.5

Plot Development:                    8

Character Development:           7

Entertainment:                         7.5

World and Mythology:                9

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80% – Top Notch” - Toriko Volumes 6-10 manage to make a trip to find food for a fussy pet and a quest in search of some soup feel like the epic voyages of great legends. Toriko really comes into its own as a title and shows that it can stand head to head with the biggest and baddest of manga titans.

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Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

Nura- Rise of the Yokai Clan 00 Title Screen

In days of old, people feared yokai. The one who stood at the helm and led the night parade of a hundred demons was known as the Supreme Commander of the yokai. They had another name for him, The Lord of Pandemonium, Nurarihyon. Nura- Rise of the Yokai Clan 01 Anime Reporter brushes up on its Japanese folklore for a look at Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (Nurarihyon no Mago in Japanese), the complete first series. This anime is an adaptation of Hiroshi Shiibashi’s manga of the same name.

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Set in modern Japan, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is focused on Rikuo Nura (voiced by Blue Exorcist’s Jun Fukuyama in Japanese and Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic’s Ren Hakuryu in English), a twelve year-old boy from a powerful and respected family. He also happens to be ¼ yokai on his mother’s side of the family. For anyone unfamiliar with Japanese mythology, a yokai is a type of monster dedicated to mischief at the very least, possibly going as far as slaughter and destruction as well. Rikuo, a timid and well-meaning boy, also happens to be the third heir of the Nura clan, the next line to lead one of Japan’s largest yokai families. Rikuo’s demonic form comes out under the light of the moon but the rest of the time he lives as a normal human boy and he wants only to continue life as a human. This is made something of a struggle when several of his schoolmates set up a society devoted to hunting for yokai and investigating their sightings.

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The series’ main focus is in forcing Rikuo to choose between his human friends and his yokai family, though often he’ll choose somewhere in between. Many members of the Nura clan are hesitant to follow a mostly human boy, particularly one whose loyalties are so often in doubt. This pressure, expressed as the resentment of years, seems to evaporate for the most part after the first story arc. The second half of the series is focused on Rikuo leading the Nura clan against an all-out campaign from a rather more violent clan on the rise. Once again, Rikuo’s priorities are torn between protecting his clan and his classmates and it can’t help but feel that it would have been more satisfying to commit to one side or the other. Another complication arises from his new classmate Yura Keikain, (portrayed by Ai Maeda who voiced a young Cottonmouth in the anime sequence of Kill Bill Vol 1. in Japanese and Bleach’s Michelle Ruff in English). Yura has been raised her entire life to hunt and destroy yokai and has the ability to summon powerful creatures to help her fight against them. She also seems to have much more knowledge about different yokai than Rikuo himself. Nura- Rise of the Yokai Clan 10   Some of the series’ characterisation can feel a little inconsistent, with humans and yokai both being very much agreed that yokai are basically evil but Rikuo’s grandfather, the current head of the yokai clan, ultimately doing nothing more sinister than occasionally using his powers to steal candy. Other, lesser members of the clan are portrayed as comical or harmless, with the occasional high-ranking psychopath proving to be the exception rather than the rule. Notable members of the clan are Tsurara Oikawa (voiced by Fairy Tail’s Yui Horie in Japanese and Sword Art Online’s Cassandra Morris in English), an ice-wielding yokai who accompanies Rikuo to school as his bodyguard, disguised as a student, and Kubinashi, (voiced by Naruto Shippuuden’s Takahiro Sakurai in Japanese and Fairy Tail’s Todd Stone in English), a yokai resembling a regular youth, except that his head floats independently of his body and whose character remains much of a mystery to viewers besides this information. Nura- Rise of the Yokai Clan 09

Another notable member is Kejoro, a curvaceous maiden who looks like a traditionally dressed woman and can manipulate her hair to attack with. Kejoro feels lamentably like a token pair of breasts and never manages to achieve more characterisation throughout the series than having romantic interest in a man. Hopefully, Kejoro and Kubinashi will benefit from some exposition in the next series. Rikuo’s night-time yokai form is a more confident warrior with red eyes and a shock of white hair sticking out for a few feet to his left. This demonic form ultimately proves to be far more interesting a character than his placid human-self, though it’s downplayed for the purpose of sympathising with his dilemma. Nura- Rise of the Yokai Clan 07

The animation for the series is stellar, with the Blu Ray edition in particular standing out in terms of vivid colours and stunning character detail. Many of the different forms of yokai are rendered with great imagination and originality, truly giving depth and layers to both the mythology and the hierarchy of the yokai. The voice acting overall is great, with special praise having to go to Sam Riegel (who also voiced Mephisto Pheles in Blue Exorcist) for his English portrayal of Kiyotsugu, Rikuo’s classmate who’s obsessed with investigating yokai and whose inability to discover one right under his nose is a great source of humour.

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The first series of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan does a fine job of setting the scene for future storylines and creates a nice parallel with organised crime families. The second half of the series builds the tension nicely and should leave viewers eager to see the Nura clan taking on other yokai families in the future. We’ll just have to wait for series 2 to see how they fare!

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Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is available on DVD and Blu Ray from Manga entertainment. For more info, check out the Manga UK twitter page and stay with us here at Anime Reporter as we’ll be tackling the second series: Demon Capital, very soon.

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Characters:                  6.5

Action:                         7

Humour:                      7

Plot:                             8.5

Animation:                   9

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76% – “Worth a Look”- Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan is a great start to a Godfather style tale of the reluctant heir to a crime family and the responsibilities he has to face to protect the ones he loves. Plus demons and stuff!

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Toriko Manga Volumes 1-5

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Anime Reporter goes back to the origins of Toriko, looking at the first five volumes (43 chapters) of the Shonen Jump manga series created by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro.

 

Toriko 01_CoverToriko takes place in a world firmly established in the Gourmet Age, a time when exquisite tastes and rare ingredients are valued well above all else. The world is split into two parts, the Human World, not unlike our own modern society, but overflowing with restaurants and markets devoted to fine delicacies. The Gourmet World is composed of expansive wilderness, inhospitable to most humans. The title character, Toriko, is a gourmet hunter, meaning that he’s not afraid to go to the most dangerous terrains and tackle the biggest beasties out there. And what beasties there are! From troll-kongs to devil pythons, the world is covered in bizarre and magnificent creatures, many of whom have developed an assortment of ways to kill entire platoons of soldiers in order to protect their own, more flavoursome, body parts. Gargantuan predators and docile delicacies abound and people are willing to pay Toriko fortunes to retrieve these tantalising treats.

Volume 1 starts off with Komatsu, a young and timid chef in a five-star restaurant. Komatsu accompanies Toriko on one of his jobs to retrieve a particularly nasty croc, a garara gator, a fiercesome behemoth that Komatsu has never seen up close before. Komatsu comes to serve as the reader’s guide through the world of Toriko, learning about the amazing things gourmet hunters experience as we do. Komatsu, used to the Gourmet Age as seen from his kitchen, is constantly caught off guard by the splendour and danger of the wide, wild world.

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Garara Gator

 

Toriko is well able to keep Komatsu safe, boasting incredible strength and resistance. Coming off somewhere between a muscular looking Luffy and blue-mullet boasting young Goku, Toriko loves to fight and, more than anything, to eat. Like many gourmet hunters, Toriko is on a quest to assemble his ideal meal by sampling all the rare foods that the world has to offer. Toriko’s endless appetite, a common attribute of many shonen characters, is actually a highly relevant part of the plot. His appetite is a large part of the driving force behind his journeys, with money being much less of a priority. The other significant factor behind his travels is his love of fighting, often characterised by the image of a giant, terrifying demon. Toriko is one of the four ‘Heavenly Kings’ a group of powerful warriors renowned and feared throughout the world.

Toriko 02_CoverVolume 2 of the series introduces Coco, another of the Heavenly Kings, with superb senses that allow him to make accurate predictions as well as attack with stunning accuracy. He also specialises in toxins, being immune to a great deal and even able to generate some nasty concoctions from his own body. Coco has retired from the gourmet hunter business but isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty either, assisting Toriko on quests with require a more subtle approach than Toriko’s brute strength.

With the world and setting nicely established, Volumes 3 to 5 deal with Toriko’s and Komatsu’s visit to Biotope 1, a huge island installation for the breeding of new, delicious species and all sorts of gourmet research and development. Toriko has been asked to hunt down and bring in a regal mammoth, a creature the size of a small mountain with exceptionally valuable meat. What makes this mission different is that Gourmet Corp, an international and illegal organisation which seeks to obtain power above all else, has designs on the mammoth too. Toriko, Komatsu as well as new supporting cast members Rin and Sunny.

Rin is a resident at Biotope 1 who uses her knowledge of pheromones to tranquilise or manipulate some of the beasts on the island and who also seems to have powerful affection for our leading man. Sunny is a powerful and shallow character, entirely concerned with beauty and boasting a rather interesting set of abilities. The fiends of Gourmet Corp have an edge though, boasting a few robotic sentinels to surpass even the Heavenly Kings.Toriko 05_Cover

Present throughout the series is a wonderful flow of characterisation and humour. The humour is clear not only from the characters and any jokes contained within the plot, but it’s also clear that the story was written with a bit of a smile when you see Toriko happily munching on bacon leaves or once you first encounter a butt bug. The series sets itself up with an expansive mythology to borrow from and does an excellent job of reconciling sci-fi with the idea of a world obsessed with food. Toriko feels not so far away from titles like One Piece and Naruto in terms of characters and settings and is well worth picking up for anyone who hasn’t come across it yet.

Toriko Volumes 1-5, and well beyond, are available from Viz Media. For more information, check out the Viz Media website, the Shonen Jump Toriko page and of course, stay with us here at Anime Reporter for more updates on Toriko and much more!

Action:                         8

World Building:           9

Characters:                  7.5

Originality:                  8

Humour:                      8.5

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82% -Appetising!Toriko volumes 1-5 are a fun and light introduction to an addictive new world, with hints at a darker and much more expansive plot lurking just around the corner. Dynamite stuff!

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Dragon Ball GT Part 2 (Part 1 Spoilers)

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Anime Reporter dives for cover during our review of Dragon Ball GT: Part 2, the final episodes of one of anime’s most famous and popular franchises.

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When last we covered Dragon Ball GT (here), the earth was enslaved under the rule of Baby, the malevolent parasite who had taken over the minds of all of earth’s inhabitants, including many of the Z-fighters themselves and , worse still, Baby was fighting off Goku from inside Vegeta’s body. As we all remember from last time though, Goku himself was undergoing a brand new change, reaching a brand new level, Super Saiyan 4. This was a great and unexpected cliff-hanger for the first half of the series to finish on and the action continues from there.

Dragon Ball GT 02 Baby

While the fights are intense and much better paced than many of the conflicts of Dragon Ball Z, it should really be said that there are no breaks from the old formula. This formula can be neatly summed up in paraphrases from the villain’s point of view.

  • “Hahaha, I’m winning!”
  • “What? How are you still alive?”
  • “I will transform into my ultimate form! Now I’m unbeatable!” 
  • “What’s this? That’s impossible! You have an ultimate form too?!?”
  • “Despite your new powers I’m still winni… Wait? You weren’t really trying?!?”
  • “Curse you Goku!”

It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Dragon Ball Z had always delivered precisely this type of battle shamelessly and, although the first half of GT had largely moved away from it in favour of a lighter tone and space adventures, by the conclusion of the Baby Saga, they’re truly borrowing from their old material again. To illustrate this point further, the next story arc is essentially Goku and the Z fighters against everyone that Goku ever defeated in Dragon Ball Z. The gates of hell open and all of Goku’s old foes descend upon the earth, determined to destroy Goku and all he holds dear. By this point, the Dragon Ball universe has seen Goku and many of the other Z-fighters escalate their power levels exponentially time and time again to the point that, given Goku’s abilities at the start of Dragon Ball Z, by the middle of GT, it almost seems ludicrous that he can set foot on the earth without cracking it in half. The fact that he continues to come across new foes who can match his power level without having encountered foes that could previously come close to his current state lessens the impact of his transformations and his progress over the series.

Dragon Ball GT 07 Z fighters

This is followed by a longer arc in which the dragon balls have broken from overuse. Seven evil dragons have emerged from the balls, bent on destroying the earth and perhaps, the entire universe. This arc again features a series of escalating battles which drag over too many episodes. If Part 1 felt like a super-sized return to the format of Dragon Bally, then Part 2 feels like an oscillation between reminiscing fondly about the events of Dragon Ball Z and trying to replicate them.

Dragon Ball GT 12 Shadow Shenron

Ultimately Dragon Ball GT matches the high points of anime violence and explosive action, but falls regrettably flat when it comes to originality, character development, or even plot. Fans of the series from the very beginning will find Dragon Ball GT’s conclusion to be like a fun weekend away with old friends but it’s probably not for everyone.

Dragon Ball GT 11 Goku Super Saiyan 4

Also available on the DVD collection is A Hero’s Legacy, a 45 minute feature about one of Goku’s descendants 100 years in the future. Goku’s descendant, Goku Jr, is a timid boy, not unlike young Gohan once upon a time though in his voice and appearance he more resembles his great-great grandfather. Goku Jr’s adventures are a nice and original tale, reminiscent of the innocence of Goku’s earliest escapades. This episode is essentially a prologue to the events of the very last episode, but it’s best to watch it after the series itself.

Dragon Ball GT Goku Jr

Dragon Ball GT is available on DVD from Manga Entertainment now.

For more information, check out the official Twitter (Manga UK): https://twitter.com/MangaUK

And the official Dragon Ball GT website: http://www.dragonballgt.com/

Dragon Ball GT 10 Goku Super Android 17

 

Action:                         9.5

Plot:                             6

Characterisation:          5.5

Originality:                  5.5

Nostalgia Factor:          8

Dragon Ball GT 16 z fighters

69% – One for the fans. Dragon Ball GT Part 2 is a nice way for fans of the series to take the adventure even further but it ultimately feels like less than it could have been.

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Posted in Anime, Anime Series, Reviews

Death Note: Whose Side Are You On?

Dnote

Death Note is an amazing piece of manga/anime with high stakes and ever-escalating tension. Both sides have everything to lose and both play for keeps.

Who were you rooting for across the series? Who did you really, really want to see win the day?

Light-and-Kira-Death-Note-Wallpaper

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Posted in Take a Poll
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