Anime reporter returns for another course after far too long a fast. With great relish and appetite, it’s time for Toriko Volume 23 (chapters 199-207)! If you’re not familiar with Toriko as a series, you really ought to be and a great place to start is with my take on the first five volumes here.
Now, if you haven’t acquainted yourself with the first twenty two volumes, you should definitely to expect more than a few spoilers here.
Ok… are they gone? Just us seasoned Toriko veterans left? Excellent! Quick show of hands; who else was incredibly excited by last volume’s cliffhanger ending? One… two… Ok, I’m trying to count, but all I can see is my own computer screen so I’m just going to assume that at least a few people were as blown away as I was.
We were left with the Four Heavenly Kings facing off against the Four Beasts and we finished with the revelations. There were no Four Beasts, there is only the Four Beast and the four titanic creatures are nothing more than its limbs. (It’s worth pointing out that the Japanese word for “four” is the same as the word for “death”, making this creature’s name both an apt description of its hunting style and a warning about its nature.) After four fairly brutal skirmishes, these limbs take off towards their host, waiting patiently underneath the entire population of Human World. Things soon escalate in a very Dragon Ball Z-esque fashion and the Four Heavenly Kings are forced to do the one thing they never thought they’d do. Work Together.
While Toriko and his band of brothers are trying to co-ordinate their temperaments and their unique abilities against a foe designed to wipe entire species’ to extinction, Komatsu has a considerable task of his own. The Four Beast has begun raining a fine green poison over the human population and it will take a miracle team of super chefs to prepare enough antidote to save all of humanity in time. While Komatsu has always been skilled, and his abilities have only grown with his and Toriko’s Gourmet Honour training, this task feels far too daunting for any number of chefs to accomplish.
The majority of the Four Beast Arc seems to finish up with all but a couple of details left unresolved. While the storyline is intense and suitably weighty, it does feel just a little rushed in comparison to many of the ingredient-hunting plots encountered in the series.
The overall impression is that the Four Beast is an opportunity to showcase how the principal characters have grown in ability, with a specific focus on Toriko and Komatsu exhibiting their newfound Gourmet Honour techniques. The emphasis is on tension and action, though a couple of trademark Toriko comedy moments manage to sneak in at opportune moments. The result is a wonderfully abrupt, intense piece of storytelling, reminding us fairly skilfully that over two hundred chapters actually translates into quite a long run time and that it’s been more than a little while since Komatsu and Toriko first met up.
Toriko Volume 23 is currently available in English, courtesy of Viz Media. For more info and updates, stick around Anime Reporter.
Plot Development: 7
Character Development: 8
82% – “Filling”– Toriko Volume 23 provides a quick-paced action-heavy story that ends with a satisfying crunch. As always, I’m looking forward to the next helping.