Who’s hungry for another helping of gourmet-based battle manga? Well, I only have one helping so you’ll have to share, I’m afraid. This is Anime Reporter covering the events of Toriko manga Volume 28 (chapters 244-253).
So, while the last few instalments of the series have been focusing on that whole skirmish basically involving the equivalent of the Gourmet World’s only terrorists, the Bishokukai and their fairly terrifying leader, Midora, versus the strongest fighters and most elite chefs that the Gourmet World can offer, this volume offers a bit less action, but a hearty dose of suspense.
When the last volume ended, it was with the sudden appearance of Frohze, one of the followers of Acacia. If you’ve been following the Toriko series so far, you’ll remember that Acacia is the legendary Gourmet hunter whose ideal menu was so elite that his main course was known simply as “God”. Well, you’d better not expect a whole lot of revelations regarding what Frohze is suddenly doing here. Nope, instead, the action shifts to the Gourmet World where Midora’s elite fighters are facing off against the president’s own team. There’s a pretty intense fight between the President and Midora that takes on a personal and tragic tone. A hefty chunk of the volume is made up of Midora’s origin story which lends a lot more to the character than his previous appearances as “Imposing Arch Villain Type C”.
Everything so far in the world of Toriko has been a little elitist. Really. I mean, I know that Toriko comes across as a guy with a simple, rustic approach to life but he eats the very rarest food in ungodly quantities in a world where the ultimate currency, the ultimate luxury, is rare gourmet cooking. Toriko himself is essentially a millionaire in this world and we’re all rooting for him. Even Komatsu, the underdog constantly amazed by Toriko and the amazing sights of his world, is a high-ranking chef in a high-class restaurant. Midora’s back-story provides us with our first real look at the other side of this gourmet obsession. Poverty, starvation and a truly ugly side of humanity all play a part in forming Midora into the villain.
The Cooking Festival Arc may have worn out its welcome just a little bit, with so much emphasis on these uber elites duking it out. This take on Midora’s history is a welcome answer to all of the questions being raised around his character and it’s also a very nice change of pace from the surrounding events.
This is not the most suspenseful Toriko volume out there. It’s certainly not the most entertaining or even the most action packed. What it is, is a solid continuation of the storyline. It’s a little hard to say yet whether the events of this volume are to the series’ credit or not. All we can really do is wait and see where they lead and I’m still so very interested in what this story still has to offer.
Toriko manga Volume 28 is currently available for sale in English from the folks at Viz Media.