Anime Reporter sets off once more with Toriko and co. for Volume 30 of the manga series (chapters 264-272). The last volume ended with a few loose threads to be resolved, but don’t expect a tremendous amount of satisfaction there. It’s Timeskip Time!
About a year and half have passed since the last volume. When last we saw Toriko, he was just recovering, much like the entire Human World, from the horrific attack of Gourmet Corp. Komatsu was still Gourmet Corp.’s prisoner, along with quite a few other top-ranked chefs. Komatsu was sure that Toriko would came and save him and perhaps now it’s finally time to-
Ooooops, nope. That’s already happened. Toriko and Komatsu are back as a time, with all the reuniting and rescuing happening during the past 18 months. I’m not criticising this however, as the series seems to be building up to a revelation about exactly what went down, it just isn’t about to happen now. When we start off, Toriko and Komatsu are deep in Gourmet World, with creatures and ingredients unlike anything they could hope to encounter in Human World. They’ve been racking up a mountainous store of novel ingredients, which is handy, since Human World, still in disarray following the events of Gourmet Fest, is incredibly short on fresh food supplies, with nutrition coming in tasteless pill form. Following directly from the height of the Gourmet Age, this is taking an emotional toll on the world’s citizens.
Luckily, just as things are heading towards breaking point, the pair shows up with enough supplies (for a wee while). Strengthened, (seriously, Toriko’s bulked up big time), and revitalised by their time away, the two are ready to face even more new challenges. Firstly, there’s the whole matter of the world’s food shortage. Luckily, the ex-President of the world had a plan hidden away in his full-course meal and a shirt scavenger hunt could mean the world’s salvation. This story arc feels like a side story, but it also superbly sets up the very next big blowout, sending Komatsu and the Four Kings all the way back to Gourmet World and, naturally, throwing quite a few questions and cliff-hangers into the air.
This volume makes surprisingly smooth work of a transition one and a half years in the making. The skipping over of Komatsu’s rescue amps up the suspense surrounding how and why Toriko could save him, while the move to Gourmet World expands the scale of the series and the potential of its characters.
Naturally, there are elements of the series’ signature humour, but this volume brings heart and characterisation to the fore, allowing relationships to strengthen and develop, as well and allowing the world and characters enough time to somewhat move out of the trauma of their cataclysmic loss (and perhaps even an addition to Toriko’s full course!)
Toriko Volume 30 is currently available in English and ramps the Toriko series up to a great new level. The Gourmet Age has possibly been defeated, but Gourmet World is still ripe for exploration, battles and of course, a lot of eating!