Anime Reporter samples the delicacy of danger, as Toriko, Komatsu and the other Heavenly Kings make their first steps into Gourmet World as a team in Toriko Volume 31 (chapters 273-282).
Naturally, this being the 31st volume of the series, and being one of the first volumes after a major timeskip in the narrative, this would not be an ideal place for Toriko-newcomers to jump in. I’d advise any such folks to take a peek at my very first Toriko review, just to see if it’s your particular cup of tea and then I’d advise you to catch up on your back issues of this excellent series.
As many will recall, Volume 30 ended with our heroes/adventurers/ne’er-do-wells, (depending on your perspective and which character in particular you’re thinking of), travelling into the great unknown inside a giant octopus with some rather watermelon-like characteristics. (If any newcomers have continued reading up to this point, I promise that the idea of a watermelon octopus will seem much more acceptable to you after you’ve given the series more time to grow on you. Also, stop reading this. Spoilers!) Well, making the journey to Gourmet World, with its population of monsters more powerful and ravenous than anything in the human world, sounds terrifying enough, until you realise that in fact the weather, the land around you and even your own senses may well be trying to kill you even as you’re nearing its borders. Our group encounters a rather lethal ocean with waves designed more for stabbing than splashing and that’s just Gourmet World warming up.
From floating heads to ghost towns and fleets of ships manned by skeletons, Gourmet World seeks to undo our heroes’ perceptions of reality and turn their own instincts against them. From storms in the form of giant iron feet clamping down from the sky to rain literally composed of laser beams, there’s little that makes sense in Gourmet World and even less that can be predicted.
That isn’t to say that Gourmet World will be entirely without friendly faces. I really enjoyed the introduction of Branch way back in the days of Gourmet Fest and, as he’s an inhabitant of the first land they’ll be visiting, expect at least one moderately friendly-ish face among the bizarre and spooky ones that Bewitching Food World has to offer.
If you’re familiar with Toriko, you’ll most likely recognise this as a back to basics start to this story arc. Yes, the monsters are bigger, scarier and more confusing than ever. Yes, every challenge is on a monumentally larger scale. Yes, a third thing. Nonetheless, this is a good old tale of Toriko, Komatsu and some friends tackling the unknown and, as you’d expect, rising wonderfully to some new challenges and eating any creature that fails to get out of their way.
Some highlights to keep an eye out for in this volume:
- A frog with a pretty sweet moustache.
- A couple of different towns which reminded me of Spirited Away.
- A pretty sweet maze.
- A mysterious group who’s none to happy with the quest to find Acacia’s full course.
- Drunk Komatsu.
Toriko Volume 31 is a fine addition to this truly enjoyable series and starts off what promises to be a great new story arc. This volume is already available in English, so get on out there and find it!