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Toriko Parts 1 and 2 DVD Reviews

Toriko Part 1 DVD Toriko Part 2 DVD

“Toriko” is an unabashedly silly and entertaining anime series.

In part 1 of “Toriko” (which contains the first 13 episodes), we are introduced to the two main characters- Toriko and Komatsu. Komatsu is a nerdy, nervous chef and Toriko is a strong man with fork and knife powers. Toriko is a gourmet hunter who seeks out new foods that tend to be giant edible beasts (which have various capture levels and sizes). Once he defeats the beasties, he eats them. If this all sounds strange, you have to take into account that these characters inhabit a gluttonous Gourmet Age of existence where food is life.

The bulk of the first season sees Toriko and Komatsu searching for new foods such as a Gararagator, Rainbow Fruit, Puffer Whale, a Regal Mammoth and Jewel Meat. Other subplots involve a reporter named Tina, Coco and Sunny (two of the Four Heavenly Kings who excel at acquiring BIG foods), a troublesome Devil Snake, Komatsu being kidnapped, GT Robots (and fights with them), Gourmet Corps (baddies trying to hord food), a Gourmet Coliseum (where we see fights and a Battle Wolf), IGO (a peaceful food police essentially), Mansam and Rin (IGO employees), Bei (a Gourmet Corps member), Toriko’s perilous trip through the Devils’ Playground, and Toriko’s goal to create a full course menu.

In part 2 (which consists of episodes 14-26), battles against GT Robots rages on while our “heroes” encounter  , a Mega Octopus, Sharkrocodile, Tundra Dragons, Growlruses, Freezer Bison, and Insectoids. Additionally, viewers can expect a major character death, Komatsu struggling to prepare a fish dish, Terry (Toriko’s Battle Wolf), Komatsu encountering a giant lizard, BBCorn, Terry searching for food and fighting against Zombie Wood, fighting moves, Toriko and Komatsu visiting Gourmet Town, a legendary chef named Granny Setsuno, a search for Century Soup through Ice Hell, other Gourmet Hunters, and Gourmet Corps villains Starjun, Grinpatch, and Tommyrod making appearances.

“Toriko” may sound entirely goofy, but that’s the point. This manga series turned Toei Animation show never takes itself seriously and really comes off as a lighthearted parody of action anime series like “Dragon Ball Z” (another Toei production oddly enough). The show revels in food/culinary jokes and puns, and even goes as far as to create food oriented fighting moves!

Now, I don’t tend to champion absurd anime series as they can easily grow tiresome, but, so far, “Toriko” never ceases to entertain. Yes, “Toriko” could easily wear out its welcome and, in fact, does lose a bit of steam in the rather overblown part 2 set, but I’m still invested enough in the series to find out how it all ends.  

Of course, the real reason to tune into Toriko is for the title character himself. It’s not often that you see a scene stealing foodie battling beasties for his next meal. To say he’s a unique and personable hero is an understatement. He really draws you into the show.

Another reason to tune is for the animation. The Toei animation team has crafted a visually dazzling (and hunger inducing) series filled with vibrant landscapes and imaginative beastie designs. In so many anime series, the worlds that are created are bland and unconvincing, but the universe these characters inhabit feels fully realized.

Video/Audio:

The series, which is presented in widescreen, is beautifully animated. Every frame is rich with details and bright colors. It would have been nice to see a Blu-ray release of this show too, but the DVD will suffice for now.

These sets contain English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Japanese Stereo tracks. The English track is pretty impressive. Ian Sinclair does a particularly good job making Toriko his own. The Japanese tracks are also noteworthy.

Part 1 Extras:
* Trailers for “One Piece,” “Yu Yu Hakusho,” “Baka and Test,” “Level E,” “Sengoku Basara,” “Fafner,” “Dragon Ball Z Kai,” “Is This A Zombie?,” “Toriko,” and Funimation.com.
* U.S. trailer for “Toriko.”
*Textless opening and closing songs.
* An enthusiastic commentary on episode 1 by Ian Sinclair and Josh Grelle. The two mainly chat about food. Warning: Don’t listen to this if you are hungry.
* Commentary on episode 9 by Ian Sinclair, Leah Clark, and Aaron Roberts. Pretty lively. Happy to say both of these tracks are fun to listen to.

Part 2 Extras:
* Trailers for “Dragon Ball Z Kai,” “One Piece,” “Trigun,” “Level E,” “Soul Eater,” “Sengoku Basara,” “Baka and Test,” “Tenchi Muyo!,” “Toriko,” and Funimation.com. A U.S. “Toriko” trailer is also included.
* 1 textless opening song and 2 textless closing songs.
* A laidback commentary on episode 15 by voice cast members Ian Sinclair, Heather Walker, Morgan Garrett, and Scott Freeman. Discussions range from celeb chefs and food (again). Worth a listen.
* Commentary on episode 20 by Ian Sinclair, Chris Guerrero, and Chris Rager. More of the same, but some interesting stories about voice acting inspirations and jobs.
* Commentary on episode 26 by Kyle Phillips, Ian Sinclair, and Tyler Walker. Worth listening to for the theme song sing-along.

Summary: “Toriko” is more enjoyable than it should be. It may not appeal to everyone, but for those seeking a humorous, laidback anime series, this is the show for you.

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March 28, 2013 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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