Story/Art: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
To describe Toriko shortly it would have to be a cross between Indiana Jones and Man vs Food, where Gourmet Hunter Toriko faithfully pursuits the best dishes to build up his ultimate Full-Course Meal, one which will be the best feast he ever has ever eaten. He lives in a world where the most exotic foods are derived from very unusual creatures, some of which seem like mutations from our own world (Such as the Garara Gator, Toriko’s first challenge which is a gargantuan gator with multiple legs and that can weight several tons, its meat as described in the Manga is enough to make you drool for weeks). Toriko can best any edible beast with his fists and wits alone, but at times when things get hairy, he conjures his best weapons: His fork and dining knife. Although this may seem ridiculous, Toriko can use these eatery utensils to handle tough jobs and which guarantees him the job done, and his belly full. Toriko however has one rule: Never kill which what you cannot eat. If he knows the beast he encounters isn’t worth his taste, he simply knocks it down any way he can find, whether by his fists or by a technological contraption he gets from the market.
He is hired by the greatest restaurant chain in the food business, and followed by Komatsu, Igo’s top chef and wannabe adventurer. In the course of the first Volume of the Manga series, Toriko faces off with the Garara Gator, and faces off against a tribe of Troll Kongs, bigger than life gorillas with four arms and zero tolerance for anyone that dares step in their territory. All this while Toriko seeks such priceless food relics like the Rainbow Fruit, whose a single drop of its nectar can turn an entire pool of water into a seven layered juice cocktail. Toriko is often seen eating, whether is by himself hunting his prey, offered as payment by his clients, or even at home, which is completely made of sweets and chocolate, including the doorknob which he eats after closing the door.
Regardless of such gluttony, Toriko is in peak shape and can lift tremendous amounts of weight with ease, often hunting beasts to either eat or sell at the food market by himself. Komatsu can never stop being in awe of just what Toriko can accomplish. Toriko himself is a pleasant character, with Goku’s gluttony and Joseph Joestar’s looks and attitude, but not as vulgar as the lovable street brawler from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Battle Tendency. If there is a weakness thus far, is that Toriko can submerge into his food and craving business so much that he will not pay attention to anything and anyone else, something that so far has not interrupted his battle against beasts and monsters, because his focus is defeating them to meet his purpose. Toriko also has many battle techniques such as the triple spiked punch, which connects three times once he hits. Toriko is also one of the grand four Gourmet Hunters in the Manga, although it is not stated if he is the best of the four, or someone surpasses him, it also does not explain if all four are friends or are competitive hunters each. The only clue about the other three is at the end of Volume 1, where the Gourmet Hunter and Fortune Teller Coco is introduced briefly, and predicting Toriko’s arrival in a semi-worried tone.
Toriko’s sense of humor in the Manga is quite pleasant and the reader will find that going through it all page by page could be compared to a nice set up dinner, where you eat everything with a pleasure of enjoying your meal. Truly a man’s Manga with a taste for adventure.