Do not read or watch while hungry!
Say what now? One Piece in my Toriko and Toriko in my One Piece? To celebrate Toriko becoming an anime, the ever popular One Piece decided to do a 50 minute crossover special as the first episode. You don’t need to know much about One Piece or Toriko to follow, but it does take place further along in both of the series (hooray for being up to date with the One Piece manga!). So was it just a clever way to reel in fans or is it a shameless team up to make money? We shall see!
So how would Toriko and the mugiwara pirates even meet up? They both end up on a giant island that is made out of food at the same time. A giant island made of food. A GIANT ISLAND. MADE OF FOOD. The ideal meeting ground for an ingredient hunter and the mugiwara pirates, who are fresh out of food supplies. Amidst the excitement of finding trees made out of succulent meat, Chopper gets picked up by Toriko who considers making him his next dish.
Luffy defends his nakama at the blink of an eye, using his devil fruit powers to attack Toriko, who actually manages to block the barrage of attacks. What would have made a really interesting fight is cut short by the revelation of “oh my god I AM HOLDING A TALKING REINDEER, WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING?” Toriko abandons his plans to eat the little fuzzball physician and instead befriends the pirates.
This is a shounen show, so it follows a bit of a predictable cycle of these things: bonding, fighting, eating, saving whoever is kidnapped. If they’re done bonding now, might as well fight some massive pigs while the characters explain their powers to each other. For those of you who didn’t know, Luffy’s body is like rubber on account of eating the gum-gum fruit and Toriko travels the world in order to taste rare and exotic ingredients. The side characters are largely ignored for now, but I guess they’re avoiding spoilers.
Instead of taking the pigs as supplies for their voyage, they end up eating the entire lot of them. An entire family of pigs…devoured. But fear not, for the great ingredient hunter Toriko knows how to poach dangerous animals like a pro, and is confident they could take down a Hungry-la bird as a food source. Thanks to lightspeed shounen metabolism, Luffy and Toriko are already drooling over their next meal and rushing towards a mountain summit where the bird is likely to reside.
Hmm, we need some obstacle for the heroes…how about another monster? A unicorn monkey sounds good right about now! Instead of fighting it, they make a run for it since their meat isn’t really that tasty. You’re so merciful, Toriko…<_< They’re chased all the way to the summit until the bird in question makes an entrance and blows everything away, including the apes. Time for – you guessed it – another fight with a poor, frazzled animal!
Guys, maybe we should just take home some kraft dinner or something?
At first, the bird seems impervious to everyone’s attacks, but let’s not forget that we’re here to show off Toriko’s techniques to get people to watch the anime. After Luffy knocks the poor thing out of the sky, Toriko unleashes his inner beast. It’s pink. Using the power of FFOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKKKKUUUU and KNNNAAAIIFFFUUUUUUUUU, he manages to kill the Hungry-la bird.
Mullets always prevail over evil
Onto the eating again. YET AGAIN, Luffy and Toriko devour all of the bird, leaving behind a cleanly-picked carcass and nothing more. What comes after eating? Kidnapping! Nami and Toriko’s dorky cook assistant get kidnapped by koalas. Cocoalas, if you care about puns. Toriko deduces that they must have taken them to the Amatano fruits tree, which is a giant tree that grows a blob that tastes like every single delicious fruit compressed into one. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.
To switch it up, there’s some actual environmental hazards now…chocolate geysers. Scalding hot chocolate geysers that send everyone flying into a whipped cream river. What’s waiting for them when they’re back on dry land? Caste Leos – lions with castella cakes for manes. I leave you to decide whether this is badass or lame, but it certainly makes me hungry. Toriko shows off his nail punch technique and takes out the first lion, only to have a bunch more surround them.
For convenience, Toriko’s friends (or acquaintances…haven’t got that far in the manga yet) arrive at the scene to buy them time to escape.Thanks you, fabulous hair man and plain black-haired duo! Now they have nothing to hold them back as they drive koalas into extinction to save their friends/grab some rare fruit.
Now that is one massive koala. Chopper and Sanji deal with the little minions as Toriko and Luffy take on the big one. As per usual, they start off by losing miserably before coming up with a master plan to combine their attacks into one super shounen megamove.
The best part of the episode by far? The volcano erupts and reveals that the ingredient Toriko was searching for wasn’t the bird, but the entire island! Once they realize the entire island is a giant sundae a la mode, they eat the entire island. An entire habitat. Gone. Millions of animals starved to death. The balance of nature has been – oh hell, as if I care.
And now for Dessert:
Fa~bu~lous~ has arrived
Chocolate…the kryptonite of anime superheroes
Y U DO DIS?
…I think she gassed herself with endorphins.
End Thoughts: Let’s get this out of the way now: Toriko is a pretty stupid show. Going around killing animals and eating them like a gourmet BAMF is a-okay. HunterxHunter managed to pull that sort of thing off splendidly. But it almost felt like the encounters were forced just so there would be a monster to fight. It was far too simplistic. Added to that, the lead character looks like he’s on steroids AND has insufferable blue hair (because that makes him original!). What’s left for me to be interested in? The wolf? The strange part of it is that I found myself enjoying the Toriko manga. It’s a bit ridiculous and can be essentially boiled down to beating entire ecosystems of animals into a coma and then devouring them for fun, but it’s simple, shounen enjoyment. It provides hot-blooded action, the rare flash of a good idea, and some awesome food-animal hybrids. It was good at what it did, to put it simply.
In comparison, the anime seemed to really highlight how ridiculous some aspects of the manga are, and not for the better. Seeing Toriko’s pink-aura beast come out was a facepalm-worthy level of threatening AKA not threatening in the slightest. I couldn’t tell if it was really epic or really retarded when he used his knife and fork attack either. Part of me wanted to hide, part of me wanted to shed manly tears. Some of the action was okay, but for now the fight scenes just look less silly in the manga.
Let’s not forget Toriko was paired with One Piece, a manga I quite enjoy. That made it better, right? Nope. I am not a fan of the One Piece anime, as it manages to ruin everything for me. The humour is degraded to constant screaming and the quirky art just looks lazy. Not to mention I hate the seiyuu selection for everyone except Zoro (Date Masamune, baby. LET’S HAVE A PARTY!) and Sanji. Luffy’s voice is like nails on a chalkboard and I wish Brook would die. Again. So no, One Piece didn’t help at all, especially with how forced some of the plot elements were (hey, we just happen to be here to save you and tell you the secret of this island!). Nothing could save it, really. Seeing Toriko and Luffy act like they were essentially the same character kind of bugged me too…
Let’s just say this isn’t a show I should watch after something like Steins;Gate. If I go into it just for the mindless fun of beating up animals, I might actually get more out of it. I went into it already a bit wary because of One Piece, so it might actually be better for me without Luffy’s eardrum-bursting banshee wails. I didn’t HATE it, but it seemed really sloppy. I’ll hang in a bit, see if the rest of the normal series is good, and try my hand at letting out my manly side once every week. GUTS GUTS GUTS!
Sexy french cook…awayyyy!