Training something insubstantial isn’t exactly new to shonen, with its wide variety of energy techniques or even non-physical skills like illusions or psychic abilities, but training an aspect of one’s personality is an appropriately original choice for a series as creative as Toriko. However, this unusual training has manifested in a surprisingly active way, with Toriko and Komatsu having to withstand attacks from Shokurin Temple itself. Making the protagonists face physical ordeals for their emotional shortcomings makes this training arc comfortably familiar to shonen readers, even if the skill being trained is quite different.
Shokurin Temple being more of a prison than a place of worship means that the difficulties facing the main characters feel much more threatening. Also, the comparison between this location and Honey Prison is a nice touch; contrasting two distinctly different prisons over the course of the series might seem insignificant, but small details like these give the world a sense of variety.
Chinchin’s tendency to forget people’s names is an amusing quirk, but it’s also an obvious way to eventually cap off this arc. If he ever does remember the names of Toriko and Komatsu, it will be when they have properly completed their training, obtained the Bubble Fruit, and earned Chinchin’s respect. This isn’t the most original scenario, but it’s a solid way to establish the growth of the main characters in the eyes of a strong mentor character.
Regarding that mentor character, it’s a nice twist that he was behind the incident at Death Falls. Tying present story lines back to earlier ones can be a great way to give the plot depth. Furthermore, if the above scenario about Chinchin finally learning their names does come true, it will mean more to Toriko and Komatsu to receive the approval of someone who has watched them for a long time.
Keeping the Bubble Fruit is out in the open is an excellent move by the author. This is a wonderful difference from the obscurity of the majority of ingredients Toriko has had to capture.
Shuu’s observation regarding Toriko’s eyes is an interesting one, and the fact that such insight is combined with enough confidence to challenge his powerful new student makes Shuu a fascinating new character. He may end up only being an arc-specific character, but like Shokurin Temple, he has impressed so far.
Final Flash: The idea of an etiquette training arc seemed strange last week, but it’s being done very well.