The newest arc of Toriko has only just begun, and it has already attracted a great deal of controversy. Despite being referred to as the Gourmet World Arc by the series itself, the author has decided that the best course of action was to start off with the characters leaving that world for the regular Human World. Even the brief glimpse of the Gourmet World in chapter 264 did little to appease the appetites of the fans. Looking at both the most recent chapter and the events that came before, though, a possible explanation for the current series of events can be gathered.
Even during the long hype and anticipation for the Gourmet World, the series never fully answered the question of what the characters would actually be doing once they entered it. They would look for rare food items, obviously, but in the past, the protagonists were always chasing a specific goal or request when entering any new area. Toriko and Komatsu could be assumed to still be receiving orders from IGO or something similar, but this makes the new world sound far too much like the old one. The series has been known for its exploration of new territories, and this theme would have to be the focus in a world where only a handful of people have ever been.
The solution, it would seem, is to have the main characters start off already somewhat familiar with the Gourmet World, but not quite enough to make it look mundane. This puts Toriko in a position similar to where he started the series, where he knows the world he lives in well enough to let the reader know what is happening. This is, of course, a less than ideal way of transitioning to the new arc. Any change that involves not letting the reader see major events is going to cause controversy. The overall intention does seem to involve payoffs in the longer term, though, so perhaps a few chapters of discretion should be given to the series. If nothing else, the current chapter does imply a quick return to the Gourmet World, if only because there isn’t much left standing to keep Toriko away from it.
The focus of this chapter is to show exactly how fallen into disrepair the Human World has become. The luscious foods and restaurants of the past are gone, having been replaced with pills containing only the nutrients necessary for survival. The few items of food that remain are so valuable that people are willing to sacrifice their humanity to obtain them. The only sources of food that are available in any reliable capacity are found in the Gourmet World. All this gives Toriko a goal to work towards, now that he is collecting food for everyone in the world, instead of just himself.
The chapter closes off with a look at IGO Headquarters, where Chief Mansam has taken over the position and wardrobe that Ichiryuu left behind. Even he is not immune to the effects of the food shortage, as he is seen taking what are most likely alcohol pills from a wine glass. It isn’t known what other changes have taken place since his promotion, but this brief glimpse would indicate a good deal of respect for the former IGO policies.
Final Flash: A partial return to what the series is known for, which, at worst, is still better than last week.