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Toriko 120

December 11, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

Musings from Melk II on the brilliance and dedication shown by Komatsu’s knife are quickly interrupted by Komatsu’s other other knife (if you know what I mean), though sheathed. Meat-print underwear is, well… at least it’s not a meat-banana hammock. Oh, and he has knife-print undies too, though somehow I doubt wearing those would have flustered Melk II less.

He's the fanservice character, alright

Melk II, now alone, is thinking back to Komatsu’s naked body and blushing. Those who had theories about it being a woman under those bandages are gathering more and more evidence in their favor. Still, knowing this series, it could as easily be just Komatsu’s inherent cuteness.

Awkward underwear moments now out of the way, we’re back to Toriko, who has now reached a heavy enough gravity level that the blood circulation in his body is getting messed up, forcing more blood into his legs and making him anemic. As always, great attention to physical detail by Shimabukuro. Taking Komatsu’s knife along definitely seems to have been a good idea, as it manages to stab Toriko out of a half-conscious state.

The explanation of how Toriko’s body evolves to overcome gravity more than makes up for the “science” behind the higher gravity of the Gourmet World. The average reader is almost certain not to know this, but without electromagnetic forces within the human body, people would be ripped apart by differential gravitational forces from the Earth, as would the moon if it came within 2.9 Earth radii of Earth. Naturally, in order to overcome the increased differential force that comes with extra gravity, Toriko’s cells just need to vibrate faster, generating additional em force. Not only that, he starts rolling instead of walking to conserve energy. Being a human pinball is more painful, sure, but definitely takes less energy than the piston-like motion of walking. Superb physics.

Even without Komatsu actually being there, his knife, when dropped, leads to a treasure trove of rare but easily-killed ingredient crabs. Talk about a phenomenally lucky character. Not very lucky, though, for the Ruby Crabs, who just became Toriko’s next meal.

Like pirate treasure, but more delicious

Speaking of luck, Komatsu has now managed to have a walk-in bath scene in a series with formerly only 2 (now 3) female characters. Melk II is a woman, for anyone who didn’t see this coming. The “put on some clothes” line being reused, this time by Komatsu, is a nice bit of boomerang comedy.

Normally, that surprise goes the other way

Now fully charged from cannibalizing an entire ruby crab colony, Toriko readies himself to confront the minotaur beast we saw last chapter. Get ready for an entertaining fight.

Final Flash: Excellent chapter, and not just for the Komatsu/Melk comedy. Good to know this series actually cares about its physics.

Toriko 119

[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

I have no idea what the natural orientation of Balbamoth heads is supposed to be, but I’m sure it’s not pretty. Toriko’s evidently disturbed a scorpion’s nest full of them, as they’re crawling out from alcoves everywhere.

Romance on the battlefield

The heavy gravity does handicap Toriko at the start of the fight, but he gradually compensates for his sluggish movements through a combination of careful observation and fighting experience. This analysis-based fighting style has been more characteristic of Toriko, despite his power-oriented moveset.

Just after Toriko gets used to dodging, the next challenge appears: a massive pile-on of Balbamoths. The panel with them all leaping feels part Lord of the Rings, part Eyeshield 21, and is certainly a lively one. How Toriko reacts to this situation is even more of a pleasent surprise; I don’t think I’ve seen him pull off 360 degree defense before. That’s a novel use for the fork.

Just don't fumble the ball, Sena

In true Toriko fashion, the Balbamoths were just scrap food for an even larger beast. I have to wonder what that crab-minotaur creature’s Capture Level is.

We shift back to Melk and Komatsu, who introduces a few more sharpening tricks, including the gradient whetstone, a 3-in-1 sharpening stone. It almost seems like something out of an infomercial. With all the inferiority Melk II keeps expressing in comparing himself to the original, I’m expecting something impressive when we finally meet the master. Maybe he can sharpen a boulder or something.

Oh boy, hot springs. We are setting ourselves up for some bromantic cuddling once Toriko gets back, aren’t we? The idea of Toriko having a hot springs episode is as hilarious as it is odd.

Sexy, sexy manservice

Final Flash: Toriko’s still fighting like a veteran, not at all relying on raw power to get him through the Heavy Hole. That’s quite encouraging.

Toriko 118

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

Melk II sure knows how to keep up appearances. What better way to have people assume you’re a muscled badass than to keep a Vampire Kong named Pochiko as a delivery pet.

Excellent sky-squid deterrent

Another flashback reveals that Komatsu actually chose to stay behind, opting to watch Melk work rather than go down the Heavy Hole with Toriko. This feels a little bit inconsistent with what’s been recently established, that both Komatsu and Toriko need each other to handle these more dangerous environments, and is frankly a bit disappointing.

To be fair, Toriko’s need for Komatsu is not being totally ignored; Toriko taking Komatsu’s knife and consciously acting with extreme caution is at least an acknowledgment of their partnership. Still, for their first arc since officially teaming up to feature Komatsu staying at some other guy’s house is something of a waste of potential.

At least we are getting some worthwhile exposition about knife sharpening the world of Toriko. When Melk starts getting knives out to sharpen them, we get a few mentions of the famous chefs who own them. More to the point, though, our artisan also mentions that he (or she – that point is still up in the air) makes a point of knowing what sort of person the user of a knife is before sharpening it. The whole dynamic of tailoring knives to the chef versus simply making good knives is a fascinating sidebar, and goes a long way towards establishing sharpening as a legitimate craft.

Maybe it's just a sign of your own artistic touch

With the serious part of Melk’s development done, now we move on to the more superpowered side. Apparently, knives in this world having .001 mm flaws in them, which is a standard manufacturing error in real life, is a significant problem. Melk glows while sharpening out said chinks with supersonic speed. Why not? It’s Toriko, after all.

In the end, it really does have to get back to Toriko, who is getting adjusted to the high gravity just in time for the native beasts of the Heavy Hole to begin noticing him. Be ready for an upcoming fight chapter.

Final Flash: Really just a world-building chapter, showcasing other chefs and the contrast between the first and second Melk’s approaches to sharpening.

Toriko 117

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

It looks like this isn’t the real Melk after all. The title page definitely seems to indicate that the real Melk is in fact super-buff like Toriko was expecting.

Toriko’s explanation of how he deduced that this Melk was fake is another reaffirmation that, while Komatsu may be better at observing ingredients, Toriko is no slouch in the brains department. The size thing wasn’t exactly easy to miss, but it’s pretty impressive that he didn’t just chalk up Melk’s youth to Gourmet Cell magic (as I did at first).

The shocking truth is that this Melk is the second generation disciple of the previous one. That’s not too surprising, really. Given that Melk knives have still been coming out without anybody noting a drop in quality, somebody had to have been doing it in the first generation’s stead.

Having finished the Century Soup continues to pay dividends for everyone’s favorite midget chef. It’s good to know this widespread recognition isn’t changing his personality at all. Classic impressed-by-everything Komatsu is one of the main linchpins that makes this series fun.

Some handle fame more smoothly than others

Komatsu’s knife taking three years to finish due to order backlogs is the kind of obstacle this series overcomes regularly enough. That segment is worth nothing aside from a quick Komatsu facial gag. Much more interesting is the notice Melk II takes in the blade of Komatsu’s old knife. We know Komatsu’s been handling his knife well, and this is just another way of indicating how impressive of a chef he is.

Melk I has been away hunting for the stardust for six years, and now Toriko’s going to go retrieve him and the stardust in exchange for getting Komatsu’s knife faster. That neatly wraps up the three main plots of this arc: finding old Melk, finding the stardust, and getting Komatsu’s knife. Given the fact that this arc is very marginally relevant to the main plot, I appreciate that it’s going to be handled with appropriate brevity.

We close by introducing a new environment: the Heavy Hole, a super-gravity cavern. Considering that Toriko recently dealt with something similar in the gourmet world’s enhanced gravity and got his tail whipped, he’s going to have to step up his game just to get to the bottom. As a side note, the sequence of panels with the dinosaur struggling to get up is a pretty effective way to show off truly crushing amounts of gravity. Not only can’t he get up, he’s actually sinking into solid rock. That’s an appropriately intimidating introduction.

Should have done more Pilates

Final Flash: Heavily an exposition chapter, but the Heavy Hole looks promising.

Toriko 116

[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

With Melk now revealed to be a fabulous bishonen, Toriko and Komatsu certainly show enough shock. I guess we were expecting a bit less sparkle and more muscle, based on the rumors they heard.

Despite the shoddy maintenance of Melk’s hut, Komatsu’s totally geeking out over its contents. That aspect of his character never gets old, and given that this is a spotlight arc for him, I’m expecting fun times.

Better than an ocean of penguin drool

It’s a bit odd that Melk’s house would be this slashed up. On one hand, it fits his design, but on the other hand, what we’ve seen of his knife skills indicates he has a bit more control than that. Toriko seems to be aware of this, also.

Okay, the cuts in the floor make sense if a comparatively dull Melk knife can bury itself blade-first in the floor just by free-falling. The knives have to be at least that good for them to be a serious level-up for Komatsu, anyway.

It’s an interesting choice on Toriko’s part to backhandedly insult Melk and then mess up the floor of his house. He has to be deliberately provoking Melk for some reason; I can’t see Toriko being this much of a jerk by accident. Melk has certainly been provoked enough.

We'll settle this with a caber toss

Knife fight time! Toriko’s hand-knife matches up evenly with Melk’s, and after a little action, he has Melk down on the ground. The twist at the end, that this Melk is not, in fact, the real one, raises a couple possibilities: possibly he’s a disciple, or else Melk is a company’s name rather than a single person’s.

Final Flash: Felt like a short chapter. Hopefully the fake Melk plot doesn’t lead to a sizable detour.

Toriko 115

[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

Rumors about Melk build him up as too much of a manly badass beforehand. There has to be some other aspect to his character.  That said, each of the steps up his mountain are personally carved man-height stairs, so he’s definitely your average Toriko character.

Komatsu does his own speculating as to Melk’s true identity. We’ll see soon enough whether he or Toriko is more on the mark.

Planes cannot be used as an effective means of travel in this world while giant squids patrol the sky. Why did the engineers of this world even bother to invent them?

More of an air-travel deterrent than bag fees

Capture level 15 beasts indicate the danger of this mission is, at least for now, way below the difficulty of Vegetable Sky. Just as well. There won’t be a cucumber at the end of this one to de-age Komatsu, after all.

Melk’s done a good job of scaring the animals from ever coming close to his workshop. Clearly his intimidation-aura projects pretty far out, confirmed by the depiction of Toriko’s face being pseudo-cut by selfsame intimidation.

Hello again, Match

Melk makes a show of his power by scaling a live animal, though imperfectly, from a distance using a knife that’s far from the sharpest he can make. Yeah, he’s a power character. Interestingly, aside from being an obvious bishie, he seems to have a character design based on a cross between a Sashimi chef and a blacksmith.

Final Flash: Made it to Melk’s place quickly enough. Now let’s see what he has to say about Komatsu’s new knife.

Toriko 114

[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

Ichigohan translates wonderfully into Strawberrice. That is such a convenient cross-language portmanteau.

This food would be even more notable if not for the fact that Komatsu was getting tears (and snot) of joy all over it. Bromance much?

Truth be told, the more I think about it, the less I mind the increased levels Toriko and Komatsu’s relationship as taken. Given that he’s going to have to have Toriko’s protection throughout the Gourmet World, it makes sense that they would become closer friends. Plus, it’s a funny way for the author to give Komatsu another reason to worry himself silly about nothing.

Sani having been behind Komatsu being behind Jiro coming to rescue Toriko is not totally unanticipated, given the aloof attitude he took in their conversation earlier, despite knowing how bad of a blender the Gourmet World was. He is the type of guy to take a subtle approach to things like that.

And, eating. Wouldn’t be an action-free Toriko chapter without it.

Fruit snacks for men

The meat banana, immature jokes aside, looks delectable. Toriko does all food well, but there’s something special about the way the meat in this series is drawn that makes me even hungrier.

More affirmation of Torikomatsu’s combo status is interrupted by Komatsu’s knife being broken by a reader submission. Speaking of reasons for Komatsu to freak out…

Shock so strong it won't fit into an ordinary speech bubble

This brings us very naturally to a Komatsu “power-up,” a souped-up kitchen knife, that is totally character-appropriate. Nice.

Final Flash: The nature of the arc coming up is a good indication that Komtsu’s going to be back in the plot for a while. Personally couldn’t be happier about that.

Toriko 111

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

The phrase “starting with the legendary ingredient ‘God'” is intriguing. Does the list “start” with God because that’s the most important ingredient, or was that actually the first ingredient Acacia found?

Not to draw any parallels or accuse anyone of plagiarism, but the description of the outlandish Gourmet World has me similarly excited to my outlook on the upcoming New World in One Piece.

Mr. Hatch is being intentionally and curiously vague about this “certain Bishokuya” with whom he traveled.

Excellent pacing of the establishment of the Gourmet World as a feared place. Shimabukuro fit quite a bit of lore into three pages.

I could simply be forgetful of these details, but I find myself surprised at just how proportionally huge the Gourmet World is in comparison to the Human World. That’s quite the vast expanse of adventure waiting for Toriko.

100% promising

Clearly, the Poison Tide is the tailor-made Gourmet World entrance for Coco. Does that mean Sani eventually successfully enters through the sky?

“Someone famous” approaches! This is set up for a major introduction. Time to finally meet Zebura?

Wow. Toriko hasn’t even made it down the cliff and he’s already decimated.

That didn't take long

What an appropriately fearsome beast for Toriko’s first up-close encounter of the Gourmet World. Given his condition, it seems like he could use the help of the aforementioned “someone famous.”

Final Flash: With the last of the important setup now out of the way, this was a good introduction of just what Toriko is up against.

Toriko 110

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

Terry! I’ve missed him. I hope he gets to be part of some of these upcoming adventures.

... or not.

Toriko’s display of strength is impressive, but strict damage output doesn’t mean too much in the Toriko universe. That fact in itself, though, is a testament to the quality of the setting.

I’m having a hard time telling what Toriko is drinking.

Ah, yes, thank you

The conversation between the proud Sani and the overeager Toriko carries a great dynamic. Sani shows two interesting sides to himself, as he both pridefully hides his defeat and innately understands his longtime friend enough to know not to stop him. That specific part of the exchange may only take a few panels, but it’s written well enough to convey an interesting relationship.

Toriko is heading into the Gourmet World alone. It may be exciting to see a true test of Toriko’s recent increase in strength, but the fact that he’s leaving his new combo partner behind seems to indicate that he’ll face a fate similar to Sani.

Final Flash: Good enough for a setup chapter, but the real excitement lies in the chapters to come.

Toriko 109

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

Immediate confirmation that the GT Robo-lookalike is in fact a living thing.

The beast brings a sense of unease and curiosity to Vegetable Sky, and an overall sense that despite their progress, Toriko and Komatsu (Torikomatsu?) have far to go before being established in the Gourmet World.

Toriko’s observations on the beast are fascinating, as well. For the beast not only to be strong and quick enough to bite the Ozone Herb twice within a split-second, but also intelligent enough to study the actions of humans, is excellent foreshadowing for just how terrifying the beasts to come are.

The design of IGO Headquarters is brilliant. What a perfect piece of design for the Toriko world.

Toriko again impresses with its creativity

What a proud parent Ichiryuu must be, to approve of his surrogate son’s new long-term relationship like this.

Tons of great news all in a row: Several new ingredient requests for Toriko/Komatsu, Sani and Coco are presently training, and finally, another mention of Zebra (Zebura?)!

Ichiryuu, nonchalantly performing the same technique as the beast from Vegetable Sky, alludes to some serious future plot.

Final Flash: A hugely intriguing setup chapter. The future of Toriko looks extremely promising.

Toriko 108

September 4, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

The Ozone Herb looks unmistakably like a huge tongue.

Toriko and Komatsu, having had to eat a tongue simultaneously, embrace each other immediately afterward. For anyone wondering where the boys-love hints are in this series, look no further.

Those Gourmet Cells certainly needed the Ozone Herb. What an intense and sudden reaction.

Toriko popped the question! (Okay, sorry.) The top-half two-page spread is angled from a great perspective that captures the importance of the moment.

Komatsu’s reaction is a bit over the top. Quite a bit. Also, even more BL hints.

... if you can still call them "hints."

The suspected GT Robo arrives, and Toriko realizes it isn’t a GT Robo. Is it another type of robotic enemy, or could it perhaps be the creature that GT Robos are based on?

Final Flash: Important chapter, but the Toriko/Komatsu combo was already a given, so while the affirmation of that combo was important, it doesn’t carry as much as impact as it intends.

Toriko 107

[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

A little too matter-of-fact about it

The interaction with the Ozone Herb is a great sign for Komatsu’s development and growing importance, while Toriko’s reaction as an observer to Komatsu’s growth is unusually detached and almost melancholy. There’s pride in his internal monologue, but there seems to be a sense of comparative inadequacy, too. Strange.

They are going through Ozone Herbs pretty damn quickly.

Trial and error: The hidden environmental threat

Komatsu managed to figure out the method to open the Ozone Herb leaves. Great chapter for him. Toriko’s response, though, is again a little reclusive and dependent. Perhaps it’s a necessary part of his own character evolution to realize that he can’t face the gourmet world alone, but he’s being uncharacteristically reserved about it.

The footprint was a hint of ominous things to come, after all.

Final Flash: Good Komatsu progress, but a fairly straightforward chapter overall.

Toriko 106

[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

It seems the Skypiea comparisons aren’t going anywhere for a little while longer.

Komatsu is old! This isn’t really being explained, either.

What a bizarre joke

Good explanation of the formation of the land via volcanic ash.

The vegetable garden in the sky is Toriko at its best: Mouth-watering. What an unbelievable field of food.

It seems this is entirely an “eating” chapter, which is fine by me. The reactions from both Toriko and Komatsu as they eat are excellent.

Broccotree! It’s filled with Thousand Island dressing, no less. Fantastic reader submission.

But is it marketed by Broccoman?

A bit of comedy and an ominous footprint to close out the chapter. The introduction of another form of life in Vegetable Sky would be appreciated.

Final Flash: Great “eating” chapter, and an interesting setup for next chapter.

Toriko 105

[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

The Oxygen Leaf mask is yet another fantastic concept.

The size of the hail is crazy. I didn’t even recognize it as hail at first; I thought it was a soccer ball.

Hyuuga, Tiger Shot!

The art is excellent over this sequence of pages. Shimabukuro has done a great job illustrating how chaotic the inside of the cloud is.

Spurred on by his lov– uh, his concern for Komatsu, Toriko turns back into the badass we know and love, and teaches himself to only exhale carbon dioxide. That’s a very interesting kind of ability.

Vegetable Sky! While Toriko could stand to separate itself a little from comparisons to the Skypiea arc in One Piece, this arc seems promising.

Final Flash: Good chapter, though the cloud monster cliffhanger from last chapter didn’t turn out to be as exciting as it seemed it would be.

Toriko 104

[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

To the sky!

The Pseudo-Rubanda certainly does look ferocious, even if it is harmless.

Even this narrow sky-vine is a grand setting. Toriko does settings and environments so well. The view from the vine alone is yet another reason why this series deserves (and will most likely get) a full anime adaptation.

Some great focus on Komatsu’s development. Komatsu needs to adapt to this kind of locale to be able to keep up with his soon-to-be combo partner, while Toriko’s concern over Komatsu’s condition in this setting does well to reinforce the relationship.

The Wicked Beanstalk is one of my favorite reader submissions.

Very creative and fun concept

Great frantic action as Toriko maneuvers around the narrow vine while fighting both the Sky Gorillas and Wicked Beanstalks.

Not only does Toriko fall, then unveil a flying squirrel suit, but he must avoid the onslaught of Drill Birds! This chapter is action-packed and correspondingly enjoyable.

A cloud monster. What an ominous next obstacle/opponent.

That's a proper cliffhanger

Final Flash: Great chapter. Lots of action and good progression of the Toriko/Komatsu coupl– er, combo.