Eating is serious business. So serious, in fact, that IGO (International Gourmet Organization) serves as the authority of the most delectable and exotic flavors Earth has to offer. IGO boasts not only its own private army, but an entire R&D branch of bioengineers who create new and delicious organisms, including bacon trees and four-armed, 50-foot-tall apes. Occasionally, IGO has to acquire animals from the wild which are too strong and elusive, even for an army. Enter Toriko, Gourmet Hunter.
Think Yakitate!! Japan meets Dragonball Z. This is a manga about food, but it’s so far divorced from reality that whatever Yakitate!! Japan taught you about bread, this manga replaces with enough monsters and machismo to cause Goku to spontaneously wet himself. Dead animals and succulent dishes litter almost every page, and if that doesn’t offend you, it will surely cause your mouth to water.
Toriko comes straight from the pages of Shonen Jump, and it possesses the eccentric manliness that’s missing from a lot of licensed manga these days. It also unapologetically features an adult protagonist despite being a comic for kids, which doesn’t happen as much as it used to.
So far Toriko has all the ingredients of a great manga. What will determine the series’ success is the strength of the multi-arc plot that will inevitably emerge in the next few volumes. I really look forward to picking up volume 2 this September. In the meantime, I think I’ll ponder the gustatory ramifications of bacon leaves…