Toriko Vol. #06 Manga Review

Toriko Vol. #06 Manga Review The Jewel Meat saga comes to a close! But who will survive?

Creative Staff
Story: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
Art: Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
Translation/Adaptation: Christine Dashiell/Hope Donovan

What They Say
Ten-fold!! The battle between the IGO and Gourmet Corp. heats up as Toriko and his friends face off against the powerful GT Robots. In order to find the precious Jewel Meat buried deep inside the enormous Regal Mammoth, Toriko has ventured into the beast’s body. But can he locate and eat this delicious treat before it’s too late?!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This volume is all fighting. Non-stop from page one to the very last panel of the book. Now inside the Regal Mammoth, Toriko and Co. must find the Jewel meat before the Gourmet Corps and fight the GT Robots that cross their path. First, we have Coco outside the mammoth fighting the gigantic 100ft. tall GT Robot, Terry attempting to take on Star-jun just outside the Devil’s Playground, and Sunny inside the mammoth facing off another GT Robot. While the way these fights play out may be pretty silly and absurd the way they are rendered is amazing! I’d give an example of how the fights are absurd but that would completely spoil the fight. The sum it up: once you see how the fights turn out and what means were used…you would do best not to think about it too hard as they are full of “What?” moments. But that doesn’t mean they are stupid by any stretch. Suspension of disbelief, rolling with the punches, etc. are completely different than “Well, that was just fricking stupid!”

Once Coco and Sunny’s fight reach their conclusion we focus solely on Toriko, Rin, and Komatsu inside the mammoth. The GT Robot piloted by Star-jun has entered the mammoth and is now the final obstacle between them and the Jewel Meat. This fight alone takes up the entire second half of the book and moves at such a brisk pace I would have gone insane reading this on a weekly chapter by chapter basis. People of Japan, I applaud you! Because of their brief encounter in the Cavern Lagoon, Toriko knows that Star-jun is no one to be messed with and promptly takes action to defeat him and protect the others. These chapters do something kind of miraculous in my eyes. They take these villains who have never really given a reason to make me feel peril, villains that are not really threatening to us as readers and raise the stakes considerably within 8 fast pages. I immediately had my “Oh shit” face on and was pulled into the story like a little kid. I won’t spoil anything for you but…holy crap!! This dude is bad!

Strangely enough, this is the first volume where I really noticed that the characters aren’t really all that developed. They are more archetypes than people and have their own neat little box that they fit into. Funnily, of all the volumes previous, this is the one that I could care less! In this volume, with these fights, especially the final fight, you can really see the Dragonball Z influence. The action is drawn with extreme skill, precision, and pacing. This is exciting manga! And the violence! Oh my god, the violence! That aspect is where Toriko harkens back to Shonen Jump titles from the 80s. This is kids manga but holy crap is it violent! It seems that of all the manga I read and review Toriko is consistently the one title I wish I could include screen caps of. That is what makes Toriko such a great manga. You read these books and you are immediately immersed into a grand adventure. One that intensely excites, shocks, and lodges itself into your memory. A series that makes you want to show it off to other people and say “Check this out!” This is my favorite volume so far and that is 90% because of the final battle in the book. No other shonen manga has action scenes like this, none since Dragonball at least, and the action has that same type of power Dragonball had….the power to pull emotion and suck the reader into its violent clutches. Check this out!

In Summary
This is the first volume of the manga to be released where the content was previously seen in the anime. All the other books I read before the anime episode came out but not so starting here. I have to say that the episodes of the anime that started in this volume is where I started to really like the anime. It might be because I hadn’t read the manga, it may be because it just got really good, I don’t know. I think it is because I hadn’t read the content yet. Whereas before when I read then watched, I was underwhelmed and annoyed slightly. Here, I knew what was going to happen and how everything played out. What a shock I was in for! The manga is quite different from the anime here and it really is because of the violence. The anime is so toned down and here everything is just let loose and completely unhinged. That made me enjoy this book even more! Even though the characters aren’t the most multi-dimensional (so far), the action and story and pure genius in the storytelling and execution make the Toriko manga a top tier title in my book. This volume is the apex of everything brought before and I am looking forward to the next adventure even more than I was looking forward to this conclusion.

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: September 6th, 2011
MSRP: $9.99