Anime Reviews: Toriko Episodes 12 – 91

The Story
After successfully beating Starjun’s GT robot and harvesting the Jewel Meat, Toriko continues to go on greater adventures, and continues to grow stronger. He meets new characters, eats new food, develops new techniques and improves on his old ones. And somehow he manages to do all this with minimal filler material.

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Mostly Minimal

The Review
It’s a testament to the opening theme that we’ve gone through several endings but it has never been changed. We’re almost at a hundred episodes, and yes somehow the opening has never been changed. Not even One Piece managed to pull that off. I guess that’s what happens when you create the perfect opening right from the very beginning.

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Considering how many episodes I’ve watched for this review, I can either end up saying way more than one review can contain, or I could try and say very little. Which somehow would not seem right, considering how much time I spent catching up on this show. But then again, I doubt talking about episode specifics would be too much for most peoples’ attention spans. For now, I will talk about the specifics of the show, let readers know whether they want to invest ninety plus episodes worth of time.

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Easily my favorite part of the show, and a big endorsement for any fans of anime music, is the soundtrack. At times it feels far more grand than a show with such a silly premise might warrant. But the music helps sell the idea that while this may be a show with a silly premise, it takes itself very seriously. And while that usually ends up with a stupid show that takes itself too seriously, in this case it works. Mostly because no matter how ludicrous the world may be, it is internally consistent with itself. Yes some of the creatures and food make no sense, but the entire world and story fit together in a way that makes sense and allows the show to be exactly as serious as it wants to be. I for one feel that there is a place for a show that should by all rights be more tongue in cheek, but if well put together can be entirely serious.

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The animation, is fairly standard for Toei Animation. It’s good, but shortcuts are taken from time to time, and it won’t turn the heads of animation connoisseurs. I suppose I could say it’s good enough, but never showcased any animation that blew my mind, or made me think it was anything but standard shonen animation.

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Filler is surprisingly sparse, with filler arcs never exceeding more than two episodes. While the filler is as wretched as standard filler tends to be, it never outstays its welcome. Anyone with a high tolerance for filler might even find an episode or two that is worth their while. And if not, filler tends to be just a pair of episodes here and there and as such can easily be skipped without missing anything important.

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The anime gives Rin more time, in fact it gives most characters more time. Which is good, considering the manga tends to forget about characters that are not in the main cast more often than not. Unfortunately the anime writers don’t have much to go on, so they end up harping on the same character traits constantly. Rin in particular becomes a far more annoying character than she is in the manga. She’s no amazing work of characterization in the manga, but she’s around little enough that she never outstays her welcome. In the anime she does nothing but do exactly what she does in the manga, obsess over Toriko. But what is tolerable in small doses becomes intolerable when it happens every other episode.

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I will note that there are some filler episodes that have Jiro and Setsuno together, which is a nice addition considering the two have never been seen together in the manga. It’s even pretty cute for anyone that doesn’t require their ship material to actually be pretty.

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For anyone that can’t stand the addition of Tina, who I never really minded, she shows up less and less after the Ice Hell arc. She still makes appearances, but never really forces her way into the main plot, which makes her a lot less intrusive for fans of the original manga.

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The worst part of Toriko is something that has been annoying me about most Toei shows. In order to keep behind the manga they have to pad the episodes as much as possible. This means generally terrible pacing, scenes that go on far longer than they should, reaction shots where none are needed, and so on. There is an excessive amount of explanation going on in the dialogue. This carries over from the manga, but while it can work in a written format, but when it’s carried over to animation it’s shoddy adaptation. Considering this is an action adventure series, the pacing may be murder for anyone that isn’t ready to invest a large amount of time into the series.

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I would recommend the manga before the anime, and often fans of the manga are willing to invest time into watching the anime. That’s what got me into catching up on this show. Ultimately I highly recommend this series to anyone that loves action adventure series, and who is willing to put up with poor pacing. It’s not the worst pacing I’ve seen in a series, but it’s still frustrating and can cause episodes with little content week to week. Might be better to watch a few episodes at a time than to keep up with it week to week.

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The Grade

4/5

Buy the DVDs!
Toriko: Part 1
Toriko: Part 2
Toriko: Part 3

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