The first episode of Toriko was a 50 minute long cross over 50 special with One Piece. Originally I thought that was a kind of lame way of promoting Toriko, piggybacking off the popularity off a long running established shounen series, I realised that if the latest Narita novel adaptation by Brains Base started off with a special containing characters from Baccano and Durarara, I would be A-OK with that. Plus my interest in Toriko was rather low, so this would be an opportunity to check out whether One Piece was to my liking.
I suppose I’ll cover the One Piece part of the show first. For what’s supposed to be a shounen fighting series, I hope the fight scenes in the anime for real are a bit more…animated. These aren’t fights. Luffy leaps up to punch someone, but you never see his punches fly. All you see is a bunch of speed lines and a few blurry arms, which is incredibly easy to animate but rather boring to watch, especially since these fight scenes were what most of the episode consisted of. The character designs are very cartoony, which would be all right if they stayed on model a bit more often. As for their personalities, it’s mainly a bunch of typical shounen over-reactions but none of them particularly annoyed me the same way some of the Toriko characters did. The women also have these absurd body proportions of really long legs and large boobs, which, as unrealistic as they are, I rather liked. Big boobs, long legs and short shorts is a combination I approve of. Admittedly if my main praise is that the female characters are absurdly proportioned the way I like, that’s not particularly encouraging, but not enough to turn me off ever making the leap into the near 500 episodes of One Piece that exist.
I mean, I could talk about how dumb the characters are. How the mangaka must have no idea what constitutes a fabulous character and simply gave one miserable looking multi-coloured hair. The character designs are all awful, especially when compared to the rather fun designs of the One Piece bunch. Toriko himself is the dumbest looking creature around, what with his ridiculous body proportions, neck bigger than his head, and stupid special moves. This is coming from someone who watched the nonsense designs of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and they are far more imaginative than the orange jumpsuit wearing Toriko. But that’s not my real problem with Toriko. No, my problem lies with the entire premise.
Let me spell this out to you for a second. The plot of this episode was a bunch of sailors visit an island with a whole load of wildlife native to only that island. They go there for the sole purpose of finding these rare creatures, catching them and eating them. The episode ends with them quite literally eating the entire island. Hello? Sailors go to island and strip it of it’s wildlife solely for the tasty meat, anyone? Galapagos Islands? And numerous other examples from sailors over the ages? I kept waiting for the anime to say otherwise. For the characters to express some sort of ecological concern, that they wouldn’t hunt animals towards extinction or not kill babies. There was one line. Toriko said he wouldn’t kill anything that didn’t have tasty meat. Well that’s all right then! This is a anime aimed at kids about the glorious life of poachers. I can’t be the only one who has such trouble wrapping my head that such a manga was created in the first place.