Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro made his debut in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1996. He is best known for Seikimatsu Leader Den Takeshi! for which he won the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 2001. His current series, Toriko, began serialization in Japan in 2008.
Gr 7 Up-Toriko, a gourmet hunter, is again searching for his perfect full-course meal. This involves hunting the most dangerous and rare creatures and defeating them with incredible, semi-magical martial arts skills before eating them. He is accompanied by the narrator, and the guide to the world, the chef Komatsu, who is half the size of Toriko and has no martial skills but decides to tag along regardless of the danger. In this episode, they are determined to catch the rare puffer whale. The creature is tiny, and easy to catch, but has a venom sack that ruptures if it's disrupted while being caught. To make their catch, they need Coco, a gourmet hunter who is Toriko's equal, and who has developed so many immunities to venom that he's become poisonous himself. The silly premise is in keeping with the genre, but some of the ideas are problematic: the hunting of rare whales is a questionable (and largely illegal) activity in the real world, something not dealt with in the narrative, and Coco's skin goes from pale to dark when he becomes poisonous. These issues are not intended as moral statements, and manga readers are likely to skim over them without considering the implications. The violence, mostly human versus monster, is intensely depicted. Toriko seems to be standard manga fare and is only recommended for libraries in which genre fans just can't get enough "Naruto" or "Shaman King" series (both Viz Media).-Alana Joli Abbott, formerly at James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.