The Melk Stardust Arc! And odd arc to review, if there ever was one. And the question some might be asking is ‘Why?’
The answer is simple. Melk Stardust is the first arc in the Toriko manga that I read after becoming a relative fan of the manga; and having just finished it, I thought providing an overview of the relatively unimportant saga was worth the trouble.
+My Toriko Story
I first encountered Toriko via the anime, which I actually enjoyed until about halfway its run, at which point it became somewhat odd and very unentertaining. So I dropped it.
The anime eventually ended and I thought I would give the manga a chance, starting with the tournament arc, which is roughly where I left things with the anime, give or take a dozen episodes.
Things didn’t work out. 15 chapters in and I decided Toriko wasn’t for me. Simply put, it was almost too much: the characters too wacky, the world too warped, the stories simply too silly for me to take seriously. So I dropped Toriko the manga as well.
Until I realized that the Toriko hype, which I had expected to die out eventually was only picking up pace; so I thought I would give the title one more chance, this time from the start. It didn’t take me long to finally acclimate to all those elements of the manga I initially thought were too much, now that I was exposed to them in a slow steady manner.
I think I truly begun reading Toriko at the Ice Hell Arc; I wasn’t having fun just yet. Rather Toriko simply wasn’t terrible anymore and I wasn’t speed reading through the chapters just to see what happened at the end, which meant the manga could pass the odd hour or two.
Things didn’t really heat up, at least in terms of my interest, until the Ozone herb arc; a series of chapters that constituted Toriko and Komatsu essentially climbing a long vine for several pages on end, but which I actually enjoyed.
And suddenly I actually cared what happened to Toriko; it mattered that he had just formed a combo with komatsu and the idea of the Gourmet world actually created a sense of adventure.
Which brings us to the Melk Stardust Arc, the most recent arc that I have had the pleasure of reading and, more importantly, the first arc I have read while boasting a real interest in Toriko.
Interesting as Ice Hell was, I honestly just wanted to see what happened with Tommyrod. Simply put, my interest in the manga hadn’t been sparked quite yet.
Not like it is now.
+THE MELK STARDUST ARC- Plot
When Komatsu breaks his favorite knife, Toriko embarks on a journey to accomplish a mission for the IGO president even while fulfilling Komatsu’s wishes to replace his cherished blade.
+THE MELK STARDUST ARC- My Thoughts
Can I just say that, while everyone was busy accusing Hiro Mashima of Plagiarizing from Oda, I was under the impression that One Piece and Toriko existed in the same universe.
Both series simply jelled waaay too perfectly with one another, so much so that I was certain the Gourmet Age came before or after the Pirate Age, and that Oda and Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro were working together to expand the One Piece Universe.
Irrelevant. That is how I would describe the Melk Stardust arc; considering the momentum built up by the Ozone herb and Gourmet World arcs, the Melk Stardust saga essentially brought the Toriko story to a grinding halt, achieving almost nothing in the long run.
That being said, the arc wasn’t without its positives:
-Toriko and Komatsu
If there was one goal the arc managed to achieve, it was to further develop Komatsu’s relationship with Toriko, not really breaking any new ground, merely cementing what had begun to take shape.
In a way, because they were forced to split up-Toriko seeking the stardust stone, Komatsu aiding Melk II in finding her confidence- they each continued to grow separate from one another even while sharing the same spirit.
Komatsu shared his brilliant spirit with a desperate soul while Toriko continued to prepare for the Gourmet World, now with a clear understanding of his limits and abilities.
Again, nothing mind blowing but, it was something.
Precluding Toriko’s minuscule development, this arc would have been largely unimpressive if not for Melk I and II. Melk I, despite his size, was hilarious. His near silent interactions with Toriko and the revelations about the misunderstandings that littered his life in light of his soft voice made for some very interesting reading, presenting a number of somewhat heavy subjects with a humorous tone.
Melk II’s journey from timid apprentice to master craftsman gave the arc a purpose, specifically watching her open up to Komatsu as he gave her the confidence he had taken from Toriko.
-What I didn’t like?
The same stuff that has always irked me about Toriko didn’t really change with this arc. Specifically all the bizarre creatures. I don’t mind the odd combination of animals that constitute the monsters of the Toriko manga.
But I don’t see why each chapter needs to introduce a bunch of new creatures with new names and classifications, none of which I am ever going to remember.
And then there is Zebra, showing up at the end of the arc, which was a good thing actually. Created the suspense and intrigue that the arc needed.
Except I remember the first time I encountered Zebra in the anime, thought he was pretty scary for a character, presumed he would play the role of the evil heavenly king, accepted that he was more anti-hero than anything, a not-so-good guy that can manage to squeeze out a decent act or two.
And then the series revealed him to be a man not quite as bad as we were led to believe, who went to jail for some fairly righteous actions rather than the heinous crimes that were hinted.
Not that that makes him a terrible character; I simply expected one thing, got another, and as a result his appearance doesn’t exactly excite me as much as I hoped it would.
+RATING: 6/10. The Melk Stardust arc ran for ten chapters, from Chapter 114 to Chapter 124. Overall it ranged from mundane to mildly entertaining. I doubt I will remember the arc or any of the new characters that were introduced.
The arc didn’t really do anything for my interest in the Manga, positively or negatively; I could still be better described as mildly curious rather than an outright fan. Whether or not that will change by the time I catch up to the present arc will depend on the quality of the manga.