Toriko and follow the fortune roll where it falls, into the vanishing forest. However, before they reach their destination, they find that the roll has been broken where a huge chunk of the forest has been scooped out. They chase who they think is the thief to the ten star Vanishing Japanese Cuisine Restaurant. When they try to enter it disappears, but a voice tells them to clap their hands together and bow. The restaurant reappears and the owner Chiru serves them a meal. But the ingredients are so delicate that they are barely able to eat any of them. After their meal the only other customer in the restaurant, and the one that helped them enter in the first place, reveals himself to be the master of Chowlin Temple, Master Chin Chin-Chin.
My most common complain about this series is how much time is spent on things that don't need to be focused on. For example, eating the fortune roll, and even eating the food at the vanishing restaurant took up far too much time. I know it may be a bit much to complain about how much time is spent eating in a series about eating; the problem lies in how much of it is necessary. Like many Toei series a lot of time is spent on expositionary dialogue. So already that eats up a lot of time. The general feel of this episode, and many like it, is that time needs to be filled. It's not about telling the story as much as it is occupying air time.
We all know why this is, it's because the anime can't overtake the manga. And Toei handles a lot of properties like this. They have a lot of experience adapting long running manga series into long running anime series. Unfortunately they've picked up a lot of bad habits, and a lot of what they do feels like cheating. The pacing of their shows suffer immensely. However, this does allow them to tell the story fans of the manga want to see without much filler. But if it really is aimed at fans of the manga, as I assume, then how can they reconcile the poor pacing? Fans of the manga will quickly tire of the pacing issues and instead focus solely on the manga.
I will admit that Toriko still manages to influence me on a very primal level. Just watching them eat the fortune roll was enough to make me hungry again. Really this is the biggest strength of the anime and manga. Though doesn't it seem like a sushi roll that big defeats the purpose? Aren't we supposed to get it all in one bite? The size of that thing means it's impossible to eat anything but a single ingredient at a time. Still, it really did look tasty.
I really like the idea of the vanishing restaurant. Shimabukuro does a good job of not idolizing Japanese cuisine, unlike many other foodie manga. Rather he takes a lot from international cuisine. But, for a fantasy representation of Japanese cuisine it's fitting how he represents it. Japanese is definitely one of the more delicate cuisines around, and is one that takes a lot of skill to perfect. So the idea that it takes as much skill to just eat it was a fun one.
Chin Chin-Chin really tests my maturity. I know there is a penis joke in there somewhere. But I will refrain from making it. For now. Knowing what happens later I can't promise I will hold off forever.
If one can ignore the constant problems this anime brings with it then one can enjoy this episode. But because that is a caveat I can't give this episode a higher grade. There's some good stuff there, but with all the baggage attached to it most but the hardcore won't be able to properly enjoy it.