animefringe july 2003 / web showcase
Animefringe's Web Showcase:
Toriyama's World

Welcome to this month's Animefringe Web Showcase. This month the Showcase will be sifting through a very popular website. This month we will be looking at the every-popular stop for manga fans, the notorious Toriyama's World. If you've never heard of this place before, then you're really in for some schooling.

First impression...
The first word I thought of when I viewed Toriyama's World was ...punchy. It's put to use a very challenging colour scheme of purples and black, funny when you consider they have as much a male audience as a female one and that the colour purple is still regarded as a feminine one for layouts. The header image is a sharp manga image from something I've obviously never read. Looks like I need to be schooled in the way of 'mangakas'. The navigation seems fairly straightforward and it also has a splash of cute with the semi-transparent images of manga faces on the buttons which lead you to the broad sections labeled as 'Chat' or 'Manga' or ...'Go'? The layout is very solid and even includes small advertisements although they've designed them so nicely that you'd never notice if you weren't looking for them. Don't believe me? Go look! They blend in with the new updates on the right column, yup, those nifty manga scans. My only real beef with the introductory page of this website is that they don't filter their news and the page drags on with older un-reachable updates or unnecessary ones. Oh yeah, and the font is WAY TOO SMALL.

Let's get down to business...
This is where Toriyama's World gets very fun. You can hit the manga page and begin to peruse the works of Toriyama, that is, the stuff that isn't licensed. The first thing you'll notice at Toriyama's World is that the few manga's you've heard about, are no longer up for download. They decided to pull down anything they translated if it had been licensed, and they stuck with it. For the popular manga Naruto (see Animefringe Web Showcase June 2003) they replaced the manga for download with links for fans to download the anime instead! Don't get too excited, it's only one episode at a time, but they still do it. But as for the unlicensed stuff, there is plenty to go around. Titles vary from: Dr. Slump, Hunter x Hunter, Black Cat, Zombie Power and 666 Satan. The download options are tailored for your preference, for those savvy with downloads, bit torrent links are offered as well as normal file downloads. But it's much faster to get the torrents kids! If you don't know what to pick up from this site, check out the small synopses offered by the Toriyama's World staff beside the download links. If you're interested in the interaction, there is a forum for the website, as well as an IRC chat room where you can trade manga or chat it up with other interested parties. If you're still not satisfied, go to the fan section and look at the amazing fanart that I could never do, or the Winamp skins or the cute manga-related desktops to please your eyes. Oh and remember how I mentioned there was a section called 'Go'? Turns out they put a page with links to online guides to learning the classic board game of 'Go' on their website. The guys are serious about this, they even set up a meeting day once a week for fans to play it together on yahoo games. There's fan interaction!

In the end...
One weird thing I noticed was that the menu changed from page to page. Sometimes I'd find a link to new sections called 'mangaka' or 'oekaki' but found they were both under construction, perhaps an older layout that was never cleared away? Regardless of the odd menu changes, I really enjoy Toriyama's World. It is a great way to introduce people to new manga's or older ones they never knew of. I like the focus on Toriyama's work himself, but I think that branching off into other titles was a great way to open somebody up into a new world of manga. The website itself has a few kinks but it is actively updated and the staff puts a lot of energy into it. If only they'd make that font size bigger...

Think you know a website that deserves some publicity? Read on.
This is a shout-out for anybody who believes they know a site that deserves to be the next Animefringe Web Showcase. If you think you know, or have a website that could be the next one, email Danielle D'Ornellas and include the website's name and url. Who knows? Maybe it'll be next months feature site.