Genki is a boy who loves playing video games. One day he's zapped into the world of Monster Rancher and meets the girl Holly and the monsters Mochi, Suezo, Golem, Tiger and Hare. Together, they are searching for a way to revive the Phoenix, which is the only monster capable of stopping the evil Moo.
I just finished watching all of Monster Rancher. I will have to treat eps 1-48 as "season 1" and 49-73 as "season 2." This review I will break down into two parts, the scores you see above is overall scores for both seasons.
The story was awesome. It was filled with characters that were fleshed out nicely, the overall plot was great with bits of light comedy and dark/tragic moments. The sound and art were pretty decent but nothing too much to shout about. It left me felling pretty good about the whole show.
So for the scores I'd give it: 8, 6, 6, 8, 7,
This season was a let down. They changed the story from having an epic adventure to battling in Monster Rancher tournaments. One can understand the need for the battling but it sucks compared to the first 48 episodes. The story was pretty weak, art and sound didn't change much, the characters were weakened in my opinion, it wasn't as enjoyable and at times I struggled to finish watching episodes in the middle. The ending was also rushed and felt cheap. Not to mention that they left a huge plot hole open.
Scores: 5/6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 5/6
I'd recommend episodes 1-48 highly. There characters were great and even though it seems kiddy-ish it really wasn't. There were plenty of dark and depressing moments as well as ones that touched the heart. 49-73 only watch if you have to in order to complete the series. It gives a happier ending but it cheapens the show a lot.
Story (6.5/10): The story is not that original and has been done in other TV shows (like Digimon). The story follows Genki Sakura, who is a very good player of the Monster Rancher video game. He wins the game's tournament, wins a CD, uses the CD, and is then transported into Monster Rancher video game. Afterwards he finds companions (both monsters and human) to help him on his journey to get a more powerful monster to overthrow a tyrant named Moo. Expect filler episodes. The story is unique in terms of the different monsters and scary moments
but that's about it. The plot twists that makes shows good are lacking in this one since they only last a few episodes. Overall, the story is pretty generic.
Characters (6/10): In terms of character design, the protagonist looks a lot like Ash Ketchum from Pokemon. His attitude is that of a teen so don't expect that much maturity on his adventures. His monster companions are sort of cool, especially Golem and Tiger. If anything, the only reason I watched the show was because of Tiger. Tiger's design exudes coolness. There was one notable tearjerker episode involving him but that's about it. After that, his appearances were less emotional and more akin to an attack dog. The main villain named Moo (who I initially thought was a cow when I heard his name) was a very cool dragon who needed a LOT more screen time. I mean, we only see him a few times throughout the entire show.
Art/Animation (6/10): The art/animation is early (1999). So it's not in any way modern or special.
Sound/Music (5/10): The sounds are generic. The music was also generic (cheery songs in happy scenes, sad songs in darker scenes,...etc.). The only exception would be the opening theme song. It was enjoyable but not outstanding.
Dub or Sub?: Dub. I saw the English dub of this show back when it was on Fox Kids. The dub was decent, some characters voices were weird but overall the dub was acceptable.
Enjoyment (7/10): In my youth, I enjoyed it. The first season was good enough (for my standards at the time) but then the show seemed to die off when the second season appeared.
Who Would Enjoy it?: Kids, no one above a kid should watch this, unless you're really, really, really bored.
Summary/Overall (6/10): The show wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. The show's creators could have done a better job of this show. The show seemed a bit lackluster by the end of its run.
Monster Rancher is the story of a boy named Genki who gets pulled into a magical world where monsters are real and now he must help a girl named Holly save this world from an evil monster named Moo by resurrecting a legendary monster called the Phoenix. Sounds a lot like some other fantasy adventure anime I've seen; heroes must go on a quest to find the thing to beat the bad guy with so they can save the world.
Monster Rancher is a monster-of-the-week kind of show where each episode Genki and the others must fight a different monster Moo has sent to
destroy them with (since Moo himself is obviously too busy to fight them personally).
This brings up my biggest complaint with this anime is that it's a shounen anime (even though that isn't listed as one of its' genres) which means there's a lot focus on the fighting, but usually in shounen the fight scenes are the best part yet here the fight scenes are just boring. Either the villains are so weak that get defeated too easily or the heroes win with luck or convenience. For example, the heroes might be losing a fight, but then Genki makes some speech about courage or friendship and then they win.
Also, please don't tell me this anime is more about the comedy than the action as there may be a few jokes in each episode, but they aren't funny enough and there isn't enough of them for me to think of this as a comedy.
All of the characters have very little personality and I can actually describe each of their personalities with one word: Genki is positive, Holly is nurturing, Tiger is tough, Golem is gentle, Hare is smart, and Mochi is cute (however, that thing Mochi does how he ends each of his sentences by saying "chi" isn't cute, it's annoying). Some of the characters do have a back story like Tiger wants to defeat Moo because Moo took his brother, but they don't show enough emotion or show the pain there in because of their loss which makes it harder for me to empathize with them or care about their problems. The only character that does go through some development is Pixie, who is one of the show's best characters, but she's a minor character that's only in a few episodes.
Moo is also a horrible villain because what makes a great villain is that they're evil because they love being evil, but Moo just seems evil because the plot demands that he be evil. Also, villains are suppose to be threatening and while Moo is really powerful, he doesn't project terror and malevolence; probably because his evil speeches are boring to listen to and his face is frozen, seriously he has no facial expressions and his mouth doesn't even move when he talks (I guess that was to make him look more monstrous).
However, there are three characters from Season 2 that I really want to point out named Mon Mew, Gobi, and Poison. They're villains and what I love about them is they're such idiots. Throughout Season 2 they try to destroy Genki and the others, but fail each time much like Team Rocket from Pokemon. There's even one episode where the episode's entire focus is on them and that's my favorite episode; if they were the main villains from the beginning I would've given this anime a higher rating.
This is so a rip off of Digimon! I remember when I was younger, I liked it but seriously… now that I have watched so many anime shows and found out just how badly ripped off the other shows are, I feel a little like crying. Now please don’t take this the wrong way, it is a good show to a point but it takes so long to get to where it’s getting good that most people would probably conk out of it. It’s good for what it is, a children’s show, nothing more and nothing less.
We start out with the main character, Genki
who is pretty much Ash Ketchum in school. He is overactive, over annoying, and most of all, over stereotypical of these types of shows. He gets sucked into the video game (like Digimon) and has to help collect monster discs (like Pokemon) to unlock the power that is inside (like Yugioh). He fights monsters (like all three) and makes friends with the monsters he meets (like Digimon and Pokemon). They end up getting lost on their travels (Like Pokemon), sometimes wondering aimlessly around the world (like Digimon) and… WHAT THE FUCK? Did the creators have no imagination for this series or is this plot so generic that we can’t make a decent show like this without ripping off another?
The storyline of Alan, in the episode ‘Eternal Worm’ (Ep 4), was actually rather sweet at the end and made me feel something briefly for the show. It was one of the most intense sad scenes in this show. Another character that I actually really like and feel emotion to is the wolf-like tiger called ‘Tiger of the Wind’. I guess I’m just a sucker for anything like a wolf. He seems very spiritual and has wonderful philosophy. His story line is sad and yet seems the most logical of the group.
When Genki does end up making his own character, all he seems to make is something that looks like a pink little thing and actually called itself Mochi when it first appeared, becomes called Sweet Cake by him in the first episode. Then after, they call him Mochi like they should have done in the first place!
So… is the bad guy a cow or something? Because calling the bad guy Moo really doesn’t make him sound any scarier then the little pink squash ball Mochi. Seriously, are we supposed to get milk from this thing? And if so, then I want none of that milk!
So, I’m sort of going to spoil something for you since this is two seasons lumped together (Because Fox kids is a dick like that), Genki does get back home (Shocker… really? *Sarcastic*) and they use the same stupid little storyline as Digimon where only a couple hours passed when he was in the Monster world for months to about years. But it comes at the end of the first season. So my question is, why did they decide to have a second season where he goes back? They could have left it wonderfully when Genki got back and gave us that heart felt ending to the whole series. Something tells me that they just used it to sell more items and that’s exactly what it feels like. And that’s not the only problem because this one ends with a big hole in the plot. It doesn’t let it end like the first season.
The artwork is alright, pretty standard for the time period it came out in. Some of the monsters feel like they were stolen from other anime series. Faces don’t seem to keep their shape, sometimes showing big cheeks once in a while and then no cheeks at all. Bodies don’t stay the same sometimes as all, making it a little mediocre.
The opening English song is really stupid and is like a rap mixed up of Yugioh, Digimon, and Pokemon. They also seem to have something similar to the poke-rap. Then we have the English script… now I have not been able to see the Japanese version but please tell me they do not use this stupid line ‘…then he can turn all the baddies into goodies…’ Please tell me they aren’t so stupid as to do that? Genki is one annoying boy, to the point of me shouting ‘SHUT THE FUCK UP!’ He also calls out ‘IN THE ZONE!’ which feels like they were trying to just make a saying. It sounds as annoying as Naruto’s ‘BELIEVE IT!’ saying. Alan’s voice sounds better then almost all of the characters and that says a hell of a lot. He isn’t the best but he’s the better of them.
Hey! Listen! Legends of the fair folk go back hundreds of years and continue today with all sorts of depictions. Some fairies will help you while others are wicked creatures and you can see both kinds here!