Monster Rancher Vol. #4 (of 4) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2001
What They Say
After a dangerous crossing over Heaven’s Canyon, Genki and his friends stumble upon an excavation of ruins. There, the beautiful, evil Pixie forces humans to dig up mystery disks for her master, Moo! It will take all our heroes’ strength to stop Pixie, her golem Big Blue, and her army of Clays.
Finally, the group locates a mystery disk and unlocks Monol, who tells them the frightening first battle between Moo and the Phoenix! Get ready to unlock some amazing new secrets—and some really scary monsters—in this exciting adventure!
For the most part, this is a typical decent sounding TV stereo track, in English only of course. There were a few parts at the beginning that were lower and hard to hear, but I'm unsure if it was intended or not since it was with the bad guys talking amongst themselves. Otherwise, the track is pretty clean and undistorted as well as free from the hollow sound many dubs have.
Much like the first two discs released, this is a great looking transfer. Bright solid colors are well represented here. There's no visible artifacting, no rainbowing or other distractions. If only the animation itself was better, this would be a stunning looking show at times.
Overall, this is a pretty nicely packaged disc. The front cover is eye-catching for the kids and the back has a good summary and episode listing. There isn't any listing of what disc number this is beyond the tiny print on the spine.
Standard static screen with the episodes and the end credits selectable. Pretty much what you see for most dub-only DVD releases.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The three episodes contained here are once again a bit of a mixed bag.
The first two episodes, which essentially make a two parter, prove right from the start that this motley crew just have bad luck. Flying along in their iron bird, the contraption just starts falling apart and ends up smashing into one of the tall desert canyon walls. Everyone does manage to jump to safety, but after all their work in getting this thing flying in the previous episode, it's just sad that it busted up right away in this episode. Of course, if they just flew over everything, there wouldn't be much in the way of a story...
The group heads off again on foot towards their elusive destination of finding the Phoenix. After awhile, they come across one of the slave worker camps that they learned about in the previous episode. Various baddies are enforcing their rules and have bunches of humans digging up various artifacts that can later be turned into monsters.
Without much of a plan, Genki's off and running, trying to stop all the baddies and free the slaves. Things don't work out well, and while Genki and Mochi do manage to escape, everyone else becomes a slave. We do get introduced to Big Blue and Pixie however, two higher ranking members of Moo's army. There's various clashes between them and Genki's group and the usual morality bits about forced labor and working for Moo. While everything doesn't end on a happy note, there are a few times you just want to slap some of the characters upside the head.
The third episode is yet another history story-telling episode. The group uncovers a new mystery disc which turns into Monol, a big monolith that randomly naps and tells story. Monol's story is about the origin of the planet and the origins of the monsters, Moo and the Phoenix. It is all rather interesting to see how it came about, but it all feels a bit rushed in terms of telling. Of course, my mind just balks against an episode where a big monolith has people sit in front of it and just tells its story (visually) for people to help fill in the blanks. There's better ways of doing it, but this is a kids show.
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 65
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Monster Rancher