Monster Rancher Vol. #1 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: D
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 65
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Monster Rancher

Monster Rancher Vol. #1

By Chris Beveridge     May 23, 2000
Release Date: May 23, 2000

Monster Rancher Vol. #1
© ADV Films

What They Say
Get ready for the wildest adventure ever as Genki, Holly and their monster friends unlock mysterious disks, meet and make new monsters and try to defeat the evil Moo!

When Genki wins a special CD-ROM, it’s real-life fun and games when the disk magically transports him to the world of Monster Rancher! There, he saves Holly and her eyeball monster Suezo from the evil Black Dino Squad! Then, Genki makes his very own monster, the baby Mocchi. Later, they meet the gentle stone giant, Golem. Will Golem be enough to stop Moo’s evil blue Gel Troops? You better hope so! Because saving the monster of Monster Rancher is a game Genki just has to win!

The Review!
Ahhh, the latest TV craze has hit DVD. Naturally comparisons to Pokemon will be obvious, and with this first DVD release, even more so.

Presented in the standard TV stereo format, this series only has the English audio track. This is due to licensing restrictions more than anything else, and much like the Pokemon releases, little that can be done about. Both properties are owned by big companies who only want one solid image to be presented. Regardless, the audio is pretty good and the voice acting slightly above average, considering it comes from the Ocean Studios group who I think tends to be a little bland in the dubbing. Dialogue and effects and clean and undistorted.

The video for the three episodes presented on the disc is quite good with very high bitrates for a lot of it. Colors are strong and solid with no artifacts noticeable. Another advantage that this show has over Pokemon is that since it came later, the animation is of a noticeably better quality, both in terms of style and fluidity. The episodes are also strung together creating a near seamless continuity, with the exception of the individual episode titles appearing when a new one starts. The ending credits for all three episodes are presented at the end, with corresponding episode titles, so all credit is given to those involved.

Bright... shiny... contains three fun-filled episodes. How could any kid refuse? The front cover artwork contains the main gang (though some don't show up in these episodes) striking a pose. The back cover contains a good synopsis of the episodes on the disc without giving too much away and lists which episodes are on the disc (though not by episode number, just titles). The only place to tell which disc in the series you have is to look at the spine where the production number (DVDMR/001 in this case) tells you which disc number it is. Disc numbers aren't a selling point for this show though, just the content. Gotta buy 'em all... whoops, wrong show!

Talk about a bland menu! Same as Dragonball Z and Pokemon, the menu is one static image on the left with the logo on the top. The right contains the chapter stops, which basically consists of the start of each episode. I really didn't expect more than this, but it's definitely one step away from not even providing a menu.

So how's the show itself? I have to admit, I'm pleasantly surprised by it. The main character, Genki (who also informs us that his name means energy, which is the proper translation for it), is your basic daydreaming kid who gets an advance copy of Monster 200X for his "game console". Nah, there's no obvious product placement there! After starting up the game, it ends up transporting him and some of the items around him to the world where "Monster Rancher" is a reality.

Once on the other side, Genki meets up with Holly and a monster named Suezo. Things get hectic as they're chased by Black Dino's, creatures that are modified by the evil Moo who is trying to conquer the world.

Of course, Genki realizes that he's living his wildest dream and sets off with his new companions to right the wrongs of the world and be an all around hero. One of the nice things about the series is that it does have a definite goal beyond the gotta catch 'em all of the competition, there's a bit of darkness around the edges of it and the best part is that the monsters don't speak just their name to communicate. Suezo's got an attitude, Mocchi is always looking for more food and Golem is the strong sensitive type. And the enemies are more than just competition, so there's a different layer to that aspect of it.

If you've seen the TV show before and liked it well enough, these discs are a no brainer. The technical side to them are well done and looks great and the content is a bit more involving than what's been out there in the past.

English Language

Review Equipment
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.


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