The anime of the game of the same name. The plot of the series followed the adventures of Genki, a very hyperactive boy who wins a beta disk of "Monster 200X" (which has the same properties of the real MR game) in a video game tournament. No sooner does Genki start it, than he is transported inside the game, finding a real world of monsters inside. It is currently in turmoil due to an evil monster named Moo, who turns monsters evil and rules the land with an iron fist.Genki joins up with a girl named Holly and her monster Suezo, who are on a quest to find and unlock the monster, Phoenix, which is the only known creature that can stop Moo. Genki gains his own monster, Mocchi, at the start of the series. Soon, the group are joined by Golem, Tiger, and Hare, in their uphill battle against Moo and his forces.The Post Script Season third season, which featured Durahan (who was an Elite Mook in the second season) as the main big bad, takes place a year later and has the group trying to save Holly's father's soul, which is trapped in a dark mystery disk along with Moo after his defeat. However, most of the MacGuffins the crew had before are now prizes in a tournament, forcing the crew to enter it to accomplish their goal. All the while, they continue to dodge attacks from Durahan and his baddies.The show managed to run for three seasons, two of which aired stateside on syndication, Fox Kids and ABC Family respectively. The third never aired on TV in the U.S., but was dubbed, and is available online to watch. The show was also quite different from the other mon shows at the time (Pokémon, Digimon) in that the human protagonists were not afraid to battle alongside the monsters. While not as famous as its fellow mon series, the anime managed to at least gain a cult following. Many even regard it as a hidden gem among anime for its focus on character development and well done story pacing.The series is getting both an English and Japanese box set release thanks to Discotek Media.Has a Character Sheethere.
Achilles in His Tent: In "Underground Adventure", Hare convinces the others it'd be faster to go through a cave than cross over the mountains. When they get lost, Tiger accuses him of intentionally leading them astray, and Hare promptly quits and storms off. The others get ambushed by Joker, and are saved when he returns. (However, Hare almost leaves again after finding the group, mistaking their reactions to the illusion as them having a great time without him, and only realizes the truth upon seeing Joker.)
Action Girl: Holly somewhat. She actually participates in a few battles in the series though most of the time hangs back and lets the others fight. Also Pixie.
Apocalypse How: Class 1, perhaps 2. Humanity once had an extremely advanced civilization that eventually created monsters, stored in CD-ROMs/mystery disks. The monsters were first household pets, then anything that would make life easier, then warriors to fight what became known as the Last War which lasted centuries. Cue the war going too far, ending up in the creation of Moo and in turn the Phoenix when Moo went wild, and what it took to destroy Moo meant destroying virtually everything. Enough humans were left to rebuild civilization, but far less advanced than it had been before.
Back for the Finale: Pixie, Big Blue, Monol, and the Pirate Dragons return for the final battle. Many other named characters are present fighting Moo elsewhere.
Badass Normal: Subverted. While Genki may seem to be this at first glance, he's is often seen focusing energy in order to attack, as well as transferring it to others and putting it into his attacks. Later on it is shown he can launch Combined Energy Attacks and, in the last two episodes focus the energy of everyone they know, combining the bodies of several of his friends and reviving the Phoenix.
Beware the Nice Ones: Golem is normally the kind and quiet Gentle Giant, but piss him off and he will punch you so hard it kills even some of the toughest monsters in one blow.
To elaborate: Mocchi, Suezo, Golem, Tiger and Hare all sacrifice themselves to become the Phoenix and fight Moo. Moo, though insane at this point, retains enough intelligence to remember the Phoenix and realizes they're destined to battle eternally, so he decides to destroy the Phoenix as well as himself-effectively killing Holly's father and the Monsters that make up the Phoenix. The resulting explosion knocks Genki off a Dragon's back and he seemingly falls to his death right in front of Holly... but is actually transported back to his world, with no way of letting Holly know that he's alright or finding out how the battle ended. However, he's comforted by a vision of all of his friends, who encourage him to move on with his normal life.
Bowdlerise: Several things were edited out of the dub; for instance, Hare defeating Tiger of the Wind using Fartillery was removed, and the fact he bought the others drinks along with dinner was left out (along with a drunk Tiger getting very buddy-buddy with Hare).
Blood was edited out, along with moments deemed 'too violent'.
During Captain Horn's introduction, he tries to kiss Holly. Holly blocks with Suezo, causing an accidental lip lock and Love Bubbles. Again, this didn't make it into the dub.
When Joker snares most of the heroes in illusions, Suezo's hallucination is never shown (he sees a bunch of female monsters). His reaction to the illusion breaking was also poorly edited.
The second season was a bit better about this, letting Tiger bodyslam Lilim, for instance.
For all the editing the dub did, it kept much of the Darker and Edgier stuff in, such as Grey Wolf's death and Naga's suicide.
Moo chopping off Pixie's wings was edited out, along with any onscreen instance of him shocking her.
In the third season, a shot of Poison's lower back is edited out.
Brought Down to Normal: Mocchi and Tiger end up losing most of their powers in the third season due to being turned into Mystery Disks. Thus have to relearn most of them. Tiger gets particularly frustrated about this, having taken so much pride in his fighting ability before — and Suezo and Hare's teasing doesn't help.
Tiger: "We don't need his help. I can handle all the fighting by myself."
Canon Immigrant: Several ideas from this show were adapted into later games, such as the Phoenix being highly important, and Moo being a Big Bad.
Can't Catch Up: Suezo struggled with this; even Mocchi was able to quickly surpass him. This was mainly due to Suezo having serious difficulty with the mental powers his species tends to be better known for. Even after his Day in the Limelight episode where he managed to learn Teleport, he still couldn't catch up and had his skills mostly Played for Laughs.
Chekhov's Skill: Mocchi's Cherry Blossom Blizzard failed to hit Pixie in episode 10 when she countered with a flame shield. When he tried the attack in episode 11 and it succeeded, it was so powerful it knocked her into some ruins.
Cherry Blossoms: Mocchi's signature attack is the Cherry Blossom Blizzard, and they become a symbol of the young monster. The death symbolism comes into play during the second season finale, and the rebirth aspect comes in with the third season opener.
Death Is Cheap: Monsters never die; they are simply turned into "Lost Disks" for the Phoenix to revive later as good guys.
Somewhat subverted as disks can be destroyed or erode over time. This was actually addressed in Golem's introduction episode.
Though that wasn't made clear to the end. As cheap a death as it is, business was serious during the first two seasons. This is because they weren't sure if the Phoenix truly existed, and if it did that they could even find it.
To say nothing of the implied human deaths, such as those in Holly and Suezo's backstory.
Emergency Transformation: Near the end of the second season, Big Blue gives up his life to fuse with a fatally wounded Pixie, turning her into the hybrid Granity.
Establishing Series Moment: In episode 1, Genki has just met Mocchi when the latter is threatened by the Black Dino Squad. What's Genki do when their leader threatens to make the young monster a slave? Kick the Black Dino in the face.
Expy: Muu/Moo for Godzilla. 100ft tall dragon thing, and even keeps that "metaphor for the nuclear bomb" thing.
Eye Scream: In his fight with Tiger, Grey Wolf whips his eyes with his tail, blinding him. In the uncut version there's blood.
Faking the Dead: Played for Drama in "Tiger Meets His Match", when the Searchers see what they think is Tiger's Lost Disk. It turns out to be a hapless Evil Hare Mook who tried reminding Jagged Hound of why he was working with them in the first place.
Fartillery: Hare's Gas attack, which is much more potent than in the game, knocking out an entire stadium of people.
Fastball Special: Golem frequently threw Suezo into the air so he could get a better view of their surroundings, but didn't always catch him on the way down; and so, the entire fastball sequence became a Running Gag. The more traditional version also appeared a few times.
Find the Cure: In "Run, Tiger, Run!", Tiger has to find Natsume Berries to cure Holly who has been attacked by Black Worm poison (see Taking The Bullet). Captain Black Worm follows and ambushes Tiger.
Foreshadowing: Throughout the first two seasons, it's heavily implied that Genki is part of the Phoenix — and Holly comes to the same conclusion during the penultimate episode "Tears". Turned out to be Fauxshadowing — while Genki plays a key role in the Phoenix's revival, he's actually one of the only members who doesn't carry part of the Phoenix's soul.
It is played straight in the sense that Genki is connected to everyone who's part of the Phoenix, and he was the one who unlocked Mocchi. Without Genki, the Phoenix couldn't be revived.
Freeze Frame: Used during several battles. The Pastel Chalked version also ends a few episodes.
Frothy Mugs of Water: The English dub has pirate Captain Horn coming to town to raid a supply of... chocolate milkshakes.
Genki Girl: Poison in the third season has traits of this. She gets angry a lot more easily than Pixie and Lilim.
Heel-Face Turn: Pixie and in the post script season the entire big bad 4.
Tiger and Hare could both qualify, seeing as both had been thieves or con-artists.
Heroic BSOD: Golem has one during his introduction in "Guardian of the Disks" after going berserk on the Jells.
Hare has one during "Tiger Meets His Match" when confronted with what they think is Tiger's Lost Disc. Unstoppable Rage follows.
Heroic Sacrifice: Near the end of the second season, Big Blue saves the mortally wounded Pixie by merging with her, giving her new life as a Pixie/Golem hybrid. This was immediately followed up by the season finale with five of the Searchers sacrificing themselves to revive the Phoenix.
History Repeats: The Phoenix and Moo are destined to eternal battle. Moo realizes this and destroys himself and the Phoenix.
Hit Flash: Used a couple times, moreso in the dub.
Human Ladder: In one episode, the group piles up so Suezo can get a better view of the area.
Humanity Is Infectious: One Henger grew to think for himself outside of his programming, and was cast out of his city for it. In the end he decides to stay behind and help his fellow robots understand free will and compassion.
Let's Get Dangerous: Hare's Pride often led to him making plans while arrogantly certain they would work, only to watch them fail dramatically and being forced to improvise. On the whole, he was much, much better at improvising.
Lighter and Softer: The third season comes off as this with the quick reunion of the Searchers and focus shifting to the Tournament Arc, the fact that neither goodies nor baddies die, and Durahan's Villain Decay. Perhaps Lampshaded with the heroes' confidence, as it's outright stated several times that they think they can just summon the Phoenix at a moment's notice if things get out of control.
Mocchi's name is a pun on a Japanese snack food, mochi, with no real equivalent in English. Genki's inspired for the name in the anime by the food his mom gives him. In the dub, they were called 'sweet cakes', with Genki naming Mocchi 'Mocchi' anyway.
The Mole: In the episode "Undine's Lake," Golem befriends a beautiful water nymph named Undine, who offers the gang fresh fish and shelter. Later on, it turns out she's working for the main villains and she tries to kill Genki and co. Luckily she undergoes a Heel-Face Turn, though Redemption Equals Death,
Mons: Along with Pokémon and Digimon, it was one of the first shows in the genre to be imported to the US.
Never Say "Die": Justified as Monsters turn into Lost Discs, though the result is the same as death in Seasons 1 and 2. Sometimes it's used to creepy effect, though:
Pixie:Disappear. *turns Captain Clay into a Lost Disc*
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The third season has the gang participating in a tournament and Mocchi is up against a Suezo named Poritoka. Mocchi brutally gets his butt handed to him for a significant portion of the fight and can barely maintain consciousness after it's over.
The Power of Friendship: The characters' courage, along with friendship, can be used to make themselves stronger. In the last episode of the second season, Genki summoned the courage of every heroic character on the planet to use in a Combined Energy Attack.
The Power of Hate: When Moo goaded the heroes into hating him to make him stronger, the power of their hatred drove him insane.
Pragmatic Villainy: Moo captured Holly to use the Magic Stone to locate his original body, figuring he could destroy the heroes with it. They rescued her, but by that time he had gotten what he needed to know. Rather than let them find out where he was going or try and stop him in his humanoid form, he simply left them behind so they had no idea where he was.
Scars Are Forever: Tiger of the Wind has a distinctive scar across his face, which he retained after being trapped in a Mystery Disc and reborn.
Schizo Tech: The 'ancient' ruins' technology is a lot more advanced than in the present day. This is justified by Monol's story.
Screwed by the Network: The first season was rerun into the ground, and the second season was only aired in full once, with two episodes swiftly being removed from rotation afterward: "Tiger's Battle with Destiny" and "Battle with the Big Bad Four": the final confrontations with Gray Wolf and Naga. The third season never aired in the US.
Shout Out: There seem to be parallels between Hare and Bugs Bunny. Two leporids who are clever, cunning, laid-back, cheerful, tricksters who use more brain than brawn and are for the most part great improvisers and problem-solvers in sticky situations. And both seem to have a snarky sense of humor. Not to mention, the dynamics of the relationship between Hare and Tiger is very similar to that of Bugs and Daffy.
Shown Their Work: Across three seasons, every species of monster from both games was seen aside from the Doodle and living Disk.
Similar Squad: Holly's village had a Suezo, a Tiger, and a Hare, though of different breeds.
Smug Snake: Lilim is certainly clever, but as soon as her plans start to unravel...
It's never explicitly stated who the strongest of the Big Bad Four is. The American version of Monster Rancher censored out a lot of the more violent and action-packed scenes. This had the side effect of making Pixie look much more powerful as the group nearly lost to her, pulling off a win at the last second with a single cherry blossom blizzard by Mocchi. In the uncensored version, the gang won a much more decisive victory with Genki head-butting Pixie to knock the wind out of her, Mocchi unleashing his special attack to knock Pixie into the ruins, and Tiger finally body-slamming into her to end the fight. Nonetheless, the sorting algorithm is still subverted because by Season 3, the heroes fight against Durahan, who's far less powerful than Moo.
It could be played straight as far as the Big Bad Four goes, since the heroes didn't have their most powerful attacks when fighting Pixie and were only able to knock her out. For the fight with Gali, Mocchi learned the Mocchi Cannon and outright destroyed him. he didn't get a chance to use it on Grey Wolf, but that battle was personal and harder than if they'd all attacked him. For Naga, Suezo's Teleport and the Mocchi Cannon were used, but it didn't kill him. The Mocchi Cannon didn't kill Durahan, either.
Squishy Wizard: Pixie, moreso in the dub where it took only one hit to bring her down after she'd been zapping everyone for a good portion of the fight.
Villainous Rescue: Pulled off in "Magic Stone Mayhem": after being betrayed by Lilim, the fatally wounded Weed uses the last of his strength to stop Durahan's army before they can execute most of the Searchers via firing squad.
Vitriolic Best Buds: Hare constantly goads and teases Tiger, while Tiger is disdainful and quick to insult Hare's intelligence. Yet when it comes to the clutch, they can pull off a pretty awesome Back-to-Back Badasses.
Illustrated best by the second season episode "Tiger Meets His Match", where Hare lapses into a brief Heroic BSOD when he thinks Tiger was killed, followed by an Unstoppable Rage.
Vocal Evolution: Genki's voice deepened in the second season, going along with his emotional maturity.
It got even deeper in the third season, (as Genki in the dub was played by an actual child actor who went through puberty between the second and third seasons), almost to the point where it doesn't suit his childish appearance anymore.