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The game series

  • Accidental Innuendo: Suezo's mouth-based moves when used on larger monsters.
  • Breather Boss: Pixies, Plants, Hoppers, Tigers, or Hares, who are fairly fragile, can be a chance to get an easy win before fighting Golems, Jokers, Dragons, Durahans, or Gaboos, who tend to have high LIF and hit extremely hard.
  • Crazy Awesome: Doodle may look silly, and it may have a movepool derived from a very trippy arcade game from the mid-90s, but that chicken motorcycle is going to hurt if it hits.
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  • 8.8: After the IGN review of the DS game, let's just say the factual errors in the review were the least of its problems.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Many monsters that only appeared once or twice are popular, but Worms seem to have the biggest following among the fanbase, from their appealing design and nature to their ability to evolve into Beaklon if raised properly. A Worm being featured in an early anime episode likely helped its popularity.
    • Hares are also well liked and tend to top popularity polls in Japan.
  • Even Better Sequel: 2 and 4 are considered the best games by the fans.
  • Fetish Retardant: Pixie sub-breeds can be this depending on the monster.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Unlike every other game, 1 allows you to use multiple items on monsters per week, including the Golden and Silver Peaches. As long as you have enough cash and keep exploring, you can raise a monster that will never get tired, stressed, or old, letting you easily max out its stats.
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    • Blue Kato is the go-to mon for speedrunners in 2 thanks to its long lifespan, the Twister Claw tech, and good stat gains in INT, SPD, and SKI.
    • In 2, once Troron is unlocked in the shop, the process of raising power type monster up went way faster. Troron allows you to trade off 6 weeks of potential lifespan for +10 Power and +5 Skill after every successful drill for a month giving it a net gain of 40 Power and 20 Skill for every usage. Lifespan increase and lifespan reduction works by moving the monster forwards and backwards on their full lifespan duration, and the monster lifestage is decided based on their remaining lifespan relative to their base lifespan duration. In essence, using Troron during early stages of a monster life allows you to skip the weaker baby stages to quickly reach the first growth point while gaining a lot of extra stats in the process, potentially saving up a lot of money that would probably be spent feeding the monsters had they were raised normally which is especially notable on monster with VERY long baby stages. The expedition only Paradoxine is even more obscene, offering +30 Power, +30 Skill, -10 Defense, and -10 Speed for every successful drill for 18 weeks of lifespan giving a massive 120 Power and Skill per every usage.
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    • The "Magic Banana" exploit in 2. It requires some Save Scumming, but with it, it is possible to have an immortal monster. You could use it to max out a monster's stats and sweep the tournaments! Or you could just use it to keep your favorite monster around longer.
    • Combining. With the right combination formula, and proper knowledge you can produce a ridiculously powerful newborn monster and combining the training aptitude of 2 different monsters can produce a pretty satisfying result, not to mention it also alters lifespan, lifetype, and guts regeneration rate giving a lot of customization possibility.
    • Speed and Accuracy were condensed into a single stat in 3. Monsters with high gains in Speed suddenly became nigh-on invincible beasts who can constantly assault the opponent with attacks that nearly always hit, resulting in fast and one-sided matches that usually result in KOs. And monsters who otherwise have high-risk, high-reward attacks that rarely hit could become One-Hit KO machines simply by training them in Speed. Speed and Accuracy were returned to their normal, separate stats in all later games, presumably because of how broken this was.
    • Counters in 4, which give Mighty Glacier monsters an unfair advantage since the damage received when failing a counter with those kinds of monsters is negligible but can finish a battle when successful, but has high risk and does little damage when successfully used by Fragile Speedsters.
    • In the DS game, drills are ludicrously broken, with every map having a Super Drill layout depending on the season that has copious amounts of Roll 2 squares. With a big of luck, you could give your monster over 300 points in a stat, or even max out, in a single month of drills.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • A double whammy of a bug in Monster Rancher Advance 2. If you save, turn off the game, and turn it back on quickly, your monster will recover some Fatigue and Stress—meaning that doing this repeatedly means your monster will never get tired! The only problem? In a cosmic No Fair Cheating moment, this is due to a memory-clearing glitch that, if repeatedly exploited, results in your actual physical game cartridge breaking so that it no longer saves games properly. Ouch!
    • In Monster Rancher DS, combining a monster's main type with the ??? subtype of an -Ish monster will get you a unique sub-breed of whatever the main monster was. This actually isn't meant to happen, as it was intended that -Ish monsters could only be combined using their main types. But as you can guess, it's a pretty awesome exploit.
    • Monster Rancher 2 has the Swim Bug in the NTSC version of the game. The Swim drill calculates the stats gains from Life instead of the actual defense stats. Thanks to this, Fragile Speedsters like Centaurs and Jokers become FAR more durable, while the high Life-point ones such as Gaboo become Lightning Bruisers. Sadly, this ruins the defensive capability of the Stone Wall Arrowheads and the Mighty Glacier Golems.
    • The Japanese version of 2 has the Fairy Hare glitch. The Fairy Hare's Guts regeneration rate was actually twelve times greater than intended, allowing it to reach maximum Guts in a few seconds.
  • Good Bad Translation:
    • "Durahan" is an example of Japanese Ranguage, but calling the monster "Dullahan" (after the actual mythological creature it's based on) would just feel... wrong. Similarly, the Hare/Pancho cross has been called "Jackoranta" since its first appearance, even if that has the same problem.
    • The word "Errantry" does not mean what it's supposed to mean in-series—it means "acting like a knight-errant," not "going on an adventure"—but like other things, it's stuck.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The description for the Radial Niton, a special Niton that looks like a red racecar, states, "It is said there was a play called "Cars" in the ancient era." That was from Monster Rancher 2, released in 1999.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: Despite the games' infamous difficulty, veteran players found the games far too easy and thus made a Hard Mode mod.
  • Memetic Badass: Sumopion, a ??? Arrowhead in 2 that resembles a sumo wrestler, has been revered as a deity on the Monster Rancher Discord primarily for its odd appearance and constant smile.
  • Narm: Depressing as it can be, the death animations of some monsters are just a bit over the top, particularly in the first game. Doodle crumples into a floating, squiggly dish, Kato jumps into the air and melts into a puddle of oil, Ghost pops like a balloon, and Gaboo strikes a pose in its last breath, for example. Metalner, although it doesn't exactly die, does a silly dance before zipping off at the speed of light into the horizon.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • 1 has a mechanic where no unlockable breeds except ??? monsters are available from CD, meaning you'll have to recollect the combination items or get those specific CDs if you want to breed that monster beyond the first type you get. This mechanic was thankfully changed in subsequent games.
    • Foolery and its equivalents are periods where, if your monster's loyalty is low, your monster cannot attack or gain Guts while your opponent's hit percentages skyrocket.
    • 4's counter system greatly reduces the potential of Fragile Speedster monsters, as one countered player move can end the entire match, while a missed counter guarantees a hit even if the move would have missed. And it never seems to work when you use it.
    • 4's tournaments will almost always have a monster that sweeps the entire tourney, meaning if you lose more than once or to this monster, you'll lose the entire match. You also cannot enter rank-raising cups right away and have to win filler matches in order to qualify, potentially wasting a lot of time.
    • MR DS changed the save system; no longer can you save and immediately continue, or load your previous save while playing. Now saving means you automatically quit the game. And quitting without saving lowers combining potential drastically.
    • The expeditions in MR1 are a chance to snag some rare and unique items, but the probability of your monster getting lost while they search ruins is far too high to make it worth the while, and the odds of it happening are the same regardless of their level of training and loyalty. Between this and the fact that opportunities always seem to come up right before official tournaments are held, it's usually best to just keep to your schedule and tell Karn to piss off.
  • That One Attack: Every attack from a Mighty Glacier or a monster that hits hard (even if it's inaccurate) and bulky enough to take punishment or is fast enough to consistently evade it. The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard seems to run rampant in the series.
    • Many players cried over Oakleyman's Straight and Ordorf's Acid Spit and deadly Ninja Kick.
  • That One Boss: More like "that one monster". Especially in the earlier games, certain computer-controlled opponent monsters were noticeably harder than others.
    • In 2, essentially every Rank had one of these. In S Rank, every single monster is "That One Boss." And the Major 4, the Final Bosses of the game, are worse. Take Loveless for example: a purebred Durahan in one of the Major 4 with extremely high stats in every area except speed; combined with its extremely damaging techs.
    • In E rank, where you usually start out, the most dangerous opponent is Oakleyman, a Gaboo. Most Gaboos you fight throughout the game have high Life, Speed, and POW, and Oakleyman is no exception. Oakleyman has Straight, which is a very hard-hitting move at this point, a high Dodge rate, and high HP. And worst of all, his Straight always seems to hit right when it would screw you over the most, making this a really good example of The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard. This makes its a perfect example of a Wake-Up Call Boss.
    • In D rank, the toughest contender you face is Sleetbomb, a Baku with insanely high Life and Power stats. If you're in the same rank, your attacks may hardly affect him if he doesn't Dodge (the rate of which is pretty low). However, if he attacks you just once with his Charge, you will take so much damage that you will be left in no position to catch up. Like the aforementioned Oakleyman, Sleetbomb is the Wake-Up Call Boss of his respective rank but his size makes him more of a Mighty Glacier.
    • Bonus Boss White Mocchi, Most, has all around high stats and a good move pool. Spamming your strongest low-cost moves is the best strategy for dealing with Most, but those can get neutralized by its high speed stats, as well as its unusually high defense numbers.
    • Wild Monsters like Bighand and the Zilla King, and invitational tournament opponents to unlock Dragon and Durahan, have stats far above their rank, with Bighand being on par with the Major Four.
    • The higher tiers of the IMA vs FIMBA battle in Monster Rancher 2. Given to how rare they are and how hard to find the battle itself is, they're not as well known as Oakleyman or Most, but they are possibly one of the most frustrating monsters to fight. All of them have 700-750+ stats, effectively making them Lightning Bruisers. However, one of the more absurdly powerful ones is a Hare/Plant hybrid named Hammed, fought in the S-Rank. Unlike other Hares, it's custom designed to be a defensive beast, with 800 Defense (second highest stats) and 991 Intelligence— 8 less from the Cap— effectively making Int-based moves, usually effective against Hares, ineffective thanks to how damage calculation works in this game. Against Hammed, Power-based moves are the way to go, forcing you to fight the exact opposite of the way you would fight a Hare.
    • The other S-Rank FIMBA monster that is That One Boss is Akirel, statistically the most powerful monster in the game (800+ in all stats save Skill). Unlike Hammed or Most, Akirel has no special tricks: it will simply smash your monster into the ground using its most powerful moves while dodging your counterattacks. Surprisingly amongst the three IMA vs FIMBA high tier monster, it's the ONLY one who has a Weaksauce Weakness. It only has its base attack as its range 4 move.
    • Saza A., the Rank D boss monster in Monster Rancher DS is notoriously difficult. Statistically compared to how your monster is at that time, he's even harder than the rank A boss monsters.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: MR4's Talt, and Yu to a lesser degree.

The anime series

  • Adaptation Displacement: The anime is probably better known than the video games. Doesn't help the game is hard or that there hasn't been a console release in years.
  • Awesome Music: The Japanese opening themes, as well as the English dub's theme.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Moo—"Muu" Japanese for darkness or emptiness—was a Super Soldier created by an ancient civilization to win a war. However, Moo realized how powerful he was and viewed himself as too good to be a living weapon, destroying all who wouldn't serve him. Feeding off anger and hatred, Moo turned many monsters into his servants before his battle with the Phoenix ended with his soul sealed into a Mystery Disk. Ages later, Holly's father finds the disk in his search to prove the Phoenix's existence, unintentionally freeing Moo, who possesses the man and feeds off his deep rage at being banished. Seeking his real body to resume his conquest, Moo recruits many monsters with anti-human beliefs to aid him, giving them crests that, if removed or destroyed, will kill the wearer. All humans and monster who do not conform to his views are either killed or enslaved. Realizing the Magic Stone can help him find his body, Moo kidnaps Holly, revealing his identity to her to bring her to his side. Along the way, his crimes include corrupting Tiger's brother Gray Wolf; killing his minions for any reason; and the attempted murder of a little girl after reclaiming his true body. When he is seemingly destroyed, Moo's soul was found by General Durahan in a bid to grow more powerful, only for Durahan to become Moo's new unwilling host, already driven insane from all the hatred he absorbed and aiming to destroy the world. Feared and hated by human and monster alike, Moo stood out in this otherwise fun adventure series as a creature of pure evil.
    • Lilim is General Durahan's right-hand woman and convinces him to betray their master, Moo, and take power for themselves. When first attempting to stop the Searchers and take the Magic Stone, she holds a human baby hostage to force Jagged Hound and Tiger into a fight to the death, then orders it killed once the fight is over. When Jagged Hound seems to emerge victorious, she presents Tiger's Lost Disk to the Searchers and laughs at their despair, then orders them killed, quickly fleeing once it turns out the death was faked and the baby saved. On a later assignment with a Weed to get the Stone, she cruelly wounds him once it's retrieved, then has him gunned down in a display that horrifies the Searchers, who she orders killed in the same way. Lilim soon realizes that Moo is much stronger than Durahan and betrays the General in a bid for more power, killing his frozen soldiers and setting his ship to self-destruct with the Searchers and everyone else onboard.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Durahan apparently was famous enough to warrant taking over the Big Bad position in the third season.
    • Tiger Of The Wind also has a bit of a following, as does Hare.
    • The Pixies get this too.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Pixie, Lilim, and Poison, as well as the brainwashed Granity.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: For some, the Post-Script Season third season.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Brian Drummond, who voiced Tiger of the Wind, would latter go on to voice Andrew Waltfeld in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Waltfeld's nickname? The "Desert Tiger". What do his troops pilot? Four-legged mecha that roughly look like blue tigers.
    • Moo may seem like an odd name for anyone. However in 2012, one of the strangest names given to newborns was "Moo". In May 2014, "Moo" was listed as the top five oddest baby names in USA Today.
  • Ho Yay: Tiger and Hare.
  • Narm:
    • Must we refer to villainous Mooks as "baddies" in every single context, guys? For the kid protagonists, sure, maybe, but the king of evil probably shouldn't call his own minions "baddies".
    • In an odd case of Bowdlerization helping, the uncut version of Genki hitting Pixie in the face. The animation for it is unintentionally hilarious.
    • The theme song refers to "the evil Moo." The Big Bad ends up a lot less intimidating when most American kids associate his name with Old McDonald.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • The anime's anti-war message really hits home after you see what war did to the planet in the past, and how it affects the Monster Rancher world in the present day. The backstory has humans who grew proud and destructive, creating Monsters for anything that would suit their wants. Eventually they created Moo in an attempt to end the last war, which ended up nearly destroying the entire planet until they created the Phoenix to stop him—and what it took to defeat Moo involved destroying virtually everything. When Moo returns to finish what he started, great sacrifice is required yet again—this time on a personal level, with the Searchers fusing together to become the Phoenix, and their consciousnesses ceasing to exist.
    • Episode 73 has Mum Mew screaming that she likes herself just as she is when Moo's soul starts to consume her and the others. After an entire season of buying exercise gadgets and hating being called old, when her life is on the line Mum Mew accepts herself and her body image.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Mocchi. Let's face it, being cute, pink, and voiced by a voice actress confuses the issue.
  • Villain Decay: Durahan was introduced in the second season as Moo's powerful and terrifying Starscream, with an army of monsters at his command which were creepily kept in cold storage until he had use for them. Third season rolls around, and he becomes the Big Bad... and also more of a joke, thanks to being saddled with a Goldfish Poop Gang and being reduced to a head.
  • Woolseyism: Sometimes the dub's edits worked in its favor.
    • In Tiger's battle with Grey Wolf, for example, the English dub added effectiveness by cutting out some of the battle with the Cabalos, devoting time to a flashback of the brothers' time as pups.
    • Pixie's torturing of Mickey in the uncut episode 10 clashed with the Searchers forgiving her so quickly and with her later characterization. While the uncut version gave Genki a more justified reason to punch her, punching her just for breaking a promise was believable given his childish nature, as well as his later statement that it was wrong to hit her over it.
    • "Eternal Worm", in the Japanese version, had Allan watch the heroes attack the Seed Sisters for about a minute after they killed his Worm before joining the fray. The English version had him jump in more quickly, which makes more logical sense.
    • Moo's tormenting of the heroes in "Tears". The uncut version has him shocking Pixie many, many times, with the final time being enough to get them all to hate him. While the dub cuts out him hacking off her wings beforehand, him taunting the heroes to get a rise out of them explains why Tiger was able to snap Big Blue out of it at first—and shocking Pixie afterwards was enough to push them over the edge.
    • In another case of Bowlderization making things more intense, Moo's beam attacks against the Dragon army. They're clearly hit, and in the uncut version they spiral to the ground like airplanes. By removing that, the dub implies they were vaporized on contact. Given Moo's an Expy of Godzilla, including the nuclear weapons metaphor, it works quite well.

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