Monster Rancher



A mediocre Pokemon clone with cartoon battles.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness

Cartoonish, video game-style violence, mostly implied. Lots of battles between "good" and "bad" monsters.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable

This show is based on a video game and will likely encourage viewers to get and play the game.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the best that can be said about this series based on a video game is that it is a clone of Pokemon and Digimon: Digital Monsters. It ranges from grating to merely adequate. It's probably best to stick with the far superior originals, but if your child decides this series is right for them, it's best to know that there are a lot of battles, though cartoonish in nature, and that the show may encourage kids to get the video game.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Borrowing shamelessly from both Pokémon and Digimon, this four-part series follows a young video gamer who finds himself in an alternate world where humans and "good monsters" are allied in a fight against "bad monsters." After first gaining success as a video game, the Japanese-animated TV series Monster Rancher premiered in both Japan and the U.S. in 1999. Appealing mainly to adolescents, the stories are wildly varied in tone, but distinguished by slick, colorful animation and several exciting action scenes. Still those who might be interested in this series would probably be better sticking with the Pokémon series.

Is it any good?


The animation is fairly attractive, although it lacks the directness and purity of Pokémon: I Choose You Pikachu and the overall polished design of Digimon. Each episode is interrupted by a brief rap interlude, in which the singer urges viewers to "unlock your disk," a reference to the means by which monsters trapped in disks are freed. The voice-acting by the English dubbing cast ranges from grating to merely adequate.


This series of four videos starts with Vol. 1: Let the Games Begin! and ends with Vol. 4: The Problem with Pixie.

Fast Friends and Fiendish Foes is probably the best of the lot, which isn't saying much. It still contains a good deal of uneven story telling.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this series tries to mirror Pokemon and Digimon. Why do you think the creators tried to copy them, and what are the advantages and disadvantages to coming up with completely original material? Can you think of other "copycat" examples, in film/videos, video games, TV programs, and even books?

TV details

This review of Monster Rancher was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bynduns October 24, 2009

Okay, I just gotta say this

It seems every time a show about pet monsters is made, EVERYONE calls it a Pokemon clone without a second thought. Monster Rancher is nothing LIKE Pokemon. Do Pokemon originate as discs that need to be brought back to life? Does Pokemon have an actual plot to it? Do characters actually die in Pokemon? *Clock ticks* Oh, you mean Pokemon doesn't meet ANY of those standards!? Gaspeth! But really, I only label violence as bad because a lot of characters "die". (Get turned into mystery discs) I'll at least give you credit for not giving this show a negative review, CS. Anyway, out of all the shows, Pokemon, Digimon, and Monster Rancher, this one was truly the best and sadly the most underrated. It had the best plot and even had a lot of unexpected turns, such as all the monsters sacrificing themselves to the phoenix at the end of season 1. All in all, I like this one the most as it wasn't afraid to let awesome characters die.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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