Monster Rancher, known in Japan as Monster Farm, is a 73-episode anime series based on the Monster Rancher video games made by Tecmo. It originally aired on Japanese television on Tokyo Broadcasting System from April 17, 1999 to September 30, 2001. In Japan, the program existed as two separate series -- モンスターファーム~円盤石の秘密~ - Monster Farm Enbanseki no Himitsu for episodes 1-48 and モンスターファーム~伝説への道~ Monster Farm Densetsu e no Michi for episodes 49-73.
For unknown reasons, the show's third season was not aired in North America despite being fully dubbed. It was however aired in other territories.
Changes made in the English language version
The U.S. version, localized and originally syndicated by Bohbot Entertainment (later BKN), had several parts modified to make it suitable for viewing on American television. The character Hare had his "Gas" attack removed. "Gas" is an attack where Hare turns around and flatulates on his enemy. The flatulence stinks so badly, it stuns enemies, knocks them out, as seen in Hare's Trick; he also used Gas to keep the Iron Bird afloat in the Iron Bird episode.
A couple of scenes were also removed from the episode "My Name is Pixie". At one point during the episode, Genki rescues Pixie from quicksand. After he hauls her out, the mud on her face makes her look as if she has a beard (why that was cut out is not known). There is also a later scene in the same episode where Genki lifts Pixie "bride over the threshold" style in his arms and skates away with her while she kicks and yells in protest. For reasons unknown, a few frames were cut from that scene as well.
Several key episodes of Season 2 were skipped by some networks that aired Monster Rancher in the U.S. "Battle with the Big Bad Four" and "Tiger's Battle with Destiny" only aired once when the series was rerun on Fox Kids. These episode were pivotal battles for Holly and Tiger respectively (See Skipped Episode below).
By contrast, some of the darker scenes of the anime were not removed nor edited in the dub, such as the villain Naga's suicide, and Tiger being forced to kill his own brother Gray Wolf.
In the Spanish version as well as the English version, an original opening song was recorded, produced, and vocalized by Anthony Lopez.
While unrelated to the English language version, in the Japanese version's opening for Episode 1, there is a different opening animation from other episodes. The changes include:
- A fade in shot into the title logo rather than a camera scroll through some building to the logo.
- The first two close up shots of Mocchi and Holly spinning around are not present.
- After the pan up the group that are sitting on a pile of misc. objects, there is a shot of Genki's face, with the wind blowing.
- The shot of Tiger latched onto the Monster's neck and ripping part of the skin off, as well as being thrown off of him, is instead a shot of Genki jumping over some of the Dinos from episode 1.
- The shot of Genki being chased by the Dinos and one of them falls on a rock, is instead a shot from episode 1 where Genki is rollerblading on the ground towards Holly.
- The shot of Holly, Hare, and Golem on a dragon, in which the shot pans out to Mocchi and Genki is instead a shot from episode 1, which shows the scene where Genki decides on Mocchi's name.
- Hare has a mistake on this version. Originally, his eyes had black pupils with a white background for the rest of his eyes. (Although the scene where punching some plant monsters has his normal eyes.)
- The dragons flying into the sunset are removed from the end shot.
There are also many other additional details added onto the animation.
Monster Rancher on DVD and VHS
ADV Films owned the rights to the first 12 episodes, which the company released on DVD. ADV also released the entire first season of Monster Rancher on VHS. The series was brought to the US and dubbed by Ocean. After Monster Rancher went off the air in the US, ADV halted its release of the series on home video and DVD. In 2005, BKN International A.G. licensed the DVD rights for 73 episodes of the Monster Rancher anime series to Digiview Productions LLC for US and Canadian mass retail market distribution. Digiview only released one DVD containing episodes 1 through 5 at select Wal-Marts and other select places that sell $1 DVDs in February 2006. Eventually, this DVD was reissued to include up to episode 8. The digiview website currently doesn't offer the DVDs up for sale indicating that it may be cancelled. The series is also available to watch on Hulu. Discotek Media licensed the series in 2013, and released it on three English-dubbed DVD box sets in 2014, and a single box set with the original Japanese audio subtitled and uncut on July 28, 2015. Discotek Media later released the series on a Blu-ray Disc set on May 29, 2018.
In 2016, TMS Entertainment uploaded the entire dub of the series for free on YouTube.
These are the Monster Rancher episodes considered too violent for some television stations, even though they were crucial to the plot. Despite this, not every network choose not to air them.
- Episode 27: Tiger's Battle with Destiny: Reasons why this episode skipped was due to the scene where Tiger destroyed Gray Wolf's Baddie Crest were too much like stabbing a throat.
- Episode 35: Battle with the Big Bad Four: Skipped either due to Holly pulling a dagger on Naga or Naga's suicide
- Taking into account of the series' lore and events of Monster Rancher 4, there are some disrepancies in Monol's account regarding Pangaea and monsters' history:
- Monol stated that Pendant civilization are responsible for birth of monsters and development of Mystery Disc, but in actualty, they replicate monsters' pre-existing nature.
- Contrary to Monol's statement where Pendant scientists created a Phoenix to combat Moo, in truth they actually upgrading the pre-existing one, who was none other than Suzaku the Phoenix himself.
- Due to being dubbed by Ocean Productions, the series shares many voice actors, sound effects and songs with the 1993 Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon.
- Genki's English voice actor, Andrew Francis, was a child at the start of the dubbing recording sessions. Francis entered puberty during the dub's production, which caused Genki's voice to slowly deepen as the show went on. By the show's third season, Francis' voice had deepened to the point he was completely unrecognizeable compared to the earliest episodes, which necessitated redubbing flashback scenes for the sake of consistency.
- Golem's voice actor, Richard Newman, voiced the character up until episode 38, after which he was replaced by Doc Harris. The reason for the swap is unknown.
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