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ADV Films presents
Monster Rancher #3: Fast Friends and Fiendish Foes! (1999)

"Gabba Gabba Gabba Hey!!!"
- Genki (Andrew Francis)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: July 19, 2002

Stars: Andrew Francis, Janyse Jaud, Richard Newman
Other Stars: Brian Drummond, Scott McNeil
Director: Hiroyuki Yano

Manufacturer: DVXX
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild animated violence)
Run Time: 01h:04m:39s
Release Date: January 09, 2001
UPC: 702727011320
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B-AB+ D-

DVD Review

Forging ahead in their quest, Genki, Holly, Suezo, Tiger, Mochi, Hare, and Golem move onwards to more monster battling adventures in Fast Friends and Fiendish Foes, volume 3 of the Monster Rancher series. As things start out, Genki and his pals run across a fork in the road. No one knows which direction to take, so a random decision is made. Where does it take them? To a small village surrounded by lovely flowers, but troubled by some nasty rabbits. A group of Hares under the control of Moo have decided to show up and make Genki's day really bad. The Hares decide to topple the local dam which will destroy the village, so everyone bands together to hold the dam up. The problem is, no one can quite agree on how to stop the flood, so their inner-conflict might lead to major problems.Later on, the team is spending a rainy day underneath a bridge, for shelter, and Genki has a disturbing dream about his home on Earth. This prompts him to want to learn more about Holly, the girl that got him involved on this whole quest to begin with. She relates the dark story of how she discovered the power to use the Mystery Stone and how she came to be looking for the Mystery Discs. As we learn, only the Phoenix (found in a Mystery Disc) can resurrect the Lost Discs scattered across the land, which are created when someone or something dies. It also reveals a possible future plot point: the disappearance of Holly's father when he was exiled from the village. Might we see him later on?Venturing further on, as directed by the Mystery Stone, Genki and his friends come across what appears to be the end of the world: a huge chasm to which there seems no bottom, no end, and certainly no way across. Their journey seems to have stalemated until they run across a strange fellow with a beat up plane. He agrees to help them fix the plane and fly it to the other side, but for a bit of gold. Genki coughs up the loot, but what he's unaware of is that this mysterious man once lived on the other side of the chasm; a different world where the monsters rule and humans are forced labor. Is the man really helping, or just doing as little as possible to get some gold and take off?This volume of the series marks an obvious change of pace for the show. While the first episodes were focused on introducing the good guys, this volume seems to begin the slow introduction of the central villains. While the name of Moo, the big baddie, has been mentioned quite a bit, his minions haven't gotten any attention, but now they're beginning to infiltrate the story here and there. To an extent, the inclusion of backstory and and an episode about a threatened are filler stories with little impact on the whole series, but then this is more of a kids show than anything else. I guess analyzing the plot-arc is overkill when it comes down to it. Though I'd like to see more Mystery Disc finding and stuff of that nature, this disc is still simple and pleasing. It won't blow anyone's mind, but it kicks the show in a slightly different direction.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The image is completely free of any major issues, and retains a look of purity and sharpness throughout. As a series with what appears to be digitally colored cels and backgrounds, the natural vibrancy of the image is perfectly retained here. There are no issues here, and even the more challenging sequences come across just fine.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Presented in stereo, this volume has a little more activity than previous volumes, probably because of all that goes on. As a result, there's quite a bit of booms and crashes, along with all sorts of nice stereo effects. There's no lack of good, vibrant, exciting audio here, and I think most people will find this extremely satisfying for what it is.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 5 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The disc has no additional features beyond 5 chapter stops (one for the opening credits, 3 for the episodes, 1 for the end credits), and a short advertisement reel before the movie with clips from other ADV releases.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

There's something strangely addictive about Monster Rancher. It's no masterpiece and the storyline is fairly thin like any typical, morning cartoon-type series, but it's still somehow fun. Worth a look for families or those who want light anime.


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