Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On – Mid Season Review
Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On:
Original Air Dates: October 1st, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Lute is a young boy on the cusp of becoming a Rider for the village of Hakum. He’s dreamed of this all through his childhood and can’t wait for the ceremony where he’ll become bonded with his very own monster. No, literally, he can’t wait. So he sets off to find his own monster to hatch just before he’d receive one! Alongside his friends Lilia and Cheval, and their pet, Navirou the group sets out to find Lute his own monster. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse when they find themselves confronted with by a fully grown Aoashira!
Mid Season (6 episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Monster Hunter Stories: Ride on has a very Pokemon, Digimon, or even Monster Rancher feel. The difference with Pokemon however, is that there’s little effort to get to the meat of the story right away. Ride on has hinted at its larger story arc on several occasions, teasing the grander and awesome implications, but as of now we’re still full force into the every day/one off plot lines that, frankly, just aren’t that interesting.
Linny: The fact is that if you are an older viewer, you will most likely find yourself drawn to the meatier plot that’s introduced and hinted at in the earlier episodes. It makes for an intriguing mystery, one that will make you curious to get into the thick of it all. However, the show seems extremely focussed on the everyday lives of our young protagonists to the point where the earlier plot line seems all but forgotten. Obviously this is a show meant for children so one cannot hold its simplistic plot against it too much, but there’s no denying that this show suffers from the worst cliches of kids shows where problems are often solved within the blink of an eye, sometimes even defying all logic and common sense.
Tom: Ride on can almost feel ‘by the books.’ Lute himself is a standard shonen protagonist with very little development six episodes in. There isn’t a lot to set him apart from say Ash Ketchum, save that Lute feels a whole lot more basic and uninteresting. (Not that Ash is a prize pig or anything.) We’ve explored some of the other characters, and there’s indeed been some interesting development as one kid abandons his friends to win a race (and gets slapped for it) and another girl decides to forego becoming a rider to find her own path in life. But these moments are fleeting and atypical examples of the majority of Ride on’s content.
Linny: It’s clear that Lute is the centre of attention as almost every story has him in the spotlight even when there’s character development happening for the other kids. Lute is your classic scrappy kid protagonist who often gets himself into trouble but is considered a good kid overall. It’s also true that the other children get little development but props to the show for integrating some morals for kids such as when Hyoro is reprimanded for prioritizing winning a race over the safety of his friends.
Tom: For fans of the Monster Hunter franchise, there’s plenty of fun little callbacks peppered through each episode. From seeing your favorite monsters rendered in 3D, to mentions of classic items, or concepts, there’s a little fan service here or there. Unfortunately this is but a minor saving grace, as Ride On’s content is so tepid, so lukewarm, that the fanservice isn’t enough to ensure Ride On remains a truly enjoyable ride for older viewers.
Linny: As is the case with most kids shows, Ride On is a visual delight with splashes of bright colours. It’s very vibrant and fun to look at even if the animation quality may not always hold up. The 3D monsters in particular look even more majestic than usual and really help to sell the charm of the Monster Hunter world and games.
Tom: The art dips however after that first episode with poor character models in longer shots. The blending between 2D and CGI never really improves, although you do get use to it and the monster 3D models themselves always remain a stellar part of the series’ artwork.
Linny: Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On is a solid watch for its intended audience. While it does suffer from some of the classic tropes of children’s shows, it will most certainly entertain young viewers with its young cast and vibrant animation. The only big negative about it is that the show will most likely disappoint older viewers who were hoping for this to be another means through which to enjoy a beloved game franchise as eveything about the show screams juvenile entertainment.
Tom: Ride on is, probably, still decent entertainment for the younger audience its truly aimed at, offering quick, fun littler adventures, moderate comedy, etc. But unfortunately what’s there becomes less and less appealing to an older audience, even if you’re a die hard fan of the franchise.