Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On – Preview
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!
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On is undoubtedly a kids show from the look alone. That status is only solidified by its focus more so on the world and its monsters/mechanics, than presenting our human characters as anything other than bog standard. There’s a heavy reliance on comedy, much of it derivative of other kids show offerings that fail to remain appealing beyond that youthful demographic.
Linny: It truly is hard to ignore the simplistic nature of the show and there’s no denying or mistaking that the target audience is young kids. The best positive opinion an older viewer can give is that it is easy to approach even for someone completely alien to the game series that it originates from. The story is simple and straightforward as are the characters who are all classic staples of children’s shows. You have an eager, rule breaking lead male character, Lute, who is accompanied by his sassy female friend, Lilia, a comic relief pet, and a reluctantly compliant best friend, Cheval, and we watch as they get themselves into all sorts of dangerous situations within the first episode itself but, of course, emerge unharmed.
Tom: Lute, our headstrong and forceful main character, is your standard shonen hero. As far as kids shows go, he doesn’t break any molds, content to exist as your bog standard. His two pals, Cheval and Lilia, are slightly more level headed, and perhaps a bit silly in their own right, but lack unique personalities that set them apart from the mass of kids entertainment that’s come before. The adults of the series are much as you’d expect, generally reasonable and calm in the face of Lute’s misguided enthusiasm and the wrong turns that takes. Navirou, our cat mascot, is annoying as all hell. I actually found myself cheering whenever his tail was lit ablaze by the baby Rathalos that Lute hatches, and I love cats in real life and the Felines in the Monster Hunter games proper!
Linny: Since everything about the show screams that it is for children, it may be awkward or too simplistic for older audiences to really get into. On the other hand, it does hold a lot of promise for Monster Hunter fans or anime fans who are parents of younger kids and wish to share their love for the game and/or anime in general through an extremely kid friendly option. Despite the creatures being rendered in 3D, they still look extremely vibrant and eye catching and are sure to have audiences wishing for a monster or two of their own.
Tom: Based on the first episode I’m getting ‘pokemon but monster hunter style’ vibes. There’s a ceremony to gift riders (read: trainers) their first eggs (read: Pokemon) but Lute (read: Ash) isn’t satisfied with getting same old, same old so he heads out to find his own, unique Monster (Read: Pokemon.) which happens to be the game franchise’s mascot Rathalos (read: Pikachu.) There’s nothing wrong with the formula, although I imagine older audiences might find the parallels and blatant formulaic nature a bit distracting. Visually though the monsters for the series look amazing, depicted via impressive CGI models that are animated well and contain plenty of detail. Unfortunately, these models don’t blend all that well with the 2D, and in a few instances the CGI doesn’t interact with the 2D animation’s ground properly, only making it painfully clear that two different styles of animation have been brought together.
Linny: As someone completely alien to the Monster Hunter franchise, my biggest takeaway and praise for this show is how appealing and adorable it made the creatures look and how approachable it was as its own entity and required no prior knowledge of the franchise. On the other hand, from Tom’s constant commentary while we were watching the episode, I would surmise that it will be great fun for Monster Hunter fans to be able to call out recognizable features and items. However, unless you are extremely curious about the franchise but don’t want to actually play the games, or on the lookout for a show to watch with a young child, Monster Hunter Stories might not be the best entry into the series due to its extremely simple and kid oriented approach.
Tom: I haven’t gotten to experience Monster Hunter Stories, the new 3DS game this anime acts as an accompaniment to. It’s still Japan only, as far as anybody knows, although maybe now that the anime’s been licensed that gives Capcom greater incentive to bring the game over? But I’m otherwise extremely familiar with the greater Monster Hunter franchise as a whole, and it was fun to see the monsters make their jump to this more kid friendly, colorful style and reattain everything I’ve loved about their visual design since I first became a fan. While Ride On doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it does generic, kid friendly entertainment well enough that I find myself recommending it as a decent option for entertaining a younger, less nuanced audience.