By Hervé St-Louis
September 18, 2013 - 13:05
This series has been severely criticized online for being “another Pokémon clone.” This is a valid criticism. Several television series for kids are derived from the concept of the pet animal transforming into a bigger fighting creature in dueling games. But then, concepts such as Gatchaman, Power Rangers, Sailor Moon and Voltron have also been reused several times in multiple animated series. This is the nature of animation. I believe that criticisms should be more elaborate than complaining about borrowed concepts.
Monsuno features standard character types such as, the strong hero, the tough girl, the mysterious ally, the cowardly nerd and the opposite anti-hero. Unlike series like SlugTerra with a very similar formula, the characters are not as developed or interesting. In SlugTerra, the characters’ features are original. Pronto, the cowardly member of the gang has this unclear accent from somewhere that mixes German and Spanish. There is no such creativity in Monsuno. Yet, series such as Monsuno fill a gap in the market place and as they say in the industry, babysits kids while adults are away. As a series thought by Westerners and animated by Japanese animators, it is unlike very creative Cybersix, or the Mysterious Cities of Gold. Instead, the creators of Monsuno aim for a limited appeal and quick tie-ins with several toy lines. Essentially, Monsuno is a toy commercial, but with even less creativity than similar Westerner/Japanese animated co-productions such as the Transformers or G.I.Joes.
The animation, no matter the criticisms uses less reused stock sequences and features a higher frame rate than Pokémon. Some of the compositing with the 3D-generated backgrounds are cheesy, such as a scene where all the characters are floating in a river. Yet, the characters movements are more fluid and better animated than anything ever seen in a Pokémon television series. Monsuno is aimed at young boys under twelve and it’s not meant to be great animation. It’s meant to fill the air with something easy to watch and forget. I am not a fan of this series but at the same time, I am not one to argue that every animated television series has to be grandiose art. After all, without weaker material like Monsuno, how would we know about the great material like Young Justice or Adventure Time?
Rating: 6 /10