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AKA: Rokumon Tengai Monkore Naito, Six Gates Faraway Monster Collection Knights
Genre: "Monster show" fantasy comedy
Length: Television series, 51 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: VHS from Fox Home Entertainment
Content Rating: G (fantasy violence)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Digimon, Pokemon, Slayers
Notes: Based on a popular collectible card game (CCG) of the same name. Mon Colle is short for "Monster Collection" in typical abbreviative fashion.
Rating: Two StarsTwo Stars

Mon Colle Knights

Synopsis

Two competing teams enter the "Mon" world as go on various zany misadventures in the quest to collect cards which allow the holder to control various monsters. While Prince Eccentro (aka Prince Collection in the original Japanese) and his subordinates Batch and Gluko attempt to get to the cards first, they are usually (read: just about always) foiled by the mad (but kind-hearted) Dr. Hirogi (Hiiragi), his daughter Rockna (Rokuna), and her friend Mondo.

Repeat fifty more times.


Review

Okay, okay, enough already with the Pokemon and Digimon cracks. This genre isn't quite dead yet. However, Mon Colle Knights signals a certain feeling of decline in the "monster show" genre - when big guns like veteran Akahori Satoru can't make a show any better than its predecessors, you know there's something wrong.

Though colorful and glossy, Mon Colle Knights isn't quite as good as the other series out there. For one, actual interaction with "monsters" is next to nil - these characters are fighting for control cards, not actual critters. So no Pikachu, no Agumon, just a psychotic supercomputer that looks and acts exactly like a chicken. (Bleah!)

The English dub does this show no favors at all, unless you happen to *like* horrendously overacted, unrealistic dialogue between hopelessly stereotypical and one-dimensional characters. I'm not sure, though, that even good voice-acting would be much of an improvement, as the plot is just about where it should be for its audience, which is substantially younger and less intellectually demanding than any member of THEM. But at least the character designs make for cool and cute cosplay ideas.

It isn't all bad, though. Though the animation is, at best, barely adequate to just good enough for a children's show (with heavy usage of repeat footage, natch), and the music not even worth discussing, some of the combinations of the one-dimensional characters involved are interesting. Rockna and Mondo (what are with these names?) may be stereotypes, but they're a bit easier to swallow than the still way-too-earnest-and-innocent Ash Ketchum from Pokemon, much less the less-than-exciting leads of Digimon's first season. And it would be interesting to see the obviously shounen-ai-influenced Prince in the original Japanese - he's just a yutz in the English, and his subordinates (and boss) even more so.

And for all their travels in the Mon world, there aren't exactly a lot of monsters around to collect. Oh wait, cards, yes, caaards.

Perhaps we're being unfair, but this show comes off more as a cheap, crass parody of the other shows than as a valid series of its own. It doesn't even succeed as a parody, really. With a "name" like Akahori Satoru behind it, we expected more, but other than the visuals and some surface wackiness, it's really not as good as other titles he's done. Maybe it gets better further on, but with two full seasons to watch, we really don't have the patience or time to slog through more swill like the episodes we saw to see if there really is a diamond in here.

But at least they're cute.

Fine if you want to shut off all brain functions, but are sick of the later seasons of Pokemon. But really, you should probably go watch the second or third seasons of Digimon instead. If you don't even *like* this genre, follow your instincts and run far, far away.Carlos Ross

Recommended Audience: Objectionable material? As if! (Stupidity, perhaps ...)



Version(s) Viewed: Broadcast airing, English dub
Review Status: Partial (3/51)
Mon Colle Knights © 2000 TV Tokyo / Studio Deen
 
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