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Monsuno: Destiny (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

December 14, 2012 by  



“Monsuno” is a fun and entertaining animated series that has similarities to shows such as “Pokemon” or “Digimon” but a unique story that ties in with their toy merchandise line very well.  An animated series that parents (who are young at heart) will enjoy watching with their children, me and my son really enjoyed “Monsuno” and look forward to the next DVD release.”Monsuno: Destiny” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2011 Pacific Animation Partners, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Monsuno: Destiny

DURATION: Episodes 1-5 (110 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Color, NTSC, English Dolby Digital 2.0

COMPANY: Jakks PAcific, dentsu, Fremantle Media Enterprises, Topps, Shout Factory

RATED: TV Y7 FV

Release Date: December 11, 2012

Director: Yoshiaki Okumura

Produced By: Jared Wolfson, Yukio Kusumoto

Producer: Chapman Maddox

Associate Producer: Joh Hudson, Yuichi Kinishita

Story Editor: Michael Ryan

Character Design: Yuichiro Hayashi

Creature Design: Designmate

Animation Creature Design: Hiroto Kato

Creature Design Director: Takaaki Hirayama, Masahiko Okura, Hiroto Kato

Art Director: Tomoko Iwasa

Mecha / Prop Design: Yasuhiro Moriki

Background Director: Shigemi Ikeda

Background Art: Shigemi Ikeda

Music by Michael Taera

Cinematography by Naoki Serizawa

Edited by Masaki Sakamoto

Casting by Rene Veilleux

Featuring the following voice talent:

Cam Clark as Chase

Christopher Smith as Bren

Karen Strassman as Jinja

Keith Silverstein as Dax

Kirk Thornton as Beyal

They hurled through space eons before man existed. They burned through the planet’s atmosphere and crashed into four corners of the world, bringing chaos, destruction and the extinction of the dinosaurs. And then, as suddenly as they appeared…they vanished. Now, the Monsuno are BACK! And their rise will either spell the ultimate destruction of our planet or launch the courageous adventure of mankind’s newest hero, the unpredictable teenager, Chase Suno!

Japan is known for having popular series that revolved around its product merchandise!  From “Pokemon”, “Digimon”, “B-Daman”, “Bakugan” and many others.

But in America, replicating that success would have to feature toys that are fun to play and characters that children can identify with and also lead them to buying the merchandise in stores.

One of popular toys that have made it onto store shelves with a lot of buzz is “Monsuno” and for its animated series, we are seeing the collaboration between American and Japanese companies with the involvement of Dentsu, Jakks Pacific, FremantleMedia Enterprises and Topps.

“Monsuno” (also known as “Jusen Batoru Monsuno” or “Beast Rotation Battle Monsuno” in Japan) is directed by Yoshiaki Okumura (“Eyeshield 21”, “Dragon Drive”, “Eien no Aseria”), featuring character designs by Yuichiro Hayashi (“Soten Koro”, “PES: Peace Eco Smile”) and art direction by Shigemi Ikeda (“Bokurano”, “Basilisk”, “Gantz”, “Afro Samurai”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”, “InuYasha”).

Premiering on Nicktoons in the U.S. with a total of 26-episodes shown, “Monsuno” will receive its first DVD release (titled “Monsuno: Destiny”) courtesy of Shout Factory featuring the first five episodes.

“Monsuno” revolves around three teenagers: Chase Suno, Jinja and Bren.  As all three are adventure-seeking individuals, both Jinja and Bren help Chase look for his father Jeredy Suno who has gone missing in the Himalayas.

When they arrive to S.T.O.R.M. lab, the place looks like it has received major damage but inside is Jon Ace, a man that Chase is familiar with.  Jon tells Chase that his father left him something inside a sealed door but the only way to get access is through his handprint.  When Jon puts his hand on the panel the door opens to reveal a a Monsuno Glowblade with a computer featuring a special message for his son.  But once Chase grabs the GlowBlade, Charlemagne, the commander of S.T.O.R.M. has his soldiers hold Chase and friends by gunpoint and for them to give up the GlowBlade since it belongs to S.T.O.R.M.

But Chase refuses and when things go for the worse, Chase thinks about the message that his father left and so Chase throws the Monsuno GlowBlade to the ground and upon contact, a big Monsuno monster comes out.  Nearly invincible Chase and friends run away.  As the big white monster pretty much chases all soldiers of S.T.O.R.M. out of the building, including Chase and friends, thinking that Chase and friends have lost the big white monster, the monster finds them immediately.

But to their surprise, the big white monster, which Chase gives the name “Lock” is friendly to them.  The computer message left by Chase’s father explains that he discovered Monsuno DNA that has been around since before mankind.  And by using the DNA of other animals, he was able to create the Monsuno.  In Lock’s case, he is a hybrid of a polar bear, gorilla and tiger  But with this technology, he wants to keep it out of the hands of S.T.O.R.M.   Also, learning that the GlowBlade is where the Monsuno lives and where it heals.

But just as Chase and friends think they have escaped from S.T.O.R.M., the evil company manages to find them and each time, a battle between S.T.O.R.M’s Monsuno vs. Chase’s Lock are engaged in battle.

Eventually in the next two episodes, we see how Bren and Jinja end up getting their own Monsuno, plus the trio learn how important it is to trust the right people because not only is S.T.O.R.M. after Locke, as well as the Monsuno, but other evil antagonists are after it as well.

Can Chase and friends find his father in time?  And will he and his friends be able to master the Monsuno in battle?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Monsuno” is an interesting animated series because right off the bat, it looks like an anime series but the character designs seem a bit different from most anime television series and that is probably because the studio was focusing on making the series look and feel like an anime but with a western animated feel. Character and monster designs are well animated and the art backgrounds look well-detailed and look very good on DVD.

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and is front channel driven and English dialogue is clear and well-acted.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Monsuno: Destiny” comes with short video profiles for Chase Suno and his Monsuno Lock.

“Monsuno” is an entertaining animated series featuring a joint-collaboration between American and Japanese companies and literally a series that helps promote the toyline courtesy of Jakks Pacific.

While the series has the feel of “Pokemon”, what makes the series so different is that the main protagonists are older teenagers and they tend to get themselves into trouble often.  From falling off cliffs to one getting their leg broken or soldiers constantly aiming their weapons at them, it’s an interesting anime series full of action and for the most part, a lot of fun.

“Monsuno” is also diverse as it features a Japanese (or Japanese American) protagonist with Chase Suno, Jinja is an independent, intelligent and kick-butt female protagonist and while Bren does a lot of whining, he makes up for it with his excellent computer skills.  And armed with their Monsuno, these three are an interesting team!

My 9-year-old son is a big Pokemon fan but immediately after watching these five episodes, he was really getting into the series and wanted to check out the “Monsuno” toys immediately after watching.  The whole concept of tossing your GlowBlade toy with a Monsuno coming out is quite interesting and I have no doubt that this series will appeal to children who will most likely ask their parents to purchase them the toys.

So far, the first five episodes of the series have been enjoyable but for parents who are wondering if the series is safe for their children, I would recommend it for older children.

The monsters may seem scar to younger children and the fact that Chase and friends are constantly being chased down by soldiers with weapons and they do get injured at times, while not super violent, parents may want to watch the series with their child to see if its right for them.  But no doubt, I know that with these episodes alone, more than likely like my child, your children will be wanting the toys.

As for the DVD, while I prefer watching the series as a full complete season versus a five episode DVD release, I can only hope that Shout Factory does plan to release the whole series as a full set, otherwise, one will probably have to purchase 4-5 volumes just to complete a season.

Overall, “Monsuno” is a fun and entertaining animated series that has similarities to shows such as “Pokemon” or “Digimon” but a unique story that ties in with their toy merchandise line very well.  An animated series that parents (who are young at heart) will enjoy watching with their children, me and my son really enjoyed “Monsuno” and look forward to the next DVD release.

“Monsuno: Destiny” is recommended!

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