Haré was a happy boy living out his days in the jungle with his mother, but then one day Guu showed up and became a member of their household. Throughout the series he faces many hardships as he tries to keep Guu out of trouble in the jungle.
So, imagine you live in the jungle, eating bananas and wierd looking jam filled creatures called pokute. Add to this a mother who loves to drink, a teacher with what is tantamount to a sleeping disorder, a girl who thinks she the heroine of her own tragic shoujo manga, a couple who have no shame, a guy who laughs at everything, a village leader who thinks chest hair is the ultimate sign of manliness, and various other characters.
Now, for good measure, throw in the ultimate terror on two legs in the form of a cute (sometimes), little girl, and make it so that your
dumbass mother takes her into your home and treats her like a daughter. Add a maid who suffers from gushing nosebleeds, a man with extremely scary eyes, an apathetically perverted doctor, and the old woman hairdresser from hell.
Still following? Neither did I at first, but that's the joy that is Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu.
I honestly didn't know what I was getting into when I first saw this series. I imagined it to be akin to the likes of Dragon Half, or maybe even Excel Saga, with some surreal comedy and parody. To say that this puts both those series to shame is an understatement. Guu is like nothing else you will ever see in anime, and I still can't decide whether the creator was clinically insane, touched by God (although Satan is also a good bet here), a genius of Einsteinian proportions, or an alien.
The story, what little of it matters that is, is about a boy named Haré, who lives in a jungle village with his mother Weda. One day Haré goes out to pick some bananas (yes, I know, it's so deliciously cliched you just know something's goingto happen), when he becomes terrified by some dark and evil presence and runs home - forgetting his bananas. The next day he wakes up to find that there is a cute girl now living with him and his mother. This is Guu, and as Haré soon learns, not everything is as it seems.
Cue the madness.
It's a very simple tale on the whole. Guu wants to know about humans and human life, and has chosen Haré to teach her. Haré's biggest problem is hiding the fact that Guu isn't human, and stopping her from eating everything in sight (food, trees, people, tanks, fish, rivers, etc, etc). Each episode, whilst having this premise at it's core and delivering a bag full of gags, is almost episodic in nature, with the main focus being on something completely different to what you'd expect. The writing is done so well that it's sometimes difficult to tell if any drugs were taken during production (you know the ones I'm talking about you naughty people).
The characters are all pretty plain on the whole, although some of the parody moments have a tendency to over-enhance the detail. Haré, Weda, and the rest of the villagers are all depicted as individuals, however there is a certain chibi-like quality to everyone (even the chest hair loving village elder). The only one who is different is Guu, and I absolutely loved how she went from cute girl to Guu in the blink of an eye.
The scenery is nice on the whole but, again, is pretty standard fare. The strength of this series isn't in the quality of it's art and animation though, but in how they're used to make the jokes more understandable. Guu has some memorable parodies and jokes that suddenly appear out of nowhere, and they work far better here than they do in other shows.
As far as characters go, this series has a lot (I mentioned some of them at the start). The main two though, are Haré and Guu. Haré is a kind, cheerful and pleasant boy who is a bit overly protective of his mother. Looks can be deceiving though, as Haré is, without doubt, the most stressed character in anime. I can't think of any other character who goes through as much anxiety, disbelief, depression, rage, hate, terror, worry, etc, as him, and that's just from dealing with Guu.
Guu, on the other hand, is very mysterious. The series never actually explains what she is, but she that she has supernatural powers is evident from the start of the series (superhuman strength, underwater breathing, becoming a Godzilla type monster (complete with sound effects), having several stomach "worlds" in one of which live three people and a lot of wierd animals, whilst another is occupied by her "adult" version (last seen wrestling a bear, practicing medicine without a license, and generally making a nuisance of herself), time travel, body switching, and others). Oh, and she can cause Haré to have a mental breakdown, but that's more of a hobby than a power.
The thing I love most about her is the fact that, aside from the very beginning of the series, she never actually pretends to be anything other than herself, and her laugh with either make your ears bleed or have you in stitches. Her tendency to swallow things whole also makes for some amazingly well executed comedy, and one enduring image I have of this series is that of Guu, absent mindedly chewing, with one of Haré's classmate's feet sticking out of her mouth. Haré naturally freaks out at this, and pull his friend out of her mouth.
The odd thing is that anyone removed from Guu's stomach automatically thinks they dreamt the entire thing - everyone except Haré that is.
As much as the series has lots of characters, there is almost no development with the majority of them. Any development that does happen often comes at Haré's expense (thanks to Guu's shenanigans). That said, the show never really suffers from the lack of overall development as it's not really important for a series like this.
I will freely admit that I enjoyed this immensely. The madcap antics of Haré, and the cynical, and sometimes absent minded actions of Guu make this an absolute joy to watch. Fans of shows like Excel Saga, Inukami, Seto no Hanayome, and others of that ilk, will adore this show. Likewise those who want something a little more "off the wall" than normal might want to check this out.
This is a very good series, and is extremely funny, with a very dry and sharp sense of humour similar to that found in Gintama.
Just make sure you haven't smoked anything funny before watching it.
After watching this whole thing, I'm not quite sure what to say except that it's unbelievably random, which makes it pretty humorous. Really, to sum the plot up in a sentence, is to say it's about a boy, Hare, living in the jungle with a cannabalistic demon in a young, pink-haired female's body named Guu, and she disrupts his life in numerous ways every day.
Usually I don't watch that sort of anime where random and insane is supposed to be funny (an example is Excel Saga, I suppose, which I highly dislike). But the wit in this is displayed across nicely and allows for many
a laugh every episode. There are even times where it gets remotely sentimental, just to get shot down again, perhaps by one of Guu's remarks.
The animation is certainly nothing spectacular, but it doesn't really need it for an anime like this. The way that they're drawn doesn't always agree with me, but then again, that's just personal opinion.
Characters are likeable; not extremely well-devolped, but it's not an in-depth show so it doesn't need that either. You learn the basics of most everyone's personality anyway. Hare and Guu are likeable, too, as they should be.
I really liked the opening and ending theme, incidentally. They were catchy (especially the op). The background music fits, too, and I like it as well. As for voice actors/seiyuus, I watched it in English, but did watch a bit in Japanese too. Both seems well done; I give props for the English voice actors, but listening to Hare's hysterical rants can get annoying after 26 episodes. Guu was well done in both.
This anime is pretty much for anyone, unless they get annoyed easily by craziness and a show chocked full of random. I enjoyed it though, and am going to watch the specials soon.
I saw Hare+Guu fairly early on in my anime fandom, and thought it was the funniest thing ever. It’s set in a jungle with a young single attractive mother and her stressed out son, doing jungle stuff. Things start to go a bit haywire when the mother decides to adopt a cute little pink haired girl into the family, for no real reason beyond shits and giggles. Guu is a…well, in nerdy prat terms, she straddles a line between chaotic good, chaotic neutral and utterly incomprehensible. The spends most of the series goofing off in the background, dropping sly comments about proceedings, goading characters into
actions, and then doing various other magical acts simply because she can. If Guu was doing all these weird and wonderful things just for the sake of it, the series would get old very quickly (actually it does get old anyway, but bear with me on this). It keeps things fresh for the most part by having her actions effect the main family story that makes up the backbone of the series.
Rewind back to the premise for a second. It’s about an 11 year old boy living together with his young single mother, specifically at a period when the man who got her pregnant originally has re-entered her life. The emotional heart here is Hare caring for his mother and not feeling comfortable with this man coming back into her life. In turn, there’s his mother’s love for her son and trying to deal with his insecurity about it being his fault for being born that she had to leave home in the first place. Then there’s his father, who probably goes through the most remarkable character development of the lot of them. He starts with bleached white hair and perving on all the women in the village. But when he meets Weda and her son, he’s forced to face what his freewheeling younger self did. Then there’s Marie, who is just some little girl in the jungle village. She ties into the family story too. She’s got no parents of her own, gets envious that Hare has a mother, and goes through occasional bouts of depression because she has no adults looking after her. She tries to get Hare’s mum and dad back together because she likes to see herself as their surrogate daughter.
The trick here is these characters wouldn’t push through with their respective stories if it wasn’t for Guu prodding them, putting them in various scenarios where they have to face their feelings about their families. Through whatever weird and wonderful thing she does, it usually results in the characters understanding each other that much more. It’s questionable as to whether this is intentional. Half the time it seems like Guu does this stuff because she wants to make Hare an even bigger stress ball then he usually is. But enough of these story developments happen directly as the result of Guu’s actions for me to believe that she does it intentionally. Besides, it makes a better story that way.
So the emotional story part of Hare+Guu is pretty great, surprisingly so for something that’s supposed to be a ridiculously goofy comedy. The comedy part though really isn’t as funny as I remembered. Guu is still great. She still has all the best lines and reaction faces. Plus the general weirdness of the show is still funny, what with those fucking bizarre Pokute things just chilling about in the background as they always did. The rest of the characters don’t really hold up their end of the bargain. Marie is all right, and Hare’s dad has a few good lines, but the rest tend to be funny for their first appearance and then stop after that. The teacher who sleeps through class, the village leader with the massive ball of chest hair, the neurotic bodyguard and his gun-fetish. Even Hare’s mum and her drinking and slacking get old way too quickly.
Hare is where the show falls down the most. He’s the ‘straight man’ so to speak, but in that irritating Japanese way of being he yells “WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT CRAZY THING” at everything that happens. This wasn’t so bad at the start of the show while all the characters around him were still funny because they were only just introduced. But the more it went on, the more frustrating his yelling became. Firstly because the show simply ran out of things to do around the halfway point, so just started killing time by doing ‘filler’ episodes. Technically you shouldn’t have ‘filler’ episodes in a comedy like this, but the show was at its best when Guu forces the characters to move the story along. When she’s doing weird stuff for the sake of it, the humour suffers. Add this together with the all the jokes the series had getting old anyway, and you have a huge chunk of the show being incredibly tedious to get through. They could have cut down the series to half its length and it would have been much better.
I still genuinely like the core story. It ends on an emotional high that is a perfect wrap to the development of the mother/child relationship, as well as solving the biggest mystery hanging over the series from the start. That ending probably coloured my impression of the show with a much rosier tint than it would probably have ended up with. I also love that they do all this within this completely ridiculous comedy format. It never makes light of the fact Hare’s dad impregnated his mother when she was young and innocent. It’s still played for jokes, but in a way that still pays respect to the enormity of his actions. It’s exactly how comedy should approach more serious subject manner like this. Plus when it does skirt the line on the more serious stuff, it’s much funnier anyway because the comedy has that edge to it. I can see why the passing of time left me feeling very positive about the show, because it’s really easy to forget all the boring nothing episodes. But christ almighty some of them are a real chore to sit through.
So I was asked for my opinion on this show and figured I'd turn it in to a full blown review. By the way this is my first so please be gentle :-P
First off if you particularly like tsukkomi/boke comedy stop reading and just go and watch this show, a huge amount of the comedy is based on this. For anybody you can recognise a bit of Japanese you'll notice about a fifth of Hare's sentences end with a variation of tsukkomu (most subbers translate this as something like 'jab'). If you have no idea what I was talking about for the past two sentences
Plot development really takes a back seat in the anime. From what I understand there is more in the manga, but this is a review for the anime. To be fair this doesn’t really make much difference, you’ll be watching this for the comedy and not the story. There is some progression but any attempt at seriousness invariably falls flat, you will just be left hanging on a retort from Hare or Guu eating people whole in the background, which brings me to the one of the best parts of this anime…..
As there isn’t a huge amount of story there isn’t a lot of character depth, however this is more than made up with by the character diversity. There are a lot of characters, and they’re all insane…..
Firstly Guu who is…Guu, her character is never explained, what you see at the beginning is what you’ll know by the end. She basically exists to put Hare in ridiculous situations, and then proceeds to break him in to little pieces….and then put the little pieces in a shredder…then sets them on fire. Godly powers abound she is comedy central for this show, even when she’s not stage front she’ll be dancing/swallowing/pick verb of choice in the background. You will also never see her walk normally for the entire show, odd point but always funny.
Other characters includes a lovesick (hilariously possessive in later seasons) Mari, drunken mother, playboy (sort of) father, demon barber, eternally laughing boy, chest hair (let’s say manly) village chief…..with more to come through the series. There are even some brilliant in-universe creatures introduced from the first episode that thereafter provide background jokes for the rest of the season.
Considering this was made in the yonder year of 2000 (well that was ten years ago) the art is really quite impressive. It won’t be anything to blow your mind away after the recent HD feasts we’ve been provided with, but it doesn’t let itself down either. The characters are nicely expressed, background scenery isn’t too bad….etc… should however point out that it’s just as crazy as the comedy in this show, the only thing I can really think to compare it to are some of the old Gainax OVAs (FLCL, Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai)
Well I watched this is in Japanese, and unfortunately the seiyuu cast does let the show down a bit here. You will get used to it after a while but some of characters (I think it was Mari I was really put off with at first) aren’t particularly well acted. Watanabe Naoko does a brilliant job with Guu and Aikawa Rikako doesn’t go wrong with Hare, but beyond that no one is going to stick out and some may even annoy.
I also tend to like shows more for good opening/ending songs which this show doesn’t particularly have. You’ll listen to each a couple of times then start skipping. For anyone who watches in to the second and third seasons these have really good ending themes, but not much stands out in the first.
So some semblance of a conclusion: you will mostly be watching this for the comedy, which will largely influence your enjoyment of the show. I mentioned in the art section that it was somewhat similar to the old Gainax OVAs, in fact this doesn’t stop at the art. I’d recommend this show if you liked FLCL, the craziness level is nearly up there (well it’s not as crazy as FLCL that’s impossible), it is however geared for a slightly younger demographic and the story is nowhere near as good.
Overall if you’re looking for a bit of craziness, something to give you a giggle give this a watch. It’s largely episodic so you can come and go from the show, in fact you may need to in order to prevent brain implosion.
I think that’s about everything, feedback appreciated, good or bad, especially seeing as this is my first review (really didn’t think it would be for this show but what the hey)
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