Ta-chan is the king of jungle. He was abandoned in savanna, and has been raised by a chimpanzee, Etekichi. He has a dearest wife, Jane who used to be a top model in New York, but now she looks... Anyway, to protect animals from poachers, Ta-chan is fighting against them with his disciple, Pedro, and a master of Chinese martial arts, Ryo.
This anime is based on the manga with the same title; it begins as a comical parody of Tarzan. The first several episodes are comedies, but the rest of the series consists of (rather) serious episodes.
I'm surprised there's not a review for this already, given how despite how obscure it is, this series is still within the top 2000 on this site.
Tar-chan is an obscure battle Shonen that barely receives any notice within not just the anime community, but even in Japan, with it's sole appearance outside of it's own anime/manga being it's titular protagonist being playable in two Jump crossover games. This lack of popularity would have you thinking this series isn't that good at all, wouldn't it? Well, you'd be wrong.
Tar-chan's plot, like many Jump series, is one that transitions from a comedic series into a battle
series with constantly stronger foes. Whilst this would make many shout "Yet another Battle Shonen", this contains a lot more than the previous sentence would give at face value.
The plot of Tar-chan changes with each arc, though as an entirety, it follows the story of a Tarzan parody known as Tar-chan, a man raised in the African Savannah by a chimp named Eikichi and a Gorilla named Gori-san, as he protects his homeland from Poachers along with his friends the African Tribal warrior Anabebe, the French Karate expert Pedro and the Chinese martial arts Ki master Ryo Shihan. This isn't the only struggle he faces, with him also maintaining his rocky relationship with his overweight wife Jane, with him constantly pushing the line by looking at other women.
The early episodes have an episodic setup and are used to introduce and flesh out the cast. When the China Arc starts, the series then shifts into an action series focused on 1 on 1 Tournament battles, with Tar-chan and his friends facing Ki using Kung-Fu experts, Cyborgs, Vampires and finally, a clone of Tar-chan. The previous sentence alone shows how much the series constantly changes, with this ability to keep it's plot fresh being what should keep you wanting to watch it.
The set up of each arc itself is that of a standard Shonen, with the direction each series of battles in the arc shall go through being very straightforward. The series also relied on a lot of resolve power ups for Tar-chan, something unfortunately rampant in most Shonen series. What allows this plot to be good, however, is the drama found in the series. Whilst seeming like a silly series at first glance, it's in fact one with quite good settings and twists for each arc, with it's character writing for them being a point I'll elaborate on now.
Story - 7/10
This is one of the major pros to this series, as whilst many of the characters seem single-minded in their goals, they at least present enough emphasis on this to allow their personality to be fully established. The protagonist, Tar-chan, is in fact one of the most interesting Jump protagonists of the 90s due to him being a manly pacifist. His unique mix of honour, power and kindness is on a level comparable to such revered characters as Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin. The side characters of the series such as Tar-chan's brothers or the 5 strongest Vampires aren't too interesting, though they at least have the pro of presenting a good deal of manliness in their actions. Tar-chan's clone in the final arc, Iron Mask, presents perhaps the best use of character writing in this entire series, with him being a man with the psychology of a child, who's innocence and morals are twisted by his corrupt "mother". Many of the other enemies are tragic villains as well, though he was without a doubt the best written.
Characters - 7/10
The sound for the series is OK. Tar-chan's seiyuu is unfortunately, not a good choice, since he was a DJ with no experience in voice acting, which was critical in ruining some of the more emotional scenes. The other voices are fine, however. As for the soundtrack, it isn't too outstanding, though many of the tracks, particularly the instrumental renditions of the openings, are diamonds in the ruff. The openings and endings are pretty good too, with the 2nd opening being, in my opinion, one of the most catchy openings of the 90s, on par with any of the heavily praised openings of that decade.
Sound - 7/10
As for the art, this is one of the series flaws. Whilst it does an excellent job in the body proportions of both male and female characters, with great attention to showing muscular physiques, the facial designs are quite poor by comparison.
Art - 5/10
For the reasons I mentioned, ranging from it's creativity in changing the plot's settings, the character writing and it being a manly series, I found it to be a fairly enjoyable watch, though it would be a lot better if there were more reliable subs for it. Hopefully, it will get licenced by Discotek or another good official subber of non-mainstream anime.
Enjoyment - 7/10
Overall, Tar-chan is an obscure, yet creative series that deserves far more attention. If you enjoy battle Shonen, high variation in settings or simply series of the MANLY genre, this is one to give consideration to.
*First review and mild spoilers please bear with me*
So Jungle no Ouja Taa-chan or Jungle King Tar-chan for the English title is an anime that aired in the 90s though the original source material, the manga started publishing in the 80s and got lots of more volumes than the anime only covered with it's 50 episodes length which to me is a good thing anyways given how awful this anime is but I'm sure my rating for this spoiled it already, yes I did end up hating it and let me explain my reasons as to why.
Basically there is none but I didn't
go into this expecting it anyways, true it starts out very episodic and heavily focused on the comedy aspect of it which they fail miserably at or maybe succeed at if you are 12 years old and like piss/poop jokes with the occasional boner jokes because those are just too funny or maybe it's just me having no humor these days. Then we got the serious arcs which are basically just tournament arcs which not many anime can pull off even making interesting and again I know this is an older anime but it still failed to even make me remotely interested in them when all that happens are repeat things like Tarzan and his friends always beating up the bad guys and the characters from that arc gets their happy endings and you never see them again as they are quickly forgotten and back to Africa again. Only the first arc was a bit different in the sense that another character from that arc now joined Tarzan's gang and became a regular but that's it. Otherwise it's Africa>new tournament arc>Africa>new tournament arc etc and it's never anything else so overall there really is no plot to this anime, no overarching nemesis or anything of the like only the tournament arc villains that are just there and they are never a real threat and once their arc is done so are they. I like my plot being good or even there be some at all but there is something I prioritize more than plot and that is what we come to next.
Oh boy... where to even start when there was literally no character I liked in this anime, lets get the annoying ones out of the way before the bland like Jane...and in particular fat Jane because there is a difference as clearly showed in the past when NOT living in Africa she was kind, sexy and a total fit for Tarzan (cover really fooled me, false advertising yo!) but then somehow she got lazy and fat out in Africa in the present? I thought it would be the opposite that living without technology and society would make you work out more for stuff like food, building huts, just trying to survive in general but apparently not in this case. She constantly treats Tarzan like shit and gets jealous on every female introduced with their ALWAYS great bodies too she wishes she still have but never once do the fat joke go away as I thought it would do so if you read this review and that thought cross your mind then yeah, it never goes away and not her irredeemable behavior either. Atleast she got less annoying in the tournament arcs but not by much. And then we got our bland MC Tarzan that just take all this stuff, acts like an idiot all the time and being a pervert that always gets boners whenever he see the newly introduced female in each episodes and again the cover giving me the wrong impression because here I thought he would be sort of stoic badass that protects the jungle but I guess I've watched too much Fist of the North Star so maybe that's my fault for thinking that but still doesn't make his character any less bland, or maybe he's annoying too.
When it comes to the supporting cast then they are all over the place like Helen, the first girl introduced that had a crush on Tarzan quickly got forgotten even though technically she was still there at their place in Africa but I guess no one cared anymore once they ditched her always when they took off to the country tournaments took place in never taking her with them, oh well. Ryou and Pedro are just fine, not too much personality to even distinguish between them tbh, both are fighters that just want to learn more and get stronger, nothing wrong with that but not too interesting either and shame you never get much background info on these characters for me to give a shit about them, given how little I did it could have a impact. There is a character I genuinely liked though (is this my first thing I mention I actually liked?!) and that's Anabebe and his antics, his jokes and rivalry with Tarzan was pretty funny I have to say and there is a point he gets rich and that makes him like an entirely different characters and you just never knew with that guy what he would do next, sadly he got underused a lot more later on as it became more about Tarzan in general but still for me he was my favorite character in this whole mess.
Artstyle & Sound:
What were they even thinking when making these character designs? alright the bodies are fine both for the male & female, they are all respectively either buff or busty and they are all sexy with the exception of Jane which somehow got shorter when she became fat because that's an anime trope thing I guess... but what is up with those derpy faces? their mouth to nose ratio are so close to each other to it just looks weird with most of them having a huge chin, especially noticeable on all the females, so click on Jane's character profile pic here on MAL and you'll notice immediately, every female and some males are like that in this and it really bothered me at the start but then I got used to it later on but still that's not a very good design and it being old or based on the original source is no excuse, the mouths could be just a little more closer to the chin like come on now. It's also weird when so many of them just looks the same but with different hairstyle/hair-colors, it's like they are all the same design with just added accessory on their head. Most of them do look different but there were just some minor characters that looked too much like some of the main cast so it made me confused sometimes but that was fine since it was only the minor characters that showed up in the tournament arcs.
As for sound I'm sure they only really got the composer to make 2-3 different OSTs that gets used throughout the whole anime, also the first theme song gets used a lot in hype moments where Tarzan punch out someone and even though they always repeat I have to say I am a fan of that song and it did actually make those moments more hype even for me that disliked this anime those were still one of the better moments to those dragged out tournament arcs.
So those are my thoughts, wouldn't really recommend it to anyone and it was 50 episodes long too and the manga cover much more than that and hey maybe that is better paced etc than this garbage but after this I wouldn't even want to give it a try and it's barely even translated anyways. Even to people that want their "manly men" fix from the 80/90s like Fist of the North Star, JoJo, Be A Man! Samurai School etc they won't get it here, trust me.