Last week, I picked up the first Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu DVD during a Suncoast store closing sale, and I couldn’t be giddier. Besides the girl-on-girl luvin’, I love the general wackiness of the series. The premise is simple. Stick a Sakura (from Dokuro-chan‘s hard gay infamy) with an Ichijou (from Pani Poni Dash) with Dokuro’s sense of mischief but with 500% more evil intent, that’s pretty much Hare + Guu.
Hare + Guu is a psycho comedy series from 2001 and since had two follow-on sequels, Deluxe and Final. (Meta: I’ve only seen the original series and Jungle Final series. Never saw Jungle Deluxe OVA.) The original series starts ten years ago when Weda (honorable mention in Anime MILF ranking) leaves her mansion and family due to an unexpected pregnancy. She runs to the jungle and has a son, Hare. Fast-forward ten years. The two of them are happily living and adjusted to the jungle (if jungle = Japanese-style schools, TVs, PlayStations, and beer), until Weda decides to invite a mysterious girl named Guu into their household. There’s no explaination given beyond that Guu has no parents. Besides looking mysterious, she has a serious bipolar thing happening… one minute, she’s sweet and cute as an angel, the next she as sullen and cynical as an anime blogger (“I give this episode of Mai Otome my worst rating ever… seven thumbs up.”).
Guu is also equipped with a standard issue “time-space distortion” stomach… much like Shana’s cape and Doraemon’s pocket and Himeko’s head, it’s a strange, trippy world in there. She seems to eat everything– people, living animals, statues– anything but real food, and whatever she eats lives on in her stomach, including people. She can also regurgitate what she has eaten fully… which makes it hilarious sometimes to see arms sticking out of her mouth. Her perchance to consume everything in sight drives Hare crazy. She also has an osaka dialect and has the most sinister smile ever.
She doesn’t have the same moral compass as Hare, and that makes the two an uneven pair. Hare is always paranoid that Guu is up to something, and Guu does nothing to dispel this paranoia. In fact, she happily perpetuates it. Like Dokuro’s Sakura, Hare is always in panic mode and always thinking that something bad will happen. It doesn’t help that everyone else is either being tricked by Guu or completely terrified of her.
Both Hare and Guu are hilarious enough by themselves, but when paired together, they’re much better, kinda like Georgre and Kramer. Their supporting cast is also above average, with Weda being the anti-Chigusa, “A kiss is as common as a greeting and must be done passionately,” and Marie being Hare’s crush (the two are almost exactly like Dokuro’s Sakura and Shizuki… in fact, there’s a lot of parallels to Dokuro). There’s also the Elder and his obcession with chest hair, the doctor who may or may not be Hare’s dad, Weda’s meido who gets sick a lot, and the various people who live in Guu’s stomach. Basically, as Hare laments, he’s surrounded by insane people.
A lot of dancing, mischief, and gags, both easy and hard to understand. Luckily, the DVD has translator notes, and I managed to pick up a few things that I haven’t noticed before (I have to applaud Animenation for doing a good job with the release… including Japanese karaoke for the songs as well as original air dates). Hare + Guu is a wacky series that isn’t for everyone, but people who like Excel Saga, Dokuro-chan, and Pani Poni Dash would feel at home in Hare and Guu’s jungle.