A sample of the crazy antics of the main female protagonist.
The first review for the new year is for another anime I have always wanted to watch, the three seasons of Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu. The review is late because between 2nd and 3rd OVA, I am playing the new Persona 4 (which frankly is not that good). I should return to continue watching the Macross franchise, although Blassreiter looks yummy to me. Decisions, decisions…
A sample of the big cast of characters this anime has. Guu and Hale is in the middle row, from second to right.
A slice-of-life comedy, our main protagonist Hale lives with his single mother Weda in a South American jungle (Japan do not have those kind of equator tropical jungles), when out of the blue, his mother brings the mysterious Guu out from nowhere to live with them. Hale then has to withstand her various weird antics, such as her man-eating feats which are ignored by practically everyone else. He has to work very hard at keeping her out from trouble while keeping his family running smoothly.
My main complaint about this series is that the story is badly positioned, with the main storyline revolving around Hale’s mother instead of the two main title protagonists. This has two negative effects on the anime; first it pushes the focus of the anime away from the main protagonists at key scenes and plots, and secondly it stunted Guu’s character developments, causing it to not reach it highest potential (mainly because Hale and Guu have different character development strategies). The storyline also flows relatively slowly compared to what I would have liked for a three-season series. Free-wheeling independent episodes that have nothing to do with the story are excellent mainly because it allows the two main protagonists to shine, but not so for the ones that actually important story wise. And it is just me that feels that the ending of the 3rd OVA seems unfinished?
Now with my complaint about the story out of the way, I now want to rave about the mega-positive point this series has, which is the humor. Stand aside Lucky Star, Haruhi Suzumiya, Excel Saga and Cromartie Koukou etc., this anime is the best comedy series I have reviewed in this blog since Galaxy Angel. The jokes, slapstick humors and excellent one-liners in this anime are almost at the same level as Azumanga Daioh and the second season of Galaxy Angel (these two anime’s hilarity is why they are on my top 5 list). The only drawback this anime has is the lack of an iconic character like Ayumu ‘Osaka’ Kasuga, which Guu could have become if her character development is not impeded by the storyline misconfiguration. The missteps of what Guu could have become is the main reason that prevents this excellent anime from becoming a masterpiece, regardless of the storyline (it is not that Azumanga Daioh or Galaxy Angel has great stories either).
Skuld from Ah! My Goddess, one of the most blatant copyright infringement seen in an anime.
This anime has many similarities with Cromartie Koukou; it has a big cast of characters that is unique and strange in their own ways, abusive usage of facial expressions (this series depends a lot on this for presentation purposes), and constant references towards other manga/anime/games. They even have a parody of Dragon Quest here for an episode, and the anime references is one of the most blatant copyright infringement I have ever seen. See screenshot above for an example.
Character developments are done very well, although in the case of Guu, could have been a lot better. The best characters are Hale, Guu, Dr. Clive and the very pushy and melodramatic Marie. The combination of the latter two in the first season is superb with their brilliant banters, and can easily eclipse the two main protagonists themselves. It is unfortunate that at the second season her appearance started to decrease.
The conversations between Marie and Dr. Clive in the nurse office are one of the highlights of this anime. You really have to watch them to see what I mean.
The character designs in this anime are excellent, and it reminds me a lot of Cromartie Koukou’s seinen-like designs. Marie, Guu’s overgrown form and the school doctor Dr. Clive are great examples of them. Definitely a positive point of this anime.
Just like Cromartie Koukou, this anime also has DiGi Charat references.
Yet another positive point for this anime, the voice acting in this series is great in general. Outstanding performers are Hale and Marie. This factor really make Hale into a great character he is in the anime, because this anime is dialogue-heavy (not as heavy as Lucky Star though).
A succinct description of Guu, said by Hale himself.
While the OST is great across all three seasons, only the 1st season OP theme and ED themes for the 2nd and 3rd seasons are of any good.
Another scene of Marie – Dr. Clive banters.
The animation in this series is good, with no stuttering in fast-paced scenes. Choreography is decent too, especially at the end of the 2nd season. The screw-up about the Guu’s character development marred the otherwise spotless directing of this anime.
Guu doing her usual cannibalistic routine.
9 out of 10. An excellent slice-of-life comedy, despite the average story. Macross 7 is next, if I am not tempted to watch Blassreiter already.
A parody of a JRPG more famous than Final Fantasy itself.