Hare+Guu: A Trip into the Jungle

Hare + Guu (Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu in Japan) is one of those series that you like for no reason you can put your finger on. Words like “charming” or “fun” would best describe it, but they don’t really explain why they are, just the simple fact. I would probably term the show “crazy,” but affectionately so.

The series follows the life of young Hare, a boy who resides in a jungle with his buxom, single mother, Weda. They’re part of an odd village, with characters that are off-the-wall to say the least. Among them are the Village Elder, well known for his prodigious chest hair; Wiggle, a minor character who rails against his background status; and a psychic hairdresser who believes her deceased husband lives on.

Yet, much as the Japanese title describes, then came Guu.

Guu first appears as a cute-faced orphan girl with sparkling red eyes and a trusting outlook… And, of course, the next day proves to be a jaded terror of a girl with a background that doesn’t quite fit.

Throughout the series, Guu is constantly showing off her supernatural powers, as well as her sardonic wit. Despite the fact that Hare often matures a little after a run-in with Guu’s machinations, it is difficult to tell whether Guu’s intentions are to help Hare – who, because of his incredible naïveté and good nature, is constant trying to cover up her strangeness – or merely to indulge her sarcastic demeanor.

Whatever the case, this show rarely fails to delight, although it does get a bit annoying at times. The animation is something one would expect from a children’s show, which serves to provide a humorous contrast to the more mature themes of the series. The music is hectic and upbeat, right from the samba-esque intro, and a perfect match for the tempo of the series. The voice acting, both in Japanese and English, is stellar, and spot-on for the characters.

If you’re looking for a pick-me-up after the holiday season, or simply something to watch with friends that will make you laugh, find a couple of volumes of Hare + Guu and plant yourself in front of your TV.

You’ll be glad you did.