Jungle wa Itsumo Hare Noiichi Guu (ジャングルはいつもハレのちグゥ in Japanese; the US release is known as just Hare+Guu because the original title is a bit of a pun that does not translate well directly and Hare+Guu is the title of the later OVAs anyway) is a 2001 comedy show by Bandai Visual with 26 episodes and then two OVA seasons with another 13 episodes combined. Its based on a manga by Renjuro Kindaichi1.
Hare is a 10-year old boy living in a jungle village with his single mother when a mysterious girl named Guu shows up one day and manages to insert herself into living with them, mainly through his mom not caring much about details. Hares life ends up being completely upended by the eldritch force of nature which is Guu as she makes even ordinary things like going to school or meeting with the village elder a dangerous prospect of whether or not she’ll eat everyone.
Jungle wa Itsumo Hare Noiichi Guu is a series which defies easy explanation because the show does not care for petty things like “making sense” or “coherent plot”. Its here to be funny in the most absurd, surreal ways possible and there is no show as surreal as this one. You might get shows which try to have a maniac energy like Excel Saga or Space Dandy but even those are bound by a certain internal logic and basis in normalcy with the comedy coming from breaks from that structure. Jungle wa Itsumo Hare Noiichi Guu has no such restraint, Guu regularly eats things/animals/people whole and has a pocket dimension inside of her stomach with two people living there happy as can be, and no one except Hare seems to find this odd even after she regurgitates them whole.
Probably because even the “normalcy” of the jungle is already twisted with some… shall we say ‘interesting’ animals and plants before getting to the
nutca– eccentric characters like a mayor who’s entire self worth is based on the size of his chest hair afro or an old woman who becomes obsessed someone is her long dead husband simply because they have the same hair color.
What passes for episode plots here isn’t any better as they cover such “standard” things as Guu eating everyone at school during the teachers first period nap time or helping the mayor get his mojo back after Guu rips off his chest afro to turn into a regular afro for herself.
You really have to enjoy the chaos and surreal nature of everything here, if you wanted anything resembling structure or plot you’ll be left very cold. Like Excel Saga there’s a throw everything at the wall sense to its comedy keeping itself very high energy and which can be off-putting when the jokes don’t work. Functionally, the animation is very basic- sometimes it plays jokes off of how people frequently don’t even have hands but a lot of the time you won’t forget you’re watching a nearly 20 year old hand drawn show.
Moreover, there’s a couple instances of running jokes which might not sit well with everyone. Hare’s father has a predilection for hitting on anything female with a very low strike zone (his mother is only 24, dont do the math) and aforementioned old woman takes her obsession well past questions of consent even as it plays for laughs setting her up like a horror movie monster. It manages to keep both of these things from being too prevalent and finds jokes in how over the top it takes them, just know they’re there.
Weeb Level: 6/10- If you’re watching this you’re a weeb. There is no way around it.
Fanservice: 3/10- The jungle setting does have some of the characters, usually Hare’s mom, in skimpier clothing though no blatant ogling.
Quality: 7/10- The uneveness of the humor and Hare’s perpetually high-anxiety reactions make it a bit harder to watch all at once while still being something which should be experienced at least once for its uniqueness.
Where to watch: Originally released by Funimation back in 2006 it sadly appears the license may have expired as no streaming services have it. The DVDs are still available second-hand and episodes can be found by less legal means.