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Manga / Haré+Guu

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a.k.a. Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu, Hare Nochi Guu, Jungle Hare Nochi Guu, Haré and Guu

Haré+Guu is a manga created by Renjuuro Kindaichi note  for Square Enix's primary manga magazine Monthly Shonen GanGan, where it was serialized from 1997 to 2002.

The series later received an anime adaptation in 2001, directed by Tsutomu Mizushima in his second directorial outing, note  animated by Shin-Ei Animation of Doraemon and Crayon Shin-chan fame and broadcast on TV Tokyo, with 2 OVA's following afterwards.

The series follows Haré, a boy who lives in a jungle village with his mother Weda, who is still rather young and somewhat of an alcoholic. Life is good in the jungle, and Haré is a happy boy, until the day a monster eats him. He wakes up the next morning, uneaten and in his own bed. While he is wondering if it was all a dream, Weda announces that she has adopted a little girl named Guu. With her pink hair, shining eyes, and sweet smile, Guu charms Haré's mother — but when Weda's back is turned, Guu becomes a scowling dark presence that frightens Haré. Not only that, she is capable of swallowing anything she takes a fancy to — whole bananas, live birds, even people and landscapes — and Haré discovers that anything Guu swallows is still alive inside her, in a completely different world...

Haré's life turns into an endless parade of torments by Guu as he tries to keep her out of trouble, and find out what kind of creature she really is. This is all made rather difficult by the wide array of paranormal abilities she possesses, the bizarre supernatural events that happen around her, and her enjoyment in toying with Hare's neurosis.

Despite the apparent horror overtones, this is actually a rather wild and surreal comedy, kind of like the Cthulhu Mythos as written by Mel Brooks or perhaps Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker. It's filled with sight gags and absurdities (the "primitive" jungle village, for instance, is filled with all manner of conveniences such as a public address system and video games). Still, there are serious elements hidden behind the comedy — for instance, Haré is almost 10, and his mother is only 24, and he worries about why she moved to the jungle village. A severe Mood Whiplash results when it turns out Weda got pregnant ten years ago by a character who COMES BACK, making Haré realize he's been a bastard child all this time.

The Japanese title of the series, Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu, is a rather elaborate pun that can be read several different ways, due to different readings of some of the words:

  • In the Jungle was Always Hare but then came Guu
  • The Jungle was Always Nice, Then Came Guu
  • The Jungle Is Always Sunny or Hungry

and the most obscure, a pun on a common phrase in Japanese weather forecasts:

  • The Jungle Is Always Clear, With A Chance of Showers
  • The Jungle is Always Clear, With Scattered Guu

(where "Hare" means "clear" and "Guu" means "showers").

Any way you read it, it means Guu is turning Hare's life upside down.

Haré+Guu provides examples of:

  • Bears Are Bad News: In Episode #9, a bear beat up Weda pretty badly and Guu had to transform into her older form to defeat him by wrestling.
  • Big Eater: Guu, loosely speaking.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In episode 7, they show a book from Dr. Clive's library in German with an transcript from a lecture about the comparison of student stipends in Japan and in Germany.
  • Butt-Monkey: Haré, mostly through Guu's doing.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Marie acts like that from time to time.
  • Combat Tentacles: A mild example: Guu often extends her fingerless arms dozens of feet to corral Hare whenever he tries to run away from her shenanigans. She's punched him a few times the same way, too.
  • Comedic Spanking: Haré and the island doctor switch bodies thanks to Guu. When they return to normal, after Haré finds out the Doctor actually is very hard-working, he finds the nasty surprise that he has abused being a kid with some of the island women, who promptly take Haré away. We hear some smacking sounds and then we see Hare lying on the ground, with his pants pulled down to reveal his red butt.
  • Cool-Down Hug: Weda gives one to Yumi.
  • Cool Old Guy: Elder, although the "cool" part is debatable.
  • Couch Gag: In Guu Deluxe, Hare says something different each time during his super-fast part of the theme song.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Bel, though it's only shown in the manga.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dama, the insane old barber lady, has some kinda hidden martial art skills and superpowers, which she used to fight the bank robber and save Weda, after she threw herself off a cliff, so the bank robber wouldn't murder Haré.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Guu is perhaps the living embodiment of this trope, as she almost never stops snarking. Even when she does, she talks in the exact same tone of voice.
    • When not busy being freaked out by whatever weird thing Guu is doing now, Haré has gotten in a few deadpan snarks himself.
  • Deranged Animation: Oh yes. Often accompanied by Art Shift.
  • Dirty Old Man: Elder was suspected to be one; it was actually a cat with his face.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: When Weda came back from the city back to jungle with its tropical climate, she stripped down to her underwear and her being very sexy caused a few guys too busy staring at her to run into each other.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: None of the villagers seem to. There have been a few rare instances where some of them wear shoes, and Weda wears sneakers when she goes hunting, but that's just about it.
  • Fountain of Youth: One episode features Weda and Dr. Clive being made into children by Guu, and Hare has to take care of them for a day as they rapidly grow back up.
  • Freaky Friday: With Haré and Dr. Clive.
  • Funny Background Event: Usually done by one or several groups of pokete, manda, birds, and always during scenes in Guu's stomach. It takes at least a second viewing of an episode to catch everything.
  • Gag Series: Don't even get STARTED on the details!
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Gupta threw a liana in Guu's face, after which Guu retaliated by throwing Hare in his face. A coupla minutes later, Gupta did use Haré the same way as Guu did.
  • Happily Married: Dama and the bank robber she defeated before.
    • Weda and Dr. Clive, after he makes her pregnant a second time.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Weda
  • Heavy Sleeper: The aptly-named Lazy. Problem is, he's the teacher.
  • Homage: To Aliens, of all things, complete with ominous motion tracker beeping and Haré taking the role of Hicks nervously checking the ceiling passages.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Uighur with regard to Weda.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Shortly after their reunion, Dr Clive asks Weda who Haré's father is. She tells him point blank that it's him. The Bad Doctor himself was unaware, but twigged once Weda reminded him of what their previous relationship had been like. Haré does not react well to this revelation; the Doctor handles it only marginally better.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Gupta and Guu started throwing stuff at each other (including people (Hare) and animals), until Guu tried to thow a giant man-eating flower and Gupta ran.
  • Older Alter Ego: Guu has one.
  • One Teacher School: Then again, this is the middle of the jungle...
    • It becomes an actual two teacher school in the OVAs.
  • Only Sane Man: Haré feels like this often, especially when the rest of the village takes the oddities that pop up in stride.
    "Why are all the people around me slightly demented like this?" —Haré, episode 3
  • Paper Fan of Doom: Guu uses it on the perennially annoying Wagi.
  • Paranoia Gambit: While Guu starts out messing with Haré directly, as he grows wise to her ways she moves more towards simply doing nothing and letting Haré drive himself into escalating paranoia over what he imagines she might do.
  • Parody: Combat video games, Power Rangers (Wendee Lee has voiced tons of characters in the actual show), and even high school anime and soap operas.
  • Share the Male Pain: After Dama, the crazy barber lady, hit the bank robber in his cojones, any male present winced in pain, including Weda's newborn son Ame.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In episode #1, Haré is playing a RPG whose combat mode is an obvious Final Fantasy reference.
    • In episode #9, Haré plays Psycho Fighter III (Street Fighter with its Serial Numbers Filed Off).
    • In episode #18, the device Guu produces to track the location of Dama is quite obviously a Sega Game Gear.
  • The Speechless: Two of the students. They're always seen in the background, and whenever one of them would speak, something seems to prevent us from hearing it.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Weda/Ueda, Leiji/Lazy, Hale/Hare, Goo/Guu, Uighur/Wiggly. In the manga, her name is spelled "Goo" in English.
  • Spoof Aesop: Frequently. And of course... it's usually Guu's doing.
    Guu: And today's lesson is... no underwear.
  • Stable Time Loop: Guu travels with Haré to the past, when his mother was young and frail, meets her outside the hospital, has a nice conversation with her, finds her dazzling, and uses "Ame" (Japanese for "rain") as a nickname. After he's back, he sees that she named his newborn sibling "Ame.".
  • Super Mode: If pushed, Guu can transform into a much older, much more serious-looking, goddess-like version of herself. This happens very rarely and always heralds a serious asskicking.
  • The City: Early on, an unnamed city explicitly based on New York City in the manga where some local characters are originally from is referenced by them as casually as the similarly unnamed neighboring village, implying they're fairly close to each other. However, a later episode shows us Hale and Weda taking a twelve hour flight to visit a distance big enough to possibly explain why the city-dwellers have a completely different skin tone.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Weda, who is only 24. Though it turns out that it's actually played for drama; the implications of her age and how young she was when she became pregnant are, yes, taken seriously. The second time is shown not to be a big problem due to the whole village, Haré and Dr. Clive supporting her and her mother and even Bell, who has an lesbian crush on her, give the blessing to her wedding with Clive.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Dr. Clive, Haré's father, did marry Weda, after he made her pregnant again.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Guu can do this, apparently.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: When Guu boxed Haré in the belly to shut him up, he puked, but the puke was pixelized and his retching was replaced by some nice music.
  • Wackyland: In Guu's tummy.
  • Weird World, Weird Food: The characters love to eat pokute, animals with human-like faces, and manda, fruit with human-like faces, arms, and blood-red filling.
  • Yandere: Yamada. She's introduced trying to kill herself in order to come back as a ghost to haunt the man who wronged her.

Alternative Title(s): Hare And Guu, Jungle Wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu, Hare Guu