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Manga / Jungle King Tar-Chan

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From left to right: Ryo-Shihan, Jane, Tar-chan, Pedro, Etikichi and Anabebe

"I won't forgive those who harm the peace of the jungle!"

Jungle King Tar-Chan (Jungle no Ouja Taa-chan) is a comedy/action manga created by Masuya Tokuhiro. It began serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump in 1988 and was primarily a Gag Series until 1990, when it then changed its name to New Jungle King Tar-Chan, switching genres to a more serious fighting theme which continued to run until the final volume in 1995.

An anime was produced by Group TAC and broadcasted on TV Tokyo from 1994 to 1995 for 50 episodes. The anime adapted four arcs from New Jungle King Tar-chan; the 32 Western Clans arc, the Corgan family arc, the Vampire arc and the Clone arc, while various short stories from the original Jungle King Tar-chan were adapted for stand-alone episodes (The episodes before Pedro's introduction and the gap between the Western Clans and Corgan arc).

Tar-chan is the King of the Jungle, living in the African Jungle with his wife Jane. His main job is to protect the various animals from hunters and poachers. While living his carefree life, a karate champion named Pedro shows up, asking for an apprenticeship. From then on his life starts getting more exciting as he enters a Chinese martial arts tournament to prevent assassins from gaining power, meets his family for the very first time in estranged circumstances, saving a kingdom of vampires from internal treachery as well as fighting against his own clone.

It provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Back for the Finale: Pedro is apparently really good at wedding invitations, because all of Tar-chan's arc allies shows up for his wedding (minus the vampires and Iron Mask, Pedro doesn't know where the former live and the latter is still rehabilitating into society.
  • Bad Guy Bar: Alexander is seen in one of these fighting for money. The Secretary of MAX also hangs out here, and practically started the entire Corgan arc by recruiting Alexander into MAX.
  • Bald of Evil: Iron Mask, whose hair almost completely falls out due to forcing the Pee-Pee Power Up.
  • Band of Brothers: Tar-chan has this relationship between the animals of Africa, his proteges as well as his actual siblings.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Almost too many instances to count, each always being followed by a Theme Music Power-Up.
      • Tar-chan saving Helen from a crocodile in the first episode.
      • Every single time Tar-chan confronts and defeats the hunters.
      • Jane, Helen and Anabebe orchestrating a animal earthquake to save Tar-chan.
      • Zhou stepping up to fight Li Gong to conserve Tar-chan's energy, despite having used up his ki treating Ryo-shihan's poison.
      • Tar-chan saving Rot from Apollonia.
      • Pedro and Ryo-shihan coming to fight King Dan, having cured their vampirism.
      • Algore saving Yannen from his torture.
      • Yannen and Algore rushing King Dan to protect Leia and Shimer.
      • Tar-chan saving Ryo-shihan from Iron Mask.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • The English sub currently floating around Youtube Tas this.
      • Pedro was referred to as Tequila in his introduction, Peter for the rest of the series.
      • Ryo-Shihan just becomes Ran.
      • Etikichi's name is never consistent, from Houji to Jiji to simply being called Monkey.
      • The sub flip-flops between Cheng and Zhao.
      • Helen was called Halu for the first few episodes.
      • Referring to Michael and Matt as the Michael Brothers/Matt Brothers and not Corgan Brothers.
      • Botching about 70% of the anime's humor (understandable, since most of them are plays on how different Japanese words sound similar, which is hard to translate into English).
      • Regularly mixing up Rot and Nit, whose names are already incorrect.
      • With the exception of Leia (who is already debatable), getting every single vampire's name wrong.
      • At one point calling Mr. Mexico "Jessica".
  • Break the Cutie: Iron Mask, after Rosalin gets lobotomized by Cerberus. The guy who used to have the same face as Tar-chan is shown to have absolutely gone off the deep end, with his utterly demonic face even scaring Tar-chan.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy:
    • Jane is this. Even if she is a fat and lazy woman who makes Tar-chan, Pedro and Ryo-shihan do all the chores, she is actually quite smart and cunning. Various moments in the series includes orchestrating a animal stampede to save Tar-chan's life as well as fabricating Michael's death to motivate the home-sick Tar-chan into fighting. Jane shines brightest in the Vampire arc, where she actually plays an important role in deducting the purpose of Cerberus as well as King Dan's condition. It's even lampshaded when Jane questions Edward about the origins of Cerebus. Edward states that Cerebus was formed to combat epidemics, which Jane points out is actually the description of the World Health Organization. Edward then remarks that Jane is actually quite well educated.
      • Jane in the clone arc also manages to deduce the reason they are being spied on is because both MAX and Cerberus had their plans foiled by Tar-chan, thus they want to find out the source of Tar-chan's strength. Lamp-shaded by a MAX goon, when he calls Jane Tar-chan's battle adviser and prevents her from entering the arena to help Tar-chan.
    • Etikichi is another example. When he's not masturbating or ogling other monkeys, he pays quite a lot of attention to Tar-chan's fights and can actually assist him in danger, having raised him from infancy. A prime example is the Corgan arc finale, when Tar-chan is losing heavy blood fighting Apollonia. He helps Tar-chan grow fur to close his wounds and he also reminds Tar-chan of the African animals supporting him, both of which helps Tar-chan win. Tar-chan calls Etikichi his father for a reason.
  • Can't Catch Up: Anybody not named Tar-chan. Anabebe is the most obvious example, but Ryo-shihan and Pedro do manage to keep up until the final battle with Iron Mask, where they are then lumped with Anabebe. Keep in mind that the only reason Ryo-shihan and Pedro even kept pace with Tar-chan so long is because they kept the vampire power boosts even after being cured of vampirism.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Jane. In the Clone arc, she managed to defeat 3 MAX goons obstructing her way to the arena all by herself, even launching two of them through a concrete room into Tar-chan's arena.
  • The Day the Music Lied: At the end of episode 48, Tar-chan is rallied by the chorus of people cheering for him and launches straight towards Iron Mask; theme music playing and all. The Tar-chan Punch flares up and... Iron Mask dodges, disabling Tar-chan's dominant arm with his severing technique instead. The theme music even comes to a winding halt.
  • Eye Catch
    • The anime uses two. The first one used for the majority of the series is a gag on Jane's obesity as Tar-chan twirls skinny Jane above him, who then turns fat, crushing Tar-chan into the ground as the other main characters slide in.
    • The second has Tar-chan is wiggling on the edge of a cliff and Pedro crashes his face into the ground, breaking off the cliff and sending Tar-chan plummeting, only for him to fly back up with his scrotum stretched to imitate a flying squirrel.
  • Gentle Giant: Iron Mask. He stands an entire foot taller than the already tall Tar-chan and is shown to be really kind in his free time, just like Tar-chan. Tar-chan even laments that Iron Mask is not evil and only fights for MAX because the Chief had raised him as her own son and he is still in his childhood. At one point, he even begs the Chief to gift Rosalin a dress and a vase of flowers, as an apology for beating her senseless under MAX orders. The Chief accepts his request.
    • Episode 47 has Douglas ordering the Chief to show Iron Mask clips of Tar-chan and Pedro's match, hoping for Iron Mask to imitate his techniques. He only ever bothers learning the non-lethal and passive moves, as seen when he pins the opponent down with Tar-chan's signature wrestling hold until he surrendered, shocking even Ryo-shihan, as this was the very first time Iron Mask won a match non-lethally. Douglas isn't pleased, naturally.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Zhou conserving Tar-chan's strength by taking on Li Gong himself, getting a gigantic ki blast in his face for his trouble. While he doesn't die, it becomes a Senseless Sacrifice as Li Gong just heals himself right back up with his ki reserves.
    • Michael disguising himself as the Red Bandit so Anabebe wouldn't have to fight Apollonia, who far outclasses him. Also a Senseless Sacrifice, as he fails to even touch a hair on Apollonia. Michael also survives, just like Zhou.
    • Yannen rushing in to protect Shimer and Leia, getting beat into a pulp in the process. Unlike the previous two, he actually succeeds at his goal. He also survives.
    • Ryo-shihan rushing in to heal Tar-chan's arm with ki while Anabebe and Pedro distract Iron Mask. Ryo-shihan ends up getting struck with a powerful blow that puts him out of commission for a long while. Naturally, he survives as well, even getting well enough to return to China and birth a son with Renhou.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved:
    • Rot and Nit Sootmore. They believe that if they fought hard enough for MAX, Alexander would finally accept them as his sons. This mentality persists up until Rot and Nit's death match.
    • Michael Corgan too. Alexander was so strict in his childhood that he believed he wouldn't accept anything other than 1st. It takes Tar-chan's interference for Michael and Alexander to patch up their relationship.
    • Iron Mask. He feels guilty over all the horrible jobs MAX forces him to do, thus he attempts to repent by befriending Rosalin, who he had beat before. Even though Rosalin keeps attacking him, he doesn't give up, eventually succeeding when he removes his mask for Rosalin. When he finally faces Tar-chan, the latter openly cries because they both are identical, having no love for violence. Ryo-shihan and Jane laments that Iron Mask would definitely have turned out differently if he had grown up in Africa, as both share the same face.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Iron Mask, courtesy of being Tar-chan's clone. His kindness first pops up when he ventures out to collect healing herbs for Rosalin, who Iron Mask was mercilessly beating the previous night (albeit at MAX's orders). Episode 47 is even called "Iron Mask's Tears", if that indicates anything.
    • Anabebe is a greedy coward, but at times he is just as much of a friend to Tar-chan as Pedro and Ryo-shihan are.
    • Jane nags on Tar-chan a lot and forces him to do practically every chore in the house (until Pedro and Ryo-shihan comes along), but she truly loves him in her heart.
    • The Chief of Cerberus, though with greater emphasis on the jerk part. Even if she created Iron Mask to advance her own goals, it's implied she eventually develops an actual maternal bond with Iron Mask (albeit a twisted one). She even grants his request to gift Rosalin a dress and flowers.
  • Kick the Dog: Rosalin gets lobotomized by Cerberus after Iron Mask finally managed to befriend him, causing his Descent Into Madness.
  • Masked Luchador:
    • A few can be seen in the Corgan hotel's preliminary fights, as well as the ferry to MAX island.
    • Almost all of MAX's modified fighters wear luchador masks, as they need them to conceal the bionic parts of their skull. Pedro and Ryo-shihan catch on to this, removing the masks of every fighter they fought in America to see if they are MAX fighters are not. If the envelope mailed to Jane is any indication, they caught at least 5 such fighters.
  • The Mentor:
    • Tar-chan is a unusual case of being this as well as the protagonist simultaneously, being the teacher to Pedro's student. This relationship is practically common knowledge, as Pedro never refers to Tar-chan as anything but "teacher" and both the Corgan hotel tournament and the MAX island tournament attach the "Protege of Tar-chan" suffix to his name. Their relationship is eventually exploited by MAX and Cerberus, setting up a match between Tar-chan and Pedro to analyze and transfer fighting experience to Iron Mask, as Pedro is quite possibly the only person naturally able to rival Tar-chan in direct combat (Tar-chan notes that even Ryo-shihan would need to keep his distance and use ki to stand a chance, while Anabebe has been far outclassed since the dawn of time).
    • In turn, Eikichi and Gori would serve as this to Tar-chan, having raised him from birth. Gori taught Tar-chan how to fight and trained up his muscles, while Etikichi trained Tar-chan in his legendary agility (and introduced him to porn).
    • Ryo-shihan is implied to be this to the entire Western White clan, being a part of the highest order.
    • A flashback states that Alexander himself personally trained Michael in fighting. This most likely means that Matt and Lisa were also tutored by him too.
  • Power-Up
    • Tar-chan has the Pee-Pee Power Up (Poo-Poo Power Up in the manga) that sometimes occurs whenever he is knocked out, boosting his powers by constricting the muscles.
      • Iron Mask also has the Pee-Pee Power Up, which proved to Tar-chan and Jane that he is in fact Tar-chan's clone, as they weren't too sure before.
    • Ryo-shihan and later Pedro gets bitten in the vampire arc, turning them into vampires with greatly extended strength at night. They eventually get cured, but the power boost remains permanent (and not restricted to night anymore).
  • Psychopathic Man Child: Iron Mask is a tragic combination of Type B and E. He was asexually birthed from Tar-chan's genes, thus is still a child at heart. This is clearly seen within his nature, he beat Rosalin to a pulp under Cerberus orders, then later gathered healing herbs for her under his own discretion. Similarly, he gladly attempts to kill Ryo-shihan under orders but when Tar-chan interjects and strikes Iron Mask, he cries in his "mother's" lap later in the night, telling her about how he did nothing wrong and Tar-chan hit him anyways just like real children do. Eventually, he develops a conscience of his own which causes him grief, with Cerberus' orders growing harsher. Episode 47 is named "Iron Mask's Tears".
  • Retirony: Mr. Mexico. He ends up getting killed not even a minute after telling Pedro he wanted to retire and return to his family after the tournament.
  • Rule of Funny:
  • Running Gag:
    • Tar-chan mistaking Jane for animals like pigs and vice versa.
    • Anabebe getting fat at the end of every single arc. Even more amazing is that he somehow manages to lose all the fat by the next episode.
    • Anabebe's cowardice in general. He starts getting outclassed early in the Corgan arc and since then mainly serves as a sideline character like Jane. Somewhat justified as Tar-chan, Pedro and Ryo-shihan received massive power boosts in the Vampire arc, even acknowledging that Anabebe wouldn't stand more than a second against enemies anymore.
    • Male characters receiving giant erections when hugged by females.
    • Tar-chan actually getting serious in a fight, only to be distracted by a cute girl.
    • Nobody recognizing Jane when shown a picture of her as a model pre-obesity. It escalates to it's peak when Jane gets interrupted during her flashback because Alice didn't know who the woman with Tar-chan was.
    • Tar-chan's weird dodging movement, which consists of him standing in place and wiggling his body like jelly to evade attacks, all with a silly look on his face. The opponent he is facing will almost always be flabbergasted.
  • Spell My Name With An S:
    • Tar-chan/Taa-chan/Tarzan
    • Pedro/Peter
    • Anabebe/Alibaba
    • Ryo/Ryou/Ryu/Ran
  • Time Skip:
    • A minor one between episode 49 and 50. At least a year must have passed, since Zhou shows up with his eyes completely healed (the wound was stated to take at least a year to heal) and Anabebe has lost his fortune (which is actually seen in the manga).
  • Tragic Keepsake: Mr. Mexico's voodoo doll he gave to Pedro. Mr. Mexico was one of the kindest people in the clone tournament, offering rice balls to Pedro after figuring out that he is malnourished due to the hotel poisoning his food. He died moments after showing Pedro a picture of his family and encouraging Pedro himself to settle down with the love of his life, Helen.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • Tar-chan whenever a animal gets injured or killed.
    • Pedro goes through this after Mr. Mexico is killed. He is so upset that he doesn't even realize the guy he's taking it out on isn't related to MAX at all.
  • Tsundere: Anabebe has a rare male moment early in the Vampire arc, when Tar-chan begs him to fly the ailing Ryo-shihan to the Vampire Empire.
  • Vocal Dissonance: During Etikichi's flashback of child Tar-chan fighting hunters for the first time, Tar-chan sounds exactly the same as his adult self. Meaning you had a child punching a gun-wielding hunter in the face, screaming "Tar-chan Punch" in a deep manly voice.

Alternative Title(s): Jungle King Tar Chan