Hare+Guu Deluxe Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: AN Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Hare+Guu

Hare+Guu Deluxe Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     November 30, 2007
Release Date: November 20, 2007


Hare+Guu Deluxe Vol. #2
© AN Entertainment


What They Say
Dr. Clive and Weda's marriage brings baby Ame into the household, but that's not the only wedding in the wings. A most unexpected character finds that love and war aren't always exclusive!

Meanwhile, the village elder's chest hair returns, stronger and bigger than before, and another old foe returns to the jungle seeking a unique brand of revenge. With Hare stuck raising the new baby and his own parents, thanks to Guu's mischievous magic, there's no telling what kind of comical insanity is right around the corner!

The Review!
The second half of the series deals with the fun of a pregnant Weda and all that it entails since she's alcohol free.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The release does contain both an English and Japanese track which are encoded at 192 kbps.The series is fairly standard when it comes to the audio track here for a TV series so there aren't too many surprises to find here. The mix is very well done though there doesn't seem to be much in terms of directionality. Throughout some of the more wacky sequences as well as some good moments that suck you in with the depth but it isn't a wide feeling mix. We did listen to both tracks in the end and had no problems with dropouts or distortions with either of them during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in late 2002, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The first half of the series was quite literally some of the worst looking discs I'd seen in nearly ten years of looking at DVDs. These three episodes left me fearing more of the same but I was very pleased to see that it looked like the TV episode releases did and sometimes even better than that. The problems that the first OVA disc had are completely gone here which leaves us with a release that has good colors, very little background noise and only some very minor break-up during the very fast paced opening sequence. Most of these episodes, the animation is on par with the TV episodes so it isn't a show that's exactly going to shine. But as they progress, especially in the last episode, it gets a serious boost up in cel count and fluidity which looks very good here..

Packaging:
The release uses the same cover artwork as the Japanese release but with the logo translated into English while still retaining the same style and design. Not unlike past covers, this one is very bright, almost too bright, with a heavy yellow background that is done with line art of the characters while a small block in the center is full of color. You can't help but to look at the cover but if you do so for too long you might get a headache. The back cover is fairly busy here with lots of little shots and dialogue added to some of the shots so you get a feel for the wackiness. Episode numbers and titles are included as well as a good rundown of the discs features. The production information is kept from taking over a large chunk of territory and AN Entertainment once again nails the technical grid perfectly. While most companies are moving away from inserts, at least the completely useless ones, we get a really good multi paneled one here entitled Jungle News that covers various liner notes for the show in general, particular parts of episodes and other areas such as character designs and other illustrations. Some of this is translated into the on-disc extras which is good but enough of it is unique to the insert as well.

Menu:
The menu layout for this series is really nicely done with a straightforward static image in the foreground of the character pieces from the front cover while the logo and selections are arraigned around them in very much the word and graphic style of the series. It's very cute and fits very well overall. Our players' presets didn't make out too well with how the disc is set up though; the audio selection was fine as it could correctly read the label for Japanese however the sign/song subtitle were the first selectable English subtitle track so it went with that instead of full subtitles. What was really surprising was that no matter how many times we selected Japanese language in the menu however, it never translated to being used when the episodes started up. It could be changed on the fly but menu selections for audio were pretty much useless. Subtitle selections seemed to take properly however.

Extras:
The extras included for the release mirror the TV series in a couple of good ways. The opening and closing sequences are done in clean format and there is a very useful round of translation notes. The new inclusion for this volume is a brief series of English language dub outtakes which are amusing at first blush.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While the first half of the Deluxe OVA series was enjoyable in terms of content and getting more of what made the show so much fun, it was very difficult to watch because of the quality issues. While a good show can overcome that, sometimes it can't and the whole thing gets dragged down by all of it. Thankfully, this volume has removed the quality problems and left us with a few episodes that play up the general fun and weirdness of Hare and Guu but not to a far extreme.

Still based in the jungle, the final three episodes of the OVA series deals mostly with Weda and her pregnancy. Before it gets to that though it has a bit of fun with the characters in general, most notably the village elder as Hare and Guu get to "invade" his dreams to find out what's causing him to sleep so much. His fear of Guu has been visible for quite some time but most people are still oblivious to it. Within his dream we see his idealized world which is made up of everyone he knows but with great clumps of chest hair. This is disturbing on most people but even more so on all the women that populate his dreams. Women that are completely enamored with him I might add. Having Guu confront him in his dreams, as well as his version of her there, is amusing enough and sets that particular subplot to rest rather nicely.

What populates most of this series however is Hare freaking out over things that everyone else is doing, particularly Guu. What causes him the most stress right now is the realization that he's going to be doing most of the work when the baby is born. Having already fallen into a pattern of doing everything for his mother, this thought nearly cripples him and he's desperate to figure out a way out of it. This gives Guu the chance to show Hare some time travel so he can understand what Weda was like years ago and how that influenced her to be the way she is now. Of course, things don't go as smoothly as planned and the entire "cause and effect" issue is brought up only to be kicked around in a decidedly mean fashion. Weda's past has been tackled a fair bit in the TV series but here we get to see another side of her that's rather welcome.

When it shifts further towards the present in dealing with Weda's baby, the series keeps the humor coming along nicely and even jumps forward quickly through many months of the pregnancy so that we can have the baby delivered. A hairy, clean and very mature baby at that. The arrival of the baby only serves to put everyone in danger though as an old villain of sorts reappears intent on exacting revenge. The storyline is weak for what it does, but it brings Dama back in for the finale as she goes to defend everyone and puts on a vicious battle with the kidnapper. This has probably some of the most fluid looking scenes of the series, both for the flashback sequence showcasing Guu training Dama as well as the actual fight.

As a closure to the series, Hare & Guu Deluxe doesn't really bring much new to the table outside of a baby. The baby isn't really a part of the show just yet but rather a fun plot point through which some good comedy can be found. Much of the comedy comes from the pregnancy itself and not from the arrival since involving a baby in Guu's antics could be twisted in a not so good way. What disappoints the most at the end of all of this though is that Guu and her weirdness continues to get only token mentions. It's not gone from the show by any means, but it doesn't seem to be used to the same kind of effect as it was at the start of the TV series. Her background is still very much a mystery as well as everything about her. While the show changes somewhat here due to the arrival of the baby, it really doesn't progress anything else beyond that with any of the characters.

In Summary:
As much as I've enjoyed Hare & Guu in general and this volume in particular, the franchise has reached that point where unless it really does something with the story elements it's introduced it's just going to be pointless. There is certainly room for wacky fun and it provided that in spades early on, but it lost its way at some point, close to when it moved to the city. These last three OVA episodes of the Deluxe release are all good fun but I found that my enjoyment was stronger with the standalone stories in the first episode rather than the bigger ones later on that revolved around Weda's past and family once again. These Deluxe episodes make out much better than the first volume did in terms of quality but in content it's really more of the same – but with a baby! And that's never a good thing when it comes to a show like this.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,English Recording Outtakes, Clean Opening and Ending Animation, Translation and Cultural Notes

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI set to 480p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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