Hare+Guu Vol. #2 - Mania.com

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: AN Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Hare+Guu

Hare+Guu Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     January 03, 2006
Release Date: April 11, 2006

Hare+Guu Vol. #2
© AN Entertainment

What They Say
An Outlandishly Hilarious Series from the Master of Anime Comedies!

Brace yourself for an avalanche of nonstop action, out-of-this-world adventure... and a mind-reading alien...

The Review!
Hare continues to suffer under the weirdness of Guu while he simply tries to through the days.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. 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 with some good directionality throughout some of the more wacky sequences as well as some good moments that suck you in with the depth. We did listen to both tracks in the end and had no problems with dropouts or distortions with either of them during regular playback.

Originally broadcast during 2001, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Having seen only some second hand versions of the show in the years prior to its license, this transfer was simply surprising with how vibrant and smooth it is. The show has a very good sense of color to it with the kinds of palettes it uses, such as some very vibrant colors for the character designs and things they interact it while the backgrounds have a much more natural and muted sense of color. The characters tend to stand out a bit more but they still feel like they belong where they are. The materials here look really good with a clean look, solid colors and an essentially problem free transfer.

The release uses the same cover artwork as the Japanese release but with the logo translated into English but still retaining the same style and elements to it which really just work perfectly. The cover is really nicely done with its colors and designs as well as the way the character designs come across in a sort of flat way and this one is fun with the "family" picture while having Guu sneak in on the side while still wearing the afro. The afro rules. 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.

The menu layout for this series is really nicely done with a straightforward static image in the foreground of the two leads together presumably from a dance shot of them while the logo and selections are arraigned around them in very much the word and graphic style of the series. The bottom has some of the jungle grass to root it all together while the background itself is one of the jungle themed strips that rolls past, all of which is set to a little bit of jungle beat music. 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.

The extras included for the release are solid and while changing volume to volume have a number of similarities between each release. The opening and ending sequences are done in their clean form, a good portion of the cultural and liner notes from the insert are carried over onto on-disc "language lessons" and there's also a production art gallery. And an always amusing extra is included with a series of dub outtakes. This volume also provides a series of Japanese TV commercials used to promote the show.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When the first volume of this series hit, the show definitely won us over quickly since it was something that was both subversive in its nature but also provided a lot of basic outright comedy. There's some darker moments hinted at from the start of it but it went with some straightforward comedy with plenty of weird bents and angles to it that would grab almost anyone. Even better, it was a show whose humor appealed to my kids as well which made the show very much a family event, especially since it was very well dubbed and was enjoyable to hear in both languages.

Naturally, this meant that the second volume has a lot of pressure on it to be funny since the first one was watched repeatedly since kids can watch anything a million times in a row. The show does manage to continue the wacky vein while bringing in a bit more of an adult element while still having plenty of broad comedy to work with. The downside is that the show dropped down to three episodes for this volume due to the seven volume release plan. Of course, I'd love to have the entire series at once and I'd love to have more then three episodes for a volume but with comedy I keep finding that a four episode release sometimes ends up being a bit too much. The three episodes here run quickly, the laughs are good and when it's done there's a bit of contentment to it.

The three episodes here provided for a lot of quick and hard fun and managed to cover a fair bit of interesting ground. One of the biggest changes to the show is the introduction of a new character called Dr. Clive who has taken over as the school doctor/nurse. He's a fairly young man in his late twenties it looks like but he's done his hair up in white because it's a style that looks good for him. In his short time there before Hare and Guu even arrive at school, he's managed to alternately either creep out the students or put a real fear in them so when Hare wants to see him because he's feeling feverish, the reactions are quite amusing. The doctor's main goal in life is to get friendly with the ladies and men are just things in his way, so the male students get smacked up hard by him or completely ignored while the women get all the loving attention. Hare manages to look a bit feminine at first but he's quickly smacked aside but it's Guu who seems to not even register on his radar until she hits the cute mode.

Dr. Clive brings some amusing new angles to the show, particularly since he's such an obvious flirt/seducer type who has no qualms about it, and it puts Hare into yet another bind since he has to try and keep him away from his mother. Just the thoughts that Clive inspires about moving in on a mother who may or may not be married is hilarious and Hare's attempts falter at every turn. Guu of course doesn't help at all and her method of moving back and forth between happy and not only complicates things. When Hare's birthday comes into play, we find that Guu is even more powerful than we might have thought before as she's able to give Hare a present that simply should not happen since it leads to a number of potentially really bad (good!) fanservice moments if followed through with.

One of the main themes of the show (which isn't necessarily the overall plot that we get in very small parts here and there) seems to be how much abuse Hare can take or how frustrated he can be. Generally it's come from how Guu has made him nervous about people figuring out what she can do and what she's about but as it progresses his frustration starts coming in from other areas and the abuse by Clive adds a new layer to it. Of course, the revelations about how Clive may actually be depending on whether you believe it or not only makes his life even more unbearable so watching him go through all of it is like watching to see how much abuse a little kid can take. He doesn't come across quite so whiny in this set of episodes but they do have fun with his age, especially when they wrap an entire episode around Guu trying to trick him into believing that wearing clothes into the bath is a new fad.

In Summary:
Going into the second volume of the series I was unsure whether the show would manage to keep to its kind of comedy and style but it hit all the right marks. The were a lot of jokes that carried over from previous episodes and while not everyone got the same kind of screen time as before almost all of them made appearances and fit in well as the show adjusts to adding a new character that changes the dynamics a bit. The real focus on the relationship between Hare and Guu is still strong and the simple weirdness and comedy associated with the two of them is the highlight and what makes it all work. Second volumes can be real hit or miss but this one definitely hits in the right places. Good stuff, very recommended if you liked the first volume.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Dubbing Outtakes,Clean Opening and Ending Animation,Japanese TV Commercials,Production Art Gallery,Lazy Sensei's Language Lessons (Translation & Cultural Notes)

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, 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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jnager 3/13/2012 12:47:49 PM

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