Hare+Guu Vol. #3 - 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: 29.95
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Hare+Guu

Hare+Guu Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     June 22, 2006
Release Date: June 06, 2006

Hare+Guu Vol. #3
© AN Entertainment

What They Say
Guu's extraordinarily annoying abilities are driving Hare insane. However, when disaster strikes and a monster threatens, strange alien powers are suddenly a welcome sight. But not even she can save the doctor from the village hag's "private examination."

Contains the following episodes:
Angry Yamada
A Black, Big, Hard, Shining, Stinking, Freaky Voiced Monster
Love Love Ojii-san

The Review!
Hare finds himself continuing to cover for Guu's weirdness as the pair go through more seemingly random adventures.

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. While Hare and Guu continue to be the strong presence on the covers, this volume lets the secondary characters introduced in this volume get a good bit of space as well. The overall design is bright and pretty much close to garish but it's really in-theme and appealing. 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)
Going into the third volume of the series, Hare + Guu hits up another set of four episodes that's essentially all episodic but there continues to be small undercurrents of storylines that go along which helps to build up the overall continuity of things. Of course, a lot of that is associated with the pure weirdness that is Guu but it really is one of the best selling points of the show. If you don't like how she's done, the show is going to be really flat for you.

Some of what's on this volume doesn't quite work too well, or at least carry the same level of humor. There's a storyline in the second episode that gives Hare a real scare as his mother goes missing when a strange creature attacks her and the others during a night time hunting party and only she doesn't return. There's a lot of talk about her being dead and Hare really starts to panic about the entire situation until he's able to just go out there and search for her himself. There's a fair bit of comedy throughout this but a lot of it feels misplaced when you put the child through such a series of emotions. It was enough to even make my daughter skip watching the episode the second time around. The actual monster that gets brought into the show is hilarious though when we finally do see it and the episode has some really intriguing moments that give us clue to the reality of Guu that should not be missed.

That said, a lot of the volume is rather funny and had a lot of laugh out loud moments. A new character is brought into play in the first episode when Guu goes "fishing" and ends up swallowing a young woman who was trying to kill herself after her married boyfriend tossed her to the curb. She's stuck inside of the stomach along with the other humans in there but this new woman, Yamada, is so violent and almost crazy that everyone is afraid of her, so they send Hare to try and figure out what's up with her. Yamada makes a few appearances over the course of these episodes but she's still something that's really more of a set up for something later by all appearances.

Another new character that comes into the show is the old barber lady from the next village over. She's a hoot in general since they play up the old lady mentality and add in that she can see spirits and the dead, something that freaks out certain younger members in Hare's village. Her arrival is ordained by her long dead husband so she's there just in time to do a bit of hair trimming as well as point out everyone's interesting spirit guides and the like, though there are some obvious gags thrown in that hint at the bigger picture. The old lady is really hilarious though when she first sees Clive walk into the room and permanently mistakes him for her long dead husband come back to life and proceeds to get herself gussied up for him. With as many people who don't like Clive around, they manipulate the situation a lot to push the two together.

The fanservice level kicks up a bit with this set of episodes as well when the gang all had down to the beach for a day of fun in the sun and a picnic. Weda in her tiny cute bikini and all the guys flocking to her has obvious but still hilarious results. There's a bunch of the usual kinds of beach games and pranks that go on but the best is when Guu goes into rescue mode and her sucking in of the ocean to one of her stomachs has massive effects on parts of the world. When some shows do things that go beyond their immediate locale and scope, it takes on a very weird and wrong feeling, but Hare+Guu is able do these kinds of pieces without ruining what makes it so fun to watch.

In Summary:
While a touch more uneven and darker than the previous volumes, this is another solid piece in the series that just has me laughing out loud regularly at what goes on. While at times Hare does get to be a bit of a one note gag with his stress and complaining, so much of the show works so well that it's easy to marginalize him as everything else happens. There are a couple of really good hints towards what Guu really is in this set of episodes and even when the show turns its darkest, there's some great comedy that follows it up pretty quickly. There aren't too many comedies like this out there at the moment but this is one that really needs to be seen.

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, Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Progressive Scan player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, 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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