Jungle de Ikou - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: C
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 90
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Jungle de Ikou

Jungle de Ikou

By Chris Beveridge     July 31, 2001
Release Date: July 31, 2001


Jungle de Ikou
© Media Blasters


What They Say
Meet Natsumi, a 10 year old girl with a very special necklace. Given to her by her archeologist dad, the eerie looking necklace from the ruins in the jungle of Myuginia, gives Natsumi a strange dream where an ancient jungle god teaches her a very sexy dance of power. But he also warns her of a very dangerous forest devil that has been awakened.

Now Natsumi has to deal with small jungle spirits, gigantic whales and armed fighter pilots while getting her homework done. But when all chaos breaks loose, and Natsumi has no other choice, she breaks into her sexy dance of power and transforms into Mie, the most buxom fertility goddess you’ve ever seen!

The Review!
Media Blasters brings out yet another in the line of short OVA series, but this one makes out better in the fact that there's at least three episodes and it presents a mostly complete storyline without leaving you hanging for an ending. That gets a few points right there.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. The audio levels were pretty normal, and being a somewhat older OVA series, dialogue is primarily center channel based with little in the way of directionality. Music and other effects make decent use of the left/right channels, but otherwise this is a pretty simple stereo mix.

Video:
This is a fairly grainy print, but not overly bad. The first episode is probably the worst for it, which ends up causing blue sky backgrounds to look rather pixellated. There's a fair bit of rainbows throughout the show as well as some line noise during camera panning sequences. Colors look decent and there wasn't much in the way of serious color banding issues. The second and third episodes have a bit less grain, enough so that when they show flashbacks to the first episode you can notice a difference between it and what you saw earlier.

Packaging:
This is a pretty cute cover, almost reminding me of Sergio Aragone's Groo work in the style, combined with the different font and all the activity in the background. It's a busy cover, but a busy one that works in its favor, which is a rare thing. The back cover has a couple of nice pictures as well as one of the blue-haired Rongo in her outfit and a decent summary of the show. The insert with the chapter selection is also nicely done, showing off some more neat looking fanservice artwork.

Menus:
While the font works great for the cover, it doesn't work as good when you stare at one of the selections trying to figure out what its really saying. Scene Access doesn't look anything like the word access! There's no menu animation, but some music playing along with it. It's a simple menu overall, and access times to the submenus and moving around is nice and fast.

Extras:
There's two extras included, the first being several pages worth of black and white production sketches while the other is several pages worth of images in the art gallery that are in color. There's a few interesting pieces in there.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
At one point, I used to consider myself quite the Megumi Hayashibara fan. But as I get exposed to more and more of her work, I'm finding myself less and less enthralled with her stuff. Jungle de Ikou seems to be another fly in that particular ointment.

The show focuses on young girl Natsumi, whose main rival in life is her fellow schoolmate Takuma. Her life is fairly ordinary, except for the fact that her father is an archaeologist. The story opens with him returning home after an expedition to New Guinea that didn't go as planned and got shut down. Being rather annoyed at it being shut down, he brings home with him one particular little statue that has emerald eyes. It's a hideous little piece, but he's convinced his daughter will love it.

She of course can't stand it, as she's growing out of the little girl phase and into the young woman phase. But she placates her father and happily takes it. She does however gut the thing a bit and uses the emeralds for new earrings. This sets up the bad juju to happen, as entrapped within those emeralds is Ongo, the ancient god of destruction. And with the statue essentially broken, the seal is off and he's free. Combine this with the weird dreams she has about the other ancient god named Ahem and the mysterious dance of power he shows her, and Natsumi's life is completely messed up.

Ongo comes to life from the earrings, but he's only about 2 feet tall and looks suspiciously like Flint the Time Detective, except uglier if you can believe it. Ongo has no clue about how the world has changed and longs for his jungle homeland of New Guinea. The strangeness of it all occurs after Ongo gets a bit of some rare fried whale meat, and decides that he must have more and imports via his magic a huge whale (and massive amounts of water) into Tokyo, causing massive flooding and destruction by the whale as it moves around. This sets up the sequence for Natsumi to do the dance and to bring about her transformation into the flower petal goddess...

The other episodes introduce additional characters and more wackiness as well as more fanservice. It's probably the fanservice that makes this show somewhat hard to watch and laugh along with, as these girls are pretty young (younger than normal) and watching them bounce around with huge breasts and minimal clothes and doing all sorts of panty shots is just, well, weird. The girls are probably in the range of 12 years old, so some may really dislike this aspect of it.

The animation itself is fairly decent, outside of the largeness of one characters breasts (amusingly justified as being representative of the magical power of the earth) and the pace is quick with very few slow moments. The show does a decent job of wrapping itself up within three episodes, but during the final ten minutes I just couldn't bring myself to care much and kept checking the countdown timer.

One thing Media Blasters did do, which is admittedly better than nothing, is after each episode which has the English dub credits, they spliced in the couple seconds of credits from the sub release for those voice actors, so we can at least know who played what. While a new set of credits would have been nice, it's better than dropping it completely.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Production Sketches,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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