© Yuiji Moriyama / Chaos J Project
Jungle de Ikou!
Boingy! Boingy! Boingy!
Those were my first thoughts after watching Jungle de Ikou. Heck, they were my first thoughts when initially glancing at the box cover. Jungle de Ikou is essentially a silly comedy with a healthy dose of fan-service. Actually, the fan-service goes beyond healthy into the realm of excessive.
Now, there is actually a plot to Jungle de Ikou, believe it or not. Natsumi is a normal young girl whose father is an archaeologist. He returns home from a trip to New Guinea, and being the loving father he is, he's brought home a present for his darling daughter. The present, though, is a freaky-looking statue of some kind. Natsumi accepts the gift, but it seems there's more to the statue than meets the eye (don't people ever learn to leave freaky artifacts alone?). Anyway, that night Natsumi has a weird dream in which a god calling himself Ahem appears and tells Natsumi that she must be ready to confront an evil god called Ongo. To help her, he gives a necklace and teaches her a bizarre dance which he says will give her the power she needs if she gets into trouble. Natsumi dismisses everything, because it is a dream after all. The minute she wakes up, however, she's face-to-face with a diminutive figure carrying a spear who reveals that he is, in fact, Ongo. Apparently, he was trapped in the statue (see? I warned them, didn't I?) and Natsumi has released him somehow. He then decides to stick with Natsumi and see what has become of the world since he was locked away.
During Ongo's first tour of the Japanese neighborhood, he gets a taste for whale meat and decides he likes it. So, he uses his magic powers to conjure up an entire whale. This spells trouble for everyone since there's no way a whale and a city can coexist in the same space. So, Natsumi is forced to use her magic dance which ends up transforming her into the incredibly busty flower spirit Mei (Mai Shiranui has nothing on this chick). Once in Mei's form, she can then access other magic powers via bouncy dances and save the day (of course).
That's basically episode one, and the following two episodes follow a similar tone of wackiness. Two other characters are introduced along the way; Nami, Natsumi's introvert classmate, and Rongo, a voluptuous water spirit whom Nami eventually transforms into. All of the characters fit the bill for this type of anime perfectly, and liberal uses of super-deforming are used, especially on the part of Rongo and Ongo.
Now, the main reason for Jungle de Ikou seems to be lots and lots of fan-service. Mei's Jello-filled bosoms do nothing to hide that fact. But the fact that the fan-service extends to all the characters just sends things too far. Even the cute l'il Natsumi has her fair share of panty shots, and Ahem sports a giant phallic horn protruding from his groin. And then there's the bizarre dances the girls must do to transform into their alter-egos. Natsumi's is kind of funny, albeit somewhat suggestive. Nami's dance, however, is so blatantly sexual that it's just plain icky.
The artwork in Jungle de Ikou is quite colorful and certainly stacks up well against most other anime. The theme songs were pretty good, particularly the opening theme which I found quite catchy. The dubbing is also good, which comes as no surprise considering it's another solid effort from Anime Works. I must say, I'm gaining a lot of respect for their dubbing studios.
As a purely wacky comedy, Jungle de Ikou is quite hilarious at times. But the over-the-top doses of fan-service combined with the sexual overtones tend to detract from the overall experience rather than add to it.
The Verdict: * * * (average)
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|