Fumihiko TachikiAkiko YajimaSumi ShimamotoEri Sendai
Jungle de Ikou!
Medium: OVA, series
Year: 1997
Director: Yuji Moriyama
Original creator: Yuji Moriyama
Actor: Eri Sendai, Kappei Yamaguchi, Megumi Hayashibara, Sumi Shimamoto, Kaneta Kimotsuki, Mako Hyoudou, Ryunosuke Ohbayashi, Akiko Yajima, Alex Korenori, Fumihiko Tachiki, Harunori Miyata, Shigeru Sakano, Sumie Baba, Toshihiko Nakajima, Takehiro Murozono, Yuko Takase
Keywords: anime, boobs
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 3 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=317
Website category: Anime 1990s
Review date: 15 August 2016
It's a good-natured, harmless and only moderately forgettable OVA series. Technically it's a magical girl show. I quite enjoyed it, but you'll have to overlook one questionable thing. (Others have used stronger adjectives for it.)
Natsumi is a boisterous ten-year-old girl who doesn't behave very well and doesn't think twice about jumping out of windows that aren't on the ground floor. She has a best friend (or punching bag?) called Takuma, who's fairly obnoxious and they don't get on, but she seems to hang out with him all the time anyway.
Natsumi's dad is an archeologist who's just come back from New Guinea with a really ugly present for her! It's a statue of a primitive god. What's more, his name is Ahem and he can appear to Natsumi in her dreams to give her information. Ongo is going to destroy the world! (Who's Ongo?) Wear this necklace! (But it's made of human skulls and it looks dorky!) Do this magical native dance and you'll acquire superpowers! (That's the most embarrassing dance in the world and I'd rather die.)
We then meet Ongo, who's even more of a goofy comedy dwarf than Ahem. We've no idea who's telling the truth. Which god can we trust? The smart money's on "none of them".
Wacky hijinks ensue. Will Natsumi have to do the dance? Guess what! Will Takuma shout at his dad that real Japanese men only eat whale? Unfortunately, yes. Ep.1 floods Tokyo so that a whale can swim through it and get shot at by the Japanese Self-Defence Forces, who think it's an invading army. Ep.2 gives us a sweet, demure schoolgirl (Nami) who dreams of subjugating the world with magic. "Let's help her take over the world!" says Ongo. Ep.3 has a Godzilla-sized Natsumi vs. Ongo.
It's light-hearted fun. Nothing is taken seriously, the story bubbles along with a smile and the whole thing is charming even when it shouldn't be. I even like the title sequence, which might be the most fun you'll have all day.
However the show's also fanservice-laden, including panty shots from ten-year-old Natsumi. That's the bit that's given more than one reviewer a terminal sense of humour failure. You can see why. What's more, her magically transformed form is about ten years older, wears a bikini and has ridiculously huge gag boobs. It's as if her chest got heavily pregnant, twice. Do a Google image search for "Jungle de Ikou" and you'll see what I mean.
If the show hadn't been taking the piss with its fanservice, that would have been a big problem. I also can't blame anyone who doesn't find that funny. However the whole thing's being played for laughs, with the potentially sleazy stuff being: (a) drawn in a cartoonish comedy style like a late-nineties anime version of Looney Tunes, (b) not showing us any naughty bits, (c) going similarly over the top with stuff that's clearly comedy, e.g. Ahem's strap-on. Apparently it's called a koteka and they're really worn in New Guinea. However this one's enormous, not to mention pointy and probably dangerous for its wearer. Ahem could put his eye out with that. Anyway, I think titillating the audience has been flagged up as off the agenda by the time you've seen the ancient gnome-like Ahem waggling his kateka and cupping his man-boobs in an over-the-top comedy dance.
Other points are more subtly questionable, mind you. Some of the jokes here seem to be implying that all these ten-year-old boys and girls have reached puberty. Takumi's sexism deserves a slap, although in fairness Natsumi does stomp him fairly regularly. Natsumi's mum has a couple of moments that make her seem... odd.
It's quite good, I think, in a cheerfully dumb way. Nothing about it matters. I'm not sure it's that funny, mind you, blasting along more on energy and likeability. It's playing silly fanservice for laughs, not to mention ten-year-old girls doing goofy dances that could have been disturbing in a series with more realism (i.e. any at all). If you take it seriously, you might break your brain. However if you're taking any of this seriously, you might have been broken to start with.