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I bought the first Excel Saga DVD based on the rather humorous description
on the back of the package ("Contents may be hazardous to your sanity").
What I discovered was the first five episodes of the most insane, most
hilarious, and most enjoyable anime series of all time! A wonderful parody
of all things anime and a good number of Western movies, everybody and
everything is a satire of something.
This is the story of Excel, the typical over-exuberant, love-sick teenage girl who is employed by Ilpalazzo, the typical enigmatic, white-haired villain and the object of Excel's affection. Together they are the secret ideological organization ACROSS, bent on taking over the world, but starting in the place where global takeovers always do in anime: urban Japan. They are soon joined by Hyatt, the typical overly-feminine, overly-frail, beautiful anime girl, always falling over from some ailment or another.
Other characters include Excel's neighbors (three jobless, lecherous ronin), Nabeshin (the everpresent action hero with a wicked afro), Pedro (a dead immigrant worker who keeps seeing visions of his family), the puuchuu (dangerously cute aliens intent on taking over the galaxy with futon beaters), and Menchi, Excel's dog/emergency food supply.
Excel Saga has a madcap, anarchic energy that is sure to cause vast amounts of head-scratching and laughter, usually at the same time. Multiple viewing is recommended to catch all the gags, especially since on the Reigon 1 DVDs, you can enable a "pop-up video" type of commentary that explains jokes specific to the Japanese dialogue.
Excel Saga is not for everyone, however. Casual anime viewers (i. e., those who aren't die-hard fanboys) won't get many of the jokes, and many people have expressed dismay over Menchi, who is in a constant state of being THIS CLOSE to being eaten by the ever-hungry Excel. In fact, the closing theme (which is one of the funniest parts of the series), features Menchi singing a mournful ballad in dog speak (translated by a woman in the corner), begging Excel not to eat him even as she sprinkles spices on him.
However, if you don't mind being subjected to what may be the funniest anime series of all time, I STRONGLY recommend that you watch this show!
After watching Dragon Half, Elf Princess Rane, and Kodomo no Omocha, one
would think the Japanese couldn't possibly produce something crazier than
those series. Excel Saga not only proved me wrong, but proved just how
completely inadequate words can be when you're trying to describe an
From the opening credits (a rather odd spoof of Japanese pop videos that includes the two main characters lipsynching to the opening song while in strange backdrops (like men's communal baths) to the ending song, where Menchi the dog sings (with a human interpreter in a little square in the corner) while various condiments are sprinkled over her, this series lampoons just about anything and everything.
While it's not always coherent, it's energetic and funny, and there's nothing like watching a series that tries to off its own creator (in this case the original comic writer) at least twice an episode. (And the main character dies at least twice as often as that!) If maybe not quite as creative as FLCL, it certainly pulls everything off a lot cleaner.
Excel Saga is an anime beyond words ... a "Weird Anime" indeed.
A friend lent me the first disc to this series...and from the moment I
watch the first episode I was hooked. And if you watch it too, so will
The series is based on Koshi Rikdo's dark humor satire of the "shadowy world" struggle between government agents and terrorists. Into this mix Shinichi Watanabe threw in anything he could to make the series so over-the-top fall-down-with-sides-hurting-from-laughing-so-hard FUNNY while keeping it from going stale. Struggles with TV Tokyo over broadcasting the series? Throw in gags about those struggles! All those genres of J-Pop TV that are competing with him and his show? Make fun of all of them--a different one for each episode! Add variations on the slapstick routines in it (no scene is ever perfectly repeated) to make the old new again, and you have a funny funny series.
But when it was brought over to America, ADV went the extra light-year (not just mile) to make it even funnier. From the rapid-fire delivery of Jessica Calvello to the moans of Rob Mungle, the voice actors give a new life to the characters that the original voice cast couldn't do.
Also, ADV threw in lots of extras. Vid-Notes help explain the little gags (though some of the explanations only make sense if you watch the subtitles). Six "Menchi" food commercials on Disc 2. The hilarious extended menu dialog of Disc 3. The ridiculous "newspaper" on Disc 5's extras menu--check out the Personals! All in all, this is the funniest anime I've ever seen. --Is that good enough, Lord IlPalazzo? No, please don't pull the---
And what I mean by T.A.T is Typical Anime Trash (you know, the
repetitive clichéd crap), and Excel Saga pounds all of those titles in
to the ground. And probably the best parody/satire show I have seen,
even better than IMO South Park (Which SP can be good at times, a lot of
times can be annoying too).
Excel works for Illpalazzo of Across, an organization based on taking over the world. She may be a loser, but at least she "tries" to do her job. And with her new partner from outer space, the constantly vomiting and coughing Hyatt, she ain't giving up. Meanwhile 3 roommates get a job with a secretive government agency, a Brazilian construction worker is forced to be the love slave to the embodiment of the universe, which is (yes, it is true!) a vortex with slender womanly arms(!) and a man with an afro gets into so much trouble for reasons unknown. And I just only scratched the surface of the series.
The only downside of this series is that it ended in 2000. But luckily, there still is the Manga that is still being published to this day, I think.
But if you are tired of the Typical Anime Trash shows, Excel Saga is one to check out. The parodies and satires in the show are PRICELESS!
Right from the start this series sets itself into a league of it's own.
intro music is every bit as catchy as the show itself. Excel's uber-cute
look in the first few minutes is so dang... well, cute! And the constant
switching between normal and super deformed characters is a hilarious
of insane comedy anime.
The jokes in this show are just plain outrageously funny. You name it, they've done it. The director of the anime and the author of the manga are featured in just about every episode doing the most ridiculous things you can think of. Every episode carries an "experimental" theme they try out, from sports to horror, which greatly helps to keep things fresh.
What really keeps this series going for 26 episodes isn't just the over the top insane humor, it's the wonderful characters and story that keeps you watching and wanting to know what happens next. I particularly love the ending episodes where things get serious and wrap up well. It's one of them series where once you finish it, it will seem like you've known it forever.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! I love it!!!!! Satire for the anime freak. And as comedy in a broader aspect, it Rocks! I love the characters, especially Nabeshin(Whats your hobby? The afro...) and Illpalazzo(evil overlord with a good intent!). They all crack me up! And I never get tiered of them. But for safety reasons i only watch 1 episode a day, otherwist I suspect my brain would melt from the Crasy wierdness that is EXCEL SAGA. Puchuuu?..
Have now watched all 26 ep. And I have to say that the only bad thing about this anime is that it ended. The music is chatchy, and the characters realy grew on me, I love them *^_^*. I raised the points for animation as I realised for the style and form it is trying to put thru, its just excelent...(pun) Average 10(10)
Excel Saga is one of most funniest anime's I have seen (Thanks to an
anime junky called Karl) Although I've only seen 10 episodes and may
get more this week this is one of my favourite anime series!
Its just hard to believe that the woman who does the voice for excel hasn't had her head explode yet. Like many anime series there are 26 episodes and is based on the manga series by Koshi Rikdo.
There are so many lovable characters in this show such as Excel, Princess Hiett, Watanabe, Hiwata, Lord El Polatzo, Nabasheen, Space Butler, Key and many many more (Sorry if my spelling is wrong by the way).
Seriously though if your an anime fan and you have yet to have seen this masterpiece in anime, I strongly advice you to pick up the box set on ebay you will not be disappointed.
Adams Rating - 10/10
There are some things out there that are beyond belief, reason, and most
all, sanity. Excel Saga is one of these things. The continuous stream of
visual/verbal gags, inside jokes that are also funny from the outside, and
such wonderful and irreplaceable characters such as Ilpalazzo, Nabeshin,
(most of all) the Puchuus make Excel Saga one very interesting trip.
There is so much to laugh about in this series, and so much of it is so nonsensical that it makes sense. I watch and I watch, and though I know what's going on, does anyone *really* know what's going on in the series? Hrm...but it doesn't matter. It's all about the jokes and giggles, not some answer to the Deep Philosophical Question of Life. Go watch Eva or something if you want that.
However, Excel Saga is still smart and funny, which is much more preferable than brainless funny anime like DiGi Charat. I firmly believe that watching DiGi Charat likely kills brain cells.
The only bad thing I have to say about this anime is I did not like the English dub at all. Jessica Calvello wasn't so great as Excel...to put it mildly. What can I say? I'm not a fan of the "nails on chalkboard" effect.
Other than that, watch. Watch Excel Saga.
First and foremost, I feel I should make it clear that in no way am I a
huge anime fanatic. I've seen some of the classic movies (like "Akira"
and "Vampire Hunter D") and a few of the more popular shows ("Cowboy
Bebop", "GTO", "Hellsing", etc), but my knowledge of the art-form is
fairly limited. (Mainly due to the outlandishly excessive prices for
anime over here in the US, where a single-disc containing only 2 or 3
episodes can cost $15-$30, so I have to resort to finding good deals on
used copies and imports for my small collection)
However, I can and will appreciate a good, thought-out parody when I see one, and I have a love for comedy, so "Excel Saga" was right up my alley!
Based on a popular (and apparently long-running) manga, "Excel Saga" follows the secret, evil ideological organization "Across", headed by the leader Il Palazzo. Their plans- to conquer "F City", the urban metropolis they are based around and have HQ set up beneath. Under Il Palazzo's command is his chief officer (and series heroine/villain) Excel, a hyper-kinetic young woman with idolized/pines for Palazzo, and mindlessly follows his plans. Excel is an absolute blast, and a great character to follow. She's the ultimate "cartoon", and is alternating manic, ecstatic, heartbroken, kinetic, hyper, etc many times within each episode. Her character is so delightfully insane that her American voice actress actually blew out her voice and had to be replaced halfway through the series due to the demanding role.
Other characters include Hyatt, a space-princess who becomes Excel's fellow agent and suffers the irritating condition of constantly becoming sick and dying only to immediately come back to life. Menchi, a sad little dog Excel owns who also doubles as her emergency food rations. Watanabe, Iwata, and the silent Sumiyoshi... Excel's next-door neighbors. Pedro, a man who is killed in the first episode and becomes the subject of a subplot as his ghost seeks to re-unite with his wife and child. And many other wacky, strange characters.
Animation and writing is top notch. Think "Airplane!" or "Blazing Saddles", but as an anime and you will get the tone of the series. Very wacky and crazy and very much a parody. Each episode, for the most part, tackles a different sub-genre of anime/animation, and satirizes the conventions of said sub-genre.
I have not heard the original Japanese audio tracks, but the American dub is excellent all around. Especially Jessica Calvello and Larissa Wolcott, who voice Excel. (Calvello voices her in Episodes 1-13, Wolcott in episodes 14-26.) Both have an insane, manic energy and drive and playfulness that suits the cartoony Excel perfectly. All other voice actors are outstanding as well, by Calvello and Wolcott shine as the stand-out performances. (Although to nit-pick, I will say I prefer Calvello's performance slightly more, simply because she established the character in the beginning, making the change to Wolcott jarring, despite their similar voices.)
It's also fun to mention that this series is in the ranks of other pieces of fiction like "A Clockwork Orange" in that we are essentially following the series villain (in this case Excel) as our protagonist, and we sympathize and like her a lot. It's just an interesting moral point I find amusing to point out- we're rooting for the bad guy, but she's so funny and adorable, we forgive her for basically being evil.
All-in-all, this is an uproariously funny series, and is darned-near flawless as a comedy. However, this series does lose a point for the final episodes. Without spoiling anything, I will say the series takes a dark, dramatic and out-of-left field turn into a more somber and even at times heart-wrenching final six episodes, and it was jarring and arguably unneeded.
But all-in-all, "Excel Saga" is an excellent and hysterical anime series! I give it a near-perfect 9 out of 10, and guarantee it will make you laugh. Check it out!
A word has yet to be invented to describe this superbly made anime. It
being one of the first ones I bought a few days back, it serves as a
brilliant start to my collection.
There are many reasons why I like it. It is funny, fast-paced, intentionally controversial and has a good mix of characters and personalities, particularly the highly energetic main character Excel and her love and sheer willingness to serve Ilpalazzo. The storyline is sort of all over the place, but it serves as a good element to further improve the overall craziness and parody. The way various gags and stories string alongside each other simultaneously can also be extremely baffling and confusing at times, but comedy values once again rise closer towards perfection. I recommend that anyone who enjoys either anime or comedy (or ideally both) to take the time to find and/or watch this gem.
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