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Rbastid

  • NYC
  • Joined Mar 13, 2010
  • 39 / M

Excel Saga

Feb 2, 2014

Oh lord, see what that moron Koshi Rikido did now, he allowed Excel Saga to become a crappy review.

Story - 10/10

Many of the reviews I see about Excel Saga say it's confusing, which I just don't see. Manic, random, confusing, yes, but confusing it isn't. Oh Wait.

Each episode is signed off by the original creator Koshi Rikdo, generally under threat or torture, to resemble a specific anime type, with some episodes going as far as using plot lines from Fist of the North Star and catch phrases from Trigun.

Within the show there are three main plot lines that intersect with each other and eventually combine to conclude the story, there are also a few sub plots that aren't used as frequently but do hold significance in the show.

The Excel story follows Excel Excel as she does the bidding of Lord Il Palazzo and his secret organization ACROSS. She is suppose to first conquer F City so that they can perfect their plans for world domination, but being that she lacks any brains, she often fails at her tasks. Shortly after the start of the series she is partnered up with Hyatt, who's constant dying does little to help in world domination. The finally member of Excel's story is Menchi and adorable puppy that Excel adopts in order to use him as her backup food supply.

The Pedro story line starts just as early in the series as Excel's. A poor immigrant worker from Columbia, Pedro's life in thrown into disarray when Excel's stupidity gets him killed. He must now try and regain his human form in order to rescue his sexy wife and son Sandora from his former friend Gomez, which eventually leads to a fight for the fate of the world.

The final main story plot line has to do with three roommates who live next door to Excel. In an attempt to impress Hyatt one roommate, Watanabe, applies to be a goverment worker, during the interview he sees both his roommates have joined him and continue to be a thorn in his side everywhere he goes. Along with their fourth co-worker, Matsuya and two robots, these six are trained to become the mighty Municipal Force Daitenzin. With the head of City Security, Kapapu, as their leader, they go about doing what public employees were meant to do, protect the citizens, which in reality means they kill them by the bucket load.

The sub plot mainly centers around the director of the series, an afroed man dressed like Lupin the 3rd, Nabeshin. Nabeshin's duty is find Pedro and teach him to be one of the Six great Afro Warriors who are the only ones who can defeat the ACROSS Six, made up of different versions of That Man.  For the majority of the series Nabeshin gets very little screen time and many of the other characters from his plot, such as Space Butler and Tetsuko, are basically added to give you the idea Nabeshin had a secret past as a trained assassin or mercenary.

In the final episodes the series strays from being a comedy and becomes a very good serious anime, you almost feel like if they wanted to they could have just made the whole series serious and it would have worked out. At this time the plots all merge in an all out battle between ACROSS and the City Security force, both in Japan and unknowingly in Colombia.

Animation - 8/10

The animation in Excel is nothing to write home about, but then again it's also nothing to complain about.  The episodes where there are tons of action or very detailed scenes are as good as any other anime of the time and throughout the episodes the characters and backgrounds are consistent, where as in many other anime you can tell there was a change in art director in some episodes.

Some of the best animation, albeit crudest, is used for Excel and Menchi's freak outs. It's very jagged and simplistic, but thats used to convey the mindset at the time of both characters, Excel's madness and Menchi's fear of being eaten. In the final few episodes there is a slight change of animation for excel to match her now solemn personality and then a third look for her time wandering around brainlessly, both match up pretty well with the tone for the three episodes preceding the finale and then episode 26 stands alone.

Sound - 9/10

I love everything about the sound in Excel Saga and the only thing keeping it from receiving a perfect score is the lack of more.

For once I think the voice acting in the English version is far better than that of the Japanese one. The character's voices are acted brilliantly and match perfectly with the character they are portraying, while the original seems a bit too plain, as if acted without actually knowing what the characters are like. Of course the shining star is Excel Excel, whose grating voice and hyper delivery work perfect for the manic character.

The music, while having only three real memorable songs, is very entertaining. Not often will I sit through the opening sequence of any show more than once (with the few exceptions being GTO, Trigun and the great Hawaii Five-0 theme) but I found myself time and time again watching the entire Excel opening, which is all the more shocking as I use to work in a video store where I had to watch a demo loop that would play the theme upwards of forty times over the course of a shift.

Along with the opening, and adorable Menchi sung closing, is Pedro's theme. Every time Pedro's story line occurs it is accompanied by a song that closely resembles the old blues song "House of the Rising Sun." Unfortunately for Pedro, unlike the character in the song, his life wasn't ruined by his own vices but instead by Excel.

Characters - 9/10

An anime like Excel Saga greatly benefits from the fact you really don't need to build complex back stories for each character, each one lives in the present and that snippet gives you everything you'll need to know.

Each character in the series is completely unique from the next, with their own personality, loves and mission, which is a saying a lot with a series that has 17 very prominent characters. 

Some characters that were real standouts were, of course, our star Excel Excel, who's love of Lord Il Pollazo guides all her choices and her lack of a brain leads to all her blunders.  Sumiyoshi, the mute member of the Municipal Force Daitenzin, who's character is perfectly conveyed even with a lack of dialogue. And the Puchuu, terrifyingly adorable space creatures who when hit just become racist.

Bigger than the characters themselves are the interactions between the characters, which I'll just stay silent on due to the fact many aren't revealed till late in the show and could spoil the story.

Overall - 9/10

Excel Saga is a great comedy anime that could have equally been a great serious anime. As a comedy it is laugh out loud funny, with some moments, that although you see coming from a mile away, will crack you up. Without the comedy I still can see a very good show about the attempted world takeover and those trying to fight it, about love and betrayal, and about a girl with no brains trying to live life unsuccessfully, hell I'd watch a show about that, it'd be hilarious.

10/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
9/10 characters
9/10 overall

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