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  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • Joined Feb 28, 2010
  • 32 / F

Excel Saga

Apr 27, 2010

Excel Saga (1999-2000) - Shinichi Watanabe, J.C. Staff

Excel Saga.  Just watching the opening I immediately knew “This is gonna be good.”

And for awhile it was good.  The first episode of Excel Saga is side-splitting hilarious.  Randomness to the nth degree with a quirky heroine to hold it all together and a delightful tearing down of the fourth wall that would make Ronald Reagan jealous.  The second episode is also funny.  The rest of the episodes I can’t remember.  They all bleed together after awhile and, although enjoyable, don’t offer many particularly memorable moments (apart from the final episode which purposely attempts to get itself censored in as many countries as possible).  The laugh-out-loud success of the first episode soon gives way to only vague vague smiles and perhaps an occasional chuckle.  

The thing is, Excel Saga is one of those series that relies almost purely on its randomness rather than its characters or plot, so it inevitably gets old after awhile.  The characters are definitely cooky: We’ve got the dignified Ilpalazzo, a man intent on taking over the world and unconsciously prone to self parody.  We’ve got Excel, the ever-enthusiastic minion and main character.  We’ve got the chronically ill Hyatt, the token horny normal guy Watanabe, a lolicon mad scientist, an afro-weilding self-insert of the director, and an army of evil alien Cuddly-Looking Things.  But despite the cast’s originality and innate zaniness, each character eventually gets stuck in a routine, replaying their given gag role over and over again.  The characters themselves are funny for a few episodes after their appearance.  Then the humor goes back to just pure randomness.  The plot, fittingly enough, constitutes “Excel (or another core character) goes somewhere, Randomness ensues.”

This formula doesn’t necessarily denote failure, however.  If random humor chockfull of pop culture references is your cup of tea, then Excel Saga is so incredibly perfect for you that I cannot imagine why you are still reading this after that list of characters in the last paragraph.  And like I said, Excel Saga does manage amusement pretty consistently throughout its course, so its reliable for quick entertainment.  Its only fault, really, is that it doesn’t go above the realms of average in my view (somewhat paradoxically considering its craziness).  Which isn’t at all a bad thing, but does dock some points in a review.

The art also coasts contentedly around average, although I do like the character designs, especially those of Illapallazzo and his chronies (and I mentioned the afro-weilding Nabeshin already, didn‘t I?).  The opening theme is downright awesome and stays true to the show’s Randomness philosophy.  If you’d like a taste of what Excel Saga’s good moments are like, just watch the opening.  Otherwise, I’m not sure what else to say.

If I had to compare Excel Saga to other comedy anime, I’d say that it’s funnier than most slice of life anime but weaker in regards to… well, anything that requires structure at all.  That can be good or bad depending on your taste.  Personally, I had fun watching it, all things considered.

6/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
7/10 characters
7/10 overall
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