You have no idea what you are in for. You can hide yourself away in the den with an MP 38 and razor wire surrounding your couch, you can have the latest update of a security program and masking program on your computer if you watch in from the DVD ROM, you can call a priest and have an exocism performed on the disc itself but it is NO good. Excel Saga is a force that once openend, it will take the strength of 17 Bruce Willis's to contain. If that sounds like a lot of hyberbole then I'm sorry but it's hard to prepare yourself for this show, especially if you don't know what it is.
Word of mouth of this show spread at the Gamestop back when Gamestops were very much into carrying movies and in particular anime. It came with a high recommendation but I needed to see it first and after my friend rented it, and we saw it, and my jaw was picked up off the floor after watching the crack fest that played before me...I bought it.
Okay, time for that plot thing and despite everyone saying there ISN'T one, trust me there is. Excel is a WEIRD and LOUD young woman living in the city of F in the F Prefecture. She answers to one Lord Il Palazzo a man who says "This world is corrupt!" and wants to take over the world with his organization ACROSS....of seemingly himself and Excel...and another agent added later-the weak voiced and beautiful Princess Hyatt. Wait....Il Palazzo, Hyatt and Excel? Theres a joke there....Anyway Il Palazzo has a plan every day for attempting control of the world but is prepared to begin his conquest on a small scale in the city of F and go from there. Excel has no money or weapons and only a small dog named Menchi that she can eat as an emergency food supply if she needs food. Menchi, it goes without saying needs to escape from Excel.
Meanwhile a trio of house dwellers with no job join the civil service and are put into jobs that have them interact with Il Palazzo and his team of Excel and Hyatt and the show's director Nabeshin-a cool cat with an afro is on a quest for getting the series a plot that will stay on track. A third story is about an immigrant worker who dies and spends a painful experience in limbo while seeing his son and sexy wife and trying to return to them.
Excel Saga is one of those shows that the more of an anime fan you are, the more you can appreciate the injokes the show makes towards other anime shows and manga and if you are a fan of the show's manga, you can appreciate it even more.
Every episode, with the permission of Koshi Rikdo "Rick-a-do Rick-a-do" the creator gives permission to take the story and give it a slant to parody other styles of work in anime or pop culture. "I hereby give my permission to make Excel Saga into a sports themed anime" Some episodes are modeled after "post apocalyptic violence shows" or "survival horror animes" you don't need to be familiar with these shows to get the jokes but if you do, you will find even more humor to mine from the show.
I don't often comment on dubs vs subs but this time I must and that is on the character of Excel. Excel when you listen to the subbed version, with the Japanese language being spoken and sounding the way it does, being able to fill more words or expressions into what is spoken over english, it makes Excel sound very fast pased even when she may not be saying much and with her weird personality, it sets her tone. In the DUB however, with the knowledge of the characters fast sounding dialouge, they got the voice actress to read her lines at lightspeed to make the character not only weird, but noisy and hyper. If you want a readable version of her lines, try reading this line in under 3 seconds:
In fact, with the notable popularity that this show picked up in the US, the release dates got cranked up and the voice actress, Jessica Calvello had to be replaced rather then risk permanent injury to her vocal chords cause of how fast she ended up pushing the line readings and a replacement, Larissa Walcott being called in to finish the final 3 discs.
Emotionally? Watching a young woman run around for 26 episodes with Jolt Cola in her veins going on weird adventures? Hilarious.
The best way to recommend this show is to people who like watching absurd and weird shows. The jokes range from tasteless to tacky and even inspired at times. The show is a high PG13 rating to an R, and the final episode which is even advertised as being "Going too far" is a pure R. It's not for kids with it's swearing, violence and blood content not to mention gross humor that it goes for. If you watched FLCL and thought that it was out of it's gourd, then Excel Saga is almost there but far more grounded, and the music is still pretty decent too.
Take a look at a part of my favorite episode in the series.
This show gets a +5 for me. I love the show and I will never forget how I first reacted to this. I was stunned and amazed that something so crazy and annoying at times could be so entertaining. Some people will bring earplugs when they listen to Excel talk, others might bring a vomit bag from laughing so hard. I almost needed one once.
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