Excel Saga Vol. #3 (of 6) (Mania.com)

By:Paul Jacques
Review Date: Monday, September 08, 2003
Release Date: Monday, September 22, 2003

What They Say
Excel, Excel, secret agent and agent of disaster, and her trustworthy (although decidedly unhealthy) fellow agent Hyatt are back, and once again they're out to conquer the City of F for the glory of the secret ideological agency of ACROSS!

Whether they're up against murderous monkeys; possessed detectives, or men with inflamed anuses, you can bet they'll give it their all or die trying. In fact, you can usually bet on the latter. The most deranged duo to ever dangle their derrieres in the naked face of death return in the almost all new (contains 10% recycled material)!

The Review!
From the very first copy-theft warning, to the back of the box, it’s laughs, laughs, laughs. There are just so many gags in this volume that I can’t even begin to tell you about them. BTW, did you know that Hyatt has received a small personal appliance “Love Master 2000” from a secret admirer, but she doesn’t know what to do with it (ROTFL)- oh my aching sides.

I listened in both Japanese and English tracks, with no problems detected in either sound stream. As ever, they use a good solid Dolby 224Kbps (most only use 192Kbps).

The opening theme (Excel Girls singing “Love (Loyalty)”) and Menchi’s closing song “so, you’re going to eat me” never wears thin with repetition.

The video is clean and fault free (hmm, nice), what more can I say?

The front box cover has Excel in baseball garb, with two other shots from episode 11, as well as two shots from episode 12. The rear of the box is mostly text, but some of it is very funny, so pass on eye over it. On the inside is a single sheet insert, listing the episodes and extras. And that’s it.

The menu opens up on Excel and Hyatt presenting their game show (see last episode). The comments they make are hilarious, so please take the time to listen. All menu links on the screen are based on the game show, with the links responding quickly and no dead ends were encountered.

Plenty of extras; such as the bizarre “Find the mint” in the toilet; the ever useful “Vid Notes” cultural notes; an interesting interview with Mr Watanabe; production sketches from this volume; some handy Menchi recipes. All good stuff and worth the effort to look through.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kicking off from the game show start menu, the first episode (Menchi’s great adventure) starts with poor Menchi digging an escape hole, after all, it’s a very distressing life when your owner comes home making dinner plans (with you as the dinner). Today, fortune smiles on our poor canine, and she makes a break for freedom in a bid to track down a kindly previous owner she remembers. The question is though, is life any better (or safer) outside of Excel recipe plans? Thus Menchi embarks (get it, ok, it was a cheap joke) on her own adventure. Along the way she meets a band of kindly stray dogs who offer to help. Alas, trouble comes in the form of a band of crack combat dogs from the ADC (baddies). An so our tail (get it, ok, another bad pun) turns into a story of life and death, with many with many heroic sacrifices. Of course this plot line parody is from any Anime series you care to shake a stick at. And when Menchi does get to her final destination, she finds that @$%^&*# is really @~~##£ and so she *&^%”!@~, yes, I wasn’t expecting that either.

The next episode things are back to normal, and the theme is parodying Youth drama and Sports anime shows. It starts with Lord Ilpalazzo commenting on how appalling the current generation are due to bad education. So Excel and Hyatt are dispatched to Excel’s old school as undercover teachers, in order to understand the problem with today’s youth. The class they have to teach is full of delinquents with old style haircuts and clothes (and character designs). Within no time at all Excel manages to establish her command over the class with an unorthodox teaching method. This impresses the sports teacher, who asks R heroes to help coach the sad and useless school baseball team. It transpires that he would like to see the team win against team Monkey before succumbing to his incurable “sporadic anal enlargement syndrome”- a well known sports malady I’m sure you’ll agree. And thus we get to through every Sports Anime cliché know to man; 1st base of teacher who is dying\ team will be disbanded if they don’t win; 2nd base of team who suffer from low morale; 3rd base of building their self confidence and training hard to win their final game; home run of the incredible team star who doesn’t want to play any more, but can win the game for the team. Of course the outstanding question from this story is why does the sports teacher have a big head? And the answer is....?

Next up we have a detective parody episode (queue Lupin III urine-take). It’s Christmas and the City F is in terrible jeopardy- according to the head of the City Council (Kabapu) it is - although this may just be a reference to Excel’s singing. The plot, such as it is, involves the Security Division\ Police investigating burglary and hostage situation involving two bad lads. This almost brings them into contact with Excel and Hyatt, almost, but not quite. And so at the end the Lord Ilpalazzo’s very minor investigation into Christmas comes to naught.

The final episode centers on New Year- a time to look back solemnly on what has gone before. Only in this case it’s a review of Excel itself. So we get to enjoy a parody of Anime mid season reviews, in the form of a game show contest involving the Excel characters, and thus we come full circle (with reference to the opening game show menu). It’s all good stuff (honest).

In summary- Lost your job? Girlfriend left you for a “Love Master 2000”? Backed over the family pet on the way to the Law Court hearing? Then buy this disc, it won’t fix anything, but you’ll have some good laughs as you sob gently into your hanky.

Japanese Language,English Language ,English Subtitles ,AD Vid-Notes (Tm) ,Find the Mint Game ,Interview with Shinichi Watanabe (Director) ,Production Sketches,Menchi Recipes

Review Equipment
Primary equipment: JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment: 21” Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones.

Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
MSRP: £19.99
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Excel Saga