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

By:Paul Jacques
Review Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Release Date: Monday, March 15, 2004

What They Say
Just when you thought the plot would never thicken, the whole thing congeals and Excel finds herself in a fight for her life! With the Great Will held hostage, the city in ruins, the Puchuu running amok, and Pedro joining forces with Nabeshin to combat the nefarious That Man, the action is fast and hilarious as ACROSS finally makes its move in the final unbelievable volume of Excel Saga!

The Review!
Five mores episodes of mad cap humour- they saved the best till last. And is it true what they say about the last episode?

I listened in English track only, with no problems detected in the 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, although it does have a little twist in it this time for episode 26.

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

The front box cover has Excel looking, well, like a ?normal? anime character in action pose. The rear of the box is mostly text, but some of it is very funny, so please peruse the scribbling of the mad production team. On the inside is a single sheet insert with a semi-nekkid Excel (curse that foam), listing for the episodes and extras. And that?s about it.

The menu opens up with a caricature Excel trying to eat Menchi. The menu is presented in a simple manner with option links at the top left corner, with the links responding quickly and no dead ends were encountered.

Plenty of extras; the alternate closing credits from episode 25; the alternate open and closing credit from episode 26; extended trailer for Puni Puni Poemy; the Production sketches from various volumes; the essential vid-notes option. Nothing really exciting though.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Episode 22 opens with Koshi Rikdo drawing himself in Excel?s clothing and fawning to Lord Ilpalazzo, and then things get really weird!

In keeping with the end of the previous volume ES gets back to the plot ? the taking over of the City plot ? as Lord Ilpalazzo gives orders for conquest. Only Lord Ilpalazzo decides that Excel is no longer part of the plan. And after a brief recap of all of her screw-ups, Excel is suspended.

Meanwhile, in space a new threat to the city literally comes into orbit, the dreaded Puchuu (from volume 2). This leads to Excel and Hyatt being kidnapped by space aliens?. queue space opera story. Where R heroes, although seriously out gunned, take on the might of the baddies, at the expense of Nadesico - Excel sings ?You get to burning? as she goes into battle - Macross and BlackJack (don?t ask) reputations. Unfortunately the outcome of the battle completely destroys F City, but it very nicely leads us into the next episode.

Episode 23 sees F City a desolate place, where the strong prey on the weak, but a brave warrior fights the good fight with unmatched martial art skill. Yup, get ready for ?Fist of the North Star? to get it?s face rub in the ground, as Excel fights the biker gangs on her travels back to ACROSS HQ.

It is about this time we find out who Lord Ilpalazzo reports to, and much to our shock and horror it turns out to be @$%^&*#.The crazy thing is that this twist allows the other sub plots within Excel Saga to start to come together.

In part two we find Pedro and Mr Nabeshin arriving at That Man?s fortress, so that they can make another attempt at rescuing Pedro?s sexy wife. As ever, things do not go according to plan.

Alas, this is the episode where Excel finds out that Lord Ilpalazzo has put a price on her head. Of course Excel is in denial over this revelation. She only realises that the man she worships (loves) really doesn?t care for her when he shoots her dead! This scene is quite moving, especially when you consider the nature of the series.

In Episode 24 we are confronted with something new- a serious episode. Yup, it?s played straight up, even the character drawings are done in a serious manner, it?s
almost as if the guys want to prove that they can do drama.

Excel lies wounded and with amnesia, whilst ACROSS completes it?s conquest of F City. Only Lord Ilpalazzo is having a bout of conscience over what he has done, leading to a split in his personality. Who can save the city now? Perhaps the last remaining members of the City?s Security department run by Mr Kabapu can?

A plan is hatched to re-form the Daitenzin team, and make an assault on ACROSS super flying fortress. Meanwhile Excel sets out to find out her past and recall her memories of recent events. The episode ends on a cliff hanger - no, really, Excel is hanging on a rope next to a cliff - with Pedro finally confronting That Man.

Episode 25 starts with Mr Kabapu using his giant robot to assault ACROSS?s flying fortress. At the same time the Daitenzin team form a conga line and also assault the fortress. Only Hyatt isn?t taking this lying down (for a change), and she orders a big hot thick one to be sent through the rear of the ship and in the direction of R heroes.

Whilst all this going on Excel has made her way aboard the flying fortress and sets about reaching the throne room.

After fighting their way to throne room, the Daitenzin team take on Lord Ilpalazzo, and get their collectives asses well and truly kicked. In the end it takes Excel?s intervention to defeat Lord Ilpalazzo, and she does so because she loves him (sniffle) and bring the story to a conclusion.

And so, with episode 25, the story ends??..only we still have episode 26 left on the disk!

Episode 26 is the one you see people discussing in the forums, as the ?naughty episode?. As far as I can remember only two Anime sub genres were not run through the Excel Saga grinder- Hentai and Horror (no, the Alien queen in volume 3 doesn?t count). And so episode 26 is a slightly risqué story about Excel and Hyatt changing bodies, and getting into compromising situations. Sure it has singing, dancing, nekkid Excel and Hyatt in bed together, Matsuya taking a shower, the return of the killer child Cosette, gallons of red blood, but you?re not really interested in that sort of thing are you? Of course this isn?t so much fan service, as fan tease, and the joke is on us this time.

In summary:
Crazy, zany, funny or just plain stupid, Excel Saga is all those things and many more?.. but never dull; It takes a lot of imagination to create a series that encompasses all others whilst maintaining it?s own identity. And the Quack Production Team have done a great job of pointing out the humour in the genre. Excel Saga is very clever- Aye, and there?s the rub. It?s too clever, and unless you have watched many and varied anime (no, a complete season of DBZ doesn?t count) it will simply pass over your head. That not withstanding, it deserves to be on everyone?s shelf, if only to take down and watch it when you are wise enough to appreciate just how good it is.

Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,English Subtitles ,Vid Notes ,Episode 25 Clean Closing ,Episode 26 Clean Opening & Close ,Puni Puni Poemy Latest Info ,Production Sketches

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: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
MSRP: £19.99
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:!
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Excel Saga