Excel Saga Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Monday, August 02, 2004
Release Date: Friday, August 01, 2003
Translated by:Dan Kanemitsu
What They Say
Excel and Hyatt's nice, normal, next door neighbors Watanabe, Iwata, and Sumiyoshi are just a bunch of regular guys - who are about to start suffering from Excel Saga's chronic irregularity. The mysterious Dr. Kabapu and his devastating secretary Matsuya have recruited these jobless youth for the Environmental Security Administration - to be among the few (the five, actually), the proud, the protectors of Fukuoka. What are the odds that this job will bring them in conflict with Excel and Hyatt, who just happen to work for their own rival, scantily-staffed covert organization.... dedicated to taking Fukuoka over? Exactly five to two in favor!
To make matters worse VIZ's cover design is just ugly. While I like the choice of art on the cover, a shot of the Mince, Excel, Hyatt and Ilpalazzo together, I cannot agree to the navy and orange background they are in front of. Look at this then check out the cover you will see at your local bookstore or comic shop and get back to me.
Rikdo's art is not very appealing to me. Lines are too thin and at times too long. Use of tone and sketch lines are weird but I guess it makes sense in this world. Character designs are just poor for the female characters. I find it weird that I do not like them, but their heads are just whack (I should like them because they are to scale and not super-long like other people tend to draw them.) Iwata and Sumiyoshi are great though. They really look solid but I might be enjoying them more since I don't get to see them that often.
VIZ did do a great job with the SFX translation notes. Yeah, yeah this series has a glossary. I know you guys hate slowing down to read SFX but take a minute to read the notes that C.G Horn and D. Kanemitsu wrote. They are very informative and they have all of insight to the series and just some cultural issues that should not be overlooked.
Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Things are changing at secret organization ACROSS. Ilpalazzo has decided to make some changes in the organization to see if that could then change the course for local domination. And while this might go well for Excel and Hyatt in the short term, what exactly are they supposed to be doing.
Meanwhile the local government has come across some information that has lead them to believe that there are people out there that could threaten the safety of the public. This brings out the need for a group that could combat such terrorists. These public servants must protect the peace at all costs. Whether its extremely powerful weapons, secret departments or crazy battle techniques the city must be protected (but from who??)
Once again Excel Saga goes on tangents while trying to keep a plot. Its fun if you are into that type of thing but it's too over the top for me. While I could have fun with the premise the presentation is just not very appealing.
I will say that the humor is sharp and it keeps on coming. Unfortunate for me there were also quite a few visual gags that I really did not like (made worse since I do not care for the art at all.) So it's not a total loss.
I just do not get the gags too much. Maybe if it was a little more serious I could get into it more but I just keep on feeling that characters and the scenes they are in must be outrageous in order for them to be funny.
Comparing this to another manga I just read with outrageous characters (Azumanga) its not even funny. Azumanga's characters are extreme but they are funny for the normal things they do. The characters in Excel Saga could be normal (yes Dr. Kabapu and Ilpalazzo are exceptions) but they are so out there their personalities clash and its hard to get into a rhythm or even feel compassion for any of them.
Excel Saga was never for everyone. To those who were hooked on the TV show its a little different but still has a lot of what was done by JC Staff.
Still this series really did not work for me. The characters are not for me and the art is just not very tight. A good translation and some really good notes just cannot save this for me.
Pick it up at your own risk.
Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: C
Packaging Rating: B-
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Size: Tall B6
Orientation: Right to Left