Excel Saga Vol. #03 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: C-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 204
  • ISBN: 1-59631-990-1
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Excel Saga Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     June 19, 2004
Release Date: October 01, 2003

Excel Saga Vol.#03
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Rikdo Koshi
Translated by:Dan Kanemitsu
Adapted by:

What They Say
Stories the director himself said they didn't dare put in the anime! Bonus footnotes, FX glossary, and message to U.S. fans from Rikdo!

There's always an election coming up, and the city of Fukuoka won't be spared either. But what petty party stooge is this so called "candidate for Mayor" - who dares presume to take control of a town Lord Il Palazzo has already stamped "Property of ACROSS?" Excel and Hyatt go undercover by volunteering for the campaign, and discover that democracy Japanese-style will have you begging for hanging chads. Vol. 03 of Excel Saga stays strong on the issues, like health care reform, which must be why the girls have dressed up like nurses and snuck into the local hospital - where awaits everyone's favorite butcher, I mean, letcher; I mean, Doctor Iwata, M.D. Then. Not a dream! Not an imaginary story! One night, when the whole apartments asleep, enter a place where neighbors get up and go to work as their secret alter egos: yes, in this issue! the good guys and bad girls (DISCLAIMER: Designations "Good" and "Bad" subject to the requirements of public policy) make dim first contact in the city sewers. Will it end senselessly in a waste of human life, or just in human waste?

The Review
VIZ's cover design is not appealing at all. The front cover has a stylish Excel and Mince in front of a dark-orange and maroon background. Woof!! Add a navy spine to this mix and we have weirdness.

Logo Check!!! (2003 Megs).... is pretty good. I like the font used and am real glad they kept the heart between Excel and Saga.

Inside Viz gives us a good transfer on decent paper. The entire set of chapter ending art is there and so is the famed "Excel Saga Bonus Section." These are really nice touches and at times I almost feel they are too much information (especially with regards to and his staff).

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. It's 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. Backgrounds and layouts are actually pretty entertaining. The level of detail changes with the tone of the series so it really seems as if there is more to this manga than the characters.

Right to left.
SFX are all translated in a glossary. There are lots of notes in the glossary. It?s really very helpful. If you like manga with SFX glossaries this is where to start. Horn and Kanemitsu did such a good job with all their series insight and background that they should not be overlooked.

Viz continues with a solid translation in this one. Honorifics are used off and on. "-Chan"s and "sensei"s come up often but "-san"s and "-kun"s are used sparingly. Did not notice any issues with spelling or grammar (typical Viz work.) As usual very good notes from Dan Kanemitsu and Carl Gustov Horn, these notes are very informative and often scary in the amount of detail that they share.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the earlier volumes set up the characters a bit, volume two presents Fukuoka and a little more info behind "The Organization for the Promotion of the Institutionalization of the [Supreme Ideological] Ideal [on Earth], ACROSS. So while most of these chapters remain episodic we do get a good string of them that revolve around the city's and ACROSS's infrastructures. Municipal comedy has never been easy and Rikdo does good by making it as crazy as it really can be.

Well all know that the basics of municipal communities revolve around most simple of societies needs. Law and order, health, utilities and security are essential to run a city. But really how much chaos could be created with just one of those systems going off line? Imagine if all of them were to be disrupted. Pretty scary thought, huh?

Sane or not, Il Palazzo knows that these systems are vital to keep things running safe and efficiently. By sending out his agents, Excel and Hyatt, to gather information and hopefully (you never know if he really wants this or not) shut down these programs he could effectively move closer to his objective - conquer the city and eventually the world. So with the limited resources that Excel and Hyatt have to work with, they set forth to complete those objectives. You know what the results will be. Failure.... sort of. These two rarely complete a mission. If its not health issues, financial concerns or a blown cover something is going to prevent those two from pleasing there Lord (and even when they succeed their mission was usually forgotten by Il Palazzo, so there really is no pleasing him ). Lucky them.

Eventually, someone was bound to run into ACROSS's headquarters, so when the Environmental Security Administration walked into the Fukuoka sewers that make up ACROSS's headquarters all hell broke lose. Security systems were back in operation and with Hyatt and Excel in charge escape is not an option. This obviously applies to ACROSS as well, but one can hope that they could figure a way to survive their own problems by now (after all, this is the last chapter of vol. 3).

While I enjoyed this volume more than the two previous, I still do not get the appeal of this series. The story is really not going anywhere and there is not much character development. Actually I almost feel as if some of the random supporting characters (i.e.: Dr. Iwata and the male members of the ESA) have had a little more background. Fortunately for the reader there is often quite a bit of comedy or just non-stop insanity. While I personally get a little lost on the plot or motivation one can always expect some slapstick or visual gag to distract the reader from the manga's shortfalls.

For those of you looking for random comedy and episodic insanity this is the one for you. Some manga try too hard but Excel Saga's manga doesn't try enough. Up to now it's really a simple concept. Random missions or filler/development stories filled with slapstick that hopefully will tie up some day. They can be funny, they can be half thought out but they are almost always weird. And this type of weird is actually half-decent.

For those of you looking for a little better rounded I would go somewhere else. Excel Saga is over the top and at times it is almost over my head. Crazy, witty and at times a decent parody of a terrorism/civil drama this series usually falls flat. For something this outrageous I would rather turn to Iron Wok Jan!. The concepts are completely different but more often that not the characters are just as extreme with a better plot and even more outrageous personalities. There the entertainment level never drops. Excel on the other hand can be below average at times and the characters are not strong enough to keep me wanting more.

Excel Saga was never for everyone. To those who were hooked on the TV show its a little different but still has some of what was done by JC Staff. Still this series really did not work for me. I dont know enough about the characters and the art is just not very tight. A good translation and some really good notes make it easier to swallow but I still do not get it.


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jnager 3/13/2012 11:54:32 AM

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