Excel Saga Vol. #1 - Mania.com

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A-
  • Extras Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Excel Saga

Excel Saga Vol. #1

By Abraham Chinchilla Jr.     June 23, 2002
Release Date: June 11, 2002

The Review!
One of my most anticipated DVD releases so far, and finally, I hold my copy in my hands. Wow. This disc won't bring much disappointment. And as for the series, it was so much more than I'd expect, even my mother enjoyed it a whole much.

First taking a listen to the English dub track, and then re-watching the show in it's original language of Japanese, both tracks are presented in Dobly Digital 2.0. The audio has a great transfer here, especially when I have my player hooked up to a stereo. By the way, there are four audio tracks, but that's only since there is another English and Japanese track for a DVD extra I will get to later.

It's pretty impossible to want to complain about the video trasnfer. All I will say is "beautiful". The video is just so nice and clean. There are some slight artifacting, but it's really unnoticable, especially for a series like this. M.O.F.C. has done a fantastic job here.

The front cover features a shot of Excel with a few other shots of the main cast, along with the ADV logo and a notification of the volume number on both the front and the spine. The back features a great synopsis for the show along with listings for the disc extras and a few screen captures. The insert features a pencil sketch of the manga artist, Koshi Rikdo, listing disc extras and a short listing of chapter stops (only listing - Authorization, Opening, Act 1, Act 2, Closing, Preview) for only one episode, probably because each episode has the same amount of chapter stops anyways. The back features a shot of Hyatt with Excel, and their neighbors in the background, Hyatt has a word bubble with Japanese writing in it, with a translation on the bottom of the sheet. Nice.

The menus are really well done on this disc. The main menu is a spiffy hand-held game with the buttons as the selections (by the way - P=Play, SS=Scene Selection, LA=Languages, EX=Extras). The center picture of the game features clips from the show, and when the run time of the menu ends, it shows a "Game Over" screen with "Continue" being selected. The sub-menus each have their own great background music with a unique dating-game style for selections. A surprise - the ADV Previews menu has Excel music, and not the usual "Do-It-Now" song.

The first disc brings a big batch of extras. First is the totally awesome AD Vid-Notes, which plays along the actual show. As I've mentioned before, there are four audio tracks. The second English and Japanese tracks provide the "pop-up video" type of sound, and there are three extra subtitle tracks (Vid-Notes Only, Vid-Notes and Signs Only, Vid-Notes and English Subtitles). The notes provide interesting tid-bits from who else? Menchi!
Other extras include the great-looking credit-less opening and closing sequences. Original Japanese opening and closing sequences are also included. Two hilarous mis-leading Japanese trailers are provided (with subtitles for signs) as well, and a selection of nice production artwork (all colorized to look green) which also includes some tid-bits.

The first five episodes presented on this disc brings nothing but non-stop laughter. The series so far has been extremely hilarous, and even as it's a parody for many anime, it still has quite a good plot.

(Potential Spoiler Warning)

As the original title says, this series is called "Quack Expirimental Anime: Excel Saga", which is exactly how it sounds. Each episode seems to expiriment with different genre of anime and TV series. Each episode starts out with the "authorization" which always features a different way of the creator, Koshi Rikdo, giving permission to the production staff of the anime version of his anime to do what they would like to the anime.

The story starts with a graduation. A very happy Excel runs out of the school joyfully sining out (terribly) the word "ACROSS". All is happy, until a truck speeds up in front of the school, and Excel gets hit. An abumlance immediately arrives and picks up Excel, the meds are unnable to do much, and that's the end of Excel.

Excel awakens to be greeted by the Great Will of the Macrocosm. The Great Will decides to bring Excel back alive, considering the growing storyline. Excel appears at ACROSS' special secret Headquaters, ACROSS is a special organization bound on ruling over the planet. We met the leader of ACROSS, Ilpalazzo, who reveals to his only agent, Excel, on how they shall start by taking over F city, and then go onto their main objective, to rule the Earth. But, being crazy as Excel is, she is eventually killed a few times by Ilpalazzo, brought back to life, and is ordered to terminate the manga/comic book artists in the world, since Ilpalazzo's world has no need for manga. Excel's first target - Koshi Rikdo.

So basically, the first episode is a simple assasination plot, a very funny one. While I don't want to spoil much, the second episode, Koshi Rikdo allows the animation staff to make Excel into a Sci-Fi anime. In episode 2, a new plot is made, as a race of Puchuus approach Earth to invade, along with a space butler named Space Butler, and a Space Princess. We also meet more characters who seem like they will be important to the storyline, including Pedro, who we had met in episode 1, an immagrant worker with some real problems in his love and family life. Nabeshin, a guy who is always running away from people, he wears a funky afro. Excel's wacky neighbors, who I continue to forget their names, and of course, Menchi, a dog Excel finds and uses as her emergency food source.

The other three episodes, we learn more about the fun cast of Excel, and a little more expirimenting with different genre (low-budget action film, romance, drama, etc.). Of course, at the end, my mother and I couldn't stop laughing, and reminding eachother about a lot of the hilarous scenes.

The English dub was incridibly good, of course, my favorite English Voice Actress, Jessica Callvello got the role of Excel, and really nails the part. Great acting, awesome writng, really fun. Monica Rial also plays as leading role, Hyatt, here too. Can't wait for Tiffany Grant to do a more bigger role in volume 2 (she plays a few minor roles in this one). And in my humble opinion, I found the English dub more enjoyable than the original.

If you're in need of a good laugh or two, I suggest you purchase (or rent, if available at a video store) this. A really great disc and a really great show. And, it's not really a problem having to wait for the next volume, it's fun enough to simply re-watch the disc! I can't recall how many times I've seen all five episodes, but I know I've re-watched it a lot. Yes, this is the excellent story of a great heroine, Excel!

Review Equipment
Philco 21" TV, AD-1500 DVD Player


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