Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: B-
- Menus Rating: B-
- Extras Rating: B
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: ADV Films UK
- MSRP: £19.99
- Running time: 125
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Excel Saga
Excel Saga Vol. #2
By Paul Jacques
July 15, 2003
Release Date: July 21, 2003
Excel Saga Vol. #2
What They Say
© ADV Films UK
When the plan to conquer the city isn't going well, Lord Ilpalazzo doesn't get mad, he just gets ACROSS...his crack team of Excel and Hyatt, that is. Of course, maybe this is one crack team of special agents that might be doing better if they weren't actually on crack. And now that there’s a rival secret organization whose goal is to protect the city, things are going to be tougher than ever. Especially since their opponents may actually have a competent agent on their side! There’s lots of totally pointless violence and senseless mayhem ahead as opposing forces collide in the second sense-numbing volume of Excel Saga!The Review!
The second volume continues in the same vein as the first, but with a little less madness and a little more sophistication on the satire.Audio:
Both Japanese and English tracks were good, with no problems detected in the stereo sound stream. Some of the Japanese pun jokes are lost in translation, but it doesn’t detract much from the overall listening pleasure.
The opening theme (Excel Girls) and Menchi’s closing song never seem to wear thin with repetition that’s for sure.Video:
The conversion to DVD is both clean and flawless, with a high enough bitrate to still look good on a high resolution PC monitor.Packaging:
The front cover has Hyatt drowning and Excel stuffing her face with food. The rear has the usual menu run down and 3x small still shots.
The insert is a single sheet with Excel bowling, Hyatt trapped and Menchi looking worried (as usual). On the back are the episode listings, and a production sketch.
The disc itself is printed in color, with Menchi singing, Hyatt drowning and a production sketch of Excel.Menu:
The menu opens up on Lord Ilpalazzo computer (running windows!) with a simple click box approach to option selection.
Each menu will have some small boxes scattered around the screen, press on those to see some extra skits.Extras:
Plenty of extras, some good, some not so. I liked the Vid notes which will give you pop-ups through out the playback on the cultural gags- and boy are there a lot of those. If you turn “Vid Notes” on I suggest you go with English soundtrack otherwise you’ll never be able to read and see everything that passes before your eyes.
I didn’t like the spots, which are too short and repetitive (by necessity) to get interesting, but maybe every little helps? Oh yes, the Production sketches menu leaves you in a dead end with no link back to upper menu (grrr).
Last, but not least, is the ever present ADV previews.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
We get four episodes in this volume, so open a bottle of wine and a large bag of potato snack before settling down.
I find it a little difficult to talk about the plot, because there is only one plot – ACROSS (Excel & Hyatt) still attempting to take over the city for Lord Ilpalazzo – and every episode is a self-contained story to run through the same scenario. Now whilst this might seem like a recipe for boredom, it isn’t (kind of like Stargate SG1 ;-). What ES continues to do, and do well, is to poke fun at Japanese culture, Anime, Manga and the Film industry as a whole, and does so on two levels. First the just for laughs gags in which R heroes find themselves in some preposterous situation. And second the ever-so clever use of every plot device, storyline, character bio, clothing, presentation style (camera angle, effect and filming style) that ever existed to play out the gags. We know that they know that we know, so it’s OK and everyone has fun because it’s done with homage and thought to the original (no cheap shots).
If you classify yourself as an Otaku then it’s almost as much fun to play spot the film Excel is parodying (bring a friend though).
Episode 6 concerns itself with two points-
1.The audience being introduced to what will be ACROSS’s arch nemesis- the City Council. Yup, the local civil servants will be there to thwart R heroes plans of domination.
2. Lord Ilpalazzo need for “more resources”.
Episode 7 starts with a Horror movie style theme, leading an indirect confrontation between ACROSS and the City Council swat team down in the sewers. But in line with every good horror flick something else is also living down in the sewers!
See if you can spot the Marine Boy reference.
Episode 8 announces itself to be about building up the viewing figures, so only pretty girls and cute animals will be allowed in the show. Once again Excel pointing out that sometimes Production companies will sometimes be contrived by including lots of girls and “fan service” shots in order to get the viewing figures up.
The story itself concerns a child who is really a professional hit-man, and she goes as a guest with R heroes to the local pool in order to fulfill a contract.
Episode 9 cover the theme of Sport Anime, and sees R heroes getting a job at a bowling alley in order to understand the youth of today. Things get very surreal with the real life Excel Girls playing themselves and performing as Excel and Hyatt whilst the not real Excel and Hyatt watch in the background… OK, just watch it, you’ll understand. The alley gets taken over by bowling terrorists and it comes down to Excel to take them on in a life and death bowling match.
In summary- All the episodes are both clever and funny, so pick up the credit card and order now.
Japanese Dolby Digital Language ,English Dolby Digital Language ,English Subtitles,Japanese TV Spots,Japanese CD Single Spots,Japanese CD Soundtrack Spots,Production Sketches,AD Vid-Notes
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers.