Excel Saga Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • 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: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Excel Saga

Excel Saga Vol. #5

By Paul Jacques     February 13, 2004
Release Date: January 19, 2004


Excel Saga Vol. #5
© ADV Films UK


What They Say
Just when you thought it couldn't get any stranger, Excel Excel and her associates encounter the most horrifying of all plot devices... a sub-plot! You won't believe who's been plotting against whom as the writers double cross the author, the director takes a new direction, and the supporting cast comes back with a vengeance but absolutely no clue whatsoever! There's Menchi-mania and Pedro-philia galore as everybody involved takes the fifth in Excel Saga Volume 5: Secrets and Lies!


The Review!
Four mores episodes of mad cap humour that generates more laughs per episode than a funny person doing a sponsored laugh-in.

Audio:
I listened in both Japanese and English tracks, with no problems detected in either 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.

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

Packaging:
The front box cover has Excel looking wistful with the Daitenzin Team in the background. The rear of the box is mostly text, but some of it is very funny, so cast on eye over it. On the inside is a single sheet insert, listing the episodes and extras. And that?s about it.

Menu:
The menu opens up on blue screen with the usual game show theme playing. All menu links on the screen are highlighted as circles, with the links responding quickly and no dead ends were encountered.

Extras:
Plenty of extras; the Watanabe interview, re Puni Puni Poemy is a bit of silliness; and following Yumiko Kobayashi around the production room of Puni Puni Poemy is waaaay too short to be of interest; PPP character designs; the trailer for the Daitenzin team (episode 18) I thought was a hoot; the Production sketches (of volume 3 characters I think) has a lot of dogs in it?; a text interview with creator Koshi Rikdo which is fun to read.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first episode sees the original Manga writer Koshi Rikdo being harassed by the Excel Saga Anime team to come up with some ideas for new ES episodes. We then cut to Watanabe (the Director) having a dream about a love scene with Hyatt in a filed of flowers. And what does this all mean? Bugger all! It just more zany quack humour to lead us into a story that centres around Mr Kabapu forming a sentai team (a sort of Power Ranger) called Daitenzin. This team is sent out to fight evil people and wrong doers (animation creators and badly parked bicycles). Of course they go a little over the top on the divine retribution, which kind of, sort of, leads to the complete destruction of F City ;-)

Toss in a little Pedro v Gomez confrontation and you have another slapstick episode. Oh, during this episode keep your eye open for the times that Excel changes into an American comic style character, it?s kind of spooky to look at.

The next episode is Menchi focussed, and we follow our little pooch in a heart warming animal anime adventure around the world (you like the alliteration?) with her new friend Ms Alps. Only someone is constantly trying to assassinate Ms Alps, and that someone is very well known to Menchi. Meanwhile Excel and Hyatt are sent out on their most important mission yet, which is to collect mythical artefacts of dubious use.

Sprinkle in a little more Pedro v Gomez\ ?That Man? continued battle, with Pedro discovering that true power lies in the Afro, with a just a hint of plot twist. Stir briskly for a few minutes and this brings episode 19 to a conclusion (and I use that word very loosely).

Episode 20 is a crazy Pedro recap story, hosted by Excel and Hyatt in a bar (very icky what Hyatt is doing in her drink). It then goes past the recap and at the end the Pedro side story kicks back in and begins to progress (and I use that word very loosely as well, so loose in fact that it falls off). And no, I haven?t a clue what the ?Mitsuo\ Menda\Nahaha? chant at the end is about either.

The final episode on this disk starts by promising obscene Yaoi, with hints of Excel and some mystery guy doing what the birds and bees do on a regular basis (fly I think?). Anyway, we gird our loins, slip into some spandex and grow our hair and strike the pose for a Rock Anime episode-

It seems that ACROSS HQ has sent in a new agent, called Key, with new instructions for our trusty team. Key, being young, handsome and well proportioned immediately attracts Excel?s lascivious thoughts (she has the keyhole that he is looking for). Anyway, Key starts to deliver the new instructions via the novel method of a Rock song. Only his artistic soul is tortured and held in chains, and he cannot give his report, much to Lord Ilpalazzo?s chagrin. And so Excel and Hyatt take our newbie into their lives in the hope that he can open up his heart - and maybe his trousers - to reveal all. Of course when Key?s heart is finally opened, and he does reveal all (the message from HQ that is), he does it in front of an audience at a Mega Rock concert. This leaves Lord Ilpalazzo in a foul temper, and just for once the story ends on a cliff-hanger and a small plot twist.

A moment from this episode that is burned into my mind forever, is that of Lord Ilpalazzo and Key locked in a loving embrace whilst rolling in a field of flowers- strange, but true.

In summary
I have mixed feeling about this volume. Although most episodes were good, with the first and last being my favourites and giving me some huge guffaws (doc?s given me some antibiotics for those). Saying that I didn?t feel as though I laughed as much as usual (maybe Pedro let the side down) with this disk. And the Extras, I felt, lacked the previous high standards we?d come to expect. I think maybe I?m bitter about them also wastefully using Yumiko Kobayashi? Even the menu didn?t seem to be trying to do anything more than present the options. I think maybe the guys are running out of steam?

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,English Subtitles ,AVD Vid-Notes,Puni Puni Poemi staff interview Director Shinichi Watanabe,Puni Puni Poemi character designs ,Daitenzin commercial,Interview with Koshi Rikdo; author of the original Manga ,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.

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