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Excel Saga

Watanabe Shinichi's parody anime series Excel Saga (full name Weird Anime Excel Saga), based on the manga of the same name, is the funniest anime I've ever seen. It's also one of the greatest, in my opinion, but this one is definitely not for all tastes... it works better the more anime and Japanese culture you're familiar with, as it parodies everything ranging from sports anime to "dating sim" video games.

Plot? It's fairly simple: Excel (right) has a crush on Il Palazzo (the absolutely gorgeous bishounen pictured below), who wants to take over the world in order to reform it, starting one city at a time because it's easier that way, and she (Excel) will help him in any way possible, even if it means assassinating the author of the Excel Saga manga, Rikudo Koshi, in the first episode, or travelling to America to learn the difference between American cartoons and "Japanimation," or fattening up her dog, Menchi, as an "Emergency Provision" in case she and her beautiful extraterrestrial roommate (Hyatt, who is perpetually coughing up blood and dying, that silly girl!) ever run low on food. That's the main plot, but there are several subplots that are equally interesting: the day-to-day exploits of the members of the Safety Assurance Agency, the adventures of Nabeshin (who is actually the director of Excel Saga), and the ongoing tragedy of Pedro (seen far below, amidst flames), who battles cruel fate to return to the loving embrace of his sexy wife and adorable son.

On a technical level, Excel Saga doesn't disappoint. The animation is higher than average for a TV series, varying in style depending on what the show is currently parodying (the action movie episode is in widescreen, the shoujo episode is in soft-focus and light colors, and so forth). The voice acting is superb, with Kotono Mitsuishi (Misato from Evangelion, Ebichu from Ebichu Minds the House) as hyper-fast talking Excel, Omi Minami as calm-voiced Hyatt, Takehito Koyasu (Hotohori from Fushigi Yuugi, Shigeru from Evangelion) as Il Palazzo, Takashi Nagasako as Pedro, and director Shinichiro Watanabe as Nabeshin. The weakest technical aspect of the series is the music: it serves its purpose but as a whole doesn't rise to the level of, say, Yoko Kanno's soundtracks. The opening and ending theme songs are the exception to this, as they are absolutely brilliant.

Verdict

A brilliant and hilarious parody anime, Excel Saga is not recommended for housecats, pregnant or nursing women, or twits with no sense of humor.

Excel Saga links