Excel Saga

Excel_Saga_Dvd1This show should not be reviewed. It should not be discussed. It should be watched. That’s the imperative. Watch Excel Saga.

Here is the plot: The Across organization thinks the world is corrupt, so they’ll engage in a sort of fascistic take over of the world. Then that proves too ambitious, so they decide to focus on one city. ACROSS consists of Ilpalaza, a tall guy who sits in a chair, playing pornographic video games and trying to learn to play guitar to impress the ladies. Excel is the main agent of ACROSS, a teenage girl who is deeply in love with Ilpalaza, is deeply insane, and is killed four times in the first episode.

She is brought back to life by the Will of the Narrative, represented by two arms coming from an image of the cosmos, who later has a one night stand with a South American migrant worker called Pedro, who wants to return to his “child and sexy wife”.

A review of this film makes as much sense as a review of, say, Evil Dead II. To discuss Evil Dead II without watching it is describing an elephant to a blind man wholly ignorant of elephants. I could tell you how amazing Raimi’s visual tricks are, how funny it is to see Bruce Campbell beat the crap out of himself, or to tell you that you wont care how terrible the acting is, but Evil Dead II has to be seen. Excel Saga is the same away.

Here’s an example – in the third episode, for a couple minutes (or at least it seems that way) Excel and another prisoner in some sort of hole in the ground list foods they cannot have, but wish they could. Does that read funny? They aren’t mentioning hilarious made up food, they make no commentary on the food, they merely list them. It is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

Each episode exists as a parody of a different genre. Low-budget action movies, Japanese dating sim games, Social dramas and bad science fiction are all covered in the first five episodes. There is no direct commentary on these genres, but the tropes are used to tell the story (such as it is) of each episode.

The first episode Excel has to murder the original creator of the Excel Saga, since manga artists are such scum. In the third episode the director of the TV show, Shinchi Watanabe, shows up to rescue Excel and her fellow pit dweller, and defends himself with a supply of automatic rifles he keeps in his afro.

Why are you still reading this review? Are you watching Excel Saga? You should be.

Here, let me compare Excel Saga to Slayers. Know from the outset this comparison is wholly inaccurate, so if you stop reading this review now, thinking “Excel Saga is like Slayers. I hate the hell out of Slayers. Screw you, Excel Saga!” I’ll have done you a disservice.

But soft, let me continue. Both are parody shows. Both feature female leads. Both have running gags about hunger. Here’s the difference: Slayers has no teeth as a parody. Excel Saga is vicious in its mockery of the styles is apes. Slayers female lead is the most unlikeable bint in the history of television. I cheered when she got hurt. Excel is so enthusiastically insane, and is murdered so regularly you can’t help but like her. Slayers deals with the leads hunger by showing her eat a lot. Excel keeps a pet dog as an emergency food supply.

Purchase this DVD. Watch this show. See Excel Saga.
Rating: A


About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com