へっぽこ実験アニメーション エクセル・サーガ /Quack Experimental Anime Excel Saga episodes 1–5

[Screenshot]And now for soemthing completely different. Completely different in each episode, even. Excel Saga is a big splattery ball of weirdshit, thrown together to inexplicably actually have a plot. It has less internal consistency than FLCL, which is raising the bar a fair bit, and takes itself even less seriously.

It’s a spoof of everything at once, really, and about 50% of the jokes go over my head; the rate would probably be higher for people who aren’t into Japanese media. There’s a pop-up feature to give background, but, honestly, if you need a joke explained, you’re already on the outside. As for overarching construction rahter than one-off jokes, it’s a bit hit-or-miss depending what they’re sending up that day. The dating-sim/romantic comedy spoof I loved, since I’m into romantic anime and view the dating sim as a kind of inherantly absurd game, but, for instance, the daytime political exposé drama spoof I didn’t get into because I’ve never really been exposed to that sort of Japanese television. So indvidual episodes work to a varying degree, but the overarching storyline is a surprising bonus keeping me hooked in even the dull episodes. Yes, the sketch spoof anime has a plot, or perhaps several plots, ranging from the central device of Excel and Hyatt serving Ilpalazzo to peculiar, goofy subplots like Pedro’s constantly heightened sufferings and Nabeshin’s… uh, OK, I actually have no idea what Nabeshin’s subplot is, just that he’s always doing something. Nabeshin brings us to Excel Saga‘s other significant feature: self-awareness and self-insertion, since both the animator and the mangaka appear prominently in the series. The insertion of the author’s generally a sign of weakness in a work, but they’re utilized in such unexpected and unfathomable ways that, really, it’s hard to fault it.

Technically, Excel Saga is good. THere’s manic action and it’s done fluidly and effectively; styles change seamlessly as dictated by the action and the style beign sent up. There’s a lot of artistic in-jokery going on—some references appear for just a single frame—and the overall style and effects match the feel of the manic, spoofery-laden storyline. Props to the voice-actors in both the English and Japanese dubs too, who do a wonderful job of makign a completely intolerable audio track: Excel is screechingly painful to listen to, but that’s by intent. Fortunately, English-speakers have the option of turning over to the subs and trying to ignore the yowling Japanese woman.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network, AniDB.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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