(エクセル・サーガ, Ekuseru Sāga
?) is a comedy manga series by Koushi Rikudou, and a TV anime series directed by Shinichi Watanabe. Both the anime and the manga are absurdist comedies following the attempts of Across, a "secret ideological organization," to conquer the city of Fukuoka as a first step towards world domination. Excel, the title character, is a key member of Across and ranks below only the organization's enigmatic leader, Ilpalazzo. In both the manga and anime, the city is defended by a shadowy government agency led by Dr. Kabapu, whose subordinates engage Excel and her junior officer, Hyatt, on several occasions.
The manga focuses on the development of its principal characters by means of satirizing life and culture in Japan: Rikudou notes that Excel Saga
developed out of his earlier dojinshi
comic Municipal Force Daitenzin
as a way both to "laugh off" economic problems of the time and to explore Excel's character, which he felt he had neglected in Daitenzin
. While the anime maintains much of the satire, it is more gag-based and self-referential, featuring animated representations of Rikudou, Watanabe, and other members of the production staff. It also relies more than the manga on parodies of popular Japanese works, including Dragon Ball
, Super Sentai
, Space Battleship Yamato
, and Fist of the North Star
. The English-language reception of the Excel Saga
anime was generally positive, likening the humor in nature and quality to the works of Tex Avery and Monty Python. Nevertheless, many reviewers were dissatisfied with later episodes, and some censured the series for frequent references to obscure aspects of Japanese culture.
The Excel Saga
manga began publication in Japan in the mid-1990s, serialized in Shōnen Gahosha's Young King OURs
, and as of July 2007 eighteen collected volumes have been published. The TV adaptation was animated by J.C.Staff and produced by Victor Entertainment. TV Tokyo broadcast the series, beginning 1999-10-07, on Thursdays at 1:45 a.m. Japan Standard Time (16:45 UTC Wednesdays). Although twenty-six episodes were made, the last one was intentionally made too violent and obscene for public broadcast, and did not air in Japan. Several international editions of both media have been made, with the manga released in English, French, Spanish and Italian, and the anime in these languages and Portuguese.