First off let me say, I am heavy into anime. These reviews are going to pretty in depth, or as far in depth as I can go until I start majorly spoiling. That being said, I will make my best attempts at keeping them minor or absent all together.

One of my biggest pet peeves about anime is that series never seem to break the preconceptions of their genre. Most shows can be categorized into the harem, sci-fi, giant robot, or even high school comedy genres. Nowadays it takes a special kind of show to shatter the mold and make an immediate impression on you. This is especially true if you've been an otaku for a long time and have seen many series. Ladies and gentlemen, Excel Saga is that rare and special show. Its very funny, parody-driven, fast and furious, satirical and sharp edged humorous.

Each episode starts out with a declaration by the creator of the manga, Koushi Rikudou stating that he gives permission to turn the Excel Saga anime into a different genre. Going into an episode means you never know what to expect. One time it will be about a horror or the next will be about science fiction. Whatever the particular theme of the week is, you can rest assured that it will be nothing like you'd expect.

The show tells the story of a young, energetic blonde with the attention span of a puppy that always finds herself getting into trouble, Excel. While merrily skipping home from school one day, she gets killed in an auto accident.

She is magically revived, anime style, in order to serve an organization called ACROSS, an idealogical organization that aspires for global domination and its tyrant wannabe conqueror, Lord Ilpalazzo, in his plan to take over City "F", a major metropolitan city (probably Fukuoka, home city of the original writer) as the beginning of his plan to bigger and better things. After all, why set your sights on conquering the Universe when taking control of a city is a much more manageable goal?

Throughout the series Excel dies more times than you can count, but it's all for the greater good of ACROSS and Lord Ilpalazzo. It is Ilpalazzo's wish to conquer the city and since Excel is in love with, and adores him she naturally goes along with whatever he has planned.

Seeing as the ACROSS organization only has two members, in comes a beautiful woman named Hyatt. While she may not be quite as uninhibitedly enthusiastic as Excel she is loyal to Ilpalazzo in every way. The only problem is that she is anemic and finds herself passing out, coughing up blood, and dying at just about every turn.

And there you have it. Although a plot synopsis of Excel Saga seems both pointless and unmerited, I was impressed by the continuity through the various episodes.

Each episode has a different mission and acts as a parody of a different genre, and it would have been easy for the writers to ignore what had come before to prevent the series from becoming too complicated. Instead, they let the craziness of each episode remain in the series, so that the bizarre twists and turns keep stacking on top of each other as new elements are thrust kicking and screaming into the already chaotic mess. That they have chosen to do things that way at all is impressive, even though at times I wished they would just start over. The series feels like a story told by a small child, with a wide range of elements tossed about willy-nilly simply to get a laugh or shock the viewer.

Because of the structure of the series, the show stays fresh from start to finish and arguably only gets better as time goes by and characters become more established. Excel Saga becomes so irreverent and nonsensical as it catapults towards its glorious (and too hot to the point that it wasnt allowed to air in Japanese TV) ending. From Koushi Rikudou, creator of the manga, having himself killed in the first episode to random insanity involving enough blood to drown the planet; things never get dull in this anime.

It does not take itself, or anything else, seriously. Every episode is a parody of a different style of movie or show. Excel Saga parodies space operas, Dragon Ball, low-budget action films, Captain Harlock, dramas, Fist Of The North Star, cute animal shows, Gundam, romance anime, Mighty Morphing Power Rangers and even American anime fans.

It makes fun of every aspect of anime, and does it well. The reason the series succeeds is because even though there is a lot of seemingly random action and events in every episode, most of it does have some meaning in the plot. That they can sustain the humor and still advance the overall plot through out the 26 episodes is amazing.

While very hit or miss, the rapid fire nature of the parodies was such that you spend years uncovering all the material it makes fun of. No true anime fan should pass up the opportunity to watch this but the same holds true to fans of pop culture as well. Keep in mind that television networks, videogames, and a whole lot of other things we all hold near and dear were on the plate too. The more you know about manga and anime, or pop culture in general, the more you're going to find to laugh about in this series.

Exactly what takes place here is so hard to explain with a straight face. If you're looking for one of the most unique and standout shows that you'll ever see you owe it to yourself to watch this show. Every frame is chock full of lunacy and brilliance, even though that is a fine line to walk.

Like I said, Excel Saga is just one of those special shows that are rare in the world of anime. Sure it's totally irreverent and yes it's completely insane, but I challenge you to find a show that is as entertaining as this one is. I was glued to the set for each episode and addicted to their brilliance. If you have even a passing interest in anime, this is the Holy Grail of parody for you and worthwhile even when some of the material fell a bit flat.