I own the first 8 volumes of that manga! It was fun.Continuing my habit of delving into yesterday's manga, and after having recently enjoyed the anime, I've been reading Excel Saga. Man, Viz had a lot of fun translating this one. In particular, Excel's range of frenzied vocabulary is insane.
Quick description for the unitiated: Comedy manga, from 1996 to 2011. Two young women, Excel and Hyatt, work for a supervillain bent on world domination. But supervillainy doesn't pay wages, so they have to wreck their way through a string of part-time jobs to survive. Excel's super power is "never shutting up"; Hyatt's superpower is "dying a lot". Meanwhile, another group of characters scored what they hoped would be decent civil service jobs, but their department head has decided that they will be the core of his secret superhero team, and so occasionally has them test the equipment or go out on calls. Coincidentally, both teams live unawares in the same apartment building. So, basically, it's life with jobs that suck, cranked up to 11.
The 1999 anime took the characters and basic premise and threw them through a series of Python-esque sketches and genre parodies. A bit less social satire, a lot more meta-media satire.
I enjoyed the anime quite a bit; I think I may like some aspects of the manga better. One thing that stands out to me is that Excel and Hyatt in the manga are both a lot more… let us say cunning, rather than smarter… than they come off in the animated adaptation. They also have a more cordial relationship. I was a little surprised the first time I read them cooperating on diplomatically buttering-up their boss to save Excel from a punishment.
Come to think of it, this would be fairly good inspiration for a Paranoia campaign.
...and now that you think of it, it really is good Paranoia reading. I have that new boxed set, it's lovely. I should really get a game going...