2. The Woman From Mars

Following all the ‘heart-warming’ mail sent in response to the first episode of Excel Saga, Excel realises that it might be best to explain the background of the show to those not familiar with the manga. After filling everyone in on Across and their goal of world domination (starting with F City, F Prefecture), it is time to begin today’s story…

Through the medium of a dream (or is it a premonition?), Excel is introduced to a whole new threat to Earth- a massive spaceship crewed by the Puchuus, a race of super-cute Martians armed with futon beaters. Accompanying them on their ship is the attendant Space Butler (held in thrall by the Puchuus’ cuteness), and a Martian princess held in stasis. This could spell trouble for Earth, but with the Great Will spending time with her new lover Pedro, the other characters will have to deal with the situation as best they can.

Back in the waking world, Excel’s body is desperately trying to satisfy its need for sustenance by baking the only source of food available- Menchi. However, Excel isn’t about to cook her dog- Menchi is only for emergencies. Instead, Menchi can stay and guard the apartment whilst Excel goes out to the Across base. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t look too good, but given that the “Weather Break” report promised only sun, Excel decides to chance it anyway.

Typically, the Weather Break report was completely inaccurate, and by the time Excel reports in to Ilpallazzo, their underground base is flooded. After Ilpallazzo quizzes Excel about an amateur guitar player whose resumé interested him, Excel decides that it is time to get out and go to her part-time job, before she drowns.

Whilst the Puchuus organise their invasion force, Excel gets to work at her latest job- delivering papers. Meanwhile, back at the apartment, Menchi is understandably desperate to escape, and begins hammering at the apartment door with all manner of objects. The door proves able to withstand any and all of Menchi’s attacks, but fortunately for Menchi, she still manages to achieve her goal of freedom when next door neighbour Watanabe opens the apartment door to find out who is making all the noise.

Overjoyed at her newfound freedom, Menchi leaps out into the flooded street, and begins swimming towards her new life. Unfortunately, any hopes of escaping her mistress are quickly squashed when Menchi ends up swimming along the same street that Excel is cycling down. Bemused as to what her emergency food supply could be doing there, Excel nonetheless scoops up Menchi, and ties her to the top of her head for easy access.

Continuing on her way, Excel runs into a member of the Puchuu invasion force. Immne to its cuteness, she punches it in the face (revealing its true, uglier appearance), and grabs its bizarre looking weapon. Returning to the apartment, Excel quickly concludes that this weapon must be a new piece of equipment from Across, and decides to fire it straightaway. Unfortunately, the first shot is less than impressive, but after the weapon powers up, the second shot produces a massive blast of energy that streaks through the sky, landing a direct hit on the Puchuu ship.

As the Puchuu ship begins crashing towards the ground, it is time for all parties to leap into action. After leaping aboard a Puchuu shuttle, Excel quickly takes out the Puchuu crew, and, believing it to be another Across weapon, starts fiddling with the control panel. Unfortunately, with all the operating instructions naturally being in an alien language, Excel manages only to send the shuttle crashing right back into the Puchuu mothership.

Amidst all the commotion, Space Butler wonders if this is finally the opportunity for him to take the sleeping princess and escape. However, when the Puchuus spot his attempted betrayal, they are quick to turn on him, weapons at the ready. It is not their weapons that stop the intrepid Space Butler, however- it is their terrifying cuteness.

Fortunately for Space Butler, help is at hand, in the form of an old student of his known as Nabeshin (the avatar of show director Watanabe Shinichi). The blindfolded Nabeshin is immune to the Puchuus’ cuteness, but when the Puchuus remove his blindfold, he too falls prey to their charms.

Now aboard the Puchuu ship, Excel decides to do her duty for Across and take over the facility by shooting everything in sight. Hit by debris, the cute Puchuus revert to their uglier appearance, and Nabeshin and Space Butler quickly snap out of their trance of cuteness. Re-energised, the pair attempts to make their escape with the princess, only to be chased by a relentless army of Puchuus.

Taking his cue from so many movies, Space Butler decides to stay behind and sacrifice himself to buy Nabeshin some time. After a flashback to all their happy memories, Space Butler turns back to the advancing Puchuus, and activates a convenient remote detonator. As the ship explodes, four lucky survivors are tossed back to Earth- Excel, Menchi, Nabeshin, and the sleeping princess.

After a water landing at the Across base, the pod unseals, and the sleeping princess from Mars awakens. Whilst Ilpallazzo decides that she must be a new agent sent from HQ, Across’ other agent, Excel, is faring rather less well. Having landed in the middle of a war zone, she is taken captive by guerrillas. What will become of Excel now?

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