Thursday 21, 2010.
Shounen anime have formulas. Rather, they have one formula, and every anime of the genre seems to add or take away certain tropes to make themselves "unique". At least, they try to be more unique than the preceding, popular generic shounen anime. Needless is the kind of anime that does not add all the typical stereotypes and clichés found in the genre. It takes them all, multiplies by Vegeta's favourite number, and then guzzles down so much pubescent testosterone that its pores practically leak stroke-inducing amounts of adrenaline. All the series really missed was the Red Bull product placement (no fear, this anime is so MANLY that it has its own brand of energy drink).
Series like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann immediately come to mind when one thinks of Needless. Notably, Needless came onto the scene years before the heaven-piercing and immortalised Gurren Lagann franchise did, but the first thought any audience might have is that this anime is a rip-off. If anything, Kamina might have taken a few shouting lessons from Needless' male protagonist, Adam Blade.
The main story follows a post-apocalyptic Japan (because any other kind of Japan just wouldn’t cut it) set in the future after the third World War. What spawns after the war is a group of mutated people known as the Needless; people blessed with superhuman, nearly god-like powers. There is one catch to having these powers: a Needless only has ONE power, no exceptions. There is just one more little thing about being a Needless— the government wants you captured or dead. And in post-apocalyptic Japan (someone should trademark this soon), those who govern are the ones who run a pharmaceutical company. Yes, a pharmaceutical company.
Needless suffers though from its looks. It is an over-the-top anime and everything about it is just big, big, BIG, including everything from the guys’ rock-hard, inhumanly-impossible-to-attain-abs and thick, bulging necks to the girls’ big, bouncy, full… hairdos. Nearly every character seems to suffer from the restriction of clothing; the men walk around exposing their plastic-like giant bodies and the girls shake and bounce all over the place in their varying loli get-ups (depending on if they are lolis, of course—some are full-bodied women). Also, the costumes these characters wear look like rejected material from Detroit Metal City. Not even glam rock bands would wear that stuff. On the plus side, Needless benefits from its colourful palette and comic book style shading, however, the fights just remain drawn out that even some of the more impressive battles become dull from seeing the same thing over and over again.
Unfortunately, Needless has a score that will be enjoyed based entirely on musical preference. Cheesy 80s glam rock, anyone? It is truly shocking to know that the OP theme song was made within the last decade. “Modern Strange Cowboy” does not conjure up the image of nails in a blender-- it is more like hammers in the garbage disposal. Or ducks in agony. It sounds like a lot of things, really, and none of them are particular good, especially with the wailing and whining of the singers. The second OP theme is a small improvement, and the ED themes are so gooey, sugary and poppy that they are in complete contrast with the heavy metal background music that came before them.
Also, prepare the ears for several thousand utterances and screams of English attack names. Needless has some very amusing attack names, some of which sound like the writers skimmed through an old copy of an Oxford dictionary and pulled random words. Not so random if one knows the historical connotations of the attack names, but it is almost a guarantee that this anime’s target audience will have little to no idea of the history "Little Boy" or "Dean Drive Fox Hound" pertain.
Adam Blade seems to initially subvert being a stereotype while encompassing every single personality trait of the “shounen lead”. His problem becomes his rigidity as a multifaceted character. In short, there is only one face to Blade, and that’s the face with the broad cocky grin and the furrowed eyebrows. There is no character development in Needless; its cast simply grows stronger physically while their personalities remain static save for the heel-face-turns that so many of them take for the sake of plot twists and complications. The second male lead is Cruz “Yamada” Schild, a boy made of the same bones of several young Gainax protagonists who are infamous for starting off being useless and then growing into veritable badasses (such as Ikari Shinji of Neon Genesis Evangelion or Simon of Gurren Lagann). Eve stands firmly as the character with the greatest amount of promise, yet she is put on shaky grounds and is sorely misused by the anime. She comes with the biggest quirks (and not to mention, some big physical assets as well) and one of the best powers, however, she spends a large part of the anime not even fulfilling her role as a defender of the Needless due to one of the several extremely annoying plot hacks.
Needless also introduces a sizeable set of supporting characters. Sadly, most are forgettable, including the bad guys. If the main antagonist was not also called Adam, then a viewer might just about forget his name (it helps a little that the good guys grunt his name so often too: “ARRRCCCLLLIGGGHHHTTT!”). Yet, there is one group in the villains who will undoubtedly be the most memorable characters of Needless: the Pretty Girl Squad. These young ladies star as the main attraction in the anime’s yuri service-filled ED theme sequence. While they certainly attract attention there, they also manage to grasp the audience within the anime itself. The Pretty Girl Squad consists of a trio with curious quirks and powers, and their exploits amount to half of Needless’ entertainment value for two-thirds of the series. Such a shame that they are naught but side side characters.
Needless can be seen as one of two things:
1. A clever parody of the shounen genre that deliberately utilises and brutalises the cliches to both titillate and frustrate the audience.
2. A stereotypical shounen anime that tries to be bigger, broader and bolder than the others by catering to its audience's every desire.
After one of the anime's major arcs that drags on for a small eternity, one would be inclined to assume Needless is the latter. While it does manage to be severely entertaining, the fact that it becomes indiscernible whether it is a parody or serious makes the flaws in the content and characterisations more apparent. It stops being a prod and a poke, and starts taking itself rather seriously, especially when it just stops being a power-up shounen built around never-ending fights and shouting matches and turns into a government conspiracy anime.
Needless is not essential viewing, but it is for anyone looking to just have a good time. The gimmicky attacks, the fanservice, and the high energies make this one truly good watch, but its flaws and shortcomings make it a series that a more critical audience might dissect and destroy. But in its defence, there is no series like it that will get you pumped up and ready to shout “Engrish” attack names. At least it should be seen for those attack names. Nothing beats “Little Boy” or “Dean Drive Fox Hound”.
If you are looking for an action anime that seems to draw upon the story lines of many of the great anime of its genre (read: Gurren Lagann), but lacks the expected character development that is expected in any 24 episode series, more than 2 or 3 glimpses of what could be construed as an original plot, a lot of battles cut off in the middle of it, and a lot of panty shots, then this is your show. If you want a solid, at least somewhat original anime that manages to have a good mix of plot, action, and character development, you should stay away.
Apart from the lack of originality that this series exhibits, I would have to say that the two most annoying parts of this series are the completely obvious "twists" in the plots, and the fact that, in the middle of a large battle scene, everything will stop so that protagonists can figure out what the other side is doing, while the bad guys obligingly sit and watch them do such. Yes, this series does manage to have several "twists and turns," but when you can see most of them coming several episodes before they happen, they tend to lose effect.
The other thing that annoyed me most about this series was the sheer stupidity of some of these characters. When the main character managed to figure out someone's power (even though one of their partner's power was to FIGURE OUT WHAT ANYONE'S POWER IS) everybody was so shocked, even though it was obvious. While this character sat there and figured out what that person's power is, or their weakness, or the plan they needed to use, the bad guys just sat there, politely waiting for them to mount a counter attack. This annoyed me beyond anything else in the series.
In total, ignoring my three major grievances, this isn't a terrible series, and, if you're in the mood for a lot of action, this could be a good series for you to see.
DOES ITS BEST IN THE FACE OF MEDIOCRITY
As I watched Needless, I constantly thought that the first sentence of my review for it would be 'What the SHIT was this...?' That's not that I ever thought it was bad- per se. It's because Needless is so fucking crazy that I wasn't sure if it would ever so signs of sophistication. Boy was I surprised. What started as an average set up that I could describe in one setence to sound exactly like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann sans mecha ended up being an action packed tale that created it's own entity and a lasting impression on me.
Adam...FUCKING... BLADE! It's been a while since.... No, not a while, it's been since Kamina I've seen someone so manly and full of epic. Blade is downright hilarious, a lolicon priest with the ability to absorb anyone's powers. How do I put this... he's like Gintoki and Kamina combined in a giant bowl of testasterone! His antics are really gold, some of them caught me so unaware I narrowly avoided an asthma attack from laughter. That should clue you in though- some of the comedy is shock humor and quite a bit goes a bit on the farside so easily offended people should look elsewhere.
The other portion of the comedy is in how outright stupid (in a good way) Needless is. Attack names are the most rediculous I've ever seen, and damn is it funny. For some reason, shouting LITTLE BOY in english is the attack name for a fire punch. Yeah. On the subject of randomness, DAMN did Needless have an awesome 1st opening... seriously. Even if you don't end up watching this series give the opening a look at least.
Besides Blade, none of the other hero characters really hold up as interesting save for a few. Many of them are nothing but cutouts from stereotypes we've seen before, but I have a feeling that's what Needless was attempting to do. I liked the heroine, Eve and the Robotic loli Disc, but thats about all of them that aren't cutouts. But do cutouts really have to be so bad? Not in Needless' case. Most of the pointless Ecchi comes from the 'Pretty Girl Squad', which is essentially a 3 girl battalion of cutouts... and lord were they adorable. Dr. Gido is the definition of the 'Good Scientist', and I ended up loving him as a character too. Stereotypes are used effectively in Needless thus making it bareable and entertaining. Unfortunatly the same is true on the other side of the character cast, and the vast majority of Villains were bland and unoriginal. I'd go as far to say that only one of them was original, to be honest. If I hadn't made it clear, come to Needless for the action and the humor. It's not fucking Shakespeare.
While this show was random battle scenes wedged between various ecchi scenes, this changed at the climax of the series and for the last 5 episodes or so, I was truly absorbed. In the final scenes we finally get some depth into the good characters and many of our questions are finally answered, not to mention some really good fights and an awe-inspiring final battle. Personally, I liked Needless. But some people will not be able to wait till the end for it to 100% catch their interest. That's not to say the rest of the series is bad, but it's definatly nothing you haven't seen before.
Twenty four episodes of misery. I hated each second of this completely irrelevant anime. Every aspect of this anime was brain numbing and hard to watch, wait, well not every aspect, the storyline was probably the best part of the story, but still it was very, very poorly thought out. The story immediately begins with a random fighting scene in which only one person survives, Cruz Schild, and is rescued by a priest named Adam Blade. The story is set in a post third world war where people who are called Needless who has weird super powers are born from a place called The Black Spot which contains a large amount of contaminated materials. I think that is enough of the storyline, I do not want to spoil the miserable experience for any other person and frankly I just do not want to talk about it anymore.
The animation was, well, shit. The one thing I realized was that someone with an ear fetish had to have drawn this, because their ears were huge, no, gigantic in proportion with the rest of their features. Not that any of the other features on their faces made up for these deformed ears. It seemed as if the characters all had their own facial expression and it never disappeared from their face. Adam Blade always looks angry, Cruz always looks scared and Adam’s partner, Eve Neuschwanstein always looks like an idiot.
The background detail was not that bad, what I am really saying here is that it was good in a Needless way, which is mediocre.
Again, poor. The opening soundtrack was fast paced rubbish that made no sense what so ever, which seemed to fit perfectly with the rest of the story. The closing soundtrack was a girlish song that had no reference to Needless at all, rather it is almost like a advertisement for Needless: The Secret of Saint Lily Academy. Which has nothing to do with Needless itself.
The voice acting was always loud. It is almost as if the people thought shouting would make it into the perfect anime.
Cliché is all I can say, Adam is a bad mannered priest who smokes, Eve is the girl who seems to be in love with him and Cruz is the usual main character who is afraid of everything and anyone and cannot seem to find the courage to believe in himself.
The characters never develop in my mind, they are placed into the story as is, nothing more, nothing less. It is almost as if the viewer must guess where each character came from, and this pisses me off. At least they explain the power each Needless has otherwise the story would be impossible to follow for the normal human being. Everything about the characters remind me of how badly made this anime is, nothing about them is thought through, they were just thrown into the story, I almost feel sorry for them, because its not their fault for being badly developed.
They tried to make an anime that would they thought would be great. They took every recipe for a well thought about anime and through it into a blender, the end product? A disgusting mush of misery. Not recommended to anyone with a IQ higher than 90.
Needless is, as the name implies, needless. Needlessly violent, needlessly stupid, and needlessly likeable for some reason. It’s replete with action, comedy, and enough fan service to make Kokonoe Rin blush, but it comes across as almost a parody half of the time instead of something really trying. At least, toward the beginning. The end tries to take a more serious route and while it does succeed, it succeeds in giving us a cliche story that could have been left out and still maintain the integrity of the show. If there were no back story is could have been a parody or a comedy but with that background it seems like it’s actually trying to be something real.
It’s hard to classify Needless as anything because of this. It’s Shounen, but is it a comedy, an action story? While it can be both, it changes tone so fast you don’t know what hit you.
There is a story to this series, which I found strange at first because the series starts with what appears to be a very basic plot of an evil corporation full of super-powerful people fight a resistance of super powerful people. But later on we get a background plot of science experiments and creating god and all kinds of really thing biblical stuff that is trying to make the show sound smarter than it really is. And the problem with the story in the series is it follows the same basic plot as Trigun and Trinity Blood. Spoiler The good guy and bad guy are experiments, pretty much brothers. And they are both called Adam to go with Eve. Which is a lot like Cain and Abel from Trinity Blood.
While I can accept the biblical parts, it just seems needless (Ba-ba-ching). There’s also a thin plot about the main character, Cruz’s sister but none of it is really that great. The story is weak and there seems to be a bit too much of it toward the end when we’ve been exposed to fight scene after fight scene mixed with comedy, breaking the flow of things.
In other words, don’t come to Needless expecting quality story-telling.If it were to boil down to anything, Needless is the story of a bunch of people with powers in a post-apocalyptic world where they fight each other formulaicly for twenty-four episodes.
I had no problem with the animation. Characters looked a lot like those from Gurren Lagann which was a bit of a problem at first (Cruz=Simon)(Eve=Yoko)(Blade=Kamina). But it doesn’t matter, the animation is perfectly fine, though it isn’t amazing. It’s average.
I decided to watch the dubbed version and wasn’t surprised that there were quite a few voice actors who were god awful, including Cruz’s sister who had to have been played by a robot. I guess the main characters did competently but…you know. I don’t expect much from my dubs.
The first opening and ending song for the show is good, but the second opening and ending isn’t. Within the show, the heavy metal soundtrack is pretty good.
This is a typical screen-cap from this show.
Believe it or not, the characters in this show are average! There are a lot of characters but very few actually stand out. Blade is a lolicon priest who is probably the funniest character in the show, Cruz is an emo kid, Eve is a ditzy girl with big boobs. There’s a scientist who states the obvious or reiterates what somebody has just said.There are the girls of the Beautiful Girl Squadron, all of whom have no substance, though I like the seemingly mute lesbian one, Kuchinashi. The bad guy, Adam Arclight, is generic.
So, not much to talk about in this department.
It’s funny because she’s kind of mute! Ha…ha?
An anime that prides itself on violence, panty shots, and comedy? It has to be good right? Fight scenes are too damn long, and when you have a twenty-four episode anime, you don’t want to stretch out ten episodes as one fight scene in the same room. Seriously, from episode nine to nineteen or so the show takes place in a single room. It gets rather boring and so does the anime. It starts fast-paced and promising but ends rather dully. I heard that the fight scenes in this show were some of the best in anime and I would like to tell the person who said that to suck a dick because the fight scenes in this show were lame and basic. I was not impressed by this show at all, but it was a decent distraction. It had some good moments, a lot in fact, but it was just so trite and basic and as it continued it tried to inject story but failed.
Meh, it’s okay. If you like shounen, watch this. If you don’t, then don’t watch this.
I’m gonna give it a 4/10.
This is cause for fan service!
Main character Cruz infiltrates an all-girl school, disguising himself as a girl, in order to find his sister. All the female characters from the show are there and ready to show their panties and naked bodies to you. Lots of comedy gold as Cruz is made to hide his penis from everyone. One of the girls thinks it is a strange blister. He is found out to be a boy but not allowed to leave the school so made to stay after he finds his sister and join secret Idol classes where the girls learn to sing and dance on stage. He sings and dances with his sister at the end.
It is a beautiful, uproarious story sure to tug at your heart strings because we have all been in a situation where we put on a dress and infiltrate an all-girls school. There is enough fan service within twelve two minute episodes to keep you happy for ages if you are in the mood for some shaft waxing. It is super awesome spectacular awesome-sauce and you will enjoy it much!
(In other words, what the fuck was this, and why did I watch it?)
What a scathing review! Poor Kuchinashi was the only one left alive!