In the year 200X, World War III began. Special bombs destroyed parts of cities such as Tokyo, leaving decimation in their wake. Decades later, ground zero in Tokyo – an isolated section known as the Black Spot – remains an enigma. Its residents known as Needless possess strange powers such as the ability to control fire or telekinesis, and are constantly hunted down by Simeon, a large pharmaceutical company with sinister motives and Needless of their own to do their bidding. Young Cruz is part of a resistance to fight against Simeon and its Needless figurehead leader, Adam Arclight; but after the resistance is brutally killed by Simeon’s minions, he finds himself saved by a motley crew: Professor Gido, scantily-clad Eve and badass Blade. Together, the gang fends off Simeon’s attacks and tries to discover the truth behind the corporation’s actions. What is Simeon really after, and why do they desperately want to find Fragments?
Needless Review by tehnominator Thursday 21, 2010. Story: 7/10 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. Animation: 6/10 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. Sound: 5/10 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. Characters: 6/10 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. Overall: 7/10 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.
First Impression:I haven't even watched 10 minutes of episode 1 and I can already tell it's going to be one of THOSE shows. How do I know this? Character names revealed: Adam, Eve, Cruz Schild (Cross Shield). There is a mechanized murder machine designed to kill "Needless" and do you know what's it called? "The Testament". The first big damn hero to come through is a PRIEST. So, like Neon Genesis Evangelion, I know I'm in for some kind of Christian symbolism-laden series. Review:Okay, so I was totally right in my first impression. There's christianity everywhere, and it actually starts to annoy me. Adam and Eve are "created for each other", there's an evil corporation called 666, the big bad returns to the world through the 666 gate. Unlike NGE, which was totally a mind#$@! that I seriously doubt was intended for kids, Needless is a typical shounen anime with your typical shounen elements like extremely flat characters and superpowers. The superpowers are your standard class of superpowers: fire control, water control, gravity control, etc. and obviously someone's going to have the ability to copy other superpowers and it's going to be broken as all get-out and OF COURSE it'll be one of the main characters and likely the bad guy will either have it or have a morepowerful version of it. Lo and behold, shounen never lets me down. The characters are for the most part flat, and show no signs of development throughout the series. Actually, that's only partly true. You see flashbacks, and then you compare the flashback to the guy you see today and wonder, "Where the $#@! did someone go wrong?". You follow Cruz Schild, a powerless baby brother that lost his sister in episode one after which he is rescued by "a priest", though as a man who was raised Catholic, he looks nothing like what I would consider a priest. Also, none of the priests I know of go on suicide missions holding grenades, but maybe the Monty Python is strong with our priest. Our priest is a complete pedophile and a violent moron, par for the course. He's the "Adam" and his partner "Eve" is a complete airhead. So let's look at our shounen checkbox list. 1. Call to adventure via family death - check2. Moronic muscle dude - check3. Someone that likes little girls - check4. Female lead is a dumb broad - check There are other characters to fill out the board if you're playing shounen bingo. Obsessed with power, obsessed with money, the guy everything happens to because he was unfortunate enough to not make his saving throw on comic relief, evil group in control of the country, double-crosser, etc. I don't believe lack of character can break a show but plenty of character certainly makes it. But because this is shounen I shouldn't expect much. Hoohah. Can I also point out that the characters look like they're either made of jello-balloons or bricks? Unappealing and somewhat jarring. The fight scenes are rather plain. If turn-based combat ever entered the real world, this is what I would expect it to be like. What annoyed me the most was when they'd yell their powers every time they used them, and they'd use them like 5-6 times a fight so it's not like you're missing anything if they opted to not yell them the third time onward. In fact, I might even venture so far as to say that Needless suffers from DBZ syndrome, where you spend a disproportionate amount of time yelling your attack or just yelling. I'm rather disappointed that the powers were very generic. There was a bit of science in there which I really appreciated (physics major woot woot) though it wasn't prolific enough to make a standing impression.And actually, while we're on the topic of what annoyed me, PANTY SHOTS. THERE ARE SO MANY OBVIOUS SHOTS THAT WERE MADE JUST TO BE PANTY SHOTS. I get that it's supposed to be exciting(?)... actually I don't get that. But maybe that's because I'm a 21 year-old man watching a shounen anime. What about the story? The story feels a bit rushed. It's not terribly unpredictable, as there are hints of the double-crosser quite early in the show. There wasn't actually anything that made me spit-take my strawberry milk. Someone gets kidnapped and the big bad happens to throw a party at the place where the kidnapped is taken to. Rather convenient, and look! He also invited everyone to come with the consequence of not coming being DEATH. So everyone goes there to rescue the kidnapped and it's almost like stop the big bad is an optional side quest but not really because the series doesn't have enough episodes to be that developed. All that aside, there are some genuinely amusing parts of the show and while as a whole I think it really is just a kids show, there are some moments that were fun even for me. The story has a pretty decent foundation, and if the series were maybe twice as long, they could probably properly expand upon all of the little details that I thought could've make it great. The overall tone is light, and while the show may think it's being funny, it really isn't. But maybe that's the somewhat mature 21 year-old talking, since I most likely am about twice as old as the target audience. All-in-all, I say it's a weak show, not something that I'd watch again.
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