Anime Quick Information

Title: Needless #2
UK publisher: MVM Films
Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Studio: Madhouse Studios
Type: TV Series
Director: Masayuki Sakoi
Year: 2009
Running Time: 5hrs 0mins
Rate this anime:
Average Rating: 7

Ian Wolf's review

Ian Wolf scored this with 7/10. Disagree?

"...and with the bowels of the last priest let us strangle the last king." - Denis Diderot.

When I reviewed the first half of this series, I wrote that it provoked a range of feelings, namely "shock, worry, panic and discomfort, the last one coming from the main character: a man who dresses like a priest and has a lolicon fetish."

Much of what I said in the first part still remains, but it should be pointed out that there is a certain change in the second half which sparks other feelings. It has to be noted that there is a lot more to this series than first meets the eye, but the problem is that it keeps returning to base material.

The second half of Needless continues to show not-so-priest-like Adam Blade, a "Needless" who has the special ability to learn the abilities of the Needless around him, battling against the representatives of Simeon Pharmaceuticals. He, along with his allies, the clever-thinking human boy Cruz, genius Prof. Gido, half-robotic girl Needless Data, fire-powered Teruyama, money-grabbing gravity-controller Seto and power-mad magnetic Solva, try to break their friend, shape-shifting Eve, from a power that is brainwashing her.

The opening episode of this collection sums up much of what I like and what I dislike about Needless. There is one sequence in which Blade is battling against the enemy, which features a wonderfully dramatic although bloody sequence. It has to be said that it looks wonderful. But then, later on in the same episode, one of the enemies, the young girl Mio (who has the "Power" ability which gives her super-strength) tries to attack Blade by jumping down on him while carrying a very heavy teddy bear. Blade stops this by controlling the gravity around him to such a point that Mio slowly lands on him - by which I mean her butt lands on and smothers Blade's face. You cannot help but squirm at this sight.

However, all this perverted nature, especially the lolicon nature of it all, does have odd effects on you. I must confess that at times I found that the whole thing so ridiculous that I ended up laughing at it, which as someone who also works as a comedy critic I can tell you is a very odd and unsettling kind of laugh. You find something funny, but you know you should not. The thing is, on the subject of fan service, I have always argued that if you do feature it, it should only either be a tiny amount or a lot of it. This series does prove my point. The problem is that all the girls are so young that you feel conflicted at the same time.

It should be pointed out though that the amount of fan service in this half is less than in the first. For starters, most of the fight that occurs at the beginning of this collection is not with the girls. Also, three of the episodes are flashbacks, one of which is of Cruz and does not feature Blade, and the other two feature a younger version of Blade before he became the pervert we now know.

Then after the fight concludes most of the action is fan service-less as it features a battle between Blade and the head of Simeon, Adam Arklight. This too possesses a problem, but this is because of the comedy fan in me. Whenever I hear the name "Arklight" I keep thinking of Arkwright from Open All Hours. I keep waiting for him to stutter but he never does.

One issue I do want to mention in this article though is that this series is not as dumb as it would appear on the surface. For one thing there are all the references to Christianity. There are characters called Adam and Eve, Blade dresses as a priest and carries a Bible, Simeon is run by a group of people called Triple 6 (which is a reference to the Number of the Beast) and the most powerful Needless in all history is called "The Second", a reference to the Second Coming. If the series was just lolicon and shonen then you could easily dismiss it as rubbish but this deeper layer, the more powerful animated sequences, and the emotion of some of the characters go through, give it more credence.

Concerning the production, this DVD has both subtitles and a dub, with subtitles taking precedence. The extras include clean opening and closing sequences, as well as a 12-part series of two-minute shorts called "The Secret of St. Lilly Academy", which is set in an all-girls school in which all the girl characters are students or teachers, with Cruz pretending to be a girl to find his sister. All of the episodes mainly feature fan-service, most of them concerned with Cruz trying to stop the others from finding out he is a boy - these sequences again feature those unsettling laughs caused by the fan-service from young girls. The main one of these being Mio seeing what Cruz passes off as a "blister". Because she has never seen such a thing (it is never shown on screen but you can guess what it is), she tries to cure it by rubbing cream on it. Again, it is creepy, but so impossibly ridiculous you cannot help but giving a twisted giggle.

Having watched this series, it has its problems, but if you can stomach them then you will probably enjoy it. One problem that should be mentioned is that Needless is an adaptation of a manga that is still being written, so the true ending and storyline have yet to be revealed. Part of the problem is that it has not been released in English. Unless a publisher translates it, this will have to do.

Screenshots (click to pop out)

Review Information

Score: 7 out of 10
Review By: Ian Wolf
Date Published: Sat, 16 Feb 2013
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