Anime Review: Needless (Ridiculous Collars + 12-pack Abs = OK)

Produced by Madhouse. Licensed by Sentai Filmworks. (2009)

Produced by Madhouse. Licensed by Sentai Filmworks. (2009)

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Synopsis:

Half a century has passed since World War 3. Japan was the target of massive bombing. Over time, people with supernatural abilities live and survive in the nuclear wasteland known as “the Black Spot.” Cast off by society, they are regarded as…The Needless! Can the Needless stand together to counter the threat of the Simeon Corporation? 24 Episodes. TV-15.

Review:

Needless was adapted into a 24 episode animated series by Madhouse in 2009. Like the original manga by Kami Imai, it is an outrageous blend of action, comedy, and science fiction.

One of the strongest facets of Needless is the colorful, exaggerated way it was animated. The style expresses the characters well, and many of them are flamboyant shonen stereotypes. The most noteworthy character for me was Adam Blade. Nicknamed “Mister Priest”, he is the loli-loving leader of the “good guys”. Mr. Priest and his friends become involved in many super-powered battles against the hierarchy of villains within the Simeon Corporation as the series progresses.

needless6

From Left: Adam Blade, Cruz Shild, Eve Neuschwanstein, Momiji Teruyama.

What some viewers may find enjoyable about Needless is that it can be classified as a parody of all things shonen. The heavy metal soundtrack that accompanies the characters as they “shout out” their moves, will get you pumped up! Both the opening and ending themes emphasize the action-packed/ fanservicey/explosive/all-that-is-machismo factor as well.

"If someone hits you on the left cheek...DO A PILE DRIVER WITH YOUR OTHER!!!" -Adam Blade

“If someone hits you on the left cheek…DO A PILE DRIVER WITH YOUR OTHER!!!” -Adam Blade

Unfortunately, while Needless started off strong, I had to push myself to finish it. This series settles into a long routine of Wrestlemania style one-off fights beginning around episodes #10-13. Here, plot progression became sparse, aside from a few flashbacks, until the ending arc.

Overall, the talent of the writers as well as their intent is questionable. If the script were to be taken at face value, it is ineloquent and amateurish. The characters break the fourth wall, the gags are repetitive, every facet of the show is painfully explained, and the plot twists are predictable–as if it were aimed at an audience of children. However, there remain traditionally adult elements such as fan service and excessive blood/violence.

needless5

Deal With It?

Is it possible the writers were being clever? If their goal was to take an Avant-Garde approach to shonen, they were quite successful. The lampshading in this series is so extensive at times, that it is as if the viewer is watching a real actor run through the motions expected of them in a series of this type.

Whatever route the producers took, Needless isn’t entirely unwatchable if you decide it’s not your thing. If you are a fan of shonen in general or are new to action anime, Needless could even be fun. If you are intrigued by the premise,  s-CRY-ed is a very similar title.

needlesscollage

*Available streaming on Netflix

About Anne's Anime Blog

I am an astronomical anime fan. I enjoy watching it, collecting figures & merchandise, assembling models, and attending conventions. California burrito glutton. Let's be friends:)

Posted on April 1, 2013, in Anime, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I’ll check it out for sure, do you have an account on anime-planet.com

  2. Good review. Lolicon? No thanks. You can dress it up in post-modern clothes and address it with as much irony as you like, I still find it a turn-off. I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest fan of shounen anime in general (although I do like Blue Exorcist) so it’s not aimed at me anyway.

    Seinen all the way!

  3. Good review, I was always interested in seeing the anime but never did.

  4. Not too hot on the lolicon bit, but I have added this to my “to do” list. Have you seen Steins;Gate? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

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