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Needless: Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray review)

April 28, 2011 by  



“Needless: Collection 1” is an anime series that features action-packed battles, cool characters, violence, perversion, comedy, drama, fan-service…you name it!  There are so many things happening in this anime series but in a good way!  The anime series is colorful and vibrant on Blu-ray and the voice acting is well-done on both lossless soundtracks.  If you are looking for an action-packed anime series with a lot of fan service, definitely give “Needless” a try!

Images courtesy of ©Kami Imai/SHUEISHA-NEEDLESS PROJECT. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Needless: Collection 1

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition 16×9 HD Native, Dolby TrueHD English 2.0 and Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV 14 VLD

COMPANY: Showgate/Sentai Filmworks

RELEASE DATE: February 15, 2011

Originally Created by Kami Imai

Directed by Masayuki Sakoi

Series Composition by Satoru Nishizono

Screenplay by Satoru Nishizono and Yuki Enatsu

Music by Masaaki Iizuka, Tatsuya Katou

Character Design by Hiromi Kato

Art Director: Yuka Okamoto

Chief Animation Director: Kazuo Watanabe, Yoshio Kosakai

Anime Production: Madhouse Studios

Featuring the voices of:

Aya Endo/Luci Christian as Cruz Schild

Eri Kitamura/Brittney Karbowski as Eve Neuschwanstein

Takehito Koyasu/Andrew Love as Adam Blade

Asami Imai/Elizabeth Bunch as Solva

Emiri Katou/Serena Gonzalez as Disc

Hiroki Touchi/David Matranga as Adam Arclight

Kaori Fukuhara/Maggie Flecknoe as Seto

Kenji Utsumi/David Wald as Gido

Kentarou Itou/Rob Mungle as Momiji Teruyama

Kishô Taniyama/Leraldo Anzaldua as Saten

Mariya Ise/Carli Mosier as Aruka Schild

Megumi Toyoguchi/Taylor Hannah as Riru Rōkakuji

Minori Chihara/Raven Hand as Kuchinashi

Saori Goto/Jessica Boone as Setsuna

Yui Makino/Hilary Haag as Mio

They’re called Needless – mutants who wield amazing powers such as super speed, the ability to change form, and some, like Blade, the power to “learn” other opponent’s powers. It’s Blade’s greatest ability, but is it powerful enough to overcome his weakness for cute young girls in revealing little skirts?

 

In 2004, the manga series “Needless” was published for the first time on Shueisha’s Seinen magazine “Ultra Jump”.  Created by Kami Imai (also creator of “Katatsumuri-chan” and “Shirasunamura”), a total of eleven volumes have been published.  By 2009, “Needless” would receive its 24-episode TV anime adaptation courtesy of Madhouse.

The anime series would be directed by Masayuki Sakoi (“Kamen no Maid Guy”, “Spice and Wolf”, “Princess Resurrection”), series composition by Satoru Nishizono (“Duel Masters”, “Mazinkaiser”, “Naruto”, “Sgt. Frog”), character designs by Hiromi Kato (“6 Angels”, “CLAMP in Wonderland 2”, “Bush Baby”) and art background by Yuka Okamoto (“Kamen no Maid Guy”, “Princess Resurrection”, “Trigun”, “Ichigo 100%”).

And now the series has been released in America courtesy of Sentai Filmworks on Blu-ray and DVD.  Collection 1 features the first 12-episodes on 2 Blu-ray discs.

“Needless” takes place sometime in the 21st century when World War III has taken place all over the world and a power bomb was detonated.   Half a century later, the highly contaminated crater where the bomb was detonated became a black hole in Japan, known as “The Black Spot”.

Suddenly people from that black spot began to appear.  They were treated as undesirable from people of other cities because among those undesirables were people who were able to wield superhuman powers.  The ability to control these powers, fragments and these people with special abilities became known as “Needless”.

The series begins with Cruz Schild, a young boy running away with his sister Aruka.  Both have are wanted by the Simeon and are being hunted down by a Testament.  Aruka was able to save Cruz from danger but Cruz believes that his sister died in battle.

When Cruz was about to be hunted down, he is quickly rescued by the mysterious Adam Blade and Eve Neuschwanstein.  When it is explained that he is the last surviving person of the rebellion, Adam takes him in with their group (as a gopher).  But when word gets out to the Simeon that Adam Blade has rescued Cruz, other powerful Needless are anxious to take on Adam Blade and his group and kill them.

Leading the group of Simeon is Adam Arclight, a spitting image of Adam Blade who is a clone that was rejected and was supposed to be destroyed.  Because of that, he harbors a hatred towards Adam Blade (for being the successful clone) and hatred towards the scientists who created him.  Now he has created an empire in the Black Spot, having his Four Strongest of Simeon and other Needless scouring the land for other Needless.  His goal is to obtain Blade’s body because his own body is unstable from absorbing the powers of captured Needless, making him absolutely powerful.

“Needless: Collection 1” features Adam Blade’s group taking on various Needless who are on the Simeon side including the Simeon Girl Force but while traveling, the group recruit other Needless who are willing to join Adam Blade’s side and take on Adam Arclight and the Simeon Needless.

“Needless” features the following characters:

THE MISFITS (BLADE FACTION)

  • Adam Balde– A destroyer priest who lives in the church in sector.  He sports a metal collar with the character “079.AB” on his neck.  Adam has superhuman strength and endurance, a skeletal structure with a special metal known as “Orichalum” and a quick healing factor.  He also has the ability to learn an enemies ability and is a bit perverted.
  • Eve Neuschwanstein – Blade’s partner who is bad at names and is an excellent fighter.  She has the power to create a “doppelganger” and shapeshift into whatever she wants.  Her power can last long when she drinks an energy drink known as “Super Gel Dero Doro” because it carries 5000 kilocalories.  For some reason, the enemy is wanting to capture her.
  • Cruz Schild – A young boy who escaped with his sister Aruka.  While Cruz was rescued by Adam, his sister Aruka is thought to be killed.  Cruz  accompanies Adam and Eve in a gopher type of capacity.  Very smart for his age.
  • Gido – An elderly scientist who helps Adam and Eve.
  • Disk – A cyborg from Iron Mountain who has the appearance of a girl but she is actually 100 years old.  She has the power to scan enemies and learn their power and also measurements.
  • Momiji Teruyama – A flame Needless who wants to fight Blade to avenge his fallen comrades.  But when he mistakes Adam Blade for Adam Arclight, due to the damage he created during their fight and unable to pay for it, he is forced to join Adam’s group.

SIMEON UPPER MANAGEMENT (ARCLIGHT FACTION)

The main antagonists of the series.

  • Adam Arclight – Identical in appearance to Adam Blade, Arclight is the clone of The Second.  He also wears a metal collar which features the engraving “078.AA”.  Because his right eye and heart rejected the cloned cells of The Second, he is deemed as a failure clone and was supposed to be destroyed.  Instead, he made himself powerful and now hunts down Adam Blade and the other members of the resistance. (note: I have seen spelling of the last name as “Arclight” and “Arklight”)
  • Riru Roukakuji – A well-endowed woman who is one of the four strongest of the Simeon and is Adam Arclight’s right hand person.  She leads the Simeon Girl Force.
  • Mio – One of the members of The Simeon Girl Force.  She looks very young and helpless but in fact, her fragment power is enormous strength.
  • Setsuna – One of the members of The Simeon Girl Force.  Her fragment power is speed and is the leader of the group.
  • Kuchinashi – One of the members of The Simeon Girl Force.  Her fragment power is fragrance and is able to control a person’s brain and body functions when they inhale the fragrance she emits.  She is unable to speak and writes down what she wants to say.

VIDEO:

“Needless: Collection 1” is presented in 1080p High Definition.   Madhouse did a very good job with the animation for this film.  The character design for the series varies from sexy to action-packed craziness!  For a TV series, the character designs have a good amount of shading, the color palette is vibrant and the artistic backgrounds of a post-apocalyptic Earth was well-done! Even when you see vehicles or buildings, they are painted quite well, the backgrounds for not just the characters but vehicles and other objects are well-shaded.  And every character was drawn with emotion and detail as well.

I actually did a test to compare the Blu-ray and DVD version of “Needless” and the Blu-ray is so colorful and vibrant, I was quite impressed.  The DVD version actually had compression and I was pleased that none of that showed up during my viewing of the Blu-ray.  I did not see any distortions, artifacting, haloing, edge enhancement during my viewing of “Needless: Collection 1”.  Overall, solid PQ for this anime series!

AUDIO:

“Needless: Collection 1” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  Both lossless soundtracks were very good.  Would have loved for it to be a 5.1 or higher soundtrack but if you have a receiver, you can easily make all channels to stereo for a more immersive soundscape.  I watched the series both in English and Japanese and I felt that both were well-done.  The primary difference is that I sense a bit of “valley girl” in the English dub for some of the Simeon female warriors but for the most part, I think those who prefer to watch in Japan or English will feel the acting was well-done for both.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Needless: Collection 1” comes with the following special features:

  • The Secret of Saint Lilly Academy – Featuring the following six fan service driven short episodes: Infiltration (2:19) – Why is Cruz Schild dressed like a female student?; Short Shorts (2:19) – Cruz must continue to pretend as a girl while wearing bloomers; The Nurse’s Office (2:19) – Why is Kuchinashi laying naked next to Cruz (who is still disguised as a girl)?; Strip Rock-Paper-Scissors (2:19) – Cruz still in disguise, must take part in a strip rock-paper-scissors game; Swimsuit (2:19) – It’s a hot summer and the girls want to go swimming but how will Cruz maintain his disguise?;  Calvary Battle in the Water (2:19) – A disguised Cruz takes part in a swimming battle at Saint Lilly Academy of who has the rights to the pool.
  • Needless Information – Information on certain words used throughout the series.
  • Character Sketches – (3:02) Featuring character design sketches playing along with along with the opening theme music.
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs – The textless opening and ending theme songs.
  • Trailers – Sentai Filmworks trailers.

What a surprise “Needless” turned out to be!

Action-packed battles, cool characters, violence, perversion, comedy, drama, fan-service…you name it!  There are so many things happening in this anime series but in a good way!

Before I watched this anime series, I was looking at the cover artwork and at first, I felt this was going to be a softcore anime series.  Tons of panty shots, ripped clothing and the usual banality of titillating otaku action-anime series with female characters who battle.  In fact, I was expecting something along the lines of “Ikkitousen” but with killer weapons.

In fact, I was told that the manga series was different from the anime series in the fact that you do get more fan service in the anime and a few storyline changes but for the most part, the anime series was much more perverted versus its manga counterpart.

For the most part, you do get a lot of shredded clothing, near nudity, fan service.  And while the series does start out to be a more comedy/action-based anime series which tries to incorporate as many hilarious and perverted scenes as possible, the storyline starts to switch gears once you get to the 10th episode.  No more half-assed battles between Blade’s group and the Simeon Girl Force, things get serious to the point where characters are getting killed, impaled, you start to see more blood, needless to say, I was pretty shocked of how the storyline switched its tempo from lighthearted comedy to more dire circumstances and leaving the viewer wanting more.

Fortunately, “Needless: Collection 2” is available now on Blu-ray and DVD, so no need to wait!

As for the Blu-ray release, the fact that this release does have special features, especially the perverted “The Secret of Saint Lilly Academy Shorts” was rather amusing.  You also get sketches and the usual textless opening and ending theme.

But overall, “Needless: Collection 1” turned out to be one exciting series!  Yeah, it does have its share of perversion but there is a lot of action and the characters are quite fun to watch!  Especially to see the battle between both groups.  In some way, it did remind me a little of the CLAMP “X” anime film in terms of two groups battling it out and how things got dire quickly.  But of course the primary difference is that the film version of “X” never focused on perversion or comedy, “Needless” incorporates a a good amount of situations that keep the viewer interested.

If you are looking for an anime series that is action-driven but also has its share of comedy, perversion and fan-service, look no further, “Needless: Collection 1” on Blu-ray is for you!

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