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Needless: Collection 2 (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray review)

May 6, 2011 by  



“Needless: Collection 2” (The final twelve episodes) continues the action, fan-service and perversion of the series that fans enjoyed from the first half.  Much more deeper, much more action, “Needless: Collection 2” reveals how the Adam’s came to be, what happened to Cruz’ sister and the fate of Blade and the team.  Recommended!

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

TITLE: Needless: Collection 2

DURATION: Episodes 13-24 (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: April 12, 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

Adam Arklight and his band of super-hotties are ready to take over the world, but not if the macho, mutant hero Blade has anything to say about it. Still, it’s tough when your opponents are ridiculously cute girls in really sexy school uniforms. But with this much at stake maybe even Blade can keep his mind on the job and his eyes on the prize. (Yeah, right.)

 

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 feature the first 12 episodes, was released in Feb. 2011, Collection 2 features second half of 12-episodes on 2 Blu-ray discs.

“Needless” Back-Story

“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: Collection 2” kicks off where the last episode ended with the Simeon Girl Force nearly slaughtering everyone in Adam Blade’s team thanks to a Simeon controlled Eve.  As everyone thought they were able to save Eve from mind control, it was all a ruse and with Eve’s doppelganger technique, she was able to nearly impale everyone.

Meanwhile, Cruz learns the truth of what happened to his older sister, Aruka Schild and we learn more about the past of Adam Blade, Adam Arclight, Eve and Saten.

This all leads to a final, long-awaited battle between Blade vs. Arclight.

“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.
  • Dr. Gido – An elderly scientist who has helped 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.  She is often called “Stripes” by Blade because she wears striped underwear.
  • 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.
  • Saten – One of Arklight’s four strong Simeon and his right hand man.  He seems to have his own agenda and may have feelings for Eve.
  • Riru Roukakuji – One of the four strong Simeon and the leader of the Simeon Girl Force.  Known for her power “Psychokinesis” and also being well-endowed.  She is deeply in love with Adam Arclilght.

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 2” 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 and actually for this series, I enjoyed the English dub over the Japanese vocal track.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Needless: Collection 2” comes with the following special features:

  • The Secret of Saint Lilly Academy – Featuring the following final six fan service driven short episodes as Cruz continues to live in an all female dorm room, disguised as a female student.
  • Needless Information – Information on certain words used throughout the series.
  • Production Sketches – Featuring production 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.

When I reviewed “Needless: Collection 1”, I talked about how this fan-service anime series took me by surprise because aside from the fun and risque situations that the characters find themselves in, by episode 10-12, things became more dire, more bloody, violent and a little dark.

Here we are with “Needless: Collection 2” continuing the storyline of what happened to Adam Blade’s team after a mind-controlled Eve who is with the Simeon Girl Force, has literally impaled many members of the team.  And because of this, I felt the anime series really was a shocker.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the viewer), not many people stay dead in the series.  There are many who die, are brought back to life and in the second half, it seems to repeat itself quite a bit that I was a wee bit disappointed because I found myself asking… “Does anyone ever stay dead in ‘Needless’?”.

Aside from the dying and resurrections, a positive of the second half of the series is we get to learn more about what really happened at the resistance with Cruz and Aruka.  And what really happened to Aruka.  We are also taken to the distant past to learn about how both Adam’s and Eve and a few others were developed and how Dr. Seto played a part in the development of Blade, Arklight and Eve.

And there are other twist and turns along the way which leads to the final battle against Adam Arklight.

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 production sketches and the usual textless opening and ending theme.

The second half still continues to showcase plenty of panty shots, so those who love anime series with plenty of fan service will no doubt enjoy “Needless”.  I will say that the first half was a little more risque compared to the second half of the series.

While I did enjoy the whole entire series, and while the first half of the series was very exciting, the second half was still a very entertaining second half with a lot of action (yes, more action than the first).  If there were two things that irked me a bit though with the second half is that no one really stayed dead.  I would have felt the series would have true impact if characters stayed dead and not being constantly revived.  The other is how the series ended.  While, the series does give closure to how things end, I wished a little more time was given to how the series would close out.  I felt that too much was crammed in for the final minutes of the series.

But I can understand why the female characters were constantly revived as these characters, with their scantily-clad outfits, I wouldn’t be surprised if the “Needless” figures are quite popular in Japan and that many otaku have become fixated on a certain character.  The finale still provides closure, I just wanted a bit more storyline.  But I can easily say that these two collections of “Needless” were exciting, fun and I found myself watching episode after episode because they were enjoyable and addicting.

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 and 2” on Blu-ray is for you!

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