Needless may seem, at first blush, to be a by-the-numbers fighting anime primarily meant for kids or teen boys, in the same vein as Dragonball Z. However, this is anime, as in, a Japanese cartoon, and so it deviates from that in ways which are far from appropriate for children. Not only does the violence get bloody and horrifying, but… well, it has the other kind of not-meant-for-children content in overwhelming abundance.
It feels like it should be (or should have been) a kids’ cartoon, but it really isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. For people of appropriate maturity, it can remain oddly pleasant, a fun romp through what is basically a fighting game like Mortal Combat come to animated life. Just be prepared for less brain fodder and more blood, panty shots, and nudity. And explosions. So many explosions.
The story of Needless is, basically, Tokyo suffered a horrible tragedy during World War 3, which somehow gave rise to people with superpowers. They seem to primarily dwell in the most desolate area in Japan (instead of in luxury in the city), so a pharmeceutical company means to take over the area and use them to create so-called “gods” they can control or something like that. People don’t like being used this way, like fodder, so a number of them resist. Much of one resisting group is wiped out and their sole survivor, Cruz Schild, is rescued by a “priest” named Adam Blade, whose superpower is to copy other superpowers. Together with their friends and comrades they fight to survive and drive the villains away.
All in all, there weren’t many surprises in this show. Some, yes, but not many. Mysterious connection between the main hero and villain? No surprise. Sudden rescues from dire circumstances by new allies? No surprise. Villain is insane and has aims of total destruction and domination? No surprise. Seriously, I was more surprised when we learned that Eve was actually the same age as Blade (they don’t look like it) than I was with the “big reveal” that Cruz’s sister was actually an enemy spy. Saw that one coming a mile away.
The fights, even, aren’t all that epic. For having so many lethal superpowers, very few people actually die or even suffer properly serious injuries. And the combat is always interrupted before, during, and after by a lot of dramatic talking and expressions. It was pretty cool watching Cruz prove pivotal as the brains of the outfit, but they pretty much overdid even that. Yes, Needless, we know, it’s not what you got but how you use it, we get it already.
And then, as I said, there’s the sexual content, which is easily my least favorite part of the show. There is a disturbing image or two, though such lasts only a moment. Mostly, it’s how the girls are always in risqué outfits that are torn or removed in pieces, having their panties shown, even using their butts and crotch in combat of all things. Oh, and most them are obviously underage. One, especially. And Blade quite clearly loves little girls to the point that it’s used as a joke whenever he prepositions, makes advances, or even sees an adorable girl. It’s hilarious, but still a little creepy, ya know?
So, with a predictable, overly dramatic plot, less than stellar fights, and inappropriate content, is there anything good about Needless?
…actually, surprisingly… yes.
The entire show is basically a satire. It’s often dark, with unsettling moments, perhaps, but still, the humor value is the main selling point of the show. Between the colorful characters, with all their antics, and breaking the fourth wall, it’s a fun, hilarious show to watch. These are clearly not your typical heroes and typical villains!
As such, even if I dislike certain parts of the show, it’s hard to hold such against it. While part of my brain keeps trying to object, I still end up enjoying most of it.
Heh, maybe this is my guilty pleasure anime. 😉
Oh, I know! The texture of Needless is like if Deadpool were made to be PG-13 instead of R!
And I love the voice cast! It’s chock full of favorites of the industry!
So, I just spent most of what I just wrote ragging on the show, but that’s more of a caution, so you know what you’re getting into. If it floats your boat, go for it!
Needless is a socially-reckless satirical action children’s-style fighting anime for older teens and grownups who just want to sit back, eat popcorn, and let their brains melt for awhile in a sea of explosions, gore, and inappropriate panty shots and slightly-censored nudity, and laugh while it happens.
Rating: …don’t judge me, ok? 7 stars out of 10.