Our main male protagonist a.k.a. the best character in this anime, Hatake Kakashi Adam Blade.
The anime that replaced Clannad After Story in my queue list is Needless, yet another arbitrary anime I have downloaded. The 2nd review this year is for a 2009 anime, which will then challenge Wolf and Spice S2 for the ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ title. This anime is unique in few aspects, but embarrassingly predictable in others. Read on to see what I mean.
And this is his sidekick, perfect as a comedy outlet.
It has been few decades since Japan was walloped (again) by nuclear bombs in a fictional World War 3, and the country has pretty much returned to normal. But it is hard to ignore a huge black spot right smack in the middle of Tokyo, which is a remnant of one of those nuclear bombs. Strange people lives there and quite a few of them has inhuman powers. Those people are called Needless, and our main protagonist is one of them. Then a mysterious but powerful pharmaceutical company (why oh why it has to be a pharmaceutical company Japan?) decides to extend their operation right in the middle of the Black Spot, and their equally mysterious leader decides to do a ‘Needless Hunting’ (self-explanatory isn’t it). This eventually infuriates our protagonist, therefore a huge battle between two strong people is inevitable.
This anime reminds me a lot of another excellent 10 out of 10 shounen anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (abbreviated TTGL from this point) in more ways than one. But unlike TTGL which storyline is aimed towards younger audiences (elementary schoolers), the story in this anime is better mainly because it caters to the teen demographic (at least that’s what I like to think). Still, this anime barely has the great polish that TTGL has. What makes this anime unique/strange/interesting (choose whatever you prefer) is that the story is extremely short. Yes, the story in this anime is very short. The anime starts very well, with fast pacing and nice story development until the ending arc starts at EPISODE 8!
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This anime has 24 episodes, but with the way the story was presented, you would have thought that you are watching a 12-episode series. The storyline that precedes the event when the main male protagonist and his entourage raided the enemy’s headquarters to save the main female protagonist (kidnapped of course, what else do you think has happened) is quite good of course before one of the longest final arc in an anime series started. In any other shounen anime titles, an event like above will only happened two or three or four or even five episodes (rare) before the end, but here it happens a whooping 16 episodes before final episode. As a comparison, the most recent shounen anime reviewed here which is Kaze no Stigma only has its final arc to start 4 or 5 episodes before the ending (and I did say that anime spends a lot of time for its ending too).
These trio peddles plenty of lame and stale jokes but are good when it comes to fan-service.
So what can you expect in that extremely long ending arc? There are 4 episodes of poorly timed flashback episodes, 2 of them are back-to-back near the end of the series. Diving straight to a final battle between the protagonist and the antagonist does have its drawbacks, with the director having to use the flashbacks as a plot device to present some unexplained loose ends in the whole story. Generally I have no complaints about the contents of those flashbacks, but the same thing cannot be said for their timing, which happened right at important moments. There is also plenty of fighting, which makes up the bulk of the ending arc. Interestingly, the main protagonist spends about only 2 episodes (and I think I am generous there) fighting the final boss while his fight against the Pretty Girls Squad can easily triple that for the whole series. The priorities in this anime is somewhat perverted.
Two things that this anime has but TTGL lacks are fan-service and plenty of humor, but their qualities are mixed bag at best. The aforementioned Pretty Girls Squad are good at the former but bad at the latter. Funny scenes by the main male protagonist largely succeeded, but the repetitive ones done by the main female protagonist quickly become stale after 2 episodes or so. IMHO, fan-service in Saki are better than the ones in here. Character developments in this is probably the only thing not being affected negatively by the long ending arc. With all those fighting and flashback episodes, it is hard not to see any character developments here, especially for the main male protagonist. He is definitely the best character in this anime.
The hero's pack right before they raided the enemy's headquarters for the final battle, 16 episodes before the anime ends.
The character design of the main male protagonist is one of the main reasons why I compared this anime with TTGL. His look and mannerism is not far removed from Kamina. Unlike TTGL though, the overall character designs in this anime are a bit more mature unlike the former’s kiddy anime style. Black hairs are almost non-existent, while other colors are popular. White/silver is actually quite common, with the main male protagonist, his robotic flasher lolita companion, the main antagonist and one of his subordinates having that color, amongst others. Blue hairs are even more common, plenty of blue shades in this anime. The radiations from all those nukes must have done irreparable damage to Japanese DNA. Some mecha design are quite decent too. Definitely a positive point for this anime.
The law of Anime dictates that an event that has minuscule probability of happening, will definitely happen in an anime showing. If the said anime is a shounen, the odds are doubled.
Voice acting in this anime is excellent, with plenty of honorable mentions for the white-haired main male protagonist, that green-haired greenhorn who saved him from death in the first episode, the blue-haired main female protagonist, that blue-haired girl with magnetic powers and (yet another) the blue-haired girl who leads the Pretty Girls Squad trio. Also a positive point for this anime.
Just like TTGL, this anime’s OST is great but the same cannot be said for any of the OP/ED themes.
One of the humorous scenes that actually works.
The animation in this anime is great, but the ones in TTGL is simply more exciting and more variable. Fast-paced scenes are not affected in any way, except when the director will it to be (this is not a negative point). Choreography in this anime is better than the ones in TTGL though, with many good fighting techniques (and characters in this anime likes to do an Onmyou Taisenki and shout the name of their techniques when attacking). The awesome directing in TTGL cannot be matched by this anime; that 4 poorly timed flashback episodes count against the director here.
8 out of 10. The story is thin, but this anime is still a decent shounen title. The next anime I will watch is a sequel of an anime already reviewed in this blog before, and I have actually already started watching it. And no, it isn’t Clannad After Story.
This flashback scene reminds me of a similar scene from a certain very famous J-RPG.