Published by: Siren Visual (Australia)
Based on: The manga series of the same name by Kami Imai
Audio: English and Japanese Dubs
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Full Frame
Run Time: 280 minutes
Cost: $AUD 49.95 from the Siren Visual online store.
Classification: This title is rated MA15+ for Strong Animated Violence and Sexual References
My Blurb: This series really knows how to pack as much action into a series as possible, with each episode having some element of fantasy violence, alongside a varied cast of characters with varied strategies for each of them, all of which due to unique abilities. This series however has a large focus on fan-service, with panty shots in almost every episode, alongside the generic ripping of clothing and so forth. The design is simple, however goes well with the theme of this show, however the voice acting is varied.
Special Thanks: A special thanks goes to the PR team at Siren Visual for providing me with a review sample of this title.
At the conclusion of writing this review, I will have officially finished writing all the reviews for last months anime releases in Australia. Needless is your normal everyday action anime set in a unique semi-apocalyptic world, as you will see once you read the synopsis of the series. For those who dislike action anime but do not object to the needless addition of fanservice to a series, then you will be in luck, as there shall be plenty of it, from the flat chested to the busty. Anyway, as I am sure you are eager to hear my thoughts on the series, read on to get my impressions of it!
IN AD 200X, World War 3 began…
All of Earth’s cities became targets of bombings and were bathed in frightful red flames. Half a century has passed since then. The contaminated former epicenter is still isolated from the city of Tokyo, creating a hole in the middle of Japan common;y known as the Black Spot.
As time passed, people began to inhabit this wasteland. They were deemed unnecessary by those who lived in cities. Among these people were the ones who could command strange abilities – fire, wind, gravity… they had the ability to control these supernatural powers. Thus, those who possessed fragments were regarded as… THE NEEDLESS!
So, what is the storyline comprised of? Whilst I have never read the source manga before, this anime series at least comes off as an action series that is sometimes set in a sci-fi environment and other times post-apocalyptic as well as going between comedy and serious sequences, and the sheer number and level of fanservice scenes in this series actually puts Strike Witches to shame in some ways. As whilst Strike Witches involved no pants, at least the girls were almost guaranteed to keep their undergarments and shirts on at times, whilst in this series, they go as far as playing a “Lets ditch the clothes to lose weight” game. As you may be able to tell, this is a series that could be perceived as being a more fun series to entice people who might not be a fan of the genre, to watch it.
Whilst there is indeed fanservice aplenty in these first 12 episodes, that is not to say that there isn’t much of a storyline anywhere else. Every episode is filled with a fighting sequence, with the first few episodes introducing a “Character of the Day” where the main characters are introduced and developed, primarily in terms of their battle techniques and a brief overview of their history. In this series, every character is granted one ability, which can range from small things such as controlling a certain element to controlling gravity to being able to learn the skill of any other character. Whilst these can be overused in battle, they were implemented quite well and tried to diversify the way they used the skills, either through different use of the skills or through fanservice. As well, every character has some key aspect of their personality that is their downfall, such as Adam (Commonly referred to as Priest in the series) having a strong passion for the ‘loli’ type of character, Cruz who has strong hesitancy issues often due to an inferiority factor to more battle oriented downfalls such as Eve being unable to function for a long period of time without a high calorie soft drink. The battle sequences do draw out however, episode 12, the last in the set ends on a cliffhanger, however the same battle sequence was drawn out over several episodes, so those who like diversification in battles may be disappointed when it comes to watching a battle drag on, with an obligatory back-story episode alongside it.
This series is supposed to be more of a fun series then that of one oriented towards action anime fans, with the only significant indication of this being the classification, that states there is a level of sexual references in the series. If you are interested in watching a fun series, then you will find things to keep your attention, which I suppose is aided by the fact that not every character is a fighting character, infact, by the end of episode 12, out of all the “protagonist” characters, only five out of eight have any actual abilities in fighting, with one of the characters being able to hack into things, one character who doesn’t do much at all and finally Cruz, our main character who is exclusively human, however has no special abilities and mourns the loss of his sister who sacrificed herself for him. He does try to take a “Person of Logic” role, however this is only evident in two scenes during the entire series. Still, there is only minimal character development with the exception of what little what was shown in the first few episodes, and the only real character development is shown in an entire episode between Adam and two characters who at that point, only appeared late in the episode before. Still, with people able to turn their hands into drills, a pharmaceutical company that is evil (Geez, why is it always the pharmaceutical companies that are evil) and an all-girls squadron that seems to have overpowered loli members…. there should be something provided in this series as long as you arent after solid action.
The overall design quality of this series is a very mixed bag, with the quality being at best average, however the colour and clothing choices for the characters actually bringing up the overall impressions of the characters. For the character designs first, you will find that with the exception of Cruz and perhaps one other male, all males have the same clothing theme, which is to show off their bodybuilding figures and give the impression that they are big and strong. In terms of Cruz, he has a more youthful outfit that looks like something straight out of the game Phantasy Star, with it having a sort of futuristic appeal to it. The females are easier to describe, as whilst there are a lot of them in the series, they all have outfits that are either to draw attention to their loli-ness (Aka. School Uniforms or Childish outfits) or designed to show off their goods (Maid outfits or very skimpy battle uniforms). The one key factor of the female outfits is that they are easily rippable and open to any form of fanservice the series forces upon them….. topless, pantless…. pantyless…. or just the generic upskirt shot. The designs were overall colourful and whilst overdoing the unique hairstyles only seen in Japanese anime, it was fairly good. In terms of environmental designs, they were simplistic, but did the job well.
Modern Strange Cowboy by GRANRODEO
This is the “action” sequence of the series, and is actually of a really good standard. It has some good animation to it, alongside featuring all the main characters to some extent and there is not a single moment where the song does not remain bland or inappropriate with the animation.
Aggressive zone by Needless★Girls+
Starring what at the moment in the series,can be described as three of the primary antagonists in the show, comes this extremely fanservice ending which features everything from yuri to semi-censored nakedness. The simple fact is, this song could be deemed one of the primary reasons why you should watch this show somewhere where family members cannot see your television or computer monitor, as, just as I almost experienced whilst taking photos for this review, it might lead to some awkward questions. Despite my shock at this, it is actually one of the better endings I have watched because, unlike most ending sequences, it actually fulfills most of my criteria for one…
The music in this series was appropriate and was of more a J-Rock style, which is fair enough considering it involves quite a lot of fighting. The music was used well more or less, give the battles an edge and to set the tone, when the designs didn’t. The voice acting of this series is varied, however it was at best average. For the male characters, the voice acting was solid and had some good talent, especially Andrew Love (Other Series include Akio from Clannad) who did a spectacular job at capturing the badass attitude of Adam. The main issues were with the female voice cast. Whilst talent such as Brittney Karbowski did a very good job at capturing the attitudes and tones set by Eve, some voice actresses didn’t get the emotion I would have liked, especially Lesley Tesh who voiced Kurumi had a rather plain and uninsterested voice (The only character I have heard in a series scream “OH NO!” like she was holding a normal conversation with someone) and Elizabeth Bunch, who I have heard before and liked her previous voicings, has too deep a voice for the normal attitude of the character Solva.
As I did in my review of When They Cry Part 2, I would like to take the chance to review the packaging provided for the series. As usual, Siren Visual has included a slipcase that includes many of the main characters of the series on it and is overall a well designed slipcase. The cover of the normal DVD case has the minor characters Kurumi and Saten (Who only gets small mentions in the first 12 episodes) and whilst I would have liked it to be better, maybe with some more major characters on it or hell, even the three fanservice girls, it is still appropriate, especially as it will be stored within the slipcase. Now, here is the big issue. The information on the back of the slipcase and DVD case either does not match at times, or occasionally incorrect. For example, whilst the slipcase states there is 3 DVD’s within it and is only available for Region 4, the actual DVD cover states it only comes with 2 DVD’s (Correct) and is available to all regions. Whilst the region thing is a small issue to me as I am in Australia, and it would be problematic if we couldnt play an Australia-released version, I was wondering what happened to my missing third DVD. As well, there is a spelling mistake on the back synopsis “Half a century has pssed since then”. A few oversights between the two. However, the two DVD’s are well designed, with the first one having Seto and Solva on it, and the second having the three fanservice girls (Mio, Kuchinashi and Setsuna) on it.
As with most Siren Visual titles, there is nothing much in the way of extra content. As usual, they have trailers, but like When they Cry, they have a sizable collection of them, including: Durarara!!, Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne, Fist of the North Star, Perfect Blue, Tears to Tiara and Ghost Hound. They also have four Japanese promos trailers for the series.
More importantly now, is my Personal Opinion on the series. This series is sure to tickle the fancy of people who like comedic action series that sometimes take things over the top or alternatively, people who like seeing action series where the female characters get stripped and then remain like that for episodes at a time. To be honest, I must say I did enjoy watching this series, and whilst not even getting close to being one of my favorite anime series, does try and differentiate itself from the crowd a bit. I do eagerly await the chance to watch Part 2, coming out this July alongside Clannad: After Story – Part 2 and Tower of Druaga – Complete Series.
Character Development: C
OP/ED Themes: A
Voice Acting: C
Packaging Designs: B-
Personal Opinion: B
Overall Score: B