Needless – Chapter 114 (Finale)

needless-114-everyone-cast_of_characters-color_spread-finale-reunion-cruz-blade-eve-mio-setsuna-kuchinashi-disk-seth-solva-teruyama-saten-aruka-arclight-riru-uten-kafka-gido-kasumi-needless_foreverAnd so, with this final chapter, the first half of Needless comes to a close.

As with any finale, Needless 114 is and will be met with a variety of emotions and reactions among its fans, especially since the manga is ending quite abruptly after 10 years of serialization.  For some, the response might be simple and straightforward, but for many, it will be complicated and conflicting, particularly for those still asking those unanswered questions or wanting just the slightest bit more.  For me, being in the latter group, the Needless finale does leave me with mixed emotions.  On one hand, the developments in these final chapters answered numerous questions, connected many loose story points together, gave the series a conclusion that truly unified the manga, its concepts and its story, and presented it in a way that’s ready to launch Needless into its continuation, Needless 2.  On the other hand, there’s just that lingering sensation of feeling unsatisfied with this culmination, that these final chapters were rushed and that the manga didn’t end the way that it wanted.  Or that it deserved.

The main contrast between the positive and negative emotions surrounding the final chapter of Needless can be primarily divided between what happened in this chapter and how it happened.  To me, I feel entirely satisfied with the content of this chapter and how it ended its story.  This final chapter was able to conclude the present storyline while also answering some of the most pressing questions of the series, both of which are arguably the most significant responsibilities assigned to the finale. When evaluating a finale by those two standards alone, Needless was able to accomplish that.  Of course, there are plenty of questions still remaining in a series such as this, especially those revolving around Cruz which still need to develop and be resolved.  However, with the most pressing issues currently being between Blade and Eve, the finale was able to accomplish that.  Furthermore, the finale was able to unify the stories and characters of Blade and Eve together in a way that sets the foundations for Needless 2 in a logical manner.  Furthermore, it can be stated that of all the questions and queries still lingering unresolved at the end of Needless, that we can have faith in Imai Kami eventually revealing their answers but in Needless 2.  After all, he had done an excellent job with the story of Needless, as evident with my high opinion of this ending.

The main issues that I have with Chapter 114, however, are derived from another issue entirely: the storytelling.  To me, manga are hardly the best medium in which to narrate and describe a story.  One such reason is that a serialized manga is constricted and often compromised by other factors, such as the number of pages, deadlines, illnesses and other factors caused by the magazine or its publishers.  As a result, these final chapters of Needless felt rushed compared to how the story was narrated previously.  For example, the pacing, progression, comedy and fanservice felt entirely different between the Eve’s Story arc and the City arc following Chapter 100.  In the Eve’s Story arc, developments did not progress without appropriate or thoughtful dialogue nor did the fights end too quickly or without thoroughly establishing the characters and their cause.  In the City arc, plot developments occurred and were resolved almost instantaneously or they were cut-away from suddenly.  The fights felt disjointed and felt too quick and easy, as though the effort of battling between two super powerful beings was ignored or forgotten.  And though I did enjoy the actual developments of these chapters, the plot was often dumped on us in the form of lengthy expositions and monologues, which is contrary to the style of storytelling from previous arcs which focused more on actions and fighting than talking and flashbacks.  It almost feels as if there were some external forces at work here, putting pressure and restrictions on Imai Kami’s storytelling that reduced the ‘would-be’ conclusion of Needless from many more chapters down to what we received.  Hell, it has happened before with some of his Needless one-shot manga that occurred prior to the Needless serialization.  So with that, I have an uneasy feeling that the finale to Needless was not the proper, encompassing finale that Needless deserved.

However, in the end, my overall opinion of the finale is a positive one.  One of the main reasons why I have a positive impression of this chapter is that I am satisfied with how Needless 1 will connect to Needless 2.  To have the sequel already beginning in the final moments of this chapter fills me with joy, optimism and enthusiasm for when Needless 2 will begin this series again.  Knowing these details and seeing all the various loose ends be connected together (and the return of that memorable Needless humor) leaves me with hope that Needless will return to its origins when it makes its return.  As with any finale, the ending always has different pacing and developments compared to the beginning and middle of a story, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see that these climactic chapters of Needless were somewhat different from the middle of the series.  And of course, with any fan, they fall in love with the beginning or middle of the series, so any deviation from that format or style will be met with mixed emotions and reactions, just like this finale for Needless.  Nevertheless, when Needless returns in the form of Needless 2, I’ll be as eager and enthusiastic and emotional as ever before.  I can only hope that you, as a fellow fan of the franchise, after reading 114 chapter of Needless, are right there with me when Needless makes its grand return.

 

**Warning: spoilers below**

As for my thoughts on the specifics of this chapter, I will admit that I disappointed to not see Setsuna or Kuchinashi make an appearance here.  I would’ve thought with the two appearing as monsters, transformed due to the tainted cells of an Angel and being controlled by Black Attraction, that we would have seen some resolution with their characters after being returned back to normal by Blade’s Almighty.  Not only that, but I would have expected some resolution between Setsuna, Kuchinashi and Mio, especially since we saw the trio walking together through the halls of the Simeon hunting down Cruz.  To see Mio just leave with her new friends is not surprising, but I wish there was some dialogue between the two parties, especially since the three are my top three favorite characters.  And while on the subject of my lingering questions, I wonder what happened to Kasumi.  She was wheeled into the room in her wheelchair, in a comatose state, and seemed to disappear or be ignored for the remainder of the manga.  Her role was absolutely essential for Gido’s character, yet we never really had any answers to her character besides appearing very briefly a few chapters ago.  And what ever happened to Ishiyama and Triple Six?  And let’s not even get started on Cruz who has about 100 questions of his own that still need to be answered (though, admittedly, you knew there never was enough time to answer even half of Cruz’s questions in the City arc).  My point here is that, while I did appreciate the ending with Blade and Eve combining to defeat Saten and then forming the protagonist of Needless 2, Adam Neuschwanstein (though still called Blade in Chapter 114), I wish there was more room to answer all these unresolved questions in another chapter or epilogue.  These are the specific reasons why I felt so unsatisfied with the finale of Needless and why I felt that these chapters were rushed due to external constraints and pressure.  I’d love to see more information on the series soon and that may just occur with an article titled “Needless History” coming out in next month’s Ultra Jump.  Hopefully that will have some of the answers I, and other Needless fans, are looking for.

As for my other general impressions of the chapter, I absolutely love the color spread to begin this chapter, with just about every character appearing together for one final moment of glory.  To see everyone there, after 10 years of Needless, is really a special treat for anyone who has read the entire manga.  All those faces, all those memories, all those jokes and knowing just how far the manga has come is really special.  I truly appreciate that as a gift for the readers and fans of Needless.  As for the remainder of the chapter, there were some spectacular double-page spreads here that really highlights the mastery of Imai Kami’s art style.  These drawings were very clean and clear, really showing a high amount of effort and detail put into this final chapter.  And while the comedy had been reduced and minimalized during the climax of Needless, this final chapter saw the return of that familiar and unforgettable style of comedy.  The final chapter didn’t have too much in the way of ecchi material, not really any different from the other recent chapters with torn clothes, visible panties and general nudity, but it was more tasteful and tactful (and meaningful) in this chapter which allows it so serve a greater purpose.  Then again, Needless has always found a way to make everyone’s panties important or an ecchi be somewhat meaningful, so it shouldn’t be too surprising to see the same thing done here.  Still, it’s great to see something like that final joke being the end to Needless.  But even better than that was probably the double-page spread right before it, with our new set of heroes setting out and ready to begin Needless again whenever it makes its revival.

I guess from here on out, the only thing left for us, as fans of the franchise, is to keep our eyes on the news and wait for an announcement for when Needless 2 will begin again.  I might do another, more encompassing review of the Needless manga soon, but besides that, it looks like this is the last I’ll have to say about Needless for an unspecified amount of time.  The only thing I have left to say, besides thanks for reading this far into my review and thoughts on Chapter 114 of Needless, is that I hope you enjoyed Needless and will continue reading it when Needless 2 starts! (older versions of pictures here and here)

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  1. #1 by itran1 on July 10, 2013 - 12:50 AM

    Awesome! I hope that 2014 announcement is about needless 2!

    • #2 by avvesione on July 10, 2013 - 11:19 PM

      I’m hoping the same thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he Imai Kami wanted to try something different (and something short), before returning to Needless. That being said, since his next work will be in Ultra Jump, you figure it should be Needless 2.

  2. #3 by Cruz Excahm on October 22, 2013 - 12:34 AM

    I still wonder if Cruz is able to use is fragment with dont using is hands because aparently that what he did to not be killed by Arclight no?

    So many questions left but feel satisfied with the ending.

    • #4 by avvesione on October 22, 2013 - 9:22 PM

      There is some consensus among Needless fans that what happened between Cruz and Arclight was not related to Shield of Aegis but to something else entirely. Remember that Saten always had a particular interest in Cruz from the start, yet he was surprised to learn that he held the final Stigmata. This leads me to believe that there’s something else special about Cruz beyond that and that the ending with Shield of Aegis was a convenient way to satisfy the audience while leaving material for Cruz to develop in Needless 2. Furthermore, Cruz’s Shield of Aegis was developing throughout the second half of Needless, so it wasn’t Shield of Aegis that fully activated when Arclight was trying to kill him. Instead, it must’ve been something else, especially with Arclight noting the difference in his eye color, too which was never addressed again with Cruz’s character.

      To me, there’s more to Cruz than Shield of Aegis which stems from the event you noted. What it is exactly, we don’t know yet since it seems to be reserved more for Needless 2 than Needless 1. Whatever it is though, will probably be vital to the story going forward and help explain why Saten had such an interest in Cruz when he never knew about Shield of Aegis.

      • #5 by Cruz Excahm on December 14, 2013 - 12:08 AM

        thinking about that what happened to all the Stigmatas marks?

        • #6 by avvesione on December 14, 2013 - 12:12 AM

          What do you mean? Are you referring to Shield of Aegis in general or all 12 together?

  3. #7 by Richard Dean Smith on November 3, 2013 - 4:43 PM

    So there WILL be a continuation of the story? I was really worried cause they kind of “ended” the manga on a unfinished note and since I live in America I don’t get a lot of the news that most reader’s get so I really have no idea of new stories that are being released until they are actually released online then several months or years later appear in stores in my area. I did a little research and what little I pulled up seemed to indicate that Cruz/Yamada would be taking a bigger role in the continuation. Any truth to that?

    • #8 by avvesione on November 3, 2013 - 5:23 PM

      Yup, everything that’s been published now has only been the first ‘half’ of Needless. The second ‘half’ or the continuation will be titled “Needless 2″, and it has been referenced numerous times over the past 10 years including as recently as Imai Kami’s (the manga’s author) interview with Ultra Jump published last month. Imai Kami planned it from the start that there would be two halves to the manga with the first half staring Adam Blade and the second half staring Adam Neuschwanstein (who was formally introduced in Chapter 114), so this isn’t anything random or recent and also helps explain why the manga ended the way it did without any resolution over Cruz’s character.

      Right now, Imai Kami is taking a break from Needless since he’s been working on it since 2001 or 2003, depending on when you start counting. He’ll return to Ultra Jump in early 2014, meaning we might hear some news on his next work whether that’s Needless 2 or something short while he finishes writing the story or whatnot. However, he does plan on continuing Needless sometime soon.

      In case you’re curious about the chronological order of events in the Needless timeline, including one-shots and doujinshis, here’s a picture from Imai Kami’s website documenting everything: http://avvesione.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/needless_timeline.jpg

    • #9 by Cruz Excahm on December 20, 2013 - 6:22 AM

      @Awesione
      All 12
      i mean since the portal where angels came out was closed shouldnt mean the only option to Adam to become all-mighty relies on geting all Stigmatas?

      • #10 by avvesione on December 20, 2013 - 4:34 PM

        Well, Blade did become the Almighty after he consumed part of the Angel, then memorized the twelfth Stigmata for him, the Fifth Wave. The portal was still open when he became the Almighty since the Angel was still there. However, once the portal began to close, they claim he began to lose his powers. I’m not sure gaining (or regaining) all 12 Stigmata would allow him to become the Almighty again since it seems to rely on the amount of Eden Seed flowing through the portal.

        Then again, the story isn’t exactly clear on this, so it’s almost impossible to be exactly right on this given what we know and what we’ve seen.

        • #11 by Cruz Excahm on January 5, 2014 - 11:55 PM

          Yeah now that i think thse stigmatas seemed to work more for learning the fragment and like a kind of shield against them from what i see from the Angel Arclight.

          Also a friend of mine uploaded a some nice scans from that last sketch of thet “Magical Yamada” and i cleaned the image.

          http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2014/002/5/6/needless___yamada_magical_by_excahm-d70j4f7.png

        • #12 by avvesione on January 12, 2014 - 5:54 PM

          Maybe they could’ve been for that purpose but there were Stigmatas on the 12 Needless, so they weren’t there just for learning alone.

          Also, nice image you have there of Cruz. You did a great job of cleaning it up. Thanks for sharing it.

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