Archive for category Manga
12 Days of Anime (2013) – Day 1 – The Final Chapter of Needless, the End to my Favorite Manga and the Tale of my Anime/Manga Revolution
On May 19, 2013, the June issue of Ultra Jump debuted as any normal issue of a mangazine would. However, this particular issue was noticeably different with an announcement following the 113rd chapter of Needless stating that next month’s chapter would be the final one. Without any preparation or any proper warning, the sudden and abrupt ending was only a month away. The announcement began to explain the accelerated pace of the last few chapters and the conclusions of many loose ends, but with so much more remaining and the peculiar developments of late, especially some of the absolutely shocking events in 113, you wondered just how the manga could end with an unfortunate amount of unanswered questions. But one month later, Needless 114 debuted and so ended the serialization of my favorite manga.
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.
Earlier this year, the 100th chapter of Needless debuted, a remarkable milestone for any manga, especially for one that is published monthly. Not only did the chapter serve as a landmark for the manga itself, but it corresponded with the crowning achievement of the series protagonist, Cruz Schild, commonly known as Yamada. As Needless has progressed through these past nine years, the story has evolved into one that emphasizes the growth and maturity of its central, most-dynamic character. It has literally become the story of a boy becoming a man (while dressed as a girl), and the events and adventures over the entire manga easily demonstrate the greatest exhibition of character development that I have ever witnessed in my limited history of anime/manga and is a viable candidate for the greatest of all-time.
As you may already know, I am an avid, enthusiastic follower of the Needless manga and have been since soon after I began watching the anime. Unfortunately for me, Needless is published monthly in Ultra Jump, a manga magazine that is sold in Japan and not available overseas. However, after various situations and circumstances, I decided to research my options and learned of way to order a subscription to Ultra Jump despite living outside of Japan. The outcome of this subscription to a manga magazine has unquestionably influenced how I read and enjoy manga and has allowed me to discover numerous new manga that I now find myself interested in.
Today marks the return of the 12 Days of Anime, the series of posts recounting and detailing the twelve greatest moments, influences or events of the year in regards to my anime/manga life. Over the next twelve days, ending on Christmas Day, I will have a special post documenting some exceptional and unforgettable thing that happened to me this year in hopes of sharing this cherished memory with you and adding a bit of personal touch that otherwise remains absent from this blog. Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in this tradition and enjoy the fun and celebrations.
In late 2011, my family was planning a vacation to Thailand, the first trip to Asia in my life. During the planning stages, I took the initiative to see if we or I could spend some time in Japan either heading in or going home. Since the Thailand portion of my trip was being paid for, I was informed that this excursion would need to be financed by myself but that I could leave a day early to fit it in. With these circumstances in place, the only chance at visiting Japan was a 22-hour period between arriving from Bangkok and departing to Seattle. It didn’t even take me a second to decide nor did I even look at the estimated bill; I leapt at the opportunity and this… this is my adventure:
Needless is innovative and creative, especially in its storytelling. Throughout the manga, there have been countless examples of where character development or story progression have been told or shown in a way that directly generates interest, creates suspense and surprise or is just unanticipated fun and amusement (for example: Kuchinashi). And of all the methods utilized, the most innovative might be how Needless has unveiled its past. Rather than relying solely on flashbacks or lengthy exposition, Needless has decided to show us its past through a variety of diverse means and styles. And rather than reveal everything about the past together, it’s been fragmented into various segments, allowing the manga to answer the immediate concerns while raising other questions to create further intrigue and mystery. And with another new style presented in this chapter, it’s time we recognize a few of the brilliant storytelling techniques employed in Needless.
There is a line that separates good and evil but, depending on your perception and your circumstances, the line may be displaced, blurred or somehow obscure and therefore indiscernible. Within Needless, this line has shifted, slanted, curved and distorted to show that the characters are not accurately bound to the traditional labels of “good guys” or “bad guys”. And because of this ambiguity regarding these ethics, it has allowed the characters to freely switch and flip side given their personality and the situations they find themselves in. In fact, it’s rather difficult to tell who’s what anymore besides the few central characters at the heart of the story. And because of this inability to distinguish good from evil and vice versa, it has accounted for numerous surprises, remarkable character growth, several entrancing fights and, perhaps greatest of all, even more unpredictable fun and amusement. **Warning: spoilers below**