Let’s talk about Cruz for a bit, shall we? After all, he deserves it. **Warning: spoilers below**
Needless has just completed one hundred chapters, a magnificent adventure that began back in 2003 with the helpless and defenseless Cruz witnessing the death of his sister, Aruka, and eventually being rescued by his savior and hero, Adam Blade. As the manga progressed over nearly a decade, numerous elements of the series have evolved, ranging from character personalities, art style, variety and delivery of humor and countless other aspects. Other elements, however, remain unchanged. Much like in Chapter 1 of Needless, Chapter 100 depicts the events of Aruka’s death followed again by Blade entering from above to rescue Cruz from almost certain death. But unlike the first chapter of Needless, Cruz needed not the help of Blade because he had already saved himself from annihilation. After sincerely wishing for a Fragment for the past hundred chapters, it seems Cruz will realize his wish, his impossible dream. Yes, it’s an incredible miracle; it appears that Cruz has a Fragment of his own.
Just what his Fragment is, however, has yet to be determined. The structure of Chapter 100 mirrored closely to some of the events of Chapter 1 though specific roles were switched and the situation almost entirely different. Although it was unknown at the time, the first chapter revolved around the consequences of Simeon searching for an invaluable data chip the Resistance had hidden on Cruz. In this chapter, Simeon is again seeking for a similar data chip only to retrieve it again from Cruz, this time from within his extraordinary brain. As mentioned before, the two chapters showed the death of Aruka at the hands of Simeon, a detail of significant importance not only for the manga but for Cruz himself and his development. And of course, both chapters show Blade’s grand entrance in time to save Cruz though this time he was accompanied by the lovely Eve. But for all the similarities, there are some important differences, specifically with Cruz himself.
Perhaps the most noteworthy or momentous difference between the two chapters are Cruz moments before his destruction. Facing certain death in the sewers of Blackspot, Cruz desperately wished he possessed a Fragment before collapsing to his knees and crying plentifully. Like the first chapter, Chapter 100 showed a visually disturbed Cruz crying over his sister’s death and then proceeding to be fried by her overwhelming fire Fragment, Agnishwattas. At first, Cruz was prepared to accept his death, determining it to be fine to be reunited with his sister in the afterlife but that was not to be. After one hundred chapters of growth, friendship, adventure, education, tragedy, humor, and sexiness, Cruz refused to give up. He refused to accept this horrific fate. Death is not an option. Not now, not ever.
And with that came the first visual manifestation of his powers, breaking free of the chains that restrained him to the examination table and knocking back the most powerful Needless in the world, Adam Arclight. Not only that but the aura surrounding Cruz persisted up until the arrival of Blade and Eve, showing that the power was not momentary. And despite all this, Cruz was unaware of what he did and why he was able to survive Arclight’s relentless onslaught. But not before the chapter ends does Blade tell Cruz that it was he who saved himself from Arclight and it was because of his Fragment. It’s then when Cruz realizes he has a Fragment of his own. And that, my friends, is where Chapter 100 concludes.
For Cruz, Needless began as a nightmare. Not only were all his comrades brutally murdered by Simeon, but he had lost his sister right before his eyes and lacked the confidence or ability save himself from certain death. Then, he was needless. After being rescued by and spending time with Blade, Cruz slowly began to realize his worth. Eve was the one who taught him to find his place on the battlefield and, with his superior intellect, he was able to assist his friends in their fights by exploding weaknesses, providing tactical advice, identifying fragments, and providing support whenever possible. As his adventure progressed and his friendships increased, his confidence blossomed and Cruz became more active not only with his intelligence but by involving himself in battle, often time to save the friends he loves. He became physically involved in battle, twice being the last defense to protect Blade from Setsuna in the Third Shelter, when deceiving the clone army and facing Hatfield on his own in order to save the Black Market, and doing everything within his powers to save Blade and Eve during the Eve’s Story arc. We’ve watched Cruz slowly develop from a vulnerable and timid boy into a brave and compassionate hero and the manifestation of his Fragment is the culmination of his diligence, industriousness, and the desire to help those around him.
Cruz deserves this. Not just because he needed a Fragment to survive or because he wanted a Fragment for his entire life. No, the reason Cruz deserves to be rewarded now is because of everything he went through over the course of this manga, over these past one hundred chapters. Everything he’s had to do and everything he’s done are reason enough for him to deserve this Fragment, whatever it might be. Congratulations Cruz, you earned it.
Being Chapter 100, we all figured there would be important revelations and events of unknown magnitude that could drastically change the series and shift it on a completely unexpected and incredible path. With the removal of the second data chip from Cruz’s brain, Aruka’s death, the manifestation of Cruz’s fragment, and the return of Blade and Eve, it certainly seems that the chapter did all that and possibly more. What happens next will likely be the conclusion of the two concurrent battles and finally a progression toward what will likely be the final arc of the manga. The end is approaching but it is still a ways away.
One curiosity I have now is what Cruz’s role will become now that he appears to have a Fragment. Playing the role of sacrifice and seems like an applicable role for Cruz, especially given the Judeo-Christian symbolism prevalent throughout the manga, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cruz do something noble to save those around him. But if that were to happen, I’d be disappointed. After everything Cruz has gone through, seeing him being attacked, bullied, and intimidated by others, I hope he is able to have a happy life following the events of this story. To me, Mio seems like Cruz’s best friend since she always seems to listen to Cruz and compliment him for what he does, even going out of her way to rescue him following Arclight’s Eden Seed release in Chapter 50. At most, the worst she’s done is prolonging Cruz’s crossdressing but that could be explained by how she likes having another Shoujo Butai (Girl Squad) member with her. And as the manga has progressed, all of Cruz’s friends have begun to treat him better (it’s the uniform, isn’t it?) and he’s responded positively as a result. With that being said, seeing Cruz lose his life at the end of Needless would be incredibly saddening because Cruz deserves something better. I’m sure at this point everyone roots for Cruz to succeed and hopefully, that is what happens to our protagonist.
Also, one other note is that there was a special 4-koma included following the conclusion of Chapter 100, Needless Gaiden St. Rose School, showing 13 pages of wonderful comedy featuring Cruz, Setsuna, Kuchinashi, and Mio at, where else, St. Rose! With all the serious events going on in the manga recently, this addition may seem to be a little strange because its focus is completely different but it really helps clear the palate after a number of heavy chapters. I’ve always been a huge fan of the comedy in Needless (perhaps my favorite part) and I thoroughly enjoyed this addition, especially seeing the characters come together for simple fun and humorous gags. Although I don’t expect another one of these to be released anytime soon, I’d love to get another 4-koma addition like this because it is really enjoyable as a fan of comedy and a fan of Needless. I do hope the comedy returns to the serialized manga again soon, too, but that may or may not be possible given the substantial material in current chapters. And even if the comedy does return in full-force, I’d still like to see more 4-koma of Needless since this bonus was so enjoyable.
#1 by Soji on March 29, 2012 - 4:53 AM
I’m really like this post .And I agree with everything you say here,Cruz really deserve what just happen(gain a fragment) and ,like you say I really like see how much he is grow from the first ch. About Cruz i dont think he will die at the end of Needless the one that worry me is blade.But I can see Cruz being in Needless 2 when that story will start. If AnN and him not are the same person i can see Cruz being a very important ally for AnN in the future.Maybe something like Eve is with Blade…that just a feeling that I get from her first appearance and what Sayo.A point out to us to the forum. You know the whole thing about AnN and Cruz seem to have similar aura /power.Plus in needless 1.5(that is canon from what we know) we see the one that take Gido place,the one that take Blade place/role and even the one that take Cruz place/role…so would be nice if Cruz take Eve role/place (or something like this ) in needless 2.Even if Eve still alive I can see her do the same role that she had now…more a Onee-chan figure maybe?But I suppose we will see. For now I more interest to see where all this wil go.(the thing happen in ch 100).And glad to heard that the 4koma was fun.
#2 by avvesione on March 31, 2012 - 10:53 PM
If Cruz’s role does shift to be something like Eve has currently, I’d be happy, but I just don’t see Cruz taking an active role like that, especially one that would require a lot of fighting which really isn’t his style and probably never will be. But what you said could very well be true since we know very little about Needless 1.5 and even the character relationships don’t even need to start out like that (keep in mind Needless 1.5 is to 2 as Sacred Sword is to Needless 1). That means it could be entirely different than that single chapter. I’d be thrilled with any outcome that keeps Cruz alive for Needless 2 but I have that sinking feeling in the back of my mind…
But yeah, this was an amazing chapter. Should be fun to see what happens to Cruz and friends next.
#3 by Soji on March 31, 2012 - 11:54 PM
True. But,like you say in you’re blog post ,Cruz change during all needless at the beginning he was too afraid to do something even to use his brain. Eve help him with that and Cruz find his first role.Then we have ,how in the Bloody rain arc he try to fight back one powerful needless even if he know to not have chance.What I mean is,even if don’t seem be it’s style this don’t mean this will never change .But everything can happen from here on out.That’s why will be pretty interesting to see what kind of route the author will take in needless and how he will link this in needless 1,5.
#4 by avvesione on April 1, 2012 - 12:08 AM
Still, Cruz has always been a pacifist and perfers not to fight if he can avoid it. He did try to fight in Bloody Rain arc but it was mainly to defend the Black Market from destruction. He did join the battle in Eve’s Story to save Eve and again to save Blade. It’s not like he’s fighting for the same reasons Blade and Eve are and I don’t think that’ll ever change for Cruz. I guess we’ll see what he does or if his personality changes when his eyes do, too.
#5 by Skieth on March 29, 2012 - 5:42 AM
Another very nice chapter write up Avvesione. Given the rather unusual eye that appeared when Cruz’s power manifested, I can’t help but wonder if Cruz will actually be able to use his fragment. Cruz is a newly awakened Needless, and if his power is as strong as it seems, I could see him having some difficulty either controlling, or even getting his power to work. Should be fun to see how he manages to go from here.
I completely agree with you on your comment about the relationship between Cruz and Mio. She’s been a really positive influence on his life, and has saved his life quite a bit over the series. I hope their relationship continues to grow, and Cruz will have a chance to save her for a change.
#6 by avvesione on March 31, 2012 - 10:59 PM
Thanks, I’m glad the few fans of Needless we have appreciate these posts.
I have also wondered that, how Cruz will control his power since one of the first requirements to using a fragment is understanding it with your brain power. Since Cruz doesn’t even realize he has a power, he won’t be able to control it or even use it. This also might be a reason why it look so long for him to use a power since he’s always believed he never had one. And if his fragment is really that powerful, it may take some time to control it.
As for Cruz’s and Mio’s relationship with each other, it is one of my favorites in the series just because Mio is so friendly and supportive of Cruz. When Cruz was with Blade and Co, they just rushed in and fought and had Cruz help with his intelligence when needed. With Mio, she lets Cruz do what he wants and follows along and helps him with what he wants and doesn’t seem to mind, even when she’s scared (Underground City) or risking her life (Hatfield). Without a doubt, she’s Cruz’s best friend in my mind.
#7 by Soji on April 1, 2012 - 12:30 AM
avvesione I dont really mean like Blade of Eve. I do say a role like eve but not exactly like her.I know Cruz is like this…i see him (even with fragment) more like AnN in needless 1.5. If you think about it she don’t fight until their really need of this. I can see Cruz do something similar. Use his fragment only when it’s necessary. *I guess we’ll see what he does or if his personality changes when his eyes do, too.*But I do agree with you in this line the next 1 ,2 ch will be interesting ,because if we are lucky ,they will start to show us how Cruz feel and will act with his fragment.
#8 by avvesione on April 1, 2012 - 1:24 AM
Ah, sorry, I misinterpreted what you meant then. You think Cruz will have a role like Eve does in supporting ANn like Eve supports Blade. That’s certainly possible but we really have no idea what it’ll be like since all we have is Needless 1.5 and that came out almost a decade ago. I think it’s a bit too soon to be thinking about Needless 2 when there’s still so much left in Needless 1, trying to think about that is difficult, especially when we’re wrong every month for the current Needless story. But I’m not saying it’s impossible, and if Cruz had a role like that in Needless 1.5, then I’d be happy with that. But then again, Cruz doing anything in Needless 2 would make me happy.
#9 by John Sato on May 28, 2012 - 6:53 PM
I love reading your posts after each chapter. I’m so glad I caught up with you!
That’s a very interesting view to take, that Cruz has “earned” his Fragment. While I so agree with you, I think that’s an interesting way to look at powers, almost like certain conditions need to be met before they awaken. Come to think of it, did that ever happen? I took a rather large break between chapters 46 and 47, so I don’t remember too many details from before that…Anyways, like I said I just think that’s an interesting way of looking at it, whether you’re speaking from a story point of view or merely a fan one.
I really like the way you draw parallels between this chapter and the first one. I hadn’t really caught that while reading it (like I said, it’s been a long time…though that may be no excuse), but it makes a lot of sense after thinking about it. The role reversal is certainly revealing, as you said. I love the way we keep on getting all these direct examples of Cruz’s character having gone through a change, but we’re never outright *told* it. Instead, we’re *shown* it, and I find that much more elegant and tasteful, to the point where I find it a little refreshing and exhilarating each and every time Cruz shows some talent, even though he’s done it really quite a bit at this point.
One thing that I’m a little confused about is Arclight reaching into Cruz’s brain. Was that just one of the powers we assume Arclight has assimilated over the course of the story, or has that power ever been used before?
Once again, awesome post.
#10 by avvesione on May 28, 2012 - 8:10 PM
Thanks for the comment! Glad you’re enjoying the manga so much and are about to be up to date soon.
As of right now, we haven’t seen anyone else awaken as a Needless, so what we’re seeing now is the only example and evidence we have of someone realizing their Fragment and being able to use it. The closest example we have is Eve obtaining Doppelganger but that was never expanded on like what’s going on now. And I’ve been extremely happy and satisfied with how we’re shown progress in the anime, rather than subjecting it to dialogue and telling us what happened. The visuals are the strength of manga and showing us what’s happening is what makes manga so enjoyable. If everything could be done merely by telling, then why not simply dumb this down to be completely text based, like a novel or something.
As for Arclight’s power, he’s using Doppelganger to penetrate Cruz.