An element common to all fighting manga and anime is the appearance of a formidable and daunting opponent. With the introductions finished and the fight already underway, it is natural for the audience to question or speculate how the heroes will triumph over this obstacle. With Needless, every battle is dictated or determined by the fragments and fighters present. So in order for the readers to figure out how to overcome the opponent, they must understand how to overcome their fragment first.
Chapter 103 provides the long-awaited and much-anticipated reintroduction of the esteemed Needless, Riru, and her seemingly overwhelming fragment, Psychokinesis. Finally able to see her revered and powerful fragment in action, we can definitively understand what an intimidating and remarkable Needless she is. Psychokinesis has an unlimited range of possibilities for which to manipulate her opponents, their fragments, and the environment, making her virtually untouchable given the circumstances and situations. Fans of the series have waited a long time for her to make another appearance and to fight Blade and the rest but, so far, she seems indestructible. And that’s what makes the issue of figuring out how to overcome her fragment and defeat her such an enticing and gratifying puzzle to solve.
Throughout Needless, we’ve been presented with numerous fragments with enigmatic natures and properties that require the characters to comprehend during their fights. And with any brawl, understanding the fragment is the first step in determining how to defeat the opposing Needless. With Riru’s Psychokinesis, both the characters and audience are given another mystery to solve. We are slowly being given the clues t the extent of her fragment in this chapter, so the puzzle isn’t necessarily figuring out the limitations of her fragment but what possible weaknesses it possesses. However, with Blade’s and Eve’s attacks ineffective and Cruz unable to concentrate and decipher the fragment, we’re unable to access any additional hints or clues than what we’ve seen Riru do with her Psychokinesis. So, at this stage, at the end of the chapter, what can we do to speculate how our heroes will overcome such a challenging opponent in Riru?
Given what we know about Needless, its previous fights, and the nature and abilities of these fragments, we can be safe to bet that Cruz will be essential in this fight. As we understand it currently, Cruz should be able to neglect or nullify certain aspects of Psychokinesis which may prove to be decisive in this battle. However, with the tentacles controlled through Psychokinesis able to apprehend and immobilize Cruz, it appears he is vulnerable to being attacked indirectly. Should he be on the receiving end of an Eternal Distortion or be attacked by a mind-controlled Blade or Eve, we shouldn’t be worried about Cruz then since he should be able to withstand such an attack. What might be able to turn the tide of battle is if Cruz will be able to summon his internal strength again as we witnessed recently when attacked by Arclight. It is unknown what will happen if something similar happens again but it could be enough to thwart elements of the Psychokinesis fragment and expose Riru to being attacked and sustain damage. We are also unaware of the full relationship Cruz has with the angel that appeared back in Chapter 82, Adam Neuschwanstein, and how she’s been used in the manga. And as shown before in Genesis, the first chapter of Needless 0 II, Riru has lost a battle before when Arclight memorized Psychokinesis himself and used it against her. We know that Riru is not indestructible given how she’s fared against her own fragment, so perhaps Blade will be able to learn it, too, and use it against her.
There are an abundant number of possibilities for which to overcome Psychokinesis and defeat Riru though we can’t be certain any of these will definitely work or know how Riru would respond in those cases. What makes reading Needless fun and makes these fights so enjoyable is that we’re really unsure of what will happen next because we’re uncertain of how everyone will respond to any given situation or event. Needless has always been unpredictable but that never stops the audience from wondering, questioning, and speculating about what will happen next.
Though I did enjoy the chapter for Riru’s appearance and subsequent fight and am interested in the link between the Second Christ, the Adam Project, the data chips, and the new character Mizuha, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed that this chapter did not return to the other fights like I had anticipated and hoped for. If you couldn’t tell, I’m eager to get back to seeing the resolution of the fights with the other characters, specifically what new developments are happening with Seto, what’ll happen to Solva, and what Setsuna and Kuchinashi plan to do against Mio and Teruyama. I do hope the series returns to those fights soon, hopefully the next chapter. However, it is interesting to learn why those data chips are so valuable to Arclight and the Adam Project and to learn of a character that was close to the Second Christ in Mizuha. It seems every chapter recently has been revealing bits of new information related to the story but, with so many different story points going on right now, it’s hard to make sense of everything and connect these pieces together. Not that this is a bad form or style of storytelling but it is curious to get these scraps and try to make sense of them given how little we know of everything that’s going on.
And thought there was a major fight in this chapter and the inclusion of Riru as a powerful Needless, the chapter never really felt that energetic or dramatic. Sure we’re watching Blade and Eve get destroyed by Riru without even laying a single attack on her and now the party is tangled by these intelligent tentacles but it never really felt exciting or thrilling. Perhaps for the fact that Riru seems extremely overpowered at this point and remained virtually unresponsive throughout the whole fight, unwavering from that calm and peaceful expression, the energy in this chapter never seemed to take off. It might be just me but I figure most other readers will be inclined to agree with me about this having a lack of energy when compared to the past several chapters. At least it had a few pages of comedy, so I’m content, especially since we’ve been getting much less comedy than any of the previous arcs in this City arc. That and the fanservice was reasonable given the number of panty shots (figure to get a dozen every chapter given the conditions of Cruz’s and Disk’s skirts) but I’m not sure about the tentacles yet, though they seem to be rather tame right now.