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)