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.
But rather than recap Needless 114 (spoilers), my impressions and thoughts moving forward, which are all properly documented in my final post on the manga, I wanted to take a moment to remember just how important and significant the anime and manga were to me.
Needless was really the first anime that really got me into anime. Prior to Summer 2009, I would only watch a handful of anime each season, maybe 2-3 depending on what my friends would recommend. Back then, I wouldn’t even really watch PVs, search forums or blogs or even research shows. And rightfully so, most of the shows I watched were rather lame or mediocre or not all that exciting. In fact, I even passed over Needless (and Bakemonogatari and Spice and Wolf II) for Summer 2009. It wasn’t until a few weeks into the season that I was desperately bored and wondering if any other anime were worth picking up. Turns out that the Needless ED (yes, the incredibly ecchi one) was making quite a commotion online. After watching it once, I figured that watching a fanservicey anime about three girls wouldn’t be so bad, but I wondered if I picked up the wrong anime when the OP and other preview images were about muscular, shirtless men and the three sexy girls almost nowhere to be seen. But I tried the anime and was interested in it, only to slowly fall in love with it as the season continued.
It caused me to drastically reevaluate how I research and watch anime. With the Autumn 2009 approaching, I began to search around for more information on anime and reconsider what shows I should watch and which ones I enjoy. Although I started the Summer 2009 season with only 4 shows, I began Autumn 2009 with 13 new ones, in addition to the handful that continued over from Summer. The change was night-and-day for me and I began to enjoy anime at a whole new level. And since then, I’ve always watched around a dozen or more anime each season, thanks to my newfound appreciation for research and the amount of time I have available to watch anime. You could say that Needless really sparked an anime revolution for me considering I never really paid too much attention to anime before it.
You could also say that it even caused a revolution in how I understood the anime community, too. In order to perform this research, it required me to expand my horizons and see what people were saying about the new upcoming anime. But before that, I began searching around to see what people were saying about my new favorite anime, Needless. This proved to be difficult considering that the anime was relatively unpopular, especially compared to some of the other choice anime airing these seasons, but I did stumble across two blogs that basically introduced me to anime blogging, chaostangent and The Cart Driver (though Scamp was writing for Bokutachi no Blog at the time). Although neither blogger had anything positive to say about Needless, the bastards…, I did become interested in their presentation, their style and the ideas they were able to pitch about the anime they watched. It was wildly different than anything I had seen or read before and I became slowly addicted. From there, I began to branch out and read other blogs and began to enjoy the anime of reading several anime blogs. As I continued to expand my taste for anime, I began to discover more and more anime blogs and began to learn more and think more about all the anime I was watching. In fact, after a year of this continual growth, I decided to form my own anime blog, the one you’re currently reading, about a year after this discovery. I recently celebrated my 3 Year Anniversary, a testament to how much I love and enjoy the anime I’m watching and how much I appreciate and value blogging and other anime bloggers.
Taking a step back, before watching the Needless anime, when I was barely watching any anime, I was never reading any manga. Although I had tried a handful of manga prior to Summer 2009, I was never really hooked and always preferred to watch the flashy, colorful anime alternative than the static, black-and-white manga version. But when watching the Needless anime, I became slowly addicted to the story and the characters and I quickly wanted more. At the time, I never really considered reading the manga, but while searching for blogs to see what people were saying, I did notice a few scans of the manga from more recent chapters. Perhaps the most shocking one was seeing Cruz dressed as a female, wearing the Shoujo Butai school uniform.
I was immediately curious about how such a strange development could’ve happened, especially since I just learned that the three girls were antagonists in the anime (this was only 6 or so episodes into the anime). I began to poke my nose around the manga but my efforts were largely fruitless since only 10 chapters were translated at that time. I did discover a small but new community of fans of the anime who were trying to access the manga and eventually joined their tiny society when the manga was available. At that time, there were only 70 chapters out, but I read through each one and spoiled the entire anime for myself. But by then, I really didn’t care. I just wanted more Needless. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize that the manga was only monthly, but this was the first manga I truly read and I knew I’d be waiting for it every month until its finale.
And here I am today, or rather, there I was in June, reading the final chapter of my favorite manga. Needless really sparked a revolution inside me that completely changed who I am today and where I am within the anime community. Not only is it directly responsible for me watching more anime, reading anime blogs and starting my blog and becoming interested in the medium of manga but it provided me with the most enjoyable experience of any anime/manga that I’ve watched or read.
The story of Needless is far from perfect and is even frustrating at times, but nothing else comes close to it in my opinion. There’s that charm, that captivation, that thrill of excitement and delight with every moment that makes Needless so wonderfully enjoyable. But beyond that, and beneath all the ecchi fanservice and brutish fights, is a very cerebral aspect to the manga that is among the best. You wouldn’t think of a manga with such frequent pantyshots and absurd gags to be very intellectual, but Needless has had the best example of character development I have ever witnessed, the subject reserved for Day 1 of my 12 Days of Anime for 2012. And while on that subject, just to reiterate how important this manga is to me, it also won Day 1 of 2011 when Setsuna reappeared after a lengthy hiatus.
As so, here we are, at the end of Needless. After recounting just how much of an impact it has had on me, it’s somewhat sad to see the manga go, especially with such an abrupt ending. And though it is sad, I do feel blessed to have had such a wonderful and memorable experience, all thanks to one anime/manga. I realize how fortunate I am to have had this epiphany, something I feel is rather exclusive to me and is rare among other anime fans. I don’t want to take this lightly, for that fact. But beyond that, I should feel truly blessed that Needless is not over… the mangaka for Needless, Imai Kami, had always planned a second half to the series, Needless 2, which is connected by the story Needless 1.5 which actually debuted in Ultra Jump back in 2001, two years before the Needless manga was serialized. However, with Imai Kami taking a break, we aren’t quite sure where or when Needless 2 will start, but we can always hope that it will be sooner rather than later considering that Needless ran for 10 years, from 2003 to 2013.
So with that, I wanted to reserve the end to my favorite manga for Day 1 of my 12 Days of Anime. Without a doubt, this is the single most-important event of the year for me considering what Needless has done for me in my life. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t have enjoyed anime or manga as much as I do with it. Although I don’t expect anyone to love the series as much as I do, or even to enjoy it or tolerate it (it does have a high amount of ecchi fanservice), I do hope you take a moment to respect it for its profound and unquestioned effect on me. And so with that, this concludes my 12 Days of Anime for 2013 and I hope you all had as wonderful a year as I did. I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for me and everyone else… especially if that includes Needless 2.