What They Say
Adam Arklight and his band of super-hotties are ready to take over the world, but not if the macho, mutant hero Blade has anything to say about it. Still, it’s tough when your opponents are ridiculously cute girls in really sexy school uniforms. But with this much at stake maybe even Blade can keep his mind on the job and his eyes on the prize. (Yeah, right.)
The feature contains both English and Japanese language 2.0 tracks. For the purpose of this review the Japanese language track was used. The track is a basic one with the sound being split between the front right and left speakers with no center speaker presence. The track is free from dropouts and distortions. It also lacks directionality for dialogue and effect though they are clear and easily discernable.
Originally produced in 2009 the feature is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation has a number of issues including the presence of noise, a bit of dot crawl, jaggies, and some minor ghosting. The video is alright but nothing special on this release though the blacks are largely solid throughout the presentation. It is a bit on disappointing side as the visuals are an interesting mesh that seem to borrow from Gurren Lagann’s mix of bold color, styles and pop art flavor.
The cover for this release features the three characters whose will are the focus of this set. Adam Arklight and Saten stand almost back to back while Arklight holds a red energy orb and Saten smokes while Adam Blade strikes a dynamic crouch while holding a blue energy sphere. The back features a very pretty image of the last of the Great Ones-with a note of caution that it is a spoiler-and eleven images from the series that appear to be shards as they don’t have a uniform nature to them and the spine features an image of Setsuna from the Girl’s Team. The first disc in the set features Adam Arklight poised on his throne with Riru Roukakuji standing next to him. The second disc features Adam Blade, Eve and Gido from a point when the younger two were still children and Gido had hair. The case itself is a two disc set that uses a flipper in the middle to hold one of the discs. Also of note it is an eco case so it has areas with minimal plastic used on both sides of the case.
The menu for the first disc features a close up of the image of the Fourth Great one from the back cover (which as previously mentioned is a spoiler) with six plus shape “x”s in front of them at around waist height each bearing an episode number with the episode title underneath them. The selection of an episode is highlighted by a red dot at each of the four points of the “x” and the special features and language selections that are below those are highlighted by a red underline while a few seconds from the open plays in the background. The language screen includes the shot of the character Mio holding a small version of her bear on her head with current selection having a series of half concentric circles on either side of the choice highlighted underlined as a portion from the close plays. The special features screen features the image of the Fourth Great One from the back with a portion of the close playing and the choice currently highlighted being underlined in red. The second discs main menu matches up with the first disc with the exception that an image of Adam Blade, Eve and Cruz is used. The language screen uses the image of Eve from the main menu while the special features uses the a new image of Eve in a bikini eating a popsicle as the same music tracks as the first disc play on the same screens. The menus are quick to respond to changes in selection and the implementation of choices made.
Extras on this set are The Secret of the Lilly Academy shorts, Needless information, character sketches, and clean open and closings. Needless information is a series of translator notes for some of the background information and explanations for some of the editorial decisions on changes made for the R1 release. The Secret of the Lilly Academy shorts are little two minute plus stories that take place in an alternate line time line where Cruz Schild is infiltrating an all girl’s school composed of the young women from the main series and the events that follow him as he attempts to investigate the disappearance of his older sister while girls are either in a constant state of undress around him or trying to get him into the same to make she is a “she.” These shorts crank the fanservice aspect up a few notches and don’t pretend to be anything but an excuse for such behavior.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The second set picks up where the first set left off as the assembled group fighting Simoen are stuck in a perilous situation where they are facing one of their own strongest members and their side has been leveled by the attack. In the midst of their greatest pinch secrets about Gido and his relationship to the mysterious Adam Project will come to light. Cruz will have to summon his courage as he comes face to face with one of the Four Great Ones while attempting to save a friend. But all is not as it seems as he seems to have his own agenda as well and seems to be trying to covertly help Blade’s side. In what looks to be their moment of triumph how will Blade’s side figure out how to break the trap suddenly sprung on them? And what of the mysterious last member of the Four Great Ones-how will this shadow’s appearance destroy morale and reveal how deep the tendrils of betrayal run.
This set will also explore the parts of the past that helped lead to the Black Spot, the creation of the Needless and the reason that three of the main characters appear to be almost identical. As the story advances to its ultimate showdown various players and their machinations will be brought to the surface but what happens when so few are worthy of trust and many seem to be trying to play their own game? Strange bedfellows will be formed and tenuous bonds shattered as assumptions are challenged, secrets revealed and the fate of the world and the freedom of its inhabitants may rest in the hands of someone with power greater than any Needless possesses-even though they appear to be the least powerful member of them all.
This collection builds on the momentum of the first and helps to draw out many of the mysteries surrounding the events of the series while also adding more scheming and treachery than many political series. Is the enemy of your enemy your friend, your enemies enemy or perhaps the only one who can save you when you discover the side you are on may not be all you believe it to be. In the midst of this the only savior for a beleaguered land may not be a god with his own designs but a capricious devil who tends to react more than act. Needless is a great series with a sense of humor and self depreciation that I wish was more prevalent today as it takes many themes from the shonen genera and adds some twisted characters, humor and a bit of ecchi service to present a series that can both respect what came before and present a tale that can keep the attention of those who have spent hundreds of hours in the genera and give them a fresh corner that feels new to explore.
The second collection continues on the mad capped pace the first established with gratuitous fanservice for a good deal of it but this collection actually slows down long enough to put some more back story to some of the characters which helps flesh out their world and their struggles. Some of the back story parts may be a bit of a gear shift just because they tend to have less frenetic action but it is a part I really liked and wish the series had more of. Sure cute girl flashing skin and fast paced battles are great but it is also really enjoyable to be given a reason to connect with characters and thus care for their plight. It is too bad this series isn’t about twice its length and could explore some of those but on the other hand maybe a series is most successful when it leaves its viewers craving more. If fun, action and fanservice are your thing then Needless needs to be on your shelf. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, The Secret of Saint Lilly Academy, Needless Information, Character Sketches, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: C
Packaging Grade: C-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A-
Samsung 50″ Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080.