Year 2130 -- after the third world war, large contaminated areas known as "Blackspots" formed all over Japan. Large Walls were used to quarantine off these "Blackspots". In time, signs of inhabitance appeared within these wastelands. Among the survivors who had been abandoned inside the Blackspots, labeled as "those who were unneeded", came forth possessors of uncanny abilities -- Fire, wind, brute strength...they were defined by their supernatural abilities. Others, fearful of their powers, expelled them and named them --- Needless!
Needless is certainly a very odd series with its constant shifts in tone and is definitely not for everyone. I recommend watching the anime first and if you enjoyed it then read the series. If you didn't... well there's not much else the manga can offer. What is to be expected in Needless are energetic battles, creative science fiction, shonen parody/satire, perverted humor and lots of Loli's.
The basic plot of Needless is about a resistance group battling the forces of the Organization named Simeon whose motives are mostly in mystery but hint at global conquest and the extermination of "Needless". Needless are people with super
powers known as fragments and each individual has their own unique ability which sets the creativity of this series. Most of the powers featured in Needless are some standards seen in other series such as magnetism, fire, gravity etc, but it is the main cast that separates itself from most series. For instance, the main hero of the series named Adam Blade has the Zero Fragment which allows him to learn or memorize the abilities of other needless. While it does make the main lead a bit over powered it doesn't hinder the series' fun factor. Much of the highlight of Needless are its over-the-top action with its witty jokes at shonen tropes. In its early chapters, Needless feels like a hot-blooded shonen despite being a seinen manga but the violence, perverted humor and some talk of religious subject matter may have given Needless its seinen label.
As mentioned earlier the series makes several shifts in its tone but the author of Needless makes changes in a very odd way. Examples of series which changed its style from a comedy to a battle series would be Medaka Box and Hitman Reborn, however Needless does it backwards. In the beginning, Needless is a battle series with some comedy but during the middle, Needless becomes a comedy adventure series with lots of fan service. And to make things even more bizarre, the final chapters return to its action theme only with more of a focus on gritty science fiction. In other words, Needless changes its style a little too much to the point where it can potentially make a reader drop the series.
It also doesn't help that most of the characters are a bit on the bland side as their main feature is their power and being used for gags(which are actually funny). While we have a roster of at least 7 main characters you can tell which ones are better written due to their amount of screen time or if they're simply used as fan service bait. Not all of the characters are bad as they do deliver in the action and comedy roles but also in visual appeal. Much of the character designs are either hot-blooded or very girly but still remain unique to the author's own drawing style.
So what kept me invested in reading this series? Much of the praise can be placed on the science fiction along with its mystery of the series' religious roots. Needless is filled with content that can cross between Scientology or Transhumanism as it heavily expresses the pursuit of God hood through scientific means such as cloning and genetic engineering. Such examples are the multiple scientists featured in the series as they're very desensitized to human compassion and tend to justify their sins as a necessary sacrifice for mankind's future. If it weren't for some of its goofy tendencies, Needless may have been a different story. While I do enjoy battles and sense of humor, I would've preferred Needless to drop its Loli fetish and instead replace it with darker material.
This is one of those special cases where the author is more persistent in expressing what he personally wants, rather than appealing to his readers. In a way its respectable for the author to pursue his own goals but much of his "preferences" don't apply to many readers. It's also difficult to know who the target audience is as Needless contains elements for Lolicons, shonen fans, gore lovers and even fans of science fiction. It's a very odd taste which is why Needless cannot be better received.
I'll admit that I even skimmed through some of its Loli misadventures as I was more intrigued with its science fiction and just about everything that wasn't about panties. It's a shame that the serious usage of science fiction wasn't used all the way through as Needless may have received a more critical acclaim as a dark story on the corruption of science. I personally like its humor as its usually parodies the structure of a battle shonen, but the series ultimately lacks in maintaining its balance. Whether the author Imai Kami wanted to express his personal interests or try to market this series to as many demographics as possible; its' obvious that this series will be a bumpy ride depending what appeals to you.
Needless does have incredible theories about the creation of man and has a great utilization of its religious undertone, but the middle of Needless is a huge slump. As said earlier, watch the anime first as that will determine whether you'll like this series and its best not to force yourself to read it. This is one series whose quality will heavily vary on the reader's own sense of humor and personal interests. While this can also be said for any other manga, Needless takes it to the extreme and has the oddest structure to what could have been a greater story.