Queen’s Blade Anime, Volume 1 (English)

December 15th, 2010

51jbushttalOn the one hand, Queen’s Blade is a full-on fantasy quest series, populated with very strong women who fight for power, money, to protect what they love and the chance to rule the world. On the other hand, it is an unwatchably vile series with nothing but the absolutely most tedious use of secondary sexual characteristics I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Pretending for a second that the plot isn’t just a frame to see crotches, asses and tits to the point of monotony, the story in Volume 1 follows a slightly spoiled daughter of nobility, Leina Vance, in her quest to first, escape her family home, second, eventually decide to become strong enough to win the Queen’s Blade competition. This transformation from the first to the second is primarily brought about by Leina’s encounter with the thief Risty. (I always their heard names as Reina and Listy, but Media Blasters has them switched. If I misspell one going forward, I apologize in advance.) Risty educates Leina about the realities of life in the Vance domain. The poor suffer, fighters fight, no money=no food, no shelter, no nuthin’. Risty’s tough love will set Leina out on a quest that we’d have to be a total moron to not realize that she will fulfill. However.

As I say, this series is less about the story than it is about the objectification of woman-shaped animated characters. The repeated appearances of eerily identical breasts, buttocks and crotches never really shown, but always barely covered, approaches a level of absolute monotony. In one spectacularly awkward costume malfunction after another, nipples will be seen. We will look in between women’s legs. There is no option. When I stopped watching for a little while, and just listened to the soundtrack, the story was one of strength, power and competence. Once I looked up again, it was back to tits and asses.

I’ve read a little of the manga, and while it’s not timeless literature, it’s all right. The anime is also all right, if you basically ignore the visuals and Nanael.

Yuri is primarily to be found in the character of Elina, Leina’s anagramically named little sister who lusts after Leina, and the instantly fraught with tension relationship between Risty and Leina. Also, for some service, there’s Echidna who, as the only totally honest character in the series, is my favorite, her sartorial choice not withstanding. I can’t begin to think of the many ways in which wearing a live snake as a thong is a bad idea. Oh, and the voice cast is massively 6 degrees of Yuri. It’s like the whole set of the Yuriest freaking VAs possible.

This is apropos to nothing, but the subtitle of this volume is “The Exiled Virgin” which basically makes no sense – Leina wasn’t exiled at all, she ran away. Her virginity is never mentioned, but since that kind of thing seems to matter to otaku, fine, she’s a virgin. Sheesh.

For no particular reason I listened to the English language track for an episode or two. It was fine. The dialogue was slightly different, but in every way captured the feel of the original Japanese. It’s not like the dialogue is profound or anything, anyway.

Ratings:

Art- 6
Story – The actual quest story is a 7, the execution is a 1
Characters – 7
Yuri – 3
Service – Gazillion

Overall – If you seriously think this is arousing I just don’t even know what to say.

My thanks to Media Blasters for providing this review copy. If you’d prefer to get the whole series at once, a season set will be available in February 2011.

Now I need to go watch something good. ^_^

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11 Responses

  1. Pocky says:

    I have to giggle a lil.

    I remember reading the manga thinking; ‘wow, this ain’t so bad’. Then the anime comes out and I was like; ‘what the hell am I watching?’

    whatever happened to subtle sexiness? o3o

    I mean, I love hentai and all that, but I think there’s a point in not blurring the line. . . most of the time lol

  2. Cryssoberyl says:

    Thanks for your thoughts. They are similar to many opinions I’ve heard. I know of more than a few female viewers who absolutely loved Queen’s Blade for the positive, empowering qualities of its plot and characterization, and some even went so far as to say that the service was not a deal-breaker for them…even so, I’ve felt extremely ambivalent toward watching QB, because it’s something I know I will want to like more than it probably deserves.

    Any show that features strong, independent, and competent women gets a lot of indulgence from me no matter what else it might pull – Koihime, which I admit to enjoying, is a good example. However, I know QB’s material is much more extreme, and I’m afraid of catching myself glossing over its faults because of that.

    In short, QB appears before me promising to be an unparalled guilty pleasure – with the “guilt” and “pleasure” locked in a violent confrontation. Can the good excuse the bad, or does the bad irrevocably taint the good, and how do I trust my own conclusions either way?

  3. Dop says:

    I barely made it through the first episode of this, having gone “Oh FFS!” on the ‘acid squirting’ scene, after the explosion at the end I thought “No more!”

  4. BruceMcF says:

    It sounds like someone should take the soundtrack and sub and do an animated comic to it.

    Wif the artist’s permission, of course! It would still be a derivative work, no matter how derivative the original work (to use the term in a legal rather than value judgement sense).

    When the teaser episodes hit Crunchyroll, I only made it 5 minutes in, so I have to take that it kept on in the same vein on faith, but after the first five minutes, the notion that it would be anything else was highly implausible.

  5. Cryssoberyl says:

    Unfortunately, first episodes are often a bad way to judge the overall potential of a series. First episodes are usually trying as hard as they can to be as cool/violent/sexy as possible to rope people’s attention. First episodes often contain some of the worst excesses you’re likely to see from a show.

    Then, when you add to that the fact that what little space is left is devoted to the utilitarian task of setting up the plot and characters, it comes as no surprise that the first episode, even the first few episodes, are often the weakest link in series that go on to do great things.

  6. @Cryssoberyl – While I agree with you, I think the first few episodes of Queen’s Blade were entirely representative of the series as a whole.

  7. Cryssoberyl says:

    That is…most unfortunate…

  8. BruceMcF says:

    @Cryssoberyl ~ since I could only make it through 5 minutes of the first episode, it improving to the point where I could get through 15 minutes would still not put it onto my watchlist.

  9. Ojisan says:

    You had the strength to watch several episodes of Queen’s Blade, and enough brain cells left afterward to write a review that made me laugh. I’m in your debt.

  10. Jenny says:

    Thanks; that’s pretty much the impression I’d drawn of it.

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