On 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.
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. ^_^