Friday, February 21, 2014

Queen's Blade

The Queen’s Blade. A tournament created by the Gods to determine the world’s strongest and most beautiful queen. Or something like that. Just know that if you’re planning on watching this, be prepared for a ride. I know I wasn't. Going into this, all I knew is that there were going to be boobs, and lots of them. That was simply my cue not to take Queen’s Blade seriously at all. I've played Queen’s Blade video games in the past (maybe I’ll get around to reviewing them someday), but after finishing the first two seasons, I admit that I might have misjudged it.

Queen’s Blade chronicles the story of Leina Vance, and her journey to participate in the nominal competition. Every four years, The Queen’s Blade is held to choose the continent’s next queen (insert presidential joke here). Leina, the next in line of the Vance family is originally against taking part in the tournament. But after a chance encounter, she slowly learns what it means to be true warrior. The characters in Queen’s Blade are what make it what it is. There’s the headstrong and naïve Leina, the tough but kind-hearted noble thief Risty, and the modest and soft-spoken Tomoe. The cast of characters gets increasingly larger as the story goes on. The narrative of Queen’s Blade is told through several of these character’s point of view, and though I find it a bit irritating to try and remember everyone (I still have a hard time remembering Cattleya’s or Alleyne’s names), it does a pretty good job of telling each person's stories. The only gripe I have is that the whole first season is spent introducing the characters; while I love well-developed characters (no pun intended), the story tends to warm the bench for the most part.

The enormous cast of characters.

Speaking of well-developed characters, the fan service in this anime is abundant. Less than ten seconds in, you’re greeted with a well-endowed woman with acidic breast milk. If you haven’t turned it off by then, nothing will. The nudity, as well as the hilariously bad sexual innuendo and camera shots don't make it much better, but I believe it’s there to keep your attention and add to some of the fun of watching it. If the art wasn't so inconsistent, I probably wouldn't be complaining, though. Sometimes the proportions of the characters are just weird.

There's also the voice acting, which was good in its own right. There were certain characters with insufferable voices, but I'm pretty sure it was meant to be that way. To this day, some of Queen’s Blade themes are some of my favorites. Buddy-Body, the ending song in the second season, is especially catchy. Sung by Rie Kugimiya, Yuko Goto, and Kanae Ito (the voices for Melona, Menace, & Airi respectively), it really adds a little something to the series that I really appreciate.

Queen’s Blade was actually based off a group of visual combat books, also made by Hobby Japan. Think of it as a card game, but with books. This thing is that the books portrayed provocative pictures of each of the heroines, so I didn't know what to expect going into the Anime other than boobs, fighting and more boobs. I admit, even after watching the first season, I was still kind of skeptical, but I still wanted to know what would happen next. It won me over in the second season, where the borderline hentai scenes were few and far in between, and there was a lot more action. Even the music got better.

One of the many "visual combat books", this one features Menace.

All in all, Queen’s Blade is one of those “like it or love it” anime. If you can get past the fanservice filled first season and accept it for what it is (an introduction), then you'll be rewarded with a damn good anime to tell your friends about. I say watch it if you're mature enough to enjoy it despite it’s silly premise. Hell, watch it if you're immature. No need to take it so seriously. I recommended it to only the most hardcore of otaku. But wait. There’s a third season, Rebellion. But I’m choosing to save that for another time. Mainly because I’m still in the middle of watching it as I type this. In the meantime, think of this review like the first season of Queen's Blade: It's an introduction.

Just a little taste of the third season.

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