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[R1 DVD box art]
AKA: クイーンズブレイド 流浪の戦士 (Japanese)
Genre: T&A fantasy
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Media Blasters
Content Rating: TV 16 (Heavy fanservice and nudity, violence, deaths.)
Related Series: Queen's Blade 2: The Evil Eye.
Also Recommended: Ikkitousen, Koihime Musou
Notes: Based on a series of visual combat books. There are also a large selection of light novels and manga available.
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars

Queen's Blade

Synopsis

One of the royal daughters of the Vance family escapes from the castle and is attacked by the demon girl Melona. She survives only due to the interference of the bandit Risty, who takes her straight back to the castle. From there, things quickly escalate, and the two set out on a journey for the Queen's Blade tournament, a fighting tournament for beautiful women where the winner takes all.


Review

And boy, does this show revel in the whole "beautiful women" part in the most speculative fashion. Not even five minutes in, and I had bore witness to the aforementioned demon girl who sprayed acid milk from her breasts with her hair-shaped-into-hands. The Princess pees herself. Gets rescued. Gets taken back to her family, including her creepy, younger sister Elina. Things go to hell when the demon girl Melona attacks yet again, which leads to Reina peeing herself AGAIN, but getting out of the fight by... throwing herself over Melona mid-lactation-attack, which leads to her breasts blowing up by the internal pressure.

It's the episode that made me get the hell out of Dodge.

The show eventually settles into a more... shall we say comfortable groove later on. By that time, a whole roster of characters are introduced, and the show takes a step back from all the fetish fuel (save for the most basic ones) to deliver backstories. Which is good in the sense that a show based around a fighting tournament can use that sort of thing when it comes to raising stakes, but the downside to that is that it comes with a lot of awkward dialogue in the form of infodumps. Though I guess it's a bit ridiculous to expect well-written dialogue out of a show centered so much around distracting the general male mind (and at least one confirmed lesbian one.)

And so, I wonder whether this show is good because it's a better example of a cheesecake show or whether the cheesecake elements -- never mind its origin -- drag down what would otherwise be a better tournament fighting show. And if you take away all that cheesecake, that's what the show is; a unremarkable, but relatively capable adventure show with a relatively entertaining and lovable cast. Granted, some of them play up their roles maybe a little bit too hard; like Echidna the mercenary with the snake thong who is all cold and heartless.... on the surface, or Shizuka the kunoichi who doesn't seem to take anything seriously. Or even Melona, the jello-bunny-demon girl. And then, there's Menace's scepter Setora, whose dirty mind is hilarious, to say the least. (Mostly thanks to the dub voice -- Bill Timoney must've had a field day voicing this character.)

Of course, it's not just a matter of ignoring the cheesecake, because it's everywhere. Reina might as well have set out on her journey completely stark naked, since clothing tend to take far more damage than skin does during fights. One could also make an argument that Melona is aptly named, but by that token, almost all the girls could have been named Melona. Then again, I would also have to admit I LIKE the character designs. The women in this show all look mature, and not just like teenagers with D-cups. (Even though some of them ARE teenagers.) The only one who seems to fall a bit on the ridiculous side when it comes to chest size is Cattleya, the blacksmith and gigantomastia sufferer. Granted, she's probably the oldest of all the girls taking part in the Queen's Blade tournament (not counting the "immortal" ones), but she looks positively ridiculous. She's the kind of girl who could induce phantom back pain in any other female viewer just by them looking at her, and her almost supernatural physical strength is probably the reason why she's able to move at all, never mind swinging that ludicrously huge sword of hers.

What I'm trying to say is that the show is... average. The character designs are distinct and generally very pleasing to the eye. Animation, however, tends to vary greatly -- pretty good during the fetishy and cheesecake-ish scenes, but less than impressive during actual fight scenes, and that's just... not good. Especially since fighting scenes often go hand in hand with... less savory scenes, and the animation follows suit.

In the end, taking everything into account -- the fanservice, the subplots, the characters -- Queen's Blade turned out to be... pretty entertaining, actually. The dangers of giving something a second chance is always a double-edged sword -- when I did so with the original To Love-Ru TV series, it backfired spectacularly -- but with Queen's Blade, it actually paid off. Another one for the guilty pleasures section.

It's a weak three, but it's surprisingly decent if you have a high tolerance for cheesecake... and other kinds of cheese. And if not... well, remove one or two stars as required.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Oh, don't even get me started. There is a staggering amount of T&A shots here, and the camera angles won't let you forget it. But this is also a fighting show, so people are going to get hurt... or even die.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Queen's Blade © 2009 HobbyJAPAN / Queens Blade EX Partners
 
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