Queen's Blade: Rebellion
Annelotte, a wandering knight, seeks justice against the queen Claudette and her inquisition forces that... kind of spread injustice across the land... I think.
It takes a special kind of mindset to appreciate the Queen's Blade series of TV shows; the slightly perverted kind looking for a fantasy adventure of the naughty kind. And it also took a certain amount of willpower (and at least one second opinion) to continue the original after one episode of exploding breasts and a main character that peed herself at least twice.
Curiously enough; at the time, Queen's Blade also turned out to be a good deal more compelling than I gave it credit for. Sure, it had the depth of your average fighting game adaptation as far as the characters went, but it was relatively exciting when the main meat of the story got started. And together with the sequel, The Evil Eye, the Queen's Blade storyline reached its end in a fairly satisfactory conclusive manner.
That is, until Rebellion chose to reopen that old wound.
In doing so, this show fairly quickly introduces us to a relatively large roster of new characters, even as the old crew occasionally drops by. The puzzling part is the fact that, according to Rebellion; Claudette is now the Queen despite not being the one who technically won the tournament in Evil Eye. Doubly puzzling is the fact that she has now apparently turned bad, despite coming from a relatively noble family and herself being of honorable, if cold and distant, stock. So, intrigued by this notion -- that Claudette would rule a kingdom with an iron fist, apparently helped by dwarf blacksmith Ymir.
Joining Annelotte on her quest for righteousness is... Huit? Yuit? ...that is to say another tiny elf girl with a technical mind and a head for scandalous news.... and a remote controlled robot maid? And on their way, they will also meet and team up with other girls, like the strange dual-personality character of Luna Luna, a dancer from an ancient village where a very secretive ruin exists. Not joining the team, but still present from time to time is pirate Queen Liliana, a young lady cursed by the swamp witch to serve as the captain of a pirate vessel filled with skeletal pirates, or Branwen, a dragon warrior of sorts that now serve as the gladiator slave of a diminiutive goblin who controls her through sexual torture.
Yeah, it's exactly what it sounds like, but thankfully we don't have to see her all that often, because her scenes tend to get rather iffy to watch, even if she's supposedly going along with it because she's a masochist. And while one might also be thankful that Echidna isn't around to molest the girls she trains, Rebellion saw fit to amend that with Mirim, a girl who is tricked into being the test subject for an "ultra vibration" armor piece that works exactly as it sounds like. It's no secret that Queen's Blade in general has been pretty shameless with its sexual stuff, but it's apparently also following its own rule of making the audience feel awkward about what they see at least a couple of times within its total runtime. If the show had stuck to regular cheesecake, maybe it would have been a bit easier to recommend in that regard.
One really nice aspect to this show is that, occasionally, you'll meet some of the old regulars. All the Vance sisters will show up at some point or the other, and all of them look like they've aged appropriately in the five years since the last show. Well, maybe not as much Claudette, whom seems to have gotten a rather odd makeover, but Elina doesn't take long in showing up either, while Leina takes her sweet time about it. Ymir is a bit of a mainstay throughout the show, and she seems to have taken an odd turn towards evil. (Though there was a much appreciated twist about that later on.) There are a few more mainstays that shows up, mostly in the last half. I won't spoil who; if you enjoyed the orignal two TV shows, you should take some pleasure in seeing whether you'll recognize them yourself or not. Sadly, neither Tomoe nor Airi is anywhere to be seen; both of them were my own favorite characters in the original series, so I'm just throwing this out here now, so that you won't be disappointed later. Oh, and neither is Setora, Menace's hilariously perverted scepter, and Belphe and Dogor are poor replacements.
Unfortunately, the story is now completely and utterly without focus. I mentioned a few of the new characters above here, but there are even more of them, and few get any kind of introduction, even the very basic kind you'd get in the original Queen's Blade series. Even worse is the conflicting nature of the show itself; we're told that Annelotte is there to stop Claudette's evil reign, but aside from Huit/Yuit/whatever insisting that it's all going to hell, people -- that is to say regular civilian NPCs -- seems to be doing just fine. Sure, you get a token "queen's forces are harassing a fruit stand vendor" scene, but the place itself -- including the surrounding villages -- seems to be a bit too prosperous to be under anyone's heels. There's the matter of the inquisitor, Sigui, who... travels from town to town spouting ominous lines about punishing heretics before she helps the poor and downtrodden. A little grey morality is good in a show, but I'm not sure transparent morality really helps.
Not that the show gives itself much time to do anything with its characters outside of the whole subplot about the armor development and the Queen's crew searching for Annelotte. Annelotte herself also apparently have a dark side, though whether that side is evil is still up in the air, as it's introduced late and seldom used. Rebellion also sets itself up as an introduction to yet another Queen's Blade tournament by the end, so the ending is sort of unsatisfactory as well, since at the time of writing, there's no sign of a sequel. It hurts this show particularly much because it's simply far more incoherent and contradictory than the original two TV shows, so I have a hard time deciding where I stand in all this.
The aging recognition aside, it's at least nice to see that Queen's Blade continues to present generally pleasant character designs, and, also par with the license, the animation varies from being quite poor during fight scenes and curiously well done during the naughtier scenes. It's good to have your priorities straight, I guess.
Sadly, I don't really think I can recommend this. At the very least, this show needs a sequel, much like The Evil Eye was to The Exiled Virgin, but I'm not entirely sure much good can come out of that either. See, by the time The Evil Eye rolled around, we knew most of the characters in the original show because they had fought with or against each other, so when the Queen's Blade game rolled around, there were actual stakes on the table. With Rebellion, I'm not sure anything needs to be changed. There is no huge doom hanging by a thread over everyone's heads, and outside of a certain returning character and her machinations, nothing really ominous is afoot. The closest you get is disagreeing with Claudette's way of settling things, which would annul the need for the game in the first place. And when you take all that away, there's nothing left.
Kind of disappointing as a continuation. Eye candy aside, it IS nice to see some of the regulars again, but is that really enough to carry this show's unwillingness to commit? — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Much like the original shows, Queen's Blade: Rebellion is chock full of fanservice, nudity and sexual situations of various level of inappropriateness. There are still many fights in this show, but they aren't all that greatly animated, and has lost much of the bite the original had during its occasionally darker moments.
Version(s) Viewed: Region A Bluray version, bilingual.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Queen's Blade: Rebellion © 2012 ARMS, Media Factory, Queen's Blade Rebellion Partners
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