On one level, the Queen’s Blade phenomenon requires a bit of an explanation. On another, the concept is pretty simple.
What requires a bit of explanation is the source material for this new anime series. In short, Queen’s Blade is based on a turn-based pen and paper RPG that no one actually plays. (Well, never say never. There likely are a few folks out there who actually get a game of this going, but it’s widely held that few actually play the game.) Despite this, the rulebooks are widely popular and spur lines at store when they are released (in Japan).
So, why are these books so popular if no one plays the game contained therein? Now we’re getting to the simple part: They buy them for the artwork. It’s a very simple strategy of T and A; The all-girl cast of Queen’s Blade is a feminist’s worst nightmare — large breasted, tiny waisted, J-Lo-bootied women wearing armor that leaves little to the imagination, and is hard to imagine actually protecting anything.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Queen’s Blade is purely hentai — though it certainly falls into that fuzzy space between hentai and ecchi. The idea here is implying a fantasy world through fantastical medieval character designs. Some of the designs are brilliant, and sparks the imagination about the character’s origins and their background.
So with such a large fan-base and promising character possibilities, an anime series based on the RPG that no one plays seems like a no-brainer, right?
No brains might be the operating concept here. If the RPG books were filled with erotic potential, the first episode of the new series dispels any notion of that potential being fulfilled here. Instead we are left with a bland plot, some ridiculous situations and a script that takes the characters fantasy potential and stomps it flat. And it didn’t take much more than the opening scene.
In that scene, we encounter warrior-clad Reina (much like the descriptions above) walking alone on a mountain pass. Her attention is alerted to a strange, bunny-hatted girl with an annoying laugh who wants to kill her, mistaking her for someone else. Quickly into the battle, our lone hero proves no match for the annoying demon girl’s attacks, which include a bra made of hands that shoot acid by squeezing her breasts, dissolving most of her victim’s already minimal armor away. After wetting herself with fear (ugh!), Reina is rescued by a bounty hunter, Risty, who keeps her prisoner for herself so she can collect the bounty. Turns out the bounty was from Reina’s own royal family, who desired her return and put up the bounty. They collect their lost member and take the bounty hunter prisoner. It goes on from there.
If this all sounds convoluted, goofy dialogue and questionable acting make it worse. It was hard throughout the episode to really feel any of the characters, and the plot is mostly unintriguing.
It does need to be pointed out that one probably doesn’t watch a show like Queen’s Blade for it’s wonderful literary quality storyline or experimental panache. But even hentai and ecchi require something to latch on to — shows like Agent Aika or Najica: Blitz Tactics, while using heavy doses of ecchi content, still manage to squeeze some pretty decent production values into a show that’s designed on the T and A formula. Fans hoping Queen’s Blade would fall into that category will be sorely disappointed. The characters of this little played though often bought RPG were rife with potential, but dulled through this series.
To check out the trailer for Queen’s Blade, click: Here! (Warning: Not work friendly)
Written by B.C. Kowalski for J Geeks. ®