Can boobs carry an anime by themselves? This fascinating conundrum appears to have been the question going through the minds of the makers of Queen's Blade: Rurou no Senshi. I'm sure their surprise was as great as mine when the answer turned out to be a definitive "no". I was convinced that it would take a quite cataclysmic failure to screw up a premise such as "women with easily damaged clothing engage in close combat", but Queen's Blade forced me to eat my words, my hat and what little pride I have left in my anime tastes.
To give credit in one of the very few places where it is due, Queen's Blade never masquerades as anything other than over-the-top ecchi and it would be foolish to expect the plot to be much more than a laughable excuse for torn clothing, compromising positions and a bizarre array of characters clad in unusually kinky outfits. As such, any detailed or technical critique of the story would have all the sport of playing tennis against a blind man and even less satisfaction. However, problems begin to arise when the narrative transforms from a few paragraphs outlining the scenario to a drunken, incoherent monster of a storyline which goes so far as to act as a wholly unwelcome distraction from the show's pendulous main attractions.
The tournament's rules are alluded to moreso than explained, and the criteria for victory in the competition remain a complete mystery, even as the series draws to a close. Characters' motivations for competing range from the corny to the non-existent, and the value of the reward for winning the contest has to be extrapolated from a few lines of dialogue and a vague introductory narration. To compound the sketchiness of its premise, the show spends entire episodes trying to make the viewer care about certain characters, relating hackneyed and cliched sob stories with only the occasional burst of nudity serving as a dangling carrot throughout the resolutely uninteresting proceedings.
Perhaps the coup de grace is the final episode, where all attempts at making sense are shoved unceremoniously to one side in order to make way for a gigantic crate of laughable plot twists, inexplicable occurrences and preposterous set-up: in essence, a cornucopia of stupidity. Although I laughed throughout this inanity, it was uncomfortable laughter, tinged with the dismaying realisation that the anime was still taking itself quite seriously and that this was the grand conclusion to proceedings, rather than some kind of epic joke.
I expected nothing from the plot but got even less. It is off-putting, insulting and half-arsed from start to finish. By attempting - even if only on occasion - to deliver a storyline that is more than perfunctory, the anime completely cripples itself. If it were pure parody or pure comedy, Queen's Blade could well have been highly successful, but its token attempts to weave some kind of narrative fabric just end up with it creating an ugly piece of cloth which obscures the wonderful nudity on offer.
Passable to begin with, the animation of Queen's Blade - through lack of budget or lack of effort, I know not which - completely falls apart as the series progresses, with the final episode presenting quite possibly the worst visuals I've seen from a 21st Century anime. Characters, even when topless, look terrible from long range and their hair moves as if they styled it with concrete. In the final episode, such staples as lip-syncing and perspective are found wanting: the former to the point that I attempted in vain to correct the sound delay on my computer, the latter even causing me question my eyesight. Towards the end of the episode, following some special effects reminiscent of Windows Movie Maker, even walking appears to present a problem and a couple of characters apparently decide to slide, or possibly float, as a means of transportation so as not to unnecessarily drain the threadbare animation resources.
Because the show's offering is primarily a visual one, this lack of animation quality should be seen as harmful to its bottom line. Even scenes of heavy rain - which ought to offer a wonderful opportunity for soaked cleavage and glistening curves - are botched, with torrents of water seemingly having no effect on characters, except to leave a few poorly drawn splash marks on darker coloured garments.
One of the things which always amused me about Queen's Blade is the fact that it comprises what could be considered a dream team of voice actors. With Aya Hirano, Rie Kugimiya, Ayako Kawasumi, Rie Tanaka and Yuuko Gotou among others, the seiyuu cast reads like a Who's Who of fanboy favourites. And, to their credit, they do a decent job of it. Even towards the end, with the animators having given up trying and the scriptwriters entrusting their task to a demented monkey, the voicing remains of a high standard, with Hirano's energetic performance as Nanael a surprising highlight.
With the exception of a good ED, whose simple but pleasant melody found it a place on my iPod, the music is standard fare. Faux-Medieval action music for the fighting scenes, a bit of generic chanting to build up important moments and some forgettable sounds for the remainder make for an uninspiring if inoffensive experience.
From Nanael's tendency to spill thick, white "holy milk" over herself to Echidna's questionable decision to wear a live snake instead of panties, the characters of Queen's Blade seem to have most fetishes covered, including some that probably don't even exist. Notable even among this salacious bunch is the bunny-eared Melona. With oversized funbags that actually shoot acid (and later, for no apparent reason, explosions), she seems like something out of a gay man's nightmare.
When it comes to sweater fruit, however, the anime actually demonstrates an astonishing lack of variety. Only a handful of characters have boobs that might conceivably exist in real life, and they find themselves very much on the small side of the spectrum. On the other end, past the F-cupped majority, the weaponsmith, Cattleya, sports a pair of grotesque monstrosities which arouse only feelings of disgust.
With the more or less uniform size, particularly among the main cast, there's very much a sense of "seen one pair of mountainous mammaries, seen them all". Given that it takes the anime less than three minutes to expose the first two sets of shirt potatoes and given that - in spite of the commendable ingenuity involved in the "holy milk" stunt - the series is unable to go much further than this, there's very little to look forward to, even during the first episode. Indeed, all that remains is the vision of the same breasts over an over again, and occasional moments of downright freakiness. Are snake bites erotic? Queen's Blade says "yes!"
Unless you happen to be averse to omnipresent female nudity, the main problem with Queen's Blade is the fact that it has no idea what it wants to do, and ends up falling into a barren no-man's-land, lost between sets of faraway ideals. It's not witty enough to laugh with and - aside from its closing chapter - not ridiculous enough to laugh at. It's not subtle enough to tease, and rarely creative enough to please. The story is distracting but not engaging. The symptoms of this anime's identity crisis go on and on but together they amount to a failure in my eyes.
Queen's Blade finds itself sitting precariously on an uncomfortable fence of ecchi. On the one side of this fence are anime such as Shuffle!, which lose the air of smuttiness, have a good laugh, and make you care about the characters before stripping them semi-naked. On the other side of the fence there are a number of excellent hentai which don't waste time telling a story and are able to deliver a more satisfying experience. Both of these options are - in my opinion - far preferable to the lukewarm boobfest served up by Queen's Blade. I'd be lying if I said that this had no appeal whatsoever, but - whether you're looking for ecchi or H - there are many better titles available.
Boobs, jiggles and endless groping? Not for me, thanks. It's no secret that ecchi anime aren't my cup of tea – at least, they weren't until I stumbled upon Queen's Blade, a gem of a series that shows all women out there, especially the young and impressionable girls of the next generation, that any lady worth her pound of flesh had better be showing a lot of it. Sure, there are more innuendos and over-the-top naked breasts than you can shake a 'stick' at, but with such strong imagery and admirable moral lessons, I cannot in good conscience overlook this empowering series that will delight the self-conscious and diehard feminists alike.
Queen's Blade's plot is simplistic, yet a deep and colorful allegory lies beneath the bulbous assets. A variety of buxom beauties must fight it out to win the ultimate tournament, engaging in dangerous and often brutal battles that will push them to the limits. Though it may seem like the crotch-diving violator snakes and acid-spitting mammaries exist solely for fapping fan fodder, those of a more intelligent caliber will see these plot devices for what they really are: a statement that women are not helpless waifs – they are all warriors at heart, armed with tools that they can use to defeat anything that stands in their way, from the stress of an overloaded email inbox to marital spats with a loved one. Of course, one can only dream that in real life, women were actually armed with such defensive devices. Your boyfriend tries to cop a feel one day while you're trying to study? ACID IN THE FACE! Your boss is being a little too pushy about a big deadline? VIOLATOR SNAKE ATTACK!
Queen's Blade also boasts intimate moments between siblings, a moving tale of a young boy whose entire body is smaller than his mother's breasts, and a wondrous visual onslaught of nudity that would make even angels weep in joy. Obviously these elements combined earn Queen's Blade a rare and well-deserved story score.
Say you were asked to animate perfection – what would you do? Would you paint a stunning picture of an evening night sky? Or maybe a touching image of two baby animals playing in a field?
My motto is – and quite on purpose, it’s a rhyme – ‘unless there’s double DDs or more, you shouldn’t be doing art you whor…l’? Queen’s Blade happily meets this criteria by endowing its creations with the largest of the large – except for one of the girls who no one really cares about anyways. How rare that a series can not only appeal to feminists and young girls, but also the men who love them.
It’s not a violator snake unless the lucky lady makes the usual ‘no, BUT YES!’ noises. Nuff said.
All little girls should aspire to be the women of Queen's Blade. While it's true that we can't all have an incestual, pushy sibling like Leina or choose our parents, what we can choose, thanks to the marvels of plastic surgery, is our appearance. Just like you could point out a celebrity photo to a hairstylist, Queen's Blade offers a host of busty beauties that would swell any plastic surgeon's member….ship. As an unattractive C-cup, you could show your local professional an image of any of the Queen's Blade cast as a model of what version of perfection you'd like to become. Will you choose the modest size of Leina or Echidna, or go all-out and get Melpha's sagging, cottage cheese-filled saddlebags? One thing's for sure: any girl who alters herself to look more like one of the women warriors in Queen's Blade will definitely turn heads and bring many men to rise to the occasion – while improving their self-esteem in the process.
I know I’ve been pretty harsh on ecchi anime in the past, but let it be known that my opinion has changed forever. Queen’s Blade is an oasis in the desert, the belle of a ball, and the apple of my eye; it truly deserves a perfect 10.
Please run, don’t walk, to pick up this masterpiece.
Very underrated. This show should not be featured as "explicit sex" first of all. All there is are random and funny boob shots like an armor piece falling off while they are fighting. There's no scenes that are there FOR the fan service, though there is some very mild nudity, it's mostly just random and not out of place. It's nothing like Seikon no Qwasar or Valkyrie drive.
Pretty cool story, good music, good animation, cool characters. If you like sword and sorcerie / rpg genre, this show is definitely worth it, very underrated and do not let the nudity turn you off, this is a show you can enjoy even if you don't normally like nudity and ecchi.
Story and Character: This is one of the best ecchi series ever made, and anyone who doesn't credit the story here as an extremely effective example of the hybrid martial arts quest that it is, or the characters as many of the most memorable you'll come across and excellent representatives of the genre, is full of it. If you compare this to something like Street Fighter, The Quest, Kickboxer, Mortal Kombat, etc., it not only holds its own, but oftentimes will outclass that competition. If you're prudish or offended by sexualized depictions of female characters and kinky scenarios, look away, but any low rating for gratuitous nudity is an expression of that bias. This is an ecchi series, and it's one of the very best at most everything it sets out to do. If you're one of those people on a mission to ruin our fun and suppress our art and entertainment, however, this obviously isn't for you. It doesn't pretend to be something it's not.
Animation: Top notch. It will make you feel something, and I'm not talking about its sheer eroticism. The action is clear, fluid, technically interesting, and easy to follow. It's a beautiful example of its style, applied to varied scenarios, moods, and settings. Some scenes, you'll anticipate the next moment, others you'll dread, some will have you laughing along with it, or just evoke an honest smile. This is not a one trick pony of a show.
Sound: The voice acting is strong, leaving you with lasting impressions of every major character, the music effectively carries you through the roller coaster experience of the plot, whether crescendos, humorous melodies, treacherous plot twists, or inevitable, fateful conflicts.
I pretty much laughed my ass off to the "close window" button. Low grade fap material and nothing else.