I think it's official. Queen's Blade is eating itself. It's gone all Hollywood (except not family-friendly), rebooting itself in search of money, money, money. This is supposedly the start of a new OVA series, but I bet there won't be an ep.2. Firstly, it's bad. Secondly, lots of fans hated it (which isn't the same thing). Thirdly, this episode appeared in July 2018 and there's still been no word of a follow-up.
The fans were angry for two reasons. Firstly, there's a new main character, Michel, who's male (!) and barely out of puberty, which doesn't go well with a decision to make the fanservice even sleazier. There's a scene where he and Elina are bathing naked together and they end up with Elina's face in his crotch. Whoops. His groin also has a magic link with a flute that can grow bigger, thicker and veinier when a woman grips it. There will be pseudo-fellatio. This kind of nastiness is actually unprecedented in Queen's Blade, which has always been overflowing with nudity and stripperiffic costumes but until now had generally avoided dodgier content. The nearest we got was Echidna being a touchy-feely lesbian. (Let's not mention the urination.)
Michel's apparently based on Fio from the Sword of Unicorn light novel series. I won't be reading them.
The other source of fan anger was the character redesigns. Only a few girls appear in this episode, but all the pictures are online. Looking through them... Leina, Elina, Nanael, Melpha, Tomoe, Melona, Menace, Airi, Alleyne don't look that different, if you ask me. Nowa's almost identical, theoretically, but she now looks a lot more child-like and has a slightly more boob-exposing top. (Ew, yuck, go away.) Irma, Nyx and Cattleya have got worse. Claudette is more generic and boring, although I like the cloak. Ymir looks completely different and blander, with no real use of colour, but I have to approve anyway since she's now less lolicon-friendly.
I think they've improved Echidna, though, since I never liked her old bra design. Overall, I don't care. It's like changing a show's theme music. Even if you loved the old music, you can still enjoy that by watching the old episodes. Even if it's worse, change gives you something new.
What I didn't like about this reboot, personally, is that it's a bad reboot.
The story and set-up are very different, mind you. Nothing here is recognisable from earlier episodes, whereas parts of it are startling. It certainly doesn't feel like a rehash. However they've killed the joke of Melpha's holy poses, in which a holy, virtuous nun thinks it's her duty to do sleazy porn spreads, because her "Bible" isn't yours or mine. She just appears and starts spreading them. You'd expect a reboot's first episode to be a good place for newbies to start, but this episode's assuming you've seen the earlier Queen's Blade series.
Similarly, Elina's barely recognisable. She's not a depraved incest sleazoid and she talks normally to people without sneering. She's nice to Michel. You don't want to kill her. This isn't the Elina we know and despise, which is why I thought the episode's best moment was Elina hitting her slave after the end credits. At last, some Elina-ness. The reason for this might have been Leina not appearing, with Elina being the episode's heroine instead. I'm hardly Leina's biggest fan and I thought her overexposure was the weakest aspect of Season 1, but she's still clearly the saga's cornerstone and I was unconvinced by this attempt to use Elina in a Leina-like role.
Other changes I'm neutral on. The tournament itself is scarier, since it's now okay to kill your opponent and the loser of any match must obey the winner's command. I think it's magically binding. This suggests a combination of Battle Royale deathmatch and a "winner enslaves loser" magical bondage, or at least that's what we see here. After only one episode, already the plot's going in unrecognisable directions.
This episode isn't good. Even the visuals are unimpressive, with the art and animation sometimes looking a bit shit. Sleaze-wise, you've got lots of panty shots and (unusually) some topless Melpha. That almost never happens. There's lots of Airi nudity too, but that's hardly a first. In short, don't bother. I'm curious about where this plot had been going to go, but I also found this a vaguely insulting reboot that's taking the sleaze in new and unwelcome directions.