Yuko GotoKaori MizuhashiKanae ItoQueens Blade
Queen's Blade 2: The Evil Eye
Also known as: Queen's Blade: Gyokuza o Tsugumono
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2009
Director: Kinji Yoshimoto
Writer: Takao Yoshioka
Actor: Atsuko Tanaka, Aya Hirano, Ayaka Saito, Ayako Kawasumi, Eri Kitamura, Hitomi Nabatame, Kanae Ito, Kaori Mizuhashi, Mamiko Noto, Mikako Takahashi, Miyu Takeuchi, Rie Kugimiya, Rie Tanaka, Ryoka Yuzuki, Sayaka Ohara, Yui Kano, Yuki Kaida, Yuko Goto, Yuko Kaida
Keywords: Queens Blade, anime, boobs, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Season Two: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=10920
Website category: Anime late 00s
Review date: 30 April 2019
queens blade
It's still a pretty good show. It's got far stronger storytelling than usual for a tits-and-arse anime (which made it a massive hit back in the day), which might not sound like anything to write home about but is at least more wholesome than the dirtier end of the harem anime.
They've even toned down the sleaze a bit, even if saying so is like arguing which ocean is less wet. Leina spent so much time stripped in Season 1 that it got boring. It was harder to find episodes where she wasn't flopping out her norks. Here, though, she keeps them covered until ep.9, while it's even possible to find episodes that are relatively modest with their boob displays. One or two have even discovered the fleeting glimpse. (Every episode is absolutely guaranteed to show nipples, though.) There are even characters who never get nude at all, like Nowa, Cattleya (!?) and Ymir (THANK GOODNESS).
Sleazehounds will still be more than happy, though. The show's still shameless and irredeemable, thank goodness. Look at the end title sequences! Good grief. If sleaze were warfare, those would be a thermonuclear strike. The Swamp Witch Trio (Melona, Menace and Airi) sing multiple versions of a jazzy number ("buddy-body"), with each villainness getting her own tailored lyrics and extreme camera angles. (Melona's song is in ep.2-3,9, Menace's in ep.4,6,10 and Airi's in ep.5,8,11.) You'll be reminded that Melona's dress is completely see-through, that Airi's ghostly magic levels are linked to the transparency of her clothes and that Menace's top should be bouncing free of her nipples with every step.
It's kind of amazing. The song's fun, too, and not just because villainnesses are singing about how they love being evil.
The main plausibility hurdle is the lack of blood. No one ever gets hurt in a Queen's Blade duel, even though warriors are attacking each other with swords and axes. The goriest it gets is a scratch or a pinprick. Clothing damage is being used as a proxy for injuries. Admittedly I've seen it claimed that killing is banned in-universe by the tournament rules, but even so these fights strain credibility. (That's particularly glaring if you're watching the show today, with the growth in Battle Royale anime over the past decade.)
That said, though, the show can still get grim. Queen Aldra rules the country with death squads, assassinations and a fondness for turning people to stone. She keeps a large room of such victims in her castle. Quite a few cast members will either get petrified or brainwashed into becoming Aldra's assassins. (She says she's just looking for her little sister, but she clearly got, uh, sidetracked.)
There will be death. There's enough weird magical stuff to allow this to be reversed, sometimes, depending on circumstances, but some killings are permanent. There's a shocking one about halfway through that'll have emotional weight to the end.
There are unexpected alliances. Villains can find themselves caring for innocents and sort of redeeming themselves. Unlikely people might surprise you by popping up as significant players (with an army!). Unfortunately the all-important duels get chosen by the queen and the combatants teleported to each other, which arguably makes the season feel a bit arbitrary... but the fights always have emotional meaning. Old friends might have to fight each other. Even a random-looking pairing like, say, Claudette vs. Menace becomes rich when you realise that they're both royalty and that they've both let that completely define them.
There's also one minor thing that the show does brilliantly. It has a huge cast, but you'll never have trouble keeping track of everyone. You can't forget characters who look like this.
There's serious and sometimes dark character work (e.g. the Vance family's problems, or Tomoe sending herself to a horrifying psychological place), but also plenty of comedy. Nanael the angel somehow manages to become even more appalling. Ymir's scrooge-like tendencies made me laugh, as did Erina's incest-focused motivation... and yet Erina's also sometimes the most hateful person in the cast. I'm thinking of how she talks to people she sees as her inferiors (e.g. Nyx, Tomoe).
There's no nudity for Nowa, Cattleya and Ymir, while also only one episode each for Nyx (1), Alleyne (4), Shizuka (7), Melpha (8) and Aldra (12). (That's not counting Melpha's holy poses or Nyx's demon tentacle fellatio, though. Nyx is a bit worrying.)
Of all people, Elina (1,3,5-7) is the character who strips in the most episodes. (That's not a comment on her modesty or self-restraint, of which she has none, but simply on the fact that her character design is relatively unremarkable and looks unlikely to be a fan favourite.) If you include those outrageous end title sequences, though, the Swamp Witch Trio are way off in the lead for sleaze.
I'm still enjoying this show. I wasn't that bothered by the non-fatal duels, which are clearly a deliberate feature of the show rather than an accident. "Queen's Blade. The defeated are left with disgrace and frustration, while new trials await the victors. Whether they advance or turn back, these warriors will face hell." It has some good jokes, e.g. Melpha's holy book. Sometimes these are sleaze jokes (e.g. Hungry Nanael vs. Hungry Aria becoming a clash of the panty shots), but that's the point of the show. If you're a moral guardian who disapproves of nudity, THIS SHOW WILL KILL YOU.
However the show still also has a strong storytelling core. I don't know whether that'll stay true over the show's various seasons and incarnations, but never mind that. The Vances and their problems are still at the heart of the story, while hypnotised SPOILER really is out to kill. I also admire the way they've avoided character overload. This is an underrated franchise, although admittedly it's inviting that.