Ayana TaketatsuAyaka SaitoQueens BladeSuzuko Mimori
Queen's Blade: Rebellion
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2012
Director: Yousei Morino
Writer: Hideki Shirane
Actor: Aki Toyosaki, Aya Endo, Ayaka Saito, Ayana Taketatsu, Haruka Tomatsu, Harumi Sakurai, Kaori Mizuhashi, Kei Shindou, Kikuko Inoue, Minako Kotobuki, Minori Chihara, Satomi Satou, Shizuka Itou, Suzuko Mimori, Yu Kobayashi, Yukiko Takaguchi
Keywords: Queens Blade, anime, boobs, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Season Three: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=13747
Website category: Anime early 10s
Review date: 11 May 2019
queens blade
That was startlingly bad. It comes alive for the last episode, but the contrast just demonstrates the weakness of the rest of the season. Apparently it's controversial even among Queen's Blade fans, some of whom have complained that the anime adaptation weakened the plot (although in fairness there are also fans who see it as an essential continuation). The season ends on a cliffhanger, but even so I'm not surprised that Hobby Japan never gave us the other half of the story.
It's a lost cause. Bury it and forget it. Admittedly I like its ideas about what happened to the existing Queen's Blade characters and world, but that's not enough to justify the time investment of watching these episodes.
Firstly, some background. Queen's Blade is gone. The queen scrapped the tournament and turned into a semi-tyrannical leader, so the world's gone a bit wrong. This sounded iffy when I heard about it, because it didn't seem to fit the characters... but in fact it's okay. This world has multiple queens and the last one standing won't necessarily be the one you'd expect. The one we see here? Yeah, I could imagine her doing all this. In fairness, she's been good for free trade and the economy. Civilisation seems to have had an upgrade, with the buildings especially looking downright modern. (The old show was more about castles, dungeons, elves and dwarves.) That was jarring, actually. I like the idea of socio-political development in a sword-and-sorcery setting, but it seems to have happened in an implausibly short time frame. (There are several returning characters and none of them seem to have aged, bar perhaps Aldra.)
Well, we could handwave this with magic and a variant of Clarke's Law. Ymir's building SF gadgets, while one of the new characters (Huit) builds robots.
So we have a queen misruling her country and facing rebellions. Sounds good? It could have been, yes, but in practice we have a bunch of idiots wandering about ineffectually and turning the show into a single-sex harem anime. Nothing happens! Then nothing happens again! They also keep being stupid. 1. Annelotte is capable of leaving her friends to go off for a walk in the dark, going to sleep on someone's cart and then not noticing when it drives off. 2. I was unconvinced by Tarnyang's transformation from "vaguely annoying skinflint" to "unswervingly devoted and one-dimensional harem member". 3. Mirim was surely the least suitable experimental superweapon subject of all time. 4. Luna Luna is just a pain in the arse. 5. Sigui the Inquisitor is a sincere and devout church official, but also has the kind of one-track mentality that's liable to interpret everything as "God vs. heresy" and can be easily manipulated by any villain who's realised this. 6. Izumi has an annoying and stupid way of ordering Annelotte to train her. 7. Aldra takes an entire freaking episode to think of questioning a very silly claim. 8. Didn't Leina suspect anything about her sisters? Really?
The old Queen's Blade tournament was a comfortably well-worn plot structure, but it worked. Seasons 1-2 are worth watching. This season, though, lacks narrative momentum. It boils down to villains being villainous for no clear reason while all the goodies end up just following Annelotte around, sometimes also arguing about who should be allowed to sit or sleep next to her.
What about the sleaze, though? At least the show's still delivering boobs, right? Well... sort of. Personally I think it even fails at that. Somehow it manages to be ridiculous in its shamelessness and kind of bland. The franchise's trademark clothing damage battles had always been implausible, but this is taken to new heights/depths here as hitting a girl with a battleaxe or a chainsword will just remove her top. There's also Orgasm Armour and, in ep.2, a naughty molesting octopus. Despite all this, though, the nudity tends to be forgettable. Kinji Yoshimoto sleazed it up a storm on Seasons 1-2, but Yousei Morino's the new director and I'm not convinced that he understands "sexy". This is at its worst with Luna Luna. She's a new F.S. character, which is to say that even her costume designer probably needs arresting. Do a Google image search. She has a couple of inadequate hankies draped (not worn) in the vague direction of her boobs, while she also has a prehensile codpiece. Theoretically she's as eye-popping as Melona and Menace... but in practice she doesn't work. She's not sexy. The camera doesn't love her. You're usually looking at her tentacles, not her. (It doesn't help that she's also thinly characterised and vaguely annoying, but that's another problem.)
There are a few returning characters, but it's mostly an all-new cast. Of those, I liked Mirim (silly though she was) and especially her courage in ep.12. She has 1990s anime eyes, by the way. Huit and her robot are also likeable. Annelotte is appropriately heroic, albeit not actually that interesting. Branwen's acceptance of her own slavery is startling, although she barely appears.
(On the downside, though, I disliked Luna Luna, Liliana the pirate and the annoying demons, Belphe and Dogor, while Laila the angel is an inadequate substitute for Nanael. Some of the missing characters here were excluded for real-world reasons, you see. Menace's voice actress had developed serious illness, while Nanael's voice actress had derailed her career with a minor sex scandal. The full story is silly to the point of being offensive and one of those "only in Japan" things, but it's particularly absurd here since Queen's Blade is hardly known for feminine modesty and the character of Nanael is a zero-morals sleazeball who wants to build a male harem.)
There are also some OVAs, although they're harder to find and I haven't watched or reviewed them. They were released with some artbooks, which is why they're called Queen's Blade Premium Visual Book (prequels) and Queen's Blade Rebellion Premium Visual Book (sequels).
Even the animation quality's fallen, I think. Don't watch this show. It's not even good at being sleazy, let alone at hitting more conventional quality benchmarks. It divides roughly into all-new characters (who are uninteresting and don't do much) and returning ones (who get some cool developments, twists and ideas). The latter can be both startling and subtly foreshadowed. I want to see Aldra's husband. There is admittedly some interesting stuff here if you're curious about what happened next in the world of Queen's Blade, but I'd recommend fast-forwarding through most of it.