Queen’s Blade Surprisingly Well-rounded

I like to think of myself as being pretty open-minded when it comes to anime. I’ll give just about any genre a chance if it has an interesting story or premise. However, it was just a few years ago that a friend opened my eyes to the possibility that I might be neglecting the over-the-top booby fanservice genre.

Sometimes, it’s okay to judge a book by its cover

I’m sure we all have our own ways of picking and choosing which anime are worth our time. Sometimes I’ll give a show a chance just because it has a good opening song or a voice actor I like. Usually, I find that it doesn’t take much to have a decent guess whether I’ll enjoy a show or not. After all, why shouldn’t we judge a book by its cover? The cover is full of information about the book that can help us make a decision about it. But sometimes, we find things where a cover isn’t quite enough to capture its essence.

One such example of a show I had mostly misjudged is Queen’s Blade. The only thing I knew about Queen’s Blade was that it looked like yet another booby anime, so I never gave it a second thought. Thankfully, a friend of mine turned me on to Queen’s Blade sometime in 2011. It wasn’t the art or story that convinced me to check it out, but actually hearing the soundtrack on YouTube.

So before you read any further, hit play on the YouTube embed below and listen to this while you read.

My philosophy with these kinds of booby shows has typically been something along the lines of: “If I wanted to watch porn, I’d watch porn instead.” These booby shows have never had much appeal to me and continue to be a genre that I am probably neglecting a little too much.

First things first, this show is definitely adult-oriented and should not be viewed by those under the age of 18 (or whatever it is in your country). With that out of the way, Queen’s blade definitely is an anime that has more to offer than just boobs and service. Second things second, when referring to Queen’s Blade in this post, I am referring to season one and season two (Rurou No Senshi and Gyokuza Wo Tsugu Mono respectively). After the first two seasons, the main storyline dies down and the sequels not have the same level of depth as the first two seasons.

Queen’s Blade originated as a gamebook series in 2005, but really took off when the anime series was produced in 2009 by studio ARMS. Naturally, a show like this gets censored quite heavily when airing on normal TV channels, but AT-X was the one channel to carry it uncensored.

The cast actually has some big name voice actors

For how lewd this show gets, it’s quite amazing how many big name voice actors it has.

To name just a few…

  • Rie Kugimiya – Almost every tsundere character in the last 15 years
  • Aya Hirano of Haruhi Suzumiya fame
  • Yuuko Gotou of Mikuru Asahina fame

    Guardian Angel Nanael (Aya Hirano)
    Guardian Angel Nanael (Aya Hirano)

This can be rather fun if you’re familiar with these big-name voice actors. For example, I was quite used to hearing Rie Kugimiya voice tsundere roles with her “cute” voice, but I had never even heard her attempt a sexy voice. Queen’s Blade was the first time I had heard it, and she freakin’ nails it. And if you thought Aya Hirano was snarky in Haruhi, just wait until you hear how she voices Nanael. A couple other notable voice actors in this include Eri Kitamura and Kanae Itou.

queens_blade_menace
Menace (Yuuko Gotou)

The Plot

No, I’m not jokingly referring to the amount of service here. Queen’s blade actually has a really solid plot that takes you on an adventure and leaves you caring about what happens to the characters. The basic premise revolves around the Queen’s Blade tournament that takes place every four years where strongest and most beautiful women from across the land come together to determine who will be the new Queen. The story itself is not overly intricate, but it is a good enough premise for bringing together a wide cast of interesting characters. More than the base story-line itself, the show is really driven by the characters that occupy it.

Queens_Blade_Alleyne
Alleyne (Eri Kitamura)

One other thing that I really appreciated about the storytelling in Queen’s Blade was that they didn’t seem to have many throwaway characters. Many shows will have characters who are useful for one or two episodes and then move on without ever revisiting their story. Queen’s Blade steadily introduces new characters as the story progresses and even finds away to incorporate many of them into the continuing timeline. For example, we are first introduced to the mysterious ninja Shizuka in Episode two, but she continues to have a role in the plot well into the second season.

Queen’s Blade has a fantastic soundtrack

As a whole, Queen’s blade is incredibly polished. The animation is smooth, the art is well-done, and the plot is solid, but the real standout part of this show is the soundtrack. As I mentioned above, this was what sucked me into watching the show in the first place.

My friends and I like to joke about how Queen’s Blade had way too big of a budget for a booby anime, and the soundtrack is no exception. The soundtrack is full of epic pieces that set the mood for the epic battles that take place throughout the show. The quality of the musical pieces on their own is quite good, but this show really drives home how important the timing and execution can be for a soundtrack.

The art

Queen’s Blade is set in a medieval magical fantasy world, so it allows for quite a bit of flexibility in character design. With humans, elves, dwarves, and angels in all sorts of shapes and sizes, there is a bit of something for everyone.

The original character designs are provided by Kazuhiro Takamura (Strike Witches), Hirokazu Hisayuki (My-HiME), and Eiwa. Except for a few characters (seriously, who even likes Melpha?), just about ever character is fairly easy on the eyes.

Seriously, just give it a few episodes

If you’re able to stomach non-stop fanservice (can it even be called fanservice at this point?), Queen’s Blade may just be worth a second look.

Bonus OST embed:

 


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