In the past, I’ve taken more than a few shots at a series titled Queen’s Blade. It deserved every single one of those shots, and quite a few more, for generally being horrible. Horrible enough to make it one of those shows that makes you question if anime has any worth.
A couple of things first. I’ve said in the past that anime is not art, but can be, depending on how it is presented. Many shows pass that mark, and are worth being called works of art, usually for presenting a story that is so well done, it surpasses all standards of artistic quality. That aside, anime is a commercial concept first and foremost, meant to make money. Art happens more often by accident than by design when it comes to anime. This isn’t wrong, or bad. It’s just the reality of a commercial industry.
Second, I again have to take issue with SAO being called the worst anime ever made. I know this is a horse I keep flogging, but seriously. Calling something the worst of anything means you have to prove it, and nobody can, because shows like Queen’s Blade exist. It is, on every level, way worse than SAO could ever hope to be. It is, hands down, one of the worst animes ever made, which is really saying something, because I’ve seen Voltage Fighter.
The reason I bring these two things up is because Queen’s Blade is the direct result of the commercial driven nature of anime. It only exists because there is a market for it, and outside of serving that market, it offers nothing of value or meaning. It is there solely to make money. Which it does.
So, technically, it is successful, and has even spawned an entire multi-media franchise, while being actively awful. That’s pretty impressive, and says way more about anime fans than the success of SAO ever could. At least SAO had something to say besides gimme money.
My issue here is, as always, with the critic community, who grants themselves the authority to determine what is the worst, for no reason other than to feed their ego. If we are to step back, and be even slightly objective, we’ll find that they obviously don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, which is amazing, considering how much time they spend with their head up their ass.
Queen’s Blade, despite my utter distaste for it, still isn’t the worst anime ever made. It’s terrible, but even it isn’t the worst. I’ve seen way worse. Just not by much.
So, what is Queen’s Blade, anyway?
This 24 episode, 2009 series from studio ARMS (Elfen Lied, Ikkitousen) is set in a fictionalized, fantasy world version of China, where every four years, a gladiator contest is held to determine who will rule the country, which is mind boggling stupid to start with.
Any system of government based on who can kill someone else better is bound to be full of flaws, is all I’m saying. Even worse, this is apparently the will of Heaven, literally. Why is never fully explained. Just that Heaven has decreed it, so everybody kinda goes along with the whole absurd mess.
Making it more bizarre, only women are allowed to compete, hence the name Queen’s Blade. Why this odd specification exists is also never explained, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the cast being almost entirely made up of scantily clad women.
Like I said, there’s a market for this show. It’s just one you have turn over a few rocks to find.
The story primarily follows Leina, the daughter of a Count, as she sets out to wander the world, following in the footsteps of her mother. She ends up joining the Queen’s Blade competition for various reasons, and meets other women along the way she either befriends, or makes enemies of, then has to fight, usually leading to them all being mostly naked.
There’s so much nudity in this show, guys. Like, enough to make it count as soft core porn. Which again, market, rocks, so on.
The most insulting thing about the show, however, isn’t the graphic nudity. Surprisingly, it’s that the characters are all actually really well developed. Every one has a reason for what they do, and is driven by things that fit well with that. They are all incredibly well fleshed out, and utterly wasted on this absurd story that serves no purpose beyond having insanely busty women be nude as often as possible.
Don’t get me wrong. I like a pretty girl in a state of undress as much as the next male. There’s a time and a place for that, though. This isn’t it.
As I watched Queen’s Blade, I couldn’t help but think that the characters were completely wasted on this show. The backdrop goes somewhere past stupid. Just trying to understand how a governing system this ridiculous could ever come to pass makes my brain hurt. Beyond that is that the fights are so over the top and inane, it induces eye rolls that could blind a person for life.
Nothing about this makes any sense, and thrust into the middle of it all, are characters that are actually pretty great, forced to endure this pathetic attempt at a story, and it irritates me. I’d probably have found the show less offensive if the characters had been one note and dull.
Weird, I know, but who ever accused me of being normal?
The show even manages to pull out a couple of decent emotional moments, built on the characters, and then, completely wasted by the idiotic story. Which just makes me loathe this show all the more.
Let me make something super clear, however. I don’t really care one way or the other about the nudity. Since time immemorial, humanity has been obsessed with porn. It’s how it’s used that’s dumb. The characters get stripped naked during every fight, but have all their gear fully repaired by the next battle. Not that they are wearing much to start with, with one character having a live snake as a thong. It exists solely for the purpose of having them be naked, which is what bugs me.
People are naked when they bath. People are sometimes naked when they sleep. Nudity is a thing that happens, a lot. Nudity is fine. Nudity in the middle of a life or death battle is kinda absurd. Especially when it keeps happening, for no clear reason, other to have it happen.
It’s just like with High School of the Dead. The bouncing boobies goes way overboard, to the point it detracts from the story. In Queen’s Blade, it takes things a step further, by having the story only exist as a pretext to having the bouncing boobies be on full display.
That’s stupid. At the very least, have a story compelling enough the nudity becomes a non-factor. How hard is that?
Asked the writer.
Okay, so world setting and story, both dumb as a box of rocks. The characters, really well done, but completely wasted. Copious amounts of graphic nudity every single episode. Anything else I didn’t like about this show?
Thanks for asking.
There’s a lot here to not like, actually. The entire show is a grab bag of fantasy ideas, presented without rhyme or reason. There’s ninjas, for some reason. Scantily clad ninjas. Why, I don’t know. There’s magic, but nobody ever bothers to lay down any kind of actual rules, so it can do whatever they want it to, even if it contradicts something that happened previously. There’s an evil Swamp Witch, who does stuff, for some reason, that’s never explained, and demons who wander around doing things for the Swamp Witch, for even less well explained reasons. There’s an angel, who is the stupidest character in not just this show, but pretty much any other. There’s the inclusion of a whiny little kid, who nearly gets his mom killed on several occasions by being a whiny little snot machine.
Really, there’s a lot of just crap in this show. Dumb stuff that’s thrown in because it sounds cool. There’s no consistency to the world building, the mythology, or anything. Just a random assortment of cliches that are nailed together and tossed at the viewer, with abundant nude boobs, for no damn reason.
Basically, the show is dumb, and assumes that if you’re watching it, your dumb as well. The only people who enjoy this show, or find any real value in it, are there for the boobs. That’s all it is, and all it offers. Boobs.
Boobs for boobs. Should be on a t-shirt. Probably is.
Now, I admit, I said the characters were really well fleshed out, and they are. Each was designed by a titan of the anime and manga world, and none of them can resist giving a solid backstory to the characters they make. I respect that, but really guys? Did you have to waste all that talent on this piece of shit? Was the paycheck that damn good, and if it was, could you maybe call me next time?
What? I’d sell out my principles for a damn good paycheck. I’ve got my pride, but that don’t keep food in my stomach, ya know.
As always, I recommend forming your own opinion. This is mine, but that’s all it is. Everyone should decide for themselves what they enjoy. All I do is give my two cents, and make you folks aware of both what you may enjoy, and what you may not. From there, your entertainment is in your own hands.
Not like that. Perverts.
Still, do be warned. Queen’s Blade is a mind numbing march through mediocre animation, poor storytelling, and thin excuses for nudity, to reach a conclusion that is both predictable, and trite.
Enter at your own risk.