In the category of fan service there are few titles quite as prolific as Queen's Blade. This franchise has been a mainstay in Japan for art books, games, anime, and figures. Quite honestly there's more flesh in Queen's Blade than you can shake a stick at, and it's quite clear that the series is popular. Just do a quick search on www.Jlist.com and see how many items come up. Seriously, it's kind of ridiculous. Does all this fervor mean the series is worth checking out?
Media Blasters/Anime Works has acquired the Queen's Blade license for release here in the States. Now that some time has passed since that announcement the DVDs have started coming out and today we're looking at the first volume.
Queen's Blade takes place in a fantasy world where every few years there is a tournament to see who will become the next queen. Women from all across the land duke it out for the chance to claim the title and all the power that comes with the position. This first volume features four episodes of the show (there are 12 total for the first season) and basically goes through the motions of introducing the main characters.
In the first episode we're introduced to Leina, who is of the Vance noble family and has the misfortune of coming across Melona. Melona is a mysterious one since she's made of liquid of some kind, and it's clear from the get-go that Leina is severely outmatched. The thing about Melona that stands out the most is her hair is a shade of pink and it's sentient, to the point that it covers her nipples. When the time comes the hair hands squeeze her breasts and launch a spray of acid milk. The sad part is I'm not even joking! You can't make this stuff up.
Anyways, Leina is an inexperienced youth in many respects, though thankfully a bandit named Risty just so happened to be watching what transpired with Melona. Risty temporarily dispatches acid boob lady and decides to cash in on a ransom for Leina, so she takes her back home. Throughout all this we're introduced to a fledgling angel who is supposed to oversee the Queen's Blade tournament and we meet Leina's sister, Claudette. And that's all in just the first episode. As the show moves forward additional warriors are introduced such as Tomoe, Shizuka, and Echidna (a woman with a snake living in her crotch).
The show more or less focuses on Leina, who spends her time trying to get stronger and trains under Risty for a while. Naturally, since this is an anime about a tournament, there's a lot of fighting that takes place and most of it involves Leina. In each bout she discovers that she's just nowhere near as strong as she thought she was, and uses that as an excuse to train harder. The other characters that were introduced all move about the world in a manner that leads one to believe their paths will converge at some point, but since this first volume is so early on it's just not in the cards quite yet.
Quite honestly, Queen's Blade is mediocre at best. The story hasn't taken off quite yet, and really the point of the show is just to squeeze busty women into revealing armor and have them fight to the point that armor falls off. The over-the-top nature of the fanservice truly goes above and beyond anything I've watched before. Ikki Tousen, Divergence Eve, and To Love-Ru all bow down before Queen's Blade's royal breasts. It's a distracting sense of style that doesn't bode well for the rest of the series, but if a bevy of animated boobs are you're thing then I'm sure the show will tickle your pickle (so to speak). I didn't hate what I saw, but I wouldn't exactly say I loved it either. This one's probably a rental.
Queen's Blade is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The show looks quite good with vibrant colors, attractive character designs, and plenty of detail. Animation is a sore spot for this show and movement really isn't as fluid as it could have been. Media Blaster's transfer does justice to the franchise, though since the series is available on Blu-ray in Japan, we're left wanting for such a release in America. Overall it's a nice clean transfer with virtually no flaw to speak of.
English and Japanese 2.0 stereo tracks are included as audio options for Queen's Blade. As one might expect the English dub leaves something to be desired, but the original Japanese track is very good. In all honesty though, both have their own charms so it's worth checking out the English track if you're curious. The quality of the audio is sharp enough and it's presented well, though as one might expect it's a tad flat here (ironically, considering the women aren't). A more robust 5.1 selection would have pushed some of the battles to the next level, but alas that's not the case. The bottom line is the sound is decent, yet underwhelming.
Surprisingly the first volume of Queen's Blade hits with a nice selection of bonus features. For starters there are some trailers for other Media Blasters releases, as well as a promotional video for the series, some TV spots, and clean animations. On top of all that there are two episodes of an OVA (they are very short and were presumably included with the original Japanese release), though they are little more than additional eye-candy.
If you're coming to Queen's Blade, then you're coming for the boobs. I hate to be blunt about it, but quite honestly there's not much else going for the show other than its fanservice. Borderline and partially nude characters get together to fight each other, insinuated lesbianism, and other perversions abound in this show. If you're okay with that I'm sure you'll be entertained on some level, but the best I can say for the show at this point is it's a best worth a rental.