When power corrupts, the fallout is wide and far, and bouncy.
What They Say:
Power corrupts, and when it appears that the once noble Queen Claudette’s ways have turned to oppression and heretical persecution, it’s up to a new generation of warriors to step up to the plate armor to bear arms and bare their naked fury in open rebellion!
The odds may seem unfairly stacked in favor of the Amazonian ranks of the queen, doubly supported by her power of writ and assassins. But the incredible wits and assets of the dazzling array of daring damsels willing to risk their gorgeous skins and put their lithesome bodies on line against her might just expose a few unexpected weaknesses in the queen’s support! It’s the wildest fantasy ever as an unprecedented force of fabulous female fighters, from elven alchemist to half-demon berserker, from undead pirate captain to dragon maid, all come together with the goal of stripping the queen from her throne!
Contains episodes 1-12 plus two CDs
The audio presentation for this series is standard fare here but nicely done as we get the original Japanese language in stereo as well as the new English language dub, produced by NYAV Post, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The series isn’t exactly dialogue heavy in a way, but there’s a good bit throughout and it’s generally well handled as there are some fun areas of it with placement as the characters flit about. With the action side of it, that stands out a bit more with some good depth to it as it flows and some decent impact as well. The various kinds of weapons and attacks used provide for some variety to the sound effects and it works well here in a very clear and distinct way. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2012, the transfer for this twelve episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show is spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by ARMS, there’s a lot to like here as the colors have some great pop to them and are pretty much solid throughout with little in the way of noise or any breakup. The series has a lot of different colors working throughout it, even just for skin tone, but it has a good hue here and definitely is appealing. Details are strong and clean without any breakup as well, making for some good costume design and plenty of clothing-ripping moments to come across in an engaging way. The show is all over the map with its bit rate, but it does hit a lot of highs regularly during the big action scenes and the payoff is there.
The packaging for this release comes in a slightly oversized Blu-ray case that holds the two Blu-ray discs as well as the two CD soundtracks as well. The front cover gives us a really nicely detailed image of two of the girls from it, who couldn’t be more different in their look and design, and it pops right off the package with the colors and the detail of it all. The logo along the bottom is kept to what we’ve seen with past releases to some degree with a clean look and also the mention of the soundtracks that are included. THe back cover is a bit simpler as it’s given over to a huge amount of text overall. The episodes and soundtracks are reinforced at the top as are the extras. The premise takes up most of the middle while also having a good character collage along the left, just below a few shots from the show. The bottom third is all standard fare design material with the production credits and a technical grid that lists everything clearly and even includes the soundtrack technical information as well. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for the release works off of the standard templates that Sentai uses and is nicely tied in-theme to make it work well. The left side features the standard episode navigation by title and number, which also doubles as the pop-up menu, making it quick and easy to see where you are during playback and to access on the fly. That all takes up just under a third of it while the rest uses some character artwork, the first volume with Shigi for example, that takes up the rest with a bit of the map. Submenus load quickly, and this is particularly useful on the second disc where all the extras are. Language selection is a breeze even if it defaults to English with sign/song subtitles.
This release comes with a pretty good chunk of extras that will definitely make it a lot more fun for the heavy enthusiast, though some of it may not be all that engaging for the casual fan. Or the fan that just wants the fanservice. The big extra is the inclusion of several audio dramas, which run about ten minutes each, and add up as there’s six of them. These are fun little fluffy pieces with the actresses just playing the roles without animation and Sentai has done it up with a simple border and black screen with the subtitles playing through the middle. More interesting are the six omake episodes, which clock in at under four minutes each, that push the boundaries of the TV show with its sexuality and silliness, though your mileage may vary. Also included are the always welcome clean opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I hate to label a series a guilty pleasure, because I feel no guilt in watching a series that gives me pleasure, Queen’s Blade: Rebellion is certainly one of those. The whole point of the show is, in the end, to sell more figures, statues and merchandise related to the Hobby Japan property. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Gundam is essentially the same, but they’ve had a lot more material to work with and have, at times, elevated the work in a great way to be something meaningful. Queen’s Blade is not meaningful. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun though and that’s what I kept finding with this season when I watched the simulcast and as I rewatched it here in marathon form. It’s light, fluffy and doesn’t always explain itself well, and I’ll be buggered if I can find a character that I can connect with, but it swings the sword, shakes the booty and has some good bouncy action with a bit of erotica that sometimes feels even more tame than the previous season.
With this following what has come before, there’s some nods given to the changes of the world as the free markets have opened up, nobles aren’t what they once were and people in general are more prosperous as the days unfold. But there’s also still a lot of competitive female fighters out there with some varied bits of gear, from the air pirate we see at first to a maid-style costume with some impressive guns. And that’s not even talking about what’s on her arms. Not surprisingly, with the extensive cast that this show has as it brings in so many new characters, it bounces from scene to scene to show off different locales and doesn’t focus too heavily on any one of them for the majority of it. What we get is essentially a slowed down montage sequence that lets us get the introductions, some of their basic quirks and a good bit of fighting along the way.
What we do see throughout this season that follows what came before is that while the world is getting better for most people now that Claudette is queen, there are still a whole lot of women out there that want to fight. But this is problematic as she has closed down the Queen’s Blade competition and removed that option from your average warrior. So we do have a lot of people out in the lands and it’s pretty fun and creative with the costumes that are quite varied, much as seasons past, and the skimpy level of some of them. One of them even has her chest bared for awhile but with pink starfish covering the nipples so they can show all of her chest. Others that don’t have that get the White Blur of Doom applied to them which covers up sizable tracts of land. At this point though, because of the way the show is organized, nobody really stands out in a big way in terms of who they are, just in their designs and their combat ability. Which is par for the course for the franchise as it should thin the ranks a bit soon and focus on more of the cast individually.
With this kind of world as the backdrop, we do get the sense of unease that’s out there, but it really only comes through with a few characters. In fact, one of the big plot points about the evil creeping across the land doesn’t really get mentioned until the last couple of episodes, undercutting a central reason for the larger fight that’s going on here and why. With Claudette in the shadows, we don’t even get her saying all that much and showing what kind of ruler she is. Instead, we see most of the problems being created by Ymir, the Iron Strategist, as she rallies different people to her cause by manipulation and works them against the ostensible lead character of the series, Annalotte. Ymir is fun to watch because she does the manipulation well and of course there are some pretty sexual moments for it as well, especially with the hyper vibration armor she creates for Mirim that uses her excited mode to achieve greater skill. But even in this, Ymir’s motivations aren’t really that clear for most of it and she becomes a one-dimensional villain instead of something more interesting.
As the series lead, Annalotte doesn’t fare much better, which is really unfortunate. Because of the nature of the show and the way it has such a large cast, she ends up going through a lot of different places in her quest to get to the castle and question the Queen about things, and that means most episodes introduce some new person or team. And from there, they often end up rallying behind her to different degrees as they realize the rightness of her cause and her general righteousness, something that confuses Ymir as she can’t understand why Annalotte is able to cause this among people. Annalotte, for her part, does have the most complexity and depth, again done sparingly throughout the series in order to build the full, and while she can spend a lot of an episode off screen, she is the standard type of character that you can experience the world through.
But really, the show is all about bringing in the different characters, letting them have their fun with their quirks and gimmicks, doing some fighting or letting them be all sexual, and moving on to the next pairing. Some of these are just weird but strangely alluring, such as Luna Luna who has two personalities and two looks depending on who is in control. Her outfit is damn strange as is her land and customs, but it brings a kind of wildness to things. Mirim is the complete opposite in that she’s young and cute and under Ymir’s control while trying to do the right thing all while stumbling through her life. The kind of the middle area is figured out by Shigi, the Inquisitor, who is doing the work of the Queen but continually finds herself struggling as she realizes that the rightness of her service is being done in the service of someone who doesn’t deserve it. But he, she has the Holy Pose and straddles her sword in order to win fights. She can do whatever she wants.
I’m a big fan of the Queen’s Blade world overall and really liked what I’ve seen before of it, but this season left me feeling a bit unfulfilled. It works with the idea of the world succumbing slowly to madness and evil, but it doesn’t show us a lot of this throughout and doesn’t even really explain it. Instead, it’s a roadtrip for Annalotte with Ymir providing a parallel track as she works to stop her. Each adds to their ranks along the way – and they do swell (ho ho ho) – but there’s also no characters that you really get drawn to because of their character. I have plenty that I like for the visuals, the quirks and their attacks, but not because of who they are or their personalities. There’s not much soul to Queen’s Blade Rebellion, but there is a lot of fun and it does excel there, making it an enjoyable romp that could have been more but didn’t want to try. And considering what it wants to do, I doubt they see that as a problem.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Audio Dramas, Queen’s Blade Omake, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: A-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: September 24th, 2013
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P 3D HDTV, Sony PlayStation 3 via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
CD 1 Track Listing
The Daytime of Departure
Powerlessness & Sadness
Bloodthristy & Bashful
Queen’s Blade Rebellion Main Theme
To Fear & Anger
Great Pirate Captain Liliana
Beyong the New Determination
With the Morning Glow
With the Approaching New Enemy
The Moment of the Duel
The Dance of the Beautiful Fighter
Moonlight Dancer Luna Luna
The Unchanging Person
Thundercloud Queen Claudette
CD 2 Track Listing
Fear of Burning to Death
Anti-Demon Expert Tarnyang (slow)
Hyper Vibration Valkyrie Mirim (last)
Want to Sop By for a Sec?
The Moment of Confusion
The Dance of Temptation
Alchemical Strategist Yuit
People Lurking in the Ruins
Celestial Punisher Laila
Anti-Demon Exper Tarnyang (fast)
Don’t Say That
Encounter With a Powerful Enemy
Hyper Vibration Valkyrie Mirim (slow)