Like an anime version of Skinemax, only creepy.
What They Say:
Five out of five rebels agree…It’s time for this queen to go down!
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! Though the odds may seem unfairly stacked in favor of the Amazonian ranks of the queen, doubly supported by her power of writ and assassins, the incredible wits and assets of the dazzling array of daring damsels willing to risk their gorgeous skins and put their lithesome bodies on the line against her might just explose 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 in QUEEN’S BLADE: REBELLION!
Each episode contains two language tracks: English and Japanese in Dolby Digital 2.0. English subtitles are provided and the overall quality of the sound was solid.
The series is presented in 16:9 aspect ratio and it looks quite nice. The images are crisp and clear with sharp colors with no fading or distortions.
Queen’s Blade Rebellion comes in a standard Amaray case containing the twelve episodes spread out over three DVDs and the soundtrack on two CDs. Both CDs and two of the DVDs are housed in center insets and the final DVD rests on the back of the case. It’s a slim design that takes up very little space, which I appreciate.
The front cover prominently features Annalotte standing against a blue and white background. She stands in quarter profile, giving the viewer ample looks at the sides of her breast and her buttocks. The title of the show is written at the top. The spine is bisected with the top half featuring the title and the bottom a picture of Luna Luna. The back cover contains a great many screenshots—most of them salacious—the show’s summary, special features, cast and crew list, and DVD technical specifications.
Overall it’s a good design that doesn’t take up much space and gives the viewer a good idea of what to expect with this series.
The menus are bisected with the left half of the screen containing the episode list along with the language and special features options. The right half consists of a portrait of one of the characters from the show. The series’ op theme plays on a five second loop, which means that leaving the menu open for any length of time becomes annoying fairly quickly. Other than that, it’s a solid menu that’s easy to read and easy to see what is being selected.
The extras are outstanding on this release. I love anime soundtracks, so I especially appreciated the soundtracks, but there are so many interesting extras here that they almost make this worth getting by themselves.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I knew I was in trouble the second the menu for the first disk appeared on my screen. There was Luna Luna wearing nothing with only the thinnest of strings covering her crotch and diaphanous streams of fabric hiding her nipples. Her right leg was cocked behind her head and what looked to be a red rhino horn was affixed to her thong just below her belly button. Even though I hadn’t seen the first Queen’s Blade, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into from the series’ description. I was wrong. I was expecting some breasts, some bouncing, and some fanservice, but what I got was basically the anime version of Skinemax.
The plot is rather straightforward (and almost entirely incidental). Queen Claudette, the protagonist from the first Queen’s Blade, has become corrupt, and it’s up to a new generation of buxom heroines to remove her from the throne. The rebels are led by Annelotte Kreutz, who begins the show as a wandering knight, helping those in distress and leaving before she can be caught by the Queen’s guards. She runs into her old friend Yuit, who is an Elf alchemist, and various other characters, such as the previously mentioned Luna Luna. The story arc basically follows Annelotte’s gradual acceptance of her responsibility in taking down the Queen.
As I said, though, the plot is pretty much incidental and exists primarily to move the characters from one moment to the next, setting up fights and sexy encounters. A hallmark of this show is the fact that whenever these women fight, their shirts or armor or whatever it is that covers their chest bursts apart like a grenade and their ample breasts pop out like they’re spring loaded. After a while I got the impression that if you looked at their chests too hard their shirts would explode. I’m fine with a little fanservice now and then, but this show takes it to ridiculous extremes, often straying into tentacle porn and bondage/sado-masochism. For example, the character Sigui is a nun and inquisitor. She travels the world rooting out heretics and helping people. She is very pious, and the way in which her religion displays its piety is through various poses centered around the crotch. She lifts her skirt to display the holiest of poses and at one point she teaches a group of nuns how to better pose themselves for their prayers. The poses involve spreading their legs as wide as they would go. If you were just listening to the scene, the grunting, and the dialogue would make you think that something very different is occurring, which is, of course, the point.
Then there’s the matter of the characters Mirim and Branwen. Mirim becomes a guinea pig for the scientific experiments of Ymir. Ymir forces her to wear a suit of Hyper Vibration armor, which generates an impenetrable forcefield; however, the armor is uncomfortable to use, but there’s a strong sense of sexual pleasure as well, as if she were being brought a point of painful ecstasy. Branwen, on the other hand, is a slave forced to fight as a gladiator. When she displeases her owner, he sends electric shocks through chords that are attached to her nipples and crotch. Like Mirim, her reactions to the pain border on pleasure as well.
As I’m sure is obvious at this point, Queen’s Blade Rebellion was not my cup of tea. I have nothing against erotica, and I’m not even necessarily saying that there is anything wrong with the parts that I described. I can only tell you that I did not react in the way that I believe the show intended. The problem, however, lies in the fact that there is nothing beyond the fanservice. The plot, the characters, and the underlying themes are thin, and the world built is haphazard and unengaging, so there’s nothing for me to latch onto here. This is an all-or-nothing deal and for me it was nothing.
To its credit, Queen’s Blade: Rebellion never pretends to be anything other than fanservice. The problem is the type of fanservice it provides does not interest me. If the plot, characters, and setting had been stronger then perhaps I could have looked past that element, but they were thin at best, and really only there to provide a pretext for the fanservice moments. The paradoxical aspect of this release, though, is that it contains some of the best extras I’ve ever seen on an anime. The collection includes the soundtrack on two disks, two Omake, and two audio dramas in addition to the standard extras. It’s quite impressive and I’d love to see more extras like this provided on future anime releases. If you’re a fan of this show then the extras may well make this worth buying, but as it is, this is an all-or-nothing deal that just didn’t work for me. Not recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, 2 soundtrack CDs, Queen’s Blade audio dramas, Queen’s Blade Omake, Clean opening animation, Clean closing animation
Content Grade: D
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: A
Extras Grade: A+
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection