What They Say:
The Queen’s Blade tournament may be over, but the stories of the contestants have barely begun. Unaware that fate is already conspiring to pit many of them against each other in the arena of war, the sword maidens scatter across the lands in search of fame, fortune, and adventure.
For some that comes sooner than expected, as Leina finds herself drawn to aid her sister, Elina, who’s been captured by Echidna. Tortured by the Swamp Witch, Melona focuses her anger on the absent Airi and plots an insidious revenge. But when confronted with their common enemies, how long can it be until they both seek to reunite with Menace?
And if that’s not enough trouble to be forming on the horizon, Nanael manages to get herself banished from Heaven and her goal of forming a harem of servants for herself proves to be anything but angelic. Finally, to provide the beasts to go along with the beauties, both Alleyene and Nowa and Tomoe and Aldra each find their separate journeys marred by encounters with different forms of tentacled monsters!
Contains episodes 1-6.
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 released in late 2010 and early 2011, the transfer for this six episode OVA series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The show only takes up one disc since it’s relatively short and it works the space well with some high bitrates. 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 OVA in general has has a lot of different colors working throughout it with greater detail and shading than the TV series, 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 packaging for this release uses a standard sized Blu-ray case to hold the single disc that comes with it, which is much smaller than the last TV series which also had CDs included in it. The cover artwork here is quite good as we get some well detailed character designs for four of the main players here that make up some of the episodes as they’re set against a white background with some decent framing to give it all a bit more weight. The logo takes up a decent bit of real estate along the lower left but it doesn’t dominate and it also adds to the weight over it overall with its darker hues. The back cover has a few simple shots from the show and plenty of breasts to make it clear what it is. The tagline works well with “A deadly thing happened on the road to rebellion” and we get a good breakdown of what’s included in the set. The premise is definitely text heavy as it tries to cover a lot of different things, but it’s still easy to read overall with the color choices used. The rest is given over to the usual production credits and a clean, accurate look at the technical specifications. 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, which gives us a really great illustration image of Nowa wearing her simple leaf bikini with a serious/sultry look that’s certainly enticing. 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.
The only extras included for this release are the clean closings, which we get for all the episodes. It’s definitely a plus with the illustration lead-ins that each episode gets.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Queen’s Blade is a series that I certainly enjoy, though I really wish we had some good, strong writers and stories being told for it in the TV form at the least. I spent some time explaining the show to someone who doesn’t watch much anime at all and the more I talked, the more I realized just how deep into anime you have to be in order to not look at this in a really awful way. That said, I do enjoy Queen’s Blade. After we got the Rebellion series previously, we now get the Beautiful Warrior six episode OVA series that was released over a few months before the TV series came out. This show is all about the smaller moments with mostly standalone stories, though there are a few minor areas where some interconnectedness comes in. Largely though, you get to focus on a few of the combatants and just enjoy the sexy time with them being mostly in various states of undress.
With this being a prologue for the Rebellion series, there aren’t any real surprises here. Taking place after the recent Queen’s Blade event, the various combatants are making their way to different places and coping with the fallout from it. There are some hints at what’s to come in a few areas, but mostly it’s a little place setting and some stage dressing to have fun with things as the women are all accosted in different ways, or just find some down time to enjoy being less clothed than usual. The opening episode has Elina in chains hanging in the fortress as Echidna torments her while Elina waits for Leina to come and save her. It’s actually a bit interesting for some of this as it goes into Elina’s childhood and the issues with Leina over the years that have made Elina really, really love her sister and want to be with her. We also get the fun of Echidna using her snake to “tickle” Elina in her most private of places to make a point. As a character building episode, there’s some fun to it. But mostly we get Elina hanging naked, being tormented and later playing at lots of silly naked time with Leina. So yeah, it’s a good episode.
From there, we get some other material that spends time with Nowa and Alleyne as they continue to travel back to the forest as Nowa knows she belongs there, but ends up enjoying the long route that Alleyne takes. There’s obviously an affection there, more from one side than the other, but it mostly just gets to be a playful episode before the action hits with a threat from Nyx. The fun here is just in watching our elfen ladies enjoy the beachside events such as volleyball and splashing about while wearing bikinis made of leaves that are very appropriately designed and hold together very, very well. It’s not a rich episode by any means, and these are two of my least favorite characters, but there’s plenty of lighthearted fun in a lot of it to make it serviceable in the least.
A lot of where the remaining episodes go, outside of the finale, is in dealing with Airi and Melona. Melona by her very design is a hard one to take since she’s pretty much naked most of the time and utterly playful in her service to the Swamp Witch. With Airi trying to figure out her own place in things after the recent events, we see her struggling with what to do and how to align herself with her wraith past while also wanting to serve. The two have some comical adventures together, including a stint with Menace along the way where they try to recruit her to the Swamp Witches side in order to gain more power so she can revive her country. That has a lot of fun as Melona and Menace have some decent fighting skills and styles, but it also slides in a piece of strange action where a merchant in Menace’s land wants to design figures based on the Queen’s Blade participants and we get some commentary about that.
One of the more interesting episodes involves Nanael, our little angel up in heaven, who continues to do things poorly when you get down to it. She’s screwed up so badly that the Head Angel has decided it’s her time to go to hell to atone for what she’s done. Hachiel can’t help her this time, but as Nanael is sent downward, we get a comical sequence as Melona and Airi end up rescuing her for their own plans to use her. It’s all a plan within a plan and there’s a lot of fun here as Nanael completely takes advantage of her fallen angel status, even without any real powers associated with it, and sets her own goals to establish some power and position for herself. Watching as she totally gets into harem mode while Airi and Melona watch is great since they’re not quite sure what to make of it. It’s definitely one of my favorite episodes on the release.
With this being a prequel of sorts to the Rebellion TV series, there’s not a lot of really strong story material here. There is some minor placement in getting characters to where they need to be for that series, but nothing that’s crucial or critical to understanding anything. What we do get here are some good, simple and fun stories with the cast paired down and given time to really work through it. With episodes running close to thirty minutes and not dealing with TV restrictions, it just gets playful, looks great and has that extra bounce that really makes it come alive. It is, in its own way, forgettable. But I’ve felt the same about the TV series as well. It’s a show that I find delightful simply because it has a sense of fun about it and doesn’t take itself seriously – even when it is trying to be serious. This release looks great, gives us more time with the women of the franchise and ups the nudity nicely. Which is all we really want from it at this point, right?
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: December 2nd, 2014
Running Time: 180 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.