This is a review of the Blu-ray version of "Queen's Blade: Beautiful Warriors" (Queen's Blade: Utsukushiki Toushitachi) released by Sentai Filmworks in 2014. It was viewed with English voice overs.
"Queen's Blade: Beautiful Warriors" falls into the category of fantasy action adventure with a very significant degree of ecchi content. The OVAs are essentially sequels to “Queen’s Blade: The Evil Eye”.
The age rating on the Blu-ray packaging is listed as MA (so 17 and up), and this rating is merited. Scenes with female topless nudity occur frequently in every episode and during the end credits. In a few scenes, characters are fully nude,
but no details are shown below the waist. Some episodes feature very suggestive poses or actions as well, but nothing overly graphic. The fantasy outfits that some of the females wear have little beyond the equivalent of thongs for their lower region, and copious amounts of skin are displayed often. There is combat violence in several episodes, but it isn't overly graphic.
Very brief history of the Queen's Blade characters:
When watching or reviewing Queen’s Blade, it's important to realize that this series did not take a traditional route from manga to anime. Queen's Blade started out as a series of game books and a popular line of PVC figures before that.
The show consists of 6 OVA episodes. While a few of the episodes are related by characters or events, each is essentially a stand-alone story that can be viewed separately. Each episode attempts to continue the storyline for a few of the characters from the original series. A few of them include unexpected pairings, some of which work out better than others. Brief cameos by a few characters occur as well.
A few of the events or actions don't seem to align well with the earlier series. For example, Claudette has somehow become queen, with virtually no explanation for why Leina abdicated the position. Also, Aldra has resumed the search for her sister, despite the revelation near the end of the prior series. However, most of the ensuing actions seems to make sense given where things left off.
Three of the episodes are somewhat related with Airi and the swamp witch serving as the main link between them. Melona is also featured in these, and Menace is included in one as well. The episode with Menace is the funniest of the set. It even found a way to tie-in the Queen's Blade line of PVC statues, which I found totally hilarious.
There's quite a bit of action in some of the episodes, but most of the battles end up being rather pointless and only seem to serve as excuses to show the girls in combat. The OVAs also try to ramp up the ecchi content even further, as if that is even possible. Overall, the series is primarily scenes with fan service, with some attempts to sprinkle in a weak story in between. Luckily, some of the character personalities and their journeys are interesting enough to help keep it watchable, even if there seems to be little to no plot.
Some of what I wrote in my reviews of the prior series is still applicable for this:
The "Queens Blade" characters are among some of the most strikingly beautiful women to appear in anime. Although a few characters are younger, most of them appear to be adults, and the artwork and animation captures this very well. The outfits most of them wear are extremely skimpy, but most of these match the armors depicted in the original game books. As a result, I give them very high marks for staying true to the original source material.
Airi is featured in 3 episodes, and she eems to get the most screen time of any character as a result. While her tales are somewhat interesting, her incessant desire to resume serving the swamp witch becomes monotonous. Considering that she was finding contentment elsewhere, her sudden shift back toward villain seems contrived. By comparison, her fellow conspirators Melona and Menace each seem to follow more likely courses of action. Nanael appears in the last of these episodes with Airi and Melona, and she almost seems like part of the team. It might have been interesting to have Nanael become a fallen angel working alongside them during the prior series.
Leina is only shown for a few scenes in the first episode, and Claudette is shown for an even shorter span. Elina and Echidna get most of the time in the first episode. I'll admit I'm a fan of Echidna, so I may be a bit biased, but I found her actions and banter to once again be very well done. Elina's actions seems in-line with her prior portrayel as well. However, their scenes together are somewhat wasted by the contrived setup.
Nowa and Alleyne are given an episode, but I found their actions and portrayel to be a bit out of character. For example, why would elves from the forest be so skilled at beach volleyball, or swimming? Nyx is also included, but she doesn't have good chemistry with them, and she doesn't even provide comic relief this time around.
The final episode includes Tomoe and Aldra, and some of their interaction is interesting, but they too seem to lack much chemistry on screen.
Despite a few hiccups and odd pairings, the characters seemed fairly accurate in their portrayels, and the uniqueness of their personalities was still evident.
Art / Animation: 8/10
Compared to the prior Queen Blade series, the art was slightly weaker at times, but for the most part it was spot on. Another change was the increased emphasis on fan service and ecchi content. For those who like that, the art and animation seemed to be quite well done for those parts of each episode.
The fight scenes were well animated. Most of them are at least as good, and in a few cases perhaps even better than the battles shown in the prior series.
Sound / Voice: 8/10
The music, sound effects and voice quality was all quite good, and close to the standards set by the earlier Queens Blade series. The only problem I noticed were a couple spots where Melona's voice seemed to fade out a bit in the English dub
After being highly impressed by the prior Queen's Blade series, these 6 OVAs were a bit disappointing. It was still fun to see the characters in action, but the lack of a real story for most of the episodes was hard to overlook. While the prior series were able to convey an interesting story alongside significant degrees of fan service, the OVAs seem to push things too far. The result is a series that focuses too much on the ecchi content without giving enough attention to plot or character development.
Final verdict: 6/10
The series lacks much of a story or character development, and it primarily serves as extended fan service for several of the Queen's Blade characters. The quality of the art and animation is generally good, and fans of the Queen's Blade franchise will enjoy this. However, the extreme amount of ecchi content will likely be a turn-off for some viewers.
... And then they fought some more oddly loquacious battles, providing the seamstress' guild with years of further employment and providing otakus around the world with a second fleet of virtual motorboats. Ties up some loose ends, but doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense at times - but then, you're probably not turning to a story dominated by swords which mostly just cut bra straps for the compelling plot. A pretty, though not exceptional, piece of fan service - would be more amusing if it hung a lampshade on itself and featured duels fought with scissors.