Story: 5 (what you end up getting is a half hearted attempt at putting a script together.)
Art: 8 (high artistic accuracy to the original artwork is very rare especially at this high of detail.)
Sound: 7 (Excellent voice work is somewhat hindered to a sub-par manuscript.)
Character: 9 (Sure it might not sound all that original on paper, but...)
Enjoyment: 10 (Pure proof that sex sells, why mess with an age old secret.)
OVERALL: 39/50 = 7.8 (Love it or hate it, this is just an anime made strictly for the fans.)
According to MAL users via word of mouth, this anime is pure 'crap' because it appears to have no story. To be technical in accordance to MAL's scoring system, the 'story' only counts as 20% of the 'overall' score. That is if the 'reviewer' consideres a non-wieighted scoring system. So that means a VERY poorly told story can still amount to mounds of fun and entertainment if the other elements of the show are in good standing. Such is the case for Queens Blade: Rurou no Senshi.
___What Is Queens Blade___
Before we go in to great detail about the show, a LARGE majority of the viewing audience have no idea what the hell they are watching. Queens Blade is basically an expansion to the Lost Worlds universe. Lost Worlds is a pen and paper game designed by Alfred Leonardi and originally published in 1983 by Nova Game Designs. Currently, Flying Buffalo owns the rights to the Lost Worlds universe and is based in Arizona.
The most current series of books, of all female fighter-types, under the title of Queen's Blade, published from late 2005 by Hobby Japan. These 19 books, have generally proved to be just new ecchi illustrations for existing combat matrices (from other Lost World books), rather than "new" characters. As of December 2007 a second series, Queen's Gate, was introduced, featuring characters from Japanese visual media, and in October 2008 Hobby Japan announced four further characters in a sub-set of the original series. (source: Wiki)
Each character book consists of 50 illustrations with the specific character in various positions according to the context of the text (i.e. dodge, thrust, uppercut, receive damage, etc). Needless, to say there's a lot of clothes shredding and exposure in the artwork.
The story in the anime is loosely based on the campaign book: "Queens Blade Beautiful Fighter Retsuden [Adventure Record of Nomadic Soldier]" (in japanese クイーンズブレイド 美闘士列伝 「流浪の戦士冒険記」) The campaign is basically an alternate rule set and conditions from the normal Lost Worlds books. The show tries to follow over a dozen different girls on their attempt at becoming the queen of the land. That itself is a recipe for disaster as there are so many characters to introduce in only 12 short episodes.
It tries its best to get everyone up to date with the players but it ultimately falls short as people come and go in a blink of an eye. So what you end up getting is a half hearted attempt at putting a script together. And for a rushed script, it isn't completely terrible. It just lacks the proper back story to get new viewers up to date to the Queens Blade universe. So it all just looks like alot of tits and ass and no fluff.
A best way to approach the storyline is to not compare it with other anime of the genre, but instead, compare it to those silly ending cut scenes in any fighting game. The main emphasis of the fighting game, is the mechanics, entertainment, and addictiveness. Such is the case of Queens Blade.
The characters art books were all designed and created by well known Doujin Artists (Mibu Natsuki), Key Animators (Kaneko Hiraku), and Character Artists (HIsayuki Hirokazu). Over a dozen artists conglomerated to make this series a sucess. And it shows very well through the various merchandising and even through the television series. Each character is drawn in painstaking detail thanks to the experienced artists of ARMS. You can't help but give props to the minimal loss of detail to the characters. Sure they show alot of skin but their outfits are very elaborate compared to the typical full body armor that most viewers are used to. Observing the high artistic accuracy to the original artwork is very rare especially at this high of detail.
The backgrounds, and static environments are just as good as well. You can actually experience their improvement over the years from Mezzo, to Elfen Lied, to Ikkitousen, and now Queens Blade. Even the background characters like soldiers and citizens have a high amount of detail, only a close minded fool would find flaws in it. Mad props, but my only gripe with the art value of this show is that some of the action scenes appear to be hindered by limited frame rates and 'skippy' attacks. You will know what i mean when you see it. It doesn't happen a lot, but it happens enough to notice it.
Another obvious visual effect is the gratuitous use of oppai (boob exposure). Its really there for fanservice and does its job very thoroughly. They show you alot right away and before you know it, if you were like me, it will most likely become second nature and doesn't feel obtrusive after a while. If you have a fear of boobs and/or get agitated when you see them in your tv shows, this is a good vice to get you accustomed to seeing massive use of oppai. I mean, what is so bad about boobs that would entice people to get angry and pull out their pitchforks and torches? This is the 21st century AND it's japan, oppai isn't going to go away. If you want to rage over a set of tits go watch EIKEN....
It appears that they tried to spare no expense with this anime, from top name anime production (ARMS is a member of Association of Japanese Animations), they also enlist an A-list cast of seiyū. Rie Tanaka, Mamiko Noto, Aya Hirano, and the list goes on. Their experience really shows in how they fit their voices fit their characters perfectly. Of course, with some of the more monotone seiyū (Rie Kugimiya and Yuko Goto specifically), its hard to visualize the characters when all you can think of is Shana or Mikuru. Bet that as it may, their excellent voice work is somewhat hindered to a sub-par manuscript. Its not the voice actors fault really so that is more of a story issue more than a sound issue.
Music and sound effects are of course top notch and really associate to the scenes very well. A lot of orchestral overtures and dramatic music to fill the fight scenes and such. Each battle rumbled with ferocity and battle cries echoed throughout my house. This is truly a show that is best viewed on a big screen tv with your 5.1 booming at a level 11.
Throughout my review, I've been harking over the great quality of the characters on all levels. Artistic quality is 2nd to none. The voice cast is something one can only describe as "a true all-star cast." And the originality can only come from the best minds of the anime/doujin world. It's amazing how they can take a simple super power (like shape shifting or super strength) and completely sex it up. Sure it might not sound all that original on paper, but to recognize the complexities of drawing 50 illustrations of the same character, incorporating 20+ special moves with strengths and weaknesses, heights, speeds, movement and many other things to fully make a character its own and have it balanced enough to have anyone win any fight(in reference to the combat books), really adds depth and detail to these relatively static characters.
The aren't just some pair of boobs that just became popular overnight, it's been a steady, increasing fanbase that has been building for the past FOUR years. From an extremely simple pen and paper game that any one can play (just as long as they can read), to the 100's of Queens Blade merchandise (including artbooks, doujins, over 50 figures, etc), to an anime series. Those who still cant understand how people can like this show, go look at all the anime merchandising websites and observe how many Queens Blade items are constantly sold out. Some people don't know there are as much (if not more) Queens Blade fans than there are Touhou or K-On! fans. Love it or hate it, this is just an anime made strictly for the fans.