Queen's Blade Vol. #2 - Mania.com



DVD Review

Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Queen's Blade

Queen's Blade Vol. #2

Queen's Blade Vol. #2 DVD Review

By Chris Beveridge     January 14, 2011
Release Date: December 14, 2010


Queen's Blade Vol. #2
© Media Blasters
The Queen's Blade tournament heats up and one particular angel finds herself royally screwed.
 
What They Say
After her plummet into the raging waters below, Leina's whereabouts remain a mystery to the direct witnesses of the tragedy. At the same time, Tomoe stumbles upon a pyramid belonging to Menace, an ancient queen with a familiar face serving her. The tide then flows to a young forest keeper as she attempts to protect nature from a sinister threat.Meanwhile, swirling overhead, Nanael is sent by the heavens to investigate a stirring evil. After a little tit for tat, her lackadaisical completion of the task grants her a creamy white disciplinary task and a new mission of a more earthly nature.Contains episodes 5-8.
 
The Review!
Audio:  
Queen’s Blade is a show that Media Blasters has some faith in, hence it getting an English language dub adaptation. The show has a decent pair of stereo mixes to it encoded at 192kbps that convey the material well. The forward soundstage has a clean sound to it with an expected layout where we do get some directionality, mostly during the fight scenes and the music, but also some decent dialogue placement throughout as well. The show isn’t one that stands out hugely in the audio sense but it’s a solid mix that works well and is free of problems. The opening and closing songs tend to make out the best overall in providing a good full feeling.
 
Video:
Originally airing in 2009, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. Each volume contains just four episodes of the show and some extras so it works within a decent bit of space to provide a very good looking result. The series is one that has a pretty good budget to it and it’s all on the screen with some very lush visuals at times and a whole lot of pop when it comes to the color. The encoding for it is solid across the board with only some areas of standout noise in the background, often in dark scenes at night, but generally a very pleasing look. Or it could just be that all the fanservice is highly distracting. The release is free of issues like cross coloration, halos and line noise during panning sequences which leaves it to just look really attractive.
 
Packaging:
Similar to the first volume, the cover here is good but definitely feels tame compared to a lot of the content on here. The bad girls get the cover together this time in various poses that show off their assets, but it doesn't really over exploit them like some normal harem shows do. The logo is definitely old style along with the volume name along the bottom to the point where I’m sure some won’t read it clearly the first time. The back cover comes across as pretty tame as well with just one shot through the center that’s a collage of different characters that again don’t show off anything too extreme. The summary takes care of the premise of the show rather nicely while the bottom is fleshed out with the episode count, the discs features and production credits. The technical grid is nicely done as well with clear and clean listings of exactly what’s involved with the release. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover. I had hoped there might be one like some adult releases that have a hard and soft version.
 
Menu:
The main menu uses the artwork and background design from the front cover as its main image, set to the right, where it has a nice bit of vibrancy to it and a very solid look. The character illustrations show off their detail well and the bit of music to it sets the mood fairly well as well. The left side has the navigation strip with the logo while using the various text designs from the front cover as well. The layout is quick and easy to navigate and Media Blasters continue to off both sign/song subtitle tracks alongside full subtitle tracks which is very welcome during a time of corners being cut. The layout is easy to navigate and submenus load quickly, though the disc doesn’t read our players’ language presets and defaults to English with the sign/song subtitle track.
 
Extras:
The second volume of the series has a couple of nice extras to it. The next two OVA episodes are included, which run just under three minutes each and involve the girls at school where the sisters end up in a fair bit of trouble. The second one deals with the bad girls showing them enjoying their hot spring in a bad, bad way. We also get the clean versions of a couple of the ending sequences.
 
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Queen's Blade has been saddled with a terrible release schedule as numerous delays as the first volume came out in May 2010 and six months later we get the second volume. That doesn't exactly leave you a lot to remember, especially if you've watched a lot between it, so going into this volume was a little rough. A lot of it comes back quickly though and the show manages to be fun just because it is what it is, with lots of fanservice and some raunchy looking action sequences. The more you watch Queen's Blade, the more you realize that plot really doesn't matter all that much anyway so you can just enjoy the whole thing without any issues.
 
The core of the series continues to be Leina's journey through the world with Nanael watching over her and getting her into a few fights. Of course, Nanael wasn't supposed to get her into the matches since she kind of tricked and forced her into it and her entire way of looking at everything feels off. In fact, Nanael eventually gets called up to Heaven where she's told that she's ready to be sent down to Hell because of all the things she's done in a very un-angelic way, which naturally panics the hell out of her. It's amusing watching her trying to figure out what to do, but she gets one last chance where she has to go to the swamp to investigate what the Swamp Witch is up to since she's orchestrating some of the moves being made that have the bad girls getting involved in the competition.
 
Nanael's story is a good deal of fun here, especially as her time spent going through the swamp has her approaching it in a way that really says she doesn't understand how to be a spy. So much so that she ends up taking a bit of a break in a hot spring she comes across that's quite hot, only to have the terrible trio show up to enjoy their own down time. Nanael thinks she's made a coup by this but she's such a moron at times that she doesn't realize all the information she's picked up are things that they all already know. Seeing her final punishment, it's certainly appropriate enough for her but it feels like it's really a punishment for Leina more than anyone else.
 
Leina's travels before she gets saddled with Nanael are a fair bit of fun as well as she ends up getting caught up in some trouble inside a forest of elves. No humans are allowed in there but she helps out an elf in training from an attack so she gets a bit of an okay on all of it. The elves are amusing as they're very naturalistic and the young one that Leina helped out doesn't even wear underwear. Turns out none of them do as even the mighty and proud warriors just use leaves to cover themselves up. Getting to see a little more of the fantasy elements like this works nicely, though it could have used a lot more near naked elves running around.
 
What defines Queen's Blade as a fun series though is the action and bounciness. With it still being all about the women here, we get a good variety of attractive characters that are running around and fighting or spending time undressing. Or getting in and out of hot springs. The animation for it is really good as it highlights all the really good things about them and keeps the focus on the sexy factor. The action side to it is well represented as well with a really nice blending of swordfighting and magic to it. Similar to the first volume, the way the episodes play out may not have much to it when it comes to story and depth, but it hits everything else just right.
 
In Summary:
Queen's Blade is a show that I really enjoy because it is so blatant and honest about what it wants to be. Some shows bring in a lot of fanservice to stories that are inappropriate or doesn't feel like it fits right, but Queen's Blade is designed all around it. The story in this volume is paper thin, thinner than some of the outfits they wear here, but it's enough to carry it all along. Nanael manages to stand out the most in bringing the story to the foreground but there's a lot of other little moments that crop up that helps it along as well. But you can easily watch it and not care about the story and get a lot out of it. Queen's Blade continues to be a huge guilty pleasure that provides exactly what it wants to, high style over substance with lots and lots of nipples.
 
Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, OVAs, Clean Endings
 
Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 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.

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