The Good Ones: Queen's Blade

Welcome to The Good Ones, a little series about appreciating good characters in less than stellar anime, manga, games and so forth. As a watcher of bad anime, I tend to notice that even the worst garbage has at least one salvageable character in its cast, and I aim to share some of those scuffed up diamonds in the pile of worthless, unclean coal. The basic idea is that I'll share some of the most notable characters, and have two rewards handy at the end. One will go to the best character, while the other will go to the most amazing character. You know, one of those characters that's not so much “good” as “wow this actually happened, huh.” I reserve the right to not pass out that second award if no such character meets the criteria, but I fully expect to find these characters regularly.

To kick this off, I decided to go with a series I have an odd soft spot for, despite it being pretty bad and also very gross. It's time to talk Queen's Blade.

Queen's Blade is always going to be one of those franchises with a far worse reputation that it actually deserves, but it will also never really get much in the way of defense because it is also not good and so openly perverse that it would make Ron “The Hedgehog” Jeremy turn his head a little in confusion. The series reached memetic mutation from a scene in the first episode of the anime where a big breasted anime girl in scantly clad armor jumps on a bunny/slime girl's tits as she's spraying pink acid at everyone, causing acid back up that makes her tits swell to massive size and explode. The reaction is understandable. That's the sort of anime insanity that spreads like wildfire because you just have to make sure other people can see these events as well and you're not just entering some advanced stage of mental deterioration.

But moments like these aren't as common as you'd think. Oh, there are simply baffling “sexy” bits in this franchise, including mud wrestling involving poisonous snakes attached to a gay dark elf who's dialog is 60% low key lesbian seduction, but most of the anime you'll find is ironed out by a lot of badly written drama that mostly serves to bore one to tears. Leina spends about two thirds of season one being sexually assaulted by lesbian and bisexual monster women while crying about how everyone is better than her at not getting assaulted by lesbian and bisexual monster women. Her characterization after that is “good person, large breasts.” Most of the fetish stuff on display is just sort of undercurrent in a wave of dull, occasionally brought to life by lunacy or a character who is simply far too good for this mess of a franchise.

Amazingly, the lesbian catgirl is not going to be included in this count, and not because wants to do it with her sister, but because she is simply awful and terrible. But don't worry, these are some actual good characters to talk about, and some so ridiculous that they all deserve their own show. So, let's start with a more normal character.

Tomoe

Queen's Blade's first two seasons tried to center themselves around two main characters, the franchise mascot Leina (who was turned into an insecure whiny brat incapable of even the most basic combat technique), and Tomoe, a shrine maiden in a fantasy Japan. She's sort of like the second mascot, in a sense, and an infinitely more likable and competent character. She also has a way more engaging motivation. Where Leina just wants to not be a complete waste of barely fitting titty armor, Tomoe is trying to save her people and has traveled to an unfamiliar land to do so by becoming the new queen. Basically, the strongest woman in the world runs the show, and that sort of power is the kind of thing you need to topple a corrupt government. We even see her clan slaughtered at the start of the series, really cementing how serious her quest is.

Tomoe is also pretty funny in what a tourist she is. Her and her ninja friend Shizuka have never been on the main continent and have never seen its western fantasy styling, so she's constantly amazed and perplexed by the most simple things. She's one of the rare examples of a shrine maiden character acting like you'd expect a shrine maiden to act. Kind, simply spoken, but with an unbreakable will. But her fighting style is the weird part, because there's no purifying spells or arrow play here. She picks up a big ass katana and swings it HARD. No tricks here, just pure, ridiculous strength. That's refreshing to see in a battle series, especially from a character that looks nothing like a superhuman bruiser. Also, bonus points for being one of the few characters in this series who wear actual clothing.

Airi

While Melona, that girl with the exploding acid boobs I mentioned before, is too stupid in design to be anything more than fetish fuel, her two fellow incompetent evil minions are different stories. Airi is a maid that is also a ghost that sucks the souls out of women with kissing, and she carries a big ass scythe. She's also the only one of the Swamp Witch trio presented as a legitimate threat from first appearance and doesn't get downplayed as hard as the other two. While Melona is endlessly incompetent and Menace is constantly distracted by the desire to brainwash women to be her massage slaves (yes really), Airi seems to know what she's doing and actually has some drive.

She's also expanded upon in the anime, taking her from simple evil demon to a slightly more layer person torn between her role as the Swamp Witch's head maid and her desire to help someone. In the second season, there's a subplot where Airi ends up becoming the caretaker of another fighter's kid for awhile, which causes her to not use her soul sucking to power herself up and maintain her form out of respect for the tyke. It's one of the few plots in the show that makes a character genuinely sympathetic. Where so many characters are self obsessed, short sighted dullards, Airi's arc challenges this characterization in a simple and effective way.

Plus she kisses girls so that's great.

Echidna

Echidna is one of the few Queen's Blade characters who has canonically had gay sex.

Didn't really know how to properly introduce Echidna, because sex is kind of core to her character. She's a 500 year old dark elf that has seen more fighting than nearly every character in this franchise, yet most every scene she appears it involves her teasing someone in an oddly suggestive way. She used to sleep with one of her students, and when Leina ended up fighting her in one episode, she also revealed she's a sadist by having the snake that seems to live over her naughty bits bite her repeatedly for shits and giggles. And no, I don't know why she has a pet snake over her cooter. It's one of the great mysteries of the universe.

Echidna is similar to Ryofu from Ikki Tousen, in that they are both dark skinned characters who have lots of sex, are overly sexually aggressive, and have probably murdered before. I'm including her on this list because she's the only character in this franchise who seems to understand the genre of the story and just embraces it. She's sleazy, but never quite goes over the line and constantly carries an air of dominance most of the cast lack. This is impressive, because canonically, she is a gay cougar with a crotch snake, not a character type asking for subtlety. I also appreciate that she simply does not give a fudge. She treats every relationship as a fling and doesn't care much about anything beyond how much fun she's going to have. This may explain why her training with Leina involved covering her in honey.

She's the worst person in this cast and is just so open about it. Honestly, it's kind of awe inspiring. You will never be such a shitbag as this amazonian elf dom. She slept with an underage girl ahahaha oh wow the fuck lady.

Menace

Menace came rally close to being considered the best character AND the most amazing one. She's certainly my favorite, I can say that much. She's another one of the Swamp Witch trio and the only character who puts Echidna's sexual conquest record to shame. Menace is technically a mummy, an ancient ruler of a fantasy Egypt long ago destroyed that was brought back to serve the Swamp Witch. The thing about Menace is that she is arguably the single strongest character in the series. She just doesn't care about doing her job because she's more interested in bringing back her lost land so she can live her new life as she once did: Getting oil massages from her lesbian slave harem. Like, this was all she ever did. She did literally nothing else except maybe drink, and she could keep her stuff down. Her entire life was gay sex and drinking.

Do you see why I have her here?

While Echidna has some redeemable qualities, like loyalty to Leina's mother and not letting the underage girl she slept with get executed (serious the fuck lady), Menace is a full on hedonist, with a capital H for “Hentai.” That's Japanese for pervert. When your ruling philosophy is “let cute girls touch my body and give me oil rubs all day long,” pervert is a fitting label. She just forgets to actually do the thing her new master told her to go do in the second season and starts randomly mind controlling people to get free oil massages While she's fighting her battle in the tourney, she barely registers that there's a fight going on. She's probably thinking about foreplay 80% of the day, and the other 20% are thinking about various other gay things she wants done to her. She eventually does succeed at bringing back her kingdom, and yes, it just becomes her having lesbian sex with a bunch of masochists.

What I'm saying is that Menace is a role model and has never done anything wrong.

Best Character: Nanael

I'm still amazed that Nanael somehow manages to be the biggest pile of garbage in the cast, and that includes Echidna and Menace, who I may remind you have performed more cunnilingus that every single rockstar in the history of the world. Sadly, Nanael is a *shivers* heterosexual, but she's also an aggressive one who wants to be worshiped and have a harem of hot guys, so I will let the lack of gay slide with her because that is an admirable dream (it doesn't come up too much in the anime, oddly).

Nanael is an angel, and also the single worst one. Just the absolute worst. Almost nobody likes her, and even though she's technically far more powerful than the large majority of the series cast, nobody respects her but Leina, and Leina would follow a stranger into an unmarked van if he promised candy. Nanael has a bad wing, constantly comes up with terrible schemes that make everything terrible for everyone, and has the unfortunate problem of being a heterosexual woman in Queen's Blade, a series where every man is either a sexual predator, a war criminal, or a shitty father. She also doesn't really fit in with the ladies, because she has proportions that actual human beings might actually have. The first time she meets Melpha, she makes a remark that yes, of course this new woman she met also has insanely giant tits. Every guy is terrible and she's not into women, let alone borderline metahumans with balloon tits, so Nanael being so shitty and sour all the time is understandable.

The thing that shot Nanael up here isn't being the straight-man in a world filled with superpowered hentai pin-ups, though. Rather, it's that she has a pretty strong arc, and the series knows how to use her really, really well. She's the perfect character to stir things up because she's too busy being caught up with her own shit to pay attention to much else. This can lead to her being a perfect tool for a villain, or just a catalyst for some shenanigans. But she's not incompetent. She does deserve some respect, because when the chips are down, she manages to pull some surprises.

She helps out Leina a few times, and sometimes even on purpose, during the first season. When she's at her lowest, she still finds a friend in someone she treated so terribly before and doesn't want to betray that trust. Once season two hits, she ends up forming a bond with Melpha since she's an angel and Melpha's a nun. Even though she finally has someone worshiping her, she still treats Melpha mostly as an equal. The neat thing about Nanael is that she's somehow the most human character of the cast, and it gets explored thanks to how unnecessary she is most of the time.

Nanael gets to be a random element in the story while her own story plays out, because her agenda has nothing to do with the fighting as things go. It's just adjacent to her own ego filled endeavors. Ultimately, it becomes clear that worship isn't what she wants, but companionship. Nanael's broken wing caused her to become a bit of an outcast and gave her an inferiority complex, and all her schemes amount to childish plans to try and get some attention. She's someone who needs validation, but doesn't know how to get the validation she needs until she meets Leina. There's a nice moment where she comes back to save Leina from the Swamp trio, and while she doesn't get a thanks since Leina missed her fighting them off, she's satisfied with having helped. While all the drama in the main story feels contrived or played out, Nanael's story stays simple and ends on a rewarding note. She's still an egotistical dolt, but she finally starts to grow as a person and doesn't let her self-worth complex hold her back anymore. She sees the good in others, and they return the favor and help her see the good in herself, even if they don't realize it. The arc is so downplayed and well handled that I'm amazed it exists in a show that included literal tentacle rape as a defining trait for one character.

Most Amazing: Sigui and Branwen

I really had trouble picking just one character as most amazing for this franchise. I mean, Menace is right there! She exists! I was going to go with Melpha for her fighting style, but then I remembered there's a similar character in Rebellion with her own version of those skills, AND THEN I remembered yet another character who's entire concept is so openly horrible that I'm amazed I almost overlooked her. The most amazing characters in Queen's Blade, I would say, are Sigui and Branwen, one a nun who will absolutely burn people alive, and the other ...oh boy.

The nuns in Queen's Blade can fight, but use a very odd fighting style based around holy poses. What are holy poses? Mostly flashing and exhibitionist porn positions. This is apparently magic that kills undead creatures, as we see with Melpha seemingly flashing a skeleton army and destroying it in the process (yes really), but Sigui makes use of it for proper combat, including freezing people in place so she can burn them alive. She does this by doing a sexy pose that shows off one's crotch. You can get down on your back, hold your legs, and just flash everyone to make them terrified. Sigui uses these poses to murder people, I must remind you. Her fighting style is high level porn star posing.

I'm sure you understand why she's here.

But Branwen is kind of more incredible because she's just a straight up hardcore masochist. She had her dragon ride captured by demons and now serves a tiny little shit of one as a gladiator, and it's heavily implied she kind of likes this. Oh, she hates her trainer, but she could slaughter the little goblin at any time. I mean, she's half dragon, she's not someone to overlook. Yet she goes along with this slavery thing out of self-loathing for her failure, and then had a fucked up sexual awakening not long after.

So yes, there is an actual character in this series who's entire thing is that she's a slave and she likes it because she's into humiliation and pain. That's one way to top Menace and Echidna in sheer wow factor.

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