Picking up right where we left off last week, it’s time for more topless fighting action in the second season of Queen’s Blade! The first season wasn’t as bad as I would have guessed, though, does the second season fare just as well? Short answer, pretty much.
Synopsis: After experiencing the numerous trials encountered on her journey, Reina has grown as a warrior. Determined to take part in the Queen’s Blade tournament, she arrives at the capital city Gainos, where Queen Aldora awaits. There gathers a number of beautiful warriors who, like Reina, are there for the Queen’s Blade.
Amongst them is Reina’s sister, Claudette, determined to restore the glory of House Vance; Tomoe and Shizuka, who are both fighting for their homeland of Hinomoto; Nanael who has been ordered to participate by the Archangel; and the subordinates of the Marshland Witch.
All these beautiful fighters who gather in Gainos have been one objective, to win through the Queen’s Blade, the tournament to select the strongest, most beautiful queen. Who would ascend to that glorious throne? That can only be determined via battle.
Alright, so the entirety of season one focused on the journey to Gainos (and the Queen’s Blade tournament) for our cast of characters, so it’s only natural that this season finally sees the tournament begin in earnest. That was one of my gripes about the first season, that the battles that took place ultimately weren’t very important, in the grand scheme of things. Now that that’s been remedied, the end result feels better, but still a little disappointing, at least from a story perspective.
The main protagonist of season one, Leina, takes a bit of a backseat this time around. Of course, she still plays a critical role in the story, but the spotlight is shared by her and many of the other characters, and I feel like this is a welcome change that really highlights how surprisingly deep this cast is. By not focusing as strongly on one character, I think it helps you better appreciate some of the others, and given how simple and direct the plot is this season, that was probably very much needed.
This time around, everything revolves the Queen’s Blade tournament, and for all that this setup lacks in subtlety and nuance, it makes up for in pure action. Let’s not pretend that we expected a deep, thought-provoking story from Queen’s Blade. When you boil things down, this season is all about these characters that are all vying for the throne for different reasons. At this point, we should be familiar enough with the various competitors, so the battles between the girls seem like a big, important deal. An overwhelming majority of the time, from the moment the match-ups are announced, you can probably guess who’s going to win the match, but they are still exciting.
With so many characters battling, pacing isn’t an issue, and just like the first season, there isn’t a huge amount of comedy. Because not every single character survives, this season is probably a little more serious than the first one, but it’s still Queen’s Blade, so it’s not too serious. There are a few plot twists that shake things up nicely, and even though the ultimate and penultimate battles feel kind of cheap, at least we get a real finale (unlike season one) this time, and that has to be considered an improvement.
At the end of the day, you could say that The Exiled Virgin set the table for us, and Inheritor of the Throne was the feast that ensued. The meaningful tournament battles that were missing from season one are here, and the plot-driven approach is a welcome change from what we got in the first season. The story is still simple and predictable, but it’s more entertaining than ever.
All of the major players from the first season are back, and some of the characters that didn’t get a ton of attention before—like Aldra and Nyx—also get their day in the sun.
After barely appearing in season one, Queen Aldra finds herself as the main antagonist of season two, and I have to say, I think she’s better suited for that role than Melona was. LIke any nefarious royal, she sits back and watches the events unfold, but not without pulling the strings of everyone involved in the tournament. There’s actually more to her than meets the eye, so I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t learn more about her, but that could change in the future.
The previous group of antagonists—Melona, Menace, and Airi—play much smaller roles this time around, but surprisingly, Airi kind of emerges as the star of the group. During the first season, she was probably my least favorite of the three, yet she proved herself to be much more likable than I would have thought. No longer the main bad girl, Melona doesn’t get as many opportunities to shine, however, it’s Menace that suffers the most. Honestly, I’d rather a character like Menace take a backseat than someone like Tomoe, so it’s not all that bad.
This season isn’t centered on Leina as much, so a lot of the other girls share the wealth, you could say. Whether it’s Leina, Elina, Claudette, Risty, Tomoe, Shizuka, Echidna, Ymir, Cattleya, Nanael, Nyx, Nowa, Alleyne, Irma, or Melpha, they each get at least a decent amount of screen time. Melpha is another character that had a very minor role in season one, though we see much more of her this season. Although I would have liked to have seen more of some and less of others, the more important characters (plot-wise) do wind up playing bigger roles. But enough about this, let’s talk about the yuri.
In last week’s review, I mentioned how, aside from a few kisses, The Exiled Virgin was all about Elina’s love for Leina as well as some subtext involving several other pairings. Well, Elina still has it bad for her sister, but there’s not a lot of activity with some of those other pairings. For example, Leina x Risty is a whole bunch of nothing. That sucks, but there are two pairings that carry this anime’s yuri hopes and dreams on their shoulders, Tomoe x Shizuka and Echidna x Irma.
In season one, we don’t see a whole lot of Irma, but here we learn that she’s the former pupil of Echidna. Echidna eventually left her behind, and Irma saw it as a betrayal. During their time together, we see that their relationship was somewhat romantic (or at least sexual), but none of that happens in the present day. Their thoughts and actions show that they care about one another, even if their current relationship isn’t very cordial…
As for Tomoe x Shizuka, it’s tough to talk about without getting too spoilery. After her days as a ninja came to an end, Shizuka’s been by Tomoe’s side, and that continues this season, even though Shizuka herself doesn’t take part in the tournament. At one point, Shizuka tells herself that she never would’ve expected that she’d come to love Tomoe so deeply, but this is another instance where we don’t see those feelings manifest themselves in physical interactions. That said, those two have one of the most memorable moments of the season, so there is that.
This Characters section seems a little too positive, so let me talk about another character who’s kind of a new addition to the cast, Nyx. One of Nyx’s first scenes involves her getting violated by the tentacles of her evil living staff, and that’s not a good first impression at all. Up until this point, I applauded Queen’s Blade for not resorting to something like that, but that all changed. Actually, because Nyx is a coward who can’t seem to do anything without it, she welcomes the staff taking advantage of her, because she’s then imbued with powers that make her a fearsome foe. These scenes happen several times over the course of the season, and maybe some people are into that sort of thing, but I’m not one of them. And despite all of this, even with the staff, she’d probably struggle to compete with most of the other competitors, so it all just comes across as an excuse for even more fanservice.
Coming into the season, this anime already had a large stable of interesting and likable characters, and that number only grew over the course of the season. There is no perfect balance in terms of screen time, though, I wouldn’t say that any of the girls get neglected. So the biggest reasons for me giving this a higher Characters score were a more hateable villain, so many returning favorites, and some concrete proof that at least a couple of relationships are/were romantic in nature.
When it comes to both the animation and sound, I don’t think all that much has changed from season one. Inheritor of the Throne seems every bit as ecchi as its predecessor, and the director rarely misses an opportunity to showcase their assets. With more of an emphasis on fighting, it’s nice that the quality of the battles hasn’t seemed to drop, and if anything, the quality might’ve slightly improved. As for the music, I don’t think I noticed it as much as I did in the previous season, yet I can’t deny that it’s still pretty good. I don’t think very many people were complaining about the production values of this series, so it’s not too surprising that the most respectable aspects of this anime remain as solid as ever.
Overall, Queen’s Blade: Inheritor of the Throne is more action-oriented than its predecessor, and I think it perfectly exemplifies what this season is all about, fighting and fanservice. The story is still rather basic, yet the intensity of the battles probably helps elevate this season above season one, at least in terms of pure action. A couple of the ships are all but confirmed to be at least somewhat romantic, however, not as much happens between those characters as you might think. Anyway, if you were like me and all along were expecting nothing more than half-naked girls fighting, you pretty much get your wish this season, and that’s fine by me.