Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rating the Queen's Blade Characters - Part 1

Just as the title says, I will be rating the many characters of Queen's Blade. The rating I give will be based upon character design and story. The character design is judged upon both the original seen within the combat books and Rin-Sin's designs in the anime, and the story portion will be based upon all forms of canon, mostly the anime, but I will also include the various manga and HobbyJapan storyline. I will try my best to keep this concise, as I could go on and on about just one character, heh.

And with all that said, let's begin ...

- Story (6/10) - Leina is a character that gets a lot of hate, but I find it to be undeserved. Her main flaw, and why she gets a lot of hate, is because, well, she's kinda boring. Leina is the main protagonist (in most of the stories), and thus begins as basically an empty slate of a warrior so that she can grow and learn. The problem is that the people she learns so much from are more experienced and "cooler" than she is, so she tends to get out-shined a lot. Regardless, Leina is good character due to her having a good heart and a strong will to become stronger. At first it was odd how Leina's one goal was simply to get stronger, but as we learn more about her upbringing and her love for her mother, it makes a lot more sense. In the finale, Leina was a bit annoying in the plot due to her plot-armor (thus inability to lose), but it was nice seeing her grow throughout the series.

- Design (7/10) - Leina's design is deceptively simple at first glance, but when taking notice of the little details like the belt wrapped around her body, her unique shield, and decorative breast-plate, it makes for a design that may show a fair amount of skin, but is still powerful in appearance.

- Overall (6.5/10) - a good character who doesn't stand-out much other than being the main character; nothing bad about her, but nothing great either.

- Story (8/10) - You either love or hate Elina. It is very true that Elina is an overall bad person; she looks down on anyone that isn't her sisters and treats them like trash. This attitude was created by Elina's upbringing as an aristocrat and her natural strength as a warrior; this led her to feel she was superior to everyone who wasn't a member of her family. When you think about it, it makes sense; after all, not everyone can be as humble as Leina. Speaking of Leina, she is always the catalyst of anything Elina does as a result of Elina's deep infatuation for her sister, one of Elina's most endearing traits. The story of why she loves Leina so much is great, and really helps forge her character, and it also helps bring about Elina's inner struggle where she contemplates if Leina returns her deep feelings or not, and if Claudette, perhaps, will giver her the love she desires. All-in-all, Elina, despite her evil nature, is a complex and interesting character, as well as the star of my favorite episode of the QB anime series.

- Design (8/10) - Elina's design has a playful cat theme, and it works superbly alongside her personality and fighting style. Her hook-spear is also a very unique weapon, which she uses to great effect. The fur on her collar also helps set the pompous attitude she has towards most people; a nice touch. A great design all-around.

- Overall (8/10) - a great character with a great backstory, interesting, if not sometimes humorous, personal inner struggle, and dynamic interactions with the other characters around her. 

Claudette - (9/10)
- Story (9/10) - One of the more complex characters in the series, Claudette is one of the few characters with a strong arc throughout the story. She begins as an antagonist, but slowly grows into a powerful benefactor for both her sisters, but especially Leina. Her complex relationship with Leina, Elina, her father, and Maria (Leina and Elina's mother), make for a very interesting story. It was great seeing Leina and Claudette have a happy ending to their plight and both of them moving forward in their personal goals, even if everything didn't turn out perfectly. In the end, Claudette's character arc is one of the most interesting in the QB series, and it was always exciting to see just what decisions she would make as a knight, a sister, and a person.

- Design (9/10) - In terms of design, Claudette's more stern and imposing design by rin-sin in the anime stands out stronger than her original design; even if they are very similar. Claudette easily has one of the stronger designs in the series, thanks to her red hair, unique ornamental crown, powerful physique, huge sword, and lightning powers. Her design alone shows that she is one of the most powerful warriors in the series, and I love that about her design.

- Overall (9/10) - A really stand-out character in the QB cast thanks to a powerful design and an equally powerful story that may begin in an atypical fashion but eventually comes to a good conclusion that ends Claudette's character evolution in a great way. A character with true presence.

WARNING: Tomoe and Shizuka's entries contain a major story spoiler.

Tomoe -
- Story (9/10) - one of the major reasons Leina gets heavily criticized is because of how Tomoe tends to outshine her at every turn. A foreigner in a strange land, Tomoe's journey is one of discovery and desperation, and, as a result, Tomoe's journey is equally a light-hearted journey of self-discovery and a dark fight against her own weaknesses. And it's in her weaknesses that Tomoe's character really shines, for Tomoe is, simply put, too nice. She is a great warrior, but she is a pacifist at the same time. This leads her to make many hard decisions, eventually leading to her ultimate test of fighting her true love, Shizuka, in a battle to the death, and the way Shizuka's death effects Tomoe is very well executed in the story. Tomoe's story arc may not end in the best way, but it's still a satisfying end to one of QB's most stand-out characters. "Complete" is the word that comes to mind when thinking about Tomoe's story arc.

- Design (8/10) - "Simple yet effective" is the the phrase that comes to mind when thinking of Tomoe's design. The strong contrast between red and white colors of her clothing are great, and really give her design a strong presence despite being rather simple; combine this with her long black hair and the color pallete of Tomoe's design is beautiful. Overall, a strong design that demands attention.

- Overall (9/10) - Tomoe is a character truly defined by her character arc and strong relationship with Tomoe. Her conversation with Elina during their fight is one of the standout moments of the anime, as Elina brings up the major character flaw that character's like Tomoe have: they fight and kill while still speaking of pacifism, thus making Tomoe a powerful hypocrite. Such development of character really makes Tomoe standout in terms of story, and her simple design, ironically, helps her standout as well. A great character overall.

- Story (8/10) - even though she may not be an "official" character in the QB cast, Shizuka is given prominent roles in both the anime and manga. She was originally Shizuka's enemy, but after being defeated by her and hearing her ideals, Shizuka decides to become Tomoe's servant and always stay by her side. Shizuka's aloof attitude and more down-to-earth way of thinking act as a foil to Tomoe, making them a great pair. Shizuka mostly acts as a supporting character for Tomoe throughout their journey, but her character arc comes to a powerful close with her death at the hands of Tomoe. The lead-in and outcome of their fight is superbly executed, making Shizuka's death one of the best-handled I've seen. Shizuka and Tomoe's relationship is one of deep affection and would most likely have become romantic if Shizuka had lived. That said, Shizuka only dies in the anime, in all of the manga storylines Shizuka lives, and her and Tomoe have a happy ending together. Would I have preferred if Shizuka lived? Yes, definitely. But her death was not poorly executed, so I'm OK with it. 

- Design (9/10) - In terms of design, Shizuka has one of the best designs in the series. Her one long bang in her hair is my favorite aspect about her design. Her purple color scheme is distinctive and works well with her hair color; and, of course, her trademark horns became a major symbol within the series thanks to her powerful death. 

- Overall (8/10) - In the end, Shizuka was mainly a supporting character, thus she didn't really standout on her own much, but she was a  very important part of Tomoe's character, not just in the anime but in the manga as well. She's a fun and lively character and acts as a great foil to Tomoe. Combine all of this with a great design, it's no wonder she's a fan favorite of many, and her and Tomoe are constantly seen as one of the better couples of the series. It's also worthy to note that unlike many characters like her, Shizuka is not defined by her death, it is impactful, yes, but it is far from what most remember most about her; and I think that's shows how great of a character Shizuka is.