Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rating the Queen's Blade Characters - Part 3

I'll apologize now about how these posts aren't that well written. I'm trying to be pretty consice in the entries, but sometimes I ramble on anyway, heh. So, with that said, let's move on to the villains of the series ...


Melona
Story (5/10) - Despite being one of the major antagonists in the QB story, Melona doesn't do much other than, well, antagonize the protagonists. She is a shape-shifter under the command of the Marshland Witch, though she tends to simply do as she wishes, its just that it happens to line up with what the Marshland Witch wants. Melona gets some extra points for having a fun personality, and the way her personality clashes with her sister-in-arms Airi is always funny to watch. In the end, Melona is simply an antagonist, but she's a pretty fun one; often joking around and being happy-go-lucky, though she isn't opposed to being serious when she needs to be. 

Design (8/10) - Melona's design very charismatic and unique. Her bunny ears, clover-shaped irises, the way her hair holds her breasts, and her intensely pink color scheme all make for a simply yet interesting design. What I like most about Melona's design, especially in the anime, is how her main draw is her cute face. Her large eyes, blush marks, large lips, and pink hair and bunny ears really draw attention to a small area, and that's something very unique to Melona within the large cast. 

Overall (7/10) - There may be nothing too compelling about Melona, but she's still a very fun character, and has a unique design. Her interactions with all of the characters, especially Leina, Menace, and Airi, are the real treat of her character.


Menace
Story (5/10) - Menace's story is one of a child who never grew up. Menace once ruled a kingdom, but it fell in a coup that came as a result of her poor leadership. The story isn't bad, as it shows her character flaws and the realistic turnabouts there-of; however, it's a shame that Menace's character never really evolves past what she once was. She still acts childish, she still desires to be spoiled rotten, and feels that what she desires should always be given to her as her right as a princess, even if the Amaran kingdom is gone. So while her backstory may be kinda interesting, having Menace be a static character throughout the series is pretty disappointing. In terms of personality, Menace can be fun at times, though is often overshadowed by the more fun Melona. The little details, such as her powers, martial arts capabilities, and tragic relationship with her most trusted maid, do help Melona from being completely boring, but there simply isn't much to Menace at all within the confines of the QB story involving the tournament. Sure, she is the one Marshland Witch soldier who isn't loyal to the Witch herself, but there are no repercussions of her lack of loyalty, so it doesn't make for interesting conflict. Overall, a character with potential that is never really lived up to.

Design (6/10) - Menace doesn't wear much clothing, but not in a good way like Claudette or Echidna; rather, her design feels as if it should have more clothing and ornamentation, but all she has of note are an ornamental crown and breast-plate. It makes for a design that feels incomplete. A positive point about her design is that, similar to Melona, her design draws attention to her face with large eyes, shiny hair, ornamental crown and earrings, and an ornamental breast-plate. Overall, a decent design from the chest and up, but one that feels incomplete when taken as a whole.

Overall (5.5/10) - Menace makes for some interesting scenes, but is often overshadowed by her fellow sisters-in-arms and doesn't present enough growth as a character to be considered interesting beyond her OK backstory.


Airi
Story (9/10) - Airi's story is one of the highlights of the anime. While in the manga and online story, Airi is simply just the Marshland Witch's most loyal soldier, the anime took the character into a more complex role as a dedicated warrior, a monster, and an "onee-san"; ultimately, having her choose her side between her new friends found in Rana's family, or stay loyal to the Marshland Witch. What made Airi's story arc so interesting was that it was never clear as to what side she would ultimately choose, thus making the end of her story arc pretty satisfying, as it had been something quietly anticipated. There isn't much to Airi's past, but her relationship with her fellow sisters-in-arms is always interesting to watch, as she is definitely the most strict of them all, and her relationship with Rana was both surprising and interesting to see unfold. Overall, one of the most interesting side characters.

Design (5/10) - She's a twin-tailed ghost girl in a maid costume who uses a scythe. There's nothing bad about it, but nothing great either. One of the more boring designs in the series.

Overall (8/10) - Airi was a great character thanks to her changing from simply an antagonist to a heartfelt character; her story arc became one of the more interesting elements of the second season, and her ghostly powers also made her pretty interesting to witness in battles. 



Nyx
Story (9/10) - Nyx is by all means a background character, but she has the complexity that a main character would have in a Lovecraftian novel. Nyx is a tragic character. She is a young woman with a good heart, but lacks strength and confidence; so when she is given the power of a demon from the "living staff" Funikura, so begins the tragic story of Nyx. What makes Nyx so interesting is how doesn't necessarily like using Funikura, as the staff constricts her body whenever she shows any weakness, but she continues to use Funikura and refuses to let him go because she never wants to be weak again. The end result is a tragic relationship between Nyx and Funikura. This tragic story continues as several characters try to convince Nyx to throw away Funikura, but she can't bring herself to do it. Then there's Nyx's antagonizing relationship with Elina, whom she hates immensely. Elina and her family are the reason Nyx is in the position she's in, and after seeing Nyx's past, Nyx's actions feel much more logical. In the end, what makes Nyx such a compelling character is how she's one of the nicest people in the series, and that she could easily find happiness if she were to meet the right people, but because of her fear and lack of confidence, she is a slave to her insecurities and, as a result, Funikura. I could go on about Nyx's great portrayal in the manga, but I'll end by pointing out the one weakness of Nyx's character portrayal: the obvious parody of hentai tentacle rape that her character represents (heck, the character designer behind La Blue Girl did her design), and even though the anime throws it in the viewers face a lot, it rarely makes me forget how good of a character Nyx is.

Design (10/10) - Nyx has one of the best designs in the series, and is one of the few characters who looks better in her combat book than in the anime (though her anime design is excellent as well). Her dress is revealing, but bold thanks to the bright red color and her arm ornaments. Her long, brown hair is striking, and her bright green eyes and delightful smirk help give her face a lot of personality. Funikura itself has a great design as well, being a mass of tentacles with an eerie, bright red eye; and the way it coils around Nyx helps give them both a strong presence. And that's Nyx's greatest strength: her visual presence, which is truly excellent on all fronts.

Overall (9.5/10) - Despite Nyx's sometimes annoying portrayal in the anime, she is a superb character that shows a dark side of character execution often reserved for more Lovecraftian tales. The only downside to Nyx's story is that it's never given true closure.


Nanael
Story (7/10) - Like Elina, you either love or hate Nanael. But, also like Elina, her presence in the series cannot be denied. Nanael is often the comic relief of the series, and basically always cares about herself. She doesn't really have a character arc until her final episode, but her character is rarely boring thanks to the many emotions she displays throughout the series. Her relationship with Melpha is a strange one, as Nanael is mainly a freeloader taking advantage of Melpha's piety, but Melpha doesn't necessarily mind, so whether this relationship is hurting anyone or not, is a matter of opinion. The climax of their relationship in the fifth OVA episode is pretty satisfying, as it helps both of their character arcs come to a good ending. While it may sound biased, I find Nanael's hate for women and love for men to be a little detrimental to her character, mainly because it feels like the creator's only implemented this facet of her character due to nearly every other character has yuri subtext as part of their character, so they needed a "straight" character. Nanael constantly states how she hates women and how she wants to become super powerful so that she can create a male harem (which she does for a short period of time); it just feels a little forced, imo, rather than a natural type of attraction, like Echidna's lust for women feels. Then again, Nanael is pretty young and reckless, so perhaps it is wrong to hold such traits against her. Plus, her backstory may hold some reason as to why she acts the way she does towards other women; through its never stated. Speaking of which, Nanael's backstory as an angel trying to prove herself until she gets fed up with it, is rather interesting and humorous. She also has a very nice conclusion to her character arc alongside Melpha. In the end, Nanael is a fun character, even if she can be annoying at times.

Design (8/10) - Nanael's design may seem simple at first glance due to almost all-white color scheme, but it hides some interesting little details; the most striking being her different-sized wings. Then there are her different gloves, her heart barret, and floating sword weapon. It's almost as if Nanael's design revolves around being unsymmetrical, and the end result is a design that's pleasant to the eyes at first glance, but holds lots of nice small details. Also, her polka-dot panties have almost become a symbol within QB.

Overall (7.5/10) - Nanael's personality may be hit-or-miss, but it definitely stands out within the cast for many reasons. She definitely brings an energy to the scene within both the anime and manga; Aya Hirano's voice definitely helps.


Melpha
Story (6/10) - Melpha has very little to do with the main story of QB, but she brings some good character interaction as well as some decent world building for the QB world. Melpha is a very good-hearted character, and as such, Melpha's interactions with other characters, who are often more flawed, is rather charming. Her interactions with Nanael, one of the more devious characters in the cast, are some of the more interesting exchanges among the cast, and how she brings Nanael to be a more well-mannered person shows the strength of her charm. She also helps bring about Tomoe's central conflict in the second season. However, the most memorable of Melpha's character quirks are the Holy Poses. I find the holy poses to be pretty interesting, as they help establish the strange church culture in the QB world, as well as bring out an interesting execution of fanservice. In the end, Melpha is an interesting character, as she shows the strange practices of the church in the QB world, as well as bring a pacifist personality to the cast (Tomoe's pacifism is a bit darker). 

Design (8/10) - Melpha's design is a beautiful one. Her bright color scheme helps establish her pacifist nature, as well as provide a humorous visual foil to her holy pose techniques. Melpha's voluptuous body helps establish that she is an adult woman, as opposed to many other young girls in the cast, as well as make her blushing face when performing holy poses more cute. The only flaw of her design is her mace weapon, which is very disappointing visually. It's a shame she couldn't have had a more interesting weapon. Regardless, Melpha has a very charming design overall that matches her personality very well. 

Overall (7/10) - Melpha brings about a soft personality unique to herself within the QB cast, some unique world building, and a design that is very charming. Furthermore, her holy pose techniques have helped make her a legendary fanservice factor within the series. 

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