Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rating the Queen's Blade Characters - Part 4

I've been getting less and less concise with these ratings, and I apologize for that. Heh, maybe I should've went with a single post for each character; after all, there was a lot I never got to about Tomoe's shame guidelines, Nyx's bipolarism, and other quirks about other characters. Oh well.

Well, this is the final part for this rating, and I'm ending with four of my favorite characters: the two master-student teams of QB ....

Story (10/10) - Echidna's story covers all of the bases. Her origin as a Dark Elf showed us that there were other elves besides the type that Alleyne and Nowa originate from. Her age is 500, and a lot of her interaction with Leina, Alleyne, Irma, and Nowa is effected by her knowledge and long lifespan. She was once the leader of the Fang Assassins under, until she left after seeing how corrupt Aldra was becoming. She raised and trained Irma from a young age until they became especially close, and most likely had a relationship. And, she was a close friend of Maria, Leina's mother, and was even asked by Maria to watch over Leina if anything should happen to her; which, in turn, leads to Echidna's master-student relationship with Leina in the first season. All of these facets of Echidna's past help forge an interesting character in herself, as well as help the QB world grow, and establish interesting relationships with those around her. Echidna's personality is also very colorful and interesting. Most of the time, Echidna is a flirtatious woman who loves freedom, relaxation, and women; however, her instincts as a teacher must have never worn off, as she is consistently giving knowledgeable advice to much of the cast, especially Leina and Irma. She is also a supreme warrior and among the strongest in the QB world; she has shown quite the bloodlust and cunning in battle when the needs come. As far as her story arc goes, Echidna doesn't really change, as she is already fully developed, and she mostly acts as a catalyst for the growth of other characters, such as Leina and Irma; luckily, her role in their character arcs is crucial and quite interesting, thus making Echidna feel much more like a central story character despite not having too much growth herself. In the end, Echidna is an essential part of the QB world in so many ways, and yet never feels like a tool within the story, rather she is just a really interesting character who is so important to so many facets of the QB world and characters that she just exudes personality and interest.

Design (10/10) - Echidna has an obvious snake theme, and the way it is executed in her design is excellent. Her green color scheme, scaled armor, Gorgon-head shield, curved sword, snake necklace, and, of course, Kiruta, her beloved pet and underwear. The fact that elves don't wear underwear is a fun ongoing theme in the QB world, and the way Echidna deals with it is having a snake for panties. Brilliant! Her design is made even better in the anime thanks to Rin-Sin's superb "sharpening" of F.S.'s original design. The more sharp and elongated eyes of her anime design are definitely the best change, as it gives Echidna a much more mature look, which coincides with her "master" role in the story much better than her more wide eyes in her combat book. Overall, a design that is not only flawless, but very interesting.

Overall (10/10) - If it wasn't obivous, Echidna is my favorite character in the QB cast. Her flirtatious attitude towards Leina, Irma, and Nowa in the anime, as well as Tomoe and other women in the manga make for a fun "flirtatious lesbian" character. However, Echidna goes beyond just being the flirtatious woman, and has a great past history to her, as well as very interesting interactions with a lot of the QB cast. Quite simply an amazing character.

Story (10/10) - Alleyne's story is a very interesting one in that it is a very focused story. Similar to the plight between Leina and Claudette; Alleyne's story is one of internal plight dealing primarily with her student Nowa. Alleyne is 1000 years old, and in those 100 years has lived the life of a legendary combat instructor and guardian of the elf forest. In these 1000 years of life, Alleyne has never found love, such is why Echidna, a former rival, teases her by calling her "the 1000 year-old virgin". However, Alleyne has recently found love in her student Nowa; however, Alleyne doesn't know if it is truly love, and if it is, how to even deal with these feelings. This internal plight doesn't dominate Alleyne's story arc, but it is a central of both her story arc as well as Nowa's. This internal plight is also spearheaded and catalyzed by Alleyne's interactions with Echidna and Nowa, and reflected in Echidna and Irma's own much-closer master-student relationship. What makes Alleyne's story arc so interesting is how it is equal parts an inner struggle as well as one catalyzed by the characters around her. And, like Echidna, Alleyne is made more interesting thanks to her "master" relationship with her student, Nowa. Her character arc also has one of the most satisfying conclusions in the cast.

Design (10/10) - Like Nyx, Alleyne has a very bold character design. Her green, red, and white color scheme works superbly well, and her strong physique shows her strength well. The ornamentation of her gloves, breast-plate, leggings, and belt are very intricate and add to the "refined" and natural (as in forest) look that Alleyne has. Her bright red hat and cape give her facial area a very bold look, and also help accentuate her movements in battle. Rounding out her superb design is her long, flowing platinum-blonde hair, which is not only really pretty to look at, but accentuates her movements even more than her cape does. Her weapon is also simple yet cool in the bo staff; adding even more to her "nature" look. An intricate and superb design all-around.

Overall (10/10) - Alleyne, like Echidna, exudes a lot of personality and intricicies in her story; albeit in a very different way to Echidna, but that's why the two character interacy so often, because they are so different in personality, yet so similar in terms of story arc. The presence that Alleyne, and Echidna, exude as part of the QB world as well as their own internal plights really makes both characters stand out as icons of the QB world, even if they aren't main characters.

Story (6/10) - Nowa is basically the typical shonen hero. She has a tragic past as a half-human  half-elf who was cast out by both peoples, but raised by a loving master in Alleyne. She isn't very strong, but hopes to become very strong in order to protect what she cares about. She desires freedom and adventure in order to have experiences in order to obtain the strength she desires. However, her last wish isn't granted to her until the end of her story arc. It's in that fact that makes Nowa rather interesting. Nowa is strong, but she's naive, and as such Alleyne, her mentor, doesn't want to let her go on her own. This leads to the question of Nowa's character arc: is it right for Nowa to remain Alleyne's student, or is her being a student holding her back from obtaining the strength she desires? It's in this question that Nowa becomes a bit more interesting than her story stereotypes lets on. While Nowa does grow a little throughout her story arc, it isn't very much, and, unfortunately, much of her growth as a warrior will probably never be known, as she doesn't set out on an adventure outside of Alleyne's tutelage until her ending. It's a good ending for Nowa, but a poor one for us. Regardless, Nowa is a fun and cute character who has some fire in her eyes. It would've been quite interesting if Nowa was the main character of Rebellion.

Design (5/10) - With the exception of a nice, bright orange color scheme, Nowa's design is quite boring. She doesn't wear much, and while it does go along with her "wild girl" look, it doesn't really do much for her design. Ru is an interesting addition, as Nowa is one of the few characters with a companion, but he can only do so much. Nowa's bo staff has a nice design to it, and is reminiscent of the nyo-bo used by Son Goku in the Journey to the West legends. Other than that, not much to say about Nowa.

Overall (6/10) - Nowa is a character that gets a lot of points for her cute look and innocent love for Alleyne. She has a decent story, good character growth, and some nice character interaction with other cast members, especially Alleyne, but "interesting" is not the word to really describe Nowa, as a lot of her interactions and growth is part of the typical shonen lead formula.

Story (7/10) - Irma's story is a straight-forward revenge scenario where a pillage initiated by Aldra results in the death of her brother. After being rescued by Echidna, Irma is trained by her to become a powerful assassin. Like Alleyne, Irma's interesting character features come from her interaction with a single other character, in this case being Echidna. Echidna was once Irma's master and perhaps lover at some point; regardless of the type of relationship, they were very close. When Echidna left the Fang Assassins, she wanted Irma to come with her, but Irma refused due to being set on assassinating Aldra. Irma took Echidna leaving as a betrayal of their relationship, and thus came to outwardly hate Echidna, though deep inside she still loved her. The rest of Irma's story arc comes simply from her contemplating the path she's chosen, and what the right choice would be: revenge or happiness. Her constant interactions with Echidna throughout her story arc only add fuel to the flame that is her muddled mind. It makes for a cliche, but still interesting story arc for Irma. In the end, Irma learns the hard way that revenge isn't always the best choice, but even through the rough patch, find her happy ending with Echidna. A satisfying conclusion to a good story arc.

Design (6/10) - Irma's armor is that of the Fang Assassins, thus it has a very formal look to it. While Echidna had a snake theme, Irma has a cat theme, and while it is only relevant in her face, her piercing eyes and short blue hair help give her a nice look. She also uses two short swords as her weapons, which, for some reason, look pretty cool; perhaps they work well with her "metal" color scheme. In the end, Irma's design is a bit too one-toned, but her charming face and strong body help keep her out of mediocrity.

Overall (6.5/10) - Irma doesn't stand particularly well on her own, both in terms of design and story, but when Echidna is involved, she becomes a much more interesting character. Because of this, she can only be so great on her own. Regardless, Irma's interaction with Echidna is one of the highlights of the second season, and she still has a very charming face.


So that's it for the cast of the first series of Queen's Blade. I may do some other ratings or rankings for the QB cast, such as best couples or best fights. I'm going to hold off on doing ratings for the Rebellion cast until the story comes to a close with the second season of the Rebellion anime and the official ends get released in a Complete Visual Book.

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