Queen’s Blade Goods Roundup

First, the news:
Next Round Character Announced!
One of the two characters in production for the next round of Queen’s Blade books has been announced: Honoo no Tsukaite Nikusu (Pyromancer Nix). With designs from Kuroki Masahiro of Mahou Shoujo Ai fame, doujin authors everywhere have recently been spotted dancing in the streets.

Queen's Blade Nix

Coming Attractions
Apart from the Tomoe and Erina figures up for preorder yesterday and the March 16th release of the Katorea (Cattleya) and Nanaeru (Nanael) books, over the past few months several products have been announced that bring Queen’s Blade further into the multimedia sphere. They include:
Queen's Blade Bitoshi Gaiden Tomoe

  • Queen’s Blade Bitoshi Gaiden (Queen’s Blade Beautiful Warrior Side Stories), a series of full color comics with accompanying drama CDs that will serve to finally fill out the official canon in regard to the Queen’s Blade heroines and their backgrounds.
    The first volume in the series is set for an April 28th release, and will feature warrior miko Tomoe. Noto Mamiko stars as Tomoe in her struggle against the Koumanin-gun (Demon Ninja Army) and its leader Shizuka, voiced by Nabatame Hitomi; Ookawa Tooru and Koyama Tsuyoshi also star. As of writing, two voice samples from the drama are available on its official site.
    The book will be presented in B5 size (twice the size of a standard manga volume), hardcover, with 32 pages of color manga by Eiwa, the original Tomoe artist. The accompanying drama CD clocks in at 45 minutes, including a bonus track related to the earlier-released Tomoe combat game book. The whole package clocks in at 2,500 yen.

Queen's Blade Comic Anthology

  • A Queen’s Blade manga anthology will be released on April 25th. While not part of the official canon, it will feature stories from a bevy of famous manga artists that deal with the daily lives of the Queen’s Blade heroines, from their battles to their brief moments of relaxation, loaded with humor, ero-ero scenes, and THE FIGHTING. A must for any Queen’s Blade character fan! [/end ad copy translation]
    It will feature a cover illustration by My HiME designer Hisayuki Hirokazu, and include stories from the following artists (many of whose sites are not at all work safe): Ena, Minamura Haruki, Mita Kurumi, F.S, Sawaki Takahiro, Juubaori Mashumaro, RustySoul, Hirose Madoka, Kurosaki Kotora (Searchlight), Kokuryuu Manako, Mizuki Hitoshi, Kuroneko, Uchiuchi Keyaki, Kira Hiroyoshi, Koshijima Kazutomo, Shimamoto Harumi, Shirakawa Maina, and Miyabi Maira-L.
    The book will be A5 (oversize manga) size, and retail for 980 yen. With this group of artists on board it defies comprehension that this could possibly be an all-ages book, but from the way it’s presented it seems it may be just barely on the edge…

What is Queen’s Blade?
Queen’s Blade is a series of game books that debuted on November 25th, 2005 with the publication of two volumes from Hobby Japan: Reina and Risty. The books are modeled directly after the original Lost Worlds combat game books from Flying Buffalo Press, and as such you can ostensibly play a game with them (you and a partner trade the books of the characters you’ll be representing, and take turns declaring actions and counteractions with various results), though nobody I know does – they’re essentially dealt with in Japan as hardcover, full color, reasonably priced artbooks of “image characters” by famous designers.
As a side note: I find this in itself to be a fascinating phenomena, and one potentially useful in exploring the purely visual aspects of “moe”: until now the Queen’s Blade characters have been little more than a set of static images and simple character and relationship descriptions, and yet they’ve spawned a vast body of fan work including (as of writing) two independent conventions, dozens of doujinshi, and one direct parody so close to the original format it was actually prosecuted for plagiarism.
It seems that if you have a good character designer and a good sales hook you don’t need any actual content to start a boom; why bother creating an original story when others are willing to do it for you, and increase the popularity of your product in the process? I haven’t thought through the “moe” connection entirely, but it’s a fascinating business model.
Edit: apparently Queen’s Blade does have a background story, albeit a shoestring one:

“Once every four years, powerful women gather from the four corners of the kingdom and beyond to compete for the right to reign over the land as Queen. This tournament is called Queen’s Blade, and any female over 12 years old can participate regardless of nationality, species, or intelligence.
Battles in the tournament are without rules, and your life is on the line. The contest is one of martial skill and murderous technique, where you must fight until your opponent yields or is unable to move. Through the magical devices of the royal court wizard the combats are broadcast throughout the land, where the populace watches them with wild enthusiasm.
You are one of the woman warriors participating in the Queen’s Blade tournament. The fate that lies in wait for you could be the Queen’s throne, the humiliation of defeat, or even your death…”

And there you have it.
The Queen’s Blade books can be ordered outside of Japan here; for the curious, HD coverage of Queen’s Blade began on October 21st, 2005.

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0 Responses to Queen’s Blade Goods Roundup

  1. Nemo_N April 5, 2007 at 1:30 pm #

    I will never cease to be amazed by Queen’s Blade; as you state, it’s just good looking design and some, er… I think that’s it :P. From what I gather, nobody plays the game.
    The bussiness of Moe. I have to work on my drawing skills :P.

  2. Kurushimi April 5, 2007 at 2:55 pm #

    Am I the only one seeing some parallels between this and Hello Kitty? Just a matter of genius marketing I suppose…

  3. Agent Wax April 5, 2007 at 4:07 pm #

    Now, if they were to make a PS3 fighting video game and an anime OVA, they’d be swimming in money like Uncle Scrooge…

  4. e-jump April 5, 2007 at 4:22 pm #

    Wont be long till Touhou [s]hijack[/s] Boom!

  5. P Laskey April 5, 2007 at 10:31 pm #

    YUM.

  6. S4f April 6, 2007 at 2:32 am #

    Great illustrations

  7. Kuzunoha Yukari April 6, 2007 at 8:17 am #

    I still think it’s funny, about how you mentioned Queen’s Blade is compatible with other “Lost Worlds” dueling game books. I’ve never tried either, to be honest, and if I had a Queen’s Blade book I probably wouldn’t chance wear and tear to use it like that.
    The material for the phenomenon looks great, and it *IS* very interesting to see how popular these characters have gotten just by being a series of pictures in books.
    Though I can definitely understand how it would come about. Especially with the character Tomoe. XD

  8. Shingo April 6, 2007 at 10:06 am #

    >>Nemo_N
    >>”The business of Moe. I have to work on my drawing skills :P.”
    I’m with you there 100%. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to draw anything that anyone would remotely see as “moe”… :/
    >>Kurushimi
    That’s a good point – I’d say Queen’s Blade is similar to Hello Kitty in a lot more ways than fans of either property would care to admit. The characters have roughly the same degree of back story, for starters.
    >>Agent Wax
    I don’t think Hobby Japan has that kind of capital, though since they’re in bed with Bandai who knows what will happen. I think an anime isn’t at all an unrealistic proposition down the road.
    >>e-jump
    I’m not counting Touhou here as that’s a series of games that people actually play. Touhou does have a huge cult following, but it’s more part of the Higurashi / Tsukihime line than Queen’s Blade is, I’d say.
    >>P Laskey
    Seconded. :3
    >>S4f
    desho desho~
    >>Kuzunoha Yukari
    I had forgotten who Tomoe’s artist was, and visiting his site in the process of making this post I realized that I prefer some of his other non-QB work over his Tomoe design. Hobby Japan needs to get him back to do a character in a China dress, stat. :3

  9. KOF 2000 April 7, 2007 at 8:30 am #

    My most recent visit to the COSPA website uncovered some Queen’s Blade associated goods coming out in June of the pillow/cushion cover sort:
    http://nijigencospa.com/event/id/81

  10. Shingo April 7, 2007 at 1:13 pm #

    >>KOF 2000
    Well spotted! It looks like those illustrations are all taken straight from the books, which is a bit disappointing, but they still look quite nice. I may have to pick up the Menace one… :3

  11. Khaim April 16, 2007 at 12:14 am #

    I’m wondering if my otaku girlfriend will like or dislike completely if i buy two of these and we play around with them O__O

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