Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Disseminating Queen's Blade Rebellion: A Group Study in Cultural Anthropology

Back in late April, only days before I declared my Spring hiatus, I was approached on Twitter by a certain blogger to take part in a little cultural anthropology study. Together with this blogger and ultimately six others, I delved into the deep and symbolically rich world of Queen's Blade: Rebellion. Over the course of two and a half months, we struggled and fought until every last iota of the series we could analyze, was analyzed. And now, today, this project has finally reached a conclusion. While I wouldn't normally post something like this, I figure that I've already made enough other non-standard posts in the last few days, so I may as well take advantage of the situation. With that explanation out of the way, please read on for our findings.

An excellent visual representation of the dual happiness and despair we feel right now.


     I feel that it's fair to include the beginnings of this project, while it was only in its most infant stages. Here it is apparent that the blogger (who is none other than the great Draggle) that started the project and contacted me had not yet come to fully appreciate the genius of this show. Even so, his passion for the subject, as well as his growing respect for it, can clearly be seen.

Queen's Blade Rebellion --- First Impression (With a Little Help From My Friends)

URL: http://blog.draggle.org/queens-blade-rebellion-first-impression-with-a-little-help-from-my-friends/

     As I said, this is the post that started it all. In this post, Draggle and some passersby briefly look at all elements of the first episode of the series. Though perhaps a foolish endeavor in retrospect (due to the enormity of the undertaking), there are several worthwhile insights made, including the following:

     "On the bright side though, Queen's Blade already has more Bodacious piracy in the first ten seconds than in all of Moretsu Pirates"

     "It seems like [the] goth loli has a machine to measure flower girl's breast size. Steampunk at its finest"

      . . .As well as pointing out the deep symbolism of a certain mountain range. The project started for real after this post, with Draggle assembling an elite writing team from the far reaches of Twitter (I was the in-over-my-head rookie). We met over Skype every two (or in a couple cases three) weeks to bask in the artistic quality of the show, and when we weren't watching, we were writing and waiting. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before we trained ourselves in how to approach the series and grew accustomed to its mind-boggling qualities, we wrote this colloquium post. Though we all stumbled through the dense amount of symbolism, hoping to reach one collective goal at the end, I felt especially lost, and it was only with the help of my comrades, Draggle (the leader), Snippettee, Redball, and Foshiizzel, that I was able to reach the end safely.

Colloqium: Queen's Blade Rebellion 2 + 3 --- A Study in Cultural Anthropology

URL: http://blog.draggle.org/colloqium-queens-blade-rebellion-2-3-a-study-in-cultural-anthropology/

     In this post, we introduced the project, and explored the deep symbolism present in the second two episodes.

     "The world of Queen's Blade has three [moons]: two green, one blue. Now, look closely at the positioning of the moons and their respective sizes. You'll notice that they correspond perfectly to the form of the female body! The green moons represent the bosom, and the blue one represents the groin."

     "In fact, I believe the entire set is representative of the Sun & Moon Dancer's chastity. This is a small village, and she is its princess. . .Her sex life is not simply her own, but it is dictated by tradition and religious beliefs."

     ". . .taking the sizes into consideration—the blue moon being smaller than the two yellow ones—and having these yellow round moons detached to the mountain symbolically represent the totality of Annelotte's idiotically deceitful manhood."

      In our next post, it becomes apparent that we were more prepared for what was to come, and at the same time we began exploring what became one of my favorite colloquium topics, the fascinating religious world of Queen's Blade.

Colloqium: Queen's Blade Rebellion 4 + 5 --- The Divine Union

URL: http://blog.draggle.org/colloqium-queens-blade-4-5-the-divine-union/

     In this particular post, we focus on not just religion, but its conflict with science.

     "The religious order of Queen's Blade practices a form of asceticism in which the worshiper obtains divine union with God through ritual. In this ritual, the practitioner feels the breath of God and experiences true freedom. . .through the act of lifting her skirt. (The God of Queen's Blade is male, so men are unable to experience the divine union and are hence fated to be tossed with the chaff into the lake of unquenchable fire)."

     "Surely the church scene in episode four is another symbolism-filled moment. After seeing the Priestess, Mirim goes to the church believing that she can be saved by god. Then, upon entering the church, a phallic-like altar welcomes her."
 
     "Returning to Mirim's armor, one of the few pieces of metal in the Queen's Blade universe strong enough not to shatter even though it protects a supple young bosom, we can begin to see the same duality. Is the armor a product of evil science. . .or perhaps a sin. . .? Or, does the armor act as a chastity belt, and inflict penance upon its wearer as an observation of the powers of God?"

     The relative success and ease of analyzing we experienced from this post was short lived, however, as our team was about to enter what seemed to be its darkest hour.

Colloqium: Queen's Blade Rebellion 6 + 7 --- A World Without Pants

URL: http://blog.draggle.org/colloqium-queens-blade-6-7-a-world-without-pants/

     The trouble began when Snippettee couldn't make it due to extenuating circumstances. After that, everything seemed to go downhill. We lost Foshiizzel and Inushinde (one of our watch-mates, though sadly he didn't write in the posts) in the Skype watch, and Draggle was having technical difficulties. Furthermore, the actual writing only started days later, as I believe our fearless leader was undergoing a change in living situations at the time. Though it took much effort, however, we overcame and wrote what may be my personal favorite of the posts. We were joined by the mysterious but eager freelancer Reiseng, and everyone put 110% into their writing. The result was, well...

     ". . .the religion of Queen's Blade developed as a reaction to pants. Much like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness of Canaan were forbidden from worshipping idols after they repeatedly tried to do so, the religion of Queen's Blade actively forbade pants as blasphemous and idolatrous after women, possessed by demons, began to wear them."

     "Like a loving MILF, Queen's Blade embraced me in her large, ever giving bosom and protected me from all my worries and unhealthy fears. This did not happen because Queen's Blade was so good it distracted me (it was really good though), it happened because Queen's Blade was so pure, so full of innocence; my heart could not help but be cleansed."

     "Perhaps the ultimate example of this comes when the Moon Dancer performs her dance to fertilize the crops. . .We are presented with her tentacles transformed into an ovarian structure. She uses this structure to receive life-giving mana from the moon’s rays. . .This matches with the historic profile of fertility worship in which human and plant fertility was symbolically linked, only in the Queen’s Blade universe magic is able to directly link the two."

     Though we triumphed, our tribulations were not over yet, as the next colloqium showed us clearly.

Colloqium: Queen's Blade Rebellion 8, 9, and 10

URL: http://blog.draggle.org/colloqium-queens-blade-rebellion-8-9-and-10/

     This post also had troubled beginnings. Redball was unable to join until later, and Foshiizzel couldn't stay at all. Left alone with only Draggle, Emperor J (our silent partner in the project), and Queen's Blade as my only companions, I somberly began what seemed to be another peril-frought chapter in our chronicle. We came out the victors once again, however. Redball and our thought-lost companion Snippettee both managed to join in, and the writing began in a more timely fashion. We were ready for our fight this time, something fortunate considering the great task we were tackling: an analysis of the harem in Queen's Blade, and what it says about the unpure male gender.

     "[The show has begun] the final arc of the season. The allies of truth, justice, and pantlessness have assembled. It now becomes clear that Annelotte has not merely collected an elite group of skilled fighters, but also established a typical anime harem."

     "One thought. . .particularly struck me: the fact that males in Queen's Blade are so utterly useless politically, economically, socially, religiously and militarily. Men are stricken from the sphere of public life, aside from a few choice occupations. . .such as an underground arena bookkeeper, which the lowest on the lowest rung of society must stoop to in order to survive if they are unable to find a woman to take care of them."

     "It may be that Queen's Blade is a feminist world portrayed for a male chauvinist audience. I would submit that the missing yuri elements are actually present, but they are largely shown via symbolism. Fights in Queen's Blade are not merely the conflict they seem on the surface. They are also sex scenes."

     There were other hurdles in our fifth and final colloqium, namely the beginning of the summer season, but such paltry matters no longer concerned us. We had no fear of being unable completing this project, and many of us made silent vows to finish it on our own if the others could not.

Colloqium: Queen's Blade Rebellion 11 and 12

URL: http://blog.draggle.org/colloqium-queens-blade-rebellion-11-and-12/

     With most of our team on a scramble to blog the summer season shows, the write-up was indeed delayed. We remained confident, however, and by the end all of our team members contributed to the final post, even our irregulars (Reiseng and Emperor J). We all made our own attempts at deciphering the incomprehensible ending, and in the end, I think we successfully determined what Queen's Blade: Rebellion is all about.

     "In the world of Queen's Blade it is the Queen who ultimately rules over the rest of the continent. There are no male figures are anything beyond an amateur journalist, slave trader, or perverted demon. The queen also has immense power that no other character in this story has. Until she is defeated, the queen remains the queen."

     "I was not prepared, nor were my fellow viewers, for Siggy's Holy Pose: Healing. To be honest, it made absolutely no sense. However, I’ve since analyzed this and come to the conclusion that the healing technique is a combination of the magic present in Queen's Blade and the science of sex."

     "In fighting Claudette and, by extension, the men of the world, Annelotte and co. are enacting a holy crusade to purge the heretical and pagan ideas of the false queen. In this sense, they are upholding the tradition of this world, as is one of the objectives of their crusade."

     With the publishing of this last colloquium today, we finally close this memorable chapter on our lives. I would like to thank all my fellow project members profusely for allowing me the chance to watch and write with them. It's been an honor.

     To the readers, especially those that didn't read the full posts: here's a game. Try to figure out which member wrote each section quoted without checking. I included at least one quote from everyone who wrote, so go ahead and guess! But seriously, you should go read the full posts.

     Edit: We now have our own dedicated blog! Head here for you classy anime fix!

6 comments:

  1. You didn't include any quotes from Foshizzel.

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    1. Well, I was considering putting this: http://blog.draggle.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Queens-Blade00053.jpg at the top of the post, but I thought it would be too obvious. Still, I am regretful, and I apologize.

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  2. This was a great synopsis. Thanks John! I am glad that our battle is now over and our scars healed, but we shall forever remember our comradeship.

    Or so says the freelance that hopped on when it was convenient and ran when the fighting got to violent. :P

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    1. NEVER FORGET.

      *Clicks tongue disapprovingly* You must be a male. But then, you were really useful and good...you must be a trap. ;P

      Thanks, glad you liked it!

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  3. ... Well, uh. Yeah, this is something I never expected to see. Congratulations, nothing can surprise me now.

    Good writeup, though!

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  4. No, Queen's Blade: Rebellion could surprise you. Nothing else, sure, but, uh...I don't think it's possible to not be "surprised" by episode 11. Just trust me here. ;)

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete