Astro Toy with Rob Bricken - Queen's Blade Nanaelby Rob Bricken, Aug 2nd 2009
Toyline: Excellent Model CORE
Series: Queen's Blade
I knew this day would come, and I've dreaded it. Yes, today is the day that a Queen's Blade figure finally landed in my Astro Toy pile. I want you all to know that I didn't purchase it or select it, and that it came into my possession by other means. Frankly, this day was inevitable, because figures of Queen's Blade — most of which do indeed have removable clothes, like the figure I'm about to show (although Astro Toy will remain safe for work, thank goodness) — seems to make up half of the products getting imported from Japan nowadays. I couldn't avoid them forever.
Let me give you a little background on Queen's Blade, just to prove I am capable of research when I don't want to spend 200 words describing a toy's breasts: Queen's Blade started as a series of basically choose-your-own-adventure books in Japan, but with more combat, more fantasy, and uniformly starring underdressed heroines with large breasts (A smart idea for any market). Well, the flailing anime industry took notice and turned it into a series, using the characters from the books (the female stars of the books, natch). And rather than tone down the content, as so many anime series based on actual porn games have done over the years, the maker's of Queen's Blade just decided to put as much nudity on primetime Japanese TV as the law and society would allow.
So yes, Queen's Blade — which features more bare breasts than most actual hentai used to — is incredibly popular. It's exactly like if Cinemax After Dark aired at 8pm on Fridays — everyone would watch to see boobies. Hell, I'd watch just to see them put breasts on Friday night after dinner. It's insane. And man, if you don't think the whole Queen's Blade phenomenon isn't a result of the anime industry going down the toilet, and being so desperate for cash they've just resorted to airing soft-core in primetime — then… then you're wrong. The fact that it's working doesn't change this a bit.
So with the TV series has come about a million figures and figurines, most of which can pop their tops. Almost every Japanese toymaker holds a license, because things with breasts are and always will be a surefire moneymaker. Sure, you might have a hard time looking at yourself in the mirror, but you'll still be able to put food on the table. I actually thought this Megahouse figure on Nanael was one of the few that remained clothed, since there was no indication that her clothes were removable. Alas, after examination, a large seam on her dress did indeed provide a point of entry to see tiny, plastic nipples.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves (nipples tend to get people overexcited anyways). Nanael is the world's most underdressed angel, although she is worried about protecting her legs — hence the greaves and kicky sundress combination. Let's let the infallible Wikipedia sum up Nanael for us:
“Though she claims to be a literal angel who descended to Earth to restore holy order across the land, Nanael is actually scheming to create a country of her own, exile the women, and fill it with men to act as her servants! Due to her foolish behavior in the holy realm she was put on probation and exiled to the mortal world. She carries a vial of 'holy milk' which she must not allow even one drop to be spilled throughout the course of the tournament. Unwilling to treat dwellers of the "lower world" as equals, her combat technique involves the telekinetic manipulation of her celestial saber to keep opponents at bay. She is to appear in the upcoming Spiral Chaos game, voiced by Aya Hirano like in the anime. Nanael is illustrated by Kuuchuu Yousai.”
I think she's supposed to be an actual angel in the Queen's Blade anime series, but I've pretty much done all the research I'm going to on the subject. So I also don't know why she has one tiny wing and one large wing, but I tell you, there's only room for one one-winged angel in my heart, and this chick ain't it.
Now I'm clearly not a big Queen's Blade fan, but I can't deny this isn't a really nice figure. I had my sincere doubts about how such a top-heavy figure (pun intended so hard) could stand up on one foot, but Megahouse's superior skills keep Nanael standing — er, “flying” — solidly and steady.
Likewise, her sword — that “celestial saber” she wields with her mind — is nicely done, as the hilt fits into a clear, hinged joint, allowing the sword to be pointed in whatever direction you choose. It's too close to the figure when standing straight up, but the lower portion also works as a joint, allowing a pretty wide range of movement.
Nanael's only other item that could possible be considered an accessory is her bottle of milk, sculpted onto her (detachable) belt. I actually thought this was a wonderful detail and addition to the character design, then I learned the bottle contains milk and now it just freaks me out an disgusts me.
Okay. Sigh. Let's do this.
The first thing to do to get this toy naked — rip off her head. Her head pops off exactly like the bootleg Luffy from the bootleg One Piece Portrait of Pirates line from Megahouse, in a weird synergy. After that, you detach the belt by pulling it apart at a joint at the buckle, and then the dress at the not inconspicuous seam, which we've previously discussed. And then…
…tiny plastic representations of breasts. Although Anime News Network has mosaic-ed the tiny plastic nipples, rest assured, there are indeed tiny plastic nipples under there. Do they look like nipples? No. they look like a sculpture of anime nipples, which puts them two steps removed from the real thing in my book. But that hasn't stopped Nanael and the other Queen's Blade warrior-harlots from selling a ton of figures.
Look, you're not going to get me to condone toy nudity — I just can't — but overall, this is a really nice figure. Well sculpted, well designed, and nicely saucy, even before you start awkwardly trying to take the clothes off the figure. I'd say it's even reasonably priced — if it didn't have nipples, it would be a sensible $50-60, but the addition of nipples raises anything by $20. And of course if you don't like it, there are plenty of other Nanael figures from Griffon, or even a genuinely poseable Revoltech figure from Kaiyodo. Of there's the dozen other Queen's Blade girls in scantily-clad angels aren't your thing. Most of them have removable clothes, too. Or you could go to a strip club and see real breasts for a $10 cover or so. Your call.
You can read more of Rob Bricken's bitter, needlessly mean-spirited thoughts on toys and many non-anime subjects over at ToplessRobot.com (which is safe for work).
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