draggle: This week’s episode of Queen’s Blade thoughtfully explores a topic relevant in modern life: the conflict between faith and 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, albeit momentarily, 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).
The religious practices of this world are in constant conflict with science. The scientists have constructed an invincible piece of armor. Now, in and of itself, this armor is not necessarily evil. It could be used by brigands and robbers, or it could be used by the armies of God as they fight in a crusade.
Sin is separation. To be in the state of sin is to be in the state of separation. — Paul Tillich
But the scientists, in their pride, do not consider that the armor cannot be removed. Warriors can no longer worship God in his majesty. This will lead to moral decay and the fall of civilization. As Samuel Morse asked when he invented the telegraph, the church of Queen’s Blade joins in asking, “What hath God wrought?”
snippettee: Armour equated to human knowledge is an interesting thought, draggle. If we’re going to observe the effects of the armour on Mirim, she’s being entranced by the pain caused by the vibrators. But the most fascinating thought is how this armour with a vibrator is giving her power and the will to fight.
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. This particular scenario reminded me of the darkest taboo happening churches: pedophilia.
Indeed, Mirim wanted to take off the armour. However, the way she’s being hit was causing her more pain. It’s like instead of taking off the “sin” or the armour, Mirim acquired more physical pain and believed in the false hope of deliverance.
Having said all of this, it makes me wonder if armour is really evil or not. Come to think of it, it’s an accessory belonging to the Queen and controlled by the loli servant.
redball: It is difficult to judge Mirim’s armor quickly as good or evil. Queen’s Blade seems to appreciate the ambiguity and duality of religion and our earthly interpretations of it. In this, I think we find the armor to be a microcosm of the subject.
On its surface, what little there is, the armor appears to be rather terrible at its intended job. Yet the Queen’s first reaction to Mirim in this armor is to test it with a tremendous attack, in which Mirim’s completely exposed backside is thrown through a stone wall. Mirim is unscathed, aside from the pain of the armor at work. The armor is both scant and all-encompassing.
The major feature of this armor appears to be its invincibility powered by, or connected to, its hyper-vibration crystals. These crystals, arranged at the apex of each breastplate and upon the groin cup, cause an intense pain for the wearer. This pain in itself would appear to be the overstimulation of sensitive areas, prompting the question of whether this is intense pleasure or truly pain.
If we digress for a moment and return to the worshipping shown in episode two we will also find such duality. The position used to worship is one of submission, a submission before God to his every whim. It is also one of penance, for sacrifice via pain was a key component of the level of divinity attributed to the pose. However, the resulting emotion was one of joy, felt by sacrificing ones self for the love of their God. Later in the same episode we witness Annolette posing in the ultimate holy pose: Fate. It is a pose that is at once defensive and submissive, born either of ecstasy or pain.
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, as draggle has noted, or perhaps a sin as snippettee mentions? Or, does the armor act as a chastity belt, and inflict penance upon its wearer as an observation of the powers of God?
John Sato: I actually disagree with Draggle’s view that the armor prevents the worship of the God of Queen’s Blade. Rather, believe it heralds the beginning of schism in the church, one wrought by two different but similar ways of worship. Much like how the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches share similarities and yet are different, so too are the ways in which the traditional church (as represented by Siggy) and this new, science founded one worship.
The traditional church focuses on more “natural” forms of worship, with especially large emphasis of the flexibility of the female form and the manipulation of clothing. Both of these points become the groundwork for the actual practice of worshiping, i.e. SMBD poses. The new form of worship also has the end result of such poses, but the foundation is totally different.
I believe that, counter to Draggle’s theory, the armor does not only not prevent the wearer from worshiping, but in fact enables said worship. Think about it. Mirim’s cringe’s of pleasure/pain from the armor are not that far off from the some of the many poses Siggy’s traditional worship is composed of. Indeed, as we see in the church scene from Episode 4 that Snippettee mentioned, as soon as Mirim’s vibration armor is activated, she collapses in a most shameful manner. In this sense, then, the armor actually allows for worship more easily than traditional methods do, perhaps suggesting an attempt to bring religion to the masses.
While I realize that these two types of worship are not totally the same, they share the same core principle behind them: shame and acceptance. Both forms of worship in this religion tout taking shameful poses, and once that shame is accepted, great power results. As Redball above mentioned, things like the Holy Pose: Fate hold massive power, and such a pose can only be taken on by accepting shame (or, in Annelotte’s case, with the help of our friend the tentacle squid). The same holds true for the other poses that the traditional nun clergy perform.
In the case of Mirim and her armor, such concepts remain the same. When she is unable to accept the armor, she is nearly beaten by normal swordplay, before being truly finished with a rocket punch. However, later on, when Mirim comes to truly accept her allegiance and her role as the armor wearer, she begins to “get the hang of it” and is able to start harnessing the true power of the armor.
What I don’t disagree with Draggle on, however, is that there is a conflict between science and the church. I’m as of yet not entirely sure what form this conflict will take, or exactly what has sparked it. Is the church uncomfortable with the idea of the common masses being inducted into their worship without the proper training? Are they unable to accept the idea of cutting some of the forms of worship, such as the skirt lifting (which the armor makes impossible)? Is it some other conflict behind the scenes? As I said, I am unsure of exactly what is the cause of this conflict, though it certainly seems centered around the armor. But one can be certain of this conflict just by viewing the pivotal church scene. The alternative masochistic poses caused by the vibration armor are so alien to Siggy that she goes so far as to mistake them for demon possession, showing just how unready the church is to accept alternative forms of worship. Additionally, the tense atmosphere between Ymir and Siggy, characters who were shown in the first episode to be allies, even friends, shows that some kind of rift has formed between the two behind the scenes. One can only guess what has yet to be revealed by the series.
draggle: As John Sato mentioned, the catalyst for this particular conflict between the church and the state / science was sparked by the church protecting a seeker of sanctuary. Just like in the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Although fictional, the religion of Queen’s Blade gives us much food for thought as it relates to the religions of our own world. As in Queen’s Blade, many of the world’s religions suggest that abject humility brings us closer to God. And as humanity’s technology and power continues to advance rapidly into the 21st century, we should consider the lessons of the past in deciding how to apply this newfound power with wisdom and compassion.