Qualidea Code – Mid Season Review
Original Air Dates: July 9, 2016 to ???
Synopsis: An unknown race of beings descended upon the world, obliterating the society we held dear. The children of those who fell in this war, evacuated to cold sleep chambers, awake decades later. They discover that they’ve developed supernatural abilities and utilize these new found powers to protect the remains of Japan against the Unknown. Ichiya is one such individual, having watched his home burn at the hands of the Unknown. He vows to defeat every last one of them and chooses to try and tackle the task all by himself. His sister Utara tries to stay by his side and Ichiya’s allies are constantly rubbed the wrong way by his arrogant nature.
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Ichiya Suzaku remains entirely unlikable. Throughout four episodes, he remains steadfast in his arrogant, one track mind behavior of becoming the world’s savior and protecting Canaria, our one truly likable character, from the attacks of the Unknown. Despite some middling character development, he becomes more and more insufferable as the series continues. However, Episode four’s climax yields a surprising twist that introduces new elements to the series that not only bring about a renewed interest in Qualidea’s concept, but also sees a severe reduction of Ichiya’s screen time. In a surprising turn of events, this upset has actually increased my enjoyment of the series.
Linny: The initial focus on Ichiya is definitely going to turn off viewers who find his character either a tired cliche or just generally unlikable. It’s obvious that the show is planning to give him a thorough makeover as things proceed but it doesn’t make him any less insufferable for now. So unless you enjoy these kind of characters and watching them being arrogant in anticipation of their eventual fall and redemption, you have to just grit your teeth and bear with it. Almost every other cast member/fellow child soldier character continues to be their eccentric self with the show slowly but surely giving us some background information and personal one on one time with them so the audience can get a better feel of them. Unsurprisingly, the main cutesy but overpowered little kid character, Maihime turns out to have a tragic and bittersweet past that shaped her into the leader she is today. Considering that the story is set in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event, obviously every character will have a tragic past but in Maihime’s case, they make sure to highlight the juxtaposition of her childish innocence and her ambition to save the world.
Tom: Canaria is easily the series’ most likable character (perhaps that’s why she’s featured so prominently in the opening animation and remains a focal point/catalyst for the series later events), with others like Hime, a powerful sword wielding heroine devoted to protecting people, backing up what remains a small contingent of actually enjoyable cast members. The rest of Qualidea Code’s cast is too one note/trope ridden to really give it any of its own, unique feel amongst a medium that’s predicated by samey feeling stories. While Qualidea Code started in a “so bad, it’s kinda good” vein, it quickly became just plain bad, almost painful to watch. But with episode four’s unexpected conclusion, Qualidea Code begins to move down a path of redemption. Mysteries are added, developments occur, and Qualidea Code transforms into something that feels approaching worthwhile to watch week to week, if nothing more than for the sheer impact of its darker elements.
Linny: Qualidea Code started off feeling like yet another show about a cliche bitter and selfish lead who is desperately in need of some drastic character development. And for the most part, we are six episodes in and do feel like we are halfway through his transformation. This whole army of kids with powers storyline is a well established and extremely common trope in anime at this point and thus Qualidea is doomed to feel stale for more experienced audiences. Even we ourselves weren’t extremely enthusiastic about its potential during its premiere, assuming it would be at best enjoyable for its bad animation and cheesy storyline. To our pleasant surprise, Qualidea Code introduces and makes efficient use of some game changing reveals and tropes as it progresses, which leave quite the impression. While it still has a lot going against it, these new developments have helped the show pull away from feeling completely predictable and forgettable. They’re daring, shocking and sure to make the viewer sit up and pay attention..if they managed to stick with the show long enough to make it to these new twists.
Tom: Qualidea Code, especially as we reach the mid season, dives into frequent flashbacks to develop its cast and this is where Qualidea Code remains weak. the flashbacks tend to break up the action, undermining the flow and tension that events are building towards. It doesn’t help that the flashbacks lack standout personality, meaning what character development we do get feels wholly generic and bland.
Linny: The show is definitely inconsistent and fluctuates a lot when it comes to quality and entertainment levels. Some segments and episodes might have you despairing over the hideous animation and the cliche content, while others will have you gasping in surprise and shock. It’s definitely a wild ride yet one that might test the patience of many as the good parts of the show are so heavily outweighed by the bad. It’s no diamond in the rough but thanks to some well placed twists, it manages to pull back from being a completely disappointing watch.
Tom: Outside of Qualidea Code’s first episode, the animation takes a nose dive. Mid distance shots lack detail, giving the characters a simplistic, or even muddied appearance. Long shots are incredibly simplistic, or wonky, leaving characters looking extremely basic and entirely unimpressive. Outside of a few choice sequences, Qualidea Code is rarely appealing to look at, even when the series resorts to static imagery with panning to hide its assuredly low budget.
Linny: The bland character designs are doing this show no favours when it comes to producing memorable characters. As a majority are in outfits that seem like average school uniforms, it unfortunately makes them look rather forgettable. In the case of Maihime, the most unique character thanks to her loud personality and tiny stature, the second she removes her distinctive oversized coat, she starts looking like just another lackey character rather than someone who is about to kick some serious butt. Then there’s Asuha who I keep mixing with Kyouko Sakura from Madoka Magica which isn’t helped by the fact that they show her as someone who loves to snack and is blase about violence (all characteristics that will feel familiar to other Madoka fans). Of course, my issues with Asuha stem from personal experience so it isn’t a criticism but more of an observation and heads up to other fellow Madoka fans who have been debating watching Qualidea Code. Back to criticisms though, if you consider animation quality a key component of your enjoyment, run as far as you can. The lack of budget is hard to miss like Tom pointed out and for those who dislike CGI, this show makes plenty of use of it to depict its bad guys and, as the show progresses, the CGI gets weaker, completely standing out against the devolving traditional animation.
Tom: Qualidea Code has been bouncing back and forth between Recommended, Not Recommended and the inbetween. At times it’s amazingly boring, aided by its lackluster animation. Other times, it has this weird charm about it with dark proceedings that inject a kind of bizarre fascination. I want to know the answers to its mysteries and it’s shown a willingness to cut its own cast down, giving me a sense of curiosity if our heroes will dwindle any further. I gave it a Recommended in the Preview in a “so bad it’s good” way, but now I find myself awarding it a more serious Take it or Leave it, as Qualidea Code has dragged out a few redeeming qualities that actually make me curious about it week to week.
Linny: Qualidea Code is definitely one of the more interesting shows this season thanks to its chameleon like appeal and not because it’s surpassed others in quality. Like Tom, I was delighting in its campy opening episode, then began regretting my decision to keep it on the watch list as we continued and the bad animation and bland sequences began to prevail. But then came all its curve ball reveals and daring twists which made me sit up and take notice and had me recant dismissing this show as something that’s best enjoyed as a trope riddled disaster. It’s still got some major issues even now and I wouldn’t force this show on anyone but if you were intrigued by its premise and can overlook extremely low budget animation and slooooooowwww episodes, there’s definitely some solid content here. It’s still a gamble of a watch given how much less than stellar content you have to sit through for the promise of something good but if you are up for the challenge, this show might be salvageable after all.
Qualidea Code is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.