Qualidea Code – Review
Original Air Dates: July 9, 2016 to September 24th, 2016
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 childhood friend, Utara tries to stay by his side and Ichiya’s allies are constantly rubbed the wrong way by his arrogant nature.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Qualidea Code’s introduction should be noted as entirely misleading. It’s that opening episode where Qualidea is, in fact, at its strongest, and the journey thereafter is nothing but a downhill trek leading it to become one of the most disappointing anime of Summer 2016. Firstly, let’s talk about the animation. After its premiere, Qualidea’s artwork gets steadily worse: Characters are frequently off-model, with lazy animation that hardly maintains a professional level of quality expected from the anime of today. The animation itself is often stilted, and that’s assuming we’re not talking about scenes where animation has been completely foregone. The final episode is happy to allow big, explosive, climatic battles to occur off-screen while we stare off at the floor, only listening as heroes confront villains in what should be its explosive climax. Whether it’s budget, time constraints, or what have you, there’s no denying that Qualidea Code’s animation is subpar in nearly every regard.
Linny: Adding to the disappointment of the lazy/budget saving animation is the absolute lack of attempt to sync lip movements even in scenes where the character is the only person in frame. It’s just absurd and sure to have you either burst out laughing or shaking your head in horror. But the problems of the show extend beyond its animation. There’s the fact that the central/introductory lead, Ichiya Suzaku remains selfish and stubborn throughout the entire series, barely showing any character growth. It’s as if all he knows is how to be bitter and fight for survival. If you do not take to him from the start, you probably won’t ever take to him as he seems to stick to his own beliefs and issues rather than opening up to the big picture.
Tom: Ichiya Suzaku is fairly unlikable, never evolving even after a series of traumatic events leads to a briefly improved narrative amongst all the lackluster content Qualidea has to offer. It’s during this brief period where Qualidea improves as Ichiya himself takes a backseat and the rest of the cast becomes more and more prominent, with the focus shifting away from Suzaku and onto other characters like siblings Asuha and Kasumi, or Maihime and Hotaru. The trouble, however, that prevents Qualidea from truly attaining praise worthy quality, is that none of these characters are all that interesting. For example both Asuha and Kasumi are borderline emotionless, so subdued in their reactions and personality it’s like watching lifeless mannequins attempt to perform Shakespeare. Even if the writing was impressive the performance kills the appeal.
Linny: Besides bland and subdued characters, the sibling duo of Asuha and Kasami also push the sibling incest agenda notoriously common in anime. For those who are extremely turned off by incestuous undertones but find Qualidea Code otherwise appealing, rest assured that the show pretty much completely moves on from the incestuous scenes and puts them back into behaving like a pretty normal brother-sister duo as the story progresses. As stated earlier, Suzaku isn’t the only person who fails to show major character growth. Almost all of the rest of the cast seem stuck in their generic personalities from beginning to end.
Tom: Comparatively Utara Canaria, who’s prominence gradually fades as we delve deeper into Qualidea’s run, is actually rather likable. She’s friendly, kind, and perhaps highlights just how repulsive a character Ichiya is. Outside of our main heroes, Qualidea Code eventually introduces a few new characters that aid to bring the story to a close, although their characterization is so hamfisted, so out of tone with the rest of the series that their presence actively ruins what little good Qualidea Code had managed to build via it’s mystery and reveals.
Linny: Since the show is all about our brave group of warrior kids, it’s not that surprising that the adults that get introduced later on seem inferior to the star children. However, these adults then go beyond inferior and turn out to be extremely incompetent and explicitly strange. It’s most likely an attempt to keep the kids in the hero of the show role and for the sake of comedy but prepare to marvel at how ineffective the adults in this world seem to be.
Tom: Outside of the characters, Qualidea Code is pretty awful with its story. Despite its potentially epic nature, Qualidea Code becomes quite boring in the lead up to the mid-season, saved only by interesting twists and mysteries that spring up just before the story becomes an outright chore to follow. But once those mysteries get their reveals what little good Qualidea Code had building is washed away as it proves itself no different from the rest of the Light Novel mediocre fare plaguing the medium. It’s just as impermanent, just as content to reset the status quo when things get too dark or heavy for the audience. It feels shallow, and offers nothing of significance by the end.
Linny: If the story had been told better, the show does have some interesting themes that would’ve made it stand out from the crowd. It brings about important questions regarding family and parental love, and has plenty of twists to keep the mystery rolling. Sadly, these themes and mysteries aren’t all that uncommon in anime, have been done much better by other shows, and are also handled so badly here that they fail to leave any lasting impact. The story is already battling with terrible animation and when it succumbs to using common tropes and dives into a completely blatant and obvious fan service episode early on, it becomes all the more difficult for viewers to hold onto the hope that this show could be a serious and engaging story.
Tom: As I mentioned above, when all is said and done there’s actually a potentially epic story to be had here. Two species meeting, unable to communicate, and the conflict that arises from that inability to understand one another, but it’s lost within disappointing animation and a narrative execution that undermines the story’s potential at every turn.
Linny: In some ways, the abrupt nature of this show really adds to its intrigue and shock value. It’s not scared to dispose of central characters in the blink of an eye, making the show feel like it was going into some really deep and dark territory. It then proceeds to ruin what little intrigue it has by introducing ham fisted twists and turns that undo what little it had going. In fact, even the comedy is as random as its story telling, often clashing with the tone of the scene and falling flat on its face…unless you enjoy unintentional comedy, in which case, this show will have you chuckling with glee like a B grade horror movie.
Tom: Up until it’s final episode, I’d almost be willing to give Qualidea Code a sort of ‘pass’ as in declaring it barely middle of the road, even with it’s animation issues. But that’s assuming the finale wasn’t plagued with issues all its own. those familiar with anime should be used to the “final episode bump” where animation sometimes improves tremendously in order to send the show out with a bang. But Qualidea Code decided to subvert expectations by providing what is perhaps easily the series’ worst episode. Not only is the animation embarrassingly off the mark throughout (as evidenced by the gifs in this very review) but the story just kind of stumbles into its conclusion, offering no real sense of epic finality and reverence for its ultimate climax. The whole thing feels almost clinical in its writing, as if making sure to hit certain beats just enough so as to tick them off on a list.
Linny: The show’s finale really is the ultimate cherry on the top of this– erm– trainwreck as it only aggravates everything the show has been struggling with. It’s weak storytelling leads to a lacklustre and confusing ending that leaves you with more questions than answers, and more in a ‘why did I bother watching all of this’ rather than a ‘I have to watch/ read more of this’ manner. And the issues with the animation in the finale could have an article all of their own thanks to the generous amount of questionable decisions taken in the episode..such as constantly cutting to still images or characters looking completely different (in a bad way).
Tom: Qualidea Code is based off not just one Light Novel series, or two, but three different series written by three different authors. So this anime is more adapting a franchise, one with a rather interesting origin. In fact, none of the content in this series stems from the original novel that sparked Qualidea Code as a franchise. That novel, as I understand it, set the world for the other three series, each written by a different author, featuring a set of each of the anime’s main characters. Maihime and Hotaru, for example, were the leads for the first novel series, where as Asuha and Kasumi were leads of another, and Ichiya and Canaria yet another. Surprisingly, Qualidea Code the anime is actually a collaboration between the three different writers working together to bring their stories all together. But seeing as that means six Light novels total were, potentially, adapted into one twelve-episode series it might, at least partially, explain the sheer mess of things as we attempted to cover simply too much ground in too little a time frame. It doesn’t justify the shoddy animation however.
Linny: Are you on the lookout for a show that’ll make you laugh with its terrible animation and make you question your sanity after watching the entire run? Then Qualidea Code might be the answer to your dreams… or nightmares. But in all seriousness, what good there is in Qualidea Code is heavily overshadowed by shoddy animation and messy storytelling. If you can ignore those factors or even enjoy those factors you might enjoy it after all but go into it with lowered expectations.
Tom: Qualidea Code is an outright disappointment. There’s no denying that it has to be one of the weakest entries in the Summer line up, and normally wouldn’t be worth a watch at all. But if you’re someone who enjoys things in a “so bad its good kind of way” Qualidea Code might almost fulfill that criteria. From the uninteresting characters, to the shoddy animation, to the toothless narrative Qualidea Code fails to build on its own potential. If you want solid entertainment look elsewhere, but if you’re intrigued by its sheer wealth of flaws then sit back and enjoy the train wreck.
Qualidea Code is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.