- Episodes : 12
- Genre : action, magic, supernatural
- Airing Date : Jul 2016—Sep. 2016
- Studios : A-1 Pictures
Qualdea Code Introduction and Story (Spoilers)
Welcome to the future. Qualdea Code takes place in a war-torn future where humanity is under constant threat form cross-dimensional invaders simply referred to as the Unknown. A plan to save humanity’s children from the horrors of war by placing evacuated kids in cold sleep backfired. The children, for some unknown reason, developed magical abilities referred to as “world,” far beyond those of normal humans. A super-powered army of young men and women then take the field to defend the cities of Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba in a fight against the unknown in this supernatural, psychological tale.
What We Liked About Qualidea Code
Qualidea Code is a good anime for three reasons: pace, action, and ensemble cast. We are carried at a very fast pace through the entire story; there’s no filler. The first episode gives us a battle right off the bat and successfully lays out the introduction for the situation and the characters we are going to be following. We see the impulsive, arrogant loner Suzaku carry Canaria into battle ahead of the Tokyo School troops they’re supposed to advance with. We watch Asuha and Kasumi show up with the rest of Chiba via train to the front lines, each brandishing guns. The most impressive visual introduction by far is Miahime and Hataru standing tall on the deck of an aircraft carrier as they head into battle. Qualidea Code is one of those stories that hits us with a battle in every episode, in some cases the battle even lasts more than one episode giving us more than enough action. The battle Miahime has by herself against a whole slew of enemies in a knock-down, drag-out battle royal as the rest of the Kanawa school escapes leaves us hanging in one episode and picks up in the next. We even get a cast that shares the load equally. We don’t often get see anime that truly gives each character (or pairing in this case) an episode to have their own plot line explored. The focus on the relationships of six main couples, best friends, crushes, and siblings gives greatly added depth to an otherwise straight action adventure.
Discussion Time: Should You Watch Qualidea Code?
Qualidea Code is a wonderful fantasy world with a somewhat surprising twist. The story that many of us tuned in for and the one we got were two different things. The previews and descriptions that were laid out before first episode led us to believe we were tuning in to a supernatural/sci-fi school story in the same vein as The Irregular at Magic High School or Infinate Stratos. The first episode is filled with action, and that’s a good thing, we even get a peek at school life. We quickly find out the “schools” are not the focus of the story, at least as schools. The word school refers to a militia of children charged with defending their district. Many of us saw the twist coming, but anticipation of a twist in plot and watching it unfold are two different things. We get the first hint that something isn’t as it seems when Canaria is suddenly killed off. It didn’t feel right, even though we know anime can go for shock value. We are further convinced something isn’t as it seems near the end of an epic battle by Maihime and Hataru against the Unknown. Two people who you know would go down swinging seem to have an epiphany and let themselves apparently get crushed by an Unknown ship. A great part of unraveling the mystery is doing it through the always calm and understated Kasumi. We are never just told the world the heroes live in is a lie, we have to watch them discover it.
Qualidea Code did another thing very well and unexpected: we got an ensemble cast – a real ensemble cast. This group of characters don’t just revolve around a main pair. We get to look at several different pairs of protagonists, Canaria and Suzaku of Tokyo, Hotaru and Maihime of Kanagawa, and Asuha and Kasumi the brother and sister pair from Chiba. We have various intersecting arcs that delve into the motivations and histories behind each pair (that’s called character development, people) something we miss in all too frequently in anime. Canaria and Suzaku’s development really begins to happen, ironically enough, when she is out of the picture. Suzaku gets to brood and mope and come to terms on why he fights and takes on all the toughest burdens and comes to the conclusion that it was for her. He wanted to be stronger to protect the person most important to him, Canaria. We see the depth of the bond Hotaru and Maihime share through flashbacks and action scenes. The two of them are best friends and soulmates, each drawing strength from the trust they have in each other to always be there. The only pair of true siblings are Ashua and Kasumi from Chiba. We see a very deep relationship between the two without venturing into bro or sis con territory. They’re also both pretty standoffish and aren’t the typical polar opposite brother and sister paring we see in anime. The black uniforms and use of guns as their primary weapons drive that home.
We find the Unknown are led by the motherly Airi and fatherly Gutoku. Airi seems to truly care about her “children” and want them to be happy. She is simply sad when they realize what has been done to them and she knows she can do nothing to maintain the world she created. Airi decides to destroy her people’s access to the world and herself, lamenting that she couldn’t be a mother to her own child, a genetic hybrid created through her romance with human Gutoku. Aoi Yaegaki is a student at Kanagawa High School. We get the chance to look back at Airi and Gutoku’s relationship and see that it was one based on love. They’re not paper villains but characters with depth.
When we finally meet the actual humans and in turn Yuu Chigusa, the mother of Ashua and Kasumi, we are presented with a population of adults that are guilt-filled from fighting their own children for so long. The attitude of the adults comes off as abrasive and overbearing in some ways as they tell the liberated children “you don’t have to fight anymore it’s a job for the adults.” The statement seems preposterous since the children are super powered and the adults are not. Yuu Chigusa understands that she has a lot to make up for and wishes, not unlike Airi, that she could be more of a mother to her children.
We like this story for the way it doesn’t fall into some of the more typical traps of some school-based, alien invasion, magic school, hero-rises-by-will-alone to defeat “the big bad” storylines. Qualida Code is on our watch list because of its diversity of characters. We don’t often, as we said before, get a true ensemble cast. The twists and turns of the plot are big assets as we, along with the characters, are left wondering which truth we should trust. The 12-episode series won’t take long to watch and the action and plot move along quickly -- all good things when your watch list is long.
We get a lot of twists and turns in Qualidea Code. Right off the bat you’re led to believe the show is about one thing and it is about another. Qualidea Code sets you up for what could be a school-based comedy/romance/adventure and takes a completely different tack. We are surprised to see almost no classroom antics, and even Angle Beats! and its themes about death had its funny classroom moments. Qualidea Code has its funny moments, but they’re mostly built into the dialogue with a snide remark here and there. Instead the story relies on action to move its plot forward as the cast tries to solve the mystery.
2. The Large Cast
The cast of Qualidea Code is rather large for an anime not about a group of nine high school girls who want to be idols. We’ve experienced large casts of characters before in shows like The Melancholy of Harui Suzumiya, but the characters are all mainly supporting cast members for Kyon. The cast of Qualidea is four couples for a total of eight individuals each with their own stories. We even get to see a lot of their back stories, which is amazing considering the show is only 12 episodes long. We really get the sense that each of these couples really care for each other in deep, meaningful ways.
Qualidea Code is filled with action. We don’t have a single episode without a firefight. The action at some points seems like it also includes a big body count, that is until we realize that people were being abducted and not crushed by those falling pods. We even get a little music accompaniment a la Macross Delta. The way Caniria’s singing can reinforce the power of others reminds us of the way Walkure’s singing gives strength to the pilots of CHAOS. We see some amazing one-against-the-many battles, too. Maihime standing against a hoard to protect the retreat comes to mind. We even aren’t sure if she is going to survive considering Caniria was “killed off” a few episodes earlier.
1. Not Really A Love Story
Qualidea Code has many of the elements that can make a good love story, but it does fall flat. The relationships between students Canaria and Suzaku and adults Airi and Gutoku are good on the surface but don’t carry the high drama we’d hope for in a love story. Suzaku understandably is a rather closed-off person and becomes almost suicidal when he thinks Canaria is killed. But for all his moaning he is still standoffish when it’s revealed to him that she is alive. We expected a little more in his reaction. A very interesting avenue that is missed is with Airi and Gutoku. We are led to believe they fell in love with each other after he was nearly killed in the initial invasion and she saved him. We know there has to be more and we don’t get it in the story.
2. Long and the Short of it
Qualidea Code isn’t a long anime with its 12 episodes. We get a concise story with not a lot of filler. We can agree that filler can be bad for a lot of reasons, yet if this anime had the chance to stretch its legs to consider the concept of reality it could have gone from a good action anime to an amazing one. The story has good character development but there can always be more. Qualidea Code has a good premise but could have a deep plot that gives it some staying power and has the viewer watching and re-watching to see what clues they missed. If a fun action fantasy is for you watch Qualidea Code, if you want epic keep looking.
3. Not Funny
Comedy isn’t in the description for a reason. Qualidea Code may have a fun moment or two, with either a snide remark by Ashua or Kasumi, most often about Suzaku. We also get a handful of comical moments curtsey of Canaria being a complete airhead. We just have to remember this is an action story despite the cute characters. Qualidea Code is trying to make us buy into the future of humanity being at stake and doesn’t leave much time for classic antics. If you are tuning in just be prepared for a fast-paced ride from beginning to end.
Honey’s Closing Statement
Qualidea Code has hits and misses like all anime. We think that there are more hits than misses in this action, magical, supernatural story. We have an array of characters to learn to love and understand. The action has very few slow spots and will keep the viewer’s interest. We find it does miss the chance to be much more by moving so fast and not giving the characters a chance to truly understand what has happened to them over the last decade as they fought for the very enemy they thought they were fighting against. We think that Qualidea Code should get a thumbs up and should be enjoyable as long as you remember what you see in the first episodes isn’t what you’ll get.