Anime Corner: Qualidea Code Review

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Maihime for best girl ever!

What’s the Story?

One day the human race was pushed to the brink of extinction by the invasion by a mysterious race of creatures known as the Unknown. In order to protect the children they were sent off a cold sleep, waking up years later to find that they have strange powers called ‘Worlds’ that are the only hope of fending the hordes of Unknown that threaten what’s left of the world. Everything is not as it appears though, but will these kids live long enough to see what’s behind the curtain?

The Review

I have to say this upfront, this is a bad show. I mean really, from the clear budget issues that mean epic moments of battle have to happen off screen to the rushed character development and plot twists that are so sudden they’re hilarious, this isn’t a good show, but it is a fun one. Coming to the end of this series is really weird for me, I mean I know it’s bad and if I where to dissect this show analytically then I’d have to tear this thing apart, but at the same time I’ve really enjoyed watching it. I like the characters, well most of them, and there are some interesting ideas squirreled away in the plot, a lot of them are underdeveloped, but they are there.

Let’s get into the characters. First there’s my least favourite, the arrogant delusional hero, Ichiya. Now Ichiya has a weird place in the series because I could have sworn he was the male lead, but after the first couple of episodes he slides off into the background and this becomes more of an ensemble piece, much to the show’s benefit. My main problem with him is just how arrogant he is, determined to do everything by himself and treating everyone else as if they’re beneath him. I get what they were trying to go for, as a kid he saw the world burning and now is determined to save it and thinks he’s the only one for the job, but did they have to make him so unlikeable? He’s much better as a support character (because he’s on screen for less time) though I did like his little arc of madness after (Spoiler!) Canary died (which was probably one of the most out of nowhere and hilarious scenes in the entire series) it was something a bit different to what I was expecting.

Next comes my all time favourite character, Maihime! My love for her started probably around episode five, which thinking about it is when a lot the characters started to shine. It’s the part of the story after Canary’s death and with Ichiya moving into the background, a lot of the generic and cliché parts of the story are pushed off of the board and we get some genuinely decent episodes with some touching character moments. Like I said though, Maihime is my favourite. At first she comes across as this hyperactive goofball with a maximum of two brain cells active at any one time, but as you learn more about her and her back story you realise there’s a lot more going on inside. Maihime is the kind of character Ichiya should have been, she’s determined to protect everyone and she is overwhelmingly powerful, but instead of pushing others away, she inspires them, standing at the front lines and encouraging everyone to do their best. She’s not without her angst though, because she’s such a figure of inspiration she often hides her own feelings, smiling and acting goofy to cheer others on, even if she’s falling apart inside. She’s a really lovely character and it makes me want to her hug. Also she’s a total badass as evidenced by her taking on a city full of Unknown all by herself.

Let’s talk about the Unknown; though they’re incredibly underdeveloped as a species and spend most of the series as just fodder for the kids, there are couple of interesting ideas dotted around the place. I think the most intriguing aspect about them is the one line where it’s mentioned that the Unknown are a species that are continually changing, so much so that they don’t even remember what they originally looked like anymore. They are a completely alien species with a unique way of thinking, though some of them are clearly being influenced by the human race, I wish it got a bit more attention, but then I wish the whole final arc could be extended. It does feel like the show was rushing to tie things up before it ran out of episodes. Actually the pacing for a lot of the series felt like the accelerator was being hit all of the time, also if that final arc got extended then we could spend more time with mother of the Chigusa siblings because she is brilliant, insane, but brilliant. Every scene with her in is a joy, from her rather direct naming of weapons to the fact that this woman subjugated the world’s military forces through sheer force of will, I love her.

Okay, I’ve been praising this series a lot, but there are a lot of very clear issues with this series, a lot of which I’ve already hinted at. The pacing is too fast a lot of the time, leaving a lot of plot threads underdeveloped or barely explained and some things come right the hell out of nowhere (see the aforementioned Canary death). The big reveal you’ll probably work out before you hit halfway, even if only in part and several of the plot elements are rather clichéd or really just pointless (what really was the point of the ranking system and it’s never explained why they’re talking their sweet time to wake up the kids from cold sleep. Why not wake them all at once?). The animation is pretty disastrous too, most of the time it can just about manage to put across what it has to, but then there’s moments where the budget clearly vanished like the end of the first arc where the big finishing move, instead of being animated, is replaced by a white out. On a final note, the writers of this series clearly don’t understand physics; just go watch episode 4 it has to be seen to be believed. The actions in that episode don’t just break your suspension of disbelief, they atomise it.

The Verdict

While I can’t say that Qualidea Code is a good series, it’s certainly an enjoyable one (well it was for me anyway). Despite the poor animation, the clichés and the physics that make scientist hang their head in shame. this is fun. There are some interesting ideas floating around and I like the majority of the characters, even when the story is stalling and the animation is non-existant, they’re still there to brighten my day. I don’t know if you’ll like this series, but I think it’s pretty fun, even if sometimes that’s not quite intentional.

fish stamp watchable

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

Anime Corner: First Impressions Summer 2016 part 2

And we’re back. Let’s carry on with my first impressions of the shows of Summer 2016.

Mob Psycho 100

Mob is a middle school student who has trouble expressing his emotions, so much so that he often comes across as bored or emotionless. The emotions are slowly building though and when they reach bursting point you’d better watch out, because you see Mob is actually an insanely powerful psychic. All he wants to do is be a normal kid and maybe get to talk to his dream girl, but in a world full of phoney psychics, evil spirits and mysterious groups there isn’t much chance of that. The bad guys had better watch out, when Mob hits one hundred then the butt-kicking is going to start.

From the creator that brought us One Punch Man, we now have Mob Psycho 100, and it’s animated by Bones (I’m sorry, I didn’t realise it was Christmas already, but thank you for the present). I’m really enjoying this series so far, it’s funny, it has some great action and it is really really really really really really well animated. I love the style Bones have gone for. It’s this scratchy style that looks like the drawings have just gotten up off of the page, but it’s really fast and fluid, I love it. I can only admire the sheer amount of skill and time put into this animation. There isn’t much of a story so far outside of just getting to know the crazy cast, but then I like the weirdoes that have assembled for this series. I really like Mob, he’s a sweet and innocent kid and I like trying to guess what’s going to add to his countup to one hundred. Also he’s a badass when he uses his powers.

Taboo Tattoo

Justice Akatsuka (stop laughing there are worse names in this anime, the main girl is called Bluesy Fluesy so I think Justice here got off lightly). Anyway, Justice saves a weird guy from some street thugs and as a reward is given a mysterious tattoo that gives him superpowers, said superpower being able to create a void that will swallow anything, even Justice himself (gotta say, not much of a reward when you think about it). Now Justice finds himself caught in the middle of a conflict between the U.S. army who developed the tattoos and the kingdom where the tattoos originate from. Let the superpowered teen battles commence! And fanservice, lots and lots of fanservice (can someone please use the void power on either me or this show; I don’t mind which at this point.)

Ugh. Three episodes in and I’ve already reached the point of ‘ugh’, not a good sign. The fanservice gets worse each episode, it’s like the series is purposefully pushing me. Oh, you can take this much fanservice? Then how about this much? Or this much? All building up to the point where I punch the screen to make it stop. It’s ruining what could be a decent show, not a great one, but decent. The story is pretty average; we’ve got the teen protagonist given an obscenely overpowered ability, joining up with a secretive group to battle super-powered bad guys. The animation is pretty good, there are a couple of interesting powers and triggers among all the generic ones and I like how the military and political stuff adds a little bit of a different flavour, it’s needs more expanding upon, but it’s ok. If they just got rid of the fanservice then this would be ok to waste a half hour on each week.

Alderamin on the Sky

Ikta Solork is lazy, a womaniser and a little bit of a jackass (scratch that he can be a pretty big jackass), thankfully he also happens to be a tactical genius, though he certainly doesn’t see that as plus. Ikta dreams of a cushy desk job where he can just laze around and let life pass him by, but fate has other plans. When the ship he’s on ends up stranding him, his friends and a princess behind enemy lines, it’s Ikta’s quick-thinking and clever plans that save them. Unfortunately this rather impresses the princess who gets Ikta enrolled in the military school, just as war looks set to spread through the kingdom.

I like this series. Ikta has the potential to be annoying, but so far has skirted around it. He’s unmotivated and real know-it-all, not characteristics that are easy to root for, but beneath it you can tell that he cares about this friends and comrades and will do everything in his power to help them, characteristics that can be rooted for. I like that he’s not really that good on the physical side of things, so instead uses tactics and methodical thinking to get around problems, and we’ve had some pretty fun schemes from him so far. The rest of the characters are all enjoyable, if needing some further development, but there’s plenty of time for that. Yatori has to be my favour, and not just because she’s a badass with a blade, but she’s also really cool, level-headed and fun. The one thing I’m hoping for is someone that can match Ikta in the brains department. So far no one’s showing that they can present a challenge to Ikta and I think this series will get boring if Ikta has the answer all the time. So far though, this is an enjoyable series.

Hitorinoshita – The Outcast

I’d sum up the story at this point, but we don’t really have much of one at the moment. We’ve got a main character called Soran who was raised to master a super secret martial arts technique that he’s not allowed to use on anyone except other outsiders (other people with powers). There’s a scary girl who likes knives and killing things. Are villains are a creepy and annoying little kid and his overly sexualised big sister. We have no idea what they want or what their big plan is, just that they want something from Soran’s grandfather. They couldn’t get it from the grandfather’s corpse so now they want to dig into Soran’s memories to find it. That’s about it really.

This series does have some potential, I don’t know much about Chinese mythology, but it’s a nice change and I’m willing to learn. I just wish this anime would pick up the pace a little. I’ve seen three episodes so far what I describe above is pretty much all that has happened. I don’t need all the answers to what’s going on, but give me a general idea. What are the villains’ goals? How does this threaten our heroes? Who are our heroes? Where is this all headed? Why should I care about these people and whatever’s going to happen? I’m not invested in anything about this show outside of the mythology stuff (and there’s not been much of that). Our leads aren’t that interesting either, not the badass weird girl or the martial arts master, who used his powers once, lost and has spent the rest of his time whining and moaning. Way to make me care anime, way to make me care.

Qualidea Code

When mysterious creatures suddenly attacked the world and pushed humanity to the brink of extinction (it must be Tuesday), the children of the world were shipped off to a cold sleep facility. Now decades later they’ve awoken to defend what remains of their world, each of them having developed strange powers called ‘World’, they are the last hope humanity has of surviving.

Well, one episode can certainly change an opinion on a series. I mean I thought of Qualidea Code as a show that just about made it to average. I mean it had an interesting idea with the kids waking up in a world that they have to get back from the mysterious monsters, the Unknown, but never really even hints at using that part of the story in anyway. No instead we get the typical teenagers with superpowers fighting to save the world, with a really unlikeable main character. I get what they were trying to do with him, he’s so obsessed with protecting the people he cares about and he thinks it has to be him and him alone that does the fighting, but does the guy have to be so arrogant about it? The animation’s not that good and the rest of the characters are kind of one note. I was probably going to drop this series; then episode 4 came along. Episode 4 is bad. I mean really bad, it’s so stupidly, insanely bad that it is a joy to watch. I have never seen something so ridiculous and over the top (well not this week anyway), and all of it comes right the hell out of nowhere. They even knock the wind out of the main character so he’s no longer so arrogant. Just go watch this one episode; no description can do it justice.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.