Qualidea Code – Against the Unknown

War came suddenly, as gates opened in the sky and legions of aliens called simply ‘the Unknown’ poured out from it. In order to preserve humanity’s future, children all over Japan were put into cold-sleep to be awakened when the carnage ended. Unfortunately, the war lasted longer than anyone expected and these children woke to a Japan under perpetual siege.

Fortunately, the children awakened this way had developed mystical powers during their long sleep, said to be somehow related to whatever they dreamed of while they were sleeping. Their powers, known as ‘Worlds’, were then put to use by the defense forces to protect the Japanese islands against the mysterious invaders, with the various defense academies being ranked according to their effectiveness in battle.

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The protagonists consist of the leaders of the three most prominent schools: Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Chiba. Tokyo’s leaders are the primary protagonists Ichiya Suzaku – an arrogant, obnoxious young man who holds little more than disdain for others – and his childhood friend Canaria Utara – a charming, lovable young lady who is constantly with Ichiya, translating his insults and dismissive comments into common speech. The other school’s heads are the Chiba siblings, Asuha and Kasumi Chigusa, and Kanagawa’s Maihime Tenkawa and Hotaro Rindo. I won’t go into too much detail about each one’s personality as the show primarily focuses on Ichiya and Canaria and we could be here all day, but suffice it to say that each of the main characters were interesting and well-developed. What quirks they had fit their histories, and their personalities showed growth over time.

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The story started out pretty slow, but accelerated at the midway point and became really fascinating as we approached the ending. There was a massive twist just past the halfway point, and they did a good job of foreshadowing matters and slowly building it up, allowing you to gradually realize the truth alongside the characters. We were just starting to get a little bored of the show when the real story started picking up, but from there it held our interest firm through the rest of the series… so if you give this a try, I would recommend giving it some real time and watch at least past the halfway point because it really does get a lot better as it progresses.

The combat was a ton of fun to watch as each character had their own distinct approach to combat, due to having vastly different powers, and the competitive aspect to their rankings ensured there was a healthy aspect of both sabotage and cooperation to the whole thing. I also loved the way they made use of powers that weren’t inherently ‘combat friendly’. The most notable of these is Canaria herself, whose song enhances peoples’ abilities and refreshes them. My favourite part of that is that it gave them a logical reason to have ‘battle music’, and whenever she wasn’t able to be there for a battle, you really noticed her absence.

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Speaking of ‘battle music’, Canaria’s song is awesome. In fact, overall the music was really good. Several of my favourite songs of this season were found in this series, and the in-episode sound design was pretty good as well. On a visual note, the show wasn’t spectacular. It wasn’t bad so it never detracted from the overall impact of the combat, but there weren’t really any moments where you would watch something and just stare because of either the scenery or some part of the design… it looked good, but wasn’t anything special.

Qualidea Code is a great action show. It has a decent visuals, intriguing characters – even if Ichiya himself is obnoxious to begin with – and fascinating battles. I think the two things that make Qualidea stand out among all the other action anime coming out are the amazing soundtrack and the fascinating story twist. I always love it when shows make their twists something that I can see coming if I’m really paying attention. The satisfaction of figuring it out and being proven right just creates that much more engagement. And that engagement just made the hits all that more impactful, and made the show that much stronger overall.

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