[Interview] Animate Times – Qualidea Code – Saito Soma x Uchida Yuma

Published: 2016/9/10

Saito Soma (Ichiya Suzaku in Qualidea Code)
Uchida Yuma (Chigusa Kasumi in Qualidea Code)

Noto Mamiko (Yuunami Airi in Qualidea Code)

“In the end, the only one who has normal conversations with Suzaku is Kasumi *laughs*”

Q: Please introduce your characters.

Soma: Suzaku Ichiya is the current head of Tokyo. He’s the strongest person in Tokyo, but he’s also prideful, arrogant, and unconsciously takes on an aggressive attitude. He’s not aware of it himself, though *laughs*. The word “cool” is often used in his character descriptions, but I’d say he’s more of a hot-blooded guy. He gives the impression of having a fierce passion. Also, he generally only talks to his second-in-command Canaria as well as Chiba City’s Chigusa Kasumi. *laughs*

Q: Indeed!

Soma: The three authors told me directly, “Suzaku generally only talks to these two.” Canaria’s a bit of an oddball herself, so in the end, the only one who has normal conversations with him is Kasumi. *laughs*

Q: His chuuni lines stand out, huh?

Soma: He’s the typical chuunibyou. He even thinks it’s cool to give his abilities a second name. *laughs*

Q: That showed right from the start, in Episode 1. Did you receive any specific instructions?

Soma: No, it was pretty much as I thought. Suzaku has a rebellious side, but on the inside, he’s true to his impulses. In future plot developments, he has the widest range of emotions out of all of the characters, so I’m following his emotions rather closely. Since it’s only Episode 1, you’d expect to need more time to develop each character, but Suzaku will take a while…

Yuma: (The author) Sagara-san said “With a smile!” *laughs*

Soma: I really can’t get a read on him *laughs*. He said “That was the best Suzaku I imagined!” and I didn’t know what that was supposed to mean. *laughs*

Q: Were you aware of how he ended up with that personality?

Soma: The novel was a separate thing, so I wasn’t keen on referencing all of it, but when I read the first volume, Suzaku was quite different from how he was in the anime’s first episode. The novels take place before the anime, and back then he was really direct. His unawareness was the same, but he’d say things like “I love this world” out loud, and he wasn’t comfortable with chuunibyou naming. Then, at the end of Volume 2 which came out recently, you find out what happened to him to cause that change. But at the time of Episode 1’s recording, I honestly didn’t do any advance planning.

Q: What about Uchida-san’s character?

Yuma: Chigusa Kasumi is an older brother, but he has poor communication *laughs*. He only talks to his younger sister (Chigusa Asuha) and sometimes Suzaku, and he ignores pretty much everyone else. But, he has the most common sense out of all of them. Most of the city leaders are the pushy type, but he provides the normal perspective, albeit not out loud.

Soma: He has normal values, like how he’s repulsed by chuunibyou.

Yuma: Yeah *laughs*. He’ll say out loud, “That’s weird!” Their world is crumbling and is quite different from our modern society, but his views are the most similar to ours. Also, he generally doesn’t communicate, or rather, he’s given up on trying. It means that the others can’t tell what he’s thinking, but I think he’s actually quite considerate of them.

Q: Did you struggle with anything on the acting side?

Yuma: It was full of struggles *laughs*. First off, right off the bat, the author Watari-sensei told me “Don’t trust the script” *laughs*. He meant “be natural,” but the characters’ had such strong personalities that it was hard to get the right sense of distance. Even if Suzaku had a loud outburst, Kasumi would mutter “No, I…” under his breath.

Soma: It was a simple matter of volume.

Yuma: Yeah! Our volumes were completely different *laughs*. Even in Episode 1, when Kasumi talks after Suzaku, the “natural” way results in a contrast that makes you go “Huh?! Did he say something?” The character is poor at communication to begin with, so it was difficult to grasp the distance between him and the others. He also thinks it’s uncool to show his emotions, so it was difficult to balance talking to the others without showing emotion. Even now, I’m still pondering how much emotion to show and how much to react.

Q: Are you a worrier, Uchida-san?

Yuma: I try not to, but once I get caught in the trap, I can’t get out *strained laugh*. And that did happen this time *laughs*. But as of late, I get the feeling that I’ve gotten closer to the right balance for Kasumi.

“Personally, I want Free Gravity!”

Q: What do you think of each other’s special ability (World)?

Yuma: Ability…

Soma: Ah, Vampire Bat? (The alternate name Suzaku gave to Kasumi’s World)

Yuma: Stop that! *laughs*

Soma: In Episode 2, Suzaku wants to give everyone’s abilities names like that, but Kasumi retorts saying “Don’t tell me you give everyone one of those,” and I thought, “This world has retorts in it!” *laughs* It was pretty crazy of Suzaku to respond with, “Yeah, problem?” though.

Yuma: Yeah, he didn’t even hesitate. *laughs*

Soma: This is completely unrelated, but you know the manga Chihayafuru? It has a character named Suou Hisashi who has incredibly perceptive hearing, but since he hears people’s voices so well, he’s really soft-spoken. I thought Kasumi had the same issue.

Yuma: Oh! *laughs*

Soma: Being able to identify an object and its location through sound reverberations is definitely a support ability though.

Yuma: Totally. In practice he does take shots, but he doesn’t have any combat ability.

Soma: Indeed.

Yuma: That’s his limitation, but he’s aware of that, so he doesn’t fight on the front lines. Since he’s so aware of himself, he doesn’t push himself past his limits.

Q: But, having such good hearing is a powerful weapon in its own way.

Yuma: Being able to hear only tells you “The enemy’s coming!” and nothing else, so he can’t do anything! Although, in Episode 1, he was running fast enough to keep up with the flying Suzaku, right?

Soma: Yeah! That scene was really funny *laughs*. Suzaku was bringing Canaria and two other students in the air with him, but Kasumi was running on the ground by himself *laughs*.

Yuma: Yeah yeah! I thought,”You’re surprisingly fit!” *laughs*

Soma: He was the only one being left behind. *laughs*

Yuma: Since he’s part of the Chiba force. He still manages to help out though, so I think he was given the bare minimum ability. Personally, I want Free Gravity (Suzaku’s World, the ability to control gravity).

Soma: Same.

Yuma: He can fly in the sky.

Soma: I’ve used Free Gravity in my dreams three times since we began recording for this show.

Yuma: *laughs* You did, huh?

Soma: In the world of Qualidea, the ability to fly in the sky is incredibly important, and in the novel they often talk about how there are people who have two Worlds, who are called Duals. If one of them is the ability to fly, then they’re basically a super elite. But, Suzaku doesn’t have the ability to fly. It’s just that he can use his ability to move through the sky. That really has the allure of a light novel or manga protagonist—using knowledge and wit to strengthen your own abilities.

Yuma: Yeah.

Soma: So when I watched Episode 1, I thought he was really acting like a protagonist.

Yuma: Yeah, he was! At first when we were recording, everyone was like, “What’s with this guy?” But when the anime was completed, they were like “Oh, he really is a protagonist!” *laughs* It was moving, right?

Soma: Animation and sound really are important. *laughs*

Yuma: They are. When you’re only looking at his personality, it’s… yeah.

Soma: Yeah, it really did make you wonder what he was supposed to be. And at the drinking party after Episode 1, Sagara-san said, “Well, your good impression of Suzaku is only going to deteriorate from here,” and I was like, “What?! He can get worse?!”

“It doesn’t make them uncomfortable. That’s how male friendships change.”

Q: I’m sure he’ll improve… probably…!

Yuma: Is there a moment when he does? But, by the time this interview is published…

Soma: People will already know that Qualidea Code isn’t a battle anime, right?

Yuma: It’s not just about fighting.

Soma: Episodes 1 and 2 are meant to mislead. Around Episode 3, you start to think that something’s not right, and that it doesn’t seem like it’ll revolve around battles.

Yuma: In Episode 1, they fought.

Soma: And Episode 2 was the swimsuit episode!

Yuma: And then in Episode 3, our heroine Canaria coughs up blood. *laughs*

Soma: And then there was Suzaku’s arrogant way of asking for a favour *laughs*. “You, save Canaria!”

Yuma: It made you go, “What?” *laughs*

Q: It was mainly Suzaku’s fault in the first place. *laughs*

Soma: Yeah! Everyone else came too out of the kindness of their hearts, but it was about 80% Suzaku’s fault.

Yuma: It’s because he went by himself!

Soma: I thought the “You, save Canaria!” in the script was a misprint. I figured it was probably supposed to be “Please save Canaria!”, but it was exactly as written *laughs*. What a strong personality.

Q: But in Episode 4, Canaria…

Yuma: Yeah. *laughs*

Soma: And then Suzaku transforms into his second form… *laughs*

Yuma: *laughs* He’s there every episode, but something’s wrong with him!

Soma: He becomes a powerless man.

Yuma: Even though he was always berating people for being useless.

Q: Is there anything we should look out for in your future dialogues?

Yuma: Their love deepens!

Soma: Without a doubt! We can’t say why *laughs* but Suzaku ends up only talking to Kasumi.

Yuma: We can’t say why, though. *laughs*

Soma: Well, to be frank, I barely have any lines *laughs*. I honestly feel kind of bad about it; it’s like I scream for a bit in the A-part and then go home.

Yuma: Even though you’re first in the credits. *laughs*

Soma: But, Suzaku’s conversations with Kasumi really are the cause of a lot of his mood swings. At the end…

Yuma: They develop a good distance between them. It’s like, they both have aspects that tick off the other, but it doesn’t make them uncomfortable. That’s how male friendships change.

Soma: It’s all about the riverbed.

Yuma: A fist fight at the riverbed. *laughs*

Soma: But, they don’t really show it on the outside. Suzaku continues to say things like “Shut up, trash” until the very end, and I thought it was a nice balance.

Q: So the relationship between them is what we should look out for?

Soma: Yes, I think their relationship is the most important part! *laughs*

Yuma: It’s the crux of Qualidea Code! But it’s unexpected when there are three factions and so many other pairs. *laughs*

Q: Kasumi seems to be interested in Suzaku from the start, but was that out of irritation?

Yuma: He’s given up on interacting with everyone else, but for some reason, Suzaku alone will still pick fights with him. But, he doesn’t actually mind it that much. He might even be a bit happy about it. When Suzaku comes to him, he doesn’t mind it, but it just makes him a little gloomy.

Soma: He can’t reciprocate honestly. *laughs*

Yuma: Yeah *laughs*. He’s too embarrassed to.

“Out of the six main characters, I’d go with Asuha. She’s cute.”

Q: I’m looking forward to how Suzaku and Kasumi turn out now *laughs*. Which of the female characters do you two like?

Yuma: Suzaku?

Soma: What?

Yuma: Oh, you said female characters.

Soma: Umm, out of the six main characters, I’d go with Asuha. She’s cute.

Yuma: My little sister is cute, right?

Soma: Actually, I’m not attracted to the little sister trope at all, because I have younger sisters too.

Yuma: What do you like about Asuha, then?

Soma: I think I’d get along well with her. The others are, you know… a pain to deal with, right?

Yuma: Honestly, yeah. *laughs*

Soma: #1 and #2 in brute strength, and a scary girl. *laughs*

Yuma: “Smile, smile!”

Soma: The Chiba team is fairly down to earth.

Yuma: Yeah, you can understand them just from talking to them.

Soma: Asuha blushes a bit in Episode 2, right? That was nice *laughs*. What about you?

Yuma: I like Asuha a lot as a person, but personally, I think I’d go with Hime.

Soma: How come?

Yuma: It seems like it’d be easy to win her over. *laughs*

Soma: …O-Oh, right. I thought something similar about Asuha, but I picked my words more carefully! *laughs*

Yuma: *laughs*

Soma: That’s your style, right Yuma-kun? It does seem like it’d be easy to have Hime in the palm of your hand. Just give her treats.

Yuma: Yeah, it’d be easy to bait her. She cheers up when you give her what she likes, and whenever you have a problem, she’ll do something about it for you.

Soma: “Don’t worry!”

Yuma: “I’ll defeat any baddie that comes. Bam!” And then you go “Good girl, Maihime!”

Soma: Outside of the main six, I’d pick Mother Yuunami.

Yuma: Mama! Yeah.

Soma: She’s like a mother and an older sister at the same time.

Yuma: Yuunami-san has a good personality, and she’s also cute. And then in the later half… well, I really can’t say it here.

Soma: We can’t say it, but it only works because it’s Noto Mamiko-san, right?

Yuma: It really has to be her!

Q: Lastly, tell us what we should look forward to in the rest of the series!

Yuma: The relationships change greatly after Canaria’s disappearance. Suzaku loses the most important person to him, and their city loses their second-in-command, which is a big deal. The environment changes as a result, and the stable balance they had in place gradually becomes lopsided. It’s hard to explain, but please pay attention to what they discover after the balance falls apart.

Soma: The story makes major progress in Episodes 3 and 4, but the world that we thought was fixed in place in Episodes 1 and 2 is changing. It’s like the template is betraying us.

The story will continue to defy expectations in a good way, and I hope the viewers will enjoy seeing Qualidea Code’s world change away from what you thought it was.

And personally, I hope you’ll wonder when Suzaku Ichiya will be able to speak normally again! Please remember him and his fragile mental state. Also, there are three ED themes, although we don’t know how they’ll be used either.

Yuma: Yeah!

Soma: It’s a question of timing. Maybe the next episode… We want to build hype, but…

Yuma: Episode 4 will probably have a special ED, right?

Soma: So, please look forward to the new OP/EDs too.

Yuma: There really are various three-way collabs here! (Referencing how the project is written by three authors, and the OPs/EDs are sung by three artists)

Soma: Indeed. The story gets more interesting from here on, so please look forward to that.