Manga Review: QUALIA the Purple

qualia the purple yuri manga
Yukari (left), Gaku (right)

Author: Hisamitsu Ueo and Shirou Tsunashima
Year: 2011
Length: 3 Volumes with 18 Chapters
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Mystery, Yuri Subtext

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WARNING!!! Do NOT read this, if you haven’t finished reading this manga. There are major spoilers that will ruin the story for you. If you only want to find out how I liked it, scroll all the way down. I’ve listed my ratings at the very end, so you don’t have to spoil yourself.

Story: 10/10 and Characters: 9.5/10

Through a random encounter Hatou Gaku meets her eventual best friend Marii Yukari. They become friends quickly, and Gaku soon notices that there is something odd about her friend. Through her purple eyes, Yukari perceives all humans as robots, and she is thus not able to read their emotions or even distinguish them from one another very well. Yet, there is one thing that she can understand better than any other person. She is able to see the inner workings of all living things and is thus able to repair anything and find their special abilities. Of course, most people wouldn’t believe someone to have such an odd ability, but Gaku soon finds herself in a situation in which she is forced to experience Yukari’s abilities firsthand.

Something similar to my description right here is what you’ll mostly find when looking for this specific manga. Though, this is not even a fraction of what this masterpiece is actually all about, but let’s start from the very beginning.

As mentioned above, Gaku and Yukari just randomly meet – by accidentally bumping into each other, which leads to them falling over and kissing. But their meeting, as random and meaningless as it seems at first, is the starting point of an incredible sci-fi adventure that I still can’t believe happened from the two of them simply bumping into each other.

To understand why I’m that amazed by the way things turned out in this manga, I think I’ll have to give you an overview of the main themes of this manga.

The first few chapters just show Gaku, Yukari and later also Nanami, Yukari’s childhood friend. We only follow the everyday life of the three girls, while finding out more about those mysterious purple eyes that give Yukari the ability to see the world in such a way. From that point on, the biggest problem seems to be the way Nanami and Gaku fear that Yukari can’t value her friends more than the plastic robot models that she’s so fond of building. So up to this point, the manga is pretty easy-going, with some comedy and other slice of life elements thrown into the story.

However, things drift into a more serious, violent and disturbing direction as soon as the first villain is introduced. Since I read the tags beforehand, I already expected things to get a little darker, but I was seriously disturbed to find such a sudden and drastic change of events.

Though, that is by far not all this manga has in store for us. We soon find out that thanks to her eyes, Yukari is capable of a lot more than we initially thought, and that is exactly why other people want to have this ability as well.

qualia the purple yuri manga
We should also not forget about Gaku’s special ability….

With the introduction of Alice, a child prodigy sent by a secret organization called Jaunt, the story finally reveals its true nature.

Yukari, who’s guided by Gaku’s words, joins Jaunt and is later found dead without any reason as to why she had to die. Disturbed by the sudden death of her friend, Gaku makes it her goal to find out and destroy whoever killed her precious friend. And to achieve this goal, she finds herself using the cell phone in her right hand to communicate with her other selves in other parallel universes.

As you may have noticed, this is the point where things get complicated. Countless theories, such as “Schrödingers Cat” for example are thrown into your face, mixed into the story and eventually adapted in a way that will probably make your head hurt.

At that point, the manga also turned into a huuuuuuge monologue, with Yukari and her numerous other selves simply trying out which way they could save Yukari. As you hopefully all noticed, it’s not just about finding the killers anymore. Gaku now found a way to go back and forth in time to make changes in order to find that one world in which she can save her friend from Jaunt.

It might sound completely ridiculous, but the way she explains how she is able to do all that and the way we see her try so many different things in so many different worlds, it’s simply amazing and mind-blowing how one could even come up with things like that.

It, of course, doesn’t just end there. Gaku doesn’t just learn how she can change different worlds by being connected to all her other selves, she also learns that, in the right world, she can make herself know about magic and can even become other people.

Though, the best thing about it all is how Gaku changes from that one innocent girl into numerous other beings, be it a ruthless killer, a magical girl, and even something close to a god.

Throughout the whole thing, I found myself trying to figure out just how the story could continue, and I was never right. It always continued in a way I couldn’t possibly come up with, but that was better than anything I could have imagined. Seriously, this was the most mind-blowing manga I’ve ever read, and I’d actually like to be able to go back in time, just so I can read it all over again.

Art: 9/10
I have seriously never heard of this artist, which actually doesn’t come as a surprise, since this is the only yuri manga he’s ever released.

But the reason why I started reading this manga was actually this one image that I found while going through the Dynasty Reader:

qualia the purple
I think this is such a sexy (yet a little dramatic) picture that I simply couldn’t resist reading this.

Yuri: 7/10
So, how much yuri did we actually get in this one? Well, I think this might be the reason why still so few yuri fans actually read this. It was first only tagged with yuri subtext. However, in one of the first chapters alone, we already see a yuri kiss, but then again, we also find out that Gaku is into men as well.

Though, as the story processes, it doesn’t really matter that she was or still is into men, since she gets together with Alice, who is head over heels in love with her anyway.

We get some pretty nice scenes between them, but those happen quite rarely.

qualia the purple
click to enlarge

In the end, we can also expect Gaku to have romantic feelings for Yukari, but I think we don’t even have to talk about that, since her feelings were already strong enough to make her go through all that.

So to answer the question from above: How much yuri does this manga have? My answer: Enough to start reading it.

Total Enjoyment: 9.5/10
If I didn’t make it clear enough already, I think that this manga is a masterpiece. I seriously can’t believe how someone can come up with something like this and still have it make sense.

Well, the only reason I didn’t give it a 10/10 is because I think they could have added some more yuri. Everything else was simply perfect. Right now, I’m actually hoping that this will get an anime adaptation, but since it’s seemingly not that popular, I can only hope that more people will realize its brilliance soon….

Story: 10/10
Characters: 9.5/10
Art: 9/10
Yuri: 7/10
Total Enjoyment: 9.5/10

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32 thoughts on “Manga Review: QUALIA the Purple

  1. Go and get your yuri goggle plz, Lena. This is yuri, for real. If you give this manga 5 point then what kind of manga you would rare for 7? Sono Hanabira (I give it 10)?

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  2. Definitively one of my favorite manga! I love the way it changes real science to fit the story. The story telling, character explanations and the way Gaku changes is also really awesome.

    But 5 for yuri is a little too low, i think. It ends pretty ambigous but Yukari is basically going to ask her out in the ending (which also is a really nice touch, with Yukari taking things in her own hands after what happened before). The Yuri may not be the focus, but it was still a pretty big part of everything about the manga.

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  3. The way I see it, there is some yuri involved, some that even effects the story in one way or another.
    However, the amount of yuri was simply not that much and it didn't seem to be a factor that was really that important.

    Though, you're right, going by my rating chart, I would most likely be a 7, since the yuri happens between the main characters.

    Will change it right away.

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  4. Lena you know what im going to say. She had a sexual relationship with Alice, genuinley falling in love with her (and vice versa) as well as remaining in love with the gril she sacrficed everyrbing for. The ending applies it was completely mutual as well. This deserves a 9 or 10

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  5. Nope, that's not gonna happen.
    I can't give this manga a yuri rating higher than 7, because the yuri content is still not strong enough.

    You are right with what you just said, Alice and Gaku were in love, even though I think we can still suspect that Gaku mostly only used her to achieve her goals in most universes.

    However, viewing this a a whole, I can't hand out a yuri rating any higher. The yuri simply happened too rarely.

    Also, giving this a 9 or even 10 would mean that the yuri can be compared to that of manga like Sakura Trick, and that's simply not the case.

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  6. LOL, I think your goggles might have been clouded by the heavy implication Goku is pansexual.

    I disagree. The main plot of the manga was brought out by Gaku's undying, and utter love for Yuriki. Yuri is a man plot point, that defines the entire manga.

    Sakura Trick's rating, is brought from the fact they kiss twenty for seven. Quality over Quantit in my opinion. The scene were Gaku guns down one of her alternate persona's, who dares to suggest to abandon Yurikiri instantly made me feel it's the better Yuri, and not just the better manga. I like stuff that's subtle. And they did kiss, though it was spread out.

    And LOL, Sakura Trick never had the two of them naked in bed, kissing each others back. Like Alice and Goku/

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  7. I enjoyed reading this manga too and got addicted to it when quantum physics theories and terminologies were used. This manga is sci-fi that may seem possible to happen but really impossible. What I am trying to say is, the author did a good job in mixing quantum physics in this manga. I'd say that made my lenses of reality fogged and distorted to think this is possible in reality…..silly me. :p
    This manga isn't accurately yuri manga for me. This is subtextual. After all, Gaku tried almost all possibilities…Everything for her can be reality or illusion. Although by the end, she remained who she should be…Hatou Manabu. Still, this is a one cool manga. 🙂

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  8. Sakura Trick's rating is that high because they love each other and show it. Well, ok they really do it 24/7 but that's also part of the reason why this anime can be ranked so high.

    In case of Qualia this is simply a little harder to do.
    You can say that they are in love and you can tell me that everything happened because of her love, but anyone can easily disprove anything that was just said as well.

    I still believe that my rating is already too high and making it any higher simply goes against what I think this manga is all about.

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  9. I'd give both shows the same rating, which is what I did.

    Homura is similar to Gaku in that sense.
    And she even calls her feelings for Madoka love.
    So yeah, I'd simply rate them the same way.

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  10. You seem to be ignoring, unlike Homura (Who only said love in Rebellion) that she kissed her at least thrice (One by accident, two on purpose. And instead of a kiss, it was more like a make out) she had SEX on screen with Alice, fell in love with her too. It has far more Yuri then Pulla Madoka Magica.

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  11. Thats your right. It is, however, in my right to argue against your opinion on the matter. You claim it's subtext, while dynasty scans and the sites whom host it regard it as either Shoujo ai or Yuri, as well as alot of other people whom disagree with you on that.

    Not trying to insult you or anything like that. 😉 Just stating my opinion on the mater. I just cant clasify anything subtext when it shows yuri kissing, sex, and it being a main point. Just my opinion.

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  12. I'm actually glad you're telling me you're not doing that to insult me, because I wasn't able to see that by only reading your comments 😛

    And it's like I said, I do get what you're saying, and while you think it's obviously yuri, I'm saying it might as well not be.
    I'm writing my reviews to get my personal opinion across, not to write about what other people or the internet thinks.

    And just so I can prove to you that not all people think the same way:
    https://www.mangaupdates.com/series.html?id=61922

    It says Shoujo Ai and Yuri Subtext.

    So yeah, I think it's up to the reader what they make of it.

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  13. I can see why people are burning rivers over the yuri in Qualia. the kisses and alice sex were all there, but in the end those were “alternate realities” and Yukari in the end even confused us even more by saying that Gaku was never anyone else but the Gaku she knows from the start, even with the cellphone hand.
    But as stated before,and even while taking into account the yuri sex with alice and kisses with Yukari, the relation is still more similar to Madoka and Homura relationship (both series' main characters even transcend spatial laws for lily's sake!) with Gaku (Homura role) chasing after Yukari (Madoka). Of course, they're characters are completely different, but the rough idea is similar to that of Madoka and Homura's relation.

    Rather than blatantly calling this Yuri, Yuri subtext is more accurate, as much as I like this series so much that I want to defend it as balrog does up there (thanks for doing all the arguing for me btw, I was gonna do that but…)
    7 is already fitting by this blog's rating chart I'm afraid to say. ._.

    NOTE: If it makes anyone feel better, I've heard some good Yuri about the original Novel version during my info hunts.

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  14. What an interesting discussion 😛
    I personally agree with Lena for some reasons since I didn't “feel” the yuri quite much when reading it. This manga was one of the few which I read because of the storytelling, not because of the yuri. Even if it came to this ending, I wouldn't give this manga a high yuri score since the “obvious” parts weren't much. Gaku x Alice was only to achieve her goals because it was one of many possibilities/ways, but looking at the whole manga and ending, they were not sufficient to be counted as a pure yuri manga imo.

    Also, as a side note, I'd recommend using html link tags in comments
    (a link => a link
    because copy+paste sucks :P)

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  15. I never knew how that worked so I always go the easy way 😛

    Also, thank you for agreeing with me, I was seriously starting to think that I'm in the wrong here 😛

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  16. Thank you, I needed to hear that 😛

    I was already thinking about reading the novel this was based on, but I didn't know whether I could expect any yuri at all.

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  17. haha, I haven't read it myself so don't take my word for granted, but will try and pinpoint the yuri-ness should I get more money to buy it xP (spent it all on yuki yuna BD6).

    but other than a few rumors on the net and reading roughly translated amazon reviews+forum posts, I haven't really heard much else of it except that it won an award in its magazine or from somewhere for attempting to tackle these vague scientific concepts it kept throwing at the readers…

    Unrelated P.S. Below:
    here's a Yuri VN which you've probably never heard of cause it's not completely yuri but a VN with 4 seperate summer stories in it (one of which is 100% yuri)

    Here it is (now lazily testing that html tag thingy with the recent recording

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  18. Thanks for posting another awesome review. Also, for what it's worth I agree with you on the yuri rating and even your desire to lower it. Despite the explicit scenes there never seems to be any real focus on it, almost like it is an afterthought, but thankfully there was enough to get it tagged as yuri otherwise I doubt I would have ever read this amazing story. Well, at least I would not have read it until you posted a review on it. If they ever do make an anime hopefully they'll put a little more yuri in it between Gaku and Yukari.

    P.S.
    In the review you wrote that the phone is in Gaku's right hand when it is in her left and there was a few times where you wrote word when I think you meant world.

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  19. @Ibara Thanks for the info, I guess I'll leave it to you then? 😉

    Also, what do you mean lazily testing it out? You know that I saw that it took you three attempts to get it to work 😛

    @Londo
    Thanks a lot 🙂

    I was so certain that this review wouldn't have any more typos left. It was one of the few that I really re-read hundreds of times. Guess I was wrong 😛
    I will try to find the errors and correct them, thank you~

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  20. Oh yes, that one was really big when we were in Japan a few months back.
    I was actually surprised to see it pop up on the Dynasty Reader, and I'll definitely read it.

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