- What it’s about: Have you ever wondered if the “red” that I see is the same as the “red” that you do? These subjective experiences have a name – qualia – and they can define your identity and your limitations. Marii Yukari suffers from an odd condition: she’s utterly unable to distinguish living creatures and people from inanimate objects. To her, her classmates appear to be intricately designed robots. This strangeness has cost her one friend and gained her another. But things take a turn for the weird when it becomes apparent that the “Observer Effect” of quantum physics has broader implications than one might suspect.
- Why you should read it: The story is actually quite hard to discuss without spoilers, because it’s utterly defined by its second act. That’s not to say that the opening arcs don’t do a good job of setting up the characters and the conflict, it’s just that once you’re past the introduction, Murasakiiro no Qualia ratchets up the stakes so far and so fast that you’ll plough through the last volume or two without stopping at all. If you truly want to see what “making a real effort to solve an intractable problem” looks like, this is the work to try.
- Caveats: The final few chapters have not yet been translated. The story so far is good enough that you should read it anyway. The technobabble pretends to be scientifically accurate, but don’t take it too seriously.
- Themes: If you have no limitations, how do you know when to stop? When does a hope become an obsession? The corrupting influence of power, and how our perceptions define our realities. Predestination vs free will. There’s a whole bunch of stuff in here.
- Similar works: Far and away the closest work to this is Steins;Gate. I’d go so far as to say that they’re really twins separated at birth. Madoka Magica is another anime series worth trying out if you enjoyed this.