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QUALITY is a catchphrase commonly used by anime fans as sarcastic remark against poorly made fan illustrations of popular anime characters. Also known as off models within the trade, such imitative artworks are often drawn in faulty resemblance to the original source material.
Originating from the /a/ (anime) board of 4chan, QUALITY captions are typically attached to screenshots of anime or manga scans that are distorted, poorly drawn, or horribly inadequate. The “in-between” animation shots that transition from key frame to key frame are usually the prime source of the faulty images. The secondary source being “farming out” to cheap animators or artists. QUALITY often depicts characters/scenes which are drawn with facial distortions, choppy and/or inconsistent animation sequences. It may also be a part of the animation, or even the physics behind it.
An infamous example of QUALITY is called the QUALITY Van, a poorly animated car-chase from the anime Shinkyoku Sōkai Polyphonica (神曲奏界ポリフォニカ). The sequence features numerous physical impossibilities and serves as an example of just how cheap animators can be in portraying action.
A common form of QUALITY is known as “Fish-eyeing”. This occurs when animators place a character’s eyes too far apart, resulting them to resemble a fish-hybrid.
In relation to Fish-Eyeing, AIIIR QUALITY consists of various characters photoshopped to have their eyes facing opposite directions. It is a possible reference to the Key visual novel/anime, Air, as Key is known for drawing its characters’ eyes far apart.
A vague look of emptiness given by characters that are supposed to convey emotional shock or revelation.
Noodle People is mainly directed to CLAMP’s character designs from works such as Cardcaptor Sakura, xxxHolic, and Code Geass; Small heads on top of elongated bodies with matching elongated limbs.
Long-running shows suffering from budget issues will start resorting to camera tricks, providing clearest indicators when movement and character design will start to lack effort. Edits become a necessity.
Smear Animation is the result of fast movements in the animation. In order to create fast movement in an animation, animators are often forced to created duplicates or smear some parts out. When shown as a video this can hardly be noticed, but when paused the result is clearly shown. A Tumblr blog that focuses on animation smears can also be found.
Usage of QUALITY
Users on /a/ are mostly strict when it comes to identifying QUALITY images, claiming action shots, or awkward-moment screencaps are not QUALITY. Screencaps of anime characters looking kind of cool are not tolerated.
There are no actual boundaries for determining whether or not something is QUALITY. Some take QUALITY to just mean substandard animation, art-wise, plot-wise or in general. However, Anonymous argues over the technicalities and criteria for the definition of this term.