PSY Qualia is a set of loosely-defined powers which can alter the outcome of a Vanguard fight for the wielder. PSY Qualia is a major factor behind the actions of Ultra Rare and Ren Suzugamori's Foo Fighters. Its true nature forms a driving question for Vanguard as a whole.
The proper spelling for this power is difficult to pin down. The anime has referred to it as "Psyqualia" in ride 42's title credits, without the odd capitalization, while at the same time referring to Ultra Rare's card shop as "Card Shop PSY." Meanwhile the manga prints the name as ＰＳＹクオリア(PSY kuoria), using a capitalized type. Supporting the manga's spelling, Ultra Rare's card shop has its sign printed in full capitals. As the manga is the first official material to make reference to PSY Qualia, the manga capitalization will be used for the purposes of this article.
PowersDepending on the wielder, PSY Qualia is shown to achieve different effects. Ren and Aichi have both used this to predetermine the outcome of their fights, in rides 23 and 42 respectively, by imbuing certain cards with the same glow they take on when utilizing the ability. In addition to this, Aichi was able to force a Soul Savior Dragon draw in ride 22, and reconstruct his deck in ride 35, visibly using PSY Qualia as a catalyst. This power can also make the wielder's opponent feel pain equal to the pain their Vanguard felt, as seen in Aichi's and Ren fight in rides 63, 64, and 65. When the strength of PsyQualia users is at his pinnacle, they can make their body fill with power when their Vanguard's power goes up.
While Ren Suzugamori was shown to suffer no ill effects while using his PSY Qualia in rides 23 and 33, Aichi visibly collapsed after overextending his power in both rides 41 and 42. During a brief flashback to an unknown time before ride 1, Ren was shown collapsing into Kai's arms, most likely from PSY Qualia abuse. Both of these instances show a shift from ride 23, where Aichi became fatigued by Ren's mere presence. In addition to temporary loss of consciousness, extensive use of PSY Qualia was shown to cause Aichi to behave in an abnormal fashion in rides 41 and 42, as if he himself had become Ren. While PSY Qualia apparently ensures the user's victory, Kai refers to it in the same ride as a weakness.
Several individuals have been confirmed or denied as possessing PSY Qualia in different rides. The following is a list of confirmed, suspected and denied users, based on information presented in-series.
First use: Ride 22, used to transform the top card of his deck into Soul Saver Dragon. However, it is also possibly ride 2. When Aichi states that he can "picture my Blaster Blade defeating you, Kai!" he takes on a glow similar to Ren and Tetsu, and overlaps with his current vanguard--Kai responds to this as he does in later rides.
First Use: Ride 75, given to him by Takuto to combat Aichi's PSY qualia during the Asia Aircuit.
First use: Ride 90, revealed during a tag battle against Aichi and Kamui at the Hong Kong Stage of the Asia Circuit.
Confirmation of denial: Ride 42, Suiko states that Misaki does not have PSY Qualia, but instead an exceptional memory unique to her.
Confirmation of denial: Ride 44, Kourin confirmed that he doesn't have PSY Qualia despite his unusually strong skill and ability to detect when someone uses it. Kai wants to exceed the power of PSY Qualia and already saw it corrupt Ren the same way it corrupted Aichi.
Confirmation of denial: Although he glowed in the same fashion as Ren in ride 31, it was shown that he was scared of PSY Qualia in ride 63, so it is unlikely that he has PSY Qualia.
PSY Qualia was first introduced in ride 22, when Aichi witnessed a vision of an aurora sphere passing through him. Kai also appeared to notice the light, but dismissed the possibility of Qualia as nonsense. Aichi referred to this as a card 'calling to him.' Aichi proceeded to predetermine a Soul Savior Dragon draw, illustrated as his deck becoming illuminated.
Ride 23 is the second instance of Qualia. In Ren Suzugamori's fight with Kourin, he either foresaw or forced the fight's end, imbuing his Blazers Pleasures with the same light Aichi bore witness to. In ride 35 Aichi was overwhelmed by a dream of his cards arguing over how he should rebuild his deck. Later in the same day, Aichi was able to use Qualia to rebuild his deck without actively considering the outcome, and gained a vision of how to win in his upcoming fights through the use of Soul Saver Dragon. Rides 41 and 42 are the next major instance of PSY Qualia. By far the most extreme example, Aichi is completely overtaken by the same persona that Ren assumes in his fights, accurately forecasting his use of Young Pegasus Knight to defeat Kyou, despite having the unit retired, rested out of turn and otherwise prevented from doing so.
In ride 64, the true meaning of PSY Qualia was told. Aichi and Ren, who are known to posses this power, are known as Vanguards. When they both activated their PSY Qualia for the first time, they became the Vanguards told of in Cray's legends. Vanguards are the ones who will deal with the chaos on planet Cray and will lead them to the correct path. The true power of PSY Qualia involves synchronizing those who posses the ability with planet Cray. In other words, the outcome of the match between Aichi and Ren will synchronize with the result of the battle in planet Cray. Similar situations had happened in the past but each time, the former Vanguards were leaders it lead to disaster. The true function of PSY Qualia is to guide planet Cray.
In season 2, PSY Qualia seems erased from everyone's memory, so both existing and new characters react differently towards this newfound power, except for Aichi who still remembers a vague notion about the power's dangers. In Ride 75, Christopher Lo received PSY Qualia from Takuto Tatsunagi to challenge Aichi during their battle in Singapore during the VF Circuit. In Ride 90, Leon Soryu is revealed to possess PSY Qualia during the finals of the Hong Kong Stage.
In the Manga
PSY Qualia was introduced in the manga before its anime debut, in Chapter 10: Girl's Fight!! Tetsu and Kai discuss the power at length, where it is described in personal terms as something that Ren has made "complete." Kai insists here that a battle between Qualia is not a "true battle," and makes reference to Ren as being "fake" for using Qualia.