Terra Formars - Reviews

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Raitou's avatar
Oct 13, 2014

I'm an avid follower of the Terra Formars series and I was very hyped to hear the manga was getting an anime adaption. Here is my indepth review of the anime adaption based on 3 episodes released so far.

Story

In the 21st century scientists came up with a plan that would allow humanity to inhabit Mars. The plan was to send cockroaches and mold to the surface of Mars so that the mold would absorb the sunlight and the insect corpses would serve as a food source for the mold. The plan itself would take five centuries to come into fruition.

Finally in the year of 2577 A.D., U-NASA sent the first manned ship, BUGS1 to Mars. The mission was simple, capture 10 living cockroach specimen, both female and male and return to earth. But shortly after arrival the 6 crew members are brutally slaughtered by giant mutated humanoid cockroaches. Before their demise they were able to send a transmission to earth briefing their situation.

In 2599 A.D., 22 years after the demise of BUGS1, U-NASA sent another manned ship to Mars, BUGS2, to exterminate the cockroach threat. The crew of BUGS2 were all physically modified with a surgery called the Bugs Procedure. The surgery has a 36% survival rate. This allowed the person to undergo a mutation that gave the user higher physical endurance, speed and strength, along with unique insect abilities, depending on what insect they used as base for the surgery. The BUGS2 was an utter failure aswell with the crew being almost annihilated soon after touchdown. The crew contested the cockroaches but were way outnumbered. In the end only 2 of the crew of 15 survived to tell the tale.

The anime adaption starts 2619 A.D., 20 years after the failure of BUGS2. U-NASA plans on sending a third manned ship to Mars, ANNEX1. This time with a crew of 100 physically modified humans, all who have undergone the Bugs Procedure. The captain is Komachi Shokichi, one of the BUGS2 survivors. The reason U-NASA has decided to send another manned ship to Mars is because Earth is plagued by a virus that has a 100% mortality rate, the Alien Engine Virus. Sources indicate that the virus is of maritan origin. There's no way of cultivating the virus on Earth, thus they need to get samples from the source of the virus, Mars.

That's the plot in a nutshell.

The idea itself is interesting, as ridiculous as it might sound to send some mold and some roaches on a planet where the normal temperature is -60°C and in the winter up to -125°C. It goes without saying, an insect wouldn't be able to survive in a climate that cold, a cockroach is no different. Let's not get over our heads though, there's series where this is possible, in Terra Formars.

Terra Formars can be compared to Shingeki no Kyojin in terms of atmosphere. No one is safe, anyone can die in a few seconds. This is what makes the series so interesting. It keeps you glued the whole time.

While the idea of giant humanoid cockroaches might be ridiculous, the series are very enjoyable nontheless and the fighting scenes would really deliver, if it wasn't for the crippling censoring.

Animation

The animation is done by a relatively no-named studio named Liden Films. Some of their works include Senyuu. and Aiura. This is their first anime work that has alot of brutal deaths, and it shows. First of all, the animation itself is pretty generic, nothing to praise about, it's quite a lackluster to be honest. As some of you have probably heard, the series have an atrocious cringeworthy clusterfuck of censoring.

Just wait for a Blu-ray release and hope that they uncensor this. Overall the action scenes are pretty much unwatchable. Only reaction you'll have is: "WTF, why?!". Some faces are animated really derpy, as you can observe in the 'Characters' section of Terra Formars. Liden Fails did a bad job on this, if Madhouse e.g. did this, it'd been a whole other story.

Sound

Both opening and ending theme are performed by TERRASPEX.

The opening theme, "AMAZING BREAK" is a fitting theme for the series and the theme animation is great especially the part featuring Alex Stewart and Marcos Garcia.

The ending theme, "Lightning" was a surprisingly good choice for the ending theme of the series, it wasn't a letdown.

The soundtrack gives an eerie feeling to the show and creates a very spooky atmosphere, they did good on the soundtracks at least.

Characters

The anime adaption doesn't build all the characters properly, they feel distant compared to the manga where all the main and supporting characters had proper flashbacks and build up. The anime doesn't show us how Alex, Marcos and Sheila ended up at U-NASA. The manga had a whole chapter showing their past and why they ended up taking the surgery. If you're a side character you die, that's pretty much their job in the show.

Overall

The adaption so far hasn't been promising, I'm disappointed in the amount of censorship and the animation in general. If you can overlook the censoring for now, the series will definitely be enjoyable. I recommend you read the manga and watch the OVA episode 1 of Terra Formars before even thinking of dropping it. As for the TV series, I recommend you wait for Blu-rays, the last volume will be out in June 2015 so you'll have to wait a while.

I'll update this review when more material comes out and the series eventually finish.

8/10 story
3/10 animation
8/10 sound
5/10 characters
6/10 overall
ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Dec 20, 2014

Notice: This review covers both seasons of this series.

Although I had heard of the Terraformars manga a few times, I never bothered to check it out for two reasons. First, because the premise sounded retarded (bug mutants fighting mutant bugs on Mars), and second because the masses were hyping it to be this super amazing action flick, which automatically means I knew it was yet another overhyped bullshit, like pretty much everything the masses overhype.

So anyways, they released a few OVAs before the actual series and it didn’t look bad when you limit your impressions to tension and action. It’s 100% schlock material, regarding a bunch of people with bug powers sent to fight cockroach people on another planet. It sounds like a great action cheesefest from the 80s, like the ones I grew up watching. It would be great if it was something close to Starship Troopers.

And sadly it isn’t. The creators had this ridiculous idea of throwing as much overblown drama as possible, at a bunch of cardboard characters. Everybody has a sad backdrop story, and is forced to join this stupid planet colonization project for some silly reason, and here I am watching a Brazilian soap opera instead of a pop corn action flick.

But Snob, are you saying that you would rather have characters blowing up shit, without having depth or drama or even a backdrop?

Yes! That is exactly what I would prefer. Because that is what the premise prepares you for. This is not a story that makes you think of Space Odyssey, it is something that makes you think of Space Troopers. Bug mutants! Fighting mutant bugs! On Mars! Why the hell do I care if poor Alehandro Rodrigez manages to confess his love to Huanita Gonzales without her strict father finding out? The hell is this crap; give me pure action!

But Snob, that only means that your expectations were not met, it doesn’t mean the show is bad. Why weren’t you pleasantly surprised to find out it is far more than that, with the characters having personal conflicts and human pathos that make them far more relatable?

Because the drama is shit! None of them are interesting to bother remembering their faces, much less their names and stories. Ok, that Adolf Hitler dude was cool, but all the rest are nothing but fodder. Every story is basic, one wants to gather money for his sick sister, another one wants fame, a third one is a prisoner. There is so much talking and build up between action scenes that you are completely bored by the time the fun begins. Over half of the show is wasted on flashbacks where we see the backdrop stories of the characters, and because none of them matter they feel like dead time.

And just like it happens with all shows that are about shock effect, you get a big amount of characters who are dying a few episodes after they are introduced, thus not only failing at allocating enough time for the audience to get to like them, but also rendering all the time that was spent on their drama and backdrop to be a complete waste of time. At best, the only thing you will bother remembering from all this mess is the way they got pulverized.

I couldn’t even enjoy the action bits because of all the ridiculous amounts of censorship it had in the first third. They were hiding everything, it was black circles and beams filling the screen. Very smart you guys, animating a super action-gore title and then you hide all the super action-gore. You destroyed the main hook of the show! Granted, the censorship went away later on, and the DVD version isn’t hiding anything, but the damage was already done while the show was airing. Most dropped it because of it, made a laughing stock out of the whole deal, and ruined whatever image the show was trying to promote.

What about the non-censored parts; at least those are good, right?

No, not even those are. You get the most basic battle choreography you can find in any fighting shonen, coupled with all the bogus tricks they use to stretch the duration and save money in animation. Still frames? Check! Excessive narration in the middle of the battles, explaining the superpowers? Check! Predictable power ups when the plot demands for it? Check! Overdramatization of every minor thing that is going on around people you don’t care about? Check!

But Snob, Jojo is using the same tricks and you love it. Why is this show any different?

Because the characters in Terraformars are passive crybabies, whose powers are given to them, and then get thrown in a situation where they have no choice. The exact opposite things count for Jojo. So basically, what we have here is yet another Mirai Nikki or Elfen Lied, where the over-excessive violence is the main focus, it’s done in a silly way, only one character drives the show, and everything else is shit.

What about the second season? Maybe that one was better? By then, most of the fodder would be dead, and all backdrop stories will be over with, thus we will have a pure action series.

Believe it or not, the second season managed to be EVEN WORSE than the first. They switched animation studios and halved the budget, thus the rather cool and detailed artwork degraded to below average doodles. The new soundtrack was also completely forgettable compared to the decent one from before (The first opening is actually amazing).

And as if that wasn’t enough, the action was simplified to the point it felt like a silly action series for little children. There is no censorship because there is no gore! No matter how strong everybody is, they never bleed or cut to pieces whatever they hit. It’s as if all of a sudden death ceases to exist and everybody is made of adamandium. This in effect made all the battles completely boring and tensionless.

What kind of a genius thought this was a good idea? How is this pitiful change going to make up for the blunders of the first season? How is it even going to boost the manga sales? Terra Formars was never top material but it had lots of chances to be enjoyable schlock action. These retarded mistakes completely ruined it, proving once again how modern anime are a waste of time and there is no passion to do anything properly anymore.

3/10 story
7/10 animation
7/10 sound
3/10 characters
3.5/10 overall
Mohyeekage's avatar
Dec 23, 2014

Here is my review for the 13 episodes adaptation:

terra formars created a whole new level of dark sci-Fi, for real.

the show has one of the most original idea I have ever seen mixed with thrilling plot Ina chain of battles aiming for survival.

It is revolving around human beings getting knocked down from the top of the food chain by human scale cockroaches. Discussing their ability to take back control and unlike Attack on titans they have a very good chance cuz they can transform into bugs. I would never thought I would say this about an anime but Terra Formars is very educational it gIves you this strong urge to know more about each new creature or technology they introduce from types of insects to scientific theoryis and political dessicions. 

Best Quote: "Man is weak" Adolf Reinhardt

9/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
9/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
Mudakon's avatar
Mar 7, 2015

First off i haven't read the manga.

Okay so at the beginning i thought it was pretty cool... mutants and stuff. I hoped it would have some kind of story and not just try to be a "killeverythingbloodgorenshit" kind of anime but in the end that's what it was. The characters are horrible and just plain stereotypical and/or copied... lets look at the German Division leader which OBVIOUSLY had to be called Adolf anyone notice that he is almost a direct copy of Raiden from Metal Gear solid? He's a mutant with electricty... Raiden is a Cyborg with Electricity ... Girl he loved betrayed him ... It kinda fits doesn't it? To the story: It might pick up a little bit in the manga idk but in the 13 episodes of the anime there is a little bit of background story to every division leader and most of them i could've thought off... Overall overhyped and just plain bad.

1/10 story
3/10 animation
2/10 sound
1/10 characters
2/10 overall
RoBorg's avatar
Dec 6, 2015

I initially picked this anime out of a simple random choice restrictod to Sci Fi stuff, and well, it gave me some nice grounds for a story I might appreciate.

Still, I haven't been exactly eager to complete all 13 episodes.

It's not a bad anime.

It's just not a good one neither.

To be fair, I must point out one thing.

I'm referring to the anime only, as the manga is far more developed, from what I read around the web.

The story review might contain minor spoilersWon't riun your surprise, but if you want to remain spoiler-free, you've been warned.

That said, on with the juice!

Story - 4/10

If you are reading this review, you have already read the brief anime description as well.
I read that too, and thought "sounds interesting".

The base point of an inferior race that develops inside a human project up to evolving to a threat to humanity is nothing new, that's true. However I felt like I could appreciate the background story, the conspiracies and the plans of the various factions involved, spreading through the entire Earth--- and more.

That's what left me like the kid that opens a gift wrapping just to find it empty.

Big conspiracies, traitors, plans. All of this growing and running both on Earth and on Mars.
And we see nothing of it.
But we got a lot of fighting.
Out of 13 episodes, 12 involve people killing insects, or insects killing people.
A few flashbacks or so here and there, but I watched the anime, and my knowledge is "on Mars, the insects that have been sent there for terraforming have evolved and are now dangerous".

No more.

Past expeditions: ok, mentioned. What happened? I barely know. I went on thinking that it wasn't important.
On Earth: people are pulling strings. Who's pulling what exactly? Out of an entire Earth, with 6  big alliances, just approximately 3 people are revealed in the end, of which just one shows plainly it's objective. I could accept it, by thinking that I might just enjoy the Mars story side. Nope. Not a single thing about story.
Traitors: at some point someone says there are traitors. Who? Why? How? When? You might grab an info or two, but it's like giving you clue about something that is 3% of the wole mess.

It's like the wole anime has been produced not to retrace the story of the manga, but rather to pull off cool animations of the fights, and no more.
And here, sadly, falls the second point.

Animation - 5/10

It's nice. I cannot say it's not. It is.
But think of my last opinion (yes, it's an opinion, non an absolute truth). If the anime has been produced to show gorgeous fights, I expected something more than good. I excepted something exceptional.

But after 2 or 3 episodes, most fights become quite the same thing, with sporadic exceptions.

So, I actually liked it, but I expected it to balance the lack of story, which it didn't.

Note: if you can, watch the uncensored version, as the censorship is really aggressive. At times even 3/4 of the screen is pitch black, while in fact the scene is like 20% blood and ripping if compared to - say - Elfen Lied.
Also, censorship is really bad: black circles and squares simply overlayed to the image.

Sound - 6/10

I liked the opening. Nothing to say.
There isn't much to say. Sound didn't really gave me a good or bad impression, that means that it wasn't neither good nor bad.

Characters - 6/10

Despite them all having just a few chances to show characters - being them all always involved in fights - at times some nice stuffs come up.

Sadly, characters relations arend quite developed.

Either because one of the two involved dies (which is ok), or because they just start the interaction, but they never end it, leaving it like a half seen episode (which is not ok).

Overall - 5/10

If you're looking for a simple fighting anime with decent blood, you might be satisfied. Don't watch it for the story.

It catched my attention, and I might look for a sequel or the manga, but this anime itself is not something exceptional.

4/10 story
5/10 animation
6/10 sound
6/10 characters
5/10 overall