Toward the Terra

Movie (1 ep x 115 min)
3.258 out of 5 from 669 votes
Rank #10,745

Five hundred years ago, mankind abandoned Earth after the devastation it caused on her soil. For efficiency, and to make sure not to repeat the same mistakes, men are now grown in test tubes and have their minds reprogrammed at the tender age of fourteen, so that they may better function in society. The central computer known as Universal Control manages the system, destroying those that deviate. And amongst these humans is Jomy Marcus Shin, a young man who is about to be dubbed a traitor once they discover he is a Mu, a monster with telepathic powers that will disrupt their way of life...

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StoryAnyone who knows me would also know how much this kind of story would interest me, and they'd be correct. I sought out this movie for quite awhile just based on the premise of the plot, and finally found it. Indeed, the story itself is fantastic, sounding like it could have come out of a science fiction novel, or has elements from a lot of movies and books out there. It starts off strong, introducing us to this new, sterile, and very controlled society. It shows us how the people live, and the travesties that happen to those who are suspected of being the Mu, people with telepathic abilities. I watched this, and was very excited, since I love this kind of thing. Unfortunately, that's about as far as the excitement went. Had it been executed in a good way, the story score would have been much higher. But alas, after the first 20 minutes or so, it all goes downhill from there. Where does it go wrong? First of all, the pacing is atrocious. It's hard to explain why it was so bad, because it isn't always completely slow... more like, erratic. Couple this with the fact that a lot of things are skimmed over, or are flat out plot holes, so you don't always have a 100% clear idea of what is going on. Throw the seemingly random pacing into the mix, and it makes for a confusing and stumbly ride. The story falls flat after awhile, and tries to focus on character development that fails completely. The plot holes are a serious problem, also time gaps in the story, which normally would make a show seem epic, but in this case, just make it that much more fragmented. I gave the story a 6, because it really is a neat idea for a plot. But because of all the other things I listed above, I can't give it anything higher than that. AnimationI've seen a lot of older animation, so I don't discriminate based on that. That being said, I found the animation style of Toward the Terra to be less than exciting, to say the least. Character designs were fairly typical of that era, with alien shaped eyes and large featureless hair. Very little shading and facial features, with very tiny noses. The space visuals were interesting at least, the ships and the depiction of the computers. But the rest just didn't grab me in any way. Special effects were unimpressive (explosions and the like), the characters in general looked all the same, for the most part. And Jomy, for example, always looked 15, even after he had had a kid and the said kid was several years old! There was no difference in appearance in that time, which should probably have happened. Shades of color were a bit unusual as well, with people's faces being quite white and dead looking. Decent animation, but not fantastic by any means. SoundI really felt like I was watching a VERY old school 80s movie from my childhood... you know, the ones that had super synthy beats that screamed "OH MY GOD, I AM IN THE 80s!"? The cheesefest literally did not end from start to finish, with basically every song falling under this category. Was it appropriate? Maybe, for the time period this was made. But I just can't take something completely serious when the plot is supposed to be sci-fi and interesting, and it sounds like you are watching the Breakfast Club in the background. Ok, maybe not THAT upbeat, but still, same kind of music. CharactersHuge failure on the part of Toward the Terra. There literally was no character development, except Jomy's completely sudden change from hating the Mu, to accepting that he was a Mu and leading their people. Besides that, all the characters (with no exceptions) seemed completely flat and uninteresting. You feel zero empathy for anyone, and I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's because the characters aren't given enough back story. Maybe it's because the pacing is so horrible that it grates on what is supposed to be the character development. Or maybe it's just because the character development attempt sucked, who knows? When deaths occured, I didn't blink. It didn't phase me or effect me in any way, even if involving a main character. When characters are traumatized, I didn't think twice. Everyone is presented in such a 2-dimensional way that you can't get attached to them, or what happens to them. It doesn't help that the story is full of plot holes, which extends to the characters as well. Again, a big failure for Toward the Terra if talking about anything related to character development. OverallI'd like to give this a 6, but decided on 5.5 instead. Toward the Terra is an interesting watch if you like sci-fi stories, and want something that isn't a typical "let's go on a spaceship and do random things" story. However, the pacing and total lack of character development quickly make the story fail and become a bore to finish. And at 2 hours, that's a lot of time you could invest in a short OVA, or a third of a 13 episode series. Combine the above negative statements with bad music, poor animation, and plot holes/time gaps the size of Denmark, and Toward the Terra becomes a very disappointing viewing that could have (and should have) been so much more. Watch it if you are a die hard sci-fi fan, or are like me and desperately hope they can pull it off well. Otherwise, maybe put this one aside for a rainy (and desperate for anything to do) day.

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