woensdag 14 januari 2015

Terra Formars review

Another series scratched off from the backlog, Terra Formars is one that has been labelled as `doing for the sci-fi genre what Attack on Titan did for fantasy`, so needless to say, I sat down for the 13 episodes and the OVA with high expectations.

I still have to watch Attack on Titan itself, but I hear a lot of good things about that one, so heck, this can`t be bad, right?

Synopsis

The series starts in 2619 when Hizamaru Akagi is seen in an underground arena, fighting against a huge black bear.  He does this for the money to help his childhood sweetheart to get treatment of something called the AE (Alien Engine) virus, a disease with a 100% mortality rate so far.  The bear beats him down and wants to start feeding on him, as some sort of mutation kicks in and he defeats the bear in a berserker rage.

Yuriko has died though two days ago, as he was being used by the organisers as a crowd puller, even though U-NASA, an international space agency, tracked her down and tried to save her at the last moment.  Their goal is to recruit Akagi to send him to Mars and try and get samples there to cure the disease.  The astronauts have to undergo a special surgery with a 60% fatality rate, but upon success can tap into special powers to hopefully help defeat the aliens on Mars.  These Terra Formars are actually evolved killer cockroaches, evolved into a sort of big bulky cockroach caveman. 

The latest expedition to befall this fate was Bugs 2, launched 20 years ago, and nearly wiped out by those brutal beastmen.  The crew of that vessel could transform in insect / man hybrids enlarging their power set, but still they where overcome.  Thanks to the `mosaic organ`, the current generation though can be crossed with any sort of species under the label of the Annex project.  They first encounter alive Terra Formars as the vessel approaches Mars in orbit and some of the beasts have infiltrated the vessel, wreaking a slaughter under the crew.  They want to use `the medicine`, a substance that triggers their powers, but find the beasts attacking those specifically.

It seems all this has been a set up, as the vessel wants to return to earth, only to have it`s engine blow and crashing towards the surface.  Splitting up in 6 divisions, they each take a landing craft in a different direction, planning on regrouping at the base ship.  Some of the divisions though are immediatly attacked and take heavy losses, while Mars has become a green planet after half of a milennium of terraforming work.

During those initial attacks, they discover some of the bugs have the powers from crew members of Bugs 2, and as young Sheila dies, the medicine gets used to unleash an all out war.  The crews have to survive for 40 days, which is when the rescue ship would arrive according to `Plan Delta`.  Marcos, fused with a Huntsman Spider`s skill set, avenges Sheila.  Akari and Michelle have respectively moth and ant power sets, and they capture some of the beasts in the meantime to take back for study.

When german Adolf fights for his division, we get to learn there is an overlord commanding the beasts.  He has MARS rating 2, meaning he is the strongest bar one present in his fusion powers, being crossed with an electrical eel (Michelle is 3, and we never learn who is on the top spot, but probably this will be Akagi).  He fights wave after wave though gets injured in the process, and calls down a lightning storm seemingly defeating the overlord.  Due to some crude CPR, the beast survives though, and as Adolf`s division is dragged off for dissection and genetics crossing by the roaches, the division leader is killed by large throwing rocks.  He has a nuclear device inside him though, and as he explodes, he takes his division with him delivering them the peaceful death instead of the cruel one, and blasting the overlord to pieces.

Flashbacks reveal that captain Shokichi was one of the Bugs 2 survivors, while the russian division now enters the same pyramids we saw in those flashbacks.  They hope to find the secret behind the beasts evolution in there, but instead discover the truth that one of the countries has betrayed the expeditions for it`s own benefits.  This also includes fake landing coordinates for one of the vessels, so one division hasn`t been attacked during this first day on the formerly red planet...

The force of captain Shikogi in the meantime is attacked by a flaming inferno causing the medecine to end at that moment, but the division of Michelle and Akagi arrives just in time to save them and together they manage to take a stand against overwhelming odds.  As a fresh tsunami of cockroaches joins in, Akagi lets out a motivational speech and he is seen running into the battle...

Post credit, we learn who the apparent betrayers are: the Chinese are standing at the ship unscathed...

The OVA: this is the ending of the Bugs 2 mission, which saw only Shokichi and Ichiro (now prime minister of Japan in the main series) be able to survive it.  It does a great job connecting the dots from the main series, by explaining the nature of the Terra Formars, the surgeries, the traitors active behind the scenes, where the overlord came from, the links between the pyramids and `Rahab`...

What I liked about the Series

Very artfull, "full" drawing style.

Seeing a cadet actually peeing her pants as she is scared to death, as often fear is just some shaky effects before being overcome in anime, here it actually paralyses people.

Elena qualifies as anime babe of the year, petty she dies so fast...

What I didn`t like

The censoring.  I didn`t manage to capture all the 24hr limited uncensored streamings on Crunchyroll, and as such you`re going to be stuffed with black bars and dots covering all the blood and gore.  Which is rather annoying on a blood and gore show...

The Terra Formar creatures look like goofy simpletons...

Not much is known on the progress of some of the divisions, long before the treachery and fake coordinates came into the story, so we have no idea what is happening to them, why we see Joseph wandering alone on the planet, or who those bodies where with the dogtag of the chinese division leader.

Conclusion

I`m going to be short here: OVERHYPED RUBBISH

I din`t like it at all, and though I will probably see any second season which I expect to come out, this will be far on the backburner of priorities...

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