During the 21st century, humanity attempted to colonize Mars by sending two species which could endure the harsh environment of the planet to terraform it—algae and cockroaches. However, they did not anticipate the species' remarkable ability to adapt. Now in the 26th century, a lethal disease known as the Alien Engine Virus has arrived on Earth, and the cure is suspected to be found only on Mars. The problem is, Mars in the present is overrun by creatures known as "Terraformars," incredibly powerful and intelligent humanoid cockroaches that mutated from those originally sent to the planet.
The Annex I team, consisting of a hundred men and women genetically enhanced with characteristics of powerful organisms from earth, has been sent to Mars on a mission to find the cause of the Alien Engine Virus and to help cure humanity—signalling the start of the crew's fight for survival.
Every now and then there's an anime that's released that walks the delicate line of being called absolute garbage and absolute FUCKING garbage. These shows tend to focus heavily on shock factor deaths as a one trick pony, which in turn removes any integrity it may have. Some notable cases include Elfen Lied, Gantz, Mirai Nikki, Deadman Wonderland and now the next anime to carry the torch Terra Formars, has stepped up for the challenge.
Story? What story? Government conspiracies, the mission of Bug II and anything else the show brought up remains unresolved. Plot points that go nowhere and simply end abruptly. It's
like slowly going up the rails of a roller coaster and getting ready for the ride but the ride never happens. The show treats the material as more of a glorified add to read the manga than a stand alone work. This co-dependence on the source material to make a cohesive story is just lazy.
You'd think by now that CGI will be used in better effect in complimenting a show, right? Well, Terra Formars spits on the face of innovation, giving us hoards of horrid CGI cockroaches that rival that of Gonzo's track record. And to top it all off, it's simply the same design copied and pasted. The character designs, also deserve special mention for looking rather stiff. It feels like no effort or love was placed into this series. The only noteworthy mention should be about the grim backgrounds of the Mars environment.
The same tracks were played continuously, showing no variation at all. Nothing worth listening to on its own and nothing that really grabs your attention. They simply serve to follow the scenes, but does nothing to heighten them. Voice performances were fine. Each character's voice actor matched their given traits, standouts being Michelle K. Davis. Of course, it will all be forgotten almost as soon as you're finished with the series.
I'm not even sure this cast can even be considered "characters". They didn't even manage to make them 2 dimensional. There's more depth in your run of the mill shounen protagonist than any of these "characters". They mostly follow the lines of common fodder or OP roach killer.
Throwing in a depressing backstory doesn't qualify as proper characterization. Especially if we don't even remember them by the time the 20min run time is up. It seems like characters were only introduced to be killed by the next episode. Not only giving you no time to even care about them, but it also broke immersion when death is treated with no tension. Just a fodder fest of people we don't give a fuck about.
I'm a completionist, the only reason I even finished this nonsense was because of the short run time. Unlike other nonsensical series like Elfen Lied, Terra Formars became more of a chore to watch. I'd rather take my chances watching another Michael Bay film that sitting through this again.
Terra Formars was simply another rushed adaptation that felt more like an eyegasm for the fans than an actual show. If you're a fan of excessive gore or the manga then this might be for you.
-I haven’t read the manga.
-I watched the uncensored release of the anime.
Terraformars, an anime about a bunch of genetically modified humans with animal powers that get sent to Mars to exterminate a race of hyper evolved humanoid cockroaches called Johj. Sounds radical, right? Unfortunately it isn’t and here i’ll explain why.
Really, there’s not a whole lot to talk about in terms of story. The entire plot is just an excuse to get the characters to Mars as quickly as possible and make them fight a whole lot and i suppose it does achieve that just fine.
The main problem with the storytelling in Terraformars is
For a series that prides itself on being nothing but dumb action and violent fights, it’s actually painfully slow. We get shots that linger forever for no good reason, characters standing around doing and saying nothing for extended periods of time, tons of narrator delivered exposition and a ludicrous amount of flashbacks that sometimes take up the entire duration of an episode, while not really adding anything substantial. The best moments of the show are when it throws away any pretense of storytelling and just goes into full-on hot-blooded action-mode. Unfortunately these moments are rarer than you might assume and usually over quite quickly.
Special shout-out to the shitty worldbuilding of this series.
Terraformars is apparently set 600 years in the future, yet aside from space travel, genetic manipulation and terraforming i guess, no technological advancements were made by the human race. The people back on earth still drive the same cars, dress in the same clothes and use the same fucking smartphones as we do today. Why even set the series this far in the future, if you’re not gonna use it for some interesting worldbuilding?
The lightning fast evolution of the humanoid cockroaches is ridiculous anyway, may as well have set it fifty years in the future and not expose your complete lack of imagination.
Oh yeah, there’s also some government conspiracy subplot, but no one cares.
The series doesnt’t even have any conclusion at all, it’s set up for a sequel that will undoubtedly happen considering the popularity of it’s manga counterpart.
The characters of Terraformars are about as boring and one dimensional as they come. The series utilizes constant long-ass flashbacks with sappy background stories to flesh out the characters, but it never works out, the characters remain uninteresting and all the flashbacks achieve is to kill any feeling of momentum this action series might have had.
I shit you not, there’s one character whose entire backstory involves people in his life telling him what a boring person he is.
However, this fleshing out only applies to a handful of the surprisingly large cast of Terraformars. The rest? Nameless cannon fodder that is absolutely and utterly useless and usually spend their time sitting around waiting to be killed.
Also, holy fuck Terraformars, your only important German character is named Adolf, are you fucking shitting me? Would it have killed the writers to spend five seconds to google more appropriate German names?
The OP is a generic fast paced buttrock track and it’s just kinda eh, but i can’t shake the feeling that it doesn’t really fit the series. I suppose i expected something a bit darker and more atmospheric.
The ED i don‘t even really remember to be honest, the music of the series in general is fairly forgettable.
As far as voice acting goes, it’s all fitting for the characters, but no one in the cast really delivers a standout performance.
The character designs are one of the few things in Terraformars i can praise. As someone who appreciates semi realistic human designs in anime, this stuff is right up my alleyway. The animal transformations of the humans also look pretty cool.
The same thing can’t be said of the primary antagonists of the series, unfortunately. The designs of the humanoid cockroaches or Johj have gained some notoriety for being 'racist', as they look almost like caricatures of large muscular black guys. I looked into it and apparently they are based on the homo erectus and not black people.
Looking at it that way, the design makes some sense, but is still not a great choice, as the Johj look silly and not particularly threatening. I feel like this is a wasted opportunity, the creators of the series could have created something truly horrifying, considering the creatures are based on fucking cockroaches of all things. The Johj could have been some serious nightmare fuel, instead they are silly cavemen.
Animation in the series is fine when it counts, the fight scenes namely. It’s fairly consistent and the battles feel impactful, violent and on occasion even well choreographed. Too bad the color palette is so ugly, as all the colors in Terraformars look washed out and muddy.
I suppose this was to give the series a darker and gritty look, but it ends up just being unappealing.
There’s also this distracting noise filter that they kept using seemingly at random. What was the point of that? It just made the already so-so visuals of the series look shittier whenever it was active.
I’m not gonna lie, as much as i shit on this series, there were some pretty kickass moments hidden in there, namely whenever the action was in full effect, but they are few and far between and get marred by all the problems plagueing this series. If nothing else, at least Terraformars is not particularly long and won’t waste a whole lot of your time.
And this may sound unbelievable, but the educational value of Terraformars is actually surprisingly high (that is, more than nothing). You will pick up a lot of weird animal facts in this series, so there’s that.
Terraformars is a series with a whole buttload of problems. Even if you are looking for a short, violent, action series, which is exactly what Terraformars is, there’s a lot of better stuff out there that you should check out instead.
I give it a final rating of 3/10.
As always, please excuse any grammatical mistakes, as English is not my first language. And please feel free to leave me some feedback, i really want to improve.
You know something no one wants to see at a lunch or dinner table? Cockroaches. Those little critters stalks around with their creepy legs and spreads disgusting odor near your delicious food. Worst yet, they want your food. But do you know what’s even more disgusting or perhaps terrifying? It’s when you become the food. No lie. Terra Formars reverses the situation when humans are the prey as cockroaches (also known as Terra Formars) hunt down humans to eliminate them from existence. There’s something to think about…
For a series based off of the same name, adaptation pacing becomes a chore to handle. I don’t give
much credit for the studio or director when they do a sloppy job as the first few episodes can really make people wonder if this is all worth it. Forget the word ‘all’, but it’s more like partial considering the first few episodes broadcasted on TV were obstructed by arsine censorship. (they do fix it later though) But beyond that technical point, Terra Formars isn’t really a groundbreaking show.
Taking for face value, the show is actually pretty simple to understand. It takes place in a futuristic setting far beyond our present year. We also get alien species known as the Terra Formars, creatures who look like cockroaches but are many times its size with irregular body structure and abnormal thirst for destruction. Then, there are the humans that fights them on planet Mars. Actually, their original goal is to collect research examples as a deadly virus has taken hold on the human population but now they are playing a case of survival game against these creatures. As unoriginal as the premise sounds, the show has plenty of reasons to why viewers might be interested. The idea of fighting against alien species is thought provoking as it opens many opportunities to explore the show’s gimmicks, mechanics, and characters. The problem is that the first episode leaves open a gap that needs to be filled when in terms of getting everything started. It launches the characters on full scale towards their mission and skips their background and origins. That’s not the main problem though as the show accelerates fast into outer space for the main course. There’s not much time for preparation either as the crew gets ambushed on their way to space.
This season covers the Annex I arc detailing the stories of a group of crew members including lead protagonist Komachi Shokichi. Made up of members of many different countries of origins, the series’ characterization is shallow at best for the first half of the season. We don’t’ find out too much about much of the main characters except a select few such as Komachi. The case of death flags are also raised high for certain characters as flashbacks are played and their actions are recorded as last wills. However, the show does give more sympathy and depth for other characters later on. A prominent example is Adolf who is highlighted by flashbacks to characterize his motives and roles in the series. And as such, the reality can easily be realized of the cruelty on the frontlines. After all, the show is clearly violent, gory, and obviously isn’t afraid to kill anyone in the show. Whether you’re a badass action girl like Michelle or a first year newbie, Terra Formars preys on humans as if they are helpless drones. And to be honest, this show doesn’t stray far from that as humans are portrayed as the underdog. However, action does contradict this later on as we see humans fight back in a tale that can be described as “bug war”. I label it as such because humans who have experimented on themselves are able to adapt insect-like attributes and possesses their abilities to fight on par with the Terra Formars. For the action itself though, this show can only be watchable when it’s not obstructed the black censors of death. The original TV broadcasted aired the first three episodes that made itself look like a comedy. When you get scenes blocked by black bars or basketball shaped ovals, it really makes itself look like a joke. (example: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BzmOsvCCIAARgDt.jpg) Luckily, the show eventually got uncensored versions although the gore is still not as explicit as the manga. While shock value may sometimes be looked down upon as trying to sell its product, I think it’s necessary for this show to adapt that with justice. This is because the show is violent. It is explicitly gory that needs to get the message across of what a sci-fi horror should be like. Although certain scenes are left out from the manga, the uncensored action is tolerable with sensible OST.
On the scientific side of the story, the show falls apart with the explanation. In retrospect, it is vague and hard to take in all at once. We don’t know much about the origins of the Terra Formars besides their basic attributes and we can make from their evolution. Speaking of which, the show actually adapts more of that as we find out how well the cockroaches adapt to their environment. Still, the generational concept weakens itself and tries way too hard when it comes to its elements. It’s lazy when it comes to crafting the story by skipping certain parts while lauding viewers to experience what the ‘bug war’ is like. But to experience that, the show also needs to make us feel attached to the characters. Unfortunately, it’s far from achieving that with the certain deaths of various key characters. I do give some credit for the daring risks this show takes though as well as some unpredictable twists that comes by a few times. However, Terra Formars is more like a sci-fi horror that is treated as an action flick rather than a creative story. It has this engaging premise but is over-egged with saturated action with not enough context.
In terms of artwork, the show is crude on most parts but not in terms of actual quality. It simply creates a mature atmosphere with the main characters in this futuristic setting. Speaking of which, the series hardly has any world building so don’t expect the setting to steer its engine towards that direction. What you do have are adult characters, in contrast to the teenagers we often see trying to save the world. This is actually a positive and refreshing to see as we can tell the series has a more serious feeling. The characters are designed to look like troops ready to go to war. Their face expressions tells of a tale of horror just by looking at them. Besides some oddball fan service on occasions, the series has decent artwork and fitting character designs. However, the Terra Formars are crafted in a way that can spark some controversy because they resemble Homo Erectus. It’s also hard to take them seriously with their ridiculously shaped eyes, overly enhanced muscle structure, or just in general of what they look like that seemingly resemble humans.
Soundtrack has a moderate coordination with some suitable OST supplemented by the OP and ED songs. The background music is fitting but repetitively used on certain episodes. Not only that but emotional scenes sometimes lack the atmosphere that it tracks to convey. As for the character voice mannerism, I can hardly remember any of them besides a few climatic moments. Almost none of them stand out much since they are screaming most of the time while fighting for their lives. The Terra Formars are probably only memorable for their actions and occasional groans. Most of the time, your headphones will be filled with screams of terror. No intelligence. No credible humor. Just a of bucket load of hellish cries.
In the end, this shows is a glorification of a mixed bag adaptation. While it reasonably adapts some of the core elements, its main problems lies with the world building and weak story. Its unoriginality and generic tropes with invasion and sci-fi horrors themes may makes it seem like it can be interesting. However, its lack of charisma and it’s hard to fathom what the show is trying to even achieve. Fighting against the Terra Formars, saving mankind, or just showing us some sci-fi adventure with shock and cruelty. This show is like a callous cash-in with an attempt to adapt an engaging premise but never able to make the cut.
One of the most frightening organisms on the planet is so miniscule that it's a wonder that it exists in the first place, let alone causes massive harm. This organism is, of course, the virus. A tiny, technically lifeless thing whose only function is to replicate to keep its existence going. In biology, it's a rather fascinating phenomenon that has been in place for millions, if not billions, of years. While human technology has improved by leaps and bounds in an immensely shorter time span, there are still questions and unknowns we have yet to answer. Among them
include nearly incurable diseases. With this premise in mind, Terra Formars takes shape. That shape being a crooked and jagged mess.
Terra Formars starts with a man named Akari, whose fighting prowess has given him the opportunity to join a select group of people aimed at finding a cure to a deadly disease that has plagued the Earth. Him and many others undergo an operation to mutate their bodies and board a spaceship destined for Mars and the supposed answers they seek.
The story telling within the anime follows a rather inconsistent style. It begins by following a majority of the groups confined to the ship, providing us with a glimpse into who is on board, the countries involved, and the gravity of the situation. Once on Mars, the focus shifts from a group mentality to an individual one. At this point, characters are singled out and, for usually less than a full episode, he or she is given a small amount of background. The idea here is to give us a sense of connection. That the people we're watching risk their lives on a distant planet are more than just fodder to the cause. But it never comes off this way (save for one character, more later). The show tried to focus on the characters over the story because the story itself isn't compelling enough to engage the audience. They attempt to mix in some plot elements, such as parallel stories and espionage, but it isn't executed nearly as well as it could be.
This execution is unquestionably the result of the core of Terra Formars: the fighting. Instead of attempting to showcase more of what the world has to offer or how the mission is more meaningful than it at first seems, it instead highlights the fighting between the humans and the cockroaches. This prominent focus therefore defers to gore and violence instead of actual narrative balance.
Due to the nature (if you will) of the show, part of the "allure" is in the powers of the characters at play. The problem is that, in order for the viewers to understand the mutations, a considerable amount of literal narration and time is spent on discussing what animals the humans are using. More often than not, it occurs during the fights themselves. Meaning, besides the story telling already being as choppy as it is, what the anime puts on a pedestal also succumbs to the same choppy issues. The mutations may have ties to the characters' pasts, but the inelegance of their incorporation within the story leaves much to be desired.
Terra Formars maintains a rather mature look throughout the season. The characters themselves are usually well defined, with sharp lines and contours for the faces and throwbacks to the actual animals they are portraying. The same can't be said for the environments. The vast majority of the locations are usually just rocky terrain and boring to look at, with almost zero variety. As for the enemies, CG is used for the cockroaches when a large amount of them are on screen at once. It can be a little off-putting at first, but over time one gets used to seeing them in that state.
Actual animation suffers a bit, unfortunately. Not only do there exist a lot of still frames and only mouth movements for many of the characters during dialogue, but many of the fights contain little choreography. Coupled with the fact that the majority of the battles contain zoomed in shots or little animation, the core element of the anime is a major letdown across the board.
The anime can be watched either censored or uncensored, but it is not worth it to see with the former in place. The censorship present when active makes many of the scenes completely impossible to watch, once again impeding the anime's shtick (very violent killings).
Putting it rather bluntly, the entire cast is unmistakably bad. It's only saving grace is that there exists a single character who, without him, would render everyone as forgettable. I'll start with the bad and work towards the (only) good.
One of the first characters introduced is Akari, a rough and tumble dude dead set on saving the girl he loves from the disease gripping her. His motivations are clear, yet his underlying strength is not. Taking the chance to create a better tomorrow for the ones he loves, he accepts the task presented to him, hoping to do everything in his power to bring peace back home, even if said power consumes him. He sounds rather intriguing on paper, but beyond the first episode or so, we never really learn much more about him. That is to say, he never again takes the spotlight long enough to make him relevant to the story at hand. It's a shame, considering he is one of the cast members who we learn a little bit about. His underutilization sets the precedent for everyone else involved.
Sheila embodies kindness. Free spirited and filled with generosity, she tags along with the rest of the squad not as a fighter but more as a cheerleader. Unable to mask her fear of the mission at hand, she clings to a romance that she most likely knows deep down can never be. Her friendship with Alex and Marcos shows that, despite her ladylike demeanor, she isn't afraid of helping those in need. The precedent set earlier is used once more; she is shown, talked about, then subsequently put to the side for the rest of anime. It's a little more forgivable this time, since her overall purpose was to give Marcos a reason to fight. The justification is there, but not executed well enough simply because her character feels just as useless as the rest of the people on board.
The only (seriously, the only) good character found within Terra Formars is Adolph. The byproduct of a terrible experiment, his broken spirit and reason for fighting feel the most human, despite the beast within him. His dedication to the position of captain and composed behavior in the face of an incomprehensible scenario make him a sight to behold both on and off the battlefield. He's a great character not just for being bad-ass, which he most certainly is, but because he actually contains some semblance of depth. Where he begins and where he ultimately ends help to showcase the futility of getting one's hopes up. A tragic character, his inclusion gave this one a small light in the sea of darkness.
Suffering "Mirai Nikki Syndrome", arguably the best part of the show is the OP. The back-and-forth vocals coupled with the fast guitar make it extremely catchy and great fun to listen to, even outside of the anime itself.
The ED is at least okay. The drums bring about the tempo, the piano adds to its gracefulness, and the vocals are slow and simple to follow.
The soundtrack is largely forgettable, save for the signature, six-note, up-and-down piece that plays when a battle is about to begin. The sound effects involved at least add to the brutality of the aforementioned fighting.
In regards to voice acting, there were no standout performances to be had. The only notable voices were the cockroaches and their "Jo Ji" which is the extent of their vocabulary, yet the meaning of varies wildly.
When the anime first started, the censorship was quite unbearable. Black shading and polka-dots filled the screen, making much of the on-screen action hidden to the viewer. If the entire point of the anime is to show grotesque ways of murdering humans and "cockroaches," then it should be quite obvious that any form of censorship would ruin the intended goal. It was eventually alleviated, but the damage was done.
The anime doesn't focus on much else. Some attempts at humor are made, but it never tries too hard at it. Same for the drama; outside of Adolf, the rest feels lackluster and completely falls flat. Watching the good guys use their animal abilities should be really fun to watch. And at times, it is. Watching Alex hurl metallic spheres at incredible speeds, seeing Michelle crushing a foe to smithereens, or witnessing Adolf's almost god-like powers can be quite cool. But these moments are too few and far between to make the show compelling enough to keep one interested.
Terra Formars wasn't trying to do much. But even for what it set out to do, the execution just wasn't there. The story is bland, the characters are bad, and the rest is boring. Perhaps in the future, when missions to Mars are actually feasible, we can send this anime to where it belongs: anywhere but here.
Story: Bad, inconsistent, too much focus on the fights, poorly placed explanations
Animation: Bad, lame art style, little animation even for the battles, too much censorship
Characters: Bad, Adolf saves the day
Sound: Fine, good OP, okay ED, bad soundtrack, average VA work
Enjoyment: Bad, literally just humans squashing bugs
A full year has passed since the events of the first season. Our favorite superhero team has new members and the world around them is going through a series of changes. The new season is bound to pleasantly surprise fans of the first season.