Terra Formars’ is a horror sci-fi anime that takes place in 2500. Despite its popularity, it tanked in season 2 after radical changes.
What’s ‘Terra Formars’?
‘Terra Formars’ is a horror-sci-fi anime that takes place in 2500. It was written by Yū Sasuga and published by Shueisha Inc., and is about humans colonizing Mars by terraforming it.
In the 21st century, scientists deployed ships to Mars with cockroaches that would assist in algae growth. This would purify and oxygenate the atmosphere as an attempt to colonize Mars. However, 500 years later when the first crewed ships landed on Mars, they were attacked and killed by huge humanoid cockroaches (Terraformars. In Jpn. テラフォーマー) that had mutated during those last five centuries. All the expeditions to Mars had met the same fate.
In order to deal with this, scientists genetically modify humans under the BUGS II program. They would insert insect DNA into them, giving them super-human strength and speed, and abilities for a sustained period of time. This would prove to be an effective weapon against those tough creatures. You have to fight fire with fire, as they say. Once the appropriate number of modified personnel was reached, they would travel to Mars to deal with the nightmare.
The BUGS program was considered inhumane. However, seeing the rapid development of the terraformars on Mars, there was no guarantee that they would be the ones to arrive on Earth, instead.
What is good about it?
‘Terra Formars’ is one of those “quality” anime you wish they never end. It’s serious, down to the point, and it perfectly demonstrates the human weaknesses and strengths in front of terror. The animation is flawless, the character design appealing to the eye, and the fluidity of the action scenes is something you wish every other anime adopted. One striking difference, compared to other anime, is the impact of strong attacks on human bodies. You can almost feel how much difference their size and strength make, and it quickly gets gruesome for the sake of realism.
The same thing can be said about the ‘BUGS II’ crew’s special attacks on those creatures. A brief moment is all they need, to give those cockroaches a run for their money, and it also shows how science is capable of dealing with anything.
Make no mistake. This isn’t your average happy-ending Shōnen, where heroes get fueled by “friendship” speech. Your favorite character gets dismembered in seconds with a surprise attack, and it’s unfortunate when you see some development before that occurs. However, this is what makes this anime great. It really portrays the realistic turn of things, and keeps you in constant agony about the future of the crew.
What went wrong in Season 2?
Season 1 was as good as it could get. The elements of realism, science, and horror, accompanied by good animation and directing, were what made this anime perfect. Somehow, the show made a 180-degree turn, and completely lost its dark and gloomy style in the second season, ‘Terra Formars Revenge’.
The animation, art style, and direction were so polarizing that some people could swear it was a different terraformers anime. All the gruesome and gory scenes were lost, and the overall atmosphere turned the “brightness” too many notches up. Almost every fight felt bland, with no impact, and cartoonish. It was like watching a daily episode of ‘Teen Titans’. Actually, I wish it was that good.
Every aspect that made Season 1 appealing, was lost in Season 2, even though the anime still followed the original manga story. Some people say it had to do with the change in art direction. Others because the anime was “too dark”, and the viewers complained. I don’t know for sure, but whatever the reason was, it completely ruined the experience for me.
The Terra Formars anime has an interesting, although, short story, and even more interesting animation and action sequences. I completely recommend watching Season 1. However, I would steer clear of Season 2. The manga is great too, so go ahead and read it.
What do you think about the drastic changes in Season 2?
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