RogerBW's Blog

Terra Formars 23 January 2015

2014, 13 episodes: AniDB Mars was seeded with engineered cockroaches and mould. Five hundred years later, they ate the first manned mission. The second one had only two survivors. Now it's time for the third.

Just to provide a bit of incentive, the survivors apparently brought an incurable plague back to Earth. And the cockroaches are intelligent, human-sized, and tough. But the people sent to fight them have been upgraded with special powers derived from various other animals on Earth…

So basically this series is (someone's tragic backstory leading to signing up with expedition), (fighting), (explanation of amazing animal-derived fighting power), (more fighting). Rinse, repeat, kill off a character or two every episode just to keep up the tension. Or something. After the first couple, the majority of each episode involves combat, and the proportion only rises as things go on. Lots of people die, and we're probably supposed to care about it.

I couldn't be bothered to keep track of the characters, especially with most frames so under-lit that you can't generally spot their distinguishing features anyway. Even in the extreme close ups that mean we can't get much of a look at the fighting styles either. Direction is by Hamasaki Hiroshi, who's made much better work before (he directed Texhnolyze and the excellent Steins;Gate) and I hope he will again.

And of course there's no conclusion; this is a manga adaptation, and the manga is ongoing, so what we get here is more of a chapter boundary. There's the core of an interesting dystopic SF story in this, but it's buried under darkness and fighting. Maybe the original manga is better.

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