First Impression – Terra Formars


When mini creepy-crawlies become a BIG problem.


And spraying won’t help! I bring to you the most dramatically surprising episode of Fall, to-date! Spoiler is that it really doesn’t have any competition yet. I mean, do you remember any muscle-baka wrestling a bear inside a closed ring recently? I think not. This is definitely not for faint-hearted, because even with Darkness-kun and Beam-chan working hard, the story is filled with blood and gore. Interestingly, we did cover the manga in a Halloween Horror Digest, two years ago. And however silly or fabulous the first episode was, let me fill in some information gaps as a manga readers so that the timeline of this series is clearer.


// BACKground – If you have seen this episode, you are already aware of the premise of how mankind had to face their worst fears in the monster-sized cockroaches. Things began when the escalating world population compelled the twenty-first scientists to terraform other planets so that humanity can travel space and find new homes. They zeroed down on Mars and went with a low-cost solution of sending a specific type of mold and cockroaches, the only creatures able to cohabit with mold in the adverse climate. This combination was able to create greenhouse effect and warm up the planet. However, humanity was never prepared for the consequences of creepy-crawly cockroaches to mutate into humanoid monsters.

// BUGS Missions – Before Annex I, there were two BUGS missions, both of which ended in failures. The BUGS1 crew consisted of 6 astronauts, who were tasked to collect 10 male and female cockroaches from the terraformed Mars so that scientists could study them. However, what they found was something beyond their worst nightmares. And sadly, they were wiped out without a moment’s notice.

For BUGS2, scientists actually used their brains and didn’t send frail astronauts to fight the roaches, rather a selected crew of fourteen seasoned criminals, outcasts and outlaws, supervised by a U-NASA (United Nations Aeronautics and Space Administration) Captain. The entire crew went through the Bugs Procedure, a special surgery with 36% success rate, which enables them to not only survive in Martian atmosphere but empowers them with specific insect-like abilities, activated by insect-tissue injections. Even with so much preparation, the crew was unable to keep up with the highly agile and strong Martian Terraformars. They too are wiped out, save two survivors, Shokichi and Ichiro, who are successful in bringing a dead roach with them. This arc is covered in the recently released OVA, the second episode of which will release in November.

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// AKARI Hizamaru – Fast forward to the present (2619 AD) and you have our angry young man, Akari, very rattled because he has to wrestle a bear in an underground fight club. This is quite a sleazy setting in Thailand, which is notorious about its underground activities even today. So, this future shouldn’t surprise you. In an over-populated world, what can be made sports? Killing each other out on a death-match, of course. The dilemma is that it doesn’t always have to be between humans so animals are allowed too! Oh yeah, the ridiculous meter just crossed its very thin line but that is how things will be in this series. The more ridiculous, the better.

Apparently, to make the situation more humane and over-dramatic for audience filled with rich jerks, even his background story is announced on how he’s doing all this to save his special friend, Yuriko, who in turn is dying of a dangerous disease requiring organ transplant. Nobody told him that the organizers of the fights rip-off every fighter by solving their problems with fake-talk. In his case, they lied about finding a donor and using his prize-money for an operation later. They do this fearlessly because they have a foolproof plan in a man-eating bear. But do you think that is enough to stop our protagonist, even after getting mauled by a bear?!

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Well, of course not! Because our MC has a special genetic trait passed down from his parents (I presume, one of them were related to the crew of either of BUGS1 or 2, from where this gene was transferred). He turns into a monster himself with insect-like traits, whenever in distress. This transformation comes handy, which lets Akari destroys and wipe the floor with bear guts. Yes, very gory so only click below if you want to see it without Beam-chan/Darkness-kun.

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Being Akari is suffering though, because who likes losing a childhood sweetheart? Though, there’s a hero’s heart inside all that brawn. Not to mention, Yoshimasa Hosoya voicing him means he will have nice deep low to high variation as per the situation. Yuriko passed away even when U-NASA scouts, Shokichi and Michelle tried to save her but that doesn’t mean he will just sit idle without doing anything. This is where you see the true camaraderie of Captain Shokichi shine, who originally came to recruit Akari for Annex I. Akari can be pivotal in fighting this AE virus that took Yuriko’s life in the Mars mission, while being conveniently unattached to anything earthly. This is one trait shared by most of the crewmembers of Annex I. Not all though, as there are some cute little love stories in the unlikeliest of places.

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// ANNEX I Crew – Anyways, Annex I or BUGS3 will have 100 crew members; thus, quite an international population for a Martian mission, which was previously done in small groups of 6 to 15. This decision was taken to not only fight the alien mutations seriously but to counter the outbreak of AE virus with 100% mortality rate. As the virus can’t be cultivated on earth and all previous unmanned missions were disrupted by the terraformars, this giant leap was requisitioned to study the changed Martian climate for a better solution to all the problems this terraforming caused.

Even if the production staff tried, they couldn’t cram in the 100 crew member introduction in the first episode. The already introduced Shokichi is the Captain and one of the two survivors of the BUGS2 mission, so you can dub him an expert in close-combat knowledge with our monsters. Michelle and Adolf are two of the five officers accompanying him. We also met Alex, Marcos and Sheila, who are childhood friends, hailing from Mexico. They don’t have an interesting story like Akari but you can say, they were pushed to one bad situation to another after getting unemployed from a house-minding job at Sheila’s due to a gang robbery. The boys cross the border somehow and volunteer for the U-NASA program because they can never become major-leaguers even if they try. There they meet Sheila again and the trio is reunited. These boys have a huge mouth on them but they are pretty funny. Eva Frost on the other hand is your timid girl of the group.

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// TERRAformars – I can’t forget the star of the show: Gokiburi monsters! You can always say, what the hell is their deal? Well, that would be a spoiler for now but Michelle-chan pretty much gives you the right idea, when she compares their behavior to ours whenever we encounter a scuttling cockroach. They are pretty icky, aren’t they? Swishing their antenna hither-tither and going into our open food when we are not looking. It’s a reflex action for a human to try to kill a scuttling cockroach but that same instinct has been transferred to the giant mutation as well. To them, humans are nothing but vermin and off with their heads whenever they see any new specimen! That is what has been happening since BUGS1 expedition so I’m really looking forward to what changes in the highly manned mission of Annex I. The huge ship has lifted off with the timeline being 2620 AD. Let’s see how the Martian climate suits them in the next episode.

// EXTRA Fun with TERRA Formars

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This was quite entertaining, more than what I expected actually. The art is true to the manga character designs and I would have it in no other way. Their visage is as important to the plot as JoJo muscles and posing is for that verse. I also laughed a lot at the highly exaggerated opening but I guess it was done for some dramatic kicks. LIDEN FILMS is not a major studio and after Initial D movie, you can call Terra Formars their most promising project. There were no major hiccups in animation besides the strange morphing of the aristocratic faces closeups in the beginning.

The pacing and plot does not acutely follow manga as this was basically the first five chapters of volume 2 but I’m fine with that because you can’t always add everything in adaptation. As a fan I’m really looking forward to the gokiburi call of, “Joh Joh Joh,” which is hella eerie and oh lord their creepy smiles… So, yeah, there are a lot of surprises pending and if you liked what you saw, stick around. But if you are allergic to blood and gore, I’ll point you to our Action and RomCom Slice section of Fall offerings.


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The Boss lady of Metanorn, who makes it all happen. An animanga enthusiast, who watches/reads almost anything that strikes her fancy. Just beware of her Death Perception and always keep her happy. Regularly found at @KyokaiTM & #[email protected].
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67 Responses to “First Impression – Terra Formars”

  1. JPNIgor says:

    I will never, ever open a preview spoiler of yours again, Kyoukai.

    Dammit, and I was only cheking it out just to see what it’s all about TT.TT

  2. HannoX says:

    I liked how Michelle said she’d let it pass this time, but Akari had better never look below her glasses again. And I liked how she messed with him by telling him she’s the one who put a tube on his dick. There haven’t been many characters introduced so far and none have really been fleshed out, but she’s my favorite for now.

    Reading about this show I wasn’t sure about it, but after seeing this episode I’ll stick around for now.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I liked how Michelle said she’d let it pass this time, but Akari had better never look below her glasses again.

      I agree. She’s patient and has class. Most girls would have responded in a violent manner right after they noticed.

  3. Di Gi Kazune says:

    NOOOO!! Pedobear! 😛

    Figures they’d use the thing that would be the last living thing on the planet after humanity nukes itself to oblivion to create their ‘formers.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Is there anything humans won’t use that will eventually come back to bite them in the ass? Really, anything they do, mostly goes straight to hell.

  4. skylion says:

    I’m gonna be a jerk about this. I cannot help it. But in a show that promises insane bug on human action. I WANT MONSTER BUGS! I give a great deal of credence for the slow build. But damn, I wanted BUGS! MASSIVE BUGS!

    Ok, I’m calm now. OMG I want to know so much more about the process that they build these guys on. It’s one thing to terraform Mars…but to personform….!!!!!! Give me more of this!

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      Answer: Klendathu. 😛

    • Cybersteel says:

      Starship Troopers?

    • Kyokai says:

      @ skylion, they are definitely bigger than humans. The fully grown ones at least and damn those staring eyes and what not. They are completely unpleasant, something like the titans of AoT.

      You wanted and you’ll get it, more about the Bugs Procedure in addition to what I said above:

      Through the surgery, an insect DNA array is inserted into the cells of the human body and with this the cells inside the weak human flesh and blood will be able to transform into those of an insect. This is done for better physical endurance in Mars, speed and strength, along with some unique insect abilities (whichever insect’s DNA is injected that is).

      The transformation that you saw in Akari is nothing compared the one after the surgery. Not all of them look ugly in it, it’s more like a cool modification/djinn equip or some such. People who have gone through the surgery, they need an injection with insect tissues of the DNA their cells were fused with to activate their special abilities. The Bugs Procedure blocks the human body from rejecting insect tissue, which wouldn’t normally be able to co-exist. It is also possible to go further beyond the balance by injecting even more to get closer to an insect body. This however has adverse effects when used in high doses.

  5. zztop says:

    Hello, pest control? I need the biggest roach trap you have.
    … No, that’s too big.

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      Delivery sir. Please sign here for your 1.93Gigaton Singularity Planet Buster. We will not be responsible if you happen to destroy the planet while using it. 🙂

      • Kyokai says:

        Lol! What if there’s backlash to earth or the roaches can actually build spaceships! >>;

      • BlackBriar says:

        Hold it! I doubt that product has even cleared the proper trials. We don’t want any repercussions due to possible defects!

        • HannoX says:

          If it needs field testing, let’s give it to the Lovely Angels! Then send them to a planetary system far, far away.

          • BlackBriar says:

            That will be difficult to render results of its effectiveness.

  6. Highway says:

    We’ll see what drives me away from this show, goriness or ugly characters. Not really a fan of the look.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I don’t think the gore is going to be a problem as it appears all of that will be censored to hell. Tsk!

    • Kyokai says:

      To each his own. 😉

      As BB said, gore is already taken care of by Darkness-kun and Beam-chan, but then again I’m sure they’ll get creative soon.

  7. BlackBriar says:

    Hey, who told this series to get a head start on the others? No manners whatsoever… 😉

    Ah, I had completely forgotten about that post. No I’m looking forward to what Metanorn has up its sleeve this Halloween.

    Well, this is something… Mushibugyou was the series I thought I would see the last of any bug related folly. Oversized bugs preying on humans, insect-men terrorizing edo-period nations and now this. Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in!

    Other than the surprising and grotesque-looking transformation of our lead who has a tragic backstory that demands some sympathy, and it’s well warranted, this was standard character introduction procedure of an opening so not much to say beyond that. However, I can’t stop asking that of all specimens, why humanity would send roaches as a foot-hold for their terraforming project. I’m bugging out on that (no pun intended!).

    The one thing I feel will be a bother is the excessive censoring on the opening alone. A very crucial attention-grabbing scene is going on and hardly anything could be seen. Someone’s getting mauled by a bear, damn it! And for comparison, I know what I’m talking about when I say there was a lot more of it here than what I endured with Tokyo Ghoul’s opening.

    So going on a little faith with what was said on the Halloween Horror Digest, I’ll be sticking around to see if this story will make good on the praise it’s getting and expect to see some very gruesome stuff. Provided that darkness-chan isn’t going to be ever-present.

    • Kyokai says:

      Every season, there’s one-two outliers who love to leave other series behind. I guess, it was a calculated move from LIDEN, which is totally fine.

      We’ll see about Halloween on what can be done.

      I haven’t seen Mushibugyou at all, which I planned to at some point but it just fell through the cave of my backlog. How was it?

      About Terraformars, well, it was the only cost-effective solution to create a green-house effect. I’m sure scientific community is regretting it now but no one alive can be blamed so well, see, humanity keeps on axing themselves.

      Interestingly, the manga is very popular in Japan. I guess, these monster-fest stories are really becoming trendy there with Shingeki no Kyoujin topping charts as well. I’m fine with the pacing for now but all depends on how they execute the genetically engineered humans stories in Mars.

      • BlackBriar says:

        I haven’t seen Mushibugyou at all, which I planned to at some point but it just fell through the cave of my backlog. How was it?

        Long story short, it’s a fun shounen series with insanely big killer bugs to the point you practically get an Inuyasha feel.

        It’s slow but steady work-up building the story which becomes more interesting as goes on and giving the characters proper time to be explored (I’m confident you’ll find interest in the Mushibugyou/Insect Magistrate’s backstory) while maintaining some in between and the real action kicks off around episode 9. Also, the OST is great and the series has two badass OP and ED.

        There are a handful of familiar seiyuus: KENN, Takuma Terashima, Jun Fukuyama, Junichi Suwabe, Mamoru Miyano and Tomokazu Seki.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Every season, there’s one-two outliers who love to leave other series behind.

        Last year, the outliner was Diabolik Lovers which started halfway through September ahead of the rest of its Fall line-up.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Just a little correction to one of my paragraphs. I forget something.

        It’s slow but steady work-up building the story which becomes more interesting as goes on and giving the characters proper time to be explored (I’m confident you’ll find interest in the Mushibugyou/Insect Magistrate’s backstory) while maintaining some “comedy” in between and the real action kicks off around episode 9.

        • Kyokai says:

          I remember selling it in our Spring13 review, but just never got around the actual watching. The seiyuu case is the biggest bait for me and everyone who have watched it, swears by its good shounen traits. It’s still on my to-watch list, let’s see whenever I get some time to catch up.

          • BlackBriar says:

            The new season is at its eve of beginning so the best time to suggest marathoning Mushibugyou would be at the end of Fall during the two week break period before Winter 2015. At least that insatiable cooling off period can be useful for something.

  8. Overcooled says:

    I hate bugs so this concept is genuinely terrifying to me. I’m surprised I didn’t check this out from the Horror Digest. In fact, I need to go revisit that post and read a heck of a lot more of those suggestions.

    I’m still not sure whether this will be a stupidly bad macho action anime or if it will be exciting. I liked how it had the balls to open with a grizzly versus man cage fight, but it’s hard to ride that line of absurdity and stupidity just right. I think the second episode will really be a clincher since this episode mostly set everything up.

    It’s a shame about the censoring though. Censoring always kills the horror elements of these kinds of shows :B

    • BlackBriar says:

      I hate bugs

      Why does that suddenly make me think of Misty from Pokémon? 😀

      It’s a shame about the censoring though. Censoring always kills the horror elements of these kinds of shows :B

      I can definitely take your word for it because I’ve seen such things myself. That’s what Tokyo Ghoul suffered from most in my opinion.

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      Join the Terran Confederation Navy today to destroy bugs! You have a chance for Chris Blair to be your mentor!

      Sad that there are no more good space flight sims. I miss WC.

    • Kyokai says:

      I hate spiders (DEM legs!), but bugs are okay unless they are the crawly ones. Ugh. But I despise cockroaches and I’m one of those people who really do kick/smack/step on them if they bother me too much. That recommendation post is gold and I still have to try out some of the manga there myself.

      To me, this looks like another version of JoJo, where silly things happen with explanation. As I like the manga, I’ll be sticking with this but not sure about the anime enjoyment until third episode.

      And yes, censoring kills all the joys of horror. It’s sad to wait for the DVD/BD release to enjoy the full view. 🙁

  9. BlackBriar says:

    How many chapters did the manga generate? MAL confirms the series is only one cour with a total of 13 episodes. Sounds like the story may be rushed in some areas.

    • Kyokai says:

      The manga is still ongoing so I’m pretty sure they will only keep this to a limited part of Annex I. There are 10 volumes already with volume 11 in serialization.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Then that would’ve been more than enough material to make this a two-cour series instead of one. There had to be a cooling point in the story where the production company could’ve capped off a cliffhanger ending with that much.

        • Di Gi Kazune says:

          I was reading an ANN editorial regarding 13 vs 26 episodes worth of production and it appears the moneybags (for lack of better term) are risk adverse, particularly for new untested properties. Hence why most things are 10-13 episodes only, with exceptions.

          For those interested, its one of their Aug/Sept answerman columns, and one of the few things that occasionally isn’t complete nonsense they do.

          • Kyokai says:

            I agree. A lot of shows have bombed, which seemed like winners due to Japanese following. LIDEN is not a very big name so I’m pretty sure they don’t want to experiment too much.

            I don’t read ANN posts minus the news articles because of the above opinion but I’ll give this specific column a look.

          • BlackBriar says:

            I was reading an ANN editorial regarding 13 vs 26 episodes worth of production and it appears the moneybags (for lack of better term) are risk adverse, particularly for new untested properties. Hence why most things are 10-13 episodes only, with exceptions.

            If it’s smoldering trash heaps made to look like series like Samurai Flamenco, then I can’t really blame them for being cautious.

  10. akagami says:

    I was interested until I saw the bugs.

    Ew. Bugs. Ew.

    And they’re cockroaches. ヽ( ̄д ̄;)ノ=3=3=3
    I’ve seen flying cockroaches in Asia before. They are a thing of nightmares. And they’re HUGE.

    • BlackBriar says:

      And they’re cockroaches.

      Yeah, I questioned that choice of bugs for a while. Apparently it was because they have a high survival rate.

      • akagami says:

        They don’t die. (屮゜Д゜)屮

        • Kyokai says:

          Oh I’ve seen the flying kind alright. So ickyyyyyy! I instantly kill them whenever I see them…

          And have you seen episode two? Shit really did hit the fan. >>

          • akagami says:

            Not yet, I don’t know… my aversion to bugs, real or imagined, is pretty strong.

          • akagami says:

            I always thought the ones in North America were big enough, then I saw these huge ones in Asia. So here I go jumping onto the couch, thinking I’m safe. Then it pulls a “Surprise, Motherf**ker” and flew by me.

            Hot damn Mother Nature.

          • BlackBriar says:

            And have you seen episode two? Shit really did hit the fan. >>

            Ha! Saying it like that should be a mild understatement. And not just for the second episode but the OVA showing the first half of what happened to the BUGS 2 team. It was a hellish nightmare.

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