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First Thoughts: Terra Formars – The Good, The Bad And The Censored

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I really, really, really hate insects. Like REALLY hate insects, I’m not sure you can fully understand just how much I despise the creepy crawlies. Apart from spiders, I’d have to say that cockroaches are the highest on my fear list so when a series like ‘Terra Formars’ is brought to my attention, I cannot help but look forward to seeing some gruesome bug-killing action. Now over here in Australia only the very first volume of the Manga has been released (Click Here to read my review of it) so it’s exciting for us to see an Anime series adaptation so ‘early’ in the piece. Obviously Japan has known about ‘Terra Formars’ for quite some time but it’s new to us and it’s very exciting to see on the big screen…that is, if you have a big screen to watch it on.

Streaming on Crunchyroll across the globe, the first episode was released on the 26th of September and is arguably one of the more anticiapted Anime series’ to feature in the Fall lineup. Two OVAs were shown in Japan which went over the events shown in the first volume of the Manga. These OVAs were not picked up by Crunchyroll and therefor the only way to have viewed them was illegally. This means only the naught Anime watchers have seen them which also means that many others have not and, in my opinion, the story contents of those OVAs SHOULD have been something everyone could have experienced. Luckily the Manga is available.

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Without giving too much away story-wise, ‘Terra Formars’ the Anime series follows the story of a group of young men and women who have been chosen or who have volunteered to go on an expedition to the red planet; Mars. These ‘kids’ have no formal training but are thrown into possibly one of the deadliest situations but they’re not normal, they’re…they’re something completely different.

Anyhow, for those of you who haven’t seen the OVAs or read the first volume of the Manga: Before this group of inexperienced teens came along there was another group of inexperienced teens who were sent to Mars on what was believed to be a ‘recon mission’. These teens, who by the way could turn into half human half insect hybrids due to highly unstable DNA tampering, came into contact with odd and scary bipedal creatures of which many readers assumed to be racially offensive. Look it up. These man-like creatures, evolved from everyday cockroaches, began attacking the crew of which only about ten percent survived, so…it wasn’t a ‘successful’ mission.

The survivors headed back to Earth and are still alive to ‘lead’ the next mission but, for those of you who didn’t know that…the episode really didn’t give you too much insight. The audience was confronted with a short burst of quick flashbacks but, really, nothing was explained. Throughout the episode we’re introduced to a young cage fighter who’s opponent happens to be an angry black bear that, from what I could tell, eventually came to chow down on the poor boy’s ‘man parts’, though I can’t say that for certain because this particular scene was heavily censored. Those of you who watched it, I’m sure, will understand my thoughts on it. The censoring continued throughout the episode and some scenes were so heavily edited that you could barely see what was happening on screen.

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We, the audience, were then introduced to another small group of young men and women who all quickly make friends. Now I use the word ‘introduce’ very lightly seeing as they were barely shown and not a lot about them was detailed so, in my mind, they’re just a bunch of people I haven’t been given a chance to care about yet. I’m hoping this changes as the series continues.

The episode then ends with a short briefing of the mission at hand and a showcasing of one of the cockroach men that was brought back from Mars. The cast have a little bit of a freak out and then they’re sent directly into space. Think I’m exaggerating? Go watch the episode and get back to me…it was that quick. I’ve not given names nor have I given any specific details because I believe you should all experience the episode for yourselves in full and detailing such things would take that away from you.

I think the series has a great deal of potential. I absolutely love the Manga and cannot wait for the next volume so I can see the story in it’s purest form. I’m also, despite my sarcastic take on the events of the first episode, very excited for the future episode of ‘Terra Formars’ to come.

The characters LOOK interesting even though at this point in time they don’t all seem that interesting and I really can’t wait to see some human bug hybrids throwing down with some crazy cockroach men. The animation was ‘pretty good’ but I’m going to give the series the benefit of the doubt and say that once the action starts, the animation quality will be getting a huge bump…I hope.

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There was a little humour in the episode. It was dry and ultimately silly but it was there so I’ll give them credit for that. The real foreseeable problem with ‘Terra Formars’ is obviously going to be censorship: There’s a great deal of death, blood and gore in the series and I can’t help but assume that this covering up of it will continue all the way into the final episode which, if that’s the case, the series is going to have a LOT of disappointed audience members.

Half the attraction to ‘Terra Formars’ is it’s outlandish brutality much like that of ‘Attack On Titan’. Could you imagine if THAT was censored!? Hell no! Even after all I’ve said…it’s still just episode one, so to you that made it all the way to this point in the article I say: Keep watching. It looks like it has a lot of promise, let’s just hope it does the Manga justice in the upcoming episodes.

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