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Terra Formars Volume Seven – Review

Terra-Formars-Volume-7-Cover-Image-01The thing about space travel is that it’s quite dangerous, as well as being extraordinarily expensive. Once you leave the gravity of Earth, who the hell knows what is going to happen next. If you’re a crew of half-bug people on your way to Mars, chances are some weird stuff is going to go down…like bipedal cockroach men, but that’s something you’ve been trained to deal with, kind of. What happens when, after almost a week of trying to survive against said cockroach men, you’re then having to deal with the forces of…other humans?

Terra Formars is now into it’s seventh volume, and it just continues to get more and more exciting. Madman Entertainment have been doing a fantastic job bringing this thrilling science-fiction story to Australia and New Zealand, and, once again, us here at SnapThirty have been given a chance to review the latest volume which takes a huge stride to the left and begins branching off on a storyline I saw coming a while ago, but I’m very much glad is now underway.

While the crew of Annex I are busy duking it out with the cockroaches on Mars, the reigning governments of Earth are fighting a war of their own which, although convoluted at times, was ultimately portrayed in a way that was just as gripping as a literal battle between a man-wasp and a hulking mass of cockroach muscle; something I can only imagine a series like Terra Formars could pull off this successfully.

In the late 26th century, overpopulation on Earth is reaching the breaking point, and humanity must find new frontiers. The terraforming of Mars has taken centuries but is now complete. The colonization of Mars by humanity is an epoch-making event, but an unintended side effect of the terraforming process unleashes a horror no one could ever have imagined? – Madman Entertainment

For the last six volumes, the bulk of what we’ve seen has revolved around the clear struggle between two races essentially clashing over land neither of them rightfully own. Volume seven ditches that and instead treads a path that directly combines the governmental conflict on Earth with the species war on Mars, making them one in the same and pushing the Manga into a necessary new arc much more exciting than anything we’ve seen up until this point. No longer is Terra Formars just about humans versus aliens. Volume seven marks the genesis of a civil war, the likes of which you’ve never seen before.

Story-wise the one thing I couldn’t wrap my head around when it come to Terra Formars volume seven was the elaborate but oddly confusing way in which the dialogue was presented. By the end of the volume, it was clear what had been said, what had happened, and what is to come, but the way it was delivered seemed far too ambitious even for a series like Terra Formars. Instead of coming across in an overly intelligent, well-explained manner, it simply felt as though author Yu Sasuga was trying far too hard to come across as an intellectual rather than simply explaining what need to be explained in a simple and concise manner. Simply trying to sound like a brilliant mind does not make that so. If anything, it makes one seem…unintelligent.

As per usual, Kenichi Tachibana’s gritty but masterfully detailed illustrative style paired up perfectly with the Manga’s overall story and tone, and made it as enjoyable as it possibly could have. I’d love to go on and on about just how great an artist Tachibana is but I feel as though I’d simply be repeating the same points I’ve made in each and every review for the past seven volumes. All that needs to be said about Tachibana is that he focuses on enough detail to make all panels interesting enough to look at twice, but meticulously obsess over the cleanliness of his line work, giving the Manga some amazingly gritty visuals, which works entirely in the series’ favour. At times throughout volume seven, it was hard to discern just what was going in simply because of how populated the panels were, but they were few and far between so it didn’t work to sully the enjoyment of the volume.

Terra Formars volume seven was so easy to read which, for those of you out there who aren’t as into Manga as someone like me, is an amazing complement to give a series. When a Manga is difficult to read it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person reading it doesn’t understand what it has to offer, it simply means that the way it is presented is overly confound which almost always translates to an inability to detail certain story elements and aspects of a good series that make it likeable. When a Manga is easy to read, it means that it is also easily understood. Volume seven being able to be read in a single sitting doesn’t make it a basic Manga, it means that it had me hooked from the first page to the last, and it delivered admirably on all fronts making it, once again, an effortless Manga to read through. Yes, at times, there was minor confusion simply because of dialogue layout which could honestly be a result of poor translation, but it did not effect the volume overall. Volume seven starts off strong and leaves you wanting so much more with only minor speed bumps along the way that work only to drop down the score of this review, not how much enjoyment you’ll get out of reading it.

Take a trip to Mars and purchase Terra Formars volume one at the Madman Entertainment Online Store.

Grade: A

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