Terraformars Season 1 – Anime Review
Synopsis: In the future, humanity seeks to resolve Earth’s overpopulation problem by terraforming Mars as their 2nd home. 500 years later, the United Nations Aeronautics and Space Administration sends a team to explore this world. But an unintended side effect of the terraforming process has unleashed a horror no one imagined: the planet has become infested with man-sized cockroaches that prey on humans. (Official Anime Strike Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: When Terraformars first aired in 2014, the series faced intense criticism and disappointment. Criticism centered on the sheer wealth of violence and a hammy tone. Disappointment came from viewers wanting to see the gore in all its glory, only to find the initial stream of the series was censored to the extreme. For new viewers, the later complaint is one solved by many services now offering the fully uncensored version. Instead what curious newcomers should be aware of is how lackluster the first episode is. The series fails to grip with its first episode, unable to get anywhere near what the rest of the content is ultimately like. It barely finishes spewing out the series concept and basic plot information before time is up. But if you give the series a second episode, those looking for full on gore and mayhem will not leave disappointed.
Linny: Prepare for one of the goriest and cruelest anime as Terraformars can be described as a showcase of the various ways mutated Mars creatures crush and kill humans. A lot of the episodes are basically seeing humankind get treated like squashable bugs by ginormous anthropomorphic bugs. And for those who decide to go the censored route, the censorship itself becomes a source of humour due to how excessive and extreme it has to be in order to cover up all the gore. Heck, in episode 2, the censorship bars move around the screen like the dials of a clock in a desperate attempt to hide the bloody massacre.
Tom: More importantly however, Terraformars lacks a solid stopping place. Based off an ongoing manga, Terraformars tells the continuing tale of the battle for Mars, with plenty of twists and turns as the roaches turn out to be far more dangerous than initially perceived. Instead of finding an appropriate place to cut things off, the show ends in the middle of an ongoing arc, only to later continue with a Season 2 that shifts the tone and visual style away from what fans appreciated the 1st season for. Unless you’re willing to continue on with a Season 2 that dumbs down the violence and turns up the more shonen aspects to the series, it’s best to jump into the original manga for the stories’ continuation.
Linny: There’s also the fact that Terra Formers’ first season has a rather haphazard story telling style that can be off putting and make the show feel uneven. We get periodic glimpses in the pasts of several crew members in the midst of all the gore, and it doesn’t always make for the smoothest transition. It also becomes a bit annoying when you start to care for one of the characters after seeing their backstory, only to watch them be immediately and brutally killed right after and then forced to move on as the show jumps to focus on another random crew member. Though on a more positive note, while some of the backstories lack impact, others can be quite entertaining and engaging. Also, finding out each crew member’s ridiculous hybrid abilities, as all the characters have been genetically engineered to obtain animal/bug based super powers, makes for a fun filled guessing game. The show can get extremely over the top with their powers making for some good old hammy fun.
Tom: A final aspect hampering the anime is a bizarre decision to not adapt the initial chapters of the manga. Instead that first story, originally used to introduce the world of Terraformars, was shunted to a two episode OVA installment released alongside the anime in Japan, but remains unavailable for western streaming. It’s frustrating, because these two OVAs are so helpful in understanding the over the top, cheesy, yet violent world the series offers, and hampers the ability for audiences to get sucked in. I may sound overly harsh on Terraformars, but I’m actually a huge fan, and what’s here is enjoyable, but suffers from numerous setbacks. Still, if you’re someone who loves crazy over the top violence, and finds a hammy narrative about anthropomorphic cockroaches in battle against humans who can harness the power of various animals and bugs they’ve been genetically modified with intriguing, then you’re still likely to have a great time.
Linny: Terraformars is not a show for the average anime fan. It’s best suited for an audience on the lookout for a cheesy, over the top action packed blood bath that offers minimum story. The show is best when it’s sticking to delivering over the top gore, action and even manages to sneak in a few touching backstories here and there despite not having the best storytelling style. All in all, Terraformars is sure to entertain those who like their action outrageous and ridiculous in the way only anime can pull off.