Terra Formars Vol. 2 (Story by Yu Sasuga, Art by Ken-Ichi Tachibana) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
September 6, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Terra Formars” is an exciting, violent but addictive series that I am looking forward to! Volume 2 of “Terra Formars” is recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2011 by Ken-Ichi Tachibana, Yu Sasuga/SHUEISHA Inc. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Terra Formars Vol. 2
STORY BY: Yu Sasuga ART BY: Ken-Ichi Tachibana
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shueisha, Inc.
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC
RATED: T for Older Teen
Available on September 16, 2014
Thailand, twenty years after the ill-fated Bugs 2 mission. Two American U-NASA agents arrive to find Akari Hizamaru, a “child born after the operation,” and recruit him for Annex 1, a new mission to Mars. The purpose of Annex 1 is to research the origins of a new disease that is ravaging the earth. But the reasons why U-NASA would need the incredible powers that Hizamaru possesses are still a closely guarded secret. Once again, humanity launches an expedition to Mars that has frightening implications for the future.
20-years have passed since the fateful U-NASA mission in which it was learned that the cockroaches sent to Mars, injected with human DNA, have evolved to a new human/cockroach species that wants nothing more but to kill all humans.
As the hope that Mars would be a planet that humans can colonize due to the overpopulation problem on Earth, humankind has suffered a major setback.
Fastforward 20-years later and a new mission is being set by U-NASA but this time, it’s for the survival of humanity as a virus has swept Earth and the only known antidote is in Mars.
Will the new recruits be ready for their mission to Mars?
What is “Terra Formars”?
In 2011, writer Yu Sasuga and artist Kenichi Tachibana would create “Terra Formars”, a manga series that would become a major hit in Japan.
First serialized in Shueisha’s “Weekly Young Jump” and an OVA and anime series slated later this year, “Terra Formars” was ranked #1 in the 2013 “Kono Manga ga Sugoi!” top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey.
With nine tankobon volumes published in Japan, “Terra Formars” vol. 1 will be released in the United States in July 2014 courtesy of Viz Media (on the Viz Signature imprint).
With Earth looking to colonize Mars which is undergoing its final stages of Terraforming and now becoming a green planet, a group of 15 men and women have been sent to Mars to check on the Terraformation of the planet.
Meanwhile, on Earth, the planet is falling into ruin due to environmental destruction and energy shortages, so Mars has been the focus by scientists.
Scientists have used moss and a black organism to darken the surface of the planet and causing it to absorb more sunlight, increase temperatures and melting the carbon dioxide.
The black organism used by scientists were cockroaches.
As the 15 men and women of BUGS 2 arrive on the planet on their mission to evaluate the planet but also to find out what happened to the first crew (BUGS 1) that landed on the planet.
The team discover that the Terraforming has succeeded but to their shock, the cockroaches have mutated with human bodies.
As the Japanese members, Shokichi Komachi and his childhood friend Nanao Akita try to make contact with one of the beings, the humanoid cockroach snaps Nanao’s neck.
And now the humans have become the hunted.
Because the cockroaches exhibit all abilities of a cockroach, it was learned that scientists embedded human DNA in them and their mutation has made them beings that would not just survive in Mars but also exhibiting human characteristics and a hatred towards humanity (as humanity has had a hatred towards cockroaches).
But humanity also has found a way for humans to counteract the cockroaches by using injections of insects on humans that will briefly give them insect powers. But is it enough for the humans to survive in Mars as they are now considered the pests for the planet in which the humanoid cockroaches are the primary species?
And what about volume 2?
In volume 2 of “Terra Formars”, the manga is set 20-years later and Shokichi Komachi is now the new head of U-NASA. As one of the few survivors to escape from Mars and survive the cockroach onslaught, the Earth he has returned to is not just facing an overpopulation problem but also a widespread virus that came from Mars.
The bad news that the only way to stop it is to confirm the existence of the virus and determine its type and bring it back to Earth in hopes to create a vaccine.
But will Shokichi find a new group of people willing to sacrifice their lives for humanity by going to Mars and prepare for the onslaught of cockroach/humans that have infested the planet and want nothing more than to kill the humans?
In America, there have been a number of sci-fi films that have featured humanity taking on various alien species on Mars.
But what makes Yu Sasuga and Ken-Ichi Tachibana’s manga series so fascinating and also exciting is the science of Terra Formation and how scientists were able to create something that may lead to their own demise.
It’s interesting because of all species to bring on Mars, any human would know that cockroaches are the most resilient insect. Not only are they quick but they are very hard to kill.
Stepping on them doesn’t always fully kill them, throwing them away in a toilet in water also doesn’t kill them as they try to escape. So, for anyone familiar with the resilient cockroach can possibly think if a cockroach evolved to something much larger than a human being, not only would it be powerful but also hard to kill.
And despite humans ability to strategize, without having the same power to fight back, humans on Mars are literally defenseless. And to fight back, the use of insect injections from powerful insects in the planet may be what is needed to fight against these human cockroaches.
The second volume continues the excitement but now fastforwarding 20-years and seeing Shokichi recruit a ragtag bunch of people willing to sacrifice themselves in hopes for a payday but also in hopes for a vaccine to help eliminate the virus from Mars that have been killing people all over the globe.
But will these new recruits encounter the same tragic experience that Shokichi had once endured?
The artwork by Ken-Ichi Tachibana is magnificent. Characters are well-detailed, artwork is just pleasing and the action is well-featured. And of course, the writing and research done by Yu Sasuga has really made “Terra Formars” a fascinating and captivating series.
Overall, “Terra Formars” is an exciting, violent but addictive series that I am looking forward to! Volume 2 of “Terra Formars” is recommended!
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