Terra Formars Ep. 4: Nothing but flashbacks

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It’s Friday night, which means more roach-killing action.

— The cold opening starts off rather oddly. We see shots of various shots of an alley for no particular reason until the guy at the bar finally steps on a bug and kills it. In fact, he’s been in that bar for three episodes now.

— Anyway, back on Mars, some roaches have attached themselves to Shokichi’s escape vessel, and they’re going for the human’s medicine supply. The thing is, the terraformars have been going for the medicine supply since the end of the second episode, so it’s no longer shocking or surprising. Nevertheless, the various team members continue to act all shocked and surprised that the terraformars are capable of forming a plan and executing it. A…are the roaches really smarter than we think? Yeah, no shit, guys. It was eyebrow-raising two episodes ago.

— One of the terraformars jumps into the vessel, and everyone just stands there, gawking at it. Uh, how ’bout running, you guys? Only Sheila tries to do anything about it. But like I said last week, there’s way too much dead time in this anime. She stares at the terraformar, then we get a flashback to when Shokichi had taught her how to fire a net launcher. The pacing is all fucked up as a result. We’re sitting here, waiting for something to happen, but instead, we get a flashback. In last week’s episode, instead of flashbacks, we got a heavy dose of slow-motion “action” scenes. Seeing as how this is already the fourth episode of the adaptation, I’m afraid this is how the show’s going to be from here on out.

— Finally, she fires the net and while the terraformar is writhing around on the ground, a disembodied narrator explains just exactly what a net does. C’mon, I’m literally watching what a net does! Oh, you say that the net is something that humans invented. No shit? I thought rabbits invented them!

— I love how we even get a brief history on nets. Oh, they’ve been made from cotton, fiber, synthetic fibers.  This is hilarious… not in a good way, but still hilarious.

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— But just when you think it’s safe…! Yeah, it’s going to hadoken Sheila’s ass. Like always, there’s a lot of staring from all parties before any attack goes off. I swear, this will be the last time I make any mention of this particular critique. Anyway, I knew someone was going to die. I like how the best laid plans to capture these roaches is to literally shoot a net at them. Seriously, you’re facing an alien species with comparable intelligence, super speed, and super strength, and your primary method of capture is going to be a primitive net? Nope, we’re not going to use some sort of super powerful tranquilizer. Yep, let’s move forward with the plan to launch incredibly porous nets at the terraformars — so porous that a terraformar can easily attack through them.

— More importantly, the terraformar here is using the same power we had seen in the first part of the OVA. I forget the guy’s name, but one of the victims had the same ability, so I guess the terraformars are now copying their human opponents like some sort of cockroachian Mega Man.

— And right before we see Sheila die, the story suddenly cuts back to the bar in Japan. Welp.

— Then in the middle of an episode, we are forcefed exposition about the BUGS 2 team.

— This script, man: “To be equipped with weapons that could not be stolen… *long dramatic pause* But now… They were stolen!”

— We suddenly cut back to the Russian squad where Squad Leader Sylvester Asimov — yeah, that’s his name — is apologizing to a distraught Ivan. If you’ll recall, Ivan’s sister died in last week’s episode. Her head got ripped right off, but of course, we couldn’t see a damn thing thanks to the censors. In any case, I guess we’re supposed to draw parallels between the deaths of these two women.

— Now we cut back to Shokichi’s squad, where one of the guys has smashed in the roach’s head for killing Sheila. Welp, so much for bringing it back to Earth alive.

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— Meanwhile, Sheila has a hole in her chest, but we still get a painfully drawn-out scene in which she tries to confess her true feelings to Shokichi before she finally kicks the bucket. The show never really successfully sold me on her character, though. As a result, this scene just does nothing for me. I hardly know anything about her, and hell, I hardly know anything about Shokichi either. The only time we saw them interact with each other was during a handful of short flashbacks. A handful. If you only spend a small amount of time developing this particular subplot, it doesn’t really make sense to me when her death suddenly gets a big, extended send-off. I have no emotional connection to the girl, so it’s just kind of cringeworthy.

— I timed the whole thing. She starts reaching for his face at around 10:20. We don’t go to a commercial break until 12:30. Over two minutes of a dying girl trying to choke out her confession to Shokichi. C’mon.

— After the commercial break, an army of roaches are closing in the various squads. Only now do they think of using their medicine supply and tapping into their animal-inspired powers. Yeah, that’s right. They’re no longer limited to just bugs anymore. But we’ll get to that in a second. Basically, this scene also takes forever as the various characters prattle on and on about the Human Metamorphosis Mosaic Organ Operation. So… HMMOO. Catchy. Kind of like a braindead cow. I approve. In any case, it’s like watching a Dragon Ball Z episode, where you’re constantly waiting for something to happen, but it never does. People take their medicine, then they just stand there… and they stand there… and they stand there… As for the terraformars, they just keep walking… and walking… and walking.. At least no one’s grunting like they need to take a massive dump, I guess.

— Apparently, the terraformars underwent drastic evolution thanks to a single organ and a single organ alone. It is none other than the mosaic organ. And guess what? Humans have reappropriated it for themselves! An organ! Can you believe that? Just an organ.

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— But as I’ve said, you can now borrow special powers from any species on earth now. This guy over here has the magical power of a shark. What exactly does a shark do above land? Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I hope someone picked a sloth. That would be hilarious.

— More narration as the guy tells us that the terraformars “can travel 320 kilometers per hour from their first step.” Great.

— Finally, around 17:30, a battle breaks out. Of course, it’s all in slow motion.

— Behold… the fearsome crying spider-man!

— Then right after he punches a roach’s head cleanly off… WE GET ANOTHER FLASHBACK. This is the worst action anime I have ever watched. This is like a slideshow, man. You’re literally watching one move, one kick, one attack at a time. A few punches, flashback, a few more punches, flashback, repeat ad nauseum.

— Then the episode just kind of ends. We hardly get any character development until after Sheila’s dead, then the ensuing fight scene is repeatedly interrupted with scenes of her, Marcos, and Alex when they were younger. Man, what a silly way to tell this story.

— I honestly can’t see them getting far in the story with just one season. Oh well. We have the sequel to Knights of Sidonia next season, right? Yeah, I’m looking ahead already.


8 Replies to “Terra Formars Ep. 4: Nothing but flashbacks”

    1. You mean the people who like the show and thus would most likely put in enough time to like and rate it actually like it. Come on lets stop acting surprised when a bad show has well ratings because its fans like it.

  1. The narrator though. Why is he there and why does he explain everything. I couldn’t even laugh at the stupidity. He explains cockroaches can run super fast, was anyone even questioning how fast they could move? Anyone?

    I notice that it’s uncensored now though so the fight wasn’t too bad. The best part of the episode where I didn’t have to listen to exposition on useless things.

    Why does it feel like the abilities being taken from any animal is stupid. I mean everything has been about bugs and then they just decide to bring everything in.

    1. The narrator though. Why is he there and why does he explain everything.

      It’s a play on those old-timey documentaries of the past. It’s partly why a story that takes place so far in the future has a film grain slapped onto everything. The problem is, of course, the narration doesn’t add anything to the story. It’s kind of a reference and that’s about it.

  2. The Sharks guys power:

    B-Baka!! I-It’s not like I want you to tear me apart or anything!!

    —Spoiler about shark boys abilities—

    Basically, he’s their scout and he gets incapacitated so that’s all he’s actually going to do.

    (Sonar capability)

    —End Spoiler—

    It’s sad too, being thrown aside like that, I mean underwater battles do take place but it has to be the main characters who experience this.

  3. In the end, I just lift my arms up in defeat and shrug. Who cares? I want to know about the Roach-Badmen. Can we hurry up past the “WE CRUSH THEM, THEY CRUSH US!!!, SYMBOLISM OMG!!!” shtick?

  4. This anime is so laughable, is hard to believe they’re 500 in the future, I mean all they’ve to capture this big ass roaches is an orthodox net, and to defeat them a shitty transformation inspired in animals, is sad that this anime with a scientific approach when it comes to create its argument fails so bad about everything else in order to have some humans kicking ass in mars.

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