It’s getting harder and harder to blog this show. Nothing really happens in this week’s episode, but I’ll get to that at the end. First, I want to talk about Terra Formars‘ formulaic brand of storytelling. Hell, it pretty much adheres to said formula from start to finish. Akari finally gets to show his stuff in this week’s episode. So what happens? The anime seemingly lacks stamina. It can never show us one continuous fight scene from start to finish. Rather, we alternate between fight scenes and character-developing flashbacks. The end result is that the fight scenes are disjointed. There’s no real flow to them; there’s no real beginning or end to them. At some point, Akari ends up capturing three live terraformar specimens. It just happens. Then after that is all said and done, you look and see that the episode is almost over. So of course, we end with our classic cliffhanger ending. Will Michelle survive the briny depths? Or will she swim with the fishy roaches?!
Someone once asked me on Ask.fm what a good fight scene should look like, and I pretty said that a fight scene is ideally structured much like a story. It should be a story within a story, if you will. My point is, a fight scene should have a beginning, middle, and end. It should have all the familiar elements like rising action, climax, falling action, denouement, etc. But because we keep getting bombarded with flashbacks, the one fight scene ends up becoming multiple fight scenes. By itself, this isn’t a bad thing. As long as the multiple fight scenes feel connected to each other, we can still tell a story. But like I’ve said, these scenes are disjointed. Since they lack flow, the fight scenes just end up feeling like a random collection of wanton violence and nothing else. There’s no beginning or end that one can identify. You just randomly see Akari murder a roach, watch a flashback, then watch him murder another roach. Maybe Terra Formars isn’t about the fight scenes!
Well, I find that pretty hard to believe. Its selling point is literally gruesome violence in space, so why wouldn’t the fight scenes be the focal point of the anime? Why wouldn’t you make the fight scenes the most exciting things to watch? But fine, let’s just grant that the anime has a different story to tell — a story that isn’t told through its various fight scenes. Are the flashbacks then good enough to carry the story? Not really. The flashbacks are rather basic. They give our characters enough of a motive to justify their actions — and that is to murder the terraformars — but nothing more. The flashbacks aren’t brilliant character vignettes or anything. In actuality, they’re rather dull and simple; the best you can say about them is that they’re functional. They serve their designed purpose, and that’s it. So where does that leave us? Random staccato bursts of violence masquerading as a singular, coherent fight scene and a bunch of rudimentary character-developing flashbacks.
The same thing happens with Michelle, but instead of flashbacks, the flow is interrupted by conversations between those two lovable guys in a bar. Their topic of conversation is so uninteresting, I don’t even want to get into it. But as you can see, the formula hasn’t really changed. We’ve just substituted one part of the formula with something just as dry and rudimentary. Marcos’s portion of the episode is handled slightly better. The first half is pretty much all flashback, so the resulting fight scene is less disjointed and chopped up. Nevertheless, it still gets interrupted. Instead of a flashback or a conversation at a bar, a narrator dryly explains Marcos’s powers to us in that faux documentary sort of way that we’ve all come to know and love. We basically drop everything to see some animated footage of an animal strut its stuff. Then once that dirty deed is done and over with, we finally get to watch Marcos murder a few roaches.
At the end of the day, I can’t really say if the story has gotten anywhere. We basically see three people fight and kill bugs, and that’s it. Oh right, Akari manages to catch three specimens. That’s it. Like the fight scenes, the episode feels disjointed as well. Nothing really happens. We learn about these three characters’ powers, then we see them demonstrate those powers. That’s not much of a story. That’s just a random collection of plot events. Oh well. Maybe I should replace my weekly Terra Formars post with another show. I just don’t know what to replace it with. Donten ni Warau and selector spread WIXOSS aren’t exactly winners either.