ANIME REVIEW: Terra Formars Revenge: Season Two (2018) U.S. DVD/Blu-Ray Combo


WARNING!!
 SPOILERS CONTAINED WITHIN!!
WARNING!!

You can find my review of Season One here. Terraformars is about the humanoid cockroaches that inhabit Mars, having gotten that way when mankind attempted to terraform the planet by sending roaches and mosss, and over the centuries these roaches evolved into somewhat primitive humanoid roach-men. Two missions were sent to assess the situation and both were wiped out by the now dubbed, “terraformars.” It looks like evolved roaches are hostile to human beings. Understandable. Season One of the series is about the third mission Earth launches to the roach infested red planet, but this time the astronauts on board (a coalition of every major country) are going with what they think is a distinct advantage, and in all respects it is, without it they would probably all be wiped out the instant they made contact. Each astronaut has been genetically modified with the traits of various flora and fauna, including insects and spiders. Yes, there’s even a chick that’s had her DNA altered with that of a skunk, and surprisingly the natural ability a skunk as in warding off enemies, believe it or not, actually buys her and her comrade some crucial survival time in this one particular scene. Well, I’ll be damned. The reason for this new mission is there’s an alien virus on Earth wreaking havoc and it’s connected to the Terraformars, that connection isn’t fully understood until we get to very end of Season Two, but scientists reasoned if they can get to Mars and bring back, oh, say, roughly a hundred dead specimens they can create a vaccine. Sure, piece of cake, where do I sign up?

Annex-1 is what their ship is called, and they mission ran into tragic trouble as it got close to the planet, somehow a group of Terraformars managed to infiltrate the ship and gruesomely kill off a few members, but before it crashed the astronauts divided themselves into six groups and managed to escape. Season One covered the survival a couple of the groups faced, with Group 5 being wiped out entirely by the bug horde. This Group 5 was an interesting sub-plot. The season ends with Group 4 making it back to Annex-1.

Season Two, simply put, is about treason, which had me thinking what an apropos time in our U.S. history to have this season debuting on disc here in the States. Anyhow what we’ll quickly learn is this whole mission isn’t entirely about getting a vaccine made. First off Group 4 turns out to be traitors, their true mission is to capture two of the astronauts, lead character, Akari Hizamaru, and Michelle K. Davis. These two characters’ ability to partially transform into creatures with beefed up traits of their respective genetically integrated insects, a Japanese bagworm, and a bullet ant, are unique among their team mates for they secured some of these abilities prior by having a parent that was on a former mission who was also similarly modified. Group 4 wants them for experimentation, so all of Season Two is the remaining groups teaming up and combating Group 4 for possession of Annex-1, while trying to keep Akari and Michelle from being captured. Now if you thought that alone was daunting enough, all groups have to still be on the lookout for the Terraformars, who want them all either dead, or taken back to where ever they lair for their own experimentation. What we learned in Season One was that someone has been teaching the Terraformars the ways of genetic modification in preparation for their encounter with this new mission. Yes, that means exactly what you think it means. It’s bad enough to have to barely survive exhausting battles with basic Terraformars, but in almost every other episode they’re having to battle a Terraformar who’s genetically modified just like them.

Just like in Season One, at various times, the narrative flips back in time with certain characters to when they were on Earth either training for the mission or handling some personal crisis (i.e. having someone they love infected and dying of the alien virus) to give us insight into who they are and how far they’re willing to go against all odds to save humanity despite being fucked over by the bureaucrats on Earth. And speaking of that bureaucratic backstory the season also returns to, saving humanity isn’t entirely the number one thing they want to do with this mission. We learn that alien virus killing everyone is a component in the gene modification all the astronauts underwent, which means all the governments have a stake in getting samples back, because allow them to create their own armies of modified humans. And the battle  waging on Mars is some kind of proxy war in seeing who can get these samples back to Earth first for their respective governments, but thank God most everyone outside of Group 4 wants a cure first and foremost.

Stick around for the end credits because the season plays out through them and we get one more revelation which will go a long way in explaining how this alien virus is connected to aliens who have never set forth on Earth, oh, wait, they have. We see Terraformars on Earth plotting their next step and we can assume it involves taking over the planet. How long they have secretly been here? Who knows. Incidentally it was Group 4 who was responsible for letting those Terrafornars onto Annex-1 in the opening episodes of Season One. Those fuckers!

There are two minor drawbacks to this season I had read about in various reviews that had me initially on the fence about wanting to review this. The animation wasn’t as good and there was comedy this time out. I can attest somewhat to both of these. The animation isn’t as spectacular as it was in the first, and you can see evidence of it in the first battle in episode one, but I tell you even “sub-standard anime” is attractive to watch, but not all the action anime looks stiff. I only noticed, really noticed, I mean, in two battle scenes. In fact as the series went on I forgot all about how different it looked. And the comedy, percentage wise, you’re looking at only one percent inclusion. There just isn’t enough present to sink the show in my opinion. All in all I thought this season was more intense than last season, the battles, the personal stakes, and the light happy ending in successfully un-jamming communications and telling Earth we have some skeevy little motherfuckers among us who just stabbed us in the back, and, oh, while you’re at it, send some help, would ya?

Three ships are en route, but it’s unclear if any of them have the intention of saving whomever is left, or wiping them out and covering it up. The one thing that really sucks about this show is there’s no Season Three in existence, and it’s not clear if there ever will be. There is, however, a live action movie in existence from 2016 directed by Takashi Miike. As of this review I have not seen it, and can only hope it too gets a disc release here in the U.S.

Season Two of Terraformars is available now only in a DVD/Blu-ray combo here in America from anime distributor Viz Media. You can buy it here on Amazon!


REVERSE COVER ART

Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.78:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD master Audio (stereo), 5.1 Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio (stereo)—English subs only

(Note: You cannot go between audio options by simply pressing Audio on your remote, you must choose them from the Setup on the main menu. Your options looks like this: English, English With English Subtitles, English With Songs And Signs, Japanese With English Subtitles).  

Extras included . . .

  • Interview With Christopher Corey Smith (21:09)
  • Interview With Chris Niosi (misspelled Noisi on the extras menu) (10:57)
  • Gallery 1 (34 photos)
  • Gallery 2 (32 photos)
  • Gallery 3 (33 photos)
  • Gallery 4 (32 photos)
  • Clean Openings/Endings (w/optional English & Romaji subtitles) (3:02)
  • Japanese Trailers (2:17)

About Shawn Francis

Movie collector and horror writer.
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