TITLE: Terra Formars Vol. 18
YEAR: July 2017 (USA release)
COMPANY: Viz Media
Story by Yu Sasuga
Art by Ken-Ichi Tachibana
The story has immediately shift later in the future as the crew of the Annex Mission have returned to Earth and many have gone on with their lives but to find out that Terraformars are now on the planet, killing humans but secretly living in spaces…multiplying at a rapid rate and now have an army.
But while there have been many deaths, the question is what are these Terraformars up to and will their army strike?
All this and more in vol. 18 of “Terra Formars”!
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?
In volume 18, Akari Hizamaru and others are working for Ichi Security Co., Ltd. Their primary duty, to eradicate the Terraformars on Earth. The technology is able to read bit frames from the brains of the Terraformars who were killed but it is grave importance to find their hideout.
When Akari visits a sewer area in Sumida Ward, what will he discover?
I have to admit that I was shocked and surprised by the fastforwarding of the storyline to Earth. Having followed the series and seeing everyone trying to survive the onslaught on Mars, immediately the story is fastforwarded to the Annex crew having already escaped from Mars and successfully making it to back to Earth.
It does leave me feeling a bit disappointed because Yu Sasuga did not choose to finish the Mars storyline and decides to immediately skip the storyline during a time which many readers have invested money and time reading to crew having reached Earth.
There are short tidbits of what happened to a few of the crew who have made it back but I felt this took the continuity out of whack and in essence, you get a new storyline, a few returning characters, some new characters and a setting on Earth and with the same enemy.
The storyline focuses on Akari Shimizu who is now working for Ichi Security Co., Ltd. and his job along with his partners are to eradicate the Terraformars on Earth.
The company pinpoints an image taken from a brain scan of one of the diseased Terraformars leading to the sewers in Sumida and thinking that homeless humans are being killed and slaughtered by the Terraformars, he is shocked to discover that it’s the other way around.
Akari sees an old acquaintance named Saito who has been killing Terraformars (which he calls Subterraneans) and they are selling parts of these Terraformars for a price. But as Akari offers his old friend money because the government would need these bodies, Saito is not so welcoming and a fight ensues between the two.
Meanwhile, we start to learn more about the plans of the Terraformars and what their goal of the army is. How high their intelligence is and their abilities to graft parts to wild animals such as bears.
And we are introduced to new characters who will be the primary focus of this new arc as humans vs. Terraformars continue but this time…on Earth.
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 “Terraformars” a fascinating and captivating series.
Overall, “Terraformars” is an exciting, violent but addictive series that I am always looking forward to! But I admit that I was a little disappointed about this new direction that writer Yu Sasuga has taken the series and characters for vol. 18 and not giving a storyline to wrap up the Mars expedition. The abrupt change was not what I was expecting, so for the most part, we have a new storyline and for anyone wanting to jump in, can do so with this volume.
What are the true plans of the Terraformars on Earth? And can the humans stop them? Find out what happens in Vol. 18 of “Terra Formars”!