TITLE: Terra Formars Vol. 19
YEAR: October 2017 (USA release)
COMPANY: Viz Media
Story by Yu Sasuga
Art by Ken-Ichi Tachibana
The Terra Formars are on Earth and they are experimenting on humans and now the humans are going to fight back by infiltrating their facility somewhere in the East China Sea.
Recruited by the government is Joichi Hongo, Akari Hazamaru, Kyo Hyuga and Kanako Sanjo, their goal, to find, seize and capture the long time Terra Formar who has been on Earth for at least 20 years, known as the Invoker but to also free the missing Japanese who have been taken.
All this and more in vol. 19 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?
As the story now focuses on familiar faces, a group consisting of Joichi Hongo, Akari Hazamaru, Kyo Hyuga and Kanako Sanjo formed by the Japanese government to free the Japanese being held against their will and are being experimented by a Terra Formar known as the Invoker.
And just when things are looking bad for the Japanese team, out of nowhere comes some extra help from the Americans, featuring Michelle K. Davis, the commander of Team 4 of the American Space Force called the Spacials.
And after feeling a bit down on the last few volumes as it really deviated from the story that we have been enjoying all this time, seeing the teams fighting against all odds on Mars, with issue #19, Japan and USA, specifically Akari and Michelle are back together again and what an exciting volume this turned out to be!
Not only do we get to see familiar faces from the Japan side but also the US side and to see once again, China and another group/individuals as the primary antagonists.
It does get a bit chaotic with this final issue and with so many people back together, some may get confused with all these characters showing up. But hopefully we see how these character dynamics play out for issue 20.
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” an exciting series. Granted, when the series abruptly changed from Mars to Earth, that was probably the series major downpoint as getting readers to go fastforward was not an easy task and rightfully upset many fans of the series. But with this issue, you see a glimpse of promise now that characters from that second Mars mission who survived from both Japan and USA are together again!
What are the true plans of the Terraformars on Earth? And how will the Invoker and China respond to Team Japan and USA’s infiltration of the facility? Find out in an action-packed Vol. 19 of “Terra Formars”!