In the year 2599 AD, overpopulation on Earth has reached the breaking point, and humanity must find new frontiers and a new home. In preparation for this, Earth has been, for centuries, terraforming Mars by introducing moss and cockroaches. Two missions, Bugs 1 and Bugs 2, travel to Mars to see the result of that terraforming. What they find is the horror called Terra Formars.
Terra Formars, Vol. 2 (Chapters 1 to 8) opens in the year, 2619, which is 20 years after the ill-fated Bugs 2 mission. Now, there is a new mission, Annex 1. Captain Shokichi Komachi, chief of U-NASA's Mars Exploration Team, and his second, Michelle K. Davis, begin recruiting the four officers and 94 crew members that will accompany them on this new mission to Mars.
They start with 20-year-old Akari Hizamaru. He was “born after the procedure,” and is stronger than normal humans. He uses his abilities to fight in gladiator-like wrestling matches. He needs the prize money from these fights for the surgery that will save fellow orphan, Yuriko. Her illness, the A.E. Virus, is precisely the reason for the Annex 1 mission. Will Hizamaru agree to join the mission, one he knows that is very dangerous... perhaps more dangerous than anyone realizes?
THE LOWDOWN: The Terra Formars manga is a strange manga. Illustrated by Ken-ichi Tachibana and written by Yu Sasuga, it is a science fiction horror manga, and it is equally both.
Although I liked Vol. 1, I was a bit hesitant about praising it. After reading Terra Formars Volume 2, I am sold on this manga. The character drama can be melodramatic and heavy-handed soap opera. There is a fair amount of political intrigue and conspiracy, although this is uncomplicated. Where Terra Formars is really good is the horror on Mars; it can be blood-curdling, and bodies are torn apart with the kind of glee reserved for slasher horror movies. I think readers looking for shocking science fiction manga will want to try Terra Formars. I am curious to see where this series goes.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of seinen science fiction manga will want to try the VIZ Signature title, Terra Formars.