Welcome to this week’s article of The Good, Bad, and What The?, where we took a good, long look at characters in movies, video games, anime, and books and put them on the judgement table to see if they are worthy to be in their respective stories. I strongly believe that well developed characters are more important than anything else in a good story, so I always judge them hard. At the end of every character’s evaluation I will give them one of four ratings: Good for those characters that are developed and deserve their place in the story, Bad for those characters that have no place being made or interacting with anyone else in the story, What The for the characters I just can’t figure out, and then the characters who are dull as dishwasher will get the rating of Sack of Potatoes. Today on the judgement table: the superhuman cockroaches that are the main antagonist of the anime “Terra Formars“.
“Terra Formars” takes place in the future of Earth, year 2577. The humans on Earth are coming down with a disease called the AE virus that has a 100% mortality rate. This virus is coming from Mars and the strange cockroaches known as Terra Formars that now control the planet. In the 21st century scientists sent up a special algae and cockroaches to Mars so that it would become inhabitable. The algae would cleanse the atmosphere and create plant life while the cockroaches would spread and keep the algae alive. Somehow though, 500 years later, the cockroaches have evolved into giant humanoid creatures bulging with muscle that have an instinct to kill any and all humans. The humans believe the answer for this AE virus lies with the Terra Formars, so they send 100 people to capture and come back with Terra Formars and data on them. Similarly to the reapers in my “Mass Effect 3” article, I will be talking about the Terra Formars as though they are one character, as the Terra Formars have a hive mentality.
Before even going to the planet, the expedition known as Annex 1 was shown what they were fighting and how they would fight them. They all underwent a surgery to give them what is called a mosaic organ which allowed them to transform and gain the powers of various animals and bugs. This was the only chance they had at surviving as the Terra Formars are giant, possess super speed and strength, and are vicious killers. Annex 1 was a ship of 100 people, but before even reaching Mars, six Terra Formars got onto the ship and slaughtered many of the lower ranking team members. The power of the Terra Formars was quickly apparent.
As an antagonist, the Terra Formars are actually terrifying. It sounds ridiculous; “Oh, big scary cockroaches! Yeah, real threatening”, but these things are demons of death. They all stand at some about six and a half feet tall-some even taller-and have muscles that would make The Rock cry himself to sleep. They kill with no regard and show no emotion of any kind. Their expressions are always a blank empty stare that would give anyone the creeps. Even when losing limbs, they never break their stare or will for battle. In the second episode, one of the Terra Formars tore a man’s head off and then used the spinal cord like a sword to decapitate nearby crew members. Just six of them managed to kill more than half of the entire crew and they destroyed a large amount of the medicine that the Annex 1 team needed to transform into their animal forms. Guns and conventional human weaponry are no match from them in any way. In the second episode, they immediately instill gut wrenching fear in the weaker crew members and even give the captains some pause. They assumed the Terra Formars to be dumb but there initial attack on an important resource like the trans formative medicines meant there was more to them.
This is the first time I have done an article on an character-or in this case mass of characters-that are really not a character in the conventional sense. You don’t get deep meaningful backstory or learn about complex motives, you simply know that they fight and kill. The Terra Formars are almost more like a force of nature with a physical form rather than a regular antagonist character. This makes it so that although they may not be deeply complex, the Terra Formars’ ability to make you feel horrified and curious about them creates a huge interest point in the show. As you watch the way they act and the things they do to fight, it’s clear they have some intelligence that the humans don’t understand. Although it isn’t said out loud it’s clear they have strategies and a hierarchy of some kind. There is one particular Terra Formar you see that is clearly leading the rest and some other Terra Formars that the humans fight are more than just normal cockroaches; they have special abilities.
The Terra Formars even end up wielding human weaponry to fight. They have plans and motives, but you can’t understand what because they don’t speak or write. This made me want to keep watching just because I really wanted to know what kind of end goal or desires the Terra Formars actually had. For an enemy that is so basic and simply violent, you know there is more to discover. The show says they only want survival but I get the feeling there is more under the hood.
The verdict for the giant bugs of violent murder is Good. The Terra Formars are an enemy that is truly a force. They are a dangerous force of destruction that moves with intent and power. They are an enemy that initially I thought would be completely ridiculous but ending up being one of the most terrifying enemy I have seen in an anime. The show does a great job of conveying the sense of just how unstoppable and ravenous these enemies are. Beyond the fear they create, the Terra Formars are an enemy that should be simple and boring and yet create one of the most interesting parts of the show. I liked this anime a lot and I think its antagonist was a great execution. I do recommend the show however I have two warnings; if you can’t handle gore, don’t watch it. It is one of the goriest animes I have seen. The second warning is that it ends in a giant cliff hanger, and the manga and anime are not done.