Story: Yu Sasuga
Art: Ken-ichi Tachibana
Translation: John Werry
What They Say
In Terra Formars volume 11, it’s the late 26th century, overpopulation on Earth is reaching the breaking point, and humanity must find new frontiers. The terraforming of Mars has taken centuries but is now complete. The colonization of Mars by humanity is an epoch-making event, but an unintended side effect of the terraforming process unleashes a horror no one could ever have imagined…
In a bid to contact Earth for help, Keiji and the others from Division 1 infiltrate the Annex 1 and head for the communications center. With the release of Hong’s bioweapon, the mission is dangerous even without the ongoing threat from the terraformars. Getting a message through to Earth may be the last chance anyone from the Annex 1 mission has to survive, but even if they can contact home base, will the leaders on Earth agree to help?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
As our heroes continue their infiltration, Hong starts to get cold feet about killing people. To make matters worse for the timid bioweapon, it soon becomes clear that the terraformars have realized what’s going on and are now aiming for her directly. Oh, and they also screw over our heroes’ plan by stealing the extra protective suits, and then wrecking whatever was left. So yeah, they certainly seemed to have evolved in their tactics quite a bit. Bao puts in a valiant effort to protect Hong, but he’s eventually nicked by some toxin, and is only saved when the girl herself jumps into the fray.
Things get even messier when Xi shows up for the rescue, and then Keiji appears to go on the offensive. And it’s here that things get a little awkward, as it turns out Keiji is a hard-line “I don’t hit girls” type, which is always a tad controversial. As a result, what follows will either be an impressive display of guts in sticking to convictions or holding to a sexist notion to the point of ridiculousness, depending on your point of view. Still, it works out at least a bit more smoothly either way as it turns out Keiji’s true goal was stalling so that his comrades could sneak into the communications room.
After this we get Wolf’s backstory and… it’s a bit awkward. Apparently he was super responsible, having graduated college and got a “good job” as a programmer… in which he was overworked to the point where he literally couldn’t have a life outside of his job, to the degree that he was forced to pull overtime and couldn’t get time off for his wedding. Which he just barely made at the cost of having to leave in an obscure bug, which cost him his job. And maaaaaaybe that could’ve been justified if more was added, but seriously, couldn’t he have changed jobs before it got to that point, or at least gotten a new job afterwards? But yeah, with that out of the way the rest of the volume mostly turns into an over the top hacking job, with a brief stop for a pretty neat little fight in which Xi and Keiji tag team a terraformar.
So this volume is a bit of an odd entry, containing some rather unusual odds and ends throughout. Perhaps foremost is a rather old and outdated trope rearing its head in full force, which may turn some folks off as it’s honestly at least a little sexist. Oh, and we get another bit of character background, but this time it feels more than a bit forced and awkward, which is a shame. On the other hand, there’s some actually decently done “extreme hacking” throughout much of the volume, which does a surprisingly good job of keeping up the tension considering how easy it is for such things to end up completely silly. And we do at least get a pretty cool brief fight, so it’s not all bad in terms of action. All in all, this adds up to a volume that’s certainly not a standout entry, but it’s fortunately not a complete bust either.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Grade: B+
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: March 8th, 2016