Manga: Terrafor MARS

TerraforMARS (alternatively Terra ForMars or Terra Formars) is a currently ongoing action/sci-fi manga written by Yu Sasuga and illustrated by Kenichi Tachibana.

The year is 2599. Humanity has reached an unsustainable level of overpopulation on Earth, and is beginning what would be the final stages of terraforming and colonizing Mars. The plan by late 21st century scientists was to release a form of moss on the planet along with cockroaches, who in turn would grow and eat, and their corpses would contribute to the moss growth, eventually leading to enough of a greenhouse effect for a breathable atmosphere to take hold. Recently a team named Bugs #1 went to Mars to exterminate the roaches, since the atmosphere had developed enough that the moss alone could finish the job. However, contact was lost with them almost immediately after arrival.

Now it is the time of the second expedition, Bugs #2. Upon arriving, the team found out what caused Bugs #1 to lose contact: the roaches. Having hyper-evolved in the last 500 years (hinted due to alien influence), they are now 7 ft tall cavemen-like humanoid creatures who posses their original proportional strength as bugs (50 times their body mass), and the seeming ability to keep evolving against anything that can kill them. However, the company that sent out Bugs #2 knew this was going to happen, and had prepared for it. The team members are all able to take on aspects of other creatures in the animal kingdom, and use that proportional abilities and unique insect powers to fight back against the nearly endless hordes of roaches.

Very explicit and bloody, and in many ways is a Spiritual Successor to Gantz. In 2014, the series gained an OVA covering the BUGS 2 arc and a 13 episode TV anime adaptation covering the Annex I arc.

Now has a Character Sheet in the works.

This manga provides examples of

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Pretty much any character who has an adaptation which gives them a blade.
  • Action Girl: While this generally applies to any of the female cast, Michelle stands out as an example of an Action Girl amongst a cast of them.
  • Adaptive Ability: The bugs as a whole.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Michelle as the stand out example, again.
  • Anyone Can Die: For instance Bugs #1 is annihilated by the first prequel chapter and there are only two survivors from Bugs 2 by the end of the first volume.
    • Before the end of the second chapter, the main male character's girlfriend is given a One-Hit Kill in the first encounter with the bugs.
  • Arc Words: "The memory left by Rahab". As of this point, we don't know who or what Rahab is, just that he/she/it is probably responsible for what the roaches have become in just 500 years.
  • Artificial Gravity
  • Artistic License Biology: This almost doesn't need to be said. While the actual attributes and abilities of the insects they are based on are true, you can't just turn humans into human-bug hybrids outside of the X-Men. Not to say anything about the roaches' hyper-evolution, which is less like evolution and closer to the adaptation ability of the Borg. To further complicate matters the moths that were left on Mars seem to be evolving even faster than the cockroaches. Showing fingers on their bodies. Despite basically being a foodsource or the cockroaches that strengthens them.
  • Author Appeal: Yu Sasuga is clearly a big fan of Kamen Rider, especially considering one of the most sympathetic characters in Bugs #2 was a locust-human.
  • Bad Ass: Many of the people fighting the Terra Formars have to be this in order to stand a chance.
  • Badass Israeli: God Lee of Bugs #2, the ground beetle-human. Was also the first to die in combat against the roaches.
  • Badass Normal: George Smiles of Bugs #1. First human to kill a Terra Formar without any special surgery, abilities, or tricks.
  • Bee People: Quite literally in one of our main characters. Specifically, he's a Japanese Giant Hornet.
  • Berserker Tears: Marcos has a real bad case of them in episode 4 when Shelia is killed and it continue in episode 5.
  • Bowdlerization: The TV cut of the anime as seen on Crunchyroll has the gory parts obviously censored to an almost unwatchable degree.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Victoria Wood attempts this on a pair of newly hatched roaches. It doesn't work out very well for her.
  • Body Horror: If a human dopes on too much of the transformation drug, they become too insectoid and cant transform back, becoming more biologically insect than human. Since an insect's biology is not meant for a human sized creature, Reality Ensues, and the person in question dies.
  • Bug War: Though in a twist, the human are more bug-like when transformed than the roaches.
  • Boxing Battler: Keiji Onizuka
  • Catch Phrase: "Don't underestimate humanity!", said by several characters.
  • Characters Dropping Like Flies: In the first volume, and during several chapters once the Annex reaches Mars.
  • Chased by Angry Natives : What happen during the Bugs missions is clearly a variation of this trope. during the Annex I mission, it become less clear.
  • Clones Are People Too: Bao's clones invoke this when they were revealed, and each has his own personality and dreams in life.
  • Complete Immortality: Hiruma's power. Nothing can kill him while he's in his hibernation state. Balanced by the fact that he has to sleep during it, and it's the only power he has.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: so horribly averted.
  • Chocolate Baby: Adolf Reinhardt's son may not be his own as his wife was having an affair at the time, and his son fails to gain any of his father's experiment genes. Made more explicit in the anime, where the paternity test turns out negative.
    Genetic relationship between father and son: 0%
  • Creepy Cockroach: The manga can't exist without this trope.
    • It's stated fairly early on in the manga that this trope is actually also inverted and that the newly evolved humanoid cockroaches actually find humans just as creepy as humans tend to find regular cockroaches and act almost reflexively to exterminate them.
  • Determinator: Pretty much every character, even the bugs.
  • Dwindling Party: Bugs#2 during volume 1. Similarly the third expedition started with 100 people and their numbers are rapidly dwindling.
  • Elite Mooks: The roaches with the bug powers copied from the crew of Bugs #2.
  • Gorn
  • Fragile Speedster: Marcos is definitely this after transforming, being blessed with quick movements and fierce strength but unfortunately doesn't have much endurance and as a result must catch his breath on the battle field.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Akari killing the bear in Episode 1 of the anime is awkwardly censored.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Sylvester Asimov can easily regenerate lost limbs after transforming.
  • Gender Is No Object: It is 500 years later after all.
  • Heroic RROD: The transformation drug regenerates damaged organs by forcing cell division and the production of new cells, cutting the user's lifespan. Overdosing on the drug confers massive increases in strength and powers, at the cost of turning more into the base organism, and carries a risk of the changes becoming irreversible.
  • Horny Vikings: Played with, with Maria Viren of Bugs #2 and Alexander Asimov of Annex I. When they turn to their mutant form, horn like organs appear on their heads, and their are both Russian.
  • Human Resources: Bao's "budding" process requires a lot of energy and organic matter. Given that a lot of corpses were left behind when Annex 1 was abandoned...
  • Instant Expert: The bugs somehow manage to learn how to use human equipment despite the fact that the most advanced weapon they had previously was a club.
    • A large part of this is hinted to be the result of the fact that the bug's brains have evolved as much as their bodies (and have some sort of extraterrestrial tech available to help educate them). They have, by Bugs #3, become as smart as humans, if not more so, and simply lacked the necessary infrastructure needed to be able to build an industrial base like the humans have. Given that each Bugs missions has several years between them, this has given the roaches plenty of time to learn the basics of whatever tech they capture from previous missions, and from what they learn from that, allows them to quickly master any new tech they receive.
    • Later is it shown that the Chinese sent simple pictures as instructions in a probe to educate the roaches so they could attack the Annex I and they could initiate their coup during Plan Delta. This included plans of the Annex I, how the M.O Operation and the drug granted humans powers, the location of the drug on the ship, the evacuation plans and how to drive human vehicles.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The roaches, even in their most base form.
  • Manly Tears: Akari does this almost immediately after learning his childhood friend has passed away. Shokichi also does this, but because Akari's predicament reminds him his own.
  • Meaningful Name: The series title can be read as both "Terra for Mars", referencing the project that drives the basic plot, and as a slightly slurred pronunciation of "Terraformers", which the titular roaches were created to be.
  • Me's a Crowd: Bao from the Chinese team has the sea squirt as his base, allowing self-replication by "budding".
  • Mood Whiplash: During the third expedition, some of the male characters are debating whether to peep on a woman in the shower room. And then it turns out a flying roach had infiltrated the ship and brutally killed her. And then all hell breaks loose.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Adolf Reinhardt may have killed the roaches leader, the single genius of their species who was responsible for giving other members Bugs Surgery but in doing so, he forced the species as a whole to increase the quality of the individual's intelligence, making it so they would no longer need a genius to lead them.
  • One-Hit Kill: One of the things which keeps happening to the crews, which is to be expected from enemies which are Lightning Bruiser level fast and strong at the mook level.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Those who have undergone the Bacteria-type M.O operation, effectively turning them into biological weapons capable of killing an entire swarm of Terra Formars in less than a minute
  • Poor Communication Kills: This appears to be at first the reason behind why the roaches wanted to kill us as soon as we first saw them, but later it turns out that they just have an instinctual need to "squish" us much like how we do towards regular roaches.
  • Power Copying: Some of the roaches facing the third expedition have somehow evolved to be able to use the bug powers that the crew of Bugs #2 used.
    • They have also stole powers from the Annex I crew, like Marcia's Archerfish M.O Operation. The Demon Dragonfly Terraformar also stole body parts from the Chinese, Russian, American and Japanesse teams on his first appearance, possibly to steal those powers too.
  • Precision F-Strike: The Chinese clone trooper, Bao's Famous Last Words, 我操 or "fuck" in Chinese and subbed in English.
  • Rated M for Manly
  • Rule of Symbolism: The Bible (specifically, passages depicting plagues and afflictions) is quoted and referenced down to the chapter and verse every time someone intentionally overdoses on the transformation drug, metaphorically turning into a plague upon the roaches. The first time is when Thien, a Desert Locust hybrid, rips apart a room full of roaches. Cue quote from the Plague of Locusts.Then Adolf (who has an electric eel base) performs a Last Stand in an attempt to save the German team; cue a quote from the Plague of Hail and Lightning. Later Shoukichi overdoses performing a You Shall Not Pass to allow his team and Sylvester's to escape a horde of roaches; cue Deuteronomy 7:20.
  • Scenery Porn: For a desolate red wasteland, Kenichi Tachibana can make the mountainous terrain of Mars look beautiful.
  • Slasher Smile: While the roaches usually have expressionless faces, some of them pull off this.
  • Starfish Language: The roaches clearly have some form of language, but to us it just sounds like "Juh" over and over with different inflections.
  • Shock and Awe: Adolf Reinhardt's M.O. Operation is the Electric Eel, allowing him to generate incredibly powerful electric shocks, but also shocking himself, which is why he has multiple implants to help him with that..
  • Simple Staff: Marcos's weapon of choice, the Archnebuster Mk.II.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Averted with the Mars teams who work together perfectly (and they need to just to stand a chance at surviving) despite all being from different countries. However there are hints that there is friction between the higher ups of each country.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: It's the 2600s and all that's shown to have changed is that society's gotten worse due to overpopulation and some improvements in space travel.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: The roaches started out as this. By the end of volume 1, there were new roaches born that instinctively knew how to counter martial arts styles and took combat stances when fighting.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Michelle breaks out several wrestling moves, most notably a Figure-Four Leg Lock and a Frankensteiner on the roaches.
  • Zerg Rush: The roaches generally outnumber the humans in any engagement though not to an absurd extent. However, they're still extremely strong.