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Manga / Toward the Terra

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"Sleeping lions deep in space.
Awaken to the far reaches of eternal time.
Awaken, go beyond the billions of shining stars, and come to Terra."

In a distant future, humankind has destroyed the natural habitat of its homeplanet Terra and colonized other stars. Humanity is controlled by supercomputers, and children are born in test tubes and then handed to suitable foster parents. All children go through a psychological maturity check at the age of 14, where their unnecessary childhood memories are erased. The children, now blank slates for propaganda and brainwashing, are taken to space stations for further education.

However, a new race of psychic humans have emerged from the maturity checks; they are called the Mu and and are considered a threat to the strictly controlled society. The Mu stay hidden, trying to rescue as many Mu children as they can, while they long to return to the fabled homeplanet Terra. The Mu have physical defects and are weak compared to normal humans, to balance out their extraordinary superpowers.

Toward the Terra, also known as Terra e... or To Terra..., was created by mangaka Keiko Takemiya, and was originally serialized in Gekkan Manga Shonen from 1977 to 1980. It was first adapted for animation as a 1980 film. In 2007 the manga was adapted again, this time as a 24-episode anime series. Thus far, the tropes listed on this article mostly concern the anime version, as the manga, anime and movie all have large differences in plot details and characterisation.

Toward the Terra is a Space Opera of epic proportions, covering approximately five decades worth of events. It's an old school sci-fi series with complex Character Development, starting slow but gradually building its story to an extremely emotional ride through the galaxy.

Now has a character sheet.

Toward the Terra provides examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: Except in the manga epilogue
  • Action Girl: Artella
  • Ascended Extra: Suena was barely in the original manga, but gets a somewhat bigger role in the anime.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Matsuka
  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime managed to update the series for a modern audience while still remaining true to the spirit of the original.
    • The movie similarly retained many of the major thematic elements and characters of the manga while simultaneously streamlining and rearranging the story to fit a two-hour run time.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Let's just say there are a lot
  • Against the Setting Sun: Episode 19, when the Mu learn the location of Terra.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot
  • All Deaths Final
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The whole SD system qualifies.
  • Angst Nuke: Carina, and later Matsuka.
  • Anti-Villain: Keith
  • Anyone Can Die: First example is Shiroe in episode 9. The rampant character killing spree continues throughout the series; only a few significant named characters make it all the way to the ending.
  • Artificial Human: Keith and Physis. And arguably everyone except the Nazca kids.
  • Badass Longcoat: Keith, when he appears in public.
  • Battle Aura
  • Born Winner: Type Blue Mu, who are much more powerful than the regular Mu.
  • Beam-O-War: Jomy and Shiroe do this, as does the Mu ship Shangri-La with a satellite.
  • Beehive Barrier
  • Bishounen: Everybody but Zel, the old bald guy with the Vulcan ears. He's not so hot.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • They did manage to make peace between the Humans and the Mu, destroy the SD system and generally make the world a better(?) place, and Jomy and Keith met each other after being reincarnated in the Distant Finale. However, most of the cast die to get there, and the children of Nazca leave Terra to avoid becoming humanity's new enemy.
    • The manga, isn't much better, Terra is destroyed by Gaia's Vengeance, Physis is last seen surrounded by escapees in what may or may not be their final moments, Tony is utterly broken by the trauma of everything, the other surviving Nazca children have become Energy Beings and simply take him to where he can't see Terra. The Distant Finale shows some of the humans who left Terra for colonies far away deciding to pay a visit to abandoned Terra. Two kids met each other, implied to be the reincarnations of Physis and Blue.
  • Bizarre Baby Boom: Children born naturally on Nazca are extraordinarily powerful, but also seem to have some sociopathic tendencies, which sets them apart from the other Mu.
  • Blind Seer: Physis
  • The Bridge
  • Cast Full Of Prettyboys: Aside from Physis, who is a mostly passive character, all of the major roles in the story are occupied by beautiful men.
  • Celibate Hero
  • Creepy Child: Tony, when he tries to kill Keith. Nazca Children become even more scary after Plot-Relevant Age-Up, when Jomy decides to use their powers in a war. Even other Mu are creeped out.
  • Cool Ship: Shangri-La
  • Dead Star Walking: Seki Ray Shiroe
  • Death Seeker: Implied to be Keith's state of mind in the latter half of the series. Whether it stems from the loss of his only friend to Mu-induced lobotomy, his own growing realization of how trapped by the Superior Domination system both he and humanity are, or a combination of both is never explicitly stated.
  • DePower: Physis, after what happens to Blue at the end.
  • Deus Est Machina: Everyone obeys computers, except the Mu, of course.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Jomy destroying Grand Mother in the final showdown.
  • Distant Finale
  • Dramatic Wind: Inside spaceships, even!
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom
  • Electric Torture: Actually psychic, but the effect is the same.
  • Everything Is Online: A computer network that spreads the whole galaxy.
  • Evil Twin: The anime seems to portray Keith's connection to Physis in this way.
  • The Evils of Free Will: The reason behind the Superior Domination system.
  • Evolutionary Levels
  • Expy: A number of Tsubasa-style alternate versions of characters from other Keiko Takemiya mangas show up in the anime, the most well known being Serge from Kaze to Ki no Uta.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Physis, who is blind.
  • Fantastic Racism: Kind of the entire point, really.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel
  • Freak Lab Accident: How Blue got his Mu powers.
  • Gaia's Lament: The Backstory.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: So much gray...
    • In practice, though, the Mu are usually A Lighter Shade of Gray. Considering the system they're fighting against, this is probably intentional.
  • Goo-Goo-Godlike: Tony and the Nazca children.
  • Good is Not Nice: Glaive Murdock is portrayed as a generally jealous and arrogant jerk, yet when push comes to shove he's one of the most consistently moral characters in a series full of Grey-and-Gray Morality - he pretends he didn't receive the command to hunt the survivors of Nazca, refuses to Colony Drop a colony full of Mu hostages despite a standing order to do so when attacked, and performs a Heroic Sacrifice to take out the last Megiddo before it can destroy Terra.
  • Gratuitous English
  • The Hero Dies: Both Jomy and Keith die in the end, and at this point Keith is more of an anti-hero than a villain.
    • In the epilogue, they are shown meeting face to face in a far away future, apparently reincarnated and unaware of having known each other in the past.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Blue. And, eventually, about two-thirds of the cast.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Early on, Jomy.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Routinely.
  • Improbable Age: Subverted with Keith's first crew, who seem to be this initially but quickly prove to be inexperienced to the point of incompetence. Played straight with some members of his second crew - Lieutenant Serge, for example, looks about the same age as 17-year-old Matsuka.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Suena
  • Insufferable Genius: Shiroe
  • Kick the Dog: Nine out of ten of Keith's interactions with Matsuka fall into this category, as does his threat to drop a space station full of Mu into Jupiter's atmosphere. Jomy giving Tony the go-ahead to kill surrendering human soldiers and being willing to let Keith drop the aforementioned space station also count.
  • Knight Templar: Keith. Also possibly the Grand Mother.
  • Lady and Knight: Blue and Physis have this kind of dynamic.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The maturity checks, though other memory tampering takes place as well.
  • Legacy Character: Jomy, and later even Tony.
  • Licked by the Dog: Keith gets a lot of this from both of his Morality Pets. The licking is possibly more than figurative in the case of Matsuka - see Ho Yay.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Played straight with the Mu in the anime, but the human characters go through a variety of outfits, usually as they age and/or gain higher military ranks. The manga pretty much averts this trope, however.
  • Mind Rape
  • Morality Pet: Keith has two: Matsuka and Sam. His loyal friendship with Sam while they are both students provides a humanizing influence while Keith is young, and when Sam is mentally broken by the Mu it's the start of Keith's ruthless crusade against them. Matsuka, meanwhile, keeps Keith from becoming completely emotionally isolated during the last stages of the story, and his death saving Keith from Tony has a profound effect on Keith's attitude.
  • More than Mind Control: It's what Mother Eliza does to younger Keith in the anime. She uses some sort of hypnosis on him, but a lot of her control relies on orchestrating/influencing the key events in Keith's life, playing a caring mother-figure and talking him into following her orders without question.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Tony after he accidentally kills Matsuka.
  • Necessarily Evil: In later episodes, Keith has shifted to this from Knight Templar.
  • New Eden: Terra, at the very end, during the epilogue.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Even if there is plenty of Ho Yay, the situation is far too Serious Business for any romance between the main characters except for Tony in the manga, who gets together with Artella, although she ends up dying soon afterwards. However, this isn't the case in the 1980 movie, where Jomy is Tony's dad.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: The Megiddo
    • Averted in the manga, where the weapons used are actually described as being nuclear. The Megiddo was invented for the anime.
    • Even in the anime there is still a very (very) brief mention of arming all weapons, "even nuclear ones" early on in the series. But it's not at all important to the plot, and is easy to miss — curiously, the casual use of nuclear weapons is given no attention at all, probably because it's in space.
  • Oblivious to Love: Keith and Tony, though the second one only in anime.
  • Oddly Visible Eyebrows: Blue and Matsuka. In fact, the latter tends to have oddly visible eyes, thanks to his hairstyle.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Sort of, Keith and Physis are the male and female variations of the same genetic experiment.
  • Out-of-Clothes Experience: Jomy, during the maturity check.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • The SD system has done away with most of the significance of "family," completely doing away with natural reproduction in favor of government-controlled laboratory conception of children who are placed with designated parents. Once they're fourteen, most of their memories of their childhood are erased during the maturity check and they don't see their parents again (Jomy's are shown to have even moved out of the house he was raised in).
    • On the Mu side, most of their number escaped from government labs or were rescued from the system after their powers emerged. It's not until Nazca that they start a natural-born second generation raised by loving parents, and even the Nazca kids don't get much of a childhood thanks to the destruction of the planet and the psychic acceleration of their aging.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Type Blue Mu
  • Pet the Dog: The other ten percent of Keith's interaction with Matsuka.
  • Planar Shock Wave: Every time something gets blown up in space.
  • Physical God: Type Blue Mu subvert this. They can singlehandly destroy starships, affect people on great distance, create living organism from organic matter via telekinesis (in manga at least) and generally are far more powerful than other Mu. But they may even die after using too much of this power, because their bodies are very fragile. In bad circumstances even normal weapons present a threat.
  • Planet Terra
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Nazca Children
  • Psychic Powers:
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Seems like most Mu need to make extravagant poses to use their powers.
  • The Quest: The Mu wanting to return to Terra.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale
  • Really 700 Years Old: Blue is 300 years old: "We Mu can keep our appearances young."
  • Refusal of the Call: Jomy at first.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue is of course the blue one, Jomy is the red one - he hasn't got the name to match, but has a red cape to make up for it!
    • (Tony later becomes red to Jomy's blue)
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Shiroe
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Some deep stuff, the greed of all humanity.
  • Settling the Frontier: The refugees postpone their search for Terra and colonize a marginally inhabitable planet for a few years. Unfortunately, the humans eventually caught up with them.
  • Ship Tease
  • Shirtless Scene: Keith in the opening sequence, for no apparent reason beyond the obvious.
  • Shounen Hair: Blue
  • Shout-Out: If you pay close attention to the manga art, you'll spot an R2-D2 cameo.
  • Skintone Sclerae: Yae
  • Slow-Motion Pass-By: Tony and Matsuka
  • Space Is an Ocean: The Mu spaceship is referred to as the Space Whale.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Naska/Nazca deserves a mention, but the most notable example is probably the official subtitles' use of "Makka" for Matsuka. This is carryover from the official translation of the manga, which was done without a pronunciation guide and confused the "tsu" character with the small "tsu" which duplicates the next consonant sound, the difference between Makka (マッカ) and Matsuka (マツカ).
  • Spoiler Opening
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Characterizes quite a bit of Matsuka's relationship with Keith.
  • The Stoic: Keith
  • Taking the Bullet: Matsuka
  • Team Shot
  • Technicolor Eyes: Nazca Children
  • Telepathic Spacemen
  • Time Skip: Multiple ones!
  • Title Drop: They do this all the time. Quite a few episodes end with an epic speech with "Toward the Terra" as the closing line.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Especially Jomy, who emerges from a Time Skip as a true badass leader, but also Keith, even in spite of being pretty badass to start with.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Keith takes several, and Jomy takes one too after the destruction of Nazca.
  • The Unfettered: Jomy after destruction of Nazca, even if mostly in anime. He leads the Mu to war, gives Tony the okay to kill surrendering soldiers and is ready to abandon a station full of Mu hostages. Many Mu feel disgusted by these actions. Fortunately, he gets better.)
  • Unwanted Rescue: Jomy wasn't happy when Blue saved him from having his memories wiped out during his maturity test.
  • ‹bermensch: Nazca children have shades of this, especially in the manga.
    Tony: We're no longer human in the true sense. We're a different species, and that's fine. Unlike Jomy, I donít think we need to be human... I donít think we even need a form.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Keith
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Keith, and possibly others at various points.
  • Wham Episode: Episodes 9, 16, 21 and 22.
  • What Could Have Been: The pilot film, depending on your opinion of the anime's changes. Except for Tony's hair, which is inexplicably white.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Mu can live very long. Soldier Blue is over 300 years old and doesn't seem to age at all.
  • Worthy Opponent: Keith and Jomy are this to each other.
  • Wrench Wench: Yae

Alternative Title(s): Toward The Terra