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Towards the Terra



In the future where Earth was ecologically destroyed and humanity fled to the stars, doting itself of a computer controlled and fairly totalitarian government so as to avoid the mistake of the past. Children are created by biotechnology, then given to foster parents until they're 14, when they pass an "adulthood test", get most of their memories of their childhood erased and get send to orbital schools. Jomy is a teenager who, on the day he passes his own adulthood test, finds out that he is a Mu, one of the humans gifted with psychic powers and reviled by humans for it. As the computer orders his death, he is rescued by other Mu. On the other side of things, Keith Anyan is an elite young student who mysteriously retained zero memories of his childhood as he starts his higher education, and whom the computer controlling the orbital school has very high expectation of.

Adapted from a 70s manga, Towards the Terra really rocks the old school Sci-Fi vibe. I guess it might be a bit of an acquired taste, but AE Van Vogt and MZ Bradley were my favourite writers when I was 12, so I loved it. It helps that it's got some excellent storytelling and very decent characterisation, with the emotional high point of the series really compelling and well executed (with the exception of the finale episode, which felt a bit badly rushed through) and a good sense of epic and tragic events making the plot. It's got a very quick pacing (sometimes perhaps a little too quick) with some pretty drastic time jumps, which are well used to develop characters. Some of the plot development are slightly melodramatic or rely too much on unlikely coincidences (like the way Jomy's childhood friends are kept in the story) but with the right kind of suspension of disbelief, extremely fun. While the thematics are fairly cheesy in the way they are presented, they are well explored and set up by the characters and the way we follow both Jomy and Keith a lot. Jomy's a fairly archetypal young, hot blooded hero at first, but gets well developed; Keith's your average not!quite!so!emotionless and sarcastic anti-villain, and is quite fun as such, especially early in his story. Other important secondary characters are also well done (and it looks like the adaptation made a good work of filling some flimsy characterisation in some cases) though none are very original or deep.

The animation is pretty good and fluid, and I rather like the character design style - old school that it is. I love how characters wear capes and diadems and even headphones of power. It's all very disco ;) The soundtrack is also very good and atmospheric.

Sadly, the setting also shows its age on the gender, with female characters saddled with little presence, agency and power - despite the effort of adaptation to increase their relevance - or on the weird way the only place we see dark skinned are two minor characters amongst the Mu. On the other hand, we have a lot of slashiness, which should come as no surprise given that the original manga was written by Keiko Takemiya.

For a very random appeal, Towards the Terra has a couple of vague plot resemblance with the new BSG, except it executed those right and mostly coherently which made me feel very vindicated.

In conclusion, a very solidly entertaining work, if it fits your taste.

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Etrangere's anime reviews

September 2011

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