Wednesday, July 6, 2016

ANI-MOVIES, *Toward The Terra

Based on a late 70s manga, Toward The Terra was a 1980 anime movie compressing the entire 3-year long comic into a single movie. This was a common practice with anime films based on manga back then, instead of simply adapting a story arc or two from it instead. It was especially true of dramatic space operas that which were huge at the time. The best way to describe this epic though is "X-Men meets Star Wars".

In the far off future, people are produced in test tubes instead of natural birth where they are raised by a pair of chosen parents, and then go through a special orientation where for some reason their memories are altered to not remember their parents. From there, they are made brainwashed citizens of the SD(Super Dominance), which is an AI that governs over all the humans. However, some humans slip through the system because they are born psychic, who form their own group known as the Mu. The Mu are trying to make their way back to the Earth which is under the total control of the SD, mostly due to mankind's horrible treatment to the environment during the 20th-21st Century. One of the newly revealed Mu, Jomy, takes up the mantle of their commander, Soldier Blue, after accepting his position and inheriting his memories. Jomy leads the Mu to an inhabitable planet, which is inevitably attacked by the SD and their commander Keith, who is later revealed to be an android(or at least a synthetic lifeform). Jomy's son Tony, the first naturally born child in the Mu, eventually leads the Mu to Earth, and a massive battle commences between the Mu with their psychic powers and stolen space weapons fighting the collected might of the SD forces. SD is revealed to have been flawed in its programming as it allowed the Mu to be produced in the first place as a contingency against allowing mankind to become stagnant in its evolution due to artificial reproduction. The Earth itself begins to reform itself after being liberated from the AI's control.

The movie works out as a good narration of the manga, although it jumps around with all the time skips done in the original story, again stressing that its difficult to take even a manga that only lasted 3 volumes and condensing it down into a single feature. The entire manga has been released in English recently by Vertical, plus the TV series through Bandai Entertainment. The movie was put out originally on VHS by Right Stuff, and eventually DVD, but both versions are in Japanese only with subtitles, so this might be a put-off for the standard Toonami audience. Its still a classic blast from the past for old school sci-fi fans with some lively animation.

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