What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a science-fiction manga series.
Akari Hizamaru, our protagonist. His childhood girlfriend got infected by a deadly virus, so he’s participating in underground death matches to try and raise money for some sort of cure… which turns out to be completely bullshit. Oh, and by the time he realizes this, she’s already dead.
Shoukichi Komachi & Michelle Davis are heading a unit who do have a clue on how to cure that virus : their plan involves going to Mars and harvesting the necessary materials there. They got to Akari slightly too late, but he can still help : you see, one needs to endure some radical surgery to be space-worthy, and he’s one of the few people whose genetics mean that his survival chances aren’t crap. (So were those two, by the way.)
We meet a few of the other candidates for the unit ; they’re so carefree I’m pretty sure at least one will die in surgery.
Now, obviously going to Mars is more trouble than just the trip. Back in the 21st century, we tried to terraform the place by sending some algua and cockroaches. The latter have evolved drastically, and are very hostile indeed. (This is at least the third recent Mars mission, and both of the others got wiped out.)
Dark, dark, dark. This show is very devoid of colour, and quite murky indeed. It’s also got some heavy censorship for the ultraviolent scenes, making them pretty much unwatchable. It’s not too bad here, as it only affects a gratuitous underground wrestling match where the details don’t really matter, but this doesn’t bode well for the inevitable future “slaughtered by cockroaches” scenes.
The manga has quite a reputation of the cockroaches being horrible racist caricatures. Well, it’s too early too tell how the anime fares on that front ; the bad news is that it’s got other prominent issues already. The exposition is very clumsy (so many infodump scenes, and the narrator still needs to barge in at the end to explain the premise properly ?) ; the characters are either quite bland or already annoying ; and the overall attempt to build atmosphere just doesn’t manage to raise enough anticipation for the main event.
By the end of this first episode, I still don’t really care about any of the characters, or the overall premise. The series may manage to salvage this false start later on, but the signs are unpromising. I’ll pass.