[Readers Request] Terra e… – Episode 1 & 2
When I signed up for the Readers Request even I was pretty excited about the idea of blogging a show that someone wanted to read about that hadn’t been covered, but when I found out one of the options was Terra e… I became ecstatic!
Why, you ask? It turns out that I’ve been planning to rewatch it for a while now since this is one of my favorite shows of all time and this is the perfect opportunity for it! I have so many feelings for this show, so much love! Well, you’ll probably be able to tell while you join me on this wonderful journey!
I must say that this will be my fourth time watching this show and I’m looking forward to the change of putting down into words why I like it so much. The last time I watched it was about 5 years ago, so it’s been a while. Parts of it I might remember differently and I’ve watched a lot of shows in the last few years, so let’s see if Terra e… holds up to my new critical eye.
The first thing I will admit is that this show doesn’t have a super strong premiere, but it’s from a time when the 3 episode rule was more in vogue. It also never had a BD release, only DVD, so the highest resolution available is 720p and the animation isn’t always stellar. I’ve wondered before why this show isn’t more popular, but I suppose the art might not appeal to some modern viewers and it aired alongside other titles that have become really popular, so it had some hardcore competition. Shows like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Code Geass, to name a couple. For someone watching the first time I can imagine it could be a confusing watch at first, but having a little patience brings great payoff later on.
Terra e… follows Jomy and his life in Ataraxia. This is a human colony away from earth as earth has been abandoned after pollution made it inhabitable. The episode starts with a little exposition explaining why man flew to far off planets and then, after the opening sequence, episode one puts us inside a dream Jomy is having. This dream is very important because it predicts future events and because it also influences Jomy’s life directly when he narrates it to his friends later.
The world of Ataraxia is quite classic late 70s imagined future sci-fi. Human colonies controlled by supercomputers where children are brought up in seemingly perfect environments. Terra e… as a franchise is based on a manga by Takemiya Keiko which was then adapted into an anime movie in the 80s. The revival of the franchise in 2007 required a bit of refreshing so the character designs were changed a bit, yet you can still get a sort of nostalgic aesthetic from the drawings.
After Jomy abruptly wakes up from his dream he has to get ready for school and we learn it’s the last day of his childhood and the next day he’ll have his adulthood test on his 14th birthday. He’ll have to fend for himself and live alone so we follow his last day as a child and notice he isn’t really mature enough to be considered an adult, but that’s part of the reason why others are worried about Jomy.
During one of the breaks in class he talks to his friends about his dream and a camera is shown listening in when he mentions the Mu. Later on a group of people from the government arrive to his house to do a psychological evaluation after it’s confirmed the Mu made contact with Jomy. The evaluation concludes with no abnormal results, so he is let go.
The next day Jomy says goodbye to his parents and takes off. He ends off going to this park he used to visit as a kid with his parents and here he comes in contact with a Crying Mouse, one of the place’s attractions. The mouse talks to him and Jomy is puzzled by a bystander seems to know what happened.
Jomy doesn’t think much of it and just boards a ride instead. As he’s inside, his adulthood test begins and the computer Terras number 5 informs him that his memories will be erased. While this is happening, Soldier Blue appears and attacks the computer. The park is shut down immediately and the test stops. The ride Jomy was in crashes and he starts being pursued.
As he walks around he runs into the crying mouse again who tells him that they are both now going home as neither of them belongs there. The mouse escapes its cage and jumps onto Jomy’s arms. Right then a bunch of soldiers appear and inform Jomy he’s been deemed inadequate and the episode ends.
One of the things that always gets me in this first episode is the darkness lurking underneath the niceness of this utopia. The government agents and Terras number 5 being soothing and professional with citizens until the concept of Mu is brought up, then it’s all violence and punishment. This is the reason why I thought it was worth continuing watching back when I first watched this show: who were this Mu and why were they so hated?
Get ready to find out!
The obvious thing in this episode is that the relationship between Jomy and the Mu does not start on good terms. When episode 2 starts, Jomy is being shot at for reasons he can’t understand, he’s carrying the crying mouse in his arms and suddenly someone gives him instructions. He follows the instructions for the sake of safety, I assume, and soon he’s jumping onto the flying ship of a rescuer.
The man introduces himself as Leo and he communicates with Jomy though ‘thought waves’. He is mute so this is his only way to speak with Jomy. They fly away from the park but they are still being pursued by government forces. Leo tells Jomy that what he knows of the world is not the truth and soon the ship leaves Ataraxia with a distressed Jomy inside.
Eventually the pursuers are shot down and Leo is able to relax a little, then suddenly a huge ship emerges from the clouds temporarily for them to board. As they get off the flying craft inside the ship, they are received by a party of people who are very excited to see them. The Mu welcome Jomy to the Shangri La, their mothership.
Jomy is very upset about the fact that they’re being awfully welcoming. He claims that he’s a human and not one of the Mu and that they should all stop trying to speak in his head. Jomy is angry and storms off, while the Mu are not very pleased with his attitude.
It’s interesting that in both groups of young and old Mu you can find people who try to be forgiving of his attitude and others that find him ungrateful and arrogant. Some say Soldier has made a mistake in choosing and saving Jomy, but the forgiving ones mention the fact that Jomy does indeed show potential for being a Mu, even if he himself thinks he’s human.
There is a really nice scene in this episode where Jomy enters a classroom and he’s given a history lesson. It’s a good way to include exposition for the viewer in a way that is meaningful for the character and it’s also good background information for the world-building. I really appreciate details like that in this show.
After coming in contact with different members of the cast, getting along with the children and getting into a fight with another kid, Jomy finally meets Physis, the woman from his dream. He’s frustrated by the whole situation he was thrown in without his consent and soon he also gets to talk to Soldier Blue.
He openly blames the Mu for getting him mixed up in their situation. He feels he has nothing to do with them and if Blue hadn’t messed up with the test, then Jomy would still have his regular peaceful life in Ataraxia, even now he wants nothing but to go back there! Blue concedes defeat and asks Leo to take Jomy back as soon as possible. With this the second episode ends and you can’t but wonder if things really will go as smoothly as Jomy wants them to be, right? Well, for seasoned anime watchers the answer to that might be a bit obvious, but remember that sometimes it’s not about the destination, but how you get there!