Takashi Miike to direct live action TERRA FORMARS adaptation

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I don’t watch much anime. I have nothing against Japanese animation, other than it is a soft pillow for someone to pretend they actually care about animation or its associated art forms. It’s a little like meeting someone who proclaims their love for music, but all they listen to are boy bands. So, nothing against the game – it’s the fans who get to me.

That and anything that appears to have an episode count that rivals the number of pages in the Bible seems to me to require some critical editing. If you can watch five hundred episodes of something called Giant Robot Fantastic Fist Slam Alien Girl Fight and not question the direction of your life, then we may differ in opinion.

But anime and its comic cousin manga is rich ground for interesting ideas, ones that are frequently visited by Asian filmmakers. Takashi Miike, the godfather of Japanese shock cinema and also no slouch when it comes to Yakuza and Samurai themes, has been there too. His most memorable adaptation was the (for its day) ultra-violent Ichi The Killer and Miike has a knack for getting to the nerve of a project – easily matching one of the greatest adaptations ever: Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale.

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So, I don’t know what the hell Terra Formars is, but that Miike wants to adapt it into a movie sounds like a great idea to me. Investigating the manga in question makes this even more exciting: humans terraform Mars with the help of cockroaches, but when they get there the roaches have evolved into giant humanoids hell bent of exterminating humanity. This taps two things I always love in science fiction: Mars and giant insects. Here’s a synposis:

Humanity has attempted to colonize Mars by sending cockroaches and mold to the red planet in order to purify the atmosphere for future generations. Over 500 years have passed, and mankind has sent expedition teams to the planet in hopes of surveying the recent progress. However, they were not expecting giant mutated human cockroaches that mercilessly slaughter the arriving humans. With a mysterious new super virus threatening mankind on Earth, a new team of super humans are gathered for another mission to Mars in search of a cure for the mysterious virus that now plagues mankind.

Judging by the art work, my idea of a giant cockroach differs from those of the manga (and its subsequent animated spin-offs), but on the other hand the Internet assures me it will be gory, teasing phrases like “brutal cockroach violence.” I never thought I’d be happy to read that phrase. Miike is no slouch in that department, though he isn’t exactly a gore hound director and his films are generally more disturbing than a binge of blood and guts. Also, the so-called Agitator has been a little more selective in his later films: 13 Assassins didn’t glamorise its violence and One Missed Call traded blood for that touch of sinister Japanese horror.

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Still, Miike is not someone to censor himself and an ultra-violent epic about humans fighting cockroach mutants sounds like something he’ll handle with respect.

Last Updated: February 19, 2015

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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