“Going Back Home” – To Terra… (manga) – 9/10 Beach Balls

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Genre: Sci-fi/Action/Drama

Review Status: Complete (3 Volumes/3 Volumes)

Licensed: Yes, this manga is licensed in the US

Art: This looks like a cross between manga and comics from the 70’s. There are some things that could be considered rather shoujo-ish (lots of sparkles, big, expressive eyes), this still manages to stay very close to what we still consider future styles to be like and keeps a nice retro look to it.

Summary: The future. Having driven Terra to the brink of environmental collapse, humanity decides to reform itself by ushering in the age of Superior Domination (S.D.), a system of social control in which children are no longer the offspring of parents but the progeny of a universal computer. The new social order, however, results in an unexpected byproduct: the Mu, a mutant race with extrasensory powers who are forced into exile by The System.

The saga begins on educational planet Ataraxia, where Jomy Marcus Shin, a brash and unpredictable teenager, is nervously preparing to enter adult society. When his maturity check goes wrong, the Mu intervene in the great hope that Jomy, who possesses Mu telepathy and human physical strength, can lead them back home, to Terra… (from the back cover of the first volume)

Review: Humans have a tendency to dislike what they can’t understand. This holds true to other humans, other cultures, and in this future that is depicted, other species. They react to this in many ways, much of them violent and terrible. In this future, humans kill Mu as soon as they are discovered. Since Mu can be found at any age, this means children and adults alike are subject to brutal extermination. All the Mu want, though, is the chance to live life normally back on Earth- even if it’s not among the humans, then at least in peace.

Jomy, a boy who is subjected to many tests for psychic powers over his childhood, is finally captured by the Mu because their leader, Soldier Blue, realized Jomy is the perfect Mu… one born without a disability or weak body as most Mu are, and with strong psychic abilities. Jomy is named the future leader of the Mu- against much opposition and hatred from the rest. At the same time, Keith Anyan, an elite member of human society that has strong anti-psychic abilities, is being raised on a ship that readies humans for their trip back to Terra. He is favored by ‘mother’, the computer that controls the lives of everyone on board. No one knows why he is, but he displays excellent reflexes and very little emotion outside of a drive to get rid of the Mu.

Their stories are told side by side- those of the Mu that want peace and to live out their lives happily, and those of the humans that want nothing more than to get rid of them. There are certain questions that go throughout the story- why does the computer wish the Mu to be exterminated? Why can’t the computer get rid of the gene that creates the Mu? Can humans and Mu really live peacefully together? As the Mu destroy the computers on the ‘educational planets’, Mu children are taken in and cared for by the human caretakers. Efforts are stepped up on Terra to find and eliminate Mu and potential Mu, at any cost. Mu of any age are used in horrific experiments or outright killed. When the Mu finally arrive, there’s a battle of epic proportions- pitting the destinies of both against each other.

This presents issues of being different and change in an interesting light. Neither the Mu nor the humans are always right in their actions- Jomy remains the only character that attempts to treat others with kindness and understanding, though with the pressures and disappointments of command he is not always successful. Other Mu tend to have the same disdain towards humans that humans do for Mu, but never resort to outright murder or violence against them. Humans tend to be shortsighted and easily controlled, except for Keith, who has no past and comes to know he is merely a tool for the computers. How can both end up living together? Can there be peace for humans and Mu?

This answers the question in an interesting way. While the ending is happy in some ways, it is most tragic in others. But both do show that they can live together and help each other when the situation is dire, and that doesn’t change.

Overall, this was a moving story about people who wanted to be accepted.

Recommended: 13+. I can count the scenes with nudity in them on one hand. They are almost all Barbie-doll nudity, except one panel where Physis is in a glass case, and you see her breasts. There was one swear that I recall in the entire 3 volumes. This has unusually graphic death scenes. While there is no gore and the actual injuries are undetailed, people are burned alive, one man dies when he loses half his body to a weapon, another is shot through the heart, and others are crushed with falling rocks. What’s surprising is that as undetailed as the pictures are, it’s the injuries and deaths themselves that are quite brutal.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Toward the Terra (anime)
Time of Eve (anime)
Real Drive (anime)
Jyu-Oh-Sei (anime and manga)


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