Alien Nine

Tagged: TV

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (2001-2002). Original title Eirian Nain. Based on the Manga by Hitoshi Tomizawa. J.C.Staff. Directed by Jiro Fujimoto and Yasuhiro Irie. Written by Sadayuki Murai. Voice cast includes Aya Hisakawa, Juri Ihata, Rei Sakuma, Kaori Shimizu and Noriko Shitaya. Four 30-minute episodes. Colour.

Twelve-year-old Yuri Otani's (Ihata) class elects her to be one of that year's Alien fighters. A trio, the school's other fighters are strong-willed Kumi Kawamura (Shimizu) and bubbly but accomplished Kasumi Tomine (Shitaya). All three are fitted out with rollerblades, knee-pads and Borgs: the latter are alien symbiotes (see Parasitism and Symbiosis), resembling winged frogs and worn like helmets; they produce drill-like weaponry when needed. The trio are told by their supervising teacher Megumi Hisakawa (Hisakawa) to fight and capture any alien that comes to the school (a not uncommon occurrence): Kumi and Kasumi are confident and happy to do so. Yuri is scared and liable to burst into tears: this is distressing and not played for laughs.

It becomes clear that their supervisor is behind the alien attacks, and is upset when one arrives that she hadn't arranged: the school Principal (Sakuma), who like the supervisor appears to have fully fused with a Borg, wonders if there's an alien agenda she's unaware of. The new alien has a traumatic effect on the fighters, particularly Kasumi. The Anime ends with Kumi found dead in the library. In the manga Kumi is reconstructed and brought back to life by merging with her Borg, which have copies of their partner's memories. It turns out humans are ideal symbiotic partners and other aliens want to reap the benefits too.

The anime's end point, in terms of story, is frustrating (but not unique in anime adaptions of manga). The unrolling story creates a pervading sense of unease (see Paranoia), with much of what happens clearly intended as a metaphor for puberty. Despite its dry tone and the clean art style, the show can be disturbing, with rape and incest metaphors as well as body Horror. This was a memorable, surreal (see Absurdist SF) and too short series. [SP]

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