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Iria: Zeiram the Animation

Entry updated 6 October 2021. Tagged: Film.

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1994). Ashi Productions. Directed by Tetsurō Amino. Written by Tetsurō Amino, Naruhisa Arakawa and Hajime Matsumoto. Voice cast include Aya Hisakawa, Yuzuru Fujimoto, Masaru Ikeda and Jūrōta Kosugi. Six 30-minute episodes. Colour.

Bounty hunters Glenn (Kosugi) and Bob (Ikeda) of Ghomvak Security – accompanied by Glenn's rookie sister, Iria (Hisakawa) – are hired by Teddan Tipedai, a company that owns a hijacked Spaceship. The trio are to rescue the crew and cargo. Boarding, they discover the cargo is an "immortal ferocious space Monster" (see Aliens) called Zeiram, which the company had planned to utilize; but it escaped and began killing everyone. After Bob is fatally injured, Glenn attempts to kill Zeiram by destroying the ship, sacrificing himself. Iria eventually manages to return to her home planet Mycel, to discover the assignment has been covered up by Teddan Tipedai, who try to assassinate her. Going to their HQ she discovers Bob has been Uploaded to a Computer, which she steals.

Now a fully-fledged hunter, Iria's first assignment concerns the kidnapping of Dr Touka (Fujimoto), a cranky Scientist who is an expert on Zeiram: she rescues him, but learns the monster is now on Mycel and producing Clones. Confronting Zeiram, Iria discovers it has partially assimilated Glenn: he begs her to kill him, which she does. When Dr Touka warns the authorities that Zeiram is on Mycel they are initially mocking; eventually recognizing the danger they complacently decide to Teleport Zeiram into space, though Dr Touka points out this will only be a temporary respite. Iria has herself teleported with Zeiram whilst Bob hacks the transporter, sending them to the desert. Here they battle, with Iria victorious.

As this Anime is a prequel to the live action film Zeiram (1991), where Iria fights Zeiram again with this earlier meeting unmentioned, the latter's defeat here is clearly not as fatal as it seems. Though well regarded on release (but not the English dub), it has not aged well: the plot and fight scenes are adequate rather than memorable. The animation itself is better, with some imaginative backgrounds and designs, giving the overall production some style. [SP]

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