Iria: Zeiram the animation is a six episode OVA from Ashi Productions and Bandai Visual. If you’ve been following my reviews for a while you may recall Ashi as the ones behind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Superman Legend. The OVA is actually set up as a prequel to a live action film from ’91 called Zeiram. To be completely honest, I haven’t seen the film in question and I’m not going to know how well it follows it. Basically, I’ll be judging the OVA entirely as its own thing, is what I’m saying.
We open with our heroine using her Shine Aqua Illusion to bring in a baddie. Or she just beats him up. Unfortunately for her, a different bounty hunter shows up to steal the bounty away. We cut to later where she’s conversing with her older brother about the situation while he prepares to go on his own mission with his friend, Bob. Events unfold, she follows and they end up on a space station looking to rescue the crew and recover the cargo. They find no cargo and a whole lot of bodies. When they do locate some survivors, they indicate that the cargo itself may be to blame. Iria and her brother quickly have their first encounter with the monstrous Zeiram.
The biggest narrative issue is that the OVA doesn’t explain some things very well. Most notably, there’s an episode that ends with Iria on the run from the authorities for reasons and the very next episode opens with her back in good standing. I don’t know how it happened but I’m just going to assume her shrine priestess girlfriend pulled some strings. Another issue is just that things are pretty predictable and it makes things less interesting. Not uninteresting, mind. The Ova is still kind of interesting.
On the positive side, I do like the way the OVA manages to bring Zeiram and Iria’s confrontation into play in a variety of situations. The climactic confrontation works well. And the story telling is pretty good, as a whole.
Iria is a pretty compelling character. Her dynamics with other characters also work well. Particularly with Gren and Bob. That being said, most of the characters aren’t particularly interesting aside from their dynamics with Iria. It’s kind of like Spice and Wolf where the main female lead just carries the cast because everyone else is dull. There are two child characters who are kind of obnoxious little sods. Zeiram is also very much one of those not remotely complex and menacing because of supernatural abilities villains.
By today’s standards, the art and animation are a bit dated. That being said, it holds up pretty well. The action sequences are strong. The character designs are nice. The sci-fi trappings look good. About the worst I can say for the art is a nitpick, the hair bead things don’t look like they should stay in place. They don’t look so much braided into the hair as they do haphazardly attached to it.
Most of the performances in this are competent. Not good, but decent enough. The exception is Hisakawa Aya (also the voice of Mizuno Ami). She’s really good in this. Yoshikawa Yoichiro did a good job with the music composition.
There really isn’t any.
Ultimately, Iria: Zeiram the animation is a decent little OVA. Not good, but okay. If you’re a big fan of adventurous sci-fi, it’ll probably keep your attention. You may even like it more than I did. For myself, however, the rating is going to stand at a 6/10. Next week’s review is Mob Psycho 100.