Zeiram – the most dangerous life form in the universe. Evil. Ruthless. Invulnerable. Unstoppable.

The Tedan Tippedai Corporation secretly planned to import Zeiram to Myce as a secret bio-weapon. But things went wrong aboard the transport vessel, leading to the release of this monster.

Iria, a young apprentice hunter, formed part of the mission to try and rescue the crew of the ship. But their mission failed, and in the process, Zeiram butchered her brother. However, Iria did manage to uncover information that she shouldn’t have – information certain parties would rather have silenced.

Now Iria must expose this silent conspiracy before more innocent people are massacred by this monster. Together with her mysterious benefactor and sidekick Kei, the deadly Iria seeks to avenge her brother’s death.

But how do you stop the unstoppable?

1994 saw a six part OVA from director Amino Tetsuro and production house Bandai Visual, hit the retail shelves. Iria: Zeiram the Animation is a tight story revolving around the concept of revenge, conspiracy and vengeance. The main character is a reckless and dominant woman, acting tougher than the boys in a man’s world. However, Iria isn’t about man bashing and instead focuses solely on the plot of the story. The invulnerable beast known as Zeiram provides the perfect foil for Iria, forcing her to come back again and again to face her fears and try to stop the unstoppable, even after all the pain it has caused her.

The characters are well designed and pretty well rounded off. We have the tough as nails heroine, Iria, the calculating Bob, the cowardly and money-grabbing Fujikuro, the little spunky kid Kei and Komimasa, as well as the unstoppable evil, Zeiram. Actually, Iria and Zeiram are probably the best characters of the series, though this isn’t that surprising as the series pretty much focuses on these two.

The animation on Iria is very good, especially for its 1994 release tag. The characters are fluidly animated and packed with detail. The mecha, buildings and weaponry all carry a brilliant sense of design, kind of mixing an Arabic/Moroccan type of design with modern technology ideas. Just the numerous types of explosives are enough to show off the wonderful amount of detail put into the design of the show.

Although the music doesn’t really do much to add to the show’s enjoyability, it isn’t the worst out there. The voices are pretty good, especially Iria’s. Kei’s voice is particularly good, because the show tries not to reveal the fact that *spoiler* until the fifth episode.

Overall, Iria is a polished production. It has a tight storyline, a good cast of characters and great, detailed animation. However, it somehow fails to move one on an emotional basis. This could just be the view of a jaded anime watcher, but Iria failed to extract much emotional commitment from me. Still, it is an enjoyable watch and is a nice short OVA to begin with. Perfect for introducing people to the realm of anime.

(Note: this review was originally written back in December 2003!)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iria:_Zeiram_the_Animation