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Iria: Zeiram the Animation
Episode 1: Mebatama
(Pitch Black)

Copyright: © 1994 Crowd/Bandai Visual/Mitsubishi Corporation/Banpreto (Japan), © 1995 US Manga Corps.
Length: 30 minutes
Rating: NR, contains graphic violence. Parental discretion advised.
Format: Subtitled (VHS)

Screenplay: Amino Tetsuro Director: Amino Tetsuro Visual Concept: Amemiya Keita Original Character Design: Katsura Masakazu Character Design: Otonashi Ryunosuke Music: Yoshikawa Yoichiro

English Version Producer: John O'Donnell Translation by: Neil Nadelman

[ plot summary ]

vhs jacket

Iria, the young assistant bounty-hunter for her brother, Gren, is illegally out on her own job, only to have the bounty stolen from under her by a competitor, Fujikuro. Aware that she's unable to do anything legally, Iria has no choice but to let Fujikuro take her prize... Meanwhile, Gren has been given a choice assignment on behalf of the Tedan Tippedai Corporation: the rescue of the passengers and cargo of their starship, Karma, which has been hijacked by an unknown assailant. But there's a catch: the rescue must be carried out before the authorities arrive.

Strangely enough, the government attempts to stop Gren and Bob from even embarking on the rescue mission. Iria, covering for Gren, ends up joining their group as they escape from hostile government forces. Upon arriving onboard the Karma, they begin to realize why there has been so much resistance -- The Tedan Tippedai Corporation had been attempting to import a highly dangerous and most illegal bio-weapon for their own use: Zeiram, a reportedly unstoppable killing weapon. And somewhere aboard the Karma, Zeiram is on the loose...

[ capsule review ]

The first thing you'll say to yourself when you see this video is this: "This is not your ordinary SF/action show!" The mecha and set designs are unlike anything I've seen before; an amalgamation of old eastern themes with high-tech gadgetry. Too bad the show itself doesn't live up to the innovative devices. Once you get past the nifty stuff, you end up with a fairly stock plot. Super-weapon gone beserk, and it's up to our heroine to save the day. (Where have we seen this plot before?) Hisakawa Aya gives a rather uninspired performance in this opener; perhaps she too felt as if this is a show she's seen once too often. It's not that her voice acting is bad -- quite the contrary -- but it just feels as if she's not in the mood to put her heart into this one. Music is pretty ordinary as well, from opening credits right through to the ending theme. Animation is of pretty decent quality, however, and the martial arts moves are fairly accurate, anatomically speaking. One very notable aspect is the character design for Iria -- drawn in a very striking manner, she and her attire is one of the better designs I've seen in a long time. A lot of time is spent getting to know Gren's personal quirks and habits... undoubtably, this will be important in future episodes. Overall, it's OK, just -- well, ordinary. - AN

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 2 stars N/A
Direction: N/A 3 stars
Acting: N/A 3 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 4 stars N/A
Music: N/A 3 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 4 stars N/R
Overall Rating: N/A 3 stars N/A

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