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Keeping E.S. #9 safe from Alien Invasions: left to right, Kasumi, Kumi and Yuri.
Alien Nine is a science fiction manga and OVA about a trio of 6th grade girls (Yuri Otani, Kasumi Tomine, and Kumi Kawamura) who are selected by their elementary school to become alien hunters. Donning special uniforms, with rollerblades and helmet-like creatures called Borgs that they wear on their heads, the girls are tasked with hunting down and capturing the marauding aliens that periodically threaten their school. What starts off as a straightforward cute action story turns disturbing rather quickly when one of them gets eaten by an alien and suspicions about the teacher running the program and the principal arise.Alien Nine consists of:
The original three-volume manga that ran from 1998-1999.
An OVA released in 2001 that became a cult-classic.
A one-volume sequel manga released in 2003, Alien 9: Emulators.
Adults Are Useless: Deconstructed. The school administrators eagerly send pre-teen girls out to capture aggressive aliens, and their parents only wave them off and tell them to continue doing their duty. Cue heavy physical and psychological trauma to the girls and regretful parents. Justified in the case of the school administrators: Emulators reveals it's all part of a Masquerade.
Break the Cutie: This series makes pushing all three girls to their mental/emotional/physical limits an art form. By the end, two of the three are broken: whether they seem that way or not: and the third a candidate for a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis.
Brother-Sister Incest: The OVA implies that Kasumi and her big brother had this type of relationship. At the very least, Kasumi had a quiet obsession for her brother. Whether it was one-sided or not is open for debate.
The End of the Beginning: Played Straight and Lampshaded by the OVA's last episode, it also being the title of said episode. It hints at an interstellar conspiracy, with the heads of the Alien Party committees in each school and their principals in on it. Of course, you have to read the manga to see all this.
The End... Or Is It?: At the end of the original manga, Yuri makes it out, still an unfused, ordinary human. ...And then she notices in the mirror that a lock of her hair has become curly. Emulators reveals that that single drill is the extent of Yuri's transformation and she's still human. There's still the matter with the Yellow Knives, though.
Fragile Flower: Yuri. Just looking at her is enough to start the waterworks!
Gorn: The OVA is not afraid to show aliens getting bloodily maimed. The manga goes further, with the girls getting maimed themselves.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: Kasumi tries to kill Kumi during the Yellow Knife incident, is brought back to semi-normal after becoming one, kills Megumi's borg which allows her Yellow Knife spawn to eat and possibly kill the rest of the school, and tries to force Yuri into fusing with Kumi without regard for the former's life in an attempt to save Kumi in Emulators. However, it is implied that the Yellow Knife is manipulating her throughout it all.
Sixth Ranger: Monami (although she's actually a Fourth Ranger).
Soundtrack Dissonance: The OVA likes to play "cheery" music inappropriately. Most notable is the middle of episode 3, when bubbly opening theme song playing while the girls fight a giant "centipede" while Yuri loses it.