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Film / Zeiram
aka: Iria Zeiram The Animation

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A 1991 Japanese SF/action film, directed by Keita Amemiya, in which a nigh-unkillable alien creature (Zeiram) arrives in on Earth (landing in Japan, naturally). It is followed by Iria, a female bounty hunter from another planet who has been pursuing Zeiram. Upon arriving, Iria, Zeiram, and two electrical workers are drawn into an alternate dimension where they only have a certain amount of time to kill Zeiram.

Zeiram was followed by a sequel, Zeiram II, as well as an anime OAV prequel, IRIA: Zeiram the Animation, which depicts Iria's first encounter with Zeiram. There were also two video games developed by BanprestoHyper Iria for the Super Famicom and Zeiramzone for the PlayStation.


This film and its followups contain examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Iria and Bob. The supporting cast also includes such names as Fujikuro and Glen.
  • The Aesthetics of Technology: Every piece of Iria and Bob's equipment in the films looks like a cluttered, complex piece of Used Future, particularly Iria's suit and her various weapons. More notable, however, are the wonderful designs in the animation; a unique blend of ancient east and futuristic west with origami wing packs, bellows-powered Hover Tanks and pagoda-shaped escape pods and space-capable rickshaws alongside under-shoulder variable-barrel laser cannons with microscope-like lens assemblies and slug-throwers with tape-wrapped grips. It kind of looks like a cross between Star Wars and Tenchi Muyo!.
  • Alien Lunch: Teppei eats a large white cockroach, squicking Kamiya heavily. It was actually Iria's, as she is shown eating one in the anime.
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  • Aliens Speaking Japanese: Iria and Bob spend most of the films speaking Earth languages, despite not being from Earth. It's suggested that before they ever landed in Japan, they were already studying the local language.
  • Anime Hair: Iria's hair is considerably spikier in the anime than in the live-action movies.
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Teppei and Kamiya don't dislike their jobs, but they're not happy with the eye-aching pastel jumpsuits they're required to wear; both are seen wearing black motorcycle jackets over their uniforms. Their company van is painted in similarly garish colors.
  • Bifauxnen: Kei in the animation.
  • Bounty Hunter: Iria and Bob. An actual advertisement for their bounty-hunting business is seen in the first two minutes of the movie, along with a message from Bob accepting the bounty on Zeiram and warning other hunters off.
  • Brain Uploading: How Bob got to be a computer in the first place, according to The Animation.
  • BFG: The cannon that's used to defeat Zeiram's supposedly final form.
  • Continuity Snarl: In the movie, Iria doesn't know much about Zeiram. However, in the prequel OVAs, she fought with it after it killed her brother.
  • Cool Mask: But also slightly creepy. A small white mask of a human face appears on Zeiram's head — and appears to be biologically part of it.
  • Enemy Summoner: Zeiram; also crosses over with Cloning Blues and Mook Maker when it spawns a whole army of biological weirdos in the animation.
    • One of the funniest moments in the movie is when Zeiram summons an enemy... who ends up just being a puddle with a head and half of a torso. Zeiram grunts at it while pointing forwards, and the two argue in an alien language, presumably about how the puddle literally can't do what Zeiram is telling it to, then Zeiram facepalms and stomps on it.
  • Fanservice: The anime shows Iria taking two Showers of Angst over the space of six episodes.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: In the anime, Kei.
  • Healing Factor: Zeiram... kinda; it starts as a Hollywood Cyborg, then turns into the cyborg head and a skeleton, then turns into a flying hat, then turns into an Eldritch Abomination. It technically can heal, but it changes form every time.
  • Hero Killer: In Iria: Zeiram The Animation, Zeiram kills Iria's brother Glen.
  • Human Aliens: Iria and those of her species.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fujikuro from The Animation. He postures as The Rival to Glen, Bob, and Iria, but when the chips are down he's willing to cooperate in order to stop Zeiram. He also prevents Kei from going alone to certain death against Zeiram.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Fujikuro from the second film — an unpredictable Dirty Coward with a tendency to fits of vicious laughter, who repeatedly double-crosses and backstabs the other characters to get his hands on the MacGuffin they're all chasing.
  • Kick the Dog: Zeiram not only kills Iria's brother, it is responsible to a large degree for the death of Kei's best friend.
  • Kill Us Both: Anime Zeiram freezes up because the host body it took (i.e., Glenn) resists its control.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Iria and Glenn called each other siblings despite the implications that both of them are not actually related as one, according to Fujikuro in Episode 5.
  • Made of Iron: Zeiram takes a lot of punishment.
  • Mainlining the Monster: The OVA includes a plot about a corporation attempting to capture Zeiram for "study", for vague Just Think of the Potential! reasons.
  • Mega-Corp: Tedan Tippedai is a major company that is influential in Iria's society.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first movie opens up with a black and white sequence featuring Zeiram outright slaughtering an entire squad of armed soldiers with a level of gore one would expect from a 1980s horror film like Predator or The Thing (1982). But while the rest of the (color) film as some intense sequences and gross monster effects, nothing on the level of the opening sequence ever happens again, with some scenes looking like something you might reasonably see in Super Sentai or Kamen Rider.
  • Nice Hat: Played with in the first movie and the Animation; what looks like Zeiram's hat is actually part of its body. Played straight in the second movie, where it actually is a hat.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Ominous Sutra Chanting, in this case.
  • One-Winged Angel: Zeiram keeps mutating into new, increasingly grotesque forms every time it recovers from almost being killed.
  • Pocket Dimension: Called Zones. Iria and Bob create one in the first film and the Zeiram unit creates one in the second.

Alternative Title(s): Iria Zeiram The Animation