DVD Review: Iria – The Complete Series

iria_screenshot_1The Sci-Fi anime prequel Iria: Zeriam the Animation has finally reached UK shores, but does this series stand the test of time and what exactly is included? Find out in our DVD Review of Iria – The Complete Series.

Synopsis:

Iria is a newly-certified monster hunter who saves the life of a scientist working on the “Zeiram Project.” Zeiram has been terrorizing local planets and kidnapping people to absorb their life force and clone them. When Iria meets up with a clone of her brother, her resolve is tested. Could her brother still be alive? Her friends help her track down the beast only to discover that it is calling for reinforcements. Iria must enter into a final showdown with Zeiram to save the planet and discover the truth about her missing brother.

Our View:

Iria: Zeiram the Animation (also known as Iria) is a six episode OVA series that acts as a prequel to the 1991 live-action film Zeiram, whereby Iria comes to earth to defeat the seemingly unstoppable space-alien Zeriam. Since Iria: Zeiram the Animation is a prequel to the films the series tells the tale of Iria as she progresses from a young inexperienced apprentice to a successfully trained bounty hunter, all the while looking for clues to her missing brother as well as discovering the truth surrounding the mysterious alien, Zeiram.

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Introductions aside the main story of Iria: Zeiram the Animation begins with Bob, an agent of Ghomvak Security & Investigations for Bounty Hunters, bringing a new mission to Glen, Iria’s Brother. The mission in question is to rescue hostages and recover the cargo which is trapped on a hijacked ship in the middle of space. It seems like a simple job, but it’s not long into the mission that the team discovers the cargo is in fact Zeiram, a rumoured indestructible alien that the Tedan Tippedai Corporation secured in order to create bio-weapons. After a severe battle with Zeiram the Karma spaceship blows-up with everyone except Glen managing to escape, fearing that her brother was killed in battle Iria attempts to find a way home, however after a chance encounter with Zeiram she realises that there is a possibility of her brother still being alive and so Iria’s journey into searching for her brother and becoming a full-fledged bounty hunter begins, but that’s if she can survive long enough from the onslaught of attackers.

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Considering the series is only six episodes long, with each lasting around 30 minutes, a lot of content is covered and it story moves along at a steady pace. For instance the first two episodes not only set the story up for the entire series but it also introduces the main cast of characters as well as a future apprentice for Iria. The remaining episodes meanwhile showcase Iria’s attempt at finding the truth behind Zeriam, her new comrades as well as her original goal of locating her brother. I usually find old anime series, such as this, to be slower and boring, but in my eyes Iria is an exception with its fast-paced action, violence and gun-fights throughout the entity of its six episodes, this is definitely a Sci-Fi anime series worth watching.

Extras:

There are no extra features included with this release and this maybe due to the age of the series, however an earlier release (by Image Entertainment in America) did provide additional materials, such as interviews with the English Cast – but since this release is a mirror image of a more recent Siren Visuals US release we are only treated to the episodes themselves.

iria_menu_screenshot

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x1
Running Time: 2:41:16 (6 Episodes)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 192Kbps (English & Japanese)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Iria: Zeriam The Animation is a series that, unlike Vampire Princess Miyu, hasn’t aged despite being nearly 20 years old as the animation and story-telling still remain enjoyable, even to newcomers such as myself. This is further confirmed with the English Dub, which was dubbed by Central Park Media, as even by today’s standards the English voice work is impressive and in most cases is actually better than recent Sentai Filmsworks dubbing. While the English Performance is better than Sentai releases there is the odd occasion where the voice actors talk very slowly so that their voices fill the on-screen lip movements, it is noticeable in a fair amount of scenes but it doesn’t exactly distract from the overall performance.

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Despite the Overall release being enjoyable there is a few problems with this particular DVD release, one of which is the included English Subtitles (which are for the Japanese Audio Track). The Subtitles are several seconds (or mini-seconds) behind the audio, so subtitles often appear once a person is about to stop talking, rather than when a character is about to talk. Other subtitle issues include subtitles briefly appearing on screen before being replaced by the next line of text, thus making some scenes unwatchable in subtitled form. Due to the time delay and subtitles quickly being replaced I found it near impossible to enjoy the series in its Japanese subtitled format, but luckily the English Audio was good enough to watch the series.

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Overall Iria: Zeriam The Animation is an older generation anime that has stood the test of time and provides a unique type sci-fi story to anime fans, however while the series is enjoyable the issues with the subtitles and lack of any extra content does make this a slightly flawed DVD release.

Score: review-stars-3

Iria – The Complete Series will be available on DVD from the 1st July 2013.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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