Iria: Zeiram the Animation (イ・リ・ア ゼイラム ジ アニメーション?) is a six episode OVA series featuring Iria, a female bounty hunter. The series serves as a prequel to the original live-action film Zeiram, taking place several years earlier when Iria is still a rookie and detailing the events surrounding her first encounter with the unstoppable Zeiram. This does somewhat contradict the films, which imply that Iria's first encounter with Zeiram was in the first film.
The story begins with Iria as an apprentice to her older brother, Glen, a veteran bounty hunter, and his partner Bob, who work for Ghomvak Security along with a somewhat loutish hunter named Fujikuro. During a rescue mission to a hi-jacked spaceship called the Karma, they discover that the hi-jacker is actually a seemingly indestructible alien called Zeiram that broke out of the cargo hold during transit and began to massacre the crew. Bob is critically wounded by Zeiram while evacuating the survivors, and Glen is lost while attempting to kill Zeiram by destroying the Karma. Returning to Myce, Iria finds herself targeted by assassins working for Tedan Tippedai, the corporation that owned the Karma, and discovers a covered-up plot to control Zeiram in order to use it as a weapon. Iria escapes with the help of Fujikuro and reunites with Bob, who never recovered from his injuries but had his mind downloaded into a computer program. Together they continue to investigate rumours that Zeiram has appeared on Myce, and try to find out what happened to Glen, who also seems to have survived the Karma's destruction....
- Iria (イリア?)
Voiced by: Aya Hisakawa
Iria hails from the Batabitajira region of the planet Myce and is employed by Ghomvak Security & Investigations, a bounty hunting agency. She is somewhat of a tomboy and is considered eccentric for her habit of wearing men's hair ornaments. Her hunter ID number is 9799-5. A hunter's rank is identified by the colour of a stone pendant which resembles a magatama. Iria's pendant as an apprentice is pink with two small dots on it, but when she receives her full license and ID number she is given a blue stone with three red dots on it. Although she is just a rookie at first and a bit reckless, Iria makes up for it with natural ability and a sharp mind. Her appearance in the OVA was designed by Masakazu Katsura, loosely based on the original designs by the creator of the Zeiram series, Keita Amemiya.
- Glen (グレン Guren?)
Voiced by: Juurouta Kosugi
Glen is often seen as Iria's older brother and a full fledged hunter. In episode 5 however, it is hinted by Fujikuro that Glen might not be Iria's brother but is possibly her onii-san, (a Japanese term used for both older brothers and close older male figures). He taught Iria much of what she knows about hunting and serves as a mentor for her apprenticeship. He wears a blue cloak and hair beads which are similar to Iria as well as an unusual pendant which is later found by Kei. Glen is thought to have died in the explosion of the Karma in the first episode but later found to have been assimilated by Zeiram.
- Bob (グレン Bobu?)
Voiced by: Masaru Ikeda
Bob is an agent of Ghomvak Security & Investigations and brings prime jobs to Glen and Iria (and elementary jobs to Fujikuro). He often helps out on these jobs as well and is severely injured by Zeiram on the Karma job. Following his escape from the Karma his personality is transferred to a computer by Puttubayh. In his computer form he is retrieved by Iria and helps her on her missions.
- Fujikuro (フジクロ?)
Voiced by: Shigeru Chiba
A jaded veteran hunter who claims to only grudgingly help Iria from time to time because he is promised money from Bob. However, as the show goes on, a softer side of him is shown, and it soon becomes obvious that he genuinely cares about her safety. He also resents that Bob frequently assigns the "good cases" to Glen and Iria, while he's left with lesser cases himself. While he shares the name of a character in the second Zeiram film, their relations to Iria and general personalities are totally different. While the animated version is an older and sympathetic character, the movie version is a simple thief who uses Iria to help steal a rare artifact before being imprisoned by Bob.
- Kei (ケイ?)
Voiced by: Mika Kanai
An orphan child from the Shadow District of the resort planet Taowajan. Originally thought to be a boy, she was revealed to be a girl by Fujikuro. She befriends Iria and idolizes her much like Iria idolizes Glen. She helps Iria in her battles against Zeiram.
- Zeiram (ゼイラム Zeiramu?)
Voiced by: Wataru Takagi
Zeiram is the ultimate being and virtually indestructible. In addition to being extremely powerful, Zeiram can generate imperfect clones of itself to assist in battle. Zeiram also needs to assimilate other life forms in order to sustain itself, but in doing so it is thought that Zeiram can learn whatever is known by the organism being assimilated. Zeiram is not a unique creature and other versions of itself are known to exist throughout the universe. Later in the show Zeiram attempts to contact other Zeirams in order to bring them to Myce.
U.S. DVD release
- Iria - Zeiram the Animation, Episodes 1-6 (released July 14, 2000) (out of print)
- Iria - Zeiram the Animation Collection (released March 30, 2004)
- Iria: Zeiram the Animation (released October 1, 1996)
- "Tokete Iku Yume no Hate ni" (溶けていく夢の果てに At the End of the Melting Dream?), performed by Yayoi Gotō.
Video game versions
IRIA was adapted into a Japan-only video game for the Super Famicom called Hyper Iria, although it does not seem to follow the storyline of the OVA very closely. Iria also appears as the main character in Zeiram Zone for the original PlayStation.