DVD Review: Keita Amemiya's 'Zeiram' R1
When two hapless electricians go out on a job, they have every reason to believe that it'll be a job like any other. But the bumbling two-some soon find themselves zapped into a virtual reality war zone. This Zone is an artificial dimension set up by Iria, a cute, tough-as-nails bounty hunter and her super-intelligent computer, Bob, to do battle with Zeiram, a seemingly indestructible alien that's been genetically engineered to kill.
Near the beginning of his career in film and television, director Keita Amemiya brought us a very faithful attempt to bring anime style to live action film. Using his illustration background as inspiration, Keita and Zeiram are only limited by production values; it’s a film that desires to be much bigger than its budget. Zieram is nothing if inventive and ambitious for it’s time.
To begin with, you have all the essentials for fan-boy bliss. First, you have an attractive and deadly bounty hunter chick. Then, you have an attractive and deadly bounty hunter chick in tights. Finally, you have an attractive and deadly bounty hunter chick in tights and armor. You sense where I am going with this? If that doesn’t get you interested there is the intergalactic criminal, Zeiram, who director has always felt is more of a female character than a male character. So you get this new appreciation for the fight scenes because it’s not a fight – it’s a chick fight. And those are hot! But, Zeiram also has this very phallic tentacle with a woman’s head that shoots out from her forehead/helmet and bites you. And we all know what the tentacles pose for in Hentai, don’t we? So then it becomes this weird lesbian/transsexual fight and you suddenly feel dirty. What did I tell you? Pure fan-boy bliss.
Zieram is just fun. It’s not wholly satisfying in any sense if your looking for fulfillment from a film but it is a verifiable distraction that will make you chuckle. Comedy elements are provided of course by our two bumbling electricians, Tepphei and Kamiya, who reflect traditional buddy comedy acts in Japan. The soul of the film is Iria, who must shed her professional hard shell and care for her two hapless heroes when they are trapped and alone in the Zone with Zieram. And the action will satisfy all anime fans. It’s silly sci-fi fun with an anime spirit.
And may I take a moment to say that electricians in Japan seem to be getting a bum rap. Here in Zeiram, and in my last low-budget sci-fi film review from Japan, Mikadroid, it is the poor electricians that are getting caught up in the mess. Not plumbers. Not janitors. Electricians! Those poor bastards deserve better. Isn’t someone looking out for the electrician community in Japan? Seriously. There should at least be some sort of compensation plan or danger pay involved.
Format: Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, Anamorphic Widescreen 1.77:1, NTSC
Language: Japanese w/ English Subtitles
Region Code: R1
Studio: Tokyo Shock
Aspect Ratio: 1.77
Extras: 3 trailers
Features: Interview(s) (with director Keita Amemiya and star Yuko Moriyama)