Hello there, I am mefloraine. I draw chibi Scamp for his video reviews every few weeks. Scamp was kind enough to let me post here for Reverse Thieves’ Secret Santa Project because my blog was shamed by the vast number of Rio – Rainbow Gate posts I allowed to grace its pages and committed seppuku.
Anyway, participation in Secret Santa means you are tasked with writing a review of the series you were given to watch by some stranger. Last year I sat through one of the worst anime I have ever tried to enjoy, Munto. This year I was handed the Alien Nine OVA, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, and Mononoke. I watched the first two and will tackle the third after the holidays, but I’ll be reviewing Alien Nine now. Unfortunately, I am not as hilarious as Scamp.
Alien Nine is the story of a girl named Otani who, instead of being forced into the usual role of class officer by a vote from the class, becomes their alien defense force representative. She is terrified of aliens.
The other two defense force members are well-suited to the job: Kasumi loves capturing aliens and making cat noises, while Kumi plays it tough and doesn’t really care either way about things. She gets her job done, and she doesn’t like people.
The story seems like it would be a tale about Otani growing from a frightened girl to a brave woman or stepping up to her duties, but neither of these things happen. I want to watch Otani grow up and become strong. I want to see her get over her fear of aliens and grow closer to her new friends. I want to see a change, but instead I get crying and angst for four episodes broken up by typical beach and festival tropes. Yawn.
Also: plotholes. There were more questions left unanswered in this OVA series than they actually addressed. Why does everyone’s hair turn into alien killing drills? What are the teacher and principal secretly plotting? Why is it called Alien Nine? Does Otani do anything but cry?
In episode three (the beach/summer filler episode) alone Otani…
>cries because she is too scared to go far into the water at the beach
>cries because she swallowed seawater
>cries because someone else is scared
>cries when her name is called to go on the haunted walk
>cries because she is scared on the haunted walk
>does not cry while being chased by scary things on the haunted walk
While the story was disappointing, the OVA did bring up a few interesting points. The girls were not supposed to kill aliens, but catch them. “Even though it is an alien it is a life too,” their teacher spouted. I am not used to seeing aliens presented in a context other than a) moe girl is actually an alien or b) aliens are evil, and we must kill them all. The aliens were still more or less evil, but killing was the not the point, and in fact, when Otani did cause the death of aliens, she was punished by both teacher and peers.
Of course, I didn’t realize the show was actually about real aliens when I started watching it and was surprised to see that they were not metaphorically hunting them, so maybe my opinion on that is a little shaky. I also thought it was cool that the little alien hats they wore were actually aliens, weapons, shields, and friends. They could speak and look out for their their girls in exchange for licking dirt off of them every day.Sometimes the show felt iyashikei (healing and soothing) and calm; other times it attempted to be fast-paced and full of (lazy) action. But there was mostly a lot of crying. From me. As episode three wound down it kind of felt like that was the (bad) end of the OVA series. Then suddenly another alien appeared and ate Kasumi. Episode four was the naked loli episode.
And Otani never really does grow. She saves her naked friend from the alien in episode four instead of killing her as she might have done in the past, but nothing changes in Otani’s personality. She is just as much as a crybaby as before. She still fears everything. She has no strength inside. And the OVA series ends that way. Otani and the previously strong Kumi both crying in the night, weakened beyond all measure.
(As a sidenote, Moribito was a treat. I recommend that one.)