Alien Nine

Genre: Sci fi
Score: Excellent
Rating: 15 for violence and suffering
Length: 4 episodes

Aliens are invading the earth. This is such old news that school kids are regularly employed to catch them. Yuri is the latest recruit to her school’s Alien Team, and she hates it – not least because the job involves being symbiotically attached to an alien that survives by licking her sweat. As her two comrades get better at the job of capturing the various dangerous critters, Yuri fails to adapt and descends into despair. But as the aliens attacking the school grow more powerful, it seems like she may be the sanest one around.

There’s no denying that this story is weird, even by anime standards. It’s true that the main character spends much of the show crying. This may sound stereotypically emo, but the way it’s played is different in that at no point does it feel wrong for her to be crying – I’m more than twice her age and I’d have trouble coping with what she’s put through.

One of its strengths is the design of the aliens: rather than the usual humans in make-up, each species is a wonderfully detailed animal in its own right, that’s clearly the result of millions of years of evolution. Details like this help to make the story feel more realistic, and set it apart from the usual fantasy fare.

Parts of this show are extemely violent, though most of the blood is alien rather than human. Parts contain under-age nudity, though not in an attractive way. Many parts are psychologically disturbing. And some are just too weird for words. The only downside is that four episodes is all they made, but it achieves a lot in those four.