Honto wa, Honto wa, Mamoraretai... In reality, in reality, I want to be protected...

Alien 9 (Alien Nine) is a four part OAV anime from J. C. STAFF (with some collaboration with studio Gainax) based upon the manga by Tomizawa Hitoshi. Set sometime in the future, in a world where alien landings are common, Yuri Otani a 6th grader from The Ninth Elementary School who has been "elected" to become a member of the Alien Countermeasure Team for her class. She along with two other female 6th graders from different classes form an Alien Squad whose role it is to protect the rest of the students from alien incursions into the school. These incursions happen on an almost daily basis and the "normal" students are shielded in reinforced class rooms while the Alien Countermeasure Team goes out to remove the threat. Hunting aliens is a very dangerous job, particularly for young girls, so the members of the Alien Squad are each given a symbiotic Borg alien that they place on their heads. These aliens protect the girls when they get into trouble.

This series ranges from being highly comedic to terribly dark. Yuri, being innately afraid of aliens, and being forced to "wear" one on her head, almost never stops crying, and though this is amusing at times, the reasons for hey crying are often very serious. Personally I find the whole premise of the story very disturbing. Everyone at the school considers it natural for three young girls to risk their lives to protect them from the aliens. The Alien Countermeasure Team are just like normal students until an alien lands, when they must venture forth from relative safety to defend their classmates. The girls are all incredibly cute as well, which contrasts well to the incredibly ugly aliens they must fight and the sometimes ugly, sometimes cute Borgs they wear on their heads.

Overall the animation quality is superb. Fully digital aided animation and CG expand the realms of imagination to produce some spectacular sequences. The character designs are terrific and overall the style reminds be a lot of FLCL (which shouldn't be surprising since that was a Gaianx OAV series), Yasuhiro Irie of Cowboy Bebop and Vision of Escaflowne fame, worked on it so that shouldn't be surprising either. Expanding on the manga, Sadayuki Murai (Perfect Blue and Boogiepop Phantom) worked with Hitoshi Tomizawa to develop the anime storyline. Jiro Fujimoto is the overall series director.

The premiere screening of the first episode of Alien 9 took place at a press event in Tokyo on May 13, 2001 but the first volume (OVA 1) wasn't released until June 25, 2001. Volume 2 was released on September 25, 2001, volume 3 on November 25, 2001 and the fourth and final volume on January 25, 2002. These volumes were put on the market by Bandai Visual at 5800 Yen retail and each run for 30 minutes.

Update 22/04/03: Central Park Media have licienced Alien 9. The DVD is scheduled for July, and the manga in May.