Alien Nine is a four part OVA series about a group of three twelve year old school girls that get elected by their class mates to be in a select group called the “Alien Party”. This squad has the girls, Yuri Otani, Kumi Kawamura, and Kasumi Tomine capturing aliens that have landed on school grounds so their teacher (Megumi Hisakawa) can study them to see if they can be trained like animals we have on our planet. The job is very dangerous so they are assigned some aliens of their own called Borgs (resistance is futile) to help aid their battles. The Borgs are symbiotic frog-bird looking things that sit on top of the girls heads (like a helmet) and they help with the weaponry as they can launch out weird drill looking tentacles that grab the aliens and they can also kill them when needed. Borgs also use their wings to shield the girls from attacks the other aliens may have and they can also use them to fly around although the flight is limited when they are attached to the girls. (Click "Read More" to see rest of review).
The girl the show mainly focuses on is Otani who is very depressed to be in the group as she has a phobia of aliens and the idea of fighting them terrifies the heck out of her. It's a pretty sad site to see as her fear gets in the way of everything and her partners and her Borg have to work extra hard (especially Otami's Borg) to carry her weight to a point where Otami's Borg tries to kill every alien it sees to calm down Otami. Despite Otami being a very depressing character I like the way she is done as it has a realistic take of being forced into something you don't want to be a part of. Think of her as if you were a twelve year old child forced into being a part of the army, heavy stuff yeah? Heck yeah it is. Kawamura is the strong leader of the group that tries her best to make sure that everybody pulls their weight to make each mission a success. Tomine is the rich spoiled one and has a lot of talent in what she does. She is also the only one of the group to volunteer instead of being voted in as she finds a ton of joy in capturing the aliens. I do really like how each girl has a unique personality as it really adds some depth and charm to the series. The show is oddly very down to earth for it being a Sci-Fi anime series so you won't find yourself in spots you won't understand as when they do have some psychedelic stuff in the show they explain it in a way where it makes sense to why these weird things are happening. My main complaint about the story is that the series ends with a cliffhanger and to find out what happens next you will need to track down the manga (or as Shintai would say “it's a big giant animated trailer for the manga”+.
The animation and art is really good and for it being a show from twelve years ago it holds up very well. The English dub is very good but I can see some people disliking it due to it being similar to the English dub to Pokemon but honestly that is a very silly reason to dislike the dub. With it having some of the case from the Pokemon English dub they do have some funny nods to that show in the form of fan-service*. The music has that vintage late-90s early-00s sound that will give a warm nostalgic feeling to everyone who watched anime around that time.
There are two very nice programs in the special features section with a seven-minute interview with Taro Miki (the executive producer on Alien Nine) at Big Apple Anime Fest 2002. The other one is a fifteen-minute diary styled documentary called “Alien Nine Dubbing Diary” showing the process of dubbing the show. Overall Alien Nine was very good and I highly recommend tracking it down and giving it a few watches.
Title: Alien Nine
Animation Studio: J.C. Staff
Running Time: 120 Minutes (4 Episodes)
Rating: M15+ (Fantasy theme, Violence)
+Note: Paraphrasing what Shintai said. The original quote can be found in his video review to the anime series “Berserk”.
*Note: Fan-service doesn't necessary mean “Holy crabby! Boooooooooooooooobs fap fap!”. Fan-service is just something special to us fans like a cameo of a character from another series, a nod to another series the voice actor has done, or yes “Booooooooooooooobs fap fap” (SIGH).