Zeiram is the touching story of a woman (Iria), her virtual buddy Bob, and the titular alien monster bioweapon they must kill.
We are introduced to Zeiram during a stunningly violent scene where Zeiram runs around absolutely destroying a handful of soldiers. Time to call in the bounty hunters!
And so we are introduced to Iria and Bob. Iria is the girl on the cover, Bob is her partner who lives in a computer. Their plan is simple: she'll engage Zeiram in some pocket dimension thing on Earth (so that no one will get hurt) and capture it in some weird crystal. Bob will provide moral support and character development via his constant bickering with Iria.
Everything goes according to plan until two goofy comic relief electricians accidentally free Zeiram and then get trapped in the pocket dimension with it. Now it's up to Iria to not only capture Zeiram but to save these two worthless losers!
I admit that I was immediately worried about this movie. If you are like me, you just read my plot summary and were probably thinking, "cool" up until around the part about the two bumbling electricians. I'm kind of torn on their inclusion. On the one hand, I hate comic relief characters. On the other hand, ninety minute movies about two characters fighting take a special kind of director to be effective. If that director is not present, you get a really boring movie.
After seeing Zeiram I think Keita Amemiya is talented enough to have gone without the comic relief. However, part of Zeiram's charm is that it's a little goofy. I honestly can't say how much of that is a result of the bumbling electricians. I mean, there are some other goofy things. As cool as the Zeiram monster is, it's still just a guy in a rubber suit. As much as I like the practical effects, you've still got a stop motion toy menacing the characters by the end of the movie. So I hypothesize that without the comic relief characters Zeiram would only be silly enough to detract from the overall experience. If the comic relief were to be taken out, the other goofy things would stand out more and I think the movie would suffer for it.
So what else is going on in Zeiram? Well, you've got a lot of fighting between Iria and Zeiram, with Iria using lots of cool sci-fantasy gadgets against him. Zeiram itself is a really cool design, menacing and unstoppable. The practical effects are great! You have suits, stop motion, slimy dudes, etc.
I watched the dubbed version and the dubbing was surprisingly good. This is probably the best lip-syncing I have ever seen/heard. There were times when I was wondering if this was like one of those Italian horror movies from the early 80s where half the people were actually speaking in English originally and half were dubbed into English.