What a charming little OVA. Alien Nine gives the term “Alien Invasion” a whole new dimension. Here, aliens can come in lots of different sizes and shapes, and most of them have no real intention to take over the Earth at all. Instead, they cause small amounts of trouble here and there, especially around schools apparently. Because of that, random students get allocated for each school to be the local alien fighters. Alien Nine is about the three alien fighters for one particular grade school.
The beauty of this anime is that it’s a character-study, and it knows it. Every single scene is dedicated to flesh out the three main characters, and develop them through the short airtime of four episodes. There’s a lot of angst, but the creators never delve into pointless melodrama, and they know exactly when to time the big climaxes for this OVA. There’s no cheesy love-story that gets in the way of what’s really important either, and all in all, the creators made the optimum use of the short time that they had to work with.
The thing about the characters is that they would have failed horribly if they weren’t developed as well as this series did. There’s a cry-baby, a strong girl and a perfect girl. They’re all pretty clichéd when you first see them, but the storytelling is so refreshing that you hardly even notice this while watching. Do note that the cry-baby can get on people’s nerves at times, so that may be potentially off-putting. Her interaction with the other main characters is excellent, though. ;)
Unfortunately, and I’m afraid to say it, but Alien Nine does suffer from the “TOO SHORT!!”-syndrome, which I’ve seen on many other movies and OVAs. Some anime try to solve this by omitting important character-backgrounds, others don’t bother to explain their storylines properly, though Alien Nine manages to avoid this. Instead, it just stops. I assume that it’s based on a manga, and only the first X chapters of this manga made it into the OVA. It’s a darn shame, because I feel that yet again this series deserves so much more episodes.
Thankfully, this flaw never got in the way of the characters, and they make sure to keep this OVA interesting till the end. The creators know how to build up properly, and try their best with such a limited amount of time. You’d be surprised at how intense the drama can get at times, considering that we’re just dealing with ordinary grade-schoolers.