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Japanese film poster
Directed by Keita Amemiya
Produced by
Screenplay by
Cinematography Hiroshi Kidokoro[1]
  • A Gaga Communications, Inc.
  • Growd Inc.[1]
Release date
  • August 1991 (1991-08) (Japan)
Running time
96 minutes[1]
Country Japan

Zeiram (ゼイラム, Zeiramu) is a 1991 Japanese science fiction film in which an alien bounty hunter named Iria (Yūko Moriyama) comes to Earth to do battle with Zeiram, an immortal alien creature with a strangely shaped head which resembles a wide-brimmed hat. Along with two ordinary Japanese electricians, she and Zeiram become trapped in an artificial dimension called the Zone, and have only a limited amount of time to finish their battle. The 1994 OVA series Iria: Zeiram the Animation serves as a prequel to the film.

Plot summary[edit]

Zeiram (Mizuho Yoshida) is an alien of unknown origin. It appears to be a very large, imposing humanoid wearing a wide, circular hat and a ragged cloak, and its appearance is usually accompanied (at least on the film's soundtrack) by an eerie chant. However, its true form is actually the small Noh-like face on its hat. This face is its only weak point; the rest of the body is almost indestructible and regenerates quickly as long as Zeiram is able to feed, which it does by extending the little face on the end of a fleshy tentacle to take bites out of people. By doing this, it also absorbs the genetic material of its victims, which it uses to generate smaller, weaker monsters to do its bidding. These monsters seem to be partial clones of whatever creature's genetic material was used in their creation (in Zeiram 2, a dog is killed by Zeiram and the resulting monster looks vaguely canine). Zeiram itself is able to change its own form to a large degree, and appears in many different forms throughout the series. It can produce many different weapons such as guns and swords from its body, although these are probably weapons taken from its victims and stored inside itself. In addition to consuming organic tissue through its core, if it sustains enough damage, Zeiram is able to ingest a victim's entire body, keeping that person alive for some time inside itself while it digests them, regenerating itself and drawing on their genetic material and even their memories to create more advanced clones.

Although the core face is Zeiram's only weak point, even that may be impossible to permanently destroy. In Zeiram 2, the creature's core, which was presumed dead, is recovered by a shadowy organisation which installs it as the organic core of a robotic supersoldier. This new cyborg Zeiram starts out bearing a mild resemblance to its precursor, before it lost the hat and cloak in favour of an appearance patterned after a classic Japanese fox-spirit, or kitsune. The actual core of Zeiram is visible on the robot's stomach. Naturally, even in an artificial body Zeiram cannot be controlled, and it goes on a killing spree. It is possible that Zeiram itself is partly biomechanical, since even in IRIA it is shown to be able to infect and control computers.

Although Zeiram is usually referred to as a male, the face which serves as its core seems to be female. Indeed, some of its mutations quite visibly possess female breasts. Its partially regenerated appearance in Zeiram 2 might suggest that its original form was that of a miniature female humanoid.

Zeiram is reasonably intelligent, although it doesn't seem to be able to speak or understand human language. Just how intelligent is up for debate, since it spends most of its time mindlessly killing everything in sight.


Zeiram was released in Japan in August 1991.[1] The film was released in the United States by Fox Lorber with an English dub in May 1994.[1]


Role Japan Actor (Original) United States English Dubbing
Iria Yûko Moriyama Edie Mirman
Tepphei Kunihiro Ida Steve Bulen
Kamiya Yukijiro Hotaru Robert Axelrod
Bob Masakazu Handa Jeff Winkless
Murata Yukitomo Tochino Steve Kramer
Store Manager Naomi Enami Jeff Winkless
Zeiramu Mizuho Yoshida

English dubbing staff[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Galbraith IV 1996, p. 459.


  • Galbraith IV, Stuart (1996). The Japanese Filmography: 1900 through 1994. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0032-3. 

External links[edit]