Zaion ~ I Wish You Were Here ~ is a four episode OVA series produced by Gonzo and directed by Seiji Mizushima. The episodes were released in Japan between October 4 and November 3, 2001. As of this writing, ADV Films holds the North American license for the series.
At the beginning of the series, the viewer learns that there’s a meteorite-introduced virus called M34 that irreversibly alters the molecular structure of the human body; its victims are turned into violent creatures. An organization called the Committee of the Universal Resolution of Ecocastrophe (CURE) is formed, and the organization creates a unit of soldiers whose bodies have been introduced with nanomachines. These soldiers wear Nano Osmolar Armor (NOA) to engage the victims in direct combat.
The mission is taking its toll on the NOA soldiers; when a soldier named Yuuji Tamiya learns that CURE has been working on a secret weapon he becomes rather angry. The new weapon turns out to be a girl named Ai, who is able to create a projected being that can destroy the creatures. The story sees Yuuji and Ai meeting, and this leads to a love story between them.
Later in the story, Yuuji is quarantined after he comes in contact with one of the creatures but is released after healing from his injuries. However, a blood test later reveals that the virus has evolved and is attacking the nanomachines in his body. When CURE tries to arrest Yuuji, he takes Ai hostage. Ai heals Yuuji with unexplained powers, and they are found by CURE soldiers. Ai surrenders herself to CURE, and then it rather quickly heads toward the climax of the story.
By the time I finished watching all four episodes of the OVA, I was rather underwhelmed. Not only did the love story feel awkward and forced, there are also a number of actions that happen that are never explained; it feels as if the writer and director just expected the audience to simply accept what was happening without any question. Also, the lack of explanations also helped the make the story feel rather choppy in places.
When we meet Ai, she reminds me a lot of Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion, because Ai hardly shows any emotion at all throughout the story. So to me, she just came across as a rather awkward character. There was so little character development done for her that it was hard to ever care about her. Also, the love story between Yuuji and Ai feels so awkward and forced.
After watching this, my husband commented that the amount of deus ex machina that appeared in this OVA was ridiculous; you didn’t simply have a “chair of the gods,” you had a “furniture store of the gods.” At the end of the OVA, neither one us really cared about what was going on anymore.
The animation was also not that great, especially the CG animation. While this OVA was originally produced in 2001, that doesn’t excuse the poor quality of the CG; the CG that appears in this production even looks bad by 2001 standards!
In a nutshell, there seemed to be a decent idea for a story, but the execution was poor. To me, it seemed like it was a story that needed more time to be told in order to truly develop the characters and the plot. Perhaps if more effort had been put into that development, I might have enjoyed it more.
However, there was one positive aspect to this OVA: the music. It has a bit of a prog rock feel, and it was rather enjoyable to listen to. Too bad such good music was used for such a poor production.
After watching Zaion ~ I Wish You Were Here ~, I truly cannot recommend this OVA to anyone due to all of the flaws in the production.
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