Battle Angel Alita, or better known as Gunnm in Japan and among manga aficionados is a manga created by Yukito Kishiro first aired, I mean printed, in 1990 to 1995. The genre of this thingy happens to be Seinen (mangas for young adults) and in “western” terms Cyberpunk, Science Fiction and Action. All images are copyright of Yukito Kishiro (you bastard, you draw so well… meow! Jealously attack!), and are used for educational purposes, for once to show you how decent of a manga Alita is. Enjoy. … Meow!

Mr. Towelhead reviews:

cover alita

BATTLE ANGEL ALITA

STORY

The story deals with the mis-adventures of a cyborg named Alita who’s found made a mess and reconstructed by a bounty hunter, mechanic, doctor and philanthropist who becomes a mentor during part of the story. Alita can’t remember her past and goes about different carrier paths trying to find out, basically, what the f* is up with her. So she goes from normal girl to bounty hunter, to death race champion and finally to savior of humanity… sort of. Its a cool thing that the main character is far from stable and takes decisions based on her guts, many times not what you would expect. And thus, Alita surprises you in fun ways.

And sometimes the world ends, quite a few times. But Alita always raises from the ashes and continues her stubborn search for herself! However this is something that needs attention. The world kind of ends, or is made a mess and the story continues with new characters and some old ones. Sometimes it can be too much of an emotional commitment but Alita’s stubbornness (or better said, charm) will take you by the hand and drive you safely through the story.

From bounty hunter to sports idol

motorball

Alita as Motorball champion

CONCEPT

The concept of the story deals of a post-apocalytical, dystopian future that humans have to share with mutants and cyborgs. Above all a mysterious city hovers over the wastelands and scraps from the city fall to the low life below. And, one of those days in this abysmally depressing manga, … I mean world. The head of our main chick falls into the hands of her future mentor. Hinting at the fact that Alita, comes from said mysterious city above. The only thing that our main character remembers is… her fighting technique. So yes, it’s an action based manga.

beginnings

Alita in her humble beginnings

COMBAT/CHARACTER

The action is fast and well drawn, and for the most cool and challenging. The difficulty curve increases smoothly. To the point where our main chick is defeated at times. Her fighting technique however will seem broken at times, since our main girl can… somehow (magically almost) improve any cybernetic body she may inhabit. On the other hand, when at times she fails (and certainly due to her childish face) she seems vulnerable and likable. Other times her stubborn character will make you smile at her bad decisions. Other times when she stubbornly faces enemies way over her limit, it makes you go “Yeah girl! Show them how it’s done!”

body

Regardless of her cybernetic body, Alita’s special, “what ever” makes any body her head is plugged to. A WAR MACHINE, mate.

The manga is quite violent and gory. Well, but at least there’s not so much nudity or sex (actually there is none as far as I remember). So get a hold of your stomach because cyborg or not, you will go over your daily doses of splattered brains and flying guts.

DIALOGUES

One of the things that annoyed me a bit were the dialogues. It seems that Mr. Kishiro is somewhat informed about robotics, thermodynamics, physics and stuff like that. And references to actual theories or laws are given amidst the dialogues (specially in combat) to explain powers and techniques. To me it seemed like a dull attempt to give the story credibility. “Why not?” You may ask. However. When you see a cyborg opening a human’s skull like a can and eat his brain while quoting Shakespeare. It’s hard to take it seriously.

On the other hand, regardless of the dystopian surrounding, Alita remains confident of finding true love :D

smile

VERDICT

The story is, as mentioned, very sad. Which is great by the way. On the other hand it has quite a bunch of cliché situations, like the hero saving a dog or giving a “lord of the rings” battle speech about courage and doing the right thing. Combat is smooth, but the bad’ies (the bad guys) are underdeveloped. Mainly it’s a bunch of lunatics killing people because … “they are the bad guys” and that’s what bad guys are supposed to do. Right? Throughout the story crazy plots come in, but at least the author had the minimal human courtesy to tie things up in a neat ending.

Oh Figure, oh Alita!

epilogue

And now, the final note for this thingy is:

8 / 10

If you like Seinen, Dystopian Future mangas you will like it a LOT!

If you like a good a story with your action, be ready to half turn off your brains

Even with “realistic” references the manga is a bit childish, violent as hell but childish, and yet its decent enough to maintain your attention. As a matter of fact: This is one of the mangas (next to Dragon Ball and Akira) you should consider your homework if you want to become a manga aficionado. You know, kind of when people tell you: “If you want to become a movie director, you need to see The Birds, Jaws and 2001: Space Odyssey”. Just like those movies, Alita is dated, yes, however it’s quite decent and a major influence of modern manga and cyberpunk. So get on with it and read! Of course this is my opinion, which you SHOULD obviously take as ABSOLUTE! Muahahahahahaha :S

P.D. I started reading Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, which is a sequel to the manga. Unfortunately the manga takes a very unwelcoming turn trying to be Berserker or Blame! (trying to copy them, you know). Not only that, but the story of Alita: Last Order (sequel) kind of goes against the canon of Battle Angel (the first manga) and specially against the fairly decent ending of Battle Angel. It’s sad to see an author, kind of, violate his own work for profit and mostly trying to imitate something else. I was unable to continue reading because un-originality hurts. Never the less the drawings are significantly better. That counts, for something, I guess…

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4 Comments »

  1. Do you realize that the ending of Battle Angel Attila is a “fake” ending?
    The editor told the author to write a quick ending, he wanted to do last order from the start. So he wrote an ending (9th book). As for me, this ending was disapointing, as it left a lot of questions, and was a “disney” ending in my eyes.
    Perhaps you should read more of last order, because it has a slow start, but it becomes extremely pleasing after the 2-3 first books.

    Anyway, you should read the other books, as it gets more and more interesting. In fact, a little bit similar to Alita, where the 2 first book were really less cool than the subsequent ones. The true story begins when the hero goes to the space station (jeru in my version, i don’t know the english name).

    I can’t wait to see if they will go to mars :)

    Now go to your manga store, buy the books, read them, and correct your incorrect opinion, then repair your error with a post about Last Order.

    • Well dear ghiro, “fake” or not, it was the ending presented to us as readers at the time. For its entertainment value it was decent, “disney”-like or not, it was o.k.
      Last Order could have begun without going against “canon”, but that is a minor detail. My biggest let-down was the fact that Last Order resembles other action-based mangas like Berserker, rather than being an original story.
      Perhaps one day I’ll review Last Order, and that will be a review on its own.

      BTW, opinions can’t be incorrect my dear.

      • Considering your sentence “Of course this is my opinion, which you SHOULD obviously take as ABSOLUTE! Muahahahahahaha :S”, i thought you would get the kidding in my wording :)
        Anyway, i found this ending dull, and i was sad to see the death of the character i loved so much. And when you read Last order, you understand well that it’s much more in the tone of Gunnm. As for Action manga type, i concede that the first two tomes are a bit classical in the way, but it quickly evolves, and introduces later on a lot of various topics. But even in the first tomes, the topic of eugenism is considered, and it adds a lot to the diversity of the world. Plus, considering what was said about the floating city, it was surprising to see that those people were also kind of slaves of the system, even if in a less violent world. And then you have the space city arc, in wich the goals change a lot, and all the ideas of Gunnm are expanded, pushed further. And there is a huge zoo of strange creatures…

        Depending on personal taste, one could regret that the atmosphere changes from “post-apocalyptic/cyberpunk” to “more clean/cyberpunk”. However it has a lot to give. If your opinion is made on the first tome or the two first ones, you need to read a little bit more. Read them online if need be :)

        Anyway, no need to look down on me, the tone of my previous post was made to be a joke in the same way as you “absolute opinion” :) Not trolling, just kidding :)

      • O.k. got it. No problem on that regard, and sorry on my end.

        To your post (long post) I can say that if I ever do a review of Last Order I will definitely read the whole thing and dedicate a post to it.

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