Battle Angel Alita

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Battle Angel Alita

Cover of Battle Angel Alita volume 1
Genre Cyberpunk, Splatterpunk
Author Yukito Kishiro
Publisher Flag of Japan Shueisha
English publisher Flag of Canada Flag of the United States Viz Media
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Business Jump
Original run December 1990April 1995
Volumes 9
Manga: Ashen Victor
Author Yukito Kishiro
Publisher Flag of Japan Shueisha
English publisher Flag of Canada Flag of the United States VIZ Media
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Ultra Jump
Original run September 1995July 1996
Volumes 1
Manga: Gunnm: Another Stories
Author Yukito Kishiro
Publisher Flag of Japan Shueisha
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Ultra Jump
Original run July 1997December 2006
Volumes 1
Manga: Battle Angel Alita: Last Order
Author Yukito Kishiro
Publisher Flag of Japan Shueisha
English publisher Flag of Canada Flag of the United States Viz Media
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Ultra Jump
Original run July 19, 2001ongoing
Volumes 12
OVA: Battle Angel
Director Hiroshi Fukutomi
Studio Flag of Japan KSS, Madhouse Studios, MOVIC
Flag of the United Kingdom Manga Entertainment (PAL Version)
Licensor Flag of the United States A.D. Vision
Episodes 2
Released June 21, 1993
Runtime 70 minutes
Game: Gunnm: Martian Memory
Developer Yukito Products
Publisher Banpresto
Genre Action role-playing game
Rating B
Platform PlayStation
Released Flag of Japan August 27, 1998
Anime and Manga Portal

Battle Angel Alita, known in Japan as Gunnm (銃夢 Ganmu?, literally - "Gun / Dream"), is a manga series created by Yukito Kishiro in 1990 and originally published in Shueisha's Business Jump magazine. Two of the nine-volume comics were adapted into two anime original video animation episodes titled Battle Angel for North American release by ADV Films and the UK and Australian release by Manga Entertainment. Manga Entertainment also dubbed Battle Angel Alita into English. The manga series is continued in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order.


[edit] Story

Battle Angel Alita tells the story of Alita ("Gally" in the original Japanese version), an amnesiac female cyborg. This cyborg's intact head and upper torso are found in a state of suspended animation by the cybermedic expert Daisuke Ido while he is out searching for useful scrap. Amazed by his discovery, Ido quickly returns home and works to revive her. Upon finding that the girl has lost her memory, Ido names her Alita, the name of his recently deceased cat.

The rebuilt Alita soon discovers that she possesses instinctive knowledge of the legendary martial art Panzer Kunst, although she has no other memories of her previous life. Alita must learn to navigate, exist, and fight in the Scrapyard, whose inhabitants themselves live in the shadow of the tantalizingly close floating city, Tiphares. Her journeys take Alita across the Scrapyard and surrounding areas, as she tries to recall more of her past.

[edit] Characters

Battle Angel Alita features a diverse cast of characters, many of whom shift in and out of focus as the story progresses. Some are never to be seen again following the conclusion of a story arc, while others make recurring appearances. The one character who remains a constant throughout is Alita, the protagonist and title character, a young cyborg with amnesia struggling to uncover her forgotten past through the only thing she remembers from it: by fighting. Early on in the story, Daisuke Ido, a bounty-hunting cybernetic doctor who finds and revives Alita plays a major role as well, but midway through the manga he becomes marginalized as focus begins to increasingly shift to Desty Nova, an eccentric nanotechnology scientist who has fled from Tiphares. Nova is the mastermind behind many of the enemies and trials that Alita faces, but does not make an actual appearance until more than two years into the story, although he is alluded to early on. Finally, Kaos, Desty Nova's son, a frail and troubled radio DJ with psychometric powers, also begins to play a crucial role after he comes in contact with Alita. He broadcasts his popular radio show from the wastelands outside the Scrapyard, staying away from the increasing conflict between Tiphares and the rebel army Barjack.

[edit] Setting

Battle Angel Alita takes place in a futuristic dystopian world, mainly during the first half of the 26th century, although there are flashbacks to as far back as the Crusades. Besides renaming Gally to Alita, the North American version of the manga also changed the city of Salem to Tiphares, after Tiferet. Since Kishiro also used the name Jeru for the facility atop Salem, Jeru was renamed Ketheres in the translation, after Keter. To further develop the Biblical theme in the original series, Salem's main computer was named Melchizedek, "the king of Salem" and "priest to the Most High God" [1].

[edit] Tiphares

Tiphares (Zalem or Salem) is a floating city, suspended from space on a pillar construct and anchored to the ground by huge cables, which also serve as supply tubes. These tubes are extremely durable, able to withstand even Den's sword. Tiphares was a city meant to house individuals specially conditioned for the rigors of space travel. However, after the Terraforming Wars, centered around the Leviathan-class ships, Tiphares' connection to the surface was severed. When LADDER was established, Tiphares and its citizens were used as part of a genetic experiment, and as a source of human brains.

[edit] The Scrapyard

The Scrapyard is a sprawling expanse of buildings and other structures centered around a massive scrap heap directly below Tiphares. The mountain of garbage was once the tower that connected to Tiphares. Now, the heap consists of garbage ejected from the floating city of Tiphares. Outside the Scrapyard is desert, with some oasis-like locations called Farm Factories for resource production.

The Scrapyard reflects the cyberpunk ethos, as well as Kishiro's portrayal of a society without values. Many inhabitants became cyborgs working for the factories, some are victims of involuntary street surgery, while others use cybernetics to enhance their physical abilities. Firearms are outlawed; non-projectile weapons are permitted, and exist in great variety. Fights erupt spontaneously on the streets. Violent criminals lurk in shadowy alleyways and through the tremendous extent of the sewers. Public entertainment is of a violent nature; Motorball's fusion of racing and gladiatorial combat is a prime example. These are condoned by the factory to pacify and distract the denizens of the Scrapyard. Interestingly, these are broadcast to Tiphares as well suggesting a darker nature to the Tiphareans. This becomes more evident in Last Order during the violence that follows Nova's public announcement of the secret of the Tiphareans. At that point, Casey Roscoe's men even talk of killing children for sport.

The only law is Factory Law: rules contrived to protect Tipharean interests in food and basic resources that are supplied from the factories below. For example, air travel within close proximity to Tiphares (this includes both man made objects and animal life) is prohibited. Anything that breaches this particular law is shot down by the city's defense system. For this reason, there are no birds in the Scrapyard. Bounty hunters called "hunter-warriors" are the enforcers of Factory Law in the Scrapyard, since there is no actual police force.

[edit] Geographical setting

The series seems to take place in the United States. In the map presented in the eighth volume, the locations and geological formations closely correlate to particular cities. According to this map, the site of the Scrapyard/Tiphares is at Kansas City, Missouri, and the Necropolis is Colorado Springs, Colorado. The surrounding Farm Factories that support Tiphares also correspond to real cities; Farm 21 and Farm 22 are Sweetwater, Texas and Garden City, Kansas respectively. Radio KAOS is at the site of Dallas/Fort Worth. Figure's coastal hometown, Alhambra, is a real place in Southern California, and Desty Nova's Granite Inn is said to have been built out of a military base - assumed to be the NORAD main technical facility at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado.[2]

[edit] Time period

Although for the longest time the exact time period of when Battle Angel Alita takes place was a total mystery, it was later revealed that the latest events take place 591 years after the launch of Sputnik 1, which was in 1957. In fact, that is the dating convention used by the characters in the story; years are given as ES (Era Sputnik). Given that it has been about fourteen years since Daisuke Ido discovered Alita in the first graphic novel, that means the entire Battle Angel Alita manga takes place mostly between ES 577 and ES 591, or 2533 and 2547.[2]

[edit] Manga

The manga was first published in Shueisha's Business Jump magazine. It was then serialized from 1990 to 1995 in nine tankōbons. In the U.S., Viz originally released the story in a 25 page comic book, it then followed the same volume format as its Japanese counterpart.

  • On April 4, 1997 a Gunnm novel was released by JUMP j-BOOKS, a part of the Japanese publisher Shueisha.
  • On December 23, 1998 Gunnm: Complete Edition, a Japanese special edition, was released in six volumes in a larger B5 format. They contain the original story, but with a different ending accommodating for the continuation of the story in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order. Included are also rough sketches, a timeline and three short stories published earlier as Gunnm: Another Stories.

[edit] OVA

A two episode OVA was released in 1993, incorporating elements from the first two volumes of the manga with changes to the characters and storyline. According to Kishiro, only two episodes were originally planned. At the time, he was too busy with the manga "to review the plan coolly", nor was he serious about an anime adaptation. It remains the only anime adaptation of Battle Angel Alita to date and there are no plans to revive it.[3]

[edit] Film

James Cameron is directing and producing Battle Angel, a live-action adaption of the first three volumes of the manga series.[4] Cameron has plans to make a trilogy if the first film is successful. Alita will be a CG character performed by an actress. Filming will be made with the new digital 3D system Cameron has developed for Avatar, and will also include new devices for interacting between actors, director and the digital characters and environments, such as a real time virtual camera and virtual retinal display (VRD) technology. Just like Avatar this movie will be marketed and distributed by 20th Century Fox worldwide.

[edit] Video game

Gunnm: Martian Memory is an action RPG video game for the PlayStation by Banpresto. It is an adaptation of the manga, following Alita (Gally) from her discovery in the Tiphares dump heap by Daisuke Ido up through and beyond her career as a TUNED agent. The story includes additional elements that Kishiro had conceived when he ended the original manga in 1995, but was unable to implement at the time, which involved Alita going into outer space.[5] He then expanded the story, which formed the basis for the manga Battle Angel Alita: Last Order.[6]

[edit] Related works

[edit] Popular culture in Battle Angel

References to elements of Western popular culture within the series include Max Headroom and Heavy metal bands Judas Priest, Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie, Megadeth's mascot Vic Rattlehead, the Scorpions, Heaven's Gate, Megadeth, and especially Blue Öyster Cult.

[edit] Notes and references

  1. ^ Genesis 14:18; Melchizedek was renamed "David" in the first North American release of Battle Angel Alita. Subsequent releases retain the original name.
  2. ^ a b The Kudos! List
  3. ^ "MNS Exclusive Interview: Battle Angel (GUNNM) Creator Yukito Kishiro". Anime News Service. Retrieved on 2007-12-14. 
  4. ^ Anne Thompson; Sheigh Crabtree (2005-06-14). "Cameron turns to new project". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on 2006-10-18. 
  5. ^ ""GUNNM Last Order" notice by Yukito Kishiro.". English version of Yukito Kishiro's official website. Retrieved on 2007-08-15. 
  6. ^ FAQ at

[edit] External links

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