Battle Angel Alita INFO
Battle Angel Alita, known in Japan as Gunnm (銃夢 Ganmu?, a portmanteau of “Gun” and the Japanese word for “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 series is set in the post-apocalyptic future and focuses on Alita, a cyborg who has lost all memories and is found in a garbage heap by a cybernetics doctor who rebuilds and takes care of her. She discovers that there is one thing she remembers, the legendary cyborg martial art Panzer Kunst, which leads to her becoming a Hunter Warrior or bounty hunter. The story traces Alita's attempts to rediscover her past and the characters whose lives she impacts on her journey. The manga series is continued in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order.
Battle Angel Alita tells the story of Alita (“Gally” in the original Japanese version), an amnesiac female cyborg. Her intact head and chest, in suspended animation, are found by cybermedic expert Daisuke Ido in the local dump. Ido manages to revive her, and finding she has lost her memory, names her Alita after his deceased cat. The rebuilt Alita soon discovers that she remembers the legendary martial art Panzer Kunst, although she does not recall anything else. Alita uses her Panzer Kunst to first become a mercenary Hunter-Warrior, killing cyborg criminals in the Scrapyard, and then as a player in the brutal sport of Motorball. While in combat, Alita awakens memories of her earlier life on Mars. She becomes involved with the floating city of Tiphares as one of their agents, and is sent to hunt criminals down. Foremost is the mad genius Desty Nova, who clashes with Alita before becoming her ally.
The futuristic dystopian world of Battle Angel Alita revolves around the city of Scrapyard, grown up around a massive scrap heap that rains down from Tiphares (Salem in the anime). Ground dwellers have no access to Tiphares and are forced to make a living in the sprawl below. Many are heavily modified by cybernetics to better cope with their hard life.
Tiphares exploits the Scrapyard and surrounding farms, paying mercenaries (called Hunter-Warriors) to hunt criminals and arranging violent sports to keep the population entertained. Massive tubes connect the Scrapyard to Tiphares, and the city uses robots for carrying out errands and providing security on the ground. Occasionally, Tiphareans (such as Ido Daisuke and Desty Nova) are exiled and sent to the ground. Aside from the robots and exiles, there is little between the two cities.
The story takes place in the former United States. According to a map, printed in the eighth volume, Scrapyard/Tiphares is near Kansas City, Missouri, and the Necropolis is Colorado Springs, Colorado. Radio KAOS is at Dallas. Figure's coastal hometown is Alhambra. Desty Nova's Granite Inn is built out of a military base - NORAD at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado.
Battle Angel Alita is revealed to take place in the 26th century. The characters refer to years after ES (Era Sputnik), based on the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957. About fourteen years pass after Daisuke Ido discovers Alita in the first graphic novel. This places the entire Battle Angel Alita manga mostly between ES 577 and ES 591, or 2533 and 2547 AD.
Main article: List of Battle Angel Alita 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.
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”.
Main article: List of Battle Angel Alita chapters The manga was first published in Shueisha's Business Jump magazine. It was then serialized from 1990 to 1995 in nine tankōbon. 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.
Battle Angel Alita was licensed for international release in a number of languages and regions. It was published in Spain by Planeta DeAgostini, in Brazil by Editora JBC, in France and Netherlands by Glenat, in Poland by JPF, in Germany by Carlsen and in Taiwan by Tong Li Publishing.
Main article: Battle Angel (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.
As of 2010, the film adaptation of Battle Angel is currently in pre-production with director James Cameron. Cameron is said to be a big fan of the manga. The release date for the film is currently set for 2017. Cameron intentionally waited until the technology to make the film was up to where he felt it should be. When MTV News talked to Cameron in 2009 about the possibility of adapting the series, the director responded with, “Maybe, maybe.” Cameron's film would be a live-action adaption of the first four volumes of the manga series; “What I’m going to do is take the spine story and use elements from the first four books. So, the Motorball from books three and four, and parts of the story of one and two will all be in the movie”. He plans to complete a trilogy if the first film is successful.The film would be filmed with the digital 3D system Cameron developed for Avatar. He has also stated that he has no one in mind for casting yet.
On February 19, 2010 Avatar producer Jon Landau hinted on the online MTV Splash blogpage that Battle Angel Alita may be filmed after Avatar 2, which is already in development. He also half-jokingly stated that James Cameron may rename the project “Alita: The Battle Angel,” because of his tradition in naming his films with either an “A” or a “T.” On April 18, 2012, Cameron confirmed that Battle Angel is a low priority for him right now, and doesn't seem to know when he'll get to it.
On May 5, 2012 James Cameron hinted in an interview with the New York Times that he would no longer be involved in the making of a Battle Angel film, instead focusing on continuing the story of Avatar through its sequels, adding that he had disbanded his production company's development arm and was no longer going to produce other people's movies or take on other scripts.
On May 8, 2012, Cameron responded to an inquiry by Harry Knowles of Aintitcool.com; after asking if he was done with BAA, Cameron stated “No. I still love that project. But Battle Angel is not going to happen for a few years.”
Cameron's producer Jon Landau, revealed that the project still alive and kicking. “I am sure you will get to see Battle Angel. It is one of my favourite stories, a great story about a young woman’s journey to self-discovery. It is a film that begs the question: What does it mean to be human?' Are you human if you have a heart, a brain or a soul? I look forward to giving the audience the film.” The film will likely not hit screens before 2017.
Main article: Gunnm: Martian Memory
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. He then expanded the story, which formed the basis for the manga Battle Angel Alita: Last Order. Related works
Ashen Victor, a prequel set six years before the beginning of Battle Angel Alita. It primarily tells the story of a Motorball player and it sets the evolution of the game into what it becomes in the main story.
Gunnm: Another Stories, a collection of side stories.
Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, a continuation published monthly in Ultra Jump.
Popular culture and 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, Heavens Gate, Megadeth, Roger Waters, Queensryche, and especially Blue Öyster Cult. There are also several references to the British band The Alan Parsons Project where a part of their song “Inside Looking Out” is sung by a character, but due to copyright issues, the lyrics were changed from its original Japanese version. In Tears of an Angel, a factory sign reads “Factory Front 242” in reference to the Belgian Industrial band, Front 242. The Barjack's leader Den makes his final charge to the lyrics of Carmina Burana O Fortuna.