Title:  Battle Angel Alita

Japanese Title:  Hyper Future Vision Gunnm

Creator:  Yukito Kishiro

Year:  1990

Manga Incarnations:

Battle Angel Alita - 9 Volumes (Viz Communications)
Last Order - 7 volumes (Viz Communications)
Ashen Victor - 1 volume spin-off (Viz Communications)

Anime Incarnations:

Battle Angel Alita - 2 episode OVA (Manga Entertainment)

Computer Game Incarnations:

Gunnm: Martian Memory - Sony Playstation (Banpresto)



 Set against a backdrop of a distopian future where the social elite live in a floating city and constantly dump their rubbish onto the overpopulated slum that is Scrap Iron City.  Cyborgs walk amongst humans and criminals are hunted by a group of Bounty Hunters known as Hunter-Warriors.  A talented Cyber-Doctor named Ido finds the remains of a cyborg under the scrap piles beneath the floating city and decides to rebuild her.  He names her Gally (or Alita depending on the version, see Random Trivia, below), but Ido leads a double life as a Hunter-Warrior and soon Gally follows him into the dangerous world of bounty hunting.  Her fighting instincts and ability are the only thing that she seems to have retained from her past life and through them she attempts to rebuild her shattered memory.

Random Trivia:

1. The lead character is known as 'Gally' in Japan and in the DVD dubs, but 'Alita' in the translated Manga and VHS dub.  In the original Japanese manga 'Alita' is the name of a cat, and this cat is called Gally in the English translation.

2.  In the same way the floating city is known as 'Zalem' in Japan and on the DVD dubs but 'Zarem' in the VHS dub and 'Tiphares' in the translated manga.

3.  James Cameron is due to start production on a live action film of Battle Angel Alita, with a projected release in 2009.  He has suggested in interviews that whilst the film will be live action, the main character herself will be computer generated in a similar fashion to Gollum in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The film has been much delayed, and one of the reported reasons is that Cameron is waiting for cinemas to be equipped with special digital projectors that will be needed to screen it.

4.  The manga was written and drawn with absolutely no planning after a publisher offered to publish a series based on a sketch of a cyborg girl Yukito Kishiro had done.  Not wishing to turn the offer down, and enjoying the narrative freedom, Kishiro made the story up as he went along.

5.  Yukito Kishiro originally ended Battle Angel Alita after 9 volumes due to mental fatigue, and moved on to short stories and less challenging works.  However, fan support and the foreign popularity of the franchise led him to return to it after a gap of several years to write the true ending as the sequel series Last Order.

6.  A Battle Angel Alita console game called Gunnm: Martian Memory was released on the Sony Playstation in Japan in 1998.

7.  Whilst the OVA has seen a DVD release in the US it is only available on VHS in the UK.  It has also been shown an UK terrestrial Channel 4.

8.  The UK and US releases of the anime have different English dubs.  The US version from ADV Films appears to be a pretty straight translation of the Japanese dialogue, whereas the UK dub from Manga Entertainment takes a lot more liberties.

9.  There are numerous references to rock music and sci-fi films in the Battle Angel Alita manga.  Sharp eyed readers will spot Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie sitting in Bar Kansas in volume 1, and Ido's vaults in the same volume contain Robbie the Robot from Lost in Space and the robots Maximillian and V.I.N.CENT from the 1979 sci-fi The Black Hole Megadeth's mascot Vic Rattlehead also appears during the Motorball arc, as does their logo and that of The Scorpions.

10.  The Japanese title 'Gunnm' translates as 'Gun Dream', and is pronounced 'Gahn-mu'

11.  Despite its popularity in the US and UK there is still plenty of Battle Angel Alita that has yet to see the light of day in English.  Japanese fans can also read a Battle Angel Alita novel, the short manga series Gunnm Gaiden and an encyclopaedic wad of technical notes, production sketches and background info known as the Tech Notes.

12.  A new Gunnm Gaiden collection out in Japan on 18th December 2007 comes with a special limited edition Gally action figure sculpted by Masaki Apsy.  The figure is poseable and comes with accessories including arm blades and a cloak.  Click here to see a picture.

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