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Battle Angel Alita

Battle Angel Alita, called GUNNM in Japan, is a manga series created by Yukito Kishiro in 1991. It was originally published in Japan in Shueisha's Ultra Jump magazine until 1995.

The original title Gunnm ("Gun Dream") was changed to Battle Angel Alita by Viz Communications (now VIZ Media), which imported the manga to North America. The main character Alita (called "Gally" in the original Japanese version) is a cyborg with no memory of her past.

'Battle Angel Alita'-A Manga series

The nine-volume manga was adapted into two anime Original Video Animations in 1993. They did not sell well in Japan, however, so further animation of the series did not go beyond the planning stages. Although the OVAs were generally considered to be well made, critics pointed out that they failed to reproduce the intricacies of the manga. Fans also said the animated version of Gally/Alita wasn't cute enough. When ADV Films adapted the OVAs to the North American market, they chose to go with the name Battle Angel so that fans would tie it in with the manga version, dropping the "Alita" to avoid a redub of the original Japanese.

Yukito Kishiro was not happy with the end of the series, as he was forced to end it prematurely due to external and personal reasons. A few years later he got the chance to publish the manga GUNNM: Last Order, called Battle Angel Alita: Last Order in North America, which skips the end of the last graphic novel and tells the story as he originally intended. Last Order is also being translated to English by Viz, with four volumes published as of October 2004.

Daisuke Ido, a cybermedic expert searching for some useful scrap, finds the head and upper torso of a female cyborg in a suspended animation state. 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 (Gally), being the name of his recent deceased male cat.

Ido builds Alita a new cyborg body, but she suspects that the parts have been obtained by violence. She follows him one night, hoping to discover the true nature of his late-night activities. She watches him lie in wait for what appears to be an approaching woman, and intervenes. The woman turns out to be a berserk mutant woman with a bounty on her head. She attacks Alita and Ido.

Alita fights the woman, suddenly delivering a killing blow by instinct. Ido recognizes the technique as an ancient Martian Martial Arts known as Panzer Kunst ("armored arts"). Ido reveals he is a Hunter-Warrior, and after some argument, she decides to become one as well. This begins Alita's quest to discover her true identity.

One evening, Alita encounters her first criminal called Makaku. His constant hunger for endorphins leads him to prey on victims' brains. Alita attempts to defeat Makaku, but fails and nearly dies. Ido arrives to her rescue and fends off Makaku, sustaining a severe injury in the process. Beaten, but not destroyed, the criminal vows revenge on the two and flees.

Ido struggles back to his clinic with Alita and dresses his wounds with the help of his assistant Gonzu. He decides that with Alita's broken body and the threat of Makaku, there remains no other choice but to give her a Berserker body. After a lengthy operation, Alita awakens to find herself restored in a new and powerful body.

Filled with resolve, Alita and Ido decide to seek the help of other hunter-warriors in hopes of stopping Makaku. Much to their dismay, no one in the Scrapyard wants to risk facing Makaku. The other hunter-warriors scoff at the notion, leaving only Alita to pursue the rampant criminal.

Before Alita can leave to seek out Makaku, he confronts her in a newly acquired body and proceeds to wreak havoc around her. Their fight winds its way into the sewers and kindles hidden instincts within Alita. Facing almost certain death, Makaku decides to incinerate both of them atop a massive cistern. However, Alita's newfound abilities of the Berserker body allow her to control the flames and she holds them back as Makaku recounts his sad origin at the hands of scientist Desty Nova before he dies.

After the experience, Alita changes in attitude and becomes more determined to discover her own origins. Her journeys take her across the scrapyard and surrounding areas, as she remembers more and more about her past.