Battle Angel Alita (Action Edition) Vol. #03 -

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Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-59116-274-2
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Battle Angel Alita (Action Edition) Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 22, 2004
Release Date: April 01, 2004

Battle Angel Alita (Action Edition) Vol.#03
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kishiro Yukito
Translated by:Toshifumi Yoshida, Fred Burke, Sterling Bell, and Matt Thorn
Adapted by:

What They Say
Killing Angel
Yukito Kishiro blurs the line between human and machine in the sci-fi/action adventure Battle Angel Alita. Her heart broken, Alita runs away from home and becomes a challenger in motorball, a combat-like game that pits cyborg competitors against each other. Doc Ido is determined to bring Alita back home and from new alliances as he formulates a desperate plan...

The Review
As they have done throughout this reproduction, Viz continues to use Kishiro's original cover art. This cover is a wrap around with Alita on a motorball course. The image is full of blacks and blues that bring out the red of the motorball and Alita's light skin. Viz's logo is pretty fun even though it does not incorporate any of the original concepts (including the title). "Alita" is in large block letters with "Battle Angel" framed within the larger letters. To accentuate the angel aspect Viz even gives the logo little wings. Cute in a dangerous way. Inside Viz's printing is okay, though there were pages that seemed to be a bit dark. I did not notice any alignment or touch-up problems.
This volume features the original volume header, technotes (this volume has notes on motorball) and conceptual art. There are also ads for Battle Angel Alita ~Last Order~, Steam Detectives, Silent Mobius and Excel Saga.

While definitely a step down from Kishiro's art in Last Order Alita is still a feast for the eyes. While the character designs have a more comical feel than his current works, there is a lot of creativity with the mix of cyborg parts and human flesh. His backgrounds are also very nice. At this point, I feel that this is his strongest aspect. The world he presents in the Scrapyard underneath the floating city is horrible. One could not realize just how hard it must be to live in if Kishiro did not present it as dark, cold and harsh. I love it! With everything else being so creative, I almost did not notice how simple the layout is. It is as textbook as it can be, but it does the job by keeping the pace at a nice slow rhythm making sure the reader focuses on the art and the story.

This is one of the series that Viz went back to redo and they do a real nice job. SFX are all overlaid but the retouch looks solid. So, I have no complaints.

Translation looks solid - no significant spelling or grammar errors and it flows very well. Unfortunately, there are a few changes to the original text. There are a few name changes notably Gally (Alita), Yugo (Hugo), and Salem (Tiphares).
Where I felt this translation excelled was with the notes. While not as extensive as Last Order's these notes are filled with all sorts of information (terms for the series along with some scientific terminology) nicely presented in the gutters located at the bottom of the page. Alita may be for older teens but with those notes younger audiences can easily keep up with this great story.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Sometimes dreams are only thoughts we wish would come true. Hugo's dream has been shattered and there nothing left for him in this world to live for now. In truth, it has been that way for Hugo for quite a while now, but he just now opened his eyes to reality. His hope lived in his dream to go to Triphares to escape the depression and oppression of the scrapyard. Now with his chance gone there is only one option left - die trying to make it come true.

Alita has dreams of her own. They all seem to have Hugo in them. For her his dreams are wonderful ideas, but she can see that there is nothing to gain from wanting the impossible. Therefore, Hugo's choice is not an option for her. Why can't her love be enough? Now Hugo?s dream has become a nightmare for her.

Alita's nightmare would lead her to a world made up of them. Like Hugo, she felt that her life was empty without her dream. Running away from home, and Ido, she decided to live where her life was constantly on the line. She would soon start risking her life to escape from the harsh truths of the Scrapyard. She would once work so hard to be independent and then to be loved, but now she wants nothing... except to become cold, hard like a "razors edge of purest steel." Dangerous and void of emotion, but extremely fragile she would be a machine or maybe a tool. Where she is now being as steel is ideal, as there is no emotion and only the strongest survive.

With a new body specifically made for her new profession, competitive motorball, Alita will have to put her past behind her, with survival being her priority. On the surface, motorball looks like a long game of keep away with a mix of roller derby. However, in this game you must avoid those who want possession of the motor ball as your will do everything within the regulations to cross the finish line with it. Lose of life is a common occurrence in this game, so it is as much a team sport, mechanics and engineers, as an individual sport. Rarely are there teams or allies in this sport so it is perfect for Alita to work on her emotions.

When Ido comes for her with the strength of the current champion on his side, he thinks she would rather quit than lose face or even face death. Alita plays by her rules, cold and able to hurt those close like the "purest steel" but fragile as she could expect her life to end if she fails. If this does not get her to that point, what will?!

I do not think there is a better way to define personal identity than by doing it on the motorball circuit. The non-stop senseless violence, the supercharged high-speed racing tuned cyborg bodies, and the detailed and extremely popular gambling system makes for a great setting for self-reflection and dealing with personal struggles....
Okay, maybe not. It might not be my first choice, or my fiftieth, but the motorball circuit does help support the metamorphosis that Alita is going through at this moment. Motorball is a completely different culture to what she knew before. Despite the harsh cold exterior, there is some sort of honor system and some competitors actually take tremendous pride in the way they play the game. The concept alone is entertaining, so adding a character with a strong will like Alita to the mix not only seems natural yet is also intriguing. As a reader, I would expect her to do well because of her previous job experience, but here I was surprised to see her actually struggle at times. And as she challenges herself, she is redefining herself as an individual. It is a nice change of pace and possibly a good time to do so after all that she has gone through. But where will she go from here?

In Alita's case, her experiences have hurt her so much that she chose to escape the pain of emotional troubles. In order to accomplish that, she has decided to make herself immune to any pain. Her reactions show a sense of immaturity and confusion that she has not expressed up to this point. In the past Alita, while often being immature, would follow her emotions and her ideals to solve her problems. She knew what her abilities could do for her so she would use that to make her wishes come true. Now knowing happiness and love are not gained through only actions and words, she is running away and suppressing parts of her that she wanted to share so much in the past. Even more interesting is the fact that Alita appears to have lost the will to live. At the start of the series, her will to survive brought her back to life after her head was in the scrap heap for who knows how long. With a new chance at living, Alita worked hard to create an identity and to protect those she cared for. Now her strong personality is willing to give everything up... but I cannot tell if it is for pride or if it is because of fear.

With all the progress Kishiro had made with Alita's personality, I wondered why he decided to start all over again with her in such a strange environment. While motorball is a great concept, I struggled with the cowardice I saw in Alita. Then I realized that something had to change. Up to this point, Alita has wanted to have her own identity and her own life to live. This is one of the many possible results in life. Thinking about that continued to draw me into this series. While I could not relate to the direction Kishiro took Alita, I was very interested to see where he would go with this new cold-like steel Alita. Like a motorball fan, I found myself wanting to more, hoping to get a chance to find out who will crash and burn and who will be the strongest. Kishiro has made this series almost addictive, I really wish Viz could have left out their additives to keep it pure and potentially even more deadly.



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