Battle Angel Alita (Action Edition) Vol. #04 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-59116-275-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Battle Angel Alita (Action Edition) Vol. #04

By Eduardo M. Chavez     February 01, 2005
Release Date: June 01, 2004


Battle Angel Alita (Action Edition) Vol.#04
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kishiro Yukito
Translated by:Fred Burke and Toshifumi Yoshida
Adapted by:

What They Say
Yukito Kishiro blurs the lines between human and machine in the sci-fi/action adventure Battle Angel Alita.

Alita must choose a challenge team defeat Jashugan, the proud, invincible Motorball champion. Who will give their all - their very life - for the lovely Battle Angel? In the intense heat of battle during her final one-on-one showdown with Jashugan, Alita slips into a trance that provides an incredible revelation about her mysterious past.

The Review
Packaging:
As they have done throughout this reproduction, Viz continues to use Kishiro's original cover art. This cover is a wrap around with Alita racing on a motorball course. The image is full of reds and yellows that bring out the inking really well. 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 cyborg anatomy) and a comic strip about the creation of Alita's face. Viz also included ads for Battle Angel Alita ~Last Order~, Video Girl Ai, Cheeky Angel and Project ARMS.

Artwork:
While definitely a step down from Kishiro's art in Last Order, Alita is still a feast for the eyes. 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.

Text/SFX:
This is one of the series that Viz went back to redo and they do a decent job. SFX are all overlaid but the retouch looks solid. In the end, 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) 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)
There is a time for everything in life; therefore, there is also a time for everything to end. Alita saw when her love's time ended. She believed it was too soon. She did not have enough time with him in this cruel age. Now she lives for the moment when her time will end. She lives to play along the line that separates the living and the dead. Now with her battle against a human god of death, her end might be near.

This is going to be her ultimate test; exactly what she wanted to accomplish to prove to herself how cold and strong she has become. Win or lose. Life or death. None of it matters now, so she takes this on with all of her strength. She takes on all comers to prove herself worthy. In the world of motorball, a few bloodthirsty competitors are bad enough, but she will be facing the best of the rest and if she survives the emperor of the circuit. This is suicide! However, that is exactly what Alita wants.

By now, it is obvious how much of an individual sport motorball is. In the end, there is only one standing holding on to the ball. There are no teams and those who worry about injury and death are often the first to be eliminated. The concept is perfect for Alita as she is alone... but she is not. Ido is still around. He still loves his killing angel. Moreover, he appears to finally be coming to terms with how he loves Alita. He was not there for her when she moved to this violent sport, but now he wants to assure her that he will be there if she is able to survive all of this. He is risking a lot on this, for there is a high chance she will not survive, but love was never easy.

Comments
There always was a reason why Alita ran off to join the dangerous motorball league. Physical strength was the obvious reason, as motorball is a test of speed, power, agility and dexterity. There is an element of strategy to motorball as well, and that is apparent in Alita's second to last match. However, inner strength eventually moved to the forefront, as Alita began to uncover memories from her past and began to accept her current situation. Fear and confusion opened up a part of her past, that helped her realize that there is much more to life than pleasure and anger. Fear can oppress people and some will end up escaping reality because of it. Others will be motivated to overcome their fears, to better themselves and to liberate others from the cause of that fear. Alita was able to overcome her fear in the present, as she did in her past. Fear brought her to the top, and now her physical strength will have to insure her victory and survival. There is nothing to fear but fear itself! Wow!

As much I like sports and manga, I really could not get into motorball that much. After going through the excellent mix of drama and action of the first two volumes, having almost two whole volumes dedicated to skating around a circuit, playing roller derby and silly machismo was almost too much to bear. I will not say it was not fun, but compared to the drama at the start the motorball arch was forgetful. Fortunately, Kishiro was able work on Alita's past a little. Now that this is over and we are now heading to the halfway point, readers are in for the real meat of this great story. Looking back, I am glad we got through this lull early on in the series, before we got into what will really be the deciding part of this series. In a way this is telling of how diverse Kishiro can be, but I would rather he focus on his strengths.

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