Battle Angel Alita (Action Edition) Vol. #1 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 222
  • ISBN: 1-56931-945-6
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Battle Angel Alita (Action Edition) Vol. #1

By Eduardo M. Chavez     February 21, 2004
Release Date: December 09, 2003

Battle Angel Alita (Action Edition) Vol.#1
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Translated by:Fred Burke, Sterling Bell, & Matt Thorn
Adapted by:

What They Say
Yukito Kishiro blurs the lines between human and machine in the sci-fi/action adventure Battle Angel Alita.
Daisuke Ido, a talented cybernetic doctor, finds the head of a cyborg in a junk heap. When he rebuilds her body, Alita's only clue to her past surfaces - her deadly fighting instincts! And now she is determined to find out the truth about who she once was...

The Review
Viz uses the original cover art here. On there is a close up of Alita with her hair taking up a lot of the cover.
Logo Check!! (2003 Megs)... Viz does a nice job with the logo, giving "Alita" a large font while framing "Battle Angel" within it. Giving the frame wings is cute but a little silly for my tastes.
The printing looks good but a little dark. And Viz provides an omake page detailing the "Deckmen" and factory system in this series.

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. In many ways I feel that this is his strong part. This world he presents in the scrapyard underneath the floating city is horrible. One could not realize just how hard it must be 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. This is as textbook as it can be but it does the job by keeping the pace at a nice slow rythmn 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. Now in a tall B6 (similar to TP sizes) Alita is right to left; a striking contrast to it's tall flopped original Viz print. SFX are all overlayed but the retouch looks solid, so I have no complaints.

Translation looks solid - no significant spelling or grammar errors and it flows very well. 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 their younger audiences can easily keep up with this great story.
Like Viz's 1995 version there are a few name changes notibly Gally (Alita) and Jashugun (Dr. Nova who is not in vol. 1).

Contents: (Watch out spoilers ahead)
How can you define being human? Is it emotion? Understanding? Nature and nurture? Is it the body or the mind? What makes one human? And since we are on the subject what make us alive?
Alita was nothing but a head and a neck when Daisuke found her hibernating in the Scrapyard. How could she be human? How could she be alive? To Ido Daisuke she was both and she is already someone he cares for dearly. Alita is someone who he wants to raise to be pure, unlike everything else in the Scrapyard. He wanted something beautiful an angel but his angel had a will of her own and a history that was directing her away from his ideal.
Her purpose is to fight like a warrior. Her body - built from parts found by Daisuke in the Scrapyard - is not, though. Daisuke put her together for beauty not for battle; anything that can put a decent amount of strain on her body could rip her to shreds. Her heart and her soul cannot be broken and even though she may end up like scrap she always goes all out for her own ideals (as ugly as Daisuke might think they may be). The body in this world can be replaced. Alita has done so once and will quite likely have to do it again sometime. So as long as her heart and her mind tells her to keep on fighting she will until her body cannot. The same may go for her enemies. The will and not the body can only resolve situations like those. And there lies real beauty, Daisuke; even if it's amongst the sewers of the Scrapyard.
Humans make their own decisions; they make their own mistakes. Daisuke decided to clean the neighborhood of crime and evil. Mayhem and murder seems to be a norm down there and while this may be a boon for a cybornetics doctor like Ido, some people go out to do damage for the thrill (others for personal satisfaction). So when he is out of commission, there was only had one choice. Give Alita a new body. One as strong as her will that is capable of supporting her and helping her grow. A body alone will not be able to defeat the strongest body in the Scrapyard, but Alita's mind, and mainly her memories, will take that body to her mind's limit and do so.

Volume one does a lot for this series. It gives readers a little taste into this society under the floating city. Cyborgs are everywhere and their place in this society is clouded in many ways (economical and physical). But what we get a lot of early on is the determination of the individual. Alita in the first pages of the series was a shell of what she was at the end of the GN; or was she. She may have been shut down temporarily but she was always capable. Almost a body over mind moment, which was easily overcome once she had a body and one that was almost forgotten once she had the right body for her mind.

For those looking for a solid sci-fi series with a plot and some decent action Alita is one that cannot be passed up. It has one of the best starts in a manga and it really does not let up. Solid storytelling, good characters and a wonderful dark world it is all set in. Very nice!
For those looking for something a little easier on the brain then pass. Actually unless you are a robot I this series should be in your collection.

Alita and I go way back. I was in middle school in Sakai when this series was starting in Young Jump Magazine. At the time it was way over my head. The sci-fi elements, the cyborgs, the struggle to learn oneself, but as I grew I gained an appreciation and a closeness for the series that I have not experienced with many another titles. Alita developes with the series. She has to learn her limits but at the same time she has her ideals. When I was 13 this I was testing my limits, learning about my world and making my own decisions. It was wonderful to have a series that I relate well with. Now that I am in my 20's this series means much more to me. It's a sci-fi series with depth in it's writing and art, one with wonderful characters and tremendous creativity, and something that challenges me. Most importantly it's a title that I love sharing and Viz going back and producing this title the way it should be makes sharing much easier.

Highly Recommended.


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