A Quick Primer On ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL Before You See It On The Big Screen

A Quick Primer On ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL Before You See It On The Big Screen
January 03 15:47 2019 Print This Article

The photo you see above is pretty much synonymous with 90’s grungy heavy metal cyberpunk type of manga (and anime). Its one of the more iconic wallpapers you’ll see out there of the era. And you’d probably remember seeing it everywhere back then – likely as a poster in your nearest comic book store or your friend’s PC wallpaper. You might not even know where its from, but all you can think about is that that artwork was cool as all hell.

But what’s really behind that cybernetic girl with wings? Well its Battle Angel: Alita, and its getting a live action movie adaptation by big western powerhouses James Cameron and Jon Landau of both Titanic and Avatar fame (among others.) Its premiering on February 19th, 2019, but before it was a live action big budget movie it was a manga by Yukito Kishiro.

Technically, this entire series has had three name changes. It’s originally named and known in Japan as “Gunnm”, (pronounced “Ganmu”) meaning “Gun Dream”. Once brought to the western world it was renamed to, “Battle Angel: Alita.” And finally, a last minute change to the Live Action movie title brought the ‘Alita’ name before ‘Battle Angel’ – the reason for this is that James Cameron has a history of popular movies starting in ‘T’ (Titanic, Terminator) and ‘A’ (Avatar, Aliens), hence the name change to have Alita come first.

But what Battle Angel: Alita is tonewise is what you’re here for. We won’t try to go into too much detail here so as to not potentially spoil any surprises, but here’s a few things to fill in the world and give you an idea on what to expect.

Alita takes place in a cyberpunk, nearly lawless place called Scrapyard, where humans would scrounge around for cybernetic parts and augment themselves to keep themselves alive.

Dr. Daisuke Ido finds a female cyborg’s chest and head still intact in a scrap heap and rebuilds her, naming her after his recently deceased cat, Alita. She has little to no memory of what she was before, but soon realizes that she’s trained in a legendary martial art called Panzer Kunst, a fighting style developed for zero gravity use in Mars.

That’s how it pretty much starts. The manga goes into many avenues like Alita joining the “Hunter-Warrior” mercenaries who are tasked to destroy criminal cyborgs in Scrapyard and later joining a brutal sport called Motorball.

One thing is for sure though, the original Gunnm / Battle Angel: Alita is grungy and dark. Something you may have probably imagined from the “Rusty Angel” poster above. The world of Scrapyard is an ugly place, and the manga has a lot of 90’s classic violence and your typical hardcore heavy metal vibe – including a bit of your old school manga’s small amounts of nudity / partial nudity.

That’s likely to change though with the Live Action adaptation – because its rated as a PG-13 movie and to us it sort of makes sense businesswise. Plus, seeing the trailer, its clear they’re going for a more colorful, more Astroboy-like vibe.

Which is fine, even according to the original author, Yukito Kishiro. In a video appearance at the Crunchyroll Anime Expo 2018 (video below), Kishiro says he has “read the script by James Cameron and Robert (Rodriguez, Director)” and that “the filmmakers are being true to these characters I have lived with for so long.” He even finishes with, “I can’t wait to see the finished movie!”

So hopefully the world of Gunnm is faithfully translated into the big screen. If nothing else, we’re just happy that these old school mangas are gaining attention again – and we get to see these cool posters we used to see everywhere being noticed again.

So now we’ll end with a little housekeeping. “Alita: Battle Angel” wouldn’t be possible without the support of their partners. Partners like AoC, who’s dedicated to the pursuit of better quality visuals whether they be on the big screen or on your desktop AoC monitors. In partnership with 20th Century Fox, they’re bringing Alita to us on the aforementioned February 19 date. Plus they’re going to launch a series of promotional activities globally. If you’re interested in joining those, they encourage you to follow their social media accounts here: AoC Facebook, AoC YouTube, and the AGON Website.

BONUS: Here’s a photo of James Cameron wearing a Battle Angel: Alita T-Shirt on the set of Avatar (you know, not the Airbender one)! That’s dedication!

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Alexei Rivera
Alexei Rivera

Alex likes doges and wowes. Much bio.

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