In a dump in the lawless settlement of Scrapyard, far beneath the mysterious space city of Zalem, disgraced cyber-doctor Daisuke Ido makes a strange find: the detached head of a cyborg woman who has lost all her memories. He names her Alita and equips her with a powerful new body, the Berserker. While Alita remembers no details of her former life, a moment of desperation reawakens in her nerves the legendary school of martial arts known as Panzer Kunst. In a place where there is no justice but what people make for themselves, Alita decides to become a hunter-killer, tracking down and taking out those who prey on the weak. But can she hold onto her humanity as she begins to revel in her own bloodlust?
After rewatching the Alita: Battle Angel movie recently and remembering how much I love it, I knew I wanted to finally check out the manga that inspired it. I really loved this story that was darker and more twisted than the movie.
I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the art in this manga. I tend to struggle feeling invested in the action in manga because it is hard for me to follow and fill in the blanks between panels. However, I thought that the action in these volumes was very well done. It was easy to follow what was happening even in the action scene panels and the action felt fast paced and had high stakes.
Alita is a compelling protagonist to follow. She is innnocent, yet ruthless. She is often introspective, but confident in making decisions and quick to act. She is kind hearted and trusting. She is also one of the most BA heroines that I have ever read about. It was such a joy to follow such a complex character.
“I don’t know if it’s a sin, or something to be proud of. I don’t know if it’s hate or mourning…All I know is that my tears flowed for him.”
I often have trouble connecting with characters in manga because the medium itself limits the amount of words used and therefore can limit the author’s ability to dive deep into a character’s personality, motivations, etc. However, with Alita this was not the case. I instantly felt a connection with her honest, wild eyed, hope filled outlook on life even in the midst of the dark and grim reality of the world. Alita is truly just a good person. She wants to do her best by everybody she meets and contantly gives those she is fighting a chance to give up and surrender. I really love her character.
The world itself is incredibly well done and immersive. Every panel felt intentional and added to the story or worldbuilding. I love the cyberpunk feel to this world. This is my first cyberpunk type story and I can tell you that I really enjoy it and will now be seeking out more stories that are set in this type of world.
This is the first manga that I feel like I have gotten invested in for itself and not just because I have watched an adaptation previously. Surprisingly deep and meaningful, this is a story of hope in the darkness and of doing the right thing at all times no matter the consequence. I am really enjoying my journey through the Battle Angel Alita manga and will be continuing the series immediately!