Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm) - Anime Review - Anime Jinsei

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Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm) - Anime Review

Battle Angel Alita is set in a fractured world of the future, where the utopian city of 'Tiphares' hangs (literally) over the 'Scrapyard', a huge sprawling city/junkyard, where the rest of the world fights to survive. Cyborgs and advanced technology are used by practically everyone, and criminals are only kept under control by professional bounty hunters.

Into this grim life, a doctor finds and rebuilds a discarded cyborg girl and names her Alita. The film follows Alita's life in the Scrapyard and beyond as she struggles to find her past and discover her future.


Alita of Battle Angel Alita

Battle Angel Alita is an action anime with science fiction elements that manages to be much more than a bloody show. It addresses many themes: love, hope, freedom, obsession and the line of demarcation between good and evil. 

The anime manages to combine all these elements with a coherent scenario, the development of the character and the action without that nothing seems artificial. 

What makes it so impressive is that it took place in two episodes of 25 minutes each; while you have a lot of anime with 12 times the episodes completely unable to do it. Nevertheless, things are going well, there is still a lot to do.

Starting with the story setting; the world where it takes place is very interesting. Scrap Iron City is a cesspit community. - a dirty, dangerous and sad place, it's hell. Hovering above it is a city called Zalem. 

Not much information is given about this supposed paradise, but one thing that is certain is that some people are desperate to get there hoping to live a good life. They are so driven by this ambition that they are consumed by it, and are willing to do anything to realize that dream.

Doctor Daisuke Ido and Alita of Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm)

The characters are used well in encouraging this segment of the story that their personalities reflect the misery in the city. It's easy to relate to their situation when looking at things from their perspective especially with one character who seems to be tasting life in Zalem at one point. 

I feel this is a good call from the author only because this allows viewers to understand that life in Zalem is not an unattainable dream. The development of a story is clearly a strong point. Gally (Alita) is by far the most compelling of characters, because of her happy-go-lucky and mean streak when called for.

Battle Angel Alita seems more aimed at people who love to think, but action fans will get something from it too. The battle scenes are really good, and even brutal sometimes with some imaginative and well-planned out scenes.

Alita and Yugo of Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm)

Once described as a cross between 'Mad Max' and 'Ghost in the Shell', the manga is written and drawn by Yukito Kishiro, who gives the artwork an exceptionally clean and detailed feel. 

Particularly impressive is the creative use of cyborg technology. The action is amazing, and very graphic in showing bloody violence (and the occasional dismembering.)

The animation definitely brings out the best when they're fighting. Fight scenes are very fluid without the slightest shudder. The visuals are impressive for a 1993 OVA. The artwork is very good. Special attention was given to Gally (Alita) when she is displaying all her emotions. 

There were scenes where her face alone told her story without resorting to dialogue.

The soundtrack is also good for its time with the right music for the right moods. The sound effects are well used but can be a little awkward. The Japanese and English dubbers are pretty good overall. I have no problem with neither.

The anime is not without flaws. The biggest problem of this series is the length. Although some things are finished, there are questions that remain unresolved and the viewer will be wanting more. It's one of those titles that deserved better treatment, but never was able to get it. It's definitely a title that should be redone.

While originally published in Japan as Gunnm, Viz have renamed, translated and released the full eight volumes of the series (which concluded in February 1998) as Battle Angel Alita.

Overall, Battle Angel Alita is a very good watch. The characters bring out the story and has beautiful action scenes. There is a bit of nudity and sexual content but nothing very graphic while something was happening or is happening. 

If you want a gritty cyberpunk anime that's intelligent and touching, while remaining brief and accurate, Battle Angel Alita will be a great addition to your watchlist.

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