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  • Writer's pictureBriony Rose Smith

Battle Angel Alita Manga

Why did I start reading it? Haven't reviewed a comic/manga for a while and Humble Bundle had a manga bundle with Alita, so with the movie, it seemed like a good time to see where this series came from. I can't say I haven't been curious about this classic.

What is it? Under the floating city of Zalem lays the Scrapyard, a literal trash heap where people attempt to forge their lives. In a world where most people seem to be at least a bit machine, a man called Ido finds a broken Alita in the wreckage and builds her a body. Alita has no memory of how she ended up in the scrap heap but she is pretty sure she knows how to fight. It feels natural to her. Her past shrouded in darkness Alita focuses on building a life for herself in the scrap heap.

What are the characters like? Characters are pretty fun. The only consistent characters between the books are Alita and Ido but side characters that come in for each adventure are pretty fun. I was impressed that even what seemed like run of the mill villains got some good thinking through, even if they just came across as monsters by their end their motivations became clear and become good characters in their own right.

Anyone particularly cool?

Alita is so damn cute:

After only really watching the trailers for the movie before jumping into these I did not expect this girl to be so damn cute. I was expecting a kinda hardened badass, the covers kind of look like that too but no, Alita is just a young cute girl who happens to also be a badass. She and another character called Shimura are happy cheerful characters(most of the time) that I think are needed in dark worlds like the one Alita lives in.

What's the bad news?

I wasn't as much of a fan on the third volume as the rest. Due to some tragic events, Alita stops acting so much like the ray of sunshine I came to love. It's understandable in the story but that contrast between the battle angel and the cute angel was what I loved about it. She starts getting it back nearer the end of the book but, I don't know, I just feel like she and Ido are acting like idiots thought it. She's a moody teenager that just went through some shit so she has an excuse but Ido...Why ya gotta take this so far man?

I would give a slight warning to those who aren't a fan of gore though, there are some pretty brutal images. Not many but the ones that are in there are pretty bad.

And the good news?

I've never been a fan of classic anime styles but, the reason I read this manga despite that though is because manga styles don't age as badly in my opinion. For a series that 29 years old it looks great. Art is detailed and full and every panel. Scenery just has so much going on you can't help but admire how much thought has gone into this world. It feels so solid and well planned out, not to mention the heavily detailed machine images. It's just a really, really good looking manga.

Its science is also pretty good too. It reminds me of when I started watching Index/Railgun at times when it explains some of what's going on with science grounded in our reality which is always fun. Makes you feel smart when you can remember what you were taught at school that you never thought you would need again.

There are also extra bits of info at the end of each volume just to put even more detail into this already detailed world.

Would you recommend?

Yes. For a fan of sci-fi, cyborgs and all that cyberpunk goodness you'll love it.

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Looking for more sci-fi? Less robotics and more moral questioning? Why not try Shari Sakirai's Perfect World series? Here's my full review.

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