Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro

Title: Battle Angel Alita (Vol. 1: Rusty Angel)
Author: Yukito Kishiro
Published: July 6, 1995 by VIZ Media LLC
Genre: Manga, Action/Adventure, Dystopian, Cyberpunk
Reviewer: Hannah


A cybernetic doctor named Daisuke Ido is rummaging through the scrap heaps searching for spare parts when he finds something incredible: the intact head of a female cyborg. He takes her to his shop and repairs her with a brand new body; she is reborn. But this girl, this broken, rusted angel has no memory of her past. Who is she? The only thing she knows is her name, Alita, and the ancient martial art of Panzer Kunst.

She comes to know the world of the Scrapyard, the dirty and depraved underworld of the grand city-in-the-sky Tiphares. She makes a living as a fierce hunter-warrior and searches to uncover the mystery of her past.


This is this blog's first manga novel review, as far as I know. Let us have a moment of silence to commemorate this epic achievement............okay, moment over. This was an interesting read. I found this graphic novel on the library shelf while searching for some good mangas to read for Goodreads' Shoujo Manga Book Club's So-Many-Manga Challenge. It's a dark, futuristic cyberpunk, a cross between A.I., Real Steel, and Astroboy (not really though; the greatness of Battle Angel Alita greaty surpasses all of those titles combined). There's no other way to put this:

It. Was. Awesome.

It was gory and violent and disturbing, and that fits so perfectly with the dystopian society that it takes place in.

This is probably my favorite manga genre--which is, in case you're wondering, gekiga manga. Heyyyy, you know what? I'm going to give you a little history lesson--yes, right here in the middle of my review, because I can and I feel like it, and you can't say jack about it.

Gekiga manga is the Japanese equivalent of American graphic novels. Confused? Let me clarify. You're talking to a friend, and they bring up the subject of comic books. You're first thought, generally, is Marvel and DC, right? Kiddy and nerdy stuff. You wouldn't be caught dead reading something like that. But the term graphic novel? It's usually applied to the more serious comics; not for them young'uns (<--yes, I just said that). Well, the term for Japanese comics was manga; however, all of the manga artists and authors were writing dumb stuff--and while it was generally entertaining to read, it was still pretty light-hearted and stupid.

But then, Japanese manga artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi, noticed this and wanted to do something different. Goshdarnit, he wanted his comics to be taken seriously!! So, he and his fellow manga artists, to separate their works from the mainstream manga, coined the term gekiga manga--adult manga, in 1957. This type of manga tends to be more serious, more dramatic, more mature, etc. Thus came about this super awesome manga genre that has delivered to us this masterpiece--Battle Angel Alita.

Thus endeth the history lesson. Moving on.

The artwork was fairly impressive. I mean, really, do you see that cover? Stunning! I want to claw my eyes out and eat them it's so beautiful. Considering that all of the drawings are very detailed portrayals of robots/machines/levers/knobs/thingamajigs/whirligigs/whatchamacallits, I have some respect for the tedious and time-consuming work that it must have been for Yukito Kishiro. Bravo! You are my hero, Kishiro! I would psycho-stalk you like a demented axe murderer if I knew where you lived......I'm only half-joking, by the way.....I love this man......

My only complaint about this manga is that the beginning was a little too rushed and that the final battle sequence was drawn out way too long. But those things are so tiny, insignificant, microscopic, that it barely even makes a dent on my 5-squirrel rating (yes; I use squirrels, Martha uses birds).

Overall, definitely one of my favorite mangas/graphic novels to date. Must read more Battle Angel Alita!

*Click here if you'd like to watch an interview with Yoshihiro Tatsumi explaining the coming-about of gekiga manga, and here to read the Wiki article.

I've rated Battle Angel Alita:

 (5/5) -Hannah


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