English: Battle Angel Alita
Synonyms: GUNNM, Tsutsu Yume GUNNM
Published: Nov 1990 to Mar 1995
Authors: Kishiro, Yukito (Story & Art)
Serialization: Business Jump
Score: 8.551 (scored by 4854 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
Popular Tagsaction sci-fi
Feb 15, 2008
However, during a period of boredom I suddenly came across it and decided to give it a try. And I was very surprised.
The story starts out like a typical shounen series, with an amnesiac cyborg girl being found in a scrapyard. She is then repaired by the guy who finds her, who becomes a kind of father for her. continuing on, she meets lots of people, friends and foes, while pursuing bounties in a dark, steampunk styled post apocalyptic world, all the while wondering about her missing memories and the nature of her "Panzerkunst" abilities.
From here, the story takes many very unexpected twists, and Alita herself undergoes extensive personal growth.
The further the story goes, the less predictable it becomes, leaving you craving for the next chapter, showing all sorts of themes, psychological and philosophical, with the occasional comical relief. The only thing that saps the story's rating would in my opinion be the rushed and somewhat silly ending (Although this is remedied in the sequel, Battle Angel Alita: Last Order), leaving the story's score at 8/10.
As with many other mangas, the art gets progressively better throughout the series, but is at all times extremely detailed and delivers a great portrayal of emotion- at least, for the characters that still have their human faces intact.
Another selling point would be the great number of exotic looking cyborgs, who are all deeply detailed and more or less originally designed.
Still, the art, while being very good, is not among the best I have seen, and receives a score of 8/10
The characters are what really made me love the series, as almost every character, including even the small fry antagonists from the early volumes, have their own interesting stories, and after learning of their background, you get to see why they act as they do, and you see how they change throughout the story. The most interesting character is, naturally, Alita herself, who change dramatically through the manga. She starts out as an innocent girl with a carefree and optimistic view on everything, and then goes through different phases, experiencing friendship, love, sorrow, hate and eventually realizing the burden that comes with her power.
I also found it refreshing to see a main character who does not hesitate to massacre her enemies. There's far too many of those already.
Without a doubt, the brilliant cast of characters and their deep stories and personalities provide this manga with a top score in this category, 10/10.
For the overall enjoyment, I believe what I have written above speaks for itself.
Some things that I find noteworthy however, is the fact that I never found any of the often lengthy battles to be boring. While many other action packed series leave me hastily breezing through dull and exaggerated battles performed by pretentious combatants, I actually read BAA's battle scenes panel by panel.
And really, a one eyed and one legged Alita going medieval and ripping people to shreds with a giant spear-thing, all while displaying a wicked grin, is jolly good entertainment, wouldn't you agree? 9/10
Despite a somewhat rushed ,and in my opinion, disappointing ending, this manga is still a brilliant read, mostly thanks to the mechanized angel herself and all the other lovable and despicable characters, and receives from me a whopping score of 10/10.
Recommendable! read more
Apr 5, 2008
Not only was the main characters interesting in that each one of them was unique but it was interesting to see what the author thought about what the future world between cyborgs and humans would be like.
Plenty of blood, gore and fan service and a love story as well. Something to appeal to everyone i think. I found the story to be dark yet beautiful at the same time.
for fans of Ghost in a Shell, you should really give this one a go, a short manga story (about 6 books i think) and one that i will always remember with fondness read more
Jun 20, 2010
One of the best action/sci-fi ever made ; hands down. You might have heard this But I bet you have heard that a million times already. Someone telling you title A is the best manga ever and stuff. Well, for all it’s worth, I have read a million comic books and manga and this tops almost everything.
ART SECTION: 10
The setting is post apocalyptic steampunk / cyberpunk and it was made to look splendidly uneasy to the eye. Every area is drawn claustrophobically, dark, dirty and cruel, with machinery ruling the lives of poor and helpless people. The mangaka did an excellent work in building the atmosphere and getting you in the mood of the story. The characters are also drawn great, with clothes and facial language that easily depicts their (mostly grim) feelings. The action scenes are also blood boilingly awesome, cybernetic abominations next to imposing martial artists and mad scientists, accompanied with a lot of info on scientific and martial arts theories and explanations around everything and anyone, so you hardly believe something is unexplained magic. Even the dialogues themselves are exceptional, full of philosophy and moral dilemmas, angst and horror. An amazing work, even if it’s not the best drawn world ever.
STORY SECTION: 10
It is the story of a cyborg girl named Gally (Alita in the English dub) who is found trashed on a scrap yard and taken as an adoptive daughter by a local mechanic. It starts very typically, with her having amnesia and the world being full of criminals she has to fend off, but very quicly turns to an epic adventure of self-acknowledgement, love, sadness, madness, and horrid around the folly of Man. I tell you, the themes of the story change every one volume or two, thus you never feel it repeats to the point of boredom. It changes from bounty hunting, to sports, to police enforce, to mystery around the meaning of life. I have never encountered such a well thought and well paced story in my life that doesn’t drag or repeat to this great form.
By the way, the mangaka is currently making the continuation of the story and the second half of the last volume of this series no longer counts as canon, as he twisted things around to allow continuation. I thought at first that by continuing the story he would have killed the magic with pointless extra fuss. Turns out the story there became even better!!! This is simply unheard of.
CHARACTER SECTION: 10
Now that is what I call developed characters. Besides the lead girl who matures and develops in ways unimaginable by most mangaka out there, even most of the secondary cast are equally looked upon, and they also receive a great amount of attention. You will hardly find useless mooks in this story. Everyone in here is given immersion through religion, philosophy, and human pathos, making them all feel great.
ENJOYMENT & OVERALL SECTION: 10
You will probably think I am some newbie fanboy giving 10’s like candy but it’s not true. There is nothing wrong in this manga. You just can’t find something to lower the score. Everything is done amazingly, from the great story, to the in-depth characters, to the epicly battles and horrid of a world gone mad on cybernatics.
And don’t miss the sequel either! It worths it in spades. read more
Aug 3, 2011
Gun Dream is the sci fi cyberpunk story of an empty shell character Gally (U.S. translation "Alita") coming into a world and evolving into its own person, ultimately seeking a place for them self in life. It is set several hundred years from the present (in the 2500's) in a dystopian Midwestern United States. The story unfolds over the span of fourteen years and owns a diverse and intriguing cast of characters. Many get side tracked by the action in the series but the ultimate point to Gun Dream is Gally's journey of finding herself and her definition of life.
The author Yukito Kishiro was not only able to create a rich story for its length of nine volumes, but managed two things that really grabbed my attention that most anime and manga are incapable of reaching: one learns early on that there is always a realistic gravity of consequence behind any choices characters make which makes the story arcs never become dull or repetitive. They all unfold very differently and believably offer diverse outcomes until their conclusions. However one of the story's strengths is that characters may come and go permanently just like real life. This could be considered one of its few possible weaknesses; you'll really miss some of those guys. The only other thing I might be able to concede as a flaw to the story is it actually does have a rushed ending. The author has admitted to this but personally I liked the ending to the story very much and was not bothered by the face it came fairly abruptly.
To better explain my positive viewpoints I shall elaborate: Each story arc is very different because of Gally's ultimate goal of defining life and her own being. I loved this because life is diverse and will ultimately take you through many different twists and turns or "phases" that may drastically change who you are, what you believe in or value, how you look and dress, what your main focus and goals are or even simply where you are geographically hanging around. I'm flat out bored when all the change a character has in a story is they "mature" by realizing they have to suck it up or become more responsible. Tired to death tropes in the vast majority of anime and manga. In Gun Dream characters may have drastic personality changes as their role in the story changes. Many even have changes in their prominence in the story change multiple times. I found such things very life like and enchanting as a reader.
Most series lose the intensity or "edge" of whenever their characters are faced with life and death situations or even just failure. Either characters just never die and you can always expect the character to at least get away from whatever is threatening them, or even worse to always succeed at whatever they are doing. Gun Dream establishes to the reader fairly early on that characters both can fail and even die forever, regardless of their importance to the story of Gally. Even the likeable guys aren't immune to this. Big plus to me who's become very jaded with the always-succeed-no-one-dies stories.
Onto more generic and mundane review stuff. I found the artwork mostly intricate and highly detailed, though occasionally it went through rare rough patches of clearly lower quality drawing in comparison to the rest of itself. A pet peeve of mine I generally have to let slide with nearly everything anime/manga I read or watch is that all the characters look the same. They have the same dimensions, they have the same builds, they have the same facial structures etc. Only little things like the color of their eyes or their hair style, or outfits to make them identifiable from each other. I say outfits jokingly as most anime and manga characters' outfits are school uniforms. Yukito Kishiro Hey!..goes the distance and does not only make characters look very different from each other neck and below, people actually have different shaped faces and heads.I'm fairly suspicious this being the first manga series I ever read and collected ended up spoiling me on many things that have later developed into pet peeves, this being one of them.
The characters I've already said were done very well. They had a tendency to be a lot more complex and diverse than in most series I have read even in the Seinen demographic. Though sometimes a character would not be terribly fleshed out because of the lack of importance of their role in the story or Gally's life. However I don't feel to this day that this occurred often enough or became any kind of hindrance so I don't hold this against Gun Dream.
The pacing was generally on the faster side. Hell it starts out pretty fast with a short mystery/thriller plot right out the gate. The pacing does slow sometimes but being it's about Gally's journey through life and finding herself, it's a necessity. You don't want it to be lightning fast the whole way and her development to be glossed over. As a warning though I generally am a lot more patient with a story's pacing than most people as long as the story and characters interest me enough.
This is one of my top five favorite series. I'm not a big sci fi or cyberpunk type of feline but that didn't matter. I felt that Gun Dream was just that good the whole way through. While the science is always present in the setting and even in the story progression, the general focus of the different arcs are the different stages of life Gally travels through as she evolves from blank character into her own person. I really loved it. I own the complete series. It's the first series I've ever completed in my collection and I reread it every one or two years since I completed it back in '03. My love and high regard for Gun Dream may be sentimentality since it's the series my first love used to introduce me to the world of manga, but I'm sure you'll find the reason is more likely that it's just that good even if you don't like science fiction or cyberpunk. I personally had and still have very little interest in either but greatly love the story.
Recommended for: It's not a bad story to get your feet wet with manga or seinen stories. It's not terribly long and has overall superior quality. The lead is not some lucky dumb ass, is not some two-piece lingerie wearing ditz with no sense of modesty, or some big, muscular and unstoppable delinquent. An atypical story for those searching for something different. You want to see a strong female protagonist? Gally's your champion.
Recommended against: While there's plenty of fighting in it I'd recommend against people who want to see mostly fighting (or in other words a "battle" series). Read Last Order for that if you're stuck on a sci fi or cyberpunk battle stories. Reading the original Gun Dream is actually not necessary to pick up Last Order and start reading. Also recommend it against those who yearn for fan service and ecchi humor in their stories, or are squeamish toward visceral imagery as there actually is a decent amount of it the series. Nothing as outrageous as Ichi The Killer but it's there and fairly graphic when it pops up. While especially early on Gally is something like a young girl in her mentality, I would not recommend the series to those who enjoy shoujo exclusively (especially shoujo romance). Josei..I still probably wouldn't, though I could see some josei enthusiasts enjoying it. I mean the protagonist is a woman after all, I'd hope some gals regardless of age would enjoy it. read more
Sep 7, 2012
The setting in Battle Angel Alita was one of the story’s most important features, keeping the reader engaged in it’s mysteries. Comparable to something like Nausicaa, it has a certain post-apocalyptic atmosphere. And along with it’s very picturesque, imaginative setting, it creates something that recent mangas seem to ignore nowadays. Though parts of the worlds may seem whimsical and airy, there is definitely something depressing. The setting itself (almost) never changes. Instead, in this static setting, Alita changes. The setting itself makes a perfect foil to Alita’s character; her change and growth, and her reactions in the environment. The two come together very neatly, and I must say, I am very impressed because it was as if she was actually living in that world.
I can’t say the same for Alita, however, or any of the characters.
The story dealt a lot about personal morals, and even though we did get to see some angst over Alita, we never actually saw any of her standpoints. I really can’t discuss this in further detail without spoiling a lot, but I can say that Alita doesn’t know the dividing line between friends and foes, the innocent and the criminal. Whenever something groundbreaking happens, her beliefs and ideals are completely thrown into another direction, making her a very clumsy, dynamic character (who unfortunately, isn't as complex as people like to think). Another thing: characters were introduced for the sole sake of the plot. If there was nothing propelling the story forward, then you could guarantee that a new character would appear, and coincidentally have ties with the main story. Those characters all fell flat, and there was absolutely no development on the original characters. The characters were a huge disappointment because a realistic setting and characters are the foundation for an excellent manga.
The narration throughout the manga was very fluid, keeping a certain level of intrigue and sub-plot mystery at the same time. I found that some parts were more boring and slow than others, and after an arc, nothing was really motivating me to start the next one. I could walk away from it for days, but it was easily picked up again, without any struggles. The story itself was a very captivating one, however, it did have it’s clique shounen moments (even though it’s a seinen) when a new villain would appear after every so chapters. There were some plot holes, but they were so insignificant it wouldn’t matter anyways. The ending was excellently done (no I won’t spoil), and it wrapped up everything nicely. It was probably the greatest part about this manga. There was this one, little thing I had a problem with it. Since Alita is practically immortal (still no spoilers, you learn that in chapter 1), you couldn’t see the effects of time. A few chapters may go by before you see a certain character again, their first remark is, “I haven’t seen you in ___ years!”. At the beginning, the mangaka does help the reader understand how much time has past, but later on she seems to neglect it, making some parts (and transitions between arcs) confusing. Other than that little thing that happened only a handful of times, it was an excellent story, and like I said before, it touches on topics such as what humanity really is, and the moral consciousness.
Honestly, I’m not going to even talk about the art. If you can’t get over early 90’s art (people have called it ugly before), then don’t read it. It’s artstyle visually enhances the setting and characters, and personally, I found it really fitting to the story. Sometimes it’s details/anatomy would be awkward, but it was perfect for Battle Angel Alita.
So all in all, it was a really great read, but it didn’t live up to the hype and expectations. It only had little problems, but the fact that it had so many of them was kind of disappointing. Not only that, but I felt it wasn't as mature as seinens go, and definitely not as mature as other reviews lead you to believe. Battle Angel Alita has a great premise that could’ve potentially been a 10, but it’s problems here and there took it to an 8.5. Though there are some characterization problems with Alita, her growth in the series was the most important thing. Battle Angel Alita is extremely interesting, and the way it presents it’s ideas in symbols sometimes are kinda neat to find. It deserves a 8.5. It wasn't a masterpiece, but it was very good.
★★★★★★★★☆☆ read more
Feb 21, 2013
years ago there was on internet an 3,5 min clip of alita in a motorball match in 3-d, soo damn excquisite and recommendable! we need a continuation! read more