I've seen Battle Angel Alita around for some time, but because I always thought it seemed like some cheesy old shounen series, I never bothered trying it.
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.