The deluxe edition of Battle Angel Alita (volume one) is a beautiful thing. Just holding it in my hands, I’m impressed by the striking color of the glossy hardcover. Leafing through it, you immediately see that this has been printed on high-quality, bright-white paper that makes the of pen-and-ink work Yukito Kishiro stand out in a very striking way. The detailed black line-work is very sharp, and the color pages are (honestly, not exaggerating here) breathtaking. If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am. I’m a bit of an artist myself, and I’m really impressed by the quality of this printing.
I’ll confess, I’ve never read Battle Angel before now, but it is easy to see how this has become known as a cyberpunk classic. I was drawn in from the very start, struck by Kishiro’s harsh vision of the future. Alita’s society is polarized, with the main characters living in a literal junk-heap beneath a floating city of society’s elite. Nearly thirty years later, this concept is still visited by authors and filmmakers alike, and remains a very relevant theme today. While the stories spring very directly from this theme, Kishiro doesn’t browbeat the reader with it. The situation simply is, and the reader can make as much as they want of it.
The main character, Alita (named Gally in the original Japanese version) is pulled from this junk heap (following the theme, it appears that she has been thrown away as garbage) and revived by Ido, a cybernetic specialist who moonlights as a bounty-hunter (known as hunter-warriors). Alita has no memory of her former life, but in her new cybernetic body, she starts to remember fragments (like the Panzerkunst fighting style), and begins her journey of self-discovery. Perhaps Alita’s life becomes more complex later, but here in volume one the stories are pretty straight forward. Alita fights (literally and figuratively) to figure out what she wants in this new life of hers, pushes the limits of her cybernetic body, and even falls in love.
I greatly enjoyed Battle Angel without knowing what I was getting into, so I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t discovered this modern classic, so I’ll close by saying that to my delight, hidden in the artwork, there are visual references to science fiction classics that have come before (Alita was published in 1990). A reader with a sharp eye will see appearances of Robby the robot (Forbidden Planet), Vincent and Maximillian (Black Hole), and the unmistakable neon title of the film Brazil. Personally, I look forward to finding more of these Easter-eggs in the future volumes of these deluxe editions as I keep up with the adventures of Alita, Battle Angel.
After more than a decade out of print, the original cyberpunk action classic returns in glorious 400-page hardcover deluxe editions, featuring an all-new translation, color pages, and new cover designs! In a dump in the lawless settlement of Scrapyard, far beneath the mysterious space city of Zalem, disgraced cyber-doctor Daisuke Ido makes a strange find: the detached head of a cyborg woman who has lost all her memories. He names her Alita and equips her with a powerful new body, the Berserker. While Alita remembers no details of her former life, a moment of desperation reawakens in her nerves the legendary school of martial arts known as Panzer Kunst. In a place where there is no justice but what people make for themselves, Alita decides to become a hunter-killer, tracking down and taking out those who prey on the weak. But can she hold onto her humanity as she begins to revel in her own bloodlust?Add to CartLearn More