Manga Review: Battle Angel Alita Volume One

Battle Angel Alita Volume One is a manga by Yukito Kishiro, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2003. The series is rated T+ for older teens; from what I’ve read of this volume, I would agree with this rating.

Battle Angel Alita Volume 1
Written by: Yukito Kishiro
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 31, 2003

Battle Angel Alita is set in a futuristic city called Scrapyard; this city is built around a massive scrap heap that rains down from Zalem, a mysterious city floating up in the sky above Scrapyard. The people in Scrapyard must find a way to make a living in the violent world of this city, which is more like a wasteland.

The main character of the series is Alita, an amnesiac cyborg. At the beginning of this volume, her intact head and upper torso are found by Daisuke Ido when he’s out looking for useful scrap. Ido discovers that she is in a state of suspended animation. When he revives her in his laboratory, he discovers that she has lost her memory. Ido names the cyborg Alita.

Alita finds out that Daisuke has been working as a Hunter-Warrior, which is a mercenary who kills cyborg criminals and collects the bounties. Alita follows Daisuke when he goes after one of his targets; during this scene, Alita discovers that she has fighting abilities that she didn’t even realize that she possessed. Alita ends up joining the Hunter-Warriors, much to Daisuke’s chagrin. The remainder of Volume One follows what happens to Alita after she joins the Hunter-Warriors.

It’s interesting to realize that this manga series was published a little over 20 years ago in Japan, but the art style really doesn’t look that dated. One thing I noticed is that some of the cyborg characters have a similar look to the Titans in Attack on Titan, so this might help to make this series look a little newer than it actually is.

I will say that Battle Angel Alita has a very interesting story and premise, especially for something that can basically be seen as a postapocalyptic story. While there have been postapocalyptic anime and manga that came out before Battle Angel Alita, I really get the impression with this property that it really helped to set the bar and standards for postapocalyptic works that were released after this series.

However, it should be mentioned that this series is also rather violent. And it’s due to the violence and some of the language included that gives Battle Angel Alita its T+ rating.

After reading the first volume of Battle Angel Alita, I can really understand why it has become such the classic that it is. This is a manga series that should appeal to older teenagers and adults who enjoy stories that focus on a postapocalyptic world.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Battle Angel Alita Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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