top of page

In the Eyes of a (Battle) Angel - Battle Angel: Alita review Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my review of Battle Angel Alita. This assumes you’ve watched the two-part OVA, read part 1, and/or don’t care about potential spoilers/ speculation for the upcoming movie. Enjoy!

Part 1 was a review on the story, this will go over the big picture stuff like the themes and what I want to see out of James Cameron’s film.

The World:

Get ready for reviewers to talk about how the world feels “lived in” and they love that. Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell has worlds that looked like they were “lived in”. A lot of reviewers like seeing that, rather than shiny sleek future worlds.

Personally, I don’t see how that type of world is any more valid and believable than a sterile white and shiny futuristic world. It’s usually for a point. Like, the post-apocalypse world is ruled by oppression (Hunger Games, Total Recall, Snowpiercer…etc.) or a lawless world of chaos and disorder (Dredd, Mad Max, Children of Men…etc.). These aren’t the only types of futuristic movies; I’m just talking about the foundations of world-building for a large portion of futuristic movies.

Of course there are stories that fall in the middle. A subsection of futuristic stories that use the future to pose philosophy of artificial intelligence and robotics. Movies like I, Robot, Blade Runner, and Minority Report tell great detective stories and are also heavily philosophical.

Back to the “movie” at hand, Battle Angel falls into the have/have-not lawless wasteland aspect, combined with the philosophy about cyborgs and stuff like that. What I love is that there is a sleek and fancy world, just above them, just barely out of reach, but we never see it. I hoped to see Zalem just as much as the characters in the story did! Unfortunately, no one gets to see it and I really like that it’s up to the imagination for them and us.

The Themes:

The themes of Battle Angel are threefold. 1) The man/machine/ “What does it mean to be human?” question. This has been tackled much better by other movies, (namely Blade Runner) but you can’t ignore that this talks about it too. 2) A have/have not world where the “have not”s are willing to do anything to be a “have”. I haven’t seen this concept go this route before. We have “have”s in the “have-not” world content, and anyone hoping to sell their soul for even a glimpse of the “have” world ends in utter misery. Also death. 3) A Heaven/Earth complex. It’s similar to the “have/have not” thing, but it’s dialed up to the point where they’re being calling “falling angels” and Ido is happy on Earth serving mankind however he can, while Shirene is disgusted by Earth and its inhabitants.

The only way people can get to Zalem is post-mortem, and Ido says that it’s impossible to ascend to Zalem. No one knows what Zalem is like but everyone believes it’s some magical, lavish utopia. Only Ido is disillusioned by that fantasy and he never reveals anything about it.

I think it’d be cool to see a cult-like religion rise up that believe that when they die, their souls rise to Zalem. Maybe it’s in the Manga like the death sports and we’ll see it in the movie. (I only know that there is some kind of death sport in the Manga, I know nothing else about it.)

James Cameron’s adaptation:

I think this has potential for a trilogy. And what I just watched would be adapted to be the first installment. All James Cameron has to do is expand on the characters’ relationships and show the development of characters. It should be really easy to do, since it’s very clear that the Anime cut every bit that wasn’t necessary to the story to fit two half-hour OVA’s and if the let the thing breathe it’d be great. I’m just worried that this movie will be skipping stuff to fit the whole story in. I think there are 9 chapters in the Manga and the OVA’s were just the first 2 of them. So I really hope they do what I suggest and it’s really good, and James Cameron can focus on this trilogy and not his silly “Avatar” franchise about giant naked blue cat people.

(In my proposed trilogy, for which I am purely basing off of the OVA and know nothing else about the Manga, Movie two has Ido and Gally journey up to Zolem to confront something of Ido’s past when he realizes he can’t escape it like he tried, and they start a revolution of some sort, and movie three is them bringing down the city and spark a revolution including the people of Scrap Iron City, ending on Gally vowing to be the bridge of peace between the two societies.

Also, the movie titles would be: Alita: Fallen Angel, Alita: Battle Angel, and Alita: Guardian Angel)


The hardest task for Cameron is to make Yugo not suck. I don’t like him. He was whiny and dumb and did really horrible things that I will omit because I want there to be surprises that are in the OVA/movie that I haven’t told you about.

The eyes:

Oh those eyes. In the trailer(s) for the movie, Alita has giant anime eyes. Half the shots in the trailer look real to me, the other half makes her look like an uncanny valley robot. What idiots who commented before doing research don’t understand is that she IS a robot, and that’s kind of the whole point.

I think she looks adorable and reminds me of Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite.

To those that think the eyes are creepy and off-putting, that’s because she is a cyborg. People enhance themselves in this world. It’s the norm. It’s interesting that Alita is the only cyborg main character, but I’m sure we’ll see creepier characters in the film.

Besides, I found Ido’s anime face way odder than Alita’s live-action face.

As a storytelling device, I still like the big eyes. Alita is a metaphorical and literal wide-eyed newborn in a rotting, old, decrepit world. Also, there is the metaphor of the eyes being windows to the soul, but does Alita have a soul?

So to the idiots online, it’s not a racist thing because she has anime eyes, it’s an artistic choice and you’re an idiot and shouldn’t watch movies that make your head hurt! I re

ad that the release date was delayed and I hope it’s not because they’re revering the eyes because of idiots’ reactions!

Minor nitpick:

One of my biggest pet peeves about movies (in general), which I can write a book on, is that they almost always take place over a day or two. It’s one of the biggest things that break my suspension of disbelief and I wish they would let movies breathe, time-wise. It’s not as bad as video games, but it’s still bad.

I only bring that up here is because Battle Angel needed those long and ambiguous breaks in time, partly because it only had an hour, but also because characters needed time off screen to grow. It would have sucked if the day Gally was found she was fighting giant cyborgs and falling in love.

I guess that’s it for now... in the meantime, I have more boxes to unpack!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Follow Me
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic
bottom of page