© 1993 Yukito Kishiro / Business Jump / Shueisha / KSS, Inc. / MOVIC
Based on Yukito Kishiro's manga, Gunnm, Battle Angel is a touching and sometimes emotional anime. The strange thing is that it's very gritty sci-fi stuff, yet still manages to deliver a moving story. To be honest, I consider this to be one of the best science fiction anime available.
Anyone who has read the manga will immediately notice a few things. First of all, there are several different titles. The Japanese manga is titled Gunnm, while the American version is called Battle Angel Alita. This anime is simply entitled Battle Angel. This two-part series is based on the first two volumes of the manga, however there are several changes. In the manga, the main character is called Alita, but she is known as "Gally" in the anime. Also, the mysterious floating city is called Zalem instead of Tiphares. Outside of this, it follows the stories from the manga, but has been altered to fit into two half-hour episodes.
At its core, Battle Angel is a story of love, hope, and heartbreak. The story takes place in the futuristic Scrap Iron City (love that name), where a cybernetic doctor, Ido, discovers the remains of a female cyborg. She is revived only to be an amnesiac, so Ido gives her the name "Gally". Alive and without a past, Gally must try and figure out who she is and how she fits into this gritty world. The story has a nice blend of lightning-paced action, emotional drama, and compelling mystery. What struck me was that it is pulled off so seamlessly. The flow is nearly perfect, and not once did my suspension of disbelief wane in the slightest.
The character are simply excellent. No one seems artificial for they all possess realistic traits and flaws. This heightens their believability and makes it easier to become attached to them. One thing I noted is that Gally is not your typical anime android. While from the neck up she looks human, the rest of her body is very mechanical. This is a welcome break from the traditional prosthetic ani-babes which plague many other titles.
The art is very good, capturing the grit of the scrap yard perfectly. The animation is also pretty decent, especially during the action sequences.
If there is anything to complain about it's that this series is far too short. The manga version is very extensive, and this series could easily have been a couple dozen episodes in length. The short length also leaves little room for all the answers to the questions posed. Fans will have to turn to the manga for a complete revelation of all the secrets behind Gally.
Overall, this is a rare gem of an anime. A dark, depressing sci-fi world with superb characters and an excellent story line. I recommend this to any fan of science fiction.
The Verdict: * * * * 1/2 (very good)
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|