I am a long-time fan of “Battle Angel Alita,” going back all the way to when Viz released the translation of the Gunnm graphic novels, written by Japanese manga-master Yukito Kishiro, back in the 1990s. Viz renamed the main character from Gally to Alita (which, admittedly, does sound cooler), changed “Zalem” to “Tiphares,” and gave the English translation the title “Battle Angel Alita” instead of Gunnm, which means “Gun Dream.” I also watched and quite enjoyed the two part Gunnm anime OVA when it came out around 1993. It was one of the many 90’s anime and manga series that my fellow geek friends and I enjoyed to read or watch, and talk about at length as we tried in vein to translate glossy New Type magazines and comprehend the latest un-dubbed, un-subbed anime releases fresh from Japan. Yeah. We were those weirdos.
But as much as I loved Battle Angel Alita, I never imagined it would make the big screen. Unlike Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, or Naruto, which pretty much everyone has heard of, even if they’re not anime fans, Battle Angel Alita is very niche–even among anime fans. I had heard mummerings of James Cameron’s interest in making an Alita film, but that was years ago, and I figured that the major Hollywood studios simply wouldn’t go for it. I was also ambivalent about the idea, and honestly hoped nobody would ever butcher Alita into a live-action Hollywood adaptation. The last thing I wanted was to see Alita become the next Dragonball Evolution. Ugh!