Title: Battle Angel Alita
Series: Deluxe Edition Vol. 3
Author(s): Yukito Kishiro
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition
Release Date: March 6th 2018
Genre(s): Manga, Science Fiction
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★
Also in Battle Angel Alita:
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 by Yukito Kishiro.
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition Vol. 2 by Yukito Kishiro.
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition Vol. 4 by Yukito Kishiro.
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition Vol. 5 by Yukito Kishiro.
Battle Angel Alita: Holy Night and Other Stories by Yukito Kishiro.
Alita might have had some fun encounters that led to some deadly moments in the past story arcs, but this is where the character is pushed to her limits and explored with immense depth. This third volume in these beautiful and robust deluxe editions by Kodansha Comics puts together both volume 5 and 6 of Alita’s original classic run. Taking place after the big showdown during the motor ball game, the story kicks into overdrive and brings back a character from the past in order to tackle some fascinating ideas through the eyes of a cyborg that is still trying to understand her place in this world as well as trying to piece together the past life she once had that she still can’t remember to this day.
What exactly do we have in this volume? The first story arc explores the whole concept of karma by drawing upon all the events that Alita has lived through so far in her life. While it isn’t the most clean and gore-free life she could’ve lived, she has had moments of epiphany and self-discovery that truly overshadowed all the destruction that she inevitably brought upon the citizens of the Scrapyard. It’s however upon the realization that her incredible killing instinct has carried around a lot of harm in her shadow that a whole rhetoric on karma is unveiled. The re-introduction of one of the greatest threats in her life pushes her into a desperate and depressing state that ultimately leads her to reevaluate herself and her impact on the lives of others.
The second story arc serves as a depressant compared to the stimulant that was the previous event. Alita finds herself having to bargain with the devil in order to get another chance at finding her purpose and satisfying her vengeance upon certain key characters. This is where she truly embraces her identity as an Angel of Death and finds herself discovering the very essence of what freedom is all about. Themes of betrayal, power and fate are also brilliantly interwoven within the action. The new allies she also forms a bond with serve as great catalysts to the lessons she is bound to learn. It’s amazing how her character keeps on having kind-hearted people gravitate around her, yet her actions always end up pushing and pulling them in and out of her life.
What especially made this volume stand out from the previous two is the author’s fearlessness in dragging Alita into some of the toughest challenges in her life. For a cyborg that is only able to taste happiness in small doses and who has yet to understand where she fits into the whole puzzle that life is, the events in this volume really puts everything she knows into perspective and forces her into introspection. Yukito Kishiro’s grasp on the dialogue in this volume was also remarkable. There was a much finer touch to it, giving us a poetic flair to everything that was said by everyone. The artwork also improved and seemed much more refined and powerful. With a blend of kindness and violence, there isn’t a moment throughout this volume that you didn’t see the uniqueness behind this original cyberpunk classic.
This was definitely the highest peak in quality, both in artwork and story-telling, for Battle Angel Alita. Where things will go from here on out is beyond anyone’s knowledge. If anything, Alita still has plenty to learn about life, but also about herself.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!
Did you know we were soon getting a live-action adaptation of our little Alita? Check out the trailer above!