Gunnm – The Manga Behind Alita : Battle Angel

Posted By yonghow on December 13th, 2017

Gunnm - The Manga Behind Alita : Battle Angel

20th Century Fox just released the first trailer for Alita : Battle Angel. Check it out below –

There’s much ongoing debate with regards to the unnaturally large eyes of the main character, something which didn’t really bother me that much ( She is after all, a cyborg and not a human ).

Some viewers might be unaware that the film is based on the manga Gunnm ( 銃夢 Ganmu; “gun dream” ) by Japanese comic artist Yukito Kishiro, first published way back in 1990. As a kid the beautifully illustrated action sequences and riveting storyline really drew me in, and still do today. Kishiro’s drawing style and designs seem in part to be influenced by the legendary French comic artist Moebius.

I highly recommend reading the comic before the release of the film, quite simply because it is an amazing manga worth checking out.

There is also an art book titled ARS MAGNA featuring many Gunnm illustrations that the artist drew over the years, and they all look fantastic ( images below ).

Gunnm - The Manga Behind Alita : Battle Angel
Gunnm - The Manga Behind Alita : Battle Angel
Gunnm - The Manga Behind Alita : Battle Angel

ARS MAGNA - Yukito Kishiro Art Book Amazon Japan Buy Link
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5 Responses to “Gunnm – The Manga Behind Alita : Battle Angel”


Loved the manga as well, besides the Moebius influence, you can tell the author loved Blade Runner as well (which you know is partially based off a Moebius comic.
I’ll admit the eyes did distract me, kinda wish they made the whole movie in CGI, but I can see myself getting used to it within the context of the film. And like you said it is a cyborg, which I assume was designed to look like a doll.


the eyes definetely distracting, i honestly think if they went full manga on her face meaning using yukito kishiro design 100 percent it might attract different attention and also probably alter the future manga anime liveaction adaptation.

but then again im worried with the element that i see in trailer, i dont remember reading the manga seeing alita flirting and dating a human .


The creative freedom to do whatever You want with an interpretation of a character from another media is out of question.
Unfortunately is not only about the eyes size, it’s also the shape, the brightness… that make it a distracting feature.
Actually the image You choose above the trailer, works fine.
I can even imagine a slightly different CGI for the eyes… I guess a little, just a little bit smaller, maybe with a little less glitter-spark-shiny shape… and all that distraction will be gone…

Andreas Schaltzmann

This movie has noting to do with the manga,and don’t tell me about interpretation, this is just a product to make money, they are surfing on the wave. And one more time they failed, and I’m wondering if Holywood is actualy ruining the manga culture in purpose…


Been a fan of Gunnm since i came across it in the late 90s.
Been a fan of James Cameron since Terminator. A much MUCH younger me nearly fainted when he first read the words Cameron and Alita in the same sentence. He’s been talking about Alita for decades but always said he was waiting for the technology to improve.

So this trailer comes out after decades of slow build-up and… seriously?
You were waiting for big eye technology?
So many emotions when i saw this trailer. It’s hard to pin down what i’m actually feeling.

On the one hand, Rosa Salazar is beautiful, funny, and awesome. Would have loved to see her embody this role with her actual eyes, which are very expressive. Shame.

On the other hand, with the big eyes she looks amazingly like Alita. If you’re gonna bring a Manga character to life, this is certainly the way to do it.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and trying not to be too reactionary.
Where i think it falls apart for me is the other characters. Alita with big eyes is a cartoon character come to life – beautifully so. And if we’re only watching her, we can be captivated by this drawing made flesh and totally accept her and her emotional journey. But when she’s surrounded by normal humans, the illusion is shattered, and this is now a movie about a cartoon character walking around the real world. It feels like Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Much of Battle Angel is about Alita’s “humanity”. There’s *some* discussion of the question of who she was, and where she comes from, but ultimately she doesn’t really care. Ultimately, what concerns Alita is protecting the people she loves, and accepting who she is in the here and now. Plus there’s a lot of subtext asking much of ourselves can we replace and still be who we are? That’s going to be a tougher sell when we’re constantly reminded her eyes are crazily bigger than everyone around her. it’s an unnecessary barrier to identifying with her character.

The big eyes worked in Avatar because we almost never saw the Na’vi in the same scene with a human. Their emotional journey was entirely separate from any human characters.

I dunno. Of course i haven’t seen it yet. Just going off how the trailer made me feel. I love the look of everything else. The scrapyard looks as it should, her wimpy cosmetic first body that Ido makes her looks suitably pretty and silly. The dude (forget his name) with the razor fingers looks like crazy fun. And Alita flying through the air with a warrior grimace looks, well she’s absolutely Alita. it’s stunning.

I just… i dunno. I guess I wanted this movie Alita to be a real person. Not a cartoon.
We’ll see. Still looking forward to it.

Really? You don’t remember Hugo?
Alita was in love with him, but he was obsessed with Tiphares.
Did you only read “Last Order”? This story would be from the original manga. Also covered in the anime.