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"I do not stand by in the presence of evil."

"Does it bother you that I'm not completely human?"
Alita
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Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 Dystopian Cyber Punk Science Fiction film and a Live-Action Adaptation of the Yukito Kishiro manga Gunnm, directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced and co-written by James Cameron.

The film is set in the year 2563, over 300 years after a catastrophic war known as "The Fall" has left Earth devastated. While scouting the junkyard metropolis of Iron City beneath the sky city of Zalem, cybernetic scientist Dr. Dyson Ido discovers a disembodied female cyborg with a fully intact human brain. Ido rebuilds the cyborg, who does not have any recollections of her past, and names her "Alita" after his deceased daughter.

The cast includes Rosa Salazar as Alita, Christoph Waltz as Dr. Dyson Ido, Ed Skrein as Zapan, Mahershala Ali as Vector, Jennifer Connelly as Chiren, Keean Johnson as Hugo, Eiza González as Nyssiana, Lana Condor as Koyomi K., Jackie Earle Haley as Grewishka, Michelle Rodriguez as Gelda (uncredited) and Edward Norton as Nova (uncredited).

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The film was released in the UK on February 6th, in most other countries on February 14th, and released in China and Japan on February 22, 2019 by 20th Century Fox. It has the distinction of being Fox's last released film as an independent studio and distributor before Disney acquired its assets a little over a month after its release, as well as the first film produced by Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment company since Avatar. It was also Disney's first 3D Blu-ray release in North America since Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, though the 3D disc was exclusive to the 4K release.

Now has a character sheet.

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2, Trailer 3, Trailer 4.


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Alita: Battle Angel provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Damascus Blade — originally wielded by Zapan before being taken by Alita — is a Martian sword capable of easily slicing through most materials like butter — especially when Alita channels plasma through it.
  • Arc Number: Alita is associated with the number 99.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Justified and enforced. It is stated early on that firearms are outlawed in Iron City, so the local population has to get creative when it comes to inflicting violence. At one point in the movie, we do see one firearm user, and what a firearm it is! Unsurprisingly, "Exploder" is a criminal with a bounty on his head.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Hugo is a teen of 15 at most in the manga, kinda scrawny and with a boyish face; here, he's played by Keean Johnson who's considerably more built and has a certain '90s heartthrob look to him, not too dissimilar from the likes of Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
    • Zapan, who was an average, if somewhat ugly cyborg, also goes through this, being played by Ed Skrein here.
    • Ido's actually quite awkward-looking in the manga, with the longish face, large bulbous nose, bushy eyebrows and the hairstyle essentially stolen from one Egon Spengler. In the movie he's played by the much more conventionally handsome (if older) Christoph Waltz.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change:
    • Alita's own backstory is heavily altered from what was revealed in the original manga and Last Order:
      • In the manga she was a member of the Panzer Kunst-practicing organization Grünthal, which was acting as more-or-less pure mercenary outfit, while in the movie she's a member of the Berserkers — an elite unit of the regular Martian military, equipped with powerful nanomachine bodies and trained in Panzer Kunst. This is probably because in a post-9/11 world, being a soldier who fought on the other side for understandable reasons is a much more sympathetic backstory than being the most notorious and destructive terrorist in history.
      • As revealed in the Last Order, during the war Mars was a poor backwater and not vested in the Terraforming Wars as such, main sides being the superpowers of Jupiter and the Venus-Earth alliance, while in the movie Mars was a major side in the war.
      • The reason for attack was changed from Grünthal being hired by the Jovians to clandestinely manipulate the orbital supercomputer Melchizedek, forcing it to attack its ally Venus to break the alliance between the two powers, to an open and direct attack on Zalem with assassinating Nova as a main goal.
      • The whole operation (code-named Maulwurf) almost succeeded in the manga, if not for a Suicidal Overconfidence on Alita's part, leading to her capture and the reveal of collusion between Jovians and Grünthal — after which she is subjected to orbital drop as a means of execution. In the film the attack apparently fails outright (we never find out how close her mission came to succeeding, especially with Nova explicitly boasting of his immortality), and Alita's fate is glossed over.
      • In the manga, the Berserker Body was a piece of advanced Venusian technology comprised of biomechanical nanites called Berserker Cells that Ido happened to have stored, whereas in the movie it's Martian, Alita recovers it from a downed spaceship, and it belongs to the same Martian forces she used to be a part of.
      • The war itself was moved a whole century back in time: in the manga, Terraforming Wars happened about two hundreds years ago, while in the film the Great War was three centuries away.
    • Unlike Makaku in the manga and Grewcica in the OVA — who are deranged brain-eating cannibals — Grewishka is bowdlerized into a failed Motorball player turned serial killer.
    • Hugo's backstory is changed to him being a Motorball fan, and he is the one who introduces Alita to the sport and teaches her how to play. His main occupation is also changed from a criminal who steals spines and occasionally brains to "just" dismantling cyborg parts for the black market. His connection with Vector remains, only this time, Vector is his main customer.
    • As the whole Zapan's story is heavily modified, Alita's iconic Damascus Blade, which in the original was initially just a feature of her Motorball Body, was changed into a trophy she obtained from defeating Zapan.
    • Ido's reasoning for becoming a hunter-warrior is expanded in the film. In the manga he simply vents his frustrations and also gets a nice income to add to his medical fees. In the film he wants to avenge his murdered daughter. He has also deliberately removed the distinctive mark of all citizens of Zalem from his forehead.
    • The reasoning for Ido choosing Alita's name is in memory of his and Chiren's murdered daughter (instead of his dead cat).
    • While in the OAV, Chiren and Ido are only hinted to have had a relationship in the past, here, they were parents to a murdered daughter and have since grown apart.
    • Given that Ido removed his chip, and we actually see Chiren's brain, it seems that Zalem citizens don't have their brains uploaded into biochips once they reach adulthood, as was the case in the original manga (though this was also inconsistent in the manga).
    • In the manga, Desty Nova is a Tipharian mad scientist exiled to the surface for his sadistic experiments, and is the age he looks: late forties to early fifties. In the movie, he's over three hundred years old — killing him having been the reason the Martian army attacked Earth during the war — and is quite comfortable up in Zalem, apparently also getting some elements of Bigott Eisenburg from the TUNED arc.
    • In the manga, Vector is a Factory supervisor, well-connected and one of the top dogs in the Scrapyard, but very obviously under the heel of Zalem/Tiphares. In the movie, his position in the Factory makes him untouchable, able to twist the law to his own purposes, and also basically owns Motorball outright. He seems to be answerable directly to, and only to, Nova.
    • In the movie, Ido and Chiren were exiled from Zalem for refusal to abandon their disabled daughter, whereas in the manga Ido was literally cast out through the Dust Chamber for some unmentioned transgression (apparently, precisely for being a Blood Knight, in conjunction with a genetic predisposition to crime). He also seemed to be a purely medical doctor, as he learned to work on cyborgs only while in Scrapyard, but looks to be already a full-fledged cyberphysician around his exile in the film. Furthermore, in the manga, all Zalemites are sterile and incapable of biological procreation.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Downplayed with Alita herself; in the manga, her first fight with Makaku went catastrophically, costing her her original body before being saved by Ido, whereas this time round she was effectively winning against Grewishka, costing him a limb and forcing his retreat, and her loss was shifted into their second fight. Similarly, her barfight at the Kansas bar only happened after she acquired the berserker body and subsequent power up in the manga, whereas here her civilian body is up to the job. However, in both of these fights she had some help.
    • On a related note, the Damascus Blade in the manga was a very expensive well-made weapon, but nevertheless one made in the Scrapyard using the technology of the time. The film version is a unique pre-fall artefact made using lost technology, making it at least 300 years old, and is so formidable a weapon that Zapan considers "Keeper of the Damascus Blade" a Badass Boast.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Chiren is naked in the bed during her first scene at the factory in the OVA. Here she's merely Stocking Filler.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the manga, the Hunter-Warriors at the bar initially butted heads with Alita but, with the exception of Zapan, eventually befriended her. In the movie with the exception of McTeague, they instead accept to work for Vector alongside a couple of wanted criminals, and they try to kill Alita at the Motorball Circuit.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The film compresses many distinct, consecutive arcs from the manga and adapts them into parallel storylines that intersect each other for efficiency. Motorball in particular becomes the connecting thread around which most of these arcs revolve:
    • Like in the OAV, Alita meets Hugo much earlier, and he introduces her to Motorball.
    • Although Alita registers as a Hunter-Warrior, she doesn't really pursue this role, and instead chooses to participate in Motorball to help Hugo win enough credits to travel to Zalem.
    • At first, Ido tells Alita not to concern herself with Motorball, but after she acquires the Berserker body, he's glad to help getting her career started. In the manga, he's aghast at the thought of her taking part in such a brutish, deadly sport, and joins Jashuugan's pit crew specifically to defeat her and force her to come home.
    • In the manga, Hugo's death drives Alita into depression; she runs away from home and joins a Motorball team to drown out her despair. In the film, she had already tried out for the sport by then, but we still get a Time Skip epilogue in which she appears in her Motorball body (as opposed to the Berserker) and Ido is nowhere to be seen.
    • The Vector and Grewishka arcs were combined, with Grewishka working for and being outfitted by Vector rather than being unrelated foes like in the Manga. This brings Vector in much earlier in the story and places him in a central role from the beginning rather than episodic villains they were originally.
  • Adaptation Expansion: In the manga and OVA, Tanji was an accomplice of Hugo who barely got named. In the movie he's given much more characterization as a close friend of Hugo who grows increasingly jealous of his relationship with Alita, even though in the end he stays loyal to Hugo at the cost of his own life. He's also a bit of a Composite Character: he's got dark skin and curly hair like Van, Hugo's other accomplice in the manga.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Daisuke Ido is Dyson Ido here.
    • As in the anime OVA, Makaku has been renamed Grewishka. Unlike in the OVA, where he and Makaku were composited, there is a Kinuba in the movie; but while in the manga he was an arena fighter whose entire body was taken by Makaku, here he's a normal-sized Motorball player whose Grind Cutter weapon is eventually installed on Grewishka, but it's not taken by the latter directly.
    • Murdock, the elderly hunter-warrior with four cyborg dogs, is called McTeague here, though, as one can be a given name (and a Scottish one to boot) and other a surname, they're not mutually exclusive.
  • Advertising by Association: While Robert Rodriguez is the director, trailers and previews have been more focused on James Cameron's involvement as producer, because the movie has been Cameron's pet project for a long time.
  • Age Lift:
    • Christoph Waltz's Ido is considerably older than his manga counterpart.
    • Alita and Yugo as well are much older than in the manga. In the original, Alita's story begins with her looking and acting around 15, and Yugo looks similar. In the movie, they are both between 18 and 20
    • Koyomi was just a baby in the arcs the movie adapts; she's a teenager here, making her basically a different character with the same name. If sequels are made, however, she may assume the same role she had in later arcs of the manga, only as a young woman rather than a teen.
  • Alien Blood: The cyborgs bleed blue.
  • All for Nothing: Despite all the effort Alita puts into saving Hugo, she eventually loses him when he dies in the film's final chapter.
  • All of Them: When Ido warns Alita through radio that the motorball match is a trap, she asks which one of her opponents will try to kill her. The answer, of course, is "All of them!"
  • All There in the Manual: The cute doggy that Grewishka cruelly kills to taunt Alita is revealed to have been saved and converted into a cyborg by McTeague off-screen.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Grewishka would like to make Alita into a living pendant constantly begging for mercy.
    • Chiren's fate, and that of anyone else Vector sends up to Zalem, on Nova's orders.
  • And Show It to You: At one point, Alita literally offers Hugo her still-beating heart, seemingly without any ill effects (though she only removes it from her chest cavity without disconnecting it from her systems — it's still attached to her by tubes serving as "blood" vessels). It Makes Sense in Context, as she suggest that they sell it in order to get enough money to get to Zalem, where she thinks she could get a cheaper alternative. Hugo is understandably befuddled.
  • An Arm and a Leg: A regular occurrence in cyborg combat. Happens to Alita during her second fight with Grewishka.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Averted Trope — in the manga, Scrapyard sits under the end of a Space Elevator, but is eventually revealed to be the former Kansas City. For a lot of reasons, Space Elevators most optimally should be placed at the equator. According to Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron moved Iron City to Latin America for exactly that reason. That also explains why all the standing architecture of the old world is Spanish Colonial, including the remains of a cathedral, and why there's a tropical rainforest right outside the city.
  • Assassin Outclassin': In the second trailer, when Alita is determined to be a threat to the natural order, Zapan and Grewishka are sent by Vector to bring her in dead or alive — without much success. In the film proper, this happens differently and for a different reason, but the result is the same.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • Ido wears a very nice black one, complete with a stylish fedora.
    • Later on, Alita wears her iconic coat from her Hunter-Warrior period after registering as one.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Kansas, a.k.a. the bar hunter-warriors frequent.
  • Bar Brawl: Alita ends up starting one in the Kansas bar during her fight with Zapan.
  • Battle Trophy: Alita takes Zapan's Damascus Blade after Zapan's hunting of Hugo, she had previously defeated Zapan before at the bar but merely kicked it back at him. This time, she really wanted to hurt him in the ego. Zapan may have gotten the Damascus Blade in a similar manner. In the bar fight, Alita taunted him about who he murdered to get such a fine weapon, Zapan was so noticeably quiet after that.
  • The Beastmaster: McTeague is a Cyber Beastmaster.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Tanji plays rough and dirty against Alita in the street version of Motorball he and his buddies practice, so what does Alita do for the next round? Well, she plays rough and dirty against him.
  • Berserk Button: Kill a dog in front of McTeague, and to hell with the fact you don't have a bounty on you at the time.
  • Big Anime Eyes: Alita's and her former comrades' eyes are made larger than humanly possible to deliberately invoke the trope. Director Rodriguez explains the reason why he made Alita with anime eyes in this IGN interview.
  • Big Bad: Nova walks a fine line between this and a Greater-Scope Villain. While technically at the top of the hierarchy among the villains, Nova spends his time safely ensconced up in Zalem and only ever makes his presence known through his remote control of his minions (he in fact only has a few brief cameos in person), the role of main active antagonist falls instead to Vector, who controls all the criminals down in Iron City.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Once Ido refuses to transfer Alita into the Berserker body, she screams "NO!" and smashes a tray of surgical tools.
    • She also yells it once her attempt at pulling a nearly destroyed Hugo to safety fails and he falls to his death.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: The director's decision to move the entire setting from Kansas to Latin America means there's quite a bit of Spanish to be heard and seen, with bits from additional languages thrown in here and there. Lampshaded by Alita early in the movie.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first person to die in the movie is a black woman, killed by Grewishka and his goons.
  • Blade Brake: As Alita and Hugo are falling from the cable leading to Zalem, Alita grabs Hugo and slows their fall by wedging the Damascus Blade into the side of the giant cable.
  • Blatant Lies: Vector made sure Alita's first Motorball match will be her last, by arming a Carnival of Killers to the teeth and having them be her adversaries. When Alita gets to the starting line, she asks them to go easy on her. Her direct neighbor on the line answers with "Sure kid, no worries!"
  • Blood Sport: Motorball, which is basically Rollerball on steroids, with competitors weaponizing their cyborg bodies to better tear each other apart. The corrupt owner of the games (Vector) turns a blind eye on such things as long as people keep watching for the thrills, only intervening against such practices when it suits him (such as having the previous owner of the Grind Cutters dismembered to give them to Grewishka). Needless to say, death isn't out of the ordinary in that sport.
  • Body Horror: How people who earn the right to travel to Zalem make the trip — as various extracted organs in jars.
  • Bounty Hunter: Ido, Alita and Zapan are bounty hunters called Hunter-Warriors.
  • Bullet Time: Alita bypassing Grewishka's grind cutters is shot in this manner.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Zigzagged. You get sent to Zalem all right... as a few organs for Nova's experiments.
  • The Cameo: An uncredited Jai Courtney as Motorball champion Jashugan, and Edward Norton as Nova.
  • Canon Foreigner: Dr. Chiren and Grewishka are an interesting case, as they originate from the OVA adaptation, not the manga, and so were not created for the movie.
  • Carnival of Killers: As the eponymous protagonist starts growing to become a problem for the Big Bad, a group of cyborg bounty hunters and criminals, all with their own unique armaments, is hired to assassinate her in the course of a Motorball match.
  • Chain Pain:
    • While not a simple length of chain, the grind-cutters have elements of this and Combat Tentacles.
    • The hunter-warrior Screw Head uses a chain weapon similar to the grind cutters but not nearly so powerful. Alita is able to take Screw Head's chain and uses it to dump one of her foes into a trash compactor.
  • Combat Tentacles: The grind cutters are as dexterous as real fingers and extend to meters-long deadly weapons. In fact, when Alita gets ripped apart by the grind cutters, she actually dodges all the razor-tipped fingers, it is the tentacle parts of the cutters that snag her.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The film adapts the first two volumes of the original manga into one two-hour movie, importing along some of the elements of the next two volumes, elements from Alita's backstory from Last Order, and the also compressednote  anime OVA.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: During Alita's first Motorball match, the cyborg "players", who are actually just a Carnival of Killers, don't even feign to go after the ball and outright attempt to murder Alita, and they're very visibly armed to the teeth before the match begins. The crowd doesn't seem to mind, neither does the announcer.
    Announcer: She must have said something in the locker room that these guys did not like!
  • Continuity Cameo:
    • Ajakutty (named) and an unnamed Motorballer with Armblessed's design appear during Alita's visit to the arena. Jashuugan also appears, but is dispatched mid-game and we later catch up with him at the pits.
    • Murdock, here called McTeague, first appeared in the manga after the Motorball arc, but in the movie he's seen in the Kansas Bar and he's the only hunter-warrior to give a hand to the main characters against Grewishka.
  • Cool Old Guy: McTeague, the Hunter-Warrior seen briefly in the bar with his cyber-dogs likely qualifies, especially since he's the only one to help rescue Alita from Grewishka.
  • Cool Shades: Worn by Vector, probably in equal parts for style and to conceal his eyes suddenly changing color whenever Nova assumes control.
  • Cool Sword: The Damascus Blade. Forged with long-lost Martian techniques, it has a monomolecular edge and was seemingly made for Alita, or at least a Berserker-type body, since she can channel plasma through it.
  • Covers Always Lie: The posters prominently show Alita wearing her "war paint" on her face while in her Berserker body, a combination that never occurs in the film.
  • Crapsack World: This appears to be Hugo's view of their world:
    Hugo: It's a harsh world. The strong prey on the weak down here.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • As deadly and dangerous as they are, the assassins sent to take down Alita pretty much get their asses handed to them in a short amount of time.
    • Alita's assault on the Factory, as she makes a short work on the Centurions.
    • Alita and Grewishka's final fight is this, as Alita takes out Grewishka with a few slashes before slicing him in half.
  • Cyber Punk: With its dystopian future, pervasive corruption, class differences, cyborgs, bounty hunters, body mods, punk fashions and cheerful cynicism, Alita epitomises Cyberpunk in many ways.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: Most darker segments of the story happen at night, and it's usually raining then, playing the trope straight despite the overall Lighter and Softer tone.
  • Cyborgs: Come in all shapes and forms in Iron City. It's as if humans without any kind of cybernetic replacement are a rarity.
  • Dark Action Girl: Nyssiana, a cyborg serial killer Alita crosses paths with early in the film.
  • Deadly Dodging: Alita's last two pursuers from the Carnival of Killers, Screwhead and Stinger, manage to corner her and prepare to execute her by cutting her in two with Stinger's buzzsaws. She manages to break free from Screwhead's grip and have the latter fall in the way of the buzzsaws.
  • Deal with the Devil: Hugo's cyborg harvesting for Vector. Vector even gets to quote the most famous line in Paradise Lost at one point.
  • Death by Adaptation: Unlike in the manga, but like in the OVA, Vector is killed, here by a vengeful and angry Alita when Nova threatens Hugo and Ido, as opposed to the OVA, where he is killed by Ido.
  • Death Is Cheap: Due to the working cyborg technology, as long as the brain is reasonably intact, We Can Rebuild Him can apply to anybody and anyone.
  • Disney Villain Death: A heroic example occurs at the end of the film. Hugo falls while trying to climb one of the transport cables leading up to Zalem.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Rather than being called "Tiphares" like in other English localizations, as in the Japanese original the floating space-elevator city is called "Zalem".
    • Scrapyard is called Iron City, though this is more of a Spell My Name with an "S" or You Are the Translated Foreign Word, as both English names are just different translations of the city's name in Japanese — "Kuzutetsu", or, literally, "Scrap Iron".
  • Dull Surprise: Justified as Alita stabs Vector-controlled-by-Nova, his reaction is a detached "Well that looks fatal."
  • Earth That Used to Be Better: The planet has suffered quite a bit, and Scrapyard/Iron City is one of the few places where the semblance of civilization remains.
  • Emergency Transformation: Implied with Hugo, from a stab wound.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • McTeague usually sits out wherever he's not concerned, or when there's no bounty for him to pursue. But killing a dog in front of him? Oh, that's just unforgivable!
    • Hugo and especially Tanji maybe unscrupulous harvesters, but laying a finger on their loved ones and they will show you they mean business.
  • Exact Words: Vector promises to send Dr. Chiren to Zalem, and he does so. He never said she'd go there in one piece.
  • Eye Scream: Alita jabs her hand and entire forearm into Grewshika's eye.
  • Fantastic Racism: Some cyborgs such as Romo and Zapan feel superior to regular humans now that they are mostly machine, calling them "meat-boys".
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Not stated as explicitly as in the manga, where it was established from the start that possession of a firearm and aircraft are the only capital crimes enforced by the Factory, but still followed in practice, as there is no gun to see in the whole movie. Even Vector's bodyguards only carry stun batons, and the closest thing to a projectile weapon are Kinuba's (and later Grewishka's) grind cutters — which actually are ainvoked Game-Breaker in motorball exactly for that reason. There's also the mortar-like cannon that one of the enemy Motorballers attacks Alita with during the game, but considering he's both a wanted criminal and was augmented by Vector's crew specifically to assassinate her (we even see the "Factory Team" assemble around a huge gun at the locker room) it's pretty clear that Vector is once again treating Factory Law like an afterthought.
  • Female Gaze: When Alita first sees Zapan, there's a brief shot of him from her perspective as he walks away, and she's focusing on his shapely, leather-clad rear. This turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun; she later mocks him for spending all his money on his pretty face.
  • Flaming Sword: Alita coats her Damascus Blade in blue plasma flames with the help of her Berserker body.
  • Force and Finesse: In battle, Grewishka is all blunt force, while Alita (although much stronger than she looks) relies on finesse.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: While violence against cyborgs is shown in all of its bloody glory, any gory violence against unmodified humans and animals is shown either very quickly or cuts away right before the act. We don't even get to see the corpses of Dr. Ido's daughter and Alita's street dog.
  • Gratuitous German: The name of Alita's martial art, Panzer Kunst, is a Dog German for "Armor Art", and is but a hint about the story's future, as Mars in this universe is settled by the native Germans.
  • Groin Attack: Alita inflicts this on a (non-cyborg) hunter-warrior during the bar brawl.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The film seems to adore this trope. It's in fact easier to count those who didn't get reduced to this by the end of the plot.
    • During her second fight with Grewishka, Alita ends up being diced to pieces so that only her upper torso, head, and one arm are intact.
    • After Zapan kills a man just to frame Hugo, Tanji jumps on Zapan to let Hugo escape and ends up sliced in two by the Damascus blade.
    • Stinger cuts Screwhead in two with his buzzsaws as a result of a Deadly Dodging by Alita.
    • In their third face-off Alita vertically bisects Grewishka with the Damascus Blade after disabling his Grind Cutters.
  • The Heavy: Vector and Grewishka form a collective one. They serve as the more immediate threats to Alita's well-being while taking orders from Nova, who watches from the safety of Zalem.
  • Hollywood Tactics: In one flashback, Alita and her team climb up to assault Zalem on the outside of the tube which connects it with the ground. Even if it were necessary to climb to Zalem from the ground, the tubes are transports, so going up the interior where they can't put giant spinning blades of doom would have been a smarter option.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: The Berserker body Alita uses later is head and shoulders above any cyborg body that could be produced on Earth,note  and is found in the crashed spaceship. In the original manga it was developed by the République Vénus and ended on the Earth more or less by accident, while in the movie its origin was changed to Mars.
  • Interspecies Romance: Alita (cyborg) and Hugo (human). As in the original manga, it doesn't work out.
  • In the Hood: Grewishka and Nyssiana both disguise their cyborg bodies with hooded cloaks to be inconspicuous, though it's debatable how effective the former's case is considering he's approximately the size of a Tyrannosaurus.
  • Karma Houdini: The rest of Hugo's ripper crew gets away completely scot-free. Even if the crew falls apart due to the loss of two leading members, the black market for stolen parts is so lucrative that they definitely won't have a problem finding more work anyway.
  • Kick the Dog: Grewishka kills Little Marks, the tiny dog Alita had made friends with. Thankfully compared to the OVA, this happens off-screen, and a short advertisement on Twitter reveals that McTeague managed to save him and make him into a cyborg.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: When Kinuba leaves the Kansas bar (just before he is jumped by the jackers), he has a girl on each arm, and one slung across his shoulders for good measure.
  • Last of Their Kind: Nova/Vector tells Grewishka that he can never defeat Alita unless he knows what she is — the last of the URM Berserkers.
  • Lighter and Softer: Downplayed. While the source material's dark tone is retained for the most part, the film is rated PG-13, meaning the violence isn't nearly as graphic as the manga. Iron City is also a much nicer place than the original, with pleasant daytime communities, decent food supply (there's even chocolate! For cheap!) and children's street sports.
  • Logo Joke: The 20th Century Fox logo briefly changes into a dilapidated, futuristic version of itself, reading "26th Century Fox".
  • Lost Technology: The first thing viewers are told about exactly how Alita is special is that the power source that serves as her heart utilizes incredibly advanced technology that was lost in the ravages of the Great War. It seems that this applies to all military technology the URM deployed back then. Ido explicitly warns Alita that he can't repair any of it because he simply doesn't know how (then it turns out that technology can self-repair). Unsurprisingly, once she acquires her Martian Berserker body and the Damascus Blade, everyone who attempts to oppose her ends up dead in hilariously short order.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: The URM ship and Berserker body seem to respond to Alita, and she tells Ido she feels a connection to the Berserker body.
  • Mayincatec: This version of Zapan has chosen to decorate his cyborg body with an engraved metal representation of the Aztec Sun Stone across his back, and similar decorations painted over his chest.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Subverted on a Meta level with the Kansas bar — while the Scrapyard in the manga was the remains of the old Kansas City, in the adaptation the Iron City was moved to Central America, breaking the connection.
    • Vector is often used as a proxy by Nova, making him a form of "carrier" — that is, a vector — for Nova's personality.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: The Berserker body, used by Alita after Grewishka shreds her original body. Being Imported Alien Phlebotinum, it's actually just about the best that can be obtained in Iron City. Possibly on Earth.
    • Grewishka is already a walking tank in his introduction, but Alita's combat training makes her far deadlier than you'd expect and he is forced to retreat. When he confronts her again he is even heavier armored and upgraded with razor cutters, managing to No-Sell the same attack that previously took off an arm.
  • More Dakka: The spider-mech tanks that protect the Factory, which are called Centurions, are armed with gatling guns. Do the math.
  • Motion Capture: Rosa Salazar portrays Alita using this technique. Along with all the other cyborgs, presumably.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Alita's line of "I will not stand by in the presence of evil." is taken word-for-word from the first edition translation of the manga, specifically when she kills Peshkabz.
    • Ido's overprotective "I don't want blood on your hands", as everyone who've read the manga knows that she already has plenty.
    • Hugo's motorcycle has the same design as one Alita briefly uses in the manga during her time as a Tuned.
    • Numerous Motorball players from the manga, such as Ajakutty and Zafar "Crimson Wind" Takie, get short references during clips of motorball races prior to Alita's debut on the track.
    • Zapan's forehead shows a faint hook-shaped scar in the approximate location where he wore the Blue Öyster Cult logo in the manga.
  • Nature Vs Nurture: Ido would love nothing more than for Alita to stay away from violence and live a peaceful, quiet life, but Alita's nature as a Berserker means she loves violence too much.
  • Nerf: In-Universe example. Kinuba's Grind Cutters make him too effective at Motorball so Vector hires Hugo to steal them.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Some parts of Alita's flashbacks from her previous life are used in ads, but without the context that they're "flashbacks" gives the impression they're part of the film's climax. Also, some ads really play up the motorball sequences, making Alita seem like some weird sports movie, as opposed to a sci-fi action thriller.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Vector, who doesn't bother to put up a fight when Alita corners him.
  • Off with His Head!: Hunter-Warriors claim their bounties by turning in the heads of their marks. Since the system checks for the head and only that, without stipulating that the head needs to be a dead one, this is taken advantage of by Alita to save Hugo's life near the end of the film with assistance from Dr. Chiren.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ido when Alita gets killed in his backstory.
    • Ido when he realizes that Alita's first Motorball tournament turns out to be a trap.
  • One-Wheeled Wonder: Hugo uses a monowheeled motorcycle to move around Iron City, and frequently gives rides to Alita.
  • Only in It for the Money: Even knowing about his crimes, none of the other Hunter-Warriors can be bothered to care about Grewishka once Vector cancels his bounty, as they wouldn't be paid for stopping him. The sole exception is McTeague, whose actions aren't so much about Grewiska's crimes against society as they are about Grewishka murdering a dog.
  • Only One Name: The majority of the characters only have one name revealed, though the example that stands out the most is Nova, whose first name — Desty in the manga — goes unmentioned.
  • Outside Ride: While escaping from Zapan, Hugo clings to front of one of the buggies driving the streets of Iron City.
  • Paddle Ball Shot: A very disturbing example with a cutting torch.
  • Police are Useless: Crime fighting is done by centurions and hunter-warriors. Alita turns to the latter to take down Grewishka. However, they are reluctant to hunt someone who is not on the wanted list, unless that someone does something to personally earn their ire—McTeague in particular hates seeing animals killed.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: An epic one from Alita: "I do not stand by, in the presence of evil."
  • Precision F-Strike: Alita delivers one to Grewishka during their second battle, after she loses both legs and an arm. After Grewishka tells her he'll keep her as a pendant, she takes out his eye with her remaining hand, losing that in the process also.
    Alita: Fuck your mercy!
  • Race Lift: Much like most live-action adaptations of anime and with Hollywood's reluctance to cast Asian actors in main roles, it was inevitable this was bound to happen to some of the characters.
    • Around the time when Alita was living as Yoko, she had both an Asian first name and European last name,note  implying her to be of Eurasian descent. Here, she's played by the white Peruvian-American Rosa Salazar. However, Alita/Yoko/Gally was intentionally kept a Mukokuseki in the manga, with the generic appearance, Multi-Ethnic Name, and vague background that Mars Chronicle muddled even further despite ostensibly intending to clarify it. Kishiro specifically wanted her to be divorced from the conventional notions of race and ethnicity, and CGI-enhanced Salazar conveys this intention quite faithfully.
    • Daisuke Ido, as evidenced by his name, is at least part-Japanese. Here, he's named Dyson Ido and is played by the white Austrian Christoph Waltz. Ironically, his appearance in the manga (tall, blond, big-nosed) is more in line with the caricatured images of Europeans common in the Japanese media.
    • Subverted with Koyomi, who, like Daisuke, is Japanese, but is played by Vietnamese-American Lana Condor. She's still kept Asian, but she's changed to Southeast Asian as opposed to East Asian.
    • In his very brief cameo, the originally Dark-Skinned Blond Jashuugan is played by Jai Courtney, with red hair.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The derelict Martian spaceship is 300 years old. Despite this, the main deck still has energy and is partly functional, allowing Alita to open a secret storage room and retrieve the Berserker body. The Berserker itself, too: it appears no maintenance was needed all these years for it to still work, good as new, once Alita is connected to it. (Might be justified by the field in which it was found, which could be some kind of stasis, and/or by its own nanomachines doing self-repair.)
  • Reality Ensues: Alita walks into the Hunter-Warrior bar and gives them a Rousing Speech to get them to help her in her cause. Since she's been a Hunter-Warrior for half an hour, with no kills or captures to her name, she utterly fails.note 
  • Redemption Equals Death: Tanji gets sliced in half by Zapan's Absurdly Sharp Blade for trying to save his friend Hugo.
    • Hugo himself tries to leave his business, and then gets framed and fatally wounded.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Dr. Dyson Ido may claim that he didn't repair and foster Alita as a replacement for his dead daughter, but nobody is fooled, especially not Chiren (his former mate, and said daughter's mother). The facts that he reused a cyborg body that was conceived for his daughter, and even gave the same name to the amnesiac, further hammer the point. Even Alita realizes this, leading to a You're Not My Father moment when she's fed up with his over-protectiveness. In the end, Ido does come to understand that Alita is her own person and nowhere close to a fragile child, and he starts providing help in some of her dangerous endeavors, even though he still disapproves.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: As both Hugo and Chiren learn the hard way, Vector doesn't allow people to just quit working for him.
  • Robot Dog: Hunter-warrior McTeague has several robot (or cyborg?) dogs, along with a genuine one.
  • Roofhopping: In order to both escape the Carnival of Killers and rescue Hugo, Alita crashes through a screen during her first Motorball match to leave the stadium and goes roofhopping over Iron City.
  • Rousing Speech: Fails when Alita tries to rally the Hunter-Warriors to her side. There are no bounties on Grewishka, and thus, no bounty money to be made in the risky enterprise of trying to take him down.
  • Scavenged Punk: Many cyborgs in Iron City are made of pieces Ido found in the dumpyard of Zalem (or parts stolen from other cyborgs by gangs such as Hugo's and sold on the Black Market). Alita herself has been found in that dumpyard.
  • Sequel Hook: The movie ends with a rather blatant one: Alita being set on becoming the Motorball Champion so she can head to Zalem and confront Nova, while the now-faceless Zapan could potentially return seeking revenge for his humiliation.
  • Sharpened to a Single Atom: As Zapan boasts, the Damascus Blade has a monomolecular edge, making it capable of effortlessly slicing through most materials. And then Alita sends a plasma charge through it, which makes it even sharper.
  • Shirtless Scene: After having some drinks with Vector, Hugo wakes up the next morning shirtless with Alita perched on his windowsill.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Grewishka makes several references to Freddy Krueger.
      • He is played by Jackie Earle Haley, who played Freddy in the Remake.
      • His right hand has claws on it.
      • In his second fight with Alita, he shouts "Welcome to my world!"
    • The Lighter and Softer depiction of Iron City in the daytime — bright cheerful sunlight and colorful throngs of happy people — owes a lot to the depiction of post-apocalyptic Seattle in Dark Angel, which was essentially Cameron's first attempt at adapting Gunnm: "The thing I don't get is why they call it a depression. I mean, everybody's broke, but they aren't really all that depressed. Life goes on."
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Desty Nova, one of the most iconic characters of the franchise and its Deuteragonist, only appears as a cameo in the first four volumes covered by the movie, and isn't properly introduced into the story until these events are actually concluded. Naturally, he's nowhere to be seen in the trailers. The part is not even credited despite being portrayed by Edward Norton in his about 30 seconds of screen time, and he only ever speaks through other characters.
  • Space Elevator: Zalem, floating above Iron City, is at the bottom end of one, though the main column is not as prominent in the film as in the original incarnation.
  • Stab the Sky: At the end of the movie, Alita brandishes the Damascus Blade under the cheers of the Motorball crowd. Not pointed straight at the sky, though, but more meaningfully toward Zalem.
  • Storming the Castle: Alita fighting through the factory's defenses for a final showdown with Vector.
  • Taste of Power: If one counts flashbacks, the Berserker body for Alita, as its state-of-the-art Martian (Venusian in manga) product compared to her first Scrapyard body, and she regains it in the second half of the film.
  • Theme Naming: While not directed by James Cameron, the film is still produced by him, and was his pet projectinvoked for decades, so it still matches the Theme Naming pattern of Cameron's films, whose titles all start with either "A" or "T".
  • Third Party Stops Attack: Zapan raises his sword to attack Hugo, but just before he can finish his downswing, Alita skates in and grabs his arm by the wrist.
  • Title Drop: One of the very last lines, no less. The Motorball announcer introduces "the Battle Angel herself, Alita!"
  • The Un-Reveal:
    • We never see how Alita wound up as an amnesiac disembodied head and torso — her last flashback shows her fighting on one of Zalem's supply pipes, though she evades getting shredded by the defensive ring.
    • The fate of Alita's Berserker body is unknown, though as she wreaths the Damascus Blade in plasma while pointing it at Zalem it's possible that she either transformed it to resemble the manga's Motorball body or that she's just wearing additional armor over it, like she did with her previous body.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Seems to be Grewishka's whole shtick. He towers over every other character in the film, and is built, both literally and figuratively, like a tank. In all three fights he has with Alita, he relies on heavy, crushing blows when she gets up close or the grind cutters when she moves out of contact range. Despite his clear size and strength advantage over virtually everyone, Alita is able to deal some real damage to him due to her Panzer-Kunst fighting skills. As Nova says early on: "It was not the power of the body that did this, it was the mind."
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Alita gets to the URM ship by jumping into the pond it's submerged in and walking along the bottom, her cyborg body being heavier than a human's (which Hugo mentioned earlier).
  • The War Has Just Begun: After making sense of her memories as a soldier of the United Republics of Mars (URM), learning about the dark side of Iron City, gaining a URM combat cyborg body and watching Chiren and Hugo die, Alita commences a personal mission to terminate Nova for his crimes. The end of the movie shows that she has accomplished the first step by becoming the Motorball champion who will win the ultimate prize - access to Zalem.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Dr. Dyson Ido makes cyborgs out of people who lost limbs or their entire body using various kinds of cybernetics but not quite managing to make a living off of it (a lot of his income comes from bounty hunting).
    • In one of the very first scenes of the film he fits a factory worker who lost his arm in an accident with a prosthetic limb, with only a pack of oranges and a promise to pay when the man receives a bonus for his efforts.
    • From his threat to discontinue free repairs during the barfight in the Kansas, it's evident that he rarely gets paid even by the somewhat affluent Hunter-Warriors.
    • He also rebuilds Alita twice — first after finding her chest and head in the trash dumped by Zalem, giving her the robotic body he intended for his deceased daughter; then after that body is cut to pieces by Grewishka, giving her the URM-made Berserker body.
    • After Hugo is framed by Zapan and Alita cuts off his head to appease the Centurions, Ido gives him a new cyborg body as well.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Alita's initial body is more ornamental than anything else. While she may have enhanced strength compared to unaltered humans, unlike many other cyborgs she doesn't have any built-in weapons and is very human-like in shape. She is a former elite soldier with an advanced power core but she relies exclusively on martial arts in a particularly small and lightweight body. It's even said specifically that she shouldn't have been able to harm the mountain-sized Grewishka. When she gets the nano-tech berserker body, she is still smaller than everyone else but becomes the most advanced cyborg in the city.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Alita when she finds out that Hugo's been jacking and stripping other cyborgs for parts.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Ido is initially convinced that giving Alita the URM Berserker body will make her a danger for everyone. Then he is proven wrong after being forced to transfer her on it since her previous body got cut to pieces by Grewishka, as Alita is still the same inside, only now she's much more powerful.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Alita believes that she is in an idealistic cyberpunk setting where street warriors look after one another and will gladly band together against a common enemy. Not only do the Hunter-Warriors not give a crap about each other, but they are also out only for the money. Alita's rousing speech falls on deaf ears because the "common enemy" that she is asking everyone to fight has no bounty on him, thus nothing to be gained from killing. The only person to intervene in the fight with Grewishka does so out of pure disgust for dog killers, rather than any sympathy for Alita's cause. Worse yet, some of the Hunter-Warriors have absolutely no problem moonlighting as assassins to kill Alita.
  • You Are Number 6: During Alita's flashback, she's referred to by her superior officernote  as "99". She subsequently turns the number into her Motorball emblem.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: Grewishka's upgraded chassis comes equipped with Kinuba's blade-tipped chain-fingers that he could use to stick someone from a distance and reel them back in. If they're not already in pieces.

♫ May you always be brave in the shadows
'Till the sun shines upon you again
Hear this prayer in my heart, and will ne'er be apart
May you stay in the arms of the angels... ♫

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