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Headscratchers / Alita: Battle Angel

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  • Ok, while it was undoubtedly a nasty stab wound, did Hugo really require a full body replacement?
    • Because Alita also need to pretend she took his head to prove to the centurions that she finished the bounty. They say so not 5 minutes before that the centurions would have shot him to death if they saw him alive still.
  • People assume that Gunnm is set in Japan due to the fact that it's a manga and half the characters in Scrapyard having Japanese names, but wasn't it implied to be set in a post-apocalyptic United States by Caerula's flashback chapter?
    • It is. In fact, in the manga, Scrapyard is basically what remains of Kansas City, MO, after everything that happened to the Earth in the passed years. Kaos is based in Dallas, TX, while Figure Four is from Alhambra, CA. Desty Nova's original base of Granite Inn is basically the former NORAD base at Cheyenne Mountain.
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    • Rodriguez has mentioned that James Cameron, a stickler for realism that he is, has moved Scrapyard/Iron City to the jungles of Central America to better fit the Space Elevator physics. Thus the ruined Spanish Cathedral and colorful barrios as well a Hugo's ambiguous heritage. And the formerly eponymously-named Kansas Bar is now an orphaned trope. Still, the matter stands: the action still takes place in the Americas.
  • Compared to the manga and OVA, a detail at the end feels confusing, specifically the event that prompts Hugo to run away to try and climb the tube to Zalem. Here in the movie, Ido calls Alita and tells her that Hugo has ran away as they tried to apprehend him, because they knew he had survived. It's quite possible it was Zapan who told the authorities, but why has Ido not been arrested for hiding a wanted criminal, then? Why is Alita not wanted for the same reason? Or was the trick used to make Hugo's head survive successful in confusing the city's system, which has ended considering Hugo dead (and therefore Alita as successful in killing him) and alive at the same time?
    • Nova has taken interest in Alita, and more or less offered to get Ido and Hugo off the hook if she agrees to serve him. He's known to like playing with her in the manga, so he might've chosen to keep this promise (at least about Ido) even if Alita rejected his offer. And, though the adaptation didn't get to this point, as the story progresses he also grows fond of her nor less than Ido, just in a way more unhinged manner.
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    • It's possible that Hugo and Ido saw or were warned of the Centurions approaching, and Hugo escaped from the clinic before Ido could be associated with his survival.
  • A minor point, but when The front part of Zapans head is removed, he screams “My face!” Try making the “M”, “F” or “ce” sounds without your lips or front teeth. Go on, I’ll wait.
    • Vocalization also requires lungs and vocal cords, and the level of cyborgization leave very little in term of organic tissue, with some being little more than the head and a spine. The ones that are heavily augged are definitely using a mechanical system to produce voices much like basic robots and AI system. Lip movement at this point is only for recreating normal human behavior
    • A close look at Zapan's neck shows that he does not have neither trachea nor anything resembling vocal cords, so it's evident that he doesn't use natural vocalisation, because he cannot. Lip movement in this case would be purely cosmetic.
    • As demonstrated in this video, his second and third screams sound more like "my fathe!", showing his speech is not entirely unaffected.
  • At the end of the film, Alita is well aware that Vector "sending people to Zalem" meant harvesting their brains for Nova's experiments. The final scene heavily implies that, by competing in the Motorball championship, she's on her way to Zalem to face Nova. But what proof does she have that "the champion gets to go to Zalem" doesn't mean the exact same thing as Vector's methods? After all, a champion would likely be someone Nova would "admire", same as Chiren was.
    • Ido mentions earlier that the only way to get to Zalem is to become the champion. As a former citizen of Zalem, he would know that. If the champions didn't go to Zalem whole, Ido would have called bullshit and stopped Alita from competing.
      • Chiren is also from Zalem, and yet she believed Vector's promise to send her back.
      • "Lying to oneself" seems to be in effect. When some people
really want something, they may forego all logic and reason, no matter how well educated they may be.
  • Did Alita and Ido ever help out Chiren? Last we saw them, they were not exactly in great shape, but stable, and considering the high levels of cyberization seen in the movie, it stands to reason they could fix Chiren given enough time. But no mention of them is made after the timeskip.
    • There's no mention of anything past timeskip, just Alita making a challenge to Nova as a sequel hook. If the sequel would be done, the issue will probably be revisited, but in the manga Chiren simply didn't exist, and Alita actually parts ways with Ido during the Motorball arc, with him not returning until the end of Last Order, so probably no more story for her.
    • However, given that this is also an adaptation of the OVA where Chiren is dead once her organs are harvested and the issue is handled differently, she might be saved by Ido giving her a body and then she goes on her way, so she could still be given an ending.
    • Personally, I feel like they left it open to interpretation on purpose, and Chiren might come back due to Nova's actions. Or she could become the equivalent of Lou Collins (since the TUNED arc from the manga is unlikely to be adapted, and they may even get rid of the plot-twist regarding the people from Zalem, specially considering they show Chiren's intact brain), rescuing her brain becoming Alita's long-term goal aside from fending off Nova.
  • Was the 'murdered young women' thing from the early movie a red herring, to make Alita / the audience think that Ido might be the killer, or was it answered who was responsible? As far as I could tell, the Grewishka/Nyssiana/Romo fight basically boiled down to "Ido was trying to take out Nyssiana for the bounty, and the three laid a trap for him to stop him messing with Vector's loyal thugs." In the manga a mutant woman with Nyssiana's general role was the killer, but I'm not sure if this was kept for the adaptation.
    • It was in fact a red herring to make Ido look like the killer, and Grewishka's gang were the ones responsible for the murders (Ido had been specifically hunting the guys responsible for those murders, presumably so Alita wouldn't be in danger). They never explained why they had a specific type of target like that, but then again, a lot of serial killers actually have some pattern for their targets.
  • Why was the Martian assault team climbing the cable from the surface? Were Zalem's anti-air defenses so strong that they couldn't have inserted from above?
    • Might have been a stealth insertion, so that Zalem's main forces engaged the main assault craft and left the cables unattended. Of course, things didn't turn out that way, and the team was wiped out anyway.
  • How can Chiren still have an intact brain? She does have Zalem mark on her forehead, isn't that means her brain was removed and subtituted by a chip?
    • The film seems to be an amalgamation of the original manga and the 90s OAV, which also ignored (or didn't know about) the "secret of Tiphares" and also reduced Chiren to a brain in a jar after she was no longer useful.
    • It seems the whole Brain-chip thing isn't practiced in this version, the Zalem mark seems more like an identity chip, whole brains seem to be a requirement for any kind of Cyber-conversion perhaps Nova might have it, in a way of keeping all the best stuff for himself, as the brain is organic which, with old age no matter how much you try the brain will degrade, so Novas proclaimation that he is "Immortal" might have a bit more credence to it, if they keep that plot point in solely for Nova and some of the more affluent members of Zalem. the creators are hoping to make a sequel so maybe that will be explored there.

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