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Exclusive review: Inu-Yasha:
Rumiko Takahashi's (Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkoku, Mermaid Tales) new hit TV series in Japan
  Rating: R (Graphic violence, brief nudity, sexual situations)
  U.S. Distribution Rights: ADV Films
  Genres: Action, Sci-Fi

Battle Angel (OVA)
Alternate Titles: Gunnm, Battle Angel Alita

Description:    In the Scrap Iron City, people on Earth try to survive on the refuse thrown down from the floating paradise that is Zalem. In the City, Gally -- a mysterious young cyborg with amnesia is found by the cyber-doctor Ido. Although she remembers nothing, her body does and she soon becomes a Hunter-Warrior with her skills, as she tries to remember who she is and protect the ones that she loves.

Overall Grade: 93% (A)

The Ashen Victor (Manga) Review
The Battle Angel Alita (Manga) Review
Trailer (High-speed modems)
Trailer (28k/56k modems)
BATTLE ANGEL Message Board
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  Reviewer #1: Kane Tung
  Episodes reviewed: 1-2 (Subtitled)
Grade: 99% (A+)
   It starts with a cyborg head found in the scrap heap and continues with the young Gally trying to rebuild herself only to be broken only to rebuild herself. I hate to be cliche but this Anime is the model of what a story is.

The animation is brilliant (one of the best I've ever seen), sure. There's exciting action as Gally with her cyborg skills, take apart the vermin of Scrap Iron City. The world that the author constructed is intricate and complete. But this anime is about Dreams. Whether it be abandoning everything to rise up to a heaven (which is Zalem in this story) or the dream of staying with someone and starting a New Life in an Old World. And of course, with any story about dreams comes Sadness. And they hit it perfectly without ever once going into melodrama.

This OVA is in two parts. The first one is for the action buff, with sequences that match those of Ghost in the Shell and sets up the more deeper emotional conflicts ahead. The second part is pure visual poetry — whether it be keeping a close one alive with your own life support system; and the dirtiness of the world the "real" people live in, or being saved to become a female "doll" (which in Japan often also means "robot"). How do you create a story that shows that sometimes it takes courage to give up a dream even when we admire the character for holding on to it for so long?

Watch. Pay the money. Buy the tape. This anime has everything. You won't regret it.

  Reviewer #2: Clyde Adams III
  Episodes reviewed: 1-2; Subtitled
Grade: 93% (A)
   Battle Angel is a original video animation (OVA) in two parts, "Rusty Angel" and "Tears Sign". It is a story set in a science-fiction dystopia, a sort of film noir of the future. Cyber-doctor and hunter-warrior Udo finds the head and upper torso of a still-living cyborg in the trash. This is Gally, the rusty battle angel of the title. Gally has no memory of her previous existence, but she is accidentally found to have incredible battle skills, and becomes a hunter-warrior. Gally comes to love a young odd-jobs man named Yugo, an orphan native to Scrap Iron City. But Yugo would do anything to get into Zalem. The woman cyber-doctor Chiren, an old acquaintance and rival of Udo, has the same unconditional ambition, as well as a desire to outdo Udo. Add to this mix Vector, the slimy manager of the Factory; Greweicia, an outlaw cyborg who likes to eat women's brains; spine thieves, who steal live human spines for large profits; and a deadly rival hunter-warrior jealous of Gally's success, and a tragic story starts to unfold. Gally is a sympathetic heroine, innocent, yet smart and violent. The story is action-packed, emotionally involving, and bloody. The art is outstanding and well-animated. I highly recommend Battle Angel. Note: I am recommending this on its own merits. I've heard it doesn't do justice to Yukito Kishiro's manga, on which it's based. I should also point out that this anime uses the original names from the Japanese manga and anime. Viz' English version of the manga changed Gally to Alita and Zalem to Tiphares.

  Reviewer #3: Jeff Williams
  Episodes reviewed: 1-2; subtitled
Grade: 87% (B+)
   Adapted from a long series manga, the anime version of Battle Angel seems much too short. But in this series' case, that speaks for the quality of what's there rather than any shortcomings in the writing. This series is about as good as it could have been given the 60 minutes it was allotted, and it only leaves you wanting more.

Cloaked as a scifi series about bounty hunters of the future, Battle Angel is really an allegory for the dark underside of the class system in a capitalist society. Gally (Alita in the manga) is introduced as a discarded cyborg torso on the junk heap below the sky city of Zalem, found by the hunter warrior Ido, himself a former Zalem resident. While Gally and Ido's Zalem pasts are never explored in these 2 episodes (and they should have been), it's the desire to return there, to live among the elite, that drives the plot forward. Whereas Ido and Gally seem resigned to their place below Zalem, Gally's love interest Yugo dreams of buying his way into the sky city above - and he's willing to perform any number of illegal activities to do it. Gally's purpose becomes to help Yugo win his dream, even if it means putting herself in conflict with her existence as a hunter warrior, and even though we learn it may be an impossible dream. It's a pretty sad commentary on the class system we all live in.

The characters and relationships in this short series are surprisingly well developed, and feelings and dialogue seem genuine. This particular story arc could have used at least one more episode for character development, but the plot as is moves along smoothly, even if the pace is a bit quick. However, there's just so much more here that could have been explored - a wealth of material from the manga, and even more beyond that that could be created from the Gunnm universe. This series has long been one that fans have wished for a continuation of, but unfortunately if it hasn't happened by now, chances are it won't. Still, this is a title worth seeing, with a depth and meaning that even many longer sci-fi series lack.

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