The Amateur Otaku Presents ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
Since the Amateur Otaku Podcast seek to shine a spotlight on anime- a genre that doesn’t get a ton of mainstream love- we’ve decided to launch this off-shoot of the podcast called “The Amateur Otaku Presents” in order to point out properties that should be on your radar.
Anime live-action adaptations are few and far between. The amount of adaptations that get the source material right is even smaller. Because when it comes to anime, it’s not just about the characters or the story beats that need to survive the translation; but also the world, air and quirks that make that particular selection unique. No great anime is the same as any other. Though many series may share similar themes, the shows that stand-out are able to do something uniquely enough that it earns its place between the greats. Alita: Battle Angel captures the world, flare and identity of Battle Angel Alita (or Gunnm as its known in Japan) flawlessly to present audiences and fans with the best anime/manga adaptation that I have ever seen.
And as the co-host of RTF’s anime podcast, Amateur Otaku, I think you need to check this gem of a film out.
Alita: Battle Angel takes place in a cyper-punk, dystopian future where humanity has been separated into two territories after “The Fall” at the end of “The Great War”; those that live in the “Utopian” city of Zalem and those that strive to survive in the slums of Iron City. In this world the line between man and machine is blurred as cybernetic enhancements have become the norm whether for something as beneficial as life-aiding prosthesis or a necessity for performing work-related tasks. In the latter we find many. From athletes to farmers and more importantly, bounty hunters which enhance themselves in the vicious of ways to ensure that they capture their prey.
Enter Dr.Dyson Ido, a cyber-physician that specializes in cyborg first-aid and care. As he scours the mountains of disposed goods that drop daily from the floating haven of Zalem for re-usable spare parts; he finds a cyborg head, whose brain is remarkably still alive and intact.
Recognizing the living being that resides in that disposed face of beauty, Ido decides to nurture her back to health. The good doctor decides provides here a body, a home and new life. Though amnesiac upon waking in Iron City; the young cyborg bestowed with the name “Alita”, begins a journey of discovery as she embraces not only who she was; but who she dreams to be in her own right.
Filled with stunning visuals, a captivating score, inspired actions set pieces and powerful performances from lead actress Rosa Salazar and a star-studded supporting cast that includes the likes of Christoph Waltz and Mahershala Ali; Alita: Battle Angel is a film that is set to become a cult favorite for years to come. In spite of its “A-“ CinemaScore, Alita failed to capture general audiences with the same flair that it took over fans of sci-fi and anime alike. I have personally seen it twice and I have been dying to go see it a third time before it leaves theaters in the next two weeks. Many twitter users have claimed to have seen the movie more than ten times. Thought that final statement sounds mad; the main inspiration for this madness is the quality of the adaptation and the desire for more. Its feels fresh, nuanced; but more than anything, it feels ANIME.
To say that director Robert Rodriguez and Executive Producer James Cameron understood and loved the source material is an understatement when you see how they brilliantly translated the world of Alita from its manga pages to the big screen without sacrificing the series’ identity. Though there are plenty of scenes in the film that are panel-per-panel translations of the book, they made sure that the characters felt authentic and faithful to the source while also coming to life effortlessly within the cinematic form. They focused on the things that matter the most and excelled in stunning visuals. It’s live-action ANIME in every sense of the word and in the best sense.
As of this PRESENTS feature, Alita: Battle Angel has grossed $400 Million dollars worldwide; which is largely due to the multitude of fans that showed up to theaters around the world to see this film. Though the movie cannot be considered a hit; I don’t believe the movie should be considered a flop either, mainly due to fans’ response to it and the movie making its budget back with a tad of profit. Whether these numbers are enough to discuss a sequel remains to be seen, but I know I am not alone in stating that Otakus worldwide have seen what an amazing anime adaptation looks like and we anxiously can’t wait for the next one. Of course, as long as it’s done with the heart and care that was shown to Alita: Battle Angel.
Go see it while it’s still in theaters and definitely keep an eye out for its home release, you will not regret it.
From The Amateur Otaku to you, till next time,
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