Alita, known in Japan as , is the protagonist of Battle Angel Alita and its sequel, Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, both written by Yukito Kishiro. She is known for her fighting prowess as a practitioner of the powerful cyborg martial art Panzer Kunst and skill at the most popular sport in The Scrapyard, motorball. Alita is occasionally referred to as "octopus lips" due to her pouty expression. Alita's background and history were briefly hinted at in Battle Angel Alita, but were not fully explored until Last Order, which reveals that Alita was highly instrumental in creating the world within which both manga series are set.
Alita takes on a variety of roles through the manga, starting out as a hunter-warrior or licensed bounty hunter. She later becomes a motorball player, two years after which she is recruited by the Tipharean Ground Investigation Bureau to be an elite member of the TUNED, unknowingly serving as the basis for the development of their combat cyborgs known as the AR (Alita Replica) series which debut towards the end of Battle Angel Alita. In Last Order, she spearheads a team called the Space Angels which includes three of her replicas that competes in the LADDER-sponsored Zenith of Things Tournament.
From flashbacks starting in Volume 4 of Battle Angel Alita
and further elaborated on in Last Order
, Alita discovers that she was a Martian native (a human living on Mars
) named Yoko von der Rasierklinge. In Kishiro's original series, Yoko was sent on a suicide terrorist mission. Her target was Earth's orbital ring, but at the penultimate moment her comrades were ambushed by an unknown opponent. Yoko escaped, but was left to crash on Earth.
However, with the release of Last Order, this is no longer considered canon. Instead, Yoko was sent to upload a virus, known as "Program Guinevere", into Melchizedek. The virus disrupted the navigational systems of the five Leviathan colony ships, destroying four of them and killing 450,000 civilians, as well as caused a complete Gestalt breakdown in Melchizedek's organizational processes, from which it never fully recovered. This is known as the "Camlann Tragedy". She was captured shortly afterwards by the Type-V mutant Caerula Sanguis and sentenced to be burned up by atmospheric reentry to Earth as punishment for the terrorist attack.
In the first book of the series, Yoko's damaged head and torso are found by exiled scientist Daisuke Ido while he searches the junkyard below Tiphares for parts to use in his cyborg repairs. Ido decides to fully rebuild her, and name her after his recently deceased cat, Alita.
When the reanimated Alita suspects Ido of murdering women to provide her body parts, her guilt causes her to track and confront Ido. She discovers that he is a hunter-warrior, or bounty hunter, and that he is seeking the true killer himself. Her fight to protect Ido causes an instinctive recollection of the lost Martian battle technique called Panzer Kunst, as she quickly applies a single killing blow to the murderer. She decides to become a hunter-warrior herself, in which job Alita occasionally displays a disturbing bloodlust and love of battle.
Alita's first battle as a hunter-warrior is against a powerful, body-snatching and brain-eating cyborg named Makaku, who destroys the original body that Ido had made for her. Ido rescues her, almost dying in the process. Feeling he has no other choice, he reconnects her head to an ancient cyborg body called a Berserker Body, which had been especially made for war. Equipped with a new, stronger body, Alita is again challenged by Makaku, who has become obsessed with Alita and reequipped himself with a new Power Body. After a long fight in the sewers beneath the Scrapyard, Alita kills Makaku.
Shortly after becoming a hunter-warrior, Alita meets and falls in love with Hugo, a young boy who dreams of going to Tiphares. Unfortunately for Alita, her all-powerful berserker body proves to be a liability; since Hugo is a normal flesh-and-blood human, Alita is afraid that she couldn't even hold him close without accidentally tearing him to pieces. But what ends up killing Hugo is his obsession with Tiphares.
Alita's drive and skill makes her the best hunter-warrior the Scrapyard has seen. Her skill and reputation as a hunter-warrior and motorball player elicit interest from Tiphares, the elite society suspended over the Scrapyard, against which she harbors some hostility. Eventually, after a confrontation with a resurrected and enhanced rival, Alita is forced to become an agent for Tiphares. Despite this ironic twist of fate, Alita thinks of herself as a possible bridge between the utopian Tiphares and the impoverished Scrapyard.
Alita is a practitioner of Panzer Kunst, a powerful and long-dead cyborg martial art. Originally, the only memories Alita had of her training are of her master on a red mountain. In Last Order however, after Desty Nova Nova built her Imaginos body and, in the process helped unlock her repressed memories, Alita now remembers many things about Panzer Kunst including her master Gelda and fellow student Erica.
Most of Alita's attacks come from Panzer Kunst, although a few are of her own making.
- Mauser School Elbogen-Blatt (German for "Elbow Blade") - The Panzer Kunst art of wielding elbow blades and Alita's preferred weapon(s). She has a single blade mounted on her right elbow in her motorball body, and in Last Order can use her Imaginos body to form blades on each arm.
- Hertza Haeon or Hertzer Hauen (from the German words Herz (Heart) and Hauen (cut; strike)) - One of Alita's most common Panzer moves, the Hertza Haeon is a strike that delivers a high frequency vibration to the victim, concentrating kinetic energy on destroying or disabling the brain or heart. A variation of this attack can also be used by Figure Four, which is impressive because of his flesh-and-blood body.
- Verschlag (German neologism formed from Schlag (punch/blow), also the German word for "partition" or "box") - The first part of a two-staged attack. An initial strike is first applied to set loose a shockwave which will bounce around inside the body, increasing in momentum and energy, before focusing in the limbs. The enemy might notice this as a slight ringing in their ears. This is followed up by:
- Hertza Nadel (German for "Hertza Needle") - A second strike into the focal point of the shockwave, which cause the pent up energy to explode, blowing off or shattering the opponent's limbs in an instant. One of the Geheimnis (German for "secret"), or secret techniques of the Panzer Kunst.
- Plasma Bissen (German for "Plasma Bite") - A split-second plasma jet used to create undetectable cuts and gouges in the opponent's body. Usually concealed as a punch, swipe, or parry. This attack is an original one, made up by Alita, and might be considered a Seinerweisen, or personal technique based on Alita's body's own construction.
- Einzug Rüstungen (German neologism formed from Rüstung (armor) and Einzug (entrance)) - A technique used to match an opponent's rhythm and parry, then strike when the opponent drops their guard.
Weapons and bodies
The Damascus blade was created by Lam Dao and given to Alita by her motorball manager, Ed. The blade is hard as diamond, and can only be honed with high pressure water or supersonic waves. The blade consists of rare metals, including scandium, yttrium and lutetium, and has patterns suggestive of Damascus steel. The blade seems to represent Alita herself, as the imperfections and emotions that Alita has made her tougher than the emotionless AR series clones. This link between blade and bearer is further recognized in Last Order, when Desty Nova merges the blade into Alita's new Imaginos body to improve its durability. Later in the series, Alita often chooses to reproduce the blade by morphing her malleable Imaginos body.
After Alita’s first, non-combat body is destroyed, Ido equips her with a Berserker body that he has salvaged from the remains of a spaceship. The body allows supersonic movement as well as two unique combat abilities:
- Plasma emission – the Berserker body allows Alita to inhale air and electrically heat it. She can then release it through her fingertips at over 15,000 degrees Celsius.
- Electromagnetic manipulation – Alita can control and speed up both her internal plasma as well as external sources of heat.
It should be noted that Alita’s time in the Berserker body was spent with the body’s powers partially sealed for safety purposes. When the Berserker mode seal is released, the body can change form at the wearer’s will by electromagnetic manipulation, and can even summon animate beings made of plasma. However, the user runs the risk of being consumed by the Berserker body, which is constantly absorbing matter. Desty Nova later acquired the Berserker Body from Alita's Motorball manager, Ed, and released the safety locks. He planned to transplant Zapan's brain into it, but underestimated the body's destructive potential and Zapan's burning desire for revenge against Alita. Zapan was later killed and the Berserker Body destroyed by being shot with bullets loaded with collapser nanomachines that caused it to disintegrate.
body gives Alita speed and flexibility at the cost of power and weaponry. Because of the dangerous nature of motorball, the body’s limbs are constantly replaced and peak performance is not always guaranteed.
It is in this body that Alita first receives her Damascus Blade; first as two separate blades on her wrists. After these blades are damaged in the fight with "Caligula" Armblessed, they are re-forged into the single blade that becomes Alita's primary weapon.
Alita had two civilian bodies. She received the first after Ido found and revived her, which had decorated arms. This body was destroyed in Alita's first fight with Makaku.
Alita's second civilian body was used after she retired from motorball because the Berserker Body had been sold by her old manager, Ed, in an effort to keep her in the sport, and the Motorball Body was unsuitable for day-to-day life. While this body had no combat abilities, Alita did have a few weapons:
- Damascus Blade: After Alita retired from motorball, the Damascus Blade was removed from her Motorball Body. It spent two years tucked in a corner gathering dust until Alita unearthed it to go after Ido, who had not returned from his trip to buy back the Berserker Body from Desty Nova. It was later made into a balisword (a large balisong).
- Handgun: A Smith & Wesson snub nosed revolver received from Desty Nova. While the gun itself was nothing special, the bullets were tipped with "collapser" nanomachines, specifically designed to destroy Zapan's unlocked Berserker body.
The civilan body was almost completely destroyed in the fight with Zapan, and Alita was nearly killed by the Factory for the Class A Offense of using a projectile weapon in the Scrapyard.
Alita (or A-1) receives the TUNED body after becoming an agent of Tiphares. Alita was connected at all times via satellite to the Tipharean Ground Investigation Bureau, or G.I.B. She was commanded by an operator, who had the ability to provide a Pavlovian
shock stimulus to her should she ignore orders. As the product of advanced Tipharean technology, the body had the ability to travel at supersonic speeds and withstand a great deal of damage. However, as a “soft” body supported by nanotechnology
to create and maintain vital systems, the body would overheat and malfunction under extremely high temperature conditions. Nonetheless, the body had a variety of effective support weapons, many of them designed to look like insects
With the TUNED body Alita also bore permanent eye black
on her face which was later included on her replicas and is still present in her Imaginos Body .
- Butterfly Damascus Blade: Alita's signature weapon, modified as an oversized balisong. Sechs´ Titan Blade was inspired by this.
- TUNED Pistol: a handgun that fires armor-piercing HE rounds. It has two firing modes: single shot and three-round burst. It's Alita's sidearm.
- TUNED Heavy Rifle: a powerful rifle/cannon that can be used as an assault rifle or a sniper rifle.
- Knives (Combat, CQC, Survival, Throwing)
- Grenades (Fragmentation, Smoke, Flashbangs, Incendiary, EMP)
- Mobile unit: a single-wheeled motorcycle used by TUNED agents as a transport vehicle. It can be controlled manually by the agent or by remote control by Tiphares. The operator's voice can be projected from the mobile unit.
- Arachno: a mobile spider based grenade, arachnos have the ability to extend a silk tripwire from their abdomens. This allows the creation of easily set-up, quick-moving traps.
- Missile Bee: a bee-shaped homing missile that has its own target selection system.
- Lice probes: a miniature machine that scans the ground for traps. Traps can then be marked on Alita’s vision.
- Firefly (Enkera): the firefly is a small flying insectoid robot which detonates into a five-second spherical plasma burst. Its applications include tunnel digging and close combat utility.
- Laser bug: converts communication into a relay laser to Tiphares in the presence of interfering terrain.
- Support System Gabriel: an unmanned low-orbit satellite that is laser equipped and can transport supplies, equipment or weapons to Alita. It also serves as the communication link between Alita and Tiphares.
- Solenoid Quench Gun: a high powered electromagnetic gun that floats to minimize recoil. Receives a power charge directly from Gabriel and fires a solenoid slug at 5 km/s, or roughly 11,000 miles per hour.
- Mono-molecular wire: a wire that is only a few atoms wide, leading to a finer edge than any existing knife. It also has a tensile strength of 2.4 tons, and since it's basically one long molecule, is almost completely invisible to the naked eye.
During late events in Battle Angel Alita, or early in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, Desty Nova gives Alita a new body, after destroying her with a bomb. This body relies on nanomachines even more than the Tuned Body, is said to mimic the human body down to the cellular level, and is thus a nanomachine based organism. The capabilities of this body differ between the original series and the Last Order retelling.
The Imaginos: Battle Angel
While both bodies had strength and speed equal to the Berserker body, the original Imaginos body lacked the color-changing and shape-altering abilities of the Last Order version, and was also missing the metal bands under the eyes that had been present since the Motorball body. However, this version had abilities that made it arguably the most powerful body of all.
- Plasma Jet: The Berserker body's ability to create plasma and manipulate electromagnetic energy was also a standard feature of the Imaginos, and worked in the same way.
- Accelerator: Installed by Desty Nova, the accelerator allowed Alita's brain to function 150 times faster than normal, changing her perception of time, allowing her to think, move and react in mere milliseconds. A plasma jet could be used as a brake, slowing her down when in movement. Alita returns to her normal perception of time when the accelerator is no longer needed.
The Imaginos: Last Order
This version of the Imaginos does not have the accelerator. It can, however, match Alita's thoughts, and change it's coloring scheme and shape to better suit Alita.
- Plasma Torch: Unlike the Berserker Body, which came equipped with plasma making organs, Alita had to make the Imaginos produce plasma through sheer force of will. This caused Alita no end of trouble, and she eventually had to put herself in mortal danger just so she could gain the ability to create plasma by activating her latent survival instincts. Unlike the Berserker body, which only produced a single small jet of plasma for a brief time, the Imaginos can create a long-sustaining torch of plasma of various lengths, coming off of each finger. The effect of this has also given this move the name "plasma claw".
- Damascus Blades: Alita's favorite weapon suffered from extreme metal fatigue in the year it took for Nova to resurrect Alita, so he ended up using it as an ingredient in the Imaginos body. This initially upset Alita to no end, but she later learned in her fight with Toji that she could replicate the Damascus Blade, growing two of them out of her arms as elbow blades, which suits Alita's fighting style well.
TUNED AR Series (Alita Replicas)
During her time as agent of GIB, the organization documented all of Alita's combat experiences including the Panzer Kunst techniques. This was done without Alita's knowledge, as part of a plan to create a series of mass produced TUNED replicas all with the abilities of Alita but fully loyal to GIB and Tiphares. Their very existence is a result of the Secret of Tiphares, as their solid-state brains are the same bio-chips that are used in Tipharean citizens.
In all, 12 TUNED agents were produced, each designated as AR, i.e., "Alita Replicas" (GR in the Japanese version, i.e., "Gally Replicas") 1-12, as Alita had been designated A1 (G1). All TUNED replicas have or had knowledge of basic Panzer Kunst and are able to use special attacks like the Hertza Haeon (Sechs used it in a puppet body as well as in his Fizziroy Body) and Einzug Rüstungen (AR-2 used it against Alita). The following replicas have appeared as characters in Battle Angel Alita and Battle Angel Alita: Last Order.
Was sent to eliminate and replace Alita. Since AR-2 had not only all of Alita's fighting abilities and a solid-state brain, but also a lack of the human temperance, mercy, doubts, and fears accumulated by Alita during her years of living on the surface, AR-2 had the upper hand during the fight. However the destruction of her GIB control terminal by Alita's friend Lou gave Alita the chance to cut the replica's head off and thus defeat her. AR-2 had asked GIB if she could be considered the "original" if she defeated A1.
After the shutdown of the GIB, the aimless AR-6 searched out the other remaining TUNED Replicas. ' dream was to become an original in her own way by showing that she was not like the original, but stronger, similar but still different from AR-2's wish to replace A1. If she is able to defeat the original, then she has earned the right to exist as Sechs. Sechs means "six" in German, and signifies that she is the sixth Alita replica.
During her time on the surface AR-6 develops her own fighting style, called Sechster Angriff (lit. "Sixth attack"), which utilizes her Titan Blade. She had also modified, or patchwork fixed, her TUNED body to include a .22 caliber Superconducting Phase Transition Gun (also called a Solenoid Quench Gun) in her right arm. Sechs also has more familiarity with guns than Elf and Zwölf (AR-11 and AR-12, respectively), which proves beneficial later on, which she likely picked up during this time as well.
Sechs alone successfully killed AR-1, AR-3, AR-4, AR-5, AR-7, AR-8, and AR-9. This is interesting because Sechs, unlike AR-2, has all the emotions Alita has (which was why Alita nearly lost to AR-2). Afterwards she began to search for Alita to destroy the original as well, finding her in Tiphares, but is defeated. After her TUNED body is heavily damaged, her brain chip is transferred to the interactive interface doll used by Alita and Lou during their time in the GIB, and later into a new male body made of polythene materials, with an upgraded (rapid-fire) Solenoid Quench Gun arm, as well as a modified (longer) Titan Blade.
After damaging this body in the Z.O.T.T., Sechs' Fizziroy Body is upgraded to the Super Fizziroy Body, removing the Solenoid Quench Gun arm. But Sechs is able to do an extremely powerful long-distance punch, similar to firing the Solenoid Quench Gun, by manipulating the internal pressure of the polythene solution circulating in the body. Sechs still has the interface doll, which is connected to the main body via a cable and is often perched on its shoulder.
Sechs enters the Zenith of Things Tournament (Z.O.T.T.) as a member of the Space Angels team (also consisting of Alita, Elf and Zwölf), and proves to be a key member. In the first round, he single-handedly defeated one member of the Guntroll team and was instrumental in defeating two others before losing to Qu Tsang. In the second round, Sechs is able to defeat the surviving members of the Starship Cult by not falling prey to Springfoot Jack and then Whophon's deadly hypnotism. In the third round, Sechs single-handedly takes down the entire Wild Guns team, allowing the Space Angels to advance to the semifinals and take on the seeded Jupiter team.
Since their fight in the first volume, the relation between Alita and Sechs seems to have become less hostile, with Alita even showing great respect for Sechs in volume 5. However Sechs still harbors the fear of being always seen as Alitas copy, as shown in volume 7.
Most people (including Elf and Zwölf) treat Sechs as a male, and a handsome one at that.
A TUNED replica, using the Solid Wing, who attacked the survivors of the Barjack railway gun Heng after it was destroyed by the Tipharean superweapon Abaddon. She was successful in killing most of the survivors. She tries to kill Koyomi and shoots B.B. Buick
. AR-10 is destroyed when Koyomi's cyborg dog Fury
attacks her and throws them both into a pool of molten metal.
AR-11/Elf and AR-12/Zwölf
and are the only two TUNED replicas who escaped Sechs' killing spree among the replicas. Their names in German correspond with their AR numbers. Both are always seen together acting like twins, although they call each other best friends. They appear as cuter twin versions of Alita and supply comic relief and craziness, both through personality, dress styles and fighting styles. They fight together with combination moves, usually using a mono-molecular wire (TUNED standard issue equipment) in deadly synchronous form. Before they became Desty Nova's bodyguards, they worked as singers in Barjack City (most likely based on Alita's singing talent which she displayed in book 5). Unlike Sechs they seem perfectly happy with who they are, and go along happily and carefree. During the Z.O.T.T, both disguise themselves as "Dark Alita" (Zwölf) and "White Alita" (Elf) to cover up for the original Alita's mission to infiltrate Melchizedek. They each have a backup unit
in the form of a GIB TR-55 artificial life form that houses their memory chips. As long as this unit survives, Elf and Zwölf are not really "dead", as is shown when Springfoot Jack tricked Elf into blowing her head off with a .500 Magnum
in a rigged game of Russian roulette
. As of the third round, Elf and Zwölf are unable to fight due to the fear of getting killed again during the match, forcing Sechs to fight alone.