Title: Battle Angel Alita.
Series: Deluxe Edition Vol. 5.
Author(s): Yukito Kishiro.
Publisher: Kodansha Comics.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
Release Date: October 16th 2018.
Genre(s): Manga, Science Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
Previously on Battle Angel Alita:
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 by Yukito Kishiro.
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition Vol. 2 by Yukito Kishiro.
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition Vol. 3 by Yukito Kishiro.
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition Vol. 4 by Yukito Kishiro.
There’s something truly bewildering, yet satisfying, in reaching the end of a series that you followed so closely and enjoyed so thoroughly. With the amount of experience gained from following the heroes in their progression and development, you feel like you’ve known them from the beginning and seen just how well they deal with those tough moments in life. Deep down there’s always this joy in seeing these characters find solace in the moments of happiness that they manage to squeeze in between all their trials in life.
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition Vol. 5 is the last collection featuring the ninth and final volume of the character’s original manga run, the acclaimed story “Ashen Victor” and two long-winded and highly insightful interviews with the creator himself. While it does not mark the end of what Yukito Kishiro planned for Alita, it did leave plenty of fans thinking that this might be the last time they’ll see their cyborg fight for what she believes in and figure out who she is in a world where everything is seen in extremes.
Taking place exactly where the previous volume left off, the story throws readers right into the long-awaited confrontation between Alita and the evil professor Desty Nova. What results from this encounter is a look into Alita’s understanding of the world in which she was resurrected in by her pseudo-father Daisuke Ido, but also a vision of the happiness she never truly had the chance to fully indulge in all of its heart-warming glory. Alongside her illusory moments is an origin story, but also a concluding story arc, for Den of the Barjack Rebellion, which highlights the cleavage of his body from his rage.
What’s special about this volume is that it not only features the canonical ending that was first released by Yukito Kishiro, but also the non-canonical alternate ending released before he decided to continue Alita’s story in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order. If there’s one thing worth noting about the original ending is how abrupt and completely destabilizing it is. It is not an ending that I would fight to endorse and it did leave me hesitant on the intended direction, but upon reading the interviews with the creator at the end and realizing that he was mentally and physically struggling, forcing him to put an end to Alita, it all made sense, but still did not justify the way it all ended.
The alternate ending gives her story a much grander and poetic touch that also introduces a space lore to her character, a lore that is intended to be expanded and developed in her next series. I found this ending to be jam-packed with too many ideas, but at least resorted to exploring the philosophical ideas of choice and freedom that were slightly forgotten in the canonical ending. It still remains that there was too much introduced in too little time to make it an ending that is any better—or worse—than its canonical counterpart.
Another reason why this volume seemed like a mixed bag of goodies is the included story arc “Ashen Victor”. This story features a never-before-seen character known as “Self-Destructo” Snev and his adventures in the famous competition of Motor ball. The artwork is also slightly different, reminiscent of Frank Miller’s work, and didn’t do much more to save the plot from its confusing nature. If anything, this story arc will please fans who have missed the competition and wanted to experience it again for one last time before moving on to the next series.
Battle Angel Alita Deluxe Edition Vol. 5 is not the ending that I would have dreamed of, but it still has its moments that remind us of those glorious moments we had in the previous arcs alongside Alita. One of my biggest complaint regarding this series as a whole would however be the mystery of Alita’s past that was never truly explored and left as an enigma in detriment to further exploring Alita’s character as a cyborg given a second chance at life and an opportunity to truly discover herself.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!
Battle Angel Alita got a two-episode OVA adaptation of the first two volumes back in 1993! There are no plans to revive this anime, but a live-action movie will be coming out soon!