Tuesday, January 26, 2010

oh such wonderful violence

I've made it a point to re-read my Battle Angel Alita volumes again, partially because I haven't read much manga in a while and also because of all the James Cameron Avatar hoopla. Why is that relevant? Cameron's name has been attached to a Battle Angel movie for like a decade now, but the reason he apparently hasn't moved forward with it is because he felt the technology wasn't up to the challenge. So for those of you who really like the special effects in Avatar, the thing to realize is that essentially the entire movie was just a dry run for a completely different movie. And that's not to downplay Avatar, although feel free to downplay the story because it was really just like 4 other movies mushed together. Ferngully + Dances With Wolves at the least.

So the thing about Battle Angel Alita is that it's pretty bat-shit insane. Think of all the craziest fight scenes Jack Kirby ever pulled off and then take at least five different drugs and you might have a handle on why making a movie for this has been a pipe dream. It's not that the fights are especially Kirby-esque and epic, it's just that the amount of time put into designing and inventing fighting styles and fluid sequences is fantastic. And actually, some of them are pretty epic, so strike that, Kirby would probably have loved the sheer inventiveness of this series. There was an animated movie, but it just kinda mushed the first and second books together and that's sort of meh.

Anywho, to get to the point. I did a short review of the first three Alita books over @ Trustyhenchmen. If that spikes any interest, I would also recommend the current series, which is sort of a 'What If' take that replaces the last half of the final original volume with a whole new, crazier scenario. And this is the kind of crazy that seems natural that Grant Morrison wishes he could achieve. This is the kind of series that has a giant robot with a horse body wage war on a floating city, a mad scientist that's infatuated with flan, and a karate war that was essentially a free for all fight among thousands of martial arts cyborgs. KARATE WAR.

Considering in the last volume I read that Alita had her arm lopped off and then she proceeded to use it to pummel her opponent, I'm probably going to be bringing this book up a lot in the future.


wiec? said...

i must confess I'm a manga novice. i basically have toe hold in the genre at all. would you say Battle Angel is a good place to start? or maybe there is some other manga book that you need to read to full appreciate the form? i like comics but when someone asks me if read any manga i just shrug and look at the tops of my shoes.

Continually Spicy said...

Battle Angel was one of the first manga I've ever read, so I think I would say it's a good starting point. It doesn't conform to a lot of the usual manga norms, so I think it's a decent bridge. It does have a healthy amount of speed lines and big eyes and all that, but there are aspects that break out of the normal manga mold. My other suggestions though would include Nausicaa, Planetes, Parasyte, Blade of the Immortal, Berserk, and vagabond. Especially Vagabond, the art is fantastic.

Continually Spicy said...

oh, and I guess I overexagerated, it wasn't thousands of cybrog martial artists, it was just hundreds. Still. KARATE WAR.

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