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Alita Battle Angel: The Manga Vs. The Movie

Battle Angel Alita is a popular cyberpunk manga that was first released in 1990. It told the story of a cyborg with no memory of her past after she was found in a junkyard by a kindly doctor. She has fighting instincts of a lethal sort, and she eventually becomes a Hunter-Warrior, which is a kind of bounty hunter.

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This straightforward premise earned Battle Angel Alita acclaim. It also earned the series the attention of famed filmmaker James Cameron. In 2019, Alita: Battle Angel, the feature film directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by James Cameron, released in theaters. As with any film adaptation, there are wild differences between the movie and the manga series. Read on if you want to learn the major differences between the new movie and the classic Japanese comic.

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8 Alita Played Motorball After Hugo Passed

In the movie, Alita's newfound boyfriend, Hugo, convinces her to become a Motorball player. Motorball is a futuristic sport from the series that is a mix between racing and keep-away. Motorball made a later appearance in the manga than in the film. In fact, it was one of the next stages of Alita's career after being a Hunter Warrior.

However, in the manga, Alita only joins Motorball after Hugo got sliced by Zalem's protection systems. His passing was part of what spurred her to distract herself with the sport. The movie, Alita: Battle Angel, shows Hugo convincing Alita to join. Winning at Motorball and becoming a champion is purportedly one of the ways to get into Zalem, which is one of Hugo's dreams. Alita ends up playing the sport in an attempt to help him do that.

7 Dr. Ido's First Name Changed

Battle Angel Alita is a Japanese manga, which means that some of the names of characters were changed when the 2019 movie was released. Dr. Ido, the cyberphysician that saved Alita from the junkyard, was one of the characters that went through a name change. His last name of "Ido" stayed the same, but his first name in the manga was actually "Daisuke."

The film altered that name slightly, giving it more of a Western-sounding tinge. The film-version of Ido is called Dyson Ido. And yes, "Dyson" is the exact name of the appliance company that makes vacuum cleaners and hand dryers. Thankfully, most other aspects of Dyson Ido remained similar to Daisuke Ido's personality.

6 Alita And Nova's Relationship Went Deeper Than Enmity

Movies have a limited run-time. There is only so much depth a movie can give a story, especially if the story was adapted from a lengthier manga series. Alita: Battle Angel features the mysterious character of Nova as the villain of the movie. He is the secret antagonist that is teased throughout the film. The manga develops Nova's character a lot more than the film did. He and Alita become more than just enemies.

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Their relationship with each other is far more complex than that. They become temporary allies at one point. Though if push comes to shove, Nova should definitely be categorized as an evil person. In the manga, he offed Daisuke Ido and stole Alita's cyborg body from her. Those are not the actions of an overly nice person.

5 Alita Did Not Initially Concern Herself With Her Origin

The film-version of Alita spends a lot of time focusing on her past. After being found in the junkyard by Dr. Ido, Alita has no memories about what her former life used to be like. She has the occasional flashback, but it provides no clear answers about who she used to be. Understandably, Alita is driven by an immense curiosity to find out more about herself.

Related: 10 Things Alita: Battle Angel Does Not Tell You About Alita's Past

However, in the manga, Alita does not seem to care as much about who she used to be. She wakes up after Ido finds her and then seems perfectly content to start a new life. Film-Alita makes more sense in that she seems actively concerned about her lack of memory. Manga-Alita appears to be totally fine with the large gap in her memory.

4 Zapan Gets A Berserker Body

Zapan is a major antagonist of Alita's in both the film and the manga. However, thanks to Alita's Panzer Kunst fighting style and her Berserker cyborg body, she is able to beat him in a fight. In the movie, Zapan's life and his rivalry with Alita end when she slices his head off after he tried hunting down her boyfriend, Hugo.

The manga sees Zapan become a real enemy for Alita to battle. With the help of Nova, Zapan transfers his brain to the Berserker body, granting himself even more powers with this better technology. In several fights with Alita afterward, Zapan is able to gain the upper hand and beat her soundly. It is shudder-inducing to consider what Zapan could have done with the Berserker body in the movie.

3 Hugo And Alita Confronted Vector

Poor Hugo suffers the same fate in both the movie and the manga series. He spends most of his life with the dream of reaching Zalem, willing to do abhorrent things to cyborgs in order to achieve that dream. In the end, however, he realizes that there is no reaching Zalem no matter what. In the movie, after this realization, Hugo runs to the supply tubes leading up to Zalen and attempts to climb them in a final act of desperation.

The manga shows both Hugo and Alita rush to Vector's office together in order to chew him out over his deception. Vector was the man responsible for convincing Hugo that getting to Zalem required those awful acts. It was only after this meeting that Hugo ran off to climb the tube.

2 Alita's Name Came From Ido's Deceased Cat

Alita: Battle Angel added an extra layer of emotion to Ido and Alita's relationship by having Ido name Alita after his daughter. In this way, Ido comes to view Alita as a surrogate daughter. He feels protective toward her. The Ido in the manga feels similarly toward Alita. He shows fatherly inclinations in his behavior toward her.

However, the name he gives her did not come from his departed daughter. Instead, the manga-version of Ido named Alita after his beloved cat, who passed away years ago. That must have been one important cat for Ido to feel so strongly about it. He made sure that the memory of his feline companion lived on in Alita.

1 More Gore In The Manga

Battle Angel Alita, the manga, was made for more adult readership than the movie. When Alita dukes it out with her various opponents in the manga, a decent amount of blood is included in these fight scenes. It sprays, oozes, and spurts from all the wounds Alita deals out. The movie, on the other hand, is far more conservative in its depictions of violence.

Instead of showcasing the more fleshy parts of cyborgs during fights, the film highlights mechanical portions of their bodies. When Alita slices an enemy apart, metal bits and pieces fly around instead of human juices. This makes perfect sense, given the fact that Alita: Battle Angel is rated PG-13.

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