Mike: Okay, Jeremy. Tonight, we're showing the first episode of a two-part OAV called Gunnm.
Jeremy: Known to us manga fans as Battle Angel Alita. Hey Mike, is it Battle Angel Alita, or just Battle Angel?
Mike: Well, it's originally called Gunnm, or "Gun Dreams". But for the American version of the anime, the producers called it Battle Angel, whereas Viz Comics calls it Battle Angel Alita.
Jeremy: Sou desu ka. ("It has all become clear to me.")
Mike: Nani?! ("What?) I don't speak Japanese!
Jeremy: Neither do I. I just speak Evangelionese. You know, Gendou says that all the time. It just sounds cool.
Mike: Okaaayyy... Let me explain. In Gunnm, the main character's name is Gally. It's the same in the American anime, but they decided to call it Battle Angel. But for the American version of the manga, the translators changed her name into Alita, thus Battle Angel Alita.
Jeremy: Wakarimasu. ("I understand.")
Mike: Anyway, I think that Gunnm is an excellent anime. It's about a young amnesiac cyborg girl whose head is discovered in a trash pile and who is brought back to life by a cyber doctor named Ido.
Jeremy: Okay, getting this all so far? All right, basically, Gunnm is a hack-and-slash anime done very well with a heart to it. It sounds weird, I know, but the kicker is, Gally doesn't remember who she is once she's brought back to life.
Mike: Yeah, well, that's a simple version of it. The anime deals with Gally exploring her new life. In order to find a purpose for her life, she becomes...
Jeremy: A ruthless cyborg killer!
Mike: Well, I wouldn't go that far. At least not the ruthless part.
Jeremy: Okay, I retract said ruthless remark.
Mike: Okay, take two. Gally struggles to find some reason to be here, and being a hunter-warrior, the term for a bounty hunter, gives her purpose in life.
Jeremy: Now you might think that being a ruthless, pardon me, simple bounty hunter might not be a very good purpose for her life, but it is only in fighting that she can begin to uncover who she really is and what her full potential is.
Mike: Hold it right there. Everything in that last paragraph does NOT show up in the anime.
Jeremy: Doh..... (Homerese for "I'm stupid!")
Mike: Yeah, and I'm with stupid. You see, the reason the anime Gunnm got cut after only two episodes was not because it wasn't good anime, but because the fans of the manga complained that it was not a good adaptation. And frankly, it's not!
Jeremy: Hey, it's still cool! Some of the scenes are translated directly from the manga to the anime. You can see the exact same images in both the manga and the anime.
Mike: Yeah, Jeremy. And if you couldn't, it would even be that good an adaptation. Fact is, the anime doesn't go into half the stuff the manga does. The character Zapan plays a major role in the manga, but he barely shows up in the anime, and the character Chiren is completely made up!
Jeremy: Look. No one is gonna be totally happy with the adaptations of their favorite manga every time. For example, those people who adore The Vision of Escaflowne every week in Goldwin Smith D would hardly recognize their beloved Gaea. Names were changed, probably not to protect the innocent, but to make a better TV show.
Mike: That being said, does the original philosophy of the Esca manga remain in the series? [Actually, the Escaflowne anime was created before either of the two Escaflowne manga series. -Ed.]
Jeremy: Well, philosophy is a tricky thing. I'd say that it's still there; the storyline is still basically there, but the same thing can be said of Gunnm. Personally, I believe that if they had more episodes, they would have eventually gotten to more of the stuff you and I love about the manga. I think that this is just a case of needing a bigger budget so that they could have gone further into the plotline.
Mike: Nope. Gunnm the anime is about blood with a little philosophy. Gunnm the manga is a lot more blood (And I mean a LOT more blood!) but with a HUGE amount of philosophy...
Jeremy: Okay Plato, hit me with the philosophy.
Mike: I'll finish my sentence first, thank you. In the manga, Gally/Alita finds herself in fighting. In the anime, she just fights. As to philosophy, every battle in the manga is about philosophy. For instance, Makaku, the big villain in the first episode and manga, actually discusses why he terrorizes people. In his case, he does so to remind himself and other people that he is actually alive, and it's his way of preventing terror and purposelessness from taking control of him. In the anime, he's just a psychopathic brain-eater! How can you disagree after borrowing all of my Battle Angel Alita books?!
Jeremy: Point taken. (pointing) But you borrowed all my Lodoss!
Mike: Yeah, well... Anyway, I thought you'd see the light.
Jeremy: However, simply because an anime does not remain true to its manga does not make it poor anime.
Mike: True. Frankly, I like the anime. BUT the anime is only great as long as you don't read the manga. Once you have, the manga totally blows away the animated version. So, fight-fiends, go read the manga! It's awesome!
Jeremy: Yeah, it is! Finally, we agree.
Mike: First time ever? Okay, let's end this before we start arguing again.
Mike: Last word.