Alita: Battle Angel Tones The Violence Down
While Alita: Battle Angel has made a lot efforts to be faithful to the source, right down to the anime eyes, one notable difference is the toning down the graphic violence; the anime and manga both featured numerous bloody beheadings, dismemberments and occasional nudity. The death of the stray dog, for example, happens offscreen in Alita: Battle Angel, whereas in the anime its sliced apart. Since the movie mostly features mainly cyborg on cyborg violence, the lack of gore is forgivable. Even when the movie recreates the moment Zapan kills one of Hugo’s friends by slicing him in half, it’s relatively mild compared to the anime's depiction (although still a jolting piece of violence for a PG-13 movie).
Motorball Is A Major Part Of The Alita Movie (But Not The Anime)
Motorball is one of the most iconic parts of the Battle Angel Alita manga. However, as it was originally introduced in volume three, no mention is made to it in either episode of the anime. Alita: Battle Angel jumps ahead and weaves this violent sport into the narrative; it’s first introduced to Alita by Hugo during a simplified street game version and she later takes part in a real match. This sequence is an important setpiece in the final act, with Vector hiring the other players to kill Alita during the match.
Alita: Battle Angel’s Ending Is Both The Same & Different
The ending of Alita: Battle Angel is remarkably consistent with both the manga and anime, depicting the tragic fate of Alita’s love interest Hugo (Keean Johnson). All three versions end with Hugo – who is transferred to a cyborg body after being fatally injured – attempting to climb a factory tube to Zalem. The tubes leading to the sky city are protected with bladed rings to dissuade people climbing up, but after becoming slightly crazed following the loss of his human body, Hugo attempts it. Alita chases after him and manages to convince him to return, but in the manga and anime, a ring crashes down and knocks him off the tube before they can leave. In the movie, Nova intentionally sends the ring down in an effort to kill them both. Alita manages to grab Hugo’s arm, but it’s too weak to lift him back up. In all three versions, he professes his love to her before falling to his death.
In the manga, this causes Alita to quit being a Hunter-Killer in favor of becoming a Motorball player, and in the anime, she and Ido mourn the loss of Chiren and Hugo in the scrapyard. In the movie, Alita becomes the star player of Motorball so she can gain enough credit to ascend to Zalem and seek revenge on Nova, setting up a sequel cliffhanger.
- Alita Battle Angel (2019) release date: Feb 14, 2019