Gunnm in depth review

Yukito Kishiro created a story so great that it went by two names. Well, actually, it was just Americans translating the name of the series into English. The original name given to the epic saga is: Gunnm which translates to something along the lines of “Gun Dream”. American publishers thought the name would be too much for the American market and changed the name to Battle Angel Alita. At the time, it was unheard to have a female protagonist, especially one who could rip a man in half without even trying even. Despite all odds, the manga took like a wildfire and set the whole manga community ablaze with his brilliant characters, setting, and story telling.

The main plot line of the story is both unique and not at the same time. The story starts with a picture of the Scrapyard. A shantytown of absolute filth and despair that lives off the scrap from the city above, silently floating there, not even seeming to acknowledge the misery beneath it. A cybernetics doctor looking for parts is climbing one of the many mountains of scrap that gave the name to his rough home. Ido, the doctor, discovers a cyborg girl there, barely hanging on to life with only her head and torso left. Taking her home, Ido revives her. He gives her the name Alita after a cat he had and proceeds to rebuild her, treating her as a daughter he would never have. The only memory Alita has is the ancient and legendary Panzer Kunst martial arts from Mars. From there on, the story is her trying to find her memories and more importantly, if she was still human or not. The plot of Gunnm does not seem that remarkable at first, but the story goes on, it’s not just Alita’s story who is being told, but tens of different characters. The plot starts as an unending line, able to be simply traced while being unimpressive. That line however, turns into an intricate web of design that will blow the mind of anyone who spends time in it.

Gunnm’s choice setting of the Scrapyard is one of absolute beauty and horror. The reader only knows that the world is recovering from some sort of worldwide disaster as depicted by scenes of skyscrapers jutting from the sea, vast deserts, and the lack of any known place of life besides the Scrapyard. The Scrapyard itself is run by autonomous factories that produce goods for Tiphares, the city in the sky. The laws set by the Scrapyard are only there to make sure the factories run at maximum efficiency, nothing more. “Peace keeping” is handed to bounty hunters that collect the heads of the various murderers, thieves, and bandits that cause too much trouble. It is no haven to regular humans, but to cyborgs. Being a complete is looked down upon and seen as weakness in this place, but there are some who strive to prove otherwise. Like any field of destruction, there are the flowers of the Scrap Yard. Those who try to live a decent life through decent work, but ultimately, when one sees a flower bed, only the best are picked. Gunnm is not just confined to the Scrapyard however. Alita travels across deserts and oceans to see the world around her. All the while, dreaming she could fly away and leave the world behind. Of course, she does eventually leave the world behind in more ways than one, but telling too much would be spoiling such an amazing story.

The main reason why the story is simply just so amazing is not just the beautiful art, the plot, but also all of the different and unique characters that the reader meets on Alita’s quest to find her memories. From robots, to cyborgs, to monsters, to angels, and even vampires, the whole cast is something of a marvel all on its own. Each character feels and acts different than the others. They all have reasons for what they are doing, there isn’t just a bad guy simply because he’s a bad guy. There are reasons and motives behind each character’s actions and words that makes even the smallest of droids feel more human and real than the person sitting next to you. The characters all laugh and cry at things that only people in their situation could and more often than not, you find yourself laughing and crying with them because you are so immersed in the goings on of the pages infront of you. Finally, no character is perfect. That cannot be stressed enough in the story because there are no bad guys, there are no good guys. Sure, characters can be classified like that through the perspective of the characters you meet, but ultimately, everyone is just trying to live as best they can with the hand they were dealt with.

Conclusion; this manga has everything a story has to offer. Of course, a bit of disclaimer before anyone goes and reads it, the story is violent in nature. The world is dark, gritty, and brutal. The manga doesn’t go so far as to show nudity, but the manga does have graphic fight scenes. That’s just the way it is and it wouldn’t be able to function without them. Gunnm is a honest story. It doesn’t try to pull punches for the sake of pulling in a younger audience. It gives a very real and very serious tone about how the inhabitants of the story live their lives. In many ways, the manga is like life itself. There are times when you laugh until your stomach hurts, there are times where you wanna jump up and shout YES at the top of your lungs, but ultimately there are also bleak and dark moments that you wish would end, but never quite seem to. Yukito Kishiro created a masterpiece that withstands the trials of almost 30 years. Each re-read of the manga gives new and different insights into the different actions of each character and the world around them. It is beautiful, it amazing, and it is highly recommended.