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銃夢 Gunnm (pron: ganmu), as it appeared on the original tankoubon covers. Literally, it means Gun Dream.

A manga by Yukito Kishiro that covers the story of Gally (in the US, Alita), a cyborg discovered by the cybernetics doctor Ido Daisuke. She is found in a scrap heap under the sky city of (Tiphares/Zalem), and has lost her memory. The story tells the tale of her life after her resurrection, as she struggles to find a place to fit in the world, and fights her way through life, hoping in the end to find out who she was.

Released in the early 90s in Japan by Shueisha, Inc. as a monthly comic, then translated and brought to the US almost simultaneously by Viz. It spans 9 graphic novels, and is an EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT series. It later spawned a 2 episode anime, called Battle Angel: Hunter Warrior, released in the early 90s by ADV, which due to heavy criticism by fans in japan and the author of Gunnm himself, did not last long.

There are some differences between the US version and the Japanese version, done for reasons unkown: Ten years later, VIZ iz only just getting their act together. They still pave over Japanese culture with American references. A bit of dialog in the Ayashi no Ceres manga was graced with Christina Aguilera's name even though it was never there in the first place...
The kanji for Gunnm, which represent gun and dream respectively, have been translated various ways, for example:
Ganmu - seen in a filename on the Shueshia website for Gunnm: Last Order
Gunyume - an interesting transliteration
Gunnm - as the title is romanized on the cover

In the mid 1990s, a game was released for the Playstation console based partially on the manga, and partially on new story, which allowed you to play through Gally's life. An RPG style game, it explored all of the manga, and at a later point in the story, branches off before where the manga ends. The events in the game are considered by Kishiro to be *official*. In it, she journeys to mars, where supposedly she investigates her past, and it's a good bet that the new Gunnm release, Gunnm: Last Order, is based upon this to some degree. Kishiro reportedly enjoyed leading the creation of the game more than creating the manga, as he could simply write stories, as opposed to having to do the art, which was the most stressful part of the manga itself, to the point that he required assistant artists AND fell so ill that he had to quit (which was why Gunnm got REALLY WEIRD towards the end).

Miscellaneous related ancendotes:

10 years after it's appearance, Shueisha has re-released the Gunnm manga in a 6 volume full size collectors set (so instead of getting reduced images, you get all the detail the story had when originally published) and Kishiro has restarted Gunnm, with the new stories taking place after the end of the manga.

He has discarded the original ending, and more information (for those who understand Japanese better than I: http://ultra.shueisha.co.jp/AKS/GunnmIndex.html contains a lot more information on Gunnm: Last Order. The new issues are in release in Japan.
A bit more information on Gunnm: Last Order can be found at: http://ultra.shueisha.co.jp/UJ48/GnnmUj48.html Which has links to the covers, a really cool 3D-CGI video of Gally winning her first Motorball race, and more information.

Gunnm: Last Order

Begun in 2000 by Yukito Kishiro, the new series of manga follows It explores further into the events 1 year following the Granite Inn (NORAD). It involves an incident by which Nova reveals the secret of Zalem to the people that live there, thus causing mass insanity and slaughter between those who have had their "Initiation" and those who have not.

It does not start off kindly, as the first volume has much of the egregious slaughter that much of Gunnm is known for. It does start giving us insight into Gally's past, as Nova got around to unlocking her memories of mars. It also lets us in on what happened to the cloned robot units that were sent to replace A-1 (Gally) by the GIB before it was destroyed.

As well, we head to space to meet Ladder and get a bit more perspective on where the rest of humanity is, and how despite what we've known for years in the Scrapyard it is still a very tiny part of the world.

Neato fact: Gally _IS_ the Damascus Blade now. Kinda sad though.

It is currently in serial release, and the 4th collection is due for release in June of 2003. I will be there to get it.

VIZ has license to the Last Order series, unfortunately for consistency they will likely have to botch this release intentionally.

The infamous Kishiro-Viz name swap:

Back in 1993, as Kishiro-sensei was quickly bringing things to a close with the Gunnm manga, he came across a plot point which he could use to take a jab at Viz. Early on, Kishiro learned that Viz decided to change, for reasons that truly make no sense, Gally's name to Alita. Towards the end of the series, Dr. Nova traps Gally in the Oruboros machine, in an attempt to crush her spirit. At one point, Nova is talking with Ido and suggests her name to be (in the japanese version) "Alita," the cat's name is "Gally." (Gally and the cats' names are important). Unfortunately, Viz decides to play along word for word, and Nova names her "Gally" and the cat is "Alita." So much for that potshot.
Spoiler:The reason the names are important, is Gally hides her true self in the objectivity of the cat, which holds her real name. This is how she's able to enjoy her last hours with Ido, yet still retain her spirit despite Nova's efforts

2/13/2002 - Replaced the EUC with Unicode Entities
4/10/2002 - Cleaned up the layout, formatting, and stupid <hr> tags

"Gun Dream"

A manga series by Yukito Kishiro. It was also made into a two volume anime OAV series. The protagonist of the series is a cyborg with amnesia who finds fighting the only way to remember her past.

In the United States, the anime is available from A.D. Vision as Battle Angel. Other than the changed title, all other names are translated from the Japanese and so the heroine is Gally. The anime has a dark, violent style which goes well with the realistic writing. The two episodes each cover around a volume of the manga, with appreciable changes. Definitely a suggested rental.

The manga is far better than the anime, however, and the rest of this node will be dealing with the manga. Yukito's art starts out decently and quickly increases in skill and beauty. The storyline has time to proceed and grow throughout the volumes, and the writing is something quite beautiful in the later ones. The characters stick in your mind, and Yukito's not afraid to treat them as real people. There's a lot of interesting details in the series as well - motorball, orbital elevators, and other impressive touches. Some strange references too. An impressive fandom grew up around the manga, complete with fanfics and kooks. Viz published the American edition of the manga, and for whatever reason chose to substantially change the names of people and places, titling the series as Battle Angel Alita. It's still a wonderful work of art.

Apparently, there's a game based on it for the Playstation, but I've never heard much about it.

Battle Angel Alita Volumes:

Battle Angel Alita
Tears of an Angel
Killing Angel
Angel of Victory
Angel of Redemption
Angel of Death
Angel of Chaos
Fallen Angel
Angel's Ascension

Battle Angel Alita Characters

Alita/Gally/Spoiler Name Hidden
Doctor Daisuke Ido
Gonzu
Makaku
Zapan
Koyomi
Fury
Doctor Desty Nova
Hugo
Vector
Shumira
Ed
Jashugan
Ajakutty
Armblessed
Zafal Takié
Tiegel
Sara
Murdock
Bazarld
Eelai
Chief Bigott
Figure Four
Yolg
Knucklehead
Colonel Bozzle
Doctor Russell
Lou Collins
Den
Sentinel
Kaos
Jasmine
Kayna
B.B. Buick
Beltram
Melchizedek

Battle Angel Alita Places, Terms and Things

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