In 2019, “Desperado” filmmaker Robert Rodriguez gave us his version of “Gunnm” with “Alita: Battle Angel,” starring Rosa Salazar in the eponymous role. It drew heavily from the first two manga volumes and contains a lot of the same story as the “Battle Angel” OVA, including Gally falling in love with a young man intent on getting into Zalem. It also managed to squeeze in some of the roller combat, which is great because it’s a proper-sized arc in the manga and beloved by fans. “Alita: Battle Angel” has a deeply loyal fanbase, and even if you didn’t like it, “Battle Angel” is worth checking out. It’s a little more violent and sexual than its live-action counterpart (anime in the ’90s was a helluva thing), so I don’t recommend showing any younger fans unless you want to give them serious kindertrauma.
Zalem and “Battle Angel” also bear similarities to Neill Blomkamp’s “Elysium,” though that movie is significantly more self-serious and doesn’t have nearly enough robot rollerblade battles. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rodriguez’s film is more of an action-adventure than the OVA, which is pretty dour in places because its story is ultimately a tragedy that sets Gally’s overall adventure into motion.
It would be incredible to see another attempt at an anime series based on “Battle Angel Alita,” and since it has fans as famous as James Cameron, Rodriguez, and Guillermo del Toro, it could possibly happen. “Gunnm” is the perfect story for animation, and it’s as timely as ever, so maybe we’ll get a chance to see Gally kick some cyborg butt again sometime soon. Until then, go back and check out “Battle Angel.”