Battle Angel (OVA): An Experience

Battle-Angel-Alita1*I just want to start this post off with a little warning that this isn’t a formal review. It is however a very fun recount of my viewing of the 1993 OVA Battle Angel*

For my fourth convention I decided to check out a local con, Ikasucon. My friends and I decided to go for one day, mostly for the guests. A lazy Sunday things were pretty slow but me and my friends got to meet the guests we wanted, had our DVDs signed, and were having fun hanging out.

After we spent all the money we had brought we decided to go to a panel. The Meet Blake Shepard panel was our choice. Instead of anything like a Q&A or discussion about himself Blake was more interested in watching anime. We had three choices: Brynhildr in the Darkness, Tonari no Seki-kun, or Battle Angel.

You may have noticed a bizarre twist with the addition of Battle Angel. Blake himself stars in both Brynhildr and Tonari no Seki-kun however Battle Angel came out in 1993 when Blake was only a child. Battle Angel however, was the one Blake talked most passionately about including a story about his own experience with his VHS tape. Apparently he went years of his life having only seen the first episode. But one day he happen let the tape make it all the way through the credits and to his surprise, another episode started up. Blake claims it blew his mind. Blake also credits this anime as one of the reasons he became interested in voice acting. With Blake so behind this series we easily chose Battle Angel and jumped right in.

Battle Angel shows its age. Things are grainy and the art style is nothing like we see in anime today. Regardless, I personally enjoyed it. While some aspects could be improved, (such as consistency on hair, UGH, some of those spikes) it really was pleasing.The faces may not have shown as much emotion as we get today but the larger eyes were able to give a lot and really added depth to the characters.

battle-angel-alita-ova-gally-rain-wet-hair-blanket-scared-fear
Look at how nice Gally looks

Our setting is what is easily described as post-apocalyptic. A group of people live above the others and control society while the rest of the people survive off of their scraps. Cyborgs are everywhere and stealing organs and spines (the only thing they cannot replicate) are commonplace. The story involves a man named Ido who finds a cyborg in a landfill that is miraculously still alive.

Ido saves her and gives her a brand new body, christening her with the name Gally. Gally lives her life peacefully and meets many people in the city including a boy named Yugo who often does repairs at Ido’s home. Gally’s only real concern is what Ido does at night. He won’t talk to her about it and so she decides to follow him. What she discovers is that Ido, beyond being a cybernetic doctor, is also a hunter-warrior.

A hunter-warrior has taken over the duties of police, since they do not exist in this world. Their job is to go after spine stealers and other they have a bounty placed on their head. Gally ends up protecting Ido and in the process igniting a change in herself. She finally found something she wants to do: be a hunter-warrior.

At this point in watching the panel actually ended(Blake told us he knew the pain of not getting to see the ending for years). BUT! Due to the good graces of fellow voice actor, guest, and next panelist, Austin Tindle allowed us to keep watching and take up about 20 minutes of his own panel. The crowd gratefully cheered and most ended up staying for his panel (which was a joy as well). I won’t talk about the story anymore because I don’t want to spoil it, it’s a show you really need to see yourself.

However I can say that it was entertaining. The setup and end do make you wish for a full anime (as this only covers the first two volumes and has significant changes) but time has proven we won’t get one. Another plus for me was hearing Blake talk about the show and interject his own comments. At the very beginning we didn’t have sound and Blake talked over it, with the actually words. That’s how much he’s seen it.

The dub, despite its age, was also a delight. We actually got all three of the main cast from Evangelion as different characters in Battle Angel. We had Amanda Winn Lee as Gally, Spike Spencer as Yugo, her friend and love interest, and as Blake pointed out, a screaming girl played by Tiffany Grant. And, overall, while it isn’t the absolute best anime has to offer, it is an interesting watch and one I personally recommend.

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