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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 3/2/00

Battle Angel
1993 (1999) - ADV Films

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Battle Angel Film Rating: A-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/B+/B+

Specs and Features

60 mins, NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, stills gallery, production portfolio, website information, previews for 12 ADV Films titles including Battle Angel, alternate angle feature (usable during credits for Japanese credits), film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene access (two episodes with 4 chapters each: Rusty Angel and Tears Sign), languages: English & Japanese (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and Spanish

ADV Films has a nice library of titles, but they haven't been too quick to exploit that collection on DVD. Could be that they don't have the DVD rights to some of their cooler titles -- I don't know. But if they don't, a smart DVD company would jump on those rights and start pumping out some DVDs of titles like Gunsmith Cats, Devil Hunter Yohko and New Cutey Honey. The good thing here, is that Battle Angel IS on DVD and it's a keeper.

Battle Angel is the incomplete anime version of the adventures of an abandoned cyborg named "Gally". She doesn't know anything about her past. With the help of Dr. Ido, she gets a new body and a new chance at life, and starts killing brain-eating scum on a wasteland of a planet. There's a load of political mumbo jumbo about a city in the sky called Zalem and a race of elite humans turned bounty killers. But there's so much more going on -- so much and yet it's really not enough. The WHOLE story of "Gally," as chronicled by Yukito Kishiro in the series of manga and graphic novels called Battle Angel Alita (aka Gunnm) by Viz Communications, is so very cool that it's beyond my words. If you're a fan of this type of stuff, start off with the first book in the series (see this link at Amazon) and move on from there.

The two episodes on this DVD were created for Japanese television, but the series was never finished (and after looking at the entire concept for Battle Angel through the graphic novels, you can see how cool the whole thing could have been when finished). I've heard some rumblings that ADV may or may not commission a follow-up series (sadly, if they haven't done it already, I doubt it's a high priority).

By itself, Battle Angel is pretty cool, and even with its sparsely animated visuals, it still comes off as a very wicked anime worth checking out by fans of animation and sci-fi both. This DVD is a great way to do just that. The video quality is pretty good. The blacks are not as solid as they should be, but it's still good for what it is (and much better than videotape). The colors in the transfer are exactly the way they should be, bright and solid, and there's no noise to be found. The sound quality is a standard Dolby Digital stereo and doesn't thrill too much. The extras on-board include a set of stills, some concept drawings and a collection of ADV trailers for upcoming DVDs (including Burn Up W!). This disc is good step in the right direction for anime on DVD.

Battle Angel is a rocking anime and a sweet DVD. If you like this sort of thing, then it's out there just waiting for you to pick it up. And you might want to do yourself a big favor and buy the graphic novels too. If you like cutting edge stuff, you like Battle Angel Alita.

Todd Doogan
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