While I sat almost expecting to hate it...
Seeing the trailer for Alita: Battle Angel while sitting in the theatre waiting to see Aquaman brought to life, was my first taste of the fandom. I had never heard of the manga before, so sitting down to watch the film was going to be difficult for me to truly understand the story and the reason why this movie could have such a big impact.
I had nothing to reference other than the story being told before me while I sat almost expecting to hate it. I know that there are many Alita fans out that that are equally going to be waiting defensively to hear what I have to say as well, but here goes.
At first, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a crossover between Elysium and my favorite movie of all time, The Fifth Element. Just like Lee-Loo in the Fifth Element, we’re faced with a strong female character that men take for granted because of her beauty and the fact that she’s basically a child born into an adult body.
As a woman who still feels like a young girl trapped in a body that’s not quite my own, I connected with Alita. Some of the decisions she made did seem childish and a little dumb, but so would some of ours from those who are watching us.
Most of us connect with the Battle Angel from the beginning, she’s witty, clever, and strong, and we want to find out her story almost as badly as she does. She’s not a bit unlike another strong female role model I had growing up, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
"There is nothing in
this world of value... nothing worth risking our
what little we can create for ourselves."
They Both Challenge and Succeed at Destroying The Men Need To Save Women Trope
There’s no doubt about it, Buffy and Alita kick ass and they don’t need the protection of a man to save the day! Alita never needed Hugo, in fact, he needed her. While in the middle of trying to keep herself from being torn apart by the bounty hunters, she runs to him when he calls.
She still lets him die, but we’ll get to that. So much literature, and most recently, movies, are based on the man saving the day and the woman needing him in order to complete her life and finally be happy. Thankfully, we have amazing heroines like these ones to save us from the eye-roll that a lot of vintage ( and still a good chunk of today’s) culture potrays.
They’re Both Stuck In Sunnydale
Why would he (he as in Hugo, not Angel) want to tear living, breathing, eating creatures apart, blackening his own heart, so he could maybe, possibly, get a chance to see an unknown world in the sky when he can just up and leave and find a happier place a few miles away? How has no one left the city?
The same goes for the Buffy-verse. Literally, no one ever leaves Sunnydale because apparently, regardless of the fact that she is the only slayer (okay, not really). There are some moments when she has big-bads trying to kill her in her sleep, and yet it takes the town ceasing to exist in order for her to leave.
Love Makes Them Do The Wacky- Contributing to the Destruction of Their Lovers
”I'd do whatever I had to for you. I'd give you whatever I have. I'd give you my heart.” - Alita
If you think about it, Hugo did absolutely nothing to Alita to make her fall in love with him other than accept her for exactly who she was in a time when she wasn’t even aware of who that was. You’ve literally crawled into this guy’s window after knowing him only a few days and you’re willing to just give him your heart?
You’re basically an immortal, beautiful, cyborg - go out and explore the world before willing to die for a kid who has been tearing your sisters and brothers up. Regardless, we know she honestly believes she loves Hugo. She does, however, doubt him and, for a split second, allows her love to waver, leading to Hugo with a sword through his heart.
For Buffy, it’s the moment of happiness she allows herself to have with Angel that has him turn back to his demon side. And, at the end of the second season, after the torture he puts her through, Buffy is led to the point where she slays Angel at the last second as Willow finally gives him back his soul. She watches him die at her own hands the same way Alita let Hugo fall apart in hers.
Have another strong heroine you think belongs up there with Buffy and Alita? Let me know in the comments.
Below are a few titles that any Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alita: Battle Angel fan may like:
Kimberley, aka Lupsandtnks, spends her days dreaming about her favourite stories, drinking coffee with as many shots of espresso as Starbucks will allow, and writing about anything and everything. She’s a grammar dork and a lifetime nerd who lives more in the fiction world than she does the real one. . .