Gunnm

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In the early twenty sixth century, a wealthy elite live lives of sybaritic luxury in Salem (Tiphares for English readers), a city that floats in the sky. Below the city, though, is a city-sized scrap heap to which it constantly contributes its trash; scraping out a living there are all manner of thugs, criminals, scavengers -- and the occasional idealist.

One particular idealist is Ido, a cybernetic surgeon and outcast from Salem, who offers medical and mechanical repairs to those who have replaced parts of their bodies with machinery. One day, he finds the head and shoulders of a cyborg on the scrap heap. The brain within the head still lives, and he brings her home to rebuild her. Because the face and what little is left of the body appears to be that of a young girl, that's how he rebuilds her. She's a quiet, almost shy thing, practically mute, and he names her Gally (or, in the Viz Media adaptation, Alita).

Things get complicated when she discovers that her benefactor is also a bounty hunter... and decides that she, too, will hunt dangerous criminal cyborgs. What no one expects is that somewhere in her lost memory are all the skills needed to do so...

The manga series, written by Yukito Kishiro, initially ran from 1991 to 1995, at which point it was ended due to ill health on the part of its creator. In 2000 it was revived, initially for a limited run to provide an epilogue based on the final scenario of the Playstation game Gunnm: Memories of Mars, but the new series, Last Order, has since spiraled into a run longer than the original series.

In 1993, an anime OVA was released based on the first two volumes of the manga; it was later released in the United States by ADV Films. There are no plans to continue animated adaptations, but a live action version to be titled Alita: Battle Angel, produced and directed by Terminator director James Cameron, wavered in and out of Development Hell for years until extras were finally cast in February 2017. Thanks to Cameron grabbing the license, the OVA is no longer sold in the United States.

When the manga was released in English as Battle Angel Alita by Viz Media, the name of the main character was changed from Gally to Alita, which -- along with some other changes -- may cause confusion for some. The creator hung a lampshade on this during a Lotus Eater Machine sequence near the end of the original series; in the Japanese version Gally is renamed "Alita" in the dream, and vice versa in the English version.

There are also two short spin-off mangas. One, Ashen Victor, stars Snev, the Crash King, a once-promising Motorball player who crashes in every race he runs. The other, Another Stories, is a collection of four separate side stories that flesh out the universe a bit.


Tropes used in Gunnm include:


  • The Ace: Zekka, Zekka, fucking Zekka. It's like someone put Kamina in a cyborg body and gave him Crazy Awesome Kung Fu skills, and he's such a Large Ham that his idea of being a true man, and therefore a true warrior, is to be able to destroy an entire planet with nothing but pure skill and Hot Blood. Two Faceless Goons in the background promptly hang a lampshade on this (except for the "Kamina" part - Gunnm came first).
  • Action Girl: Gally/Alita
  • Adjective Noun Fred: The English version.
  • After the End: An asteroid impact wiped out most of the earth's surface, the survivors rebuilt most of their civilisation in space.
  • Alternative Calendar: The space colonies count their years as Era Sputnik, dating from the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957.
    • Spinoffs also use the tongue-in-cheek Anno Koyomi calendar tied to the birth of Koyomi K. at the very beginning of the story. It was actually the first Alternative Calendar in the story, as Era Sputnik was introduced only in Last Order as a Keiran Farrel's invention, and Farrels weren't mentioned in the series before the Cognates arc. Just for the reference, the tenth Z.O.T.T. finals take place in A.K. 15 or E.S. 591 (or A.D. 2548, for that matter).
  • Amnesiac Dissonance
  • Animated Adaptation
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Alita/Gally is constantly compared to an octopus because of the way she forms her lips and how her hair is shaped. Her Imaginos body in Last Order can even change color. Similarly, Sechs was at least once compared to a shark on a chapter cover thanks to her his sharp teeth and deadly grin. Sechs is called "octopus lips" too, by Zekka when they're thumb-wrestling. BTW, Zekka's head seems a damn wasp.
    • Also, when Gally is 'born' from Tunguska, she gets a cat tail. From that moment onwards, she starts behaving just like that (going wherever and doing whatever she wants, staying in high places, and appearing from vent conduits, to say some things).
  • Anyone Can Die: No one is ever safe from the grim reaper in this series. Even our charming lead was very, VERY dead at one point, but Desty Nova just loves to break the rules.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 1; in 2012 (E.S. 55), a solar flare's EMP shut down all technology and a massive meteorite impact on Tokyo tilted Earth's axis and wiped out most of humanity. Then It Got Worse.
  • Art Evolution: In series, and, more starkly, between Gunnm and Last Order.
  • The Atoner: Gally in the later half of the Last Order, see Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Audience Surrogate: The aforementioned Koyomi K., who was born at the very same day as Ido found Gally's body in the scrap heap in the E.S. 576, launching the whole story.
  • Author Existence Failure: The first ending was Kishiro's attempted aversion of this.
    • Literally. He had to make the first ending quick and dirty, because he was ill that time. he got better and started the second Gunnm series some time earlier than the first ended and taking her further and earlier.
    • Even so, the artwork remained great to the very end. Impressive!
  • Author Phobia: Kishiro is afraid of a certain kind of butterfly, and so is Gally. This is only mentioned once.
  • Ax Crazy: A fair number of characters qualify for this at one point or another.
  • Badass Crew:
    • Alita spends most of the motorball arc gathering a band of powerful allies for the final battle against Jashugan. They do a really cool slow motion Power Walk but Jashugan still rips them all to shreds in ten seconds! It's so awesome it hurts...
    • Even more pronounced in the Last Order. While they are a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits in a lot of senses, You really don't want to face Space Angels in a serious fight. Given that even their Idiot Hero Big Guy of a Lancer Sechs led them through the semi-final with the Venusian team singlehandedly when all other finals were always Jupiter vs. Venus, and then fought the absolutely over-the-top Ace Zekka to a draw in the finals, it's actually quite terrifying to imagine what they are capable of when they're all giving it in full.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Ido's just about the only Hunter-Warrior in town with the body he was born with.
    • Figure Four. A guy who didn't even grow up in the Scrapyard, who can take on Cyborgs in one on one fights. He also knows how to create a primitive but effective shockwave attack with a human body and survives a building falling on him... by pure luck.
    • In Last Order, Zazie, who is from a dirt poor Martian Kingdom, while a cyborg, has a body that is barely above the baseline human, while all other Space Angels have a state of the art bodies.[1] It doesn't hinder her much.
  • Battle Tops: Motorball second league champion "Caligula" Armburst has an ability to transform into one.
  • BFG: Once the plot leaves the Scrapyard, these show up in various sizes.
  • BFS: Dizaster, a stupidly gigantic sword with built-in engines that doubles as a Wave Motion Sword. Its Old Master cyborg wielder Getz, who's definitely of normal height, uses it to fight WARSHIPS, and he's not even a fifth its size.
  • Berserk Button: Zekka's bike. DO NOT TOUCH ZEKKA'S BIKE. Bad things will happen. Sechs learns this the hard way, and when (s)he does Hilarity Ensues.
  • Berserker Tears
  • Blood Knight: Zekka; no doubt quite a number of others over the run.
    • From the first series there's the Bar Jack soldier Knucklehead, who openly admits he joined not for the cause but just to "Ride my motorcycle and fire my gun".
    • Alita/Gally becomes this over time.
  • Blood Sport: Motorball, Z.O.T.T., and a number of others.
  • Body Horror: Many of the cyborgs, and anything/body from Venus. Especially Alduína of Venus's Z.O.T.T. team. Of course, she very, very quickly gets worse. And in the original series, the victims of Desty Nova's Karma experiments seen in his first and second laboratories also qualify.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Zekka, in spades, clubs, and sharp pointy things.
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Brain Uploading: All the citizens of Salem have their brains uploaded to and replaced with computer chips when they reach adulthood.
  • Broken Ace: Alita is faster, stronger, more talented (and cuter) than almost any other cyborg. She also has a habit of unintentionally making a huge mess of things because of her inherent brashness and lack of foresight.
  • Broken Angel
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Elf and Zwolf, literally on one occasion.
  • Calling Your Attacks
  • Canon Discontinuity: Last Order continues on from just before the end of the original manga; the last 150 or so pages never happened.
    • So the original canon basically ends with Alita being blown into a million pieces and Desty Nova sweeping up her remains. It would be sad if that had been the definitive ending...
  • Chickification: Nova tries to defeat Alita with a variation of this trope. He puts her in a Lotus Eater Machine where she can live out her life happily and peacefully with Ido and Nova himself as her father figures. This is supposed to reprogram Alita into a harmless and sweet little girl. It doesn't work. In fact, Nova is the one who is (somewhat) softened by the experience.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Figure Four, a "straight meat hick", can punch a cyborg in the head to destroy its brain. This is in a universe where an average cyborg can punch through a brick wall.
  • Cloning Blues: Often resulting in Beta Test Baddie themes.
    • Desty Nova deserves a special mention. In Last Order, Alita/Gally stages a break-in with the help of Virtual Portable Desty Nova ("We call it the NovaPod!"). They're all ready to go in when they are interrupted by... Evil Funny Afro Desty Nova, who tells them all about how he will be destroying Alita now, but he's interrupted by a transmission from... Desty Nova, Flan Cook
    • Alita/Gally's 12 TUNED AR-Series Replicas also qualify, even though by the time Last Order begins, AR-6 Sechs ruthlessly hunts down and kills all of the others save for Elf and Zwolf, who managed to kick her ass with their Waif Fu Wonder Twin Powers just to prove to herself that she's not a cheap imitation and show that she's as good as or better than Alita/Gally. When she tries the same with Alita/Gally, even with Elf and Zwolf backing her up she gets Curb Stomped.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Zapan is a case study of this. You should have apologized back in volume one, Gally.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Knucklehead, to a moderate degree. After being degraded by Colonel Bozzle and his unit, he finally snaps, nearly killing Bozzle, sabotaging the socket-soldiers, and pretty much blowing up the entire mechanized company. Not only that, but he frees Alita and snaps her out of the pit of despair she'd fallen into. It's such a big moment for her that he's featured among the faces of people she sees (during Last Order) who had a profound role in her life.
    • There is also Tiegel, "the lamest motorballer ever" who is so bad at motorball everyone simply ignores him. However he is a true Determinator who uses the Metagame for maximum effect and sacrifices himself to save Alita from certain defeat in the final battle.
  • Cute Bruiser: One of the reasons why Kishiro didn't like the OVAs was, reportedly, the fact that Gally wasn't cute enough.
  • Cyberpunk
  • Data Crystal: A MacGuffin in Last Order.
  • Death Is Cheap: As long as the brain is reasonably intact, you can be brought back, but Deader Than Dead still happens frequently.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Alita gains a lot of friends and allies through this.
    • Jokingly averted in one of the omake strips of volume 14, where one of the Guntroll members cheers for the Karate team to beat the Space Angels.
  • Died Standing Up: Jashugan, along with at least one member of Guntroll.
  • Downer Ending: The OVA, which ended on what is possibly the most depressing point in the whole manga ( except any of the references to Lou Collins).
  • Drop the Hammer: Ido's rocket-hammer thing.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Den gets his own when he not only rampages through Factory security, but does so after Kaos had attempted a Reason You Suck Speech on him. Den completely smashes Kaos' accusations that Den is nothing more than a 'figment', and refuses to leave his body even in the face of death.
    • And a little bit of fail when his sword breaks. Ba dum ba daa! [1]
  • Dystopia
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: If you are a pure meat human living in the scrapyard, chances are you will not stay that way forever since there are thousands of cyborgs creeping around who may want to mug you with bulldozer-like force or accidentally rip your arm off when they tap you on the shoulder to ask for directions. On the plus side: mechanical replacement limbs are always available IF you have the cash to afford them.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Desty Nova. Utterly amoral in his pursuit of "Karma".
  • Expy:
    • Ido shares an awful lot in common with a certain animated version of Dr. Egon Spengler...
    • In Last Order, Tzykrow is a very obvious expy of Zycrow from Aqua Knight. In retrospect, it's kinda easy to see why so many ZOTT participants were actually of the fan-submitted variety; a single author can only come up with so many unique and varied character designs before they start to run a little dry.
    • Kinuba the champion gladiator, who was murdered by Makaku, is the expy of Slaine the Horned King from 2000 AD. He is even wearing Slaine's signature Horned Helm, clan tartans and boar's head belt.
    • Predator + Lobo + Kit Fisto = Zekka
    • Yani and Derossi, Space Angels' mechanics, are basically Patlabor's Sakaki and Shige in cyborg bodies.
  • Executive Meddling: One that nearly ended the manga itself. Shueisha editors attempted to censor Kishiro's dialogue, which led to all sorts of contract wranglings, copyright disputes and general legal shenanigans, which at one point threatened to block all publications of the manga and any of its spinoffs. The details may be seen on the Trivia page, but in the end Kishiro switched publishers and recent chapters appeared in Kodansha's Evening magazine.
  • Facial Markings: Gally's trademark "antiglare patches" on her cheeks. One of the first indications that she has a back story is when she instinctively reaches down to a pool of oil and paints them onto her cheeks.
  • Fantastic Drug: Quite a lot, including one that triggers lycanthropy.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Gally's Panzer Kunst for starters, and with the exception of Figure's Anti-Cyborg Style, that's about it for Gunnm. Last Order takes it up a notch with Qu Tuang and her Ahat Mastade, and literally thousands of Space Karate sects.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Desty Nova. He also counts as Affably Evil, depending on his mood and which Desty Nova you're talking about..
  • Finger in the Mail: When Gally shows up at Desty Nova's lab looking for her foster father, Ido, she demands that Desty tell her where he is, who casually tosses her a head-sized metal box and tells her to take a look for herself.
  • Foe Yay: Ridiculously implied in the impromptu fight/thumb wrestling match where Zekka does some serious hardcore flirting with Sechs. But then, Zekka's such an epic-level martial artist that it's entirely possible he can tell Sechs is a Gender Bender, just from the way he moves.
  • For ScienceKARMATRON DYNAMICS!!!: Anything and everything that Desty Nova does. He's VERY big on his pet theory, y'know...
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Desty Nova to Gally, except that, as he often goes to the great lengths to explain, neither "friend" nor "enemy" has any meaning under Karmatron Dynamics theory.
    • Caerula Sanguis to Gally at certain moments.
  • Future Music: Subverted into hyperspace. Our Earth isn't even recognizable anymore, but somehow Yes and Gram Parsons are still part of the pop culture. Gally performing "Big Generator" like a pro and all the cyborgs knowing the lyrics should tell you something about the durability of progrock.
  • Gag Penis: See Squick.
  • Gecko Ending: Inverted, due to health issues the author ended the original manga rather quickly. Last Order started as a Rewrite for a rushed ending of the original manga, and to flesh out a then-released video game. It then spiraled into the epic twice the original's size, and still shows no sign of wrapping up.
  • Gender Bender: Sechs, a rare female-to-male example, and even rarer for the genderbending being completely voluntary.
  • Grand Theft Me: Makaku's signature ability is pushing his worm tail into your spine wile simultaniously ripping your head off so he can steal your superpowered body. In the Alita verse you could theoretically survive even this, but Makaku likes to eat your brain too. He isn't exactly the nicest fellow around.
  • Genki Girl: Shumira.
  • Gratuitous German
  • Groin Attack: A suitably epic one to take out that critter in the Squick example below.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Tiphares adults who discover the secret of Tiphares (having your brain replaced with a chip) almost never keep their sanity.
  • Half The Girl She Used To Be Poor Alita ends up like this about once per story arc. Sometimes in one hit, sometimes piece by piece. She always gets rebuilt into something even stronger, though.
  • Heart Drive
  • Hit So Hard the Calendar Felt It: The setting of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order marks time according to the Era Sputnik, counting from the launch of the Sputnik 1 in 1957.
    • Before that there was a half-joking, half-official Anno Koyomi calendar, tied to the birth of Koyomi K. at the very beginning of the story, which Kishiro still uses to trace the continuity. The fact that her very name means "Calendar" in Japanese isn't accidental in the slightest.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: You know how many people in Eagle Land drive cars? That's approximately the percentage of the Scrapyard which has replaced everything but their heads with prosthetics. The SUV percentage replace everything except their brains - and often with bodies more than a story high. And sometimes wide. Given the Crapsack World they all live in, it's not that surprising.
  • Humiliation Conga
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Zazie has her arm cut off, then reveals that she was hiding her real arms under her coat, and what her opponent got was a "servo arm".
  • Immortality Immorality: In the spaceborne civilisation in Last Order, overpopulation is a serious problem thanks to nanotechnological immortality. Children are illegal and are disposed of by forcing them to fight wars for sport, or in some cases by eating them.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Morse, a member of the Cognate, prefers to use a length of mooring rebar and whatever chunk of building it was attached to as his main weapon.
    • Springfoot Jack a cybernetic monster clown used a hynpotized young girl as club and did the same with Elf using her as boomerang.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Jovians. For all their scientific, engineering and jingoistic-totalitarian-evil-empire cred, their main raison d'etre in the series seems to be to fail amusingly and let the main character subvert their achievements to her good. They are also kind of cute.
    • The fact that they also act very human despite their cold and machine-like appearance helps. Especially when compared to their rivals the Venusians.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Played straight and subverted. Gally defeats one of her biggest enemies with a small handgun and later uses guns to great effect. Last Order character Zazie, while good in unarmed combat, is at her best with her guns. However guns are also often useless. It seems to depend on the gun, ammo user and target - Hollywood Cyborgs are basically bipedal tanks.
  • Kick the Dog: Played straight in the OVA. More than kicked. Sliced into slices.
  • Knight Templar: He might think that his ideal justifies his means, but everyone and their dog agree that Aga Mbadi is a colossal dick with a control mania.
    • The factory authority is this to the extreme. So you just defeated the unstoppable monster that our strongest troops couldn't even scratch? Nice work doing our job for us, but you still used a gun, and those are a grade one violation of factory law. To the incinerator with you!
  • Lady of War: Caerula Sanguis, full stop. Gally would've qualified too, but her style of Waif Fu is just too direct.
  • La Résistance: What many saw the Barjack Army as.
  • Large and In Charge: Den; seen to some extent with various other characters.
  • Like Cannot Cut Like: Monofilament wires.
  • Literal Split Personality: Den and Kaos.
  • Live Action Adaptation: As of 2010 still in Development Hell, mostly due to James Cameron's various other projects.
  • Lost Superweapon: Last Order mentions the "Five Demonic Inventions of Humankind", which include:
    • The Berserker cells (like those used in the body that Ido gives Gally)
    • A parasitic weapon called a PIPT
    • The atomic bomb
    • 2-4-5 Trioxin
    • The antimatter bomb
  • Lotus Eater Machine
  • Made of Plasticine
  • Mad Scientist / Mad Doctor: Desty Nova, with emphasis on the "mad".
  • Market-Based Title: GUNNMBattle Angel Alita
  • Marshmallow Hell: A perverted Space Karate assassin is smothered and crushed to bits under a pile of boobs, courtesy of the Venusians. He gets better though, since cyborg bodies are all but made out of LEGO blocks.
  • Meaningful Name: Gally may be an abbreviation of Galatea, the statue-turned-lover of Pygmalion. She and Ido share a similar relationship at first: Ido reconstructs Gally with the intention of giving her a sweet, peaceful life as his pseudo-daughter. Gally certainly puts a kibosh on THAT idea.
  • Mecha-Mooks
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Happens to Alita/Gally and Sechs. For Alita, her Imaginos body is advanced to 2.0 and 2.1 respectively in a quick and sudden fashion with the acquiring of Fata Morgana and the wormhole reactor. In retrospect, Sechs had to go through it the hard way where hir Fizziroy body is manually upgraded to the heavier gel so that it can withstand more pressure which by extension, increases the number of things he can do with it.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Parodied with Eelai who even has an arrow on her forehead that points down. In the unlikely case you missed it...
  • Most Writers Are Writers: In Last Order, Ping Wu says that the net is like a manga artist without a deadline.
  • Mood Whiplash: Anything with Lou Collins. Every time the girl is mentioned in Last Order is to let us know of another terrible misfortune she suffered.
  • The Movie: James Cameron's next project after Avatar. Though with Avatar's runaway success it seems to be put on the back burner again.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous
  • My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Damn near every volume, almost.
  • Nanomachines
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The main heroine. It was Yoko who caused the last End Of The World As We Know It, but Gally didn't know of it until Volume 9, which doubles as one of her Tomato in the Mirror moments.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Poor Lou...
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: When Alita runs into AR-2 she rapidly loses her confidence when she fails to find a weakness in her opponent. And then AR-2 starts to tear her apart... piece by piece. It's very scary since it's Alita's own mirror image thats laying the smackdown on her.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Not that Desty Nova has ever been really big on morals from the start, but he's became utterly convinced that his knowledge of Karmatron Dynamics justifies just about everything he (in any of his incarnations, even Super Nova) does.
  • Opening a Can of Clones
  • Opposite Gender Clone: Sechs eventually starts to think of him/her... err, whatever as male, and eventually gets a full male cyborg body to back it up. He basically DECIDES he's male, even if he started as a supposedly superior clone to Gally, down to being female as well. Interesting to notice, even his facial features, which are NEVER actually changed, are still much more masculine than Gally's, even though they're supposed to have the same face.
    • Even body type was somehow more masculine at the start.
  • Original Video Animation
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The "cognates".
  • Perpetual Frown: More like Perpetual Pout, which seems to be Gally's default facial expression. Lampshaded by Jim Roscoe in the first volume of the Last Order, where he asked Nova while they were rebuilding Gally's body, whether her lips are too thick? Lampshaded again by the twins posing as Gally in Vol. 6, with one of them noting that it's difficult to make "octopus lips" all the time, and the other that she has to look sullen and it isn't fun.
  • Playful Hacker: Weasel. In chapter 109 it's revealed that he not only hacked Mbadi's cameras but also uploaded a virus that disabled Mbadi's mind control that coincidentally activated when Mbadi was caught on camera ordering his minister to fire Damocles and destroy the Space Angels.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child
  • Putting on the Reich: Col. Payne
  • Put on a Bus: A lot of characters from the original series in Last Order, notably Figure Four.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: When Ido Daisuke saves Shumira from being raped in the begining of "Battle Angel Alita" #3 (Through nearly killing one of the would-be-rapists and actually (most likely) killing the other).
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: This time, it's no exaggeration. That's the extent of what Aga Mbadi knows, and he might underestimate it.
  • Remote Body: Desty Nova cures his son's split personality by building a remotely controlled robot body to channel the other mind.
  • Robot Girl
  • Scavenger World
  • Scenery Gorn: Countless detailed scenes of the Scrapyard and the surrounding desert wastes.
  • Schedule Slip: Kishiro placed Last Order on a hiatus after its 100th chapter... and might not continue it.
    • That's the case of Executive Meddling rather than Schedule Slip. The editor asked him for the edits he was opposed to[2], so he decided to let it slip for the time as not to endanger the manga reprint issues that were in the work at the time, but stated that he'd never work for that publisher again. Later he announced that he leaves Shueisha's Ultra Jump magazine for Kodansha's Evening, unless Shueisha people apologize to him and revert to the original dialog from the censored one. Which they failed to do, so the new chapters are now finally being released in Evening.
  • Schematized Prop: Each manga volume features mechanical details of an element featured in the story.
  • Science Fiction
  • Self-Destructive Charge: How Den chooses to go out, charging headlong into the fire of an entire division of the Factory's armoured forces.
  • Send in the Clones: Gally/Alita after having fought 10 years for a shady organization, said organization uses records of said fights to create 12 duplicates of her, with all her skills (especially the deadly Panzer Kunst) and a copy of her high tech body.
  • Shallow Love Interest: Subverted, as Gally is none too happy to find out that this is what Ido was expecting her to be when he revived her.
  • She's a Man In Japan: The German translations of Last Order continue for a while to refer to Sechs as a female after he gains the Fizziroy body.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: "Sadly the Space Angels were obliterated in a mysterious explosion just as they became the first independent team to win the ZOTT." At least, that's what Mbadi thinks will happen...
  • Shout-Out: If you can hit me just once... cue sword to the face
  • Sibling Team: Subverted somewhat in that while Sechs, Elf, and Zwolf are android copies of Alita/Gally created from over a decade of data gathered on her brain patterns, behavior and fighting style, they all indeed tend to act like siblings. Especially between Alita/Gally and Sechs, with a healthy portion of Sibling Yin-Yang thrown in for good measure, while the twins Elf and Zwolf both neatly fill the role of Annoying Younger Sibling with a healthy sprinkling of Genki Girl and Fetish Fuel.
  • Space Elevator: Salem is at the bottom of one.
  • Title Drop: In Gunnm, Chapter 49 is called "Gun Dreams". There are also ones in Last Order (obviously spoilers if you click).
  • Theme Naming:
    • The sister city of Salem, at the top of the Space Elevator, is called "Jeru" in Japanese.
    • The other competitors in the Motorball story are all named for weapons (Scramasax, Flamberge, Arbelest etc.., (apparently taken from the Tunnels & Trolls Rulebook). This is less obvious than you'd think because the translator directly transcribed the katakana.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Sechs to Gally, Zekka to Don Fua are two examples.
  • The Power of Friendship: The enormous lotus flower Alita creates in the first ending. The lotus flower is a symbol of friendship in budhism. It's really sweet and poetic but unfortunately for Alita not canon anymore.
  • They Were Holding You Back
  • Third Person Person: Shumira
  • Those Wacky Nazis Whom We Haven't Seen Yet: "Why are there neo-nazis on Mars?!"
    • Newer chapters revealed, it's a group of martian extermist who thought the concept of national socialism appealing and created a hoax about having found the remains of a nazi UFO on Mars to claim the right of owning it.
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    • Several. Most of them involve the main character.
    • Tiphares/Salem is an entire city of these.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Played mercylessly straight with Sara, probably the nicest character in the intire series.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Alita and others, multiple times. When you're a cyborg, increasing your power is as simple as upgrading your body.
  • Tournament Arc
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The main motivation of Aga Mbadi. Although what he considers a "utopia" might squick many.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • Nova suffered one at the end of the original manga after seeing Gally's world tree. What burned his britches was one of his creations choosing to sacrifice itself to save him. He is later found with a flower growing out of his head and playing with a "Martian King" toy.
    • Bigott Eisenburg got an utterly devastating one upon finding out the "secret of Salem".It almost made you feel bad for the asshole due to sheer shock value.
    • Aga Mbadi has been suffering one of these when Alita in her Imaginos 2.0 body fuses with the Fata Morgana, manages to overpower his hacking, crushes his hand, humiliates him when he believes he was able to hold back one of her punches and tells him she let Mbadi live because he was needed alive in order to continue The Z.O.T.T.. After this, he breaks out into a rage during his meditations, gives Super Nova free rein on Mars and has lobbied for the use of a super weapon called The Sword Of Damocles from LADDER against the participants of The Z.O.T.T.
  • Waif Fu
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Aga Mbadi, though he very quickly establishes himself as the most Knight Templarish variation of such, and his good intentions are extremely YMMV.
  • Wham! Episode: Volume 5 of the original manga: Alita finally has found balance, and is living a life as happy as she could in the Scrapyard. Oh, Zapan came back, even more twisted? No problem, and gets dealt with... Hey, we finally get to know the guy who got that much foreshadowing! Heh, insanely amusing... What? He has resurrected Zapan's brain? And he is giving him the Berserker body? HE IS GIVING HIM A STRONGER VERSION OF THAT BODY? HE KILLED IDO? Then he gets to the scrapyard, and many of the characters you'd grown to know and love get killed like files, the survivors blame it on Alita, EVERY landmark of the early series gets blown to bits, and Alita has to take Zapan on with just a civilian body, an (illegal) gun, and nanomachines. And for all her troubles, the Factory wants her dead for firing a gun. Then Tiphares shows an interest for her, and HAS to work for them. Cue timeskip.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Space Angels have nowhere near the budget that'd be realistically required to maintain a competitive Z.O.T.T. team. Justified in that Gally and the twins are basically Desty Nova's guinea pigs, and the guy can apparently create whatever he needs. Sechs on his part effectively hired Yani on credit, and the latter agreed mainly for the same reason as Nova — he needed someone to test his newest iteration of a Fizziroy body. Still, they mainly plodder through on credit, donations and Holy Ghost, with only the promise of a prize to back it. At least Zazie is officially "on the loan" from the Martian Kingdom army, which makes them a kind of semi-official Mars entrant, but given that The Kingdom is just as poor, it doesn't help much.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: Two volumes of Last Order detail the Backstory of one Caerula Sanguis, which also serves as a How We Got Here.
  • World Half Empty: The GUNNM world really isn't a nice place to live...
  • World Half Full: ...but sometimes Alita and others manage to make a difference, with a lot of effort. See the first ending.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Zapan.
  • World's Strongest Man: Zekka - "The Fist that extinguishes the light".
  • Wretched Hive: The Scrapyard.
  • Yonkoma: Various Omake parodying the events in the manga.
  • You Are Number Six: When Alita/Gally is recruited by GIB she is only called A/G-1; her copies are called AR/GR-1 to 12. By Last Order only three are left and they renamed themselves Sechs, Elf and Zwölf, which are their numbers in German.
    • Figure Four as well.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Lou Collins in Last Order. Every time Gally seems to be on a fast track to finally save her, she learns that everything is worse than it seems, and she has to continue.
  1. Gally has an Imaginos 2.1 body -- a nanolevel fusion of Desty Nova's Imaginos 1.0 with Fata Morgana and Jovian Tunguska weapon, upgraded later by her subjugating their Zeus computer core, while Sechs has a top-of-the-line Fizziroy, slightly newer than Zekka's.
  2. Namely, to excise some variants of words for "crazy".