The Kudos! List
Updated December 28, 2017

Does something about the Scrapyard seem vaguely familiar?

Many authors pay tribute to their inspirations in rather surreptitious ways in their work. Yukito Kishiro appears to be no exception. This is a list of the great many references to popular culture, in-jokes, and the like from the entire Battle Angel Alita manga series. No stone is left unturned; everything ranging from the large and obvious to the small and obscure are all listed here.

A NOTICE ON ENTRY CITATION: I eventually plan on listing them by Chapter number, but until I do that, all the entries are listed by novel and page number from the very first printings of any given English Battle Angel Alita Graphic Novel releases... not from the any reissues or omnibus editions, unless otherwise stated. However, for the new Gunnm Mars Chronicle series, I will use chapter numbers and page numbers, according to the Scanlations found here; this will be revised once Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle is officially released in English. And for the short stories included at the end of each Last Order Omnibus volume, I will use the page numbers of the listed Omnibus volume.

VIZ-ONLY: Also, because of the switch from Viz to Kodansha, and the updated English translation made by Kodansha in 2017, entries which are Viz/English-only and NOT part of the original manga and/or in the 2017 Translation will have a special note pointing out that it's an older entry.

Finally, as often as possible, I will provide a link towards more information or evidence for the references. Other times, the reference might be a mouseover (Desktop) or tappable (Mobile) link, such as this.

SPOILER WARNING! This list will reveal a lot about the Battle Angel Alita universe, stuff that will kinda ruin the surprise if you haven't read through it already.

20171228 Updates: Nothing special, just added some new bits and odds and ends. I got the 1st Mars Chronicle graphic novel (albeit in Japanese), so I thought I'd finally add it's enteries as a separate section. Hope you guys had a Merry Christmas!

20171210 Updates: Kodansha finally released the last three GNs on Comixology, as well as the 2-in-1 Deluxe Edition (which is awesome!), and so now I've finally updated the remaining entries for the original GNs. Also, the first trailer for Alita: Battle Angel was recently released! I'm trying to contain my hype, but HOLY SHIT IT'S AWESOME. There really isn't much to see when it comes to references, at least not yet... but you can bet I'll be adding them should any pop up. BTW, greetings to everyone who is discovering this page because of the trailer!

Incidentally, there have been some significant updates in the Deluxe Edition relative to the ComiXology version, such as the return of Deckman 10's "Elmer Fudd" (Wuhwuhwuh) accent—used in the original Viz translation but not the ComiXology versions—as well as other minor changes to the script. It was almost as if the ComiXology release was a sort of "rough draft" test of the new translation, which was refined in the Deluxe Edition. Some of these changes affect the Kudos! entries, so I updated them accordingly.

Finally, now that all of the New Kodansha English Translations have been released (basically), I think it's time for me to work on editing the page numbers for the entries. Long story short, I'm probably going to tie them to their Fight/Chapter numbers versus page number, seeing as all the different versions are universally tied to their Fight/Chapter number above all else. That said, I'll probably also make up a sort of "Rosetta Stone" page where it'll list the different editions and show what Fights/Chapters they cover, and what pages they appear on.

Quick Links

Original Series

GN1 - GN2 - GN3 - GN4 - GN5 - GN6 - GN7 - GN8 - GN9 - Ashen Victor

Last Order (VIZ)

LO1 - LO2 - LO3 - LO4 - LO5 - LO6 - LO7 - LO8 - LO9 - LO10 - LO11 - LO12 - LO13 - LO14 - LO15

Last Order (Kodansha)

LO16 - LO17 - LO18 - LO19 - Omnibus 1-5 Extras (TBD)

Mars Chronicle

MC1 - Provisional


Alita: Battle Angel (2018 movie) - Battle Angel (OVA; TBD) - Gunnm: Memory of Mars (PS1 game; TBD) – Gunnm: Another Stories (TBD) - Ars Magna (TBD)

Rusty Angel (GN1)



GN1 - GN9

The world of the Scrapyard is a very large scale reference of all manner of cyberpunk stories, particularly the 1984 cult sci-fi film Blade Runner. That is to say, a lot of the aesthetics of both Blade Runner's Los Angeles and Battle Angel Alita's Scrapyard—such as the multicultural environment, signs in English, Japanese, and Korean, the dark and gloomy environments, as well as the proliferation of robots, androids and cyborgs—mirror one another.

In particular, in Blade Runner, the eyes of Replicants glow in ways human eyes don't... an effect which seems to be shown in Alita's eyes on the cover of Rusty Angel. Either that, or whoever took Alita's picture needs to turn red-eye reduction on...!


Lower right hand corner, Ido walking through the scrap. There's one, possibly two, R2 units mixed in with the Scrap. Also, is that Robocop's head bouncing down the hill? Kishiro is a professed fan of Robocop director Paul Verhoven...


Ido always kinda reminded me of Dr. Egon Spangler, Ph.D from the Ghostbusters movies and original cartoon series.


I'm surprised this one slipped by me for so long, but both the names Gally and Alita may be (coincidentally?) related to the name (and story of) Galatea. As the Ancient Greek story goes, once upon a time, a young man named Pygmalion carved a statue of a beautiful woman—Galatea—out of ivory, only to have it come to life. The two eventually fell in love and lived happily ever after.

Now this one is a bit of a stretch, but there's also an old 1924 Soviet silent science-fiction movie called Аэлита (Aelita: Queen of Mars), which itself was based on a book of the same name. Furthermore, Aelita: Queen of Mars was (somewhat) remade in 1951 in the United States under the title Flight to Mars, and in it was a character named Alita (played by Marguerite Chapman). ... Now I'm sure this similarity in names is a coincidence—I'm not sure if Alita's Martian past was known when the English translation was released—but it's just too close for me!

...or maybe I'm just reading too deeply into this?

Either way, it looks like the brand recognition of "Alita" was more important than the more authentic "Gally", as not only did Kodansha decide to keep "Alita" as her official name (they basically cop to it during the "Translation Notes" section of their new translation, but Kishiro's website Yukitopia calls her "Alita" in English as well. That's honestly pretty normal, as plenty of Asians have their "Asian" name and "Western" name, used depending on whether they're speaking their native tongue or English.


The floating city, Zalem, is based off the city of Jerusalem. I'm sure it sounds exotic in Japanese, but "Zalem/Salem" just sounds like the place where they killed witches a few centuries ago...

VIZ-ONLY: Zalem's original English name, Tiphares, was named after one of the sefira (or emanations) in the kabbalistic Tree of Life: Tiferet. The Tree of Life itself is interpreted to be a diagram of sorts describing how God's universe works. Tiferet, specifically, is the sixth sefira, and it represents and/or is associated with "Spirituality", "Balance", "Integration", "Beauty", "Miracles", and "Compassion". I can't help but think this name was chosen ironically, because it's not like Fred Burke at Viz would've known it's in-universe history back when it was first translated... but at the very least, it preserved the "Jewish" qualities of its original "Zalem-Jeru" name.


Upper right. "Chemical Youth" is a song off Queensryche's "Rage for Order" album. See below for more...


Frame 5 has a few things going for it. First off, this frame reminds me of the scene in The Yellow Submarine with the Sea of Holes where the Fab Four kept popping in and out of. "I've got a hole in me pocket!"

Next, let's cover what the Deckmen are saying. Now in the original Japanese version, they're saying:

  • ハロ ハロ ハ~ロ~オ~」 ("Hello hello heeeelloooouuu"),
  • エケラ ケラ ケラ」 ("Ekera kera kera", which is some kind of giggle or laughter), and,
  • おーまいがーつ」 ("Oomaigaatsu", or "Oh my God(s)!"... which is odd since—and correct me if I'm wrong—English words/phrases would normally be written in Katakana, not Hiragana.)

In the 2017 Kodansha translation, those are translated basically 1-to-1 as:

  • "HEWO, HEWO, HEWOOO!" (no difference there, other than Deckman 10's accent),
  • "A-GUK-GUK-GUK!" (effectively the best translation for "Ekera-kera-kera" as a giggle or laughter), and,
  • "OH MY GAWD" (I guess the Hiragana version influenced the way this was written in the same way it was written differently in the original Viz translation)

No real references there, but in the Draft verison of the Kodansha translation (the one available on ComiXology) had slight differences to the above, namely:

VIZ-ONLY: However, in the original Viz/English translation, the Deckmen cylinders are a bit more creative, and far more full of references.
  • "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" (a sort of greeting from the The Wizard of Oz),
  • "But ch'are, Blanche, ch'are!" (this is an accented version of a memorable line from the movie What Ever Happaned to Baby Jane, starring Bette David and Joan Crawford. The full line is "But you are, Blanche, you are in that chair!"), and,
  • "OHMIGAWD!" (This, however, was effectively kept the same in the new Kodansha translation.)


Seeing Mukaku eating his victim here has hints of Saturn Devouring His Son, a painting by Spanish artist Francisco Goya.


The back of the man's jacket has the logo for German metal band Scanner in it. For some reasons it was taken out of the original Viz/English release, probably due to page flipping as it was in later English releases.


Is that a Game Boy that the balding guy is playing with?


That's not a can of Corona Beer sitting next to the phone, but actually a beer can with the name of Swiss metal band Coroner on it. Fooled me too!


The poster in the back of the bottom pannel reads "Don't ever trust the needle when it cries, cries your name." This is almost directly from the Queensryche song "The Needle Lies", off their Operation: Mindcrime album. Both Kishiro and Fred Burke, the original Viz/English translator, appear to be 'Ryche fans.


Kudos reader "The Tiphareans" called it: is that the Shadow slinking off into the corner?


In the center right panel, that looks like C-3PO's head on the back screen.


The lower left hand panel shows several robots. The one at the extreme left is Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet. To his right is Maximillian and Vincent, both from The Black Hole. One of the others might be from Mobile Suit Gundam(?).


There is a series of novels by a Fred Saberhagen about an army of unstoppable, self-replicating warrior robots left over from an interstellar war from long ago known as "Berserkers". This might all just be coincidental... or maybe not!


Rebecca points out: "Here's one that was pretty blatant... the pro wrestling champion whose body Makaku steals is totally inspired by the fantasy comics character Sláine." What a good find!


The pseudo-cross on Zapan's forehead, "The Cross of Questioning", has been used extensively/exclusively by the Blue Öyster Cult. Bill Gawlick, the person who designed the cross for the Blue Öyster Cult, in turn, borrowed it from the Romans, who identified it with Saturn (although it looks closer to Ceres' symbol). According to Liungman's "Dictionary of Symbols", medieval Christians associated it with Satan, in this case the aspect of "The Tester." The symbol may also have been used to "question" the divinity of Jesus, as it appears similar to an inverted question mark.

The Blue Öyster Cult is definitely aware of all their references in the series.


Christopher points out that one of the hunters looks like Eddie of Iron Maiden, specifically from the "Somewhere in Time" album.

In the new Kodansha translation, when Ido addresses the crowd in Frame 2, someone replies "What's up, Doc?". Unfortunately, the original Japanese version doesn't use the same line that Japanese Bugs Bunny does; Bugs is known to say 「どったの、センセー?」, while Ido's replier says 「なんだァ先生?」. That said, it's worth pointing out that sensei is translated as "Doc" in the original manga, which is what Bugs Bunny's "Doc" is translated to, so perhaps "What's up, Doc?" was sorta implied? Who knows.


Mixed with a couple playing cards on the table there are some Zener cards, which are used for testing ESP.


Robocop is being helped up by a fellow Hunter-Warrior there in the last frame...


Looks like a facehugger is swimming around down there...


The Deckman recruiter at the top of the The Birth of Deckman No. 10 comic strip says I Want You, which is an obvious reference to the US Army recruiter poster depicting Uncle Sam wanting you as well for military service. This was actually also in the original Japanese, so I presume it's a reference that's familiar enough to people worldwide (or at least in Japan).

Tears of an Angel (GN2)




In the bottom left hand panel, the robot who gets its head kicked off looks like C-3PO.


The skeleton picture behind Yugo is from various medical encyclopedias from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as the A New Medical Dictionary, written in 1775 by G. Mothersby, MD. They used similar plates with one another, so I can't find a direct source... however the earliest of these anatomy plates include De humani corporis fabrica by Andreas Vesalius in 1543.


One of the regulars there kinda looks like Uncle Remus, at least as interpreted by Disney's 1946 Song of the South.


Check out one of Yugo's posters. It's the Batmobile! (Or more specifially, the Batmobile from the Tim Burton movie era.)


In the upper right, the van pulls up to a building marked "Factory Front 242". Front 242 is a Belgian industrial/synthesizer band, labelmates of Ministry. Side fun fact: Ministry bandleader, Alain Jourgensen, created a side project called PTP. PTP is probably best known for the song "Show Me Your Spine", which was played during the club scene in the first RoboCop movie. Yukito Kishiro is, in turn, apparently a big fan of RoboCop, so this all works out to be a nice little full circle kinda thing.


Nestor kindly reminded me that Vector's drink, Heaven's Gate, is based on the German heavy metal band of the same name. On top of that, in 1990 they released an EP titled Open the Gate and Watch!. And here I thought it was about those goofballs who offed themselves to visit aliens behind a comet. (See Page 25 in GN8 for more info.)


The Deckman in frame 1 is driving a truck labeled THX1138, a reference to the George Lucas film of the same title.


The business Yugo runs past in the lower right hand corner is called "Brazil", and the sign looks like the one from the Terry Gilliam film.


When Yugo said that being kissed by Alita "kinda tasted like electricity...You know how your tongue tickles when you lick a battery?", it reminded me of the scene in (the Hugo Award-winning) graphic novel Watchmen, when the superpowered Dr. Manhattan and Laurie—the second Silk Spectre—were making love and she said "Hey, your finger, it's like licking a flashlight battery." It would probably be a coincidence if it weren't for the fact that both analogies connected licking batteries in the midst of expressing love, and both were found in comics.


The look of Yugo's older brother kinda reminds me of a character from the 1987 anime Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise. He's one of the secondary characters in the Honneamian Kingdom's Royal Space Force, but his name escapes me at the moment. However, here's a screenshot of him, he's the guy on the right with his head down.


As Vector is reading through the newsprint, he sees that the fight took place near "Ammonia Avenue". This is the title to an Alan Parsons Project song.

177 - 180

Victor points out that the G♂MAD on the forehead of Zaariki, Vector's body guard, is a reference to Alfred Bester's classic sci-fi novel "The Stars My Destination" (originally called "Tiger! Tiger!"). Victor says "in the story, the 'hero', Gully Foyle, is captured by a group of crazy scientists living on an asteroid, and they tattoo his face with a swirling pattern centered on the word "N♂MAD" (the name of his ship) on his brow". Complete with the ♂ symbol too. Hmm!

Killing Angel (GN3)




The art along the Motorball track is lifted from a bad MGM movie called "Solarbabies", about a group of kids who rebel against an oppressive, tyranical government by—get this—playing rollerhockey.


The guy with the gas mask is wearing a tshirt for "Gorky Park" (Парк Горького), which was a Soviet/Russian hard rock band from the late 1980's. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find if that shirt actually existed, and the other words on the shirt don't seem to give me a clue.

That same guy also looks like the Zone Tripper from the beginning of the 1990 film Hardware.


Sérgio Nova brought to my attention that the words written on the wall behind Doc Ido are lyrics from the song "Mediate" by INXS, off their album "Kick".


Motorball is clearly a variant of Rollerball, the sport that they play in the movie(s) of the same name. The two games deviate in that in Rollerball, teams score points by throwing the ball into a goal, where as in Motorball, indivuduals race to get the Motorball around the track a certain number of times.

Player number 57, Bardiche, is probably named after the bardiche, which is a type of pole axe used in Eastern Europe.


Racer 31 looks a lot like one of the suicidal, test "Robocop 2's" from.... Robocop 2. (The one I'm talking about is the one who pulls his helmet off, screams, then dies.)


Kudos reader "The Tiphareans" have observed that "There can be only one" is a nod to Highlander.

Here's something else I noticed; by the looks of it, Jasugun is the Champion of the 289th Top League Tourney. If there's one tournament a year, that means Rollerball (as it exists) started 289 years ago in ES 289 (2256). But consider, the Camlann Tragedy didn't happen until AFTER this time, so I can only assume that Rollerball was something that existed as a legitimate sport before Melchezedek went nuts and the Factory system took over. Otherwise that would mean there were more than one "Top League Tournaments" per year!


Alita's "Damascus blades" are probably made from (and thus named after) damascus steel, as both have a very distinctive pattern of banding and mottling found within the blades. The name itself comes from the capital and second largest city of Syria, Damascus.


Galvani Circuit: Luigi Galvani was a 18th century scientist who worked with animal cells and how they respond to electricity. Seems appropriate in this techno-electricial world.


All three members of the three-man challenger team are named after weapons:

The changes in the names is likely due to the way the names were transliterated to Japanese by Kishiro at first, and then back to English by the translator. The original Viz re-translations were less accurate probably due to the translator not recognizing the names of those weapons, but the Kodansha translation is more accurate.

Also, Pihakaetta's eyepatch has the Korean word 악 in it; this could mean either "ouch" or "evil".


The phrases "Pre-staged" and "Chrondek" on the pace car come from Chrondek Timers, which were the starting/timing lights used in drag racing back during the 1960's... but they seem to have gone out of business. Apparently they were sold off during the 1980's, and stopped servicing them by the 1990's after milking the old designs for what they're worth.

"Übel", on the other hand, simply means "evil" in German. I have yet to find a racing connection to that word. The same goes with the "JM" logo; there does exist some racing connection to "JM", but it's motocross, and they don't seem to have existed before the mid-1990's, after GN3 was originally written.


Top frame, what I previously thought was Skeletor is actually Vic Rattlehead, the mascot for the heavy metal band Megadeth. (Thanks Martin for pointing that out!) Then in the bottom-left frame, the guy next to Esdoc looks like one of the Skiff guards from Return of the Jedi, probably Yotts Orren.


Penultimate frame; the sign in the background for Jasugun's pit crew, "Brain Gears", has a logo similar to the company Braun, complete with the larger "A" in the center.


More metal band references galore. While the names were still used in the Viz English version, their logos we not. So in the Japanese version, we have stickers for German heavy metal band Rage, Swiss metal band Coroner, American metal band Last Crack, and German metal band Tyran' Pace.

One other band has a logo, but I can't make it out; the Japanese version simply shows "NO", which I imagine is the first two letters of it name. The original Viz English version suggests that the band is called "Noise", but I can't seem to find any info on it. The Kodansha Comics edition, however, simply uses the original page art, but doesn't expand the image beyond the original Japanese page crop.


Jasugun's—apparent—pit crew leader is wearing a pair of "Gamma Ray" sunglasses, which is named after the 90's German Power Metal band, Gamma Ray.


Upper left hand corner, I could SWEAR that's Daley from Bubble Gum Crisis.


Max C has some sharp eyes; Mr. Thompson, or Tommy, has the code M1928A1 on his sunglasses. That is actually the model number of the infamous Thompson submachine gun, also known as a Tommy Gun! Incidentally, the M1928A1 model in particular was seen mostly in the Pacific Theatre of Combat during World War 2.


No. 99 Aydakatti is named after an Indian blade, the ada katti (also known as a moplah). I'm beginning to notice a trend here with Motorball player names...


A few things of note in this page. First, to the right is an ouroboros, which is the snake eating its own tail. The sign itself has a number of companies relating to model making. Going clockwise starting in the center of the ouroboros:

  • Guillow's produces balsa wood model airplane toys.
  • Testors is perhaps best known for their model paint products.
  • ESCI was an Italian scale model maker that went out of business in 1991.
  • Italeri is another Italian company which produces scale model kits.
  • Heller, a French company which produces scale model kits.
  • Airfix is a UK scale model maker; in the UK the name "Airfix" is genericized term to mean any kind of plastic model.
  • Hawk is one of the first American manufacturers of injection-molded plastic model kits.
  • "OUT" don't seem to be anything; at least, I can't seem to find anything.
  • "ERIT" is most likely the Merit brand of model kits released by J&R Randall Ltd.
  • Lindberg was an American model maker, which has since been acquired by Round 2 Models.
  • Addar made model kits, but there really isn't much else about them.

To the left is a poster with "TYR" written on it in Anglo-Saxon runes. This a reference to the Black Sabbath album of the same name; the logo depicted is on the back of the album. Tyr himself was a Norse God law and heroic glory.


The guy in the uppper panel, seated on the left at the right-hand table, is the same guy who was munching on noodles at Gonzu's stand (1:16). An otherwise typical denizen of the Scrapyard, but one who needed to be mentioned.


Max C points out: Jasugun wears a pair of sun glasses with Borghesia on them. They were an "electronic body music" group from Slovenia back in the 80's. I guess there's a company in the Scrapyard making sunglasses with metal band names on it.


One of the members of the crowd watching Alita and Jasugun's arm wrestling match has a head that resembles Haniwa, which are funerary clay figures which are buried with the dead. This one in particular also seems to resemble the Haniwa style which also appear in the Nintendo video game, Animal Crossing, as the item "Gyroid".


One of the ads in the upper panel is for "Kishiro Tile". Who it's talking about should be obvious. There's also a word balloon covering up part of a word ending "LTURA"; I'll bet this is a reference to the Brazillian band Sepultura.

Other references include Canadian metal band Annihilator, and at least two other bands, but I'm not sure what they could be. Their logos were definitely intended to be recognized... the "BLAC" band logo kinda looks like Black Flag's, but their logo's typeface is much thicker than the logo in the comic, and they're not a metal band to boot.

As for Mordred and Running Wild, see Page 5 of GN4 below.


More Motorballers named after weapons:

  • № 35, Baselard, is likely named after the baselard, a dagger used in the Late Middle Ages.
  • № 24, Scramasax, is likely named after a scramsax ("wounding-knife"), which is an Old English/Saxon/German word (I think).
  • № 9, Halberd, is named after the halberd, which is a two-handed pole weapon.

Again, these names were likely transliterated from English to Japanese by Kishiro, then back to English, with the translator didn't recognize the names (apart from Halberd)... at least for the original Viz names. The Kodansha translators seem to recognize it a bit better.


"Caligula" Armbrust is named after both the Roman Emperor Caligula, who known for being batshit insane, and the armbrust, which is a large crossbow used in Europe during the 12th Century.

His sidekick, Peshkabz, was named after the Pesh-kabz, which is a 17th Century Perso-Afghan knife designed to penetrate mail armor. Its name means "fore-grip" in Persian.

VIZ-ONLY: Armburst's original Viz name, Armblessed, was based on the arbalest. However, both the arbalest and armbrust were crossbows used by Europeans; the name "armbrust" is a German corruption of the English word "arbalest", which in turn was originally from the Medieval Latin word arbalista, ultimately meaning arcus (bow) + balista (missile launching engine).

Peshkabz's original Viz name, Peshkavus, might be named not after a weapon, but after pes cavus, the name for a certain kind of foot deformity. At least, it might have also been named after the pesh-kabz as well, but honestly I couldn't find that because of the way "Peshkavus" was transliterated. Oh well.


Zafal Takié looks an awful lot like Grace Jones.


The symbol on Jasugun's mug is a Japanese mon, specifcally the Maruni Chigai Ya (丸に違い矢), depicting two arrow fletches crossed over one another. Apparently it was the personal mon for Hattori Hanzō, a famous samurai.

I saw a sign with a design on it very similar to this outside a chiropractic clinic. I'm thinking that whoever owned the sign was part of the clan that used that as their mon. Now as to why it was used on Jasugun's mug like that, I'm not sure.

It is worth nothing that in Ars Magna, Yukito Kishiro's official artbook for Gunnm/Battle Angel Alita, there is a piece titled Assault Samurai vs. Iron Shogun (page 118) which uses the Maruni Chigai Ya as the mon for the "Iron Shogun". I'm now greatly curious about its significance; I suspect that it's Kishiro's family's personal mon.

Ars Magna (GN4)




Ars Magna (Latin for "The Great Art") is mostly just Kishiro trying to sound poetic by using Latin in the title of this book, and it otherwise has no other meaning or implication beyond Yoko's Master considering Panzer Kunst as being "the Great Art". Oh well.

That said, "Ars Magna" is also the title of two books; one of them being a 16th Century book about algebra written by Gerolamo Cardano, while the other—and arguably more relevant—book by Ramon Llull, which is a book to teach its readers how to convert people to their ideas using logic and reason.

While the reference to "Ars Magna" within the context of the story was to call Panzer Kunst as "the Great Art", I feel like the name of GN4 as "Ars Magna" may reference the book by Ramon Llull as a way to frame the relationship between Alita and Jasugan throughout the her Motorball years. Reflect upon what that may mean.


In the top frame we see "Mordred", which is both an American funk/thrash metal band, as well as an illegitimate son, and murderer, of King Arthur. Both might be relevant references, as both heavy metal and King Authur are regular topics for references by Kishiro.

The logo for German heavy metal band Running Wild is visible to the right. Below is the word "Black", which could be a reference to British heavy metal Black Sabbath, but since Kishiro puts in a lot of effort to make the logos look recognizable, and since Black Sabbath's logo never looked like that, I can't say which band this is supposed to reference.

The sticker on the computer screen that Umba and Ed are looking at in the lower panel reads "Triumph". It could be that of a Canadian band (given all the hard/progressive rock references), or that of a British motorcycle maker (because of all the motorized references). Maybe both, as the style of the sticker looks like a mix of the two Triumph logos.


VIZ ONLY: The original Viz English title for Race 1/Fight 18 "Martial Ball" was "Headbanger's Ball", which was a reference to the MTV television show of the same name which specifically focused on heavy metal music.


The names of the various players come from a number of sources, most of them being a type of weapon. These include:

    1. № 24, Scramasax — from scramsax (see GN3, p173)
    2. № 21, Zaghnal from zaghnal, which is an Indian war hammer or axe
    3. № 59, Flamberge from flamberge, which is a wave-shaped blade, most likely from Germany.
    4. № 1, Armbrust — from armbrust (see GN3, p178)
    5. № 33, Baselard — from baselard (see GN3, p173)
    6. № 45, Bardiche — from bardiche (see GN3, p17)
    7. № 9, Halberd — from halberd (see GN3, p173)
    8. № 37, Vickers — maybe a reference to Vickers, which was a British engineering company which made—among other thing—the Vickers machine gun, which was first used during WW1. (See below for more info.)
    9. № 67, Glaive — from glaive, which is a type of European polearm weapon.
    10. № 13, Peshkabz — from Pesh-kabz (see GN3, p178)
    11. № 6, Copperhead — likely from the type of viper known as a "copperhead". There IS a weapon known as a copperhead (the M712 Copperhead), but it wasn't invented until after GN4 was released.
    12. № 36, Gallant — from the English word gallant, meaning brave, valiant. (See below for more info.)
    13. № 99, Alita — (see GN1, p9)
    14. № 41, Chakram — from chakram, which is a Indian throwing weapon from India.
    15. № 72, Madsen probably named after the Madsen machine gun, a Danish weapon used since 1902.
    16. № 50, Tiegel — from the German word tiegel, meaning pot or crucible. Seems appropriate, given Tiegel's shape.
    17. № 7, Zafal Takié — unknown.
    18. № 88, Aydakatti — from ada katti (see GN3, p88)

It should be noted that since Vickers and Gallant are brothers, and they share British/English names, it's possible that Kishiro might have based their names off the Vickers Valiant, which was a strategic bomber used by the British Royal Air Force. Seeing as the words "gallant" and "valiant" both sound and mean similar, and the Vickers Valiant is a kind of weapon, it's possible that this is what they're supposed to be based off of.

As a side note, the player, Flamberge, seems to resemble an American Football player. It may also be a reference to the original Rollerball, the players of which wore protective equipment similar to American Football, particularly the helmets.

12 - 13

Right there, in big bold letters, there are the words "Scorpions" and "Megadeth" are written on the side walls of the track. I mean, even in the right fonts!

The third band appears to be a band called "Silence", but I can't seem to find any band with that exact logo. However, I did find two bands named "Silence" with similar logos... one from Italy and another from the US. So I suspect that Kishiro did something like the Triumph logo and merge the two together to form the logo used in the manga.


The aprentice in the foreground in the middle panel has a Queensryche Tri-Ryche on his jacket. Is that supposed to be a variation on the cover of "Rage for Order"?


I could swear one of those guys looks like Rodney Dangerfield.


Ed's having a Kraftwerk beer to drink; just another band that Kishiro has turned into a drink. (See Page 64 in GN2 for more info.)


I actually have a small plastic knicknack sort of like the one Shumira gives Jasugun. It's pink, about 4 cm. high, and winks out of wink-eyes. I bought it for a few cents at Archie McPhee Co. in Seattle.

Lost Sheep (GN5)




The song Alita sings in the original manga is "Big Generator", by Yes. The lyrics in the English version is original verse by Fred Burke and Tosh Yoshida, which Kishiro would later use in later Japanese revisions, and now officially in Kodansha's updated English translation.


I've read part of "The Ship" by Hans Henny Jahnn. It's kind of like reading the script to a European art film, though I got the quote in the Manifesto from there. If anyone has a hypothesis about why Alita should be so taken with the author, let me know.


On the bottom most frame, there are three people around a fire-barrel; Max C says it reminds him of an album cover, but can't figure out where it was from. Given Kishiro's preference to hard/progressive rock music, I wouldn't doubt that it was an album cover or some linear-notes photograph. Does anyone know where it's from?


From about this point on I was reminded of the art of the Swiss artist H. R. Giger, designer of such high-profile creatures as The Alien, Sil (from Species) and some of the effects from "Poltergheist 2".


The name Desty Nova is actually from the song Astronomy by the Blue Öyster Cult, off their Imaginos album. The group's producer, Sandy Pearlman, wrote a poem entitled The Soft Doctrines of Immaginos which tells the tale of a human being named Imaginos—also named Desdinova—who is being lead through time by aliens known as "Les Invisibles" in order to play a key role at various points in history. Alita's body, the Imaginos, is named after the album. (See Page 174 in GN9 for more info.)

Incidentally, according to an 1995 interview with Kishiro, Nova's trademark laugh—either Kyahahaha! or Hyahahahah!—was inspired by Mozart's laughter in the 1984 film Amadeus. Give it a listen here; is this what you had had in mind?


Lower right hand panel. It's probably not intended, but this bit reminded me of "The Wizard of Oz". Probably no parallel.

152 - 153

The revolver Alita is constructing is a Smith & Wesson Model 610. Furthermore, according to this entry on TVTropes, there has been several modifications made to it, as well as other things worthy of notice:

  • its 4" barrel cut down by an inch or so
  • the rear sights and the hammer spur had been removed
  • the Model 610 is fairly rare firearm (produced only between 1990 and 1992) uses half-moon clips to fire an equally-rare cartridge: a 10mm Auto round; that around is also found in the Bren Ten of Miami Vice fame.

According to that Troper, the 10mm Auto round is "[not] quite as powerful as a .44, but definitely a step above a .357 Magnum", and, all things considered, Alita's revolver was "the perfect no-snag last-ditch concealed-carry weapon".

But most of all, it's just another sign of how thorough Mr. Kishiro does his research.

Rain Maker (GN6)



GN6 - GN9

Barjack's operation and organization, as well as the desert environment outside of the Scrapyard is a very large scale reference to the Mad Max movie trilogy, which takes place in the deserts Australian Outback. In the Mad Max world, society had fallen and people have been reduced to savages who have to pillage and murder in order to survive. The second Mad Max film, The Road Warrior, is probably the one out of the entire trilogy that is referenced the most in Battle Angel Alita.


Kimji's model number, TR-55, is a reference to the Sony TR-55, which was Sony's—and Japan's—first transistor radio, made with transistors. Thus, "TR". For Transistor Radio. I have a feeling that Mr. Kishiro grew up with one.


Figure Four is named after a wrestling move known as a.... figure four.


Philippe observes that Rail Box is a train shipping company of some sort, but Mark has told me that they folded in the 80's. Thus Philippe; thus Mark.


Gabriel, the GIB's flying support platform, is likely named after Gabriel, an angel who serves as a messenger of God to certain people. Seems apt here, as Gabriel is providing data on the incoming Barjack raiders for Alita, sent by the GIB ("God", as far as Alita is concerned at this point).

Also in the original Japanese edition, the types of arms listed in Gabriel's scans are the following (which were miswritten in the original Viz release, in parenthesis):

  • SMG (BMO) — submachine gun
  • SAW (BAY) — squad automatic weapon
  • HMG (RMG) — heavy machine gun
  • CSG (GSG) — ?? (I can't seem to find any info on what CSG could be; maybe "chain-saw gun"?)


This scene is kind of reminicent of that scene in "Predator" where the Predator takes off its mask. Same sound effect, at any rate.


Figure Four seems to be hanging out in Monument Valley, located in Navajo Nation, known for its iconic sandstone buttes which personifies the Wild West. The fact that the original English subtitle for Fight 32 (Journey 3) is "Wild West Heroes" is a testament to this notion.

The scene depicts two of the more famous buttes in Monument Valley, known as the "Mittens". However, the drawing seems to be specifically based on a production shot for the movie My Darling Clementine, as seen here.

The Mittens buttes appear once again on page 89.


VIZ-ONLY: Bottom half of the page. The Cylinder's remarks are from "The Fly" and "2001: a space odyssey".


Upper left-hand corner. It's possible that the quote she's talking about is from Hans Henny Jahnn—why else would Kishiro mention him? I have been unable to identify the exact source of this quote, however. The Kodansha re-translation doesn't seem to help any either.


Left page, top right corner. Colonel Bozzel, however vaguely, reminds me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's nemesis Krang. Bozzel looks cooler, though.


Having the wall land on our heroes, only for them to luck out under a window reminds me of a similar, classic Buster Keaton scene.


Alita's spider bombs, "Spidey", reminds me of the nickname of New York City's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. I suspect that that was the reason why it was changed to "Arachno" in the original Viz/English translation, but Kodansha changed it back.


Right page, center bottom. Standard-issue US Army canteen. I guess we're supposed to assume that Figure got it from wherever Barjack got their weapons. Incidentally this is the first definite reference to where the story takes place in Battle Angel Alita.

Panzer Bride (GN7)




The "Ground Inspection Bureau" or GIB is likely based on the "Federal Bureau of Investigation" or FBI, which is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States of America. The FBI analogue in the video game series "Grand Theft Auto" is known as the "Federal Investigation Bureau", or "FIB".

27 - 35

The fight between Alita and the ninjas is an almost exact copy of one in Frank Miller's Elektra: Lives story. Kishiro pays tribute to one of his inspirations.


My Japanese is super-duper rusty, but... Gonzaemon (権左衛門, ごんざえもん) is a rare, old name in Japanese, which is constructed from two separate concepts:

  • Gonza- (権左), which is part of a rank title, such as "Provisional [権] (Captain of the) Left [左] (Military Guards)"; and,
  • -(i)emon (衛門), which is an ancient given name for men meaning "guard gate" and thus seen attached to names of men who were traditionally considered to be loyal guards, such as Samurai. For example, nearly half of the 47 ronin had -(i)emon (衛門) in their name.
Taken in full, the name could mean "Provisional Guard (of the) Left Gate", "Left Guard (of the) Gate, Provisional(-rank)", or something along those lines.

All that said, I think Kishiro simply used the name "Gonzaemon" because it's an old-sounding name with a strong guard implication. Think "Fido" or "Trusty" as similar old-sounding names for loyal pet you can trust to guard your house and family. Compare/contrast with Ishikawa Goemon (石川 五右衛門), aka "Ninja-Robin Hood".


"Radio KAOS" is the name of a concept album by Roger Waters (not David Gilmour—thanks Cathy!), formerly of Pink Floyd. The plot revolves around a boy who, interestingly, is able to perceive radio waves.


In the original manga, Kaos performs "Inside Looking Out" by The Alan Parsons Project. The song is from the album "Gaudi", dedicated to the artist of the same name who died before his magnum opus—the Sagrada Familia Cathedral—could be completed. This is likely an original verse by Burke and Yoshida once again, adopted by Kishiro and reused by Kodansha.


Among other things, Koyomi seems to be looking at a Mickey Mouse doll and a Coke bottle. Most of the rest of it are old compact cassettes and VHS cassettes.


Oh, jeez. OK, top to bottom, left to right: a No-Smoking sign, a street sign, a Coca Cola sign, a samauri headpiece, two Mickey Mouse dolls, a Superman phone, a Donald Duck toy, a Mickey Mouse clock, and a lot of other stuff.


We see the kind of characters that Kaos' psychometry can tap into... like Jason Voorhees, dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, and Robocop.

War Chronicle (GN8)




We get our first look at just where everything is happening in the world of Battle Angel Alita. Long story short, it's in and around Kansas City, Missouri, USA. However, the list below is where things get a lot more specific. (Anything in italics has been added or updated based on the newer map included at the end of LO18.)

The Scrapyard: Kansas City, Missouri
Ancient City in GN6: Denver, Colorado
Radio KAOS: Austin, Texas
Granite Inn/Mt. NORAD: Cheyenne Mountain Complex (however LO18 places the Granite Inn at Pueblo, Colorado)
Alhambra: Alhambra, California (a suburb of Los Angeles)
Bashaku: Amarillo, Texas
Meltdown: Around Smoky Hill River area, south of Hayes, Kansas

Western Mountains: Rocky Mountains
Northern River: Missouri River until just before F-25, James River afterwards
Southern River: Mississippi River

F-1: Burlington, Illinois
F-2: Davenport, Iowa
F-3: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
F-4: Saint Louis, Missouri
F-5: Vincennes, Indiana
F-6: Louisville, Kentucky (actually, just slightly North-East of it)
F-7: Shawnee National Forest, Illinois
F-8: Nashville, Tennessee
F-9: Memphis, Tennessee
F-10: Jefferson City, Missouri
F-11: Searcy, Arkansas
F-12: Helena, Arkansas

F-13: Branson, Missouri (south of Springfield, MO)
F-14: Little Rock, Arkansas
F-15: Pittsburg, Kansas
F-16: Dallas, Texas
F-17: Tulsa, Oklahoma
F-18: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
F-19: Wichita, Kansas
F-20: Sweetwater, Texas
F-21: Lubbok, Plainview
F-22: Garden City, Kansas
F-23: Junction City, Kansas (or possibly just slightly north of it)
F-24: Omaha, Nebraska
F-25: Springfield, South Dakota
F-26: Pierre, South Dakota (actually, somewhat North-West of it)
F-27: Des Moines, Iowa
F-28: Saint Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota
F-29: Quincy, Illinois

The original list of cities was based on research I did back in 1997. With the release of LO18, an updated map was included, which allowed me to check my previous work and make any fixes where necessary. The new map also included Farm locations missing from the original map from GN8, so those have been included. Finally, the location of Bashaku was found and added to this list.


Philippe thinks that looks like the Intel logo on Lou's box, and I'm inclined to agree with him.


"Radio KAOS" also is a perfectly legitimate radio call sign for any American radio station operating West of the Mississippi River... which is what Radio KAOS is. Specifically, it's call sign starts with a K and is four characters long, which fits regulations. All he needs to do is stick "-FM" next to it and he'd be in business!


It's interesting that Vector's trying to escape through Heaven's Gate. Wonder if he's having some pudding to go with that? (See Page 64 in GN2 for more info.)


NORADNORth American Air Defence, where all of the USA's missiles are kept under lock and key. Blown up in "ID4".


GIB, brought to you by Macintosh Classic. No wonder they've been able to stay dominant over the PC-using Scrapyard for so long...


That "ELP" thing looks like the logo for Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Another logo to it's side is... I'm not sure! It looks like the logo to Dark Horse Comics, but I doubt that it's that. On the other hand, I can't find a heavy metal (or rock, bare minimum) association to it, seeing as Kishiro's references tend to lean towards them, so I can't tell if I'm not looking hard enough, or if I'm not looking at the right place. Hm.

118 - 119

I can't believe I've forgotten to mention this all these years, but crazyankan jogged my memory. The Heng (the Anti-Zalem Weapon) is based on the 80 cm K (E) railway artillery guns deployed by Nazi Germany during World War 2, which were in turn based on the railway artillery guns employed by the German Empire to attack Paris with during World War 1.

Conquest (GN9)




Director Bigott's lament that "if he only had a brain!" is not unlike the song The Scarecrow sang in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Seeing as Kodansha took the Wizard of Oz reference out of the Deckman scene in GN1 (See Page 35 in GN1 for more info), it was only fair to add one right back in somewhere else.


I know that the MIB stands for Medical Inspection Bureau, but considering that one of its many purposes is the supression of top secret information—the "THEY" in "THEY don't want you to know this"—I'll bet the other MIB (the Men In Black) served as the Medical Inspection Bureau's inspiration and Kishiro figured out a way to keep the initials "MIB" for his own purposes.


The wide angled scenes of Alita back on the Scrapyard block reminds me of a scene from the 1991 comic Hard Boiled, written by Frank Miller and drawn by Geof Darrow, where the main character, Harry "Carl "No "Nixon" Name" Seltz" Burns, was (NSFW) chasing a perp down Hollywood and Vine in Los Angeles in a similar sort of three-quarter angle view, and the corner was full of all kind of degeneracy and people who are rude, lewd, crude, and full of attitude. Seeing as Kishiro is a huge Frank Miller fan, this doesn't surprise me to know he was definitely inspired by that scene.


"Gally" is Alita's name in the original Japanese version. (See Page 9 in GN1 for more info.) Likewise, the name chosen in the original Japanese version was "Alita" (アリタ) , likely as a dig at the fact that her name was changed from Gally to Alita in the English translation.

Clearly Mr. Kishiro pays close attention to what happens when his work is placed in the hands of other people.


Gally's book, The Alchemist of the Golden Dawn, is a collection of letters written by Reverend W. A. Ayton to F. L. Gardner and others. The letters themselves are about the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an organization "devoted to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries".

I'm honestly curious about how this relates to the story. Any suggestions?


The Conqueror of Mars is none other than a classic wind-up toy robot.


Bert and Ernie in profile at the top of the page.


Alita's new body, the Imaginos, is named after one of the Blue Öyster Cult's albums, titled—you guessed it—Imaginos. Desty Nova's name also comes from a track off this album. (See Page 57 in GN5 for more info.)


In Philippe's words, "Tron, anyone?"


Jeru (エル, pronounced "Eru" in Japanese), is from the first half off the name of the city of Jerusalem, with Zalem being the second half.

VIZ-ONLY: Jeru's original name, Ketheres—called "Ketheres Elyion" only in this single frame of GN9—is named after one of the sefira (or emanations) in the kabbalistic Tree of Life: Keter, which is located above Tiferet, Tipheres' namesake (see the "Viz-Only" section of Page 10 in GN1). Keter, which is the top-most sefira, represents the "crown" of the Tree of Life, and is considered invisible, colorless, and completely incomprehensible to man. I gotta admit, that's a pretty creative name to give it. But I guess we're back to boring ol' "Jeru" for the English version. Yawn.


Melchizedek is a Biblical figure; he was the king of Jerusalem at one time. Given that name of the floating city as Jeru and Zalem, it seems wholly appropriate that the main computer is named Melchezedek. Better that than "David", in my honest opinion.

Ashen Victor




The art style of this book borrows heavily from Frank Miller, particularly that of his acclaimed film noir comic series, Sin City.

12 - 13

Snev's neck's mechanical configuration seems to resemble that of Robocop's neck. Wouldn't doubt it.


No. 4, Dolagunov, is named after the Soviet sniper rifle, the Dragunov. Just another Motorballer named after a weapon.


"90125" is an album title by Yes.


Beretta, being a blonde-haired prostitute—and confidant of our hero, Snev—who was ultimately murdered by someone with sharp fingers working against our hero, reminds me of the first Sin City story, The Hard Goodbye, where Goldie, being a blonde-haired prostitute—and confidant of our hero, Marv—who was ultimately murdered by someone with sharp fingers working against our hero.


Also like with The Hard Goodbye, our hero is met with another blonde-haired lady who was in the same profession as his murdered confidant. Specifically, Lorna has a similar role to Wendy in The Hard Goodbye.


Fragonar Circuit: Jean-Honoré Fragonard was some painter back in the 1700's... although I think his name was chosen because the "frag" part of the name means to kill someone in video game circles. Makes sense.


"S-So... this is what it's like to crash. It feels... good..." — Reminds me of what Kittan said in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann when he finally able to experience Spiral Power: "So this is Spiral power, not bad...".

Of course, Ashen Victor came out long before Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann... so just add this to the list of all the references that remind me of Mr. Kishiro's work, as opposed to the other way around.

Last Order: Angel Reborn (LO1)




Alita's new body, the Imaginos, is named after one of the Blue Öyster Cult's albums, titled—you guessed it—Imaginos. Desty Nova's name also comes from a track off this album. (See Page 57 in GN5 for more info.)


On Yukito Kishiro's official website, Yukitopia, Kishiro has a regular contest where fans can create their own characters and costumes for Alita and their creations may someday make their way into the story, in one form or another. The first fan creations to be added appears on this page; the Hot-Water heater man walking the robot, and the gooey thing sitting on a car hood.


Sechs kinda reminds me of Number Six from the classic British TV show, The Prisoner. Specifically the fact that—apart from the fact that Sechs' name is a number—Sechs is fighting for her idea of freedom and existence, just like Number Six, but also because "Number 1", both in The Prisoner and in Battle Angel Alita, has the same appearance as the characters with "Six" for a name. Well.... that last one may be a stretch, but I'm sure the fact that both Number Six and Sechs are struggling for themselves and their right to exist and be free may be related to one another.

And then there's also the fact that there is a character in the new Battlestar Galactica series named "Number Six" who is part of a mass production series of similar looking humanoid robots which can be reborn in new bodies after death and likewise are struggling to exist despite the death and demise of her master(s). But then again, that Number Six came after Sechs.


Sérgio Nova points out that the seat number, E-118, is a reference to "Element 118", which as of 2001 (the time of LO1's release) was known as ununoctium. One year later, it was synthesized, and eventually given the official name Oganesson, named after Russian nuclear physicist Yuri Oganessian.

I suspect that this number was chosen because, in 2001, it was the highest number element on the list (potential or otherwise). Even in 2016, it's the last element which has been synthesized (elements 119 and 120, ununennium and unbinilium, are still unknown and have yet to be synthesized).


Obligatory Mac reference. Deckman 100's front computer monitor is not unlike a Classic Mac. It even has the "Hello." written on the screen using a font called Techno, another one of Apple's creations!

Last Order: Angel of the Innocents (LO2)




I forgot to mention this; the MIB Drones kinda look like the Martian spaceships from the 1953 version of War of the Worlds. At least their eye-piece does.


The Wabi-sabi Antique Shop here has a lot of stuff. Nothing in particular stands out, though.


Three classic cameras on Koyomi's desk; the big one I can't put my finger on, the small, cubish one is a Kodak Brownie (although what model it is, I'm not quite sure), and the one in the back is a Polaroid SX-70 instant camera. My dad has one similar to that; it's pretty old, back from the 1970's or so.


The two robots looking over Kaos (the Cowboy and the... the other one) are two more characters created by fans that Kishiro used in his work. (See Page 78 in LO1 for more info.)

Last Order: Angel Eternal (LO3)




Aga Mbadi (aka Trinidad) is another fan-created character that Kishiro used. Probably the most developed creation so far. (See Page 78 in LO1 for more info.)


Robo-Asyl might be a reference to Pro Asyl, an organization founded back in 1985-86 which "would effectively represent the rights of persons persecuted on account of their race, religion or political opinion". Asyl = Asylum?


An Apple Power Macintosh G4, codenamed "Quicksilver", plays dice with the other robots. How cute!


We're tickled with some hint to the real date as to when Last Order, nay, the entire Gunnm series takes place. Let's do a little math....

  • ES 1 = 1957, when Sputnik 1 was launched.
  • ES 63 = 2019, the not-to-distant future (next Sunday A.D.?)
  • ES 235 = 2191, when Mars was colonized.
  • ES 250 = 2206, when Venus was colonized
  • ES 450 = 2406, when Ping Wu arrived at Robo-Asyl
  • ES 591 = 2547, the current events in Last Order

Interesting to note, Kishiro had, prior to Last Order, released a timeline of the history of Gunnm, with dates relative to the birth of Koyomi (and the discovery of Alita by Ido). Certain dates match up perfectly with the dates given in LO3. For example: Venus was colonized 15 years after Mars according to both LO3 and the timeline in that link. However, as the timeline was made before Last Order, a lot of the dates weren't officialized; if you make comparisons between that timeline and the dates listed in LO3, you'll calculate the present time in Last Order to be ES580, and not ES591 which has been specifically mentioned.

The AK (After Koyomi) dates though seem to match up nicely, however. This means...

  • AK 0 = ES 576 = 2532, when Koyomi was born and when Ido found Alita (GN1)
  • AK 2 = ES 578 = 2534, Alita and Yugo fall in love, Yugo dies, Alita plays Motorball (GN2-4)
  • AK 4 = ES 580 = 2536, when Alita and Berzerker-Zapan battle (GN5)
  • AK 14 = ES 590 = 2546, Tuned Alita, End of Barjack War, Battle at the Granite Inn, Death of Alita (GN6-9)
  • AK 15 = ES 591 = 2547, Nova revives Alita in Tiphares, Gally meets Ping Wu in Ketheres (LO1-3)

So... basically most of everything you've read in the entire Battle Angel Alita graphic novel series takes place between 2532 and 2547. Wow! With that said, here are some other dates of importance:

  • ES 53 = 2009, the first manned attempt to colonize Mars. (It's mentioned in that the first emigration to Mars happened on ES 53, so I can't say if that was the first manned mission to Mars, or the first attempt to colonize it AFTER X number of manned missions to Mars.)
  • ES 55 = 2011, the Geocatastrophy which turns Earth into the barren wasteland we know and love. I wonder if the Mayans predicted this?
  • ES 65 = 2021, beginning of LO8, the Cognates reach New York City
  • ES 69 = 2025, the Cognates reach, destroy the Farrell Shelter
  • ES 126 = 2082, Cognatesarrive to the Bradley Shelter, Vilma and Bryon's final fight, Merlin activates itself
  • ES 173 = 2129, Vilma ressurected, first rocket launch of Star City
  • ES 178 = 2134, Radha dies
  • ES 188 = 2144, first prototype orbital elevator launch
  • ES 191 = 2147, Arthur Farrell dies
  • ES 200-350 = 2156-2306, time skip as Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are colonized
  • ES 253 = 2209, Baldachin non-aggression treaty between the Mars Baldachin Verein and the Martian great king Elfriede. It's worth pointing out that this took place 200 years after the "first manned attemp to colonize Mars"; I wonder if THAT entry is a typo?
  • ES 361-363 = 2317-2319, Northern Expedition, first war where Mars fights and is victorious in
  • ES 369 = 2325, the start of the Interplanetary War (the one Yoko fights in, though obviously she joins in a little later, seeing as she's the one that ends it!)
  • ES 373-374 = 2329-2330, the flashback events in Mars Chronicles, with Young Erika and Baby Yoko.
  • ES 386 = 2342, apparently the last time Erika and Yoko saw one another
  • ES 387 = 2343, Camlann Tragedy, the end of the Interplanetary War and Grünthal, Yoko captured and "dropped off" on Earth. Meanwhile Melchizedek starts to go silly, and the connection between Tiphares/Zalem and the surface is broken.
  • ES 400-575 = 2356-2529, time skip as the Factory system is created, LADDER is organized, and the surface of Earth is officially made off-limits.
  • ES 491 = 2447, 1st ZOTT event
  • ES 501 = 2457, 2nd ZOTT event, however the battle between Zekka and Tunpo messes stuff up big time and the 12th pipe attached to Tiphares breaks and destroys Factory 1212.
  • ES 591 = 2547, the entire events of Last Order, Alita's brain is resurrected on Tiphares and lives happily ever after with Figure and Ido. Meanwhile, Alita's memory chip clone heads off and explores the Solar System, such as Venus.
  • ES 594 = 2550, the actual current events in Mars Chronicles, with Alita's clone finishing off the battles she started.

What's personally entertaining to me about this is, back before this timeline was released and all of us Gunnm fans were speculating what year the series took place in... some of us thought it was in the 23rd century, others in the 90th century, and still others said it was millions of years from now. However, I think I might have won the prize because I made a fanfic website about Gunnm's history before Last Order was released, and I estimated the year of when Ido found Alita was 2558. In the end I was only about 26 years off! Not bad, all things considering!


We're introduced to our first beings from outer space... a Venusian. But wait, why does he look like one of Desty Nova's creatures in GN5 (page 60, first frame)?


The Jupiter System Union's "Toposphere Project" seems to describe a Dyson Sphere (or more specifically, a Dyson shell); it not only provides extra living space for anyone living on it, but it also allows whoever owns the Shell to capture 100% of the energy output from whatever stellar object the Shell encompases.

While most people consider that a Dyson Sphere/Shell would encompass a star, British scientist Paul Birch proposed constructing a Shell around Jupiter (Supra-Jupiter) and "merely" tapping into the thermal energy of Jupiter for power. Seems like Kishiro was more than a little inspired by Paul Birch's ideas (see Page 81 below).


We finally get to find out what the names of the orbital elevators opposite Tipheres-Ketheres: Space City Binhar, and Surface Gate City Nezher. Both Binhar and Nezher are name after two of the sefira (or emanations) in the kabbalistic Tree of Life: Binah and Netzach, respectively.

Binah is the second sefira, and is placed below Keter, which is the namesake of Ketheres (see Page 207 in GN9). Binah is associated with the color black and represents the left-side of the brain and the heart.

Netzach is the seventh sefira, and as the name translates to "eternity", it represents "perpetuity", "victory", and "endurance".

Seeing as Tipheres-Ketheres is the main orbital elevator, naming the secondary orbital elevator's spaceport after Binah and Netzach seems appropriate.

The Japanese name for Binhar and Nezher is Zig and Gurat, which comes from the word ziggurat, and likely inspired by the Great Ziggurat of Ur. But I wonder why it was named after a type of archetecture and instead of a city? Why not "Meso-Potamia" or "Baby-Lon"? Oh well.


Paul Birch was a British author, engineer, and scientist, who had a notable interest in orbital rings. The type of orbital ring which he described in 1982 was called the Partial Orbital Ring System, which is essentially what Kishiro used for his Orbital Ring System, albeit with the orbital elevators tethered to a fixed, specific location on Earth. Paul Birch's system allowed for the Earth to rotate beneath the ring, while the ring itself remains fixed in space.

BTW, if I had a little more time, seeing as Kishiro seems to have accurately depicted the angle of each planet's axis, I'd try to calculate the angle of Earth's axis to see if Kishiro accounted for any possible shift in Earth's axis after the civilization-destroying asteroid hit (as described on page 40 of LO8).


It's worth noting that the Neo-Third Reich is based on the "Space Nazi" trope, as well as the "Nazi UFO" conspiracy theory, which claims that Nazi Germany built UFOs and—among other things—used them to escape Earth towards the end of WW2. The sci-fi comedy Iron Sky is a testament to this concept.

Also depicted in the bottom right panel is "Face on Mars", located in the Cydonia region of Mars, both of which are also the target of various conspiracy theories.


Space Mbadi! An obvious nod to the space adventure sagas of yesteryear, specifically Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. The style of art used actually seems to emulate that of American comic artist Jim Lee, who drew many X-Men comics during the early 90's.

The names of the actors of the Space Mbadi! television show also most likely reference people in real life, possibly those of some political, artistic or social importance:

  • Roy Nars = Manabendra Nath Roy, Indian Nationalist, activist and political theorist. (This is, however, assuming that "Nath" got transliterated into Japanese as ナス "Nasu", which in turn was retransliterated into "Nars".)
  • W. Conant = Ralph W. Conant, a writer and researcher of various public werks.
  • V. Manabendra = Most likely Manabendra Nath Roy again. However, I'm not sure what the V stands for; searches for it come up empty.
  • N. Tripathi = Either Suryakant "Nirala" Tripathi or Shri Nath Tripathi. I suspect it's the later... but both still were very important artists/writers of their time. However, neither were women.
  • J. Cugnot = Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, inventor of the first self-propelled mechanical vehicle
  • A. Volgin = There are two Andrei Volgin (one is a relatively important Russian economist and the other is a professional soccer player), as well as an Anton Volgin, who is also a soccer player. On the other hand, there is also a Georgi Plekhanov--whose nom de guerre apparently was "Volgin"--who was a revolutionary and Marxist theorist (who in fact was the first person to coin the term "Marxist"). I think it's most likely referencing either Volgin The Economist or Volgin The Marxist, but it could also be because of the professional soccer player because of.....
  • G. Helder = The only person I could find named Glenn Helder is a soccer player as well, but that's it. In fact, of the people noteworthy enough to be listed on the Helder page on Wikipedia, as well as on the Hélder page, there is a disproportionate number of soccer players listed. Thus, I suspect that maybe the reason why Volgin and Helder are "actors" in the Space Mbadi! television series is because of their soccer-playing counterparts...
  • K.T. Conrad = Other than Kent Conrad, who is a US Senator, and Tony Conrad, who is an American avant-gardee video artist, there really isn't anyone with a similar name who is of note. I just doubt that Kishiro intended to reference these two guys specifically, because I doubt some comic artist in Japan would even know who they are. But on the other hand, these two ARE the most noteworthy people that fit the "K.T. Conrad" criteria.... [shrugs]

I also just realized that the layout of the cast and crew of Space Mbadi are in Western format (starting from the upper-left going to the lower-right), opposite of the Japanese format. I guess it's just to emphasize the "foreign-ness" of the TV show.


"Samoyed" is a breed of dog used exploring in snow. Usually tied together to a sled and used for transportation. Seems rather appropriate here.


The dummy that Gelda uses sort of looks like C-3P0, or an Crash Test Dummy.


The Leviathan I is named after the leviathan from the Old Testament from the Bible. There's also the political theory book of the same name written by Thomas Hobbes which (if I recall correctly) suggests putting all political power into a single entity which rules all nations in order to make sure they all played nicely. Or something along those lines.

This reference is definitely intended, as Hobbes City is referenced in LO4. (See Page 68 in LO4 for more info.)


Why do I feel that that's the Yellow Submarine flying above with the Samoyed?

Last Order: Angel of Protest (LO4)




Isn't that Splinter Cell's Sam Fisher in the top frame's background (with the three eyes)?


The spacesuit with the big number 3 on it is that of a NASA moon suit designed by Grumman/Space General from the 1960's. The space suit behind #3 (the one holding the gun) also looks pretty familiar, but I can't figure it out.


Hobbes City is named after Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), who wrote Leviathan in 1651. (See Page 161 in LO3 for more info.) It may be appropriately named, seeing as Hobbes was all about the natural equality of humanity, the artificial nature of the political order, and other European liberal thought, and Hobbes City basically gave everyone the ultimate equalizer—firearms—and allows everyone to kill one another off on equal terms.

Also namesake of Hobbes from "Calvin and Hobbes".


Toji sort of looks like Wheeljack from the 1984 cartoon series, The Transformers... but I have my doubts that it was intentional. Or I should say, the things on the side of Toji's head reminds me that of Wheeljack's.


Owein, Lancelot, and Percival were part of the famed Knights of the Round Table.


Yukito Kishiro's self portrait bears an uncanny resemblance to the Metaluna mutant from the 1955 film This Island Earth. Well, I never Metaluna I didn't like! Hahaha...

Last Order: Haunted Angel (LO5)




Caerula Sanguis is another fan-created character that Kishiro used. (See Page 78 in LO1 for more info.)


Similarly, the entire Guntroll team are more fan-created characters.


"Blood Red Skies": A little piece by Judas Priest. I assume 20031201 is when this particular picture was drawn (December 1st, 2003). Christian emails me pointing out that "You won't break me" is part of the chorus of Blood Red Skies.

Last Order: The Angel & The Vampire (LO6)




The announcer mentions that Alita might be "the coelacanth of the combat world"; the coelacanth is an ancient species of fish that was once though to be extinct until one was rediscovered off the east coast of South Africa in 1938. Given that the announcer points out that Alita may be a true master of the Panzer Kunst who has been lost in time, his analogy is considerably poignant.


Yani and Degrossi are fan-created character that Kishiro used. (See Page 78 in LO1 above for more info.)


An alien-base cult? Sounds like Heaven's Gate or Raelism to me!

Last Order: Guilty Angel (LO7)




It's... It's Zycrow! Zycrow was actually a character in another one of Yukito Kishiro's books, Aqua Knights.


Tzykrow's seinerweisen (being able to detach his head from his body) reminds me of the part in John Carpenter's The Thing where the head of the Thing pulled itself off and was walking around like a spider.


Oh man, Springfoot Jack. While creepy, evil clowns is a fairly common concept, there are a few specific clowns Jack would be based off. He could be based off John Wayne Gacy, who notoriously dressed up as a clown and murdered a number of young boys. Springfoot's size and girth is reminicent of The Clown (from The Spawn series of comic books), and he also seems to also resemble Pennywise from Stephen King's novel, It. Jack's name and spring motif is mostly likely based off of Jack-in-the-Box.


Nestor also pointed out how Springfoot Jack's real name, Molonev Menhir, references himself a bit. Specifically, although his last name—Menhir—references where he was discovered as a child (an asteroid), the word menhir itself is large, upright standing stone. A menhir is also the kind of stone that Obelix, a beefy character similar in appearance to Molonev Menhir from the French comic series Asterix, scuplts and delivers to people. Nestor admits this is a bit of a stretch, but I can kinda see the connection! (It's no worse than the "Factor Front 242"/"Robocop" connection above... [GN2, page 63])


Continuing with the whole clown thing here, the clown-with-the-gun guy seems like he'd fit in with either the Insane Clown Posse, the Jokerz gang from Batman Beyond or the Clowns gang from Akira.


"Laugh! Laugh, I say!" — Springfoot Jack's attitude sounds a bit like that Ella Wheeler Wilcox quote: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone."


Whophon's Egyptian theme and, well, over-the-top clothing looks like something out of the world of Yu-Gi-Oh.


Whophon's "Reality Distortion Field" sounds a lot like the same one employed by Steve Jobs, although Jobs' field was one that allowed Steve to convince anyone of practically anything when you're in his presence.


"The Dark Side of the Moon" was a 1973 album by the band Pink Floyd.


Meanwhile, Sechs' stretch punch is akin to One Piece's Monkey D. Luffy's signature punch.

Last Order: Angel's Vision (LO8)




Zapolska is holding a Kewpie doll. Interestingly enough, there is also Kewpie Mayonnaise in Japan.


I can't believe I forgot to mention this, but all the computer "readout" data seen in pretty much every computer screen in Last Order is all HTML. Presumably it came straight from Yukitopia's own source code.


It's the Statue of Liberty, naturally. It's a pretty obvious entry, but since no one in the story necessarily states where they are, nor is anything specifically referenced, I thought I'd just list all locations shown in this book for you, obvious or not. As you've probably already noticed, most of this book takes place on the East Coast of the United States of America.


Jacco's guns are Glock 17's.


One of the mutant humans is wearing a shirt with a Pan-American logo on it. They also kinda look like Bigfoot.


Iconic picture of Astronaut Bruce McCandless II, who was the first to test the Manned Maneuvering Unit in 1984.


Susie brings to my attention that, at this point in the story, the Vampires are hanging out in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The top frame is Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station while the bottom frame is the Pennsylvania Department of Education building, both in or near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


Backwoods Cigars are the only brand of cigars I can think of that put "sweet aromatic" on their packaging. Also on this page, Zapolska is holding some toys, which are fan-created designs that Kishiro used. (See Page 78 in LO1 for more info.)


Susie points out that the building at the bottom of the page is the Pennsylvania State Capitol building, which is also in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. At this point I've become rather curious why Yukito chose Harrisburg as opposed to a more, how you say, Internationally interesting city, say Pittsburg or Philadelphia maybe. I mean, I can't imagine the general Japanese audience specifically recognizing Harrisburg more than Philadelphia, so I can't see why he'd spend so much time and attention to detail, past his usual capabilities, in making Harrisburg so recognizable. All attempts to find a Japan-Harrisburg connection came up flat, so I'm at a loss.


The middle frame is the Arch de Triumph in Paris, France. And in the bottom frame, it's the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.


Although it's not specifically mentioned in the text, it is possible to detemine where the Farrell Shelter is based on the revealed facts. Now given that the Vampires are hanging out in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Farrell Shelter is probably within a day-or-so walking/skiing distance from the city. And since it appears to be dug into the side of a mountain, chances are that it's dug into the Appalachian Mountains, possibly within the Blue Ridge Mountain chain, which covers territory in and around Harrisburg. (Get it? Blue Ridge Mts.? Cærula? Awwww never mind.)

Now the only place that seems to fit this criteria may in fact be the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, located near Bluemont, Virginia, which was built by/into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The purpose of the Mount Weather Center was to serve as an evacuation location for civilian and military leaders and officials in case of a natural or manmade disaster in order for the systems of government and society can continue to function, as well as be protected from the outside elements. It is, of course, one of many different contingencies at the disposal of the American Federal Government, but Mount Weather seems to be the most likely candidate for the Farrell Shelter.

And most of all, Harrisburg and Mount Weather are only about 100 miles or so away from one another, so it is possible for someone to spend a day-or-so on skis to get to and from there; walking speed is about two to three miles per hour, so that's a two to three day trip, where as skis can travel on average of 15 to 16 miles per hour, which could cover 100 miles in about six to seven hours. But because they may require to ski/walk uphill in order to complete the trip, which in turn may affect travel time, a day travel seems appropriate.

I now suspect that perhaps the reason why Cærula was named "Cærula" to begin with was because of the research Kishiro must have done on locations in the US for the story to take place in; after finding the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, he undoubtedly noticed the word "Blue" being used twice and was maybe inspired by it. ("Think of how my reader's minds will be blown when they find out about THIS!") .... Or maybe it was the other way around? :D


The aliens kinda look like the Flatwoods Monster, only with legs. Curiously enough, the Flatwoods Monster has some kind of pop culture status in Japan—one greater than in the US, the Flatwood Monster's country of origin. In fact, Yukito has a tiny model of one in his work area.


More unnamed East-of-the-Mississippi locations. Frame one is Pittsburgh; the bridge in the frame is the Roberto Clemente Bridge. Frame two might be Louisville, Kentucky; the skyline matches at least. And frame four is definitely Indianapolis, Indiana. I'm not quite sure what that ship is in frame three, however Susie suggests that the ship is most definitely docked somewhere on the Ohio River. Now given the amount of attention to detail Kishiro put into making recognizable ruins, I'm sure it's something that's supposed to be particularly noteable.


The city with the large arch is St. Louis, Missouri.


The building Vilma, Victor and Jacco camp out at is the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis.


The Bradley Shelter was most likely converted from the St. Louis Air Force Station, once known as the St. Louis Arsenal. Another possibility, though it's less likely, is the Scott Air Force Base.


Merlin resembles the kabbalistic Tree of Life.

Seeing as Mr. Kishiro is very conscious of the changes made to the names in the English version (see Page 75 in GN9 for more info), I wonder if this is a similar reference, seeing as Tiphares and Ketheres are both named after two of the sefira from the Tree of Life. (See Page 10 in GN1 for more info.)


Uther Pendragon is father of King Arthur, which keeps with the whole Knights of the Round Table motif. Also, the subtle Mac Classic in the corner of the photographic is overshadowed by....


...the overwelmingly obvious Mac placements in the first two frames.


In that last frame... is that The Mole Man? Or is it Doctor Octopus? Perhaps it's Captain Cold?

Last Order: Angel's Duty (LO9)




Tipheret and Yesod are two sefira from the kabbalistic Tree of Life. Meanwhile, paths Gimmel, Samech and Tav are that which connect the various sefira together:

As mentioned above (see Page 186 in LO8 for more info), I highly suspect the use of Tipheret was an intentional reference by Mr. Kishiro of the name changes made in the English version of Gunnm, where Zalem was renamed to Tiphares. Only this time it isn't a dig like Mr. Kishiro's use of the name "Alita" in GN9. (See Page 75 in GN9 for more info.)

64 - 65

By the looks of things, it seems as if Byron was a Crusader. But who he fought for is a mystery. For example, Byron's outfit is black with a white cross, however the only Knights in those colors were either from Malta or the Order of Saint John, but neither use the kind of cross depicted on Bryon's outfit. The banner on the previous page also doesn't look like any of the ones used by any of the Crusaders.

In other words, Kishiro has proven to be very meticulous with his research and accuracy, but he seems to have phoned this one in. If anyone actually knows who Bryon is fighting for, let me know!


A Hummer H3 is cut to ribbons over the next few pages. It even has the logo and everything.


You know what a Zombie is. However...

VIZ-ONLY: In the original Viz translation, one of the grave robbers call Caerula a "zuvembie". It might have been written to imply an accent, but a "zuvembie" is an actual thing. Well, it's really only just a plain ol' zombie... however, due to the restrictions placed by the Comics Code Authority on many American comic book companies in the 1950's, zombies couldn't be called "zombies", so a new word had to be used. The word itself, however, was coined by Robert E. Howard in 1938 for his story Pigeons From Hell, before the introduction of the CCA.


Star City the (Soviet?) Russian equivilent of Cape Canaveral. At least the real Star City is.


Arthur Farrell's new world government reminds me a bit of Star Trek's Terran Empire. At least the logo does.


Der Tiger's dad kinda reminds me of Marv from Sin City. Complete with all the police officers he kicked the crap out of.


Caerula's dimbulb students, Su, Ton, and Kyo, respectively, spells out/transliterates to 素っ頓狂. I can't figure out how to transliterate the three kanji into a single concept, but I presume it's joke name along the same lines as their original English names (see below). Alone, however, the kanji mean "plain, white", "kowtow" and "insane, wild", respectively, which are pretty jokey in-and-of-themselves. (I mean, the black dude is named "White". Hahaha)

VIZ-ONLY: I think Doctor Fronkensteen's assistant, Eyegor, hand picked the original English names for Caerula's dumbulb students, as their names spell out... Abbie Someone. Abbie... Normal? Hahaha! ... Anyways, Su, Ton, and Kyo's original names were Abbie, Norm, and Al, respectively, undoubtedly channeling Young Frankenstein. Too bad, this joke was removed from the Omnibus edition of Last Order released by Kodansha, with the English names of Caerula's students reverted to the original Japanese name. Boring; I felt that it was an adequate translation of the original joke.


I can't put my finger on it, but there's something awfully familiar there in that lower lefthand frame (with Arthur looking over the globe there).

Last Order: Angel Goes Nova (LO10)




Me thinks that a lot of the ZOTT Contestants are a bunch of Japanese pop culture references in of themselves. Unfortunatley I'm not well versed in Japanese pop culture. The only ones I recognize is the Mighty Space Skav Team (apparently named the Space Squadron Scavengers in the original Japanese); they are not unlike the Constructicons from the 1984 cartoon series, The Transformers. Now I wonder if Toji's similarities to Wheeljack really was intentional. (See Page 75 in LO4 for more info.)

23 - 27

On the other hand, many of the teams have names which seems to be a specific reference. Let's go through the list of teams, shall we?

  • BA-M1a: Space Angels — I can't help but suspect that their name might be related to the song Earth Angel by American doo-wop group The Penguins.
  • BA-M1b: Guntrolls(nothing specific)
  • BA-M2a: Starship Cult(see Page 113 in LO6 above)
  • BA-M2b: Keats — Likely named after British rock group and Alan Parsons Project offshoot Keats. It's worth noting that there were five members of Keats and five decapitated heads of the team Keats.
  • BA-M3a: Heavy Road(nothing specific)
  • BA-M3b: Wild Guns — The only thing that comes up is a Super Nintendo game called Wild Guns. Maybe Kishiro played it a lot back in the day?
  • BA-M4a: Metal Hearts — Likely after the album Metal Hearts from the German heavy metal band Accept.
  • BA-M4b: Saturn Gaudies — Most likely from the album Gaudi by The Alan Parsons Project.
  • BB-M1a: Mighty Space Skav Team (see Page 23 above and Page 27 below)
  • BB-M1b: Jamil Vovins — Probably from the album Vovin by Sweedish symphonic metal band Therion. "Jamil" doesn't seem to be anything specific, other than as a given name.
  • BB-M2a: Mean MachineMean "Mean Machine" Angel is a character from the British comic series Judge Dredd.
  • BB-M2b: Space Karate Forces — (nothing specific)
  • BB-M3a: Geogigas(not sure)
  • BB-M3b: Piramania — Likely named after the album Pyromania by English rock band Def Leppard.
  • BB-M4a: Anomaly (nothing specific)
  • BB-M4b: Venus Lucifers — Lucifer (that is to say, the Latin word, not the Devil) is term used for the planet Venus, in its role as the "Morning Star". And I can't even begin to explain the connection between Lucifer with heavy metal.

There, I think that just about covers all the teams and their references. If anyone knows of what Heavy Road and Geogigas could be a reference to, then I'm all ears!


The Constructicon reference is completed when the Skavs transformed into Skavenzine, akin to the Constructicon's own merged form, Devastator. Now it could be possible that the Skavs are instead a reference to some other "combining" robot series (like Voltron—or, rather, Beast King GoLion), but I think the "Scavenger" part is what gives it away. Anyone else want to chime in here?

99 - 100

Zekka's helmet removal effect and his dreads are more akin to The Predator than Knucklehead's. Zekka even has the Predator's interesting jaw configuration (albeit only for cosmetics, apparently at least). (See Page 68 in GN6 for more info.)


Basically everything you need to know about the Mothman in Mothman TNT Beer is written on the bottle. The TNT part, however, is reference as to where the Mothman was first seen: outside the West Virginia Ordnance Works, which was an abandoned TNT factory.


Nova's network connection from Tiphares to Ketheres has been brought to you by USB plugs! Maybe it's USB 8.0 by now...


I know Last Order came first, but the legion of Robo-Asyl bots remind me a lot of the legion of broken Axium bots from the movie Wall-E. Maybe the later was inspired by the former?

Last Order: Angel Cake (LO11)



41 & 68

The space probe on page 41 looks rather generic, but on page 68 Kishiro's sketches show that the probe could have been inspired by the Flatwoods Monster. Furthermore, the picture of the probe greatly resembles a painting done of the Flatwoods Monster; I'm not sure if that original painting served as a reference for Yukito.


The sculpture of the robot seems to be a bit more of an Aztec-esque interpretation of Nova's Great Martian King, which in turn is just a classic wind-up toy robot. Also, on the right side of the page is another robot sculpture which looks not unlike Robbie the Robot from "Forbidden Planet".


Aces High, live to fly is this time a Iron Maiden lyric, this time from the song Aces High (live). The numbers 20070802 is probably the date when the picture was drawn (August 2nd, 2007).


There's something very.... Slim Pickens-y about Sechs ridin' a missile. Complete with "Yee haw!" to boot!

134 - 135

I never made the connection until just now, but I think the Jovians are a reference to the movie 2001: a space odyssey. Apart from the Jupiter connection, the Jovians themselves are black and cubish, much like the Monolith, and their eyes are similar to the nature of HAL-9000, which each HAL terminal operated as a single eye in a field of black. Even their names are reminicent of Hal 9000's—such as Chernov 727 and Warmen 609—that is, single-word names followed by a large number.


Of the five most diabolical weapons invented by mankind, the 2-4-5 Trioxin is the only one based on a specific fictional concept created by someone else. Specifically, it's the gas which create zombies in the 1985 movie Return of the Living Dead by Dan O'Bannon, which served as *A* sequel to 1969 movie Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero.

Last Order: Angel Redux (LO12)




"You say you wanna revolution?!" Weeellllll you know we all want to change the world...! Zekka is singing a bit of the Beatles' "Revolution 1".


The term "genetic designer" was spoken by the character J.F. Sebastian in the movie Blade Runner, which serves as a major source of inspiration for the Battle Angel Alita series (see GN1 above for more info).


The name of the République Vénus corporation, Biovouivre, is a portmanteau of the words bio and vouivre. A vouivre is the French equivilant of a wyvern. I'm not exactly sure what a vouivre/wyvern has to do with genetic engineering, though.


A lot of the creatures and designs of characters from the République Vénus throughout Last Order remind me that of the French animated movie Fantastic Planet, particularly the... well, "boob worm" at the foot of the Zekka Table.


The ship for the Universe Karate Federation is shaped like a traditional Tengu mask. BTW, how do you say "I am not a crook!" in Japanese? ...yes I realize the Tengu existed long before Nixon did.

The whole Universe Karate Federation versus Solar System Karate Federation rivarly feels a bit like the whole People's Front of Judea versus the Judean People's Front thing in Monty Python's Life of Brian.


Hey, it's Robbie the Robot once again! He's a member of the Universe Karate Federation, right in the middle of the page. He's even referred to by name on page 165. Me thinks Yukito is something of a fan of ol' Robbie...!


Another Karate student there in the center of the page looks a bit like Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Down in the lower right hand corner there... you can't get a more stereotypical caricature of a Japanese businessman than these guys. Undoubtedly it was intended, especailly given the nature and... philosophy of the character.


Alllllllreet! Got a little Three Stooges action there: the one Karate guy is getting his eyes poked out in the upper-right hand of the page there. That made me smile. :)

Also at the top of the page is a giant Karate guy with a huge skull. It reminds me of some kind of pre-Colombian Latin American skull design, but I can't put my finger on which one it could be.

164 - 167

Boy there are a ton of references in these various Karate schools. Let's cover a few, shall we?

Quadrilateral Karate


Reminds me of the Blockheads from Gumby. And I'm sure there are other Cube-head characters out there.

Seven Gods of Fortune Karate


The Seven Lucky Gods (七福神) are seven gods of fortune from Japanese mythology. Daikoku is named after Daikokuten, who was the god of wealth, commerce and trade.

Robo Karate


As mentioned above, Robbie is based off of Robbie the Robot

Rider Karate


Probably from Kamen Rider, as grasshoppers is the main theme for Kamen Rider's look.

Tesla Karate


Named after Nikola Tesla; his look is otherwise pretty generic. Volt's magnet-shaped head, however, is a reference to the Tesla, which is a unit of measurement of a magnetic field's strength.

Anti-tank Karate


Likely a reference to the M61 Vulcan rotary cannon, which is used as an anti-tank gun. The fact that the Karate master has jet engines for eyes might be a reference to the Avro Vulcan, which a jet plane.

Sho-chu-sen Karate


Pretty straight forward... four fists, "Quadra-punch". I don't think it's based on anything in particular, though I'm sure there have been plenty of "crotch punching" robots before... that is to say, there is a fist attached to a robot's crotch, not that a robot is aiming for someone's crotch to punch. You know what I mean.

Spinning Karate


I thought it looked like one of those coin eating robots, but not quite.

Serpent Karate


His special is basically to be a snake. Don't tread on him.

Octo Karate


Likely named after the Kraken, a legendary sea creature said to live off the coast of Norway and Greenland.

Curve Karate

Probably based on the Japanese urban legend "Kunekune" (くねくね)

Vampire Karate
A chupacabra is a mythological hematophage from Mexico, known for sucking the blood of goats.
Zodiac Karate Constellation

Mad-cow the Taurus

Taurus is named after one of the 12 constellations of the zodiac (that is, a constellation on the ecliptic). The Mad-cow moniker is likely based on the Mad cow disease.

Zodiac Karate Constellation

Sting the Scorpio

Scorpio is likewise named after one of the 12 constellations of the zodiac. I don't know why he's named Sting, apart from the fact that he's a scorpion and all.

Zodiac Karate Constellation

Finnigan the Pisces

Pisces is yet another zodiac constellation, which is represented by a fish. But, I don't know what Finnigan has anything to do with it.


108 HIT > K.O., plenty of RPG video games, like Final Fantasy, show how much damage an attack does to the enemy or the player in a way similar to how it's depicted here.

Meanwhile, Katsuken is looking a bit like the famous ukiyo-e painting by Sharaku of Ōtani Oniji III in the Role of the Servant Yakko Edobei, made around 1794. Basically it's that picture when you think of "old style Japanese painting".

Last Order: Sans Angel (LO13)




Homme de Feu and Olympe seem to fill the roles of "Beauty and the Beast" quite well. Fairly appropriate seeing as Beauty and the Beast was a French fairy tale originally written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and refined by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, especially given the French style of the Genome Kingdom and Venus Republic.


For the uninitiated, the fish-thing Alita is eating is a Japanese treat known as a taiyaki, but has since spread outside of Japan. It's basically a bread pastry with red-bean paste in the center, though sometimes it's filled with other stuff like fruit jelly and ice cream for those who aren't too keen on the delicious and wonderful taste of red-bean paste (weirdos).

186 - 187

The bit where Pissarro Créer de Vivre is being ripped apart by his creations reminds me of the bit in Day of the Dead where Captain Rhodes was eviscerated in a similar manner, only to hope the zombies doing it would "Choke on 'em!" This scene was then later parodized in Shaun of the Dead. Soooooo awesome!


A Battle Angel Alita book ending with someone turning into a tree... I can't put my finger on it, but this looks awwwwfffully familiar...

206 - 207

Big monsters that can do awesome destruction with the energy stored inside them... it's just some good ol' classic kaiju!

Last Order: Angel of Defusion (LO14)




Voronezh is the name of a city and an oblast in Russia. It has a considerable amount of history in the Soviet/Russian aerospace industry; for example, Vostok 1—the spacecraft that carried the first human, Yuri Gagarin, into space—was designed there, while the production for the Tupolev Tu-144—Soviet Russia's answer to the supersonic transport race which was ultimately won by the Concorde—was in Voronezh.


Palamedes (or Palomides as it is written on the ship) is another Knight of the Round Table in the Authurian legend.


The human general there kinda reminds me of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.... maybe a little bit.


Alswider is one of two horses in Norse mythology; these horses were said to be the ones that pulled the sun across the sky.


The QR code on Zazie's Olympus Express ticket actually spells something out: イェールへ行って100万メガソルを当てよう!! ... which basically says "Go to Jeru; win a Million Megasols!", where I presume a "megasol" is the currency for the Solar System.


The doodle on Koyomi's note pad is made up of various Japanese characters.


"A" for Angels and "K" for Karate.... "AK"? Aqua Knights??

Last Order: Last Angel Standing (LO15)




Ah, the classic Bullet Dance. I'm just glad that Kishiro wasn't "above" doing that.... it made me smile. :)


Kochka is "cat" in Czech.

Last Order 16 [Kodansha]




The x-ray image of Sechs body looks a bit like X-51—the Machine Man—as depicted in Marvel's Earth-X series.

66 - 67

Jupitan, the Jovian quantum covergence observatory, looks a bit like the Death Star with hints of the All-Seeing Eye of Sauron. Alternatively, Jupitan looks a bit like Backbeard from GeGeGe no Kitaro.


For the record, Phase 96 is the first new chapter after Kishiro switched from Shueisha to Kodansha, so everyone is being "introduced" for the first time, for the last time.


This isn't the first time the Sword of Damocles has been mentioned in the series, but I'll use this opportunity to talk about it.

The Sword of Damocles is an ancient Roman story. Long story short, it was a sword that was hung over the head of a certain ruler by a single horse's hair, to remind him that death was always close by. Or something like that. Frankly I'm sure it's just one of those foreign things that sounds cool to Japanese audiences, in the same way the sword "Masamune" is seen by Western audiences. Modern audiences may be more aware of President Kennedy's analogy of the threat of nuclear war as a "nuclear sword of Damocles".

In any case, the analogy is appropriate: Mbadi has the power to snap the horse's hair on the sword that's dangling over LADDER's head.


It just occurred to me that Lyuben looks a bit like Eiji "Edge" Yamada from the Capcom fighting game "Rival Schools: United By Fate". Having said that, I get the impression that this may be a typical look for delinquints in Japan.

154 - 155

Rakan's not a cookie cutter, he's a cartoon character! Or at the very least, he's a fan of Brain Wall (aka Human Tetris or Hole in the Wall).

Last Order 17 [Kodansha]




"The times are a-changin'.", Bob Dylan's famous song, although what he said was "The Times They Are a-Changin'."


"Mr. Beetle" is just a reference to how Tunpo looks like a Rhinoceros Beetle, which is a relatively common trope in Japan.


The Fawkes Virus is undoubtedly a reference to Guy Fawkes, whose face has since become a symbol of Anonymous. Guy Fawkes himself was a member of the group behind the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, which attempted to assassinate King James by blowing up the House of Lords while he was visiting it. Both Fawkes and Anonymous are symbols of resistance against—if not the wholesale destruction of—the Establishment; Ping's virus certainly intended to do the same.


The Japanese name for Binhar and Nezher is Zig and Gurat, respectively. This is a reference to the Ziggurats build in ancient Mesopotamia.

Seeing as Tiphares and Ketheres was renamed back to Zalem and Jeru, respectively, in the 2017 Kodansha translation, I wonder if this will be changed back as well?

Last Order 18 [Kodansha]




Here we get a topographical map view of Alhambra (and the rest of Los Angeles, for that matter). As it turns out, it's a fairly accurate representation of what the area would look like under 1,000 feet of water. Take a look at the area from space—Alhambra is around the middle of the photo—and see for yourself. (I plan on making a comparison graphic next chance I get.)


Bashaku is named after a kind of Japanese cargo carrier who used horses to transport their shipments. Why Amarillo, Texas got renamed to that is beyond me, apart from the fact that Bashaku is now a shipping town. The updated English translation released by Kodansha had a footnote in GN7 which claims that the Barjack named themselves after the Bashaku, as both of which had started a rebellions under/for similar causes... so perhaps the city was named after the Barjack? Or maybe the Barjack named themselves after the city (and thus origninated there)? So then... did the name come before the town's new founding or after it?

It's worth pointing out that one of the Bashaku rebellions, the Hokke Rebellion of 1532, started literally 1000 years before the first pages of Battle Angel Alita, which takes place in 2532 (See Page 56 in LO3 for more info.)


There is a rather gruesome movie of a severed dog's head (re?)animated using science by—I think—Soviet scientists. I saw it once, and I don't care to see it again. Having said that, Lil' Dr. Rivet experiment with the family dog reminds me of it. You can try to find that video yourself.


Chairman Steed's whole deal is awfully familiar, but I can't put my finger on it.

However, that's TOTALLY Henchmen 21 there in the center of the middle frame. Even has the "Venture Bros." skull on his shirt. Then behind him, in the shadows, is the Iron Giant.

Incidentally, it is Farm 21 which everyone, including Henchmen 21, destroys in the end. Naw, it's just a concidence as always.


The type of bird Kanya needs to feed is a parakeet.


The type of rifle Figure (and others) are using is an AR-15.

...which is very curious, because the rifles Barjack used in GN6-9 were definitely NOT AR-15s, but rather a design of the Barjack gunsmith's own design based on rifles they found. So where did these come from?


The machine gun on the escape car is an M2 Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun.


The hands of the cyberized victims of Nova's experiments look a bit like the hands of an enemy of Wolverine and the X-Factor, Cyber (Silas Burr), who has poison and hallucinogenic-tipped Adamantium claws.


The people shooting at the car our heroes are in are all AK-47s.


The leader of the victims of Nova kinda look like Bane, specifically the one as depicted by Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises. The brother looks familiar, but I can't put my finger on it.

224 - 225

We get an updated map with information about some of the new places in the story and some of the Farms missing from GN8. I've updated the list above with the new entries. For the record, Bashaku was Amarillo, Texas.

Last Order 19 [Kodansha]




Ten kilometers east of Lubbock, Texas, is the Yellow House Canyon, which the North Fork Double Mountain Fork Brazos River flows through. Kishiro really did his research!


There is an optical illusion where adding two bars to a moving picture—thus slicing it into three sections of equal width—gives it a 3D effect that is otherwise not easily apparent without them. It's a fun technique which Kishiro uses here quite effectively.


One of the guys helping Ido and Figure looks a bit like BIll Cosby to me. But I can't seem to find a good picture showing this. Maybe this one?


Here we have the busts of Ludwig van Beethoven and Edgar Allan Poe. Y'know, the kind of artists that enlightened people should be paying attention to.


Ido and Figure are enjoying cans of Balnibarbi Beer ("ZALEM's Fine Beer"!). Balnibarbi is a fictional land from Jonathan Swift's novel Gulliver's Travels, said to be East of Japan. However, the cans depict a flying island, which is actually Laputa, though it is located above Balnibarbi.


Kaos: "I'd like to see your leader." Or, in other words: "Take me to your leader!"


"Hello, Mr. Space Ghost!"

Mars Chronicle 1




The series title "Mars Chronicle" is similar to the classic sci-fi series, The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury. You should definitely read it if you get a chance!


Poor Yoko! Her control unit looks a lot like a Nintendo Wii nunchuk controller.


The picture Die Königin Von Mars looks like something drawn by Aubrey Beardsley. In fact it looks like it was lifted straight from the pages of Le Morte d'Authur, as illustrated by Beardsley back around the 1890's.


Mister Giratin resembles a Raijin.


The Jinn in the book looks a bit like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.


The leader of the Papagai Corp looks like Zee Captain from Romantically Apocalyptic.


Mister Giratin's Raijin-thingy also turns into a mono-wheel bike. Pretty nifty!

Mars Chronicle (Provisional; will be added to their own books as soon as possible)

Chapt, Page:


Ch7, p10

Well well well, we finally get to see Danko in an official capacity. Remember, Danko initially appeared on the first cover of Battle Angel Alita, but we never got to see her in action until now.

Ch9.1, p15

A couple more characters brought back from the past; Parabellum looks a lot like Beltram from the now non-canon bit at the end of GN9 where Alita witnessed Yoko's last moments, including where Yoko killed her (I guess?) boyfriend Beltram. Likewise, Gergt resembles Yoko's original Leader.

Ch10.1, p2

Relay Colony Siebold resembles the orbiting space station from 2001: a space odyssey. But then again, that kind of space station design is fairly common...

Ch10.1, p9

The Mars Kingdom Parliament at MacLaurin Base, may be named after Colin MacLaurin, Scottish Mathematician. While there is a MacLaurin Crater, it's located on the Moon, not Mars.

Ch12.1, p10

Curie Stadt and Curie Crater are likely named after French chemist Marie Curie, who pioneered research on radioactivity.

Ch12.2, p7

There is something Fallout-y about that advertisement. I mean, well, both it and Fallout tries to invoke 1950's nostalgia in its artwork...

Ch12.2, p16

Johan's "treasure" is a copy of "On War" (Vom Kriege) written by Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz.

Ch13.1, p4

The round table is full of people representing the various regions of Mars, including Argyle, Xante, Noachis, and Cydonia.

Cydonia in particular is where the famous Face on Mars and the Pyramids of Mars live.

Ch13.1, p9

Baron Muster's the name, killing people's his game! Actually, because he's a Baron, wears a top hat, and has this whole skull motif, he definitely reminds me of Baron Samedi, spirit of the dead venerated by Haitian and Louisiana Voodoo.

"Muster" itself is a German word, meaning "to scrutinize". Though, I wonder who he's scrutinizing?

Ch13.2, p3

The car is called a "Space Trabant", one part East German automobile company, one part IN SPACE!... as in taking the existing concept and recycling it simply by putting it in space!.

Ch13.2, p15

This isn't the first time we've seen the crossed double-arrow fletch design that is used as the Baumberg family crest. It's called the Maruni Chigai Ya (丸に違矢), it's something we've seen several times over the course of the Battle Angel Alita series.

It's also worth pointing out that "Baumberg" is a reasonable German translation of Yukito Kishiro's last name (木城 Kishiro or Kijo), both meaning something like "Tree Town" in English, though perhaps something like "Treeton" or "Woodton" would be more apt. That is to say, where as Berg means "hill, mountain" in German, and 城 shiro means "castle, fort" in Japanese, both are used in common placenames in their respective countries. Thus "Treeton" or "Woodton" in English.

The use of the Maruni Chigai Ya as the Baumberg fmaily crest makes me think that it has a personal connection to Yukito Kishiro: maybe it's his family's mon?

Ch16.1, p3

Muster Castle reminds me a bit like Howl's Moving Castle.

Ch16.1, p7

All these "plastered" naked girls as part of a perverse collection kinda reminds me of an Oglaf comic (NSFW) about a "Sculptor" with a cursed penis who turns women into marble.

Ch17.1, p3

The map of Mars on the wall behind the Baron is a German version of Flammarion's Maps of Mars, released in the last quarter of the 19th Century. These maps were in turn based on Giovanni Schiaparelli's analysis of Mars (which included the concept of Martian canals).

Ch19.1, p3

Awww how cute, Yoko has a copy of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka in her hands!

Ch19.1, p14

Yoko: Lady of Cydonia... so eventually she'll be Aelita: Queen of Mars? (see GN1, page 9 for more info)

Ch19.2, p8

The Mariner 9 spacecraft was the first man-made probe to orbit Mars, though not the first to return pictures of it. That distinction goes to Mariner 4. Schiaparelli is referenced again, and the picture in the middle frame shows the "canals" he thought he saw back in the 19th century.

Ch 20.1, p 10

It goes without saying, but this is the German Alphabet.

Ch 21.1, p 12

Princess Kagura Dornburg... is she perhaps A Princess of Mars? Sure she's one literally, but what I mean is, her outfit kinda reminds me of some of the artwork for Edgar Rice Burrough's seminal Martian sci-fi series starring John Carter, in which the titular Princess of Mars is usually depicted as wearing an ornate metalic outfit... though usually more revealing that he one Princess Dornburg is wearing.

Ch 21.1, p 14

I don't have access to the orignal Japanese text, so I don' t know if the Sonan family's name is written in Kanji or not... but it's worth pointing that "Sonan" (at least when written as "遭難") means "distress". May have some kind of meaning. Or not.

Ch 21.2, p 3

The excavation location kinda reminds me of the one in 2001: a space odyssey, where the Monolith of the Moon (TMA-1) was discovered.

Ch 21.2, p 13

The second panel is driving me nuts. The robotic newscaster has a sort of Max Headroom flavor to him... but it also looks like some other kind of robot. I was thinking Bicentenial Man, but mmm... not quite. Meanwhile, the pictures of the four "fugitives" kinda looks like some kind of Franco-Belgian comic style, maybe Tintin... but, mmm... also not quite. If it inspires someone else, please let me know!

Ch 22.1, p 11

Doktor Ngema Neubauer reminds me of Dr. Giggles.

Ch 22.2, p 18

Princess Kagura's "trophies" on the wall behind Itall are just like the "trophies" in the Sin City story "The Hard Goodbye", only that time it was female prostitues who were eaten, instead of random guys being farmed for their sperm. Definitely both situations were covered up by people with considerable power, allowing them to pursue their sick and twisted hobby unimpeded. (See Ashen Victor, page 53 for more info.)

Ch 24.1, p 7

Miguel is undoubtedly an Igor-like manservant. However, he also looks like some other rodent-like servant, but I can't put my finger on it.

Ch 24.2, p 4

For your information, a haboob is a dust storm created by atmospheric weather fronts, sorta like a hurricane or typhoon, but with dust instead of water. They can be a regular occurance on Mars.

Alita: Battle Angel (Provisional)




The name of the movie could have been "Battle Angel" or "Battle Angel Alita", or even "Gun Dreams", but it is instead "Alita: Battle Angel". One reason joked about was that James Cameron wouldn't direct it unless it started with an "A" or a "T" (like his other films "Aliens", "(The) Terminator", "(The) Abyss", "Titanic", "Avatar", etc)... but another reason could be that it may be a reference to Aelita: Queen of Mars (see GN1, page 9)... namely, both titles take the form of "Proper Name: Role"


Although most of the characters retain their Western names, Daisuki Ido has been renamed "Dyson Ido". Dyson, apart from sounding similar yet more Western relative to "Daisuki", might be a reference to another "Dyson" previously referenced in the series: the Dyson shell which the Jupiter Union is building (see LO3, page 79).

Trailer 1

In the first trailer relased by 20th Century Fox, the background music is a song called Lullaby For A Soldier, composed by Bob Thiele Jr. and sung by actress Maggie Siff, which had originally appeared on the FX television series Sons of Anarchy. Chosen likely because it was the best royalty-free (relative to 20th Century Fox) angel-related song they could find.

On another note...I've noticed other recurrent characters in the series. There's a gentleman, clearly Asian, dressed in a jacket, pants, and sunglasses, with shoulder-length hair, who appears several times: GN2:188, GN3:121, GN3:142, POSSIBLY GN4:172 without the glasses, and possibly again GN8:197. I think we see the guy who got his hand cut off by Armblessed more than once... is the junkie with all the needles coming out of him in the first volume a recurrent character? ... Max C has this to add: "The "man with the sunglasses" appears in several of the volumes, but appears heavily in the Rollerball ones. He's snuck into the panel where Alita's arm starts to smoke in her arm wrestling match with Jasugun. Unlike most crowd characters, he stares out of the panels at the reader. Something feels like a self-portrait about it."

Daniel Snyder, for the original Kudos guide (begun April 23rd, 1996)
Philippe Van Lieu, for contributions
YOU, for additional contributions (as mentioned)

If you find any new bits of Kudos! goodness that isn't on this list, or are in a non-English version (like maybe there's a joke in the French edition that is of a French reference), feel free to email plip [at] att [dot] net and tell them to me (er, Philippe).