The Kudos! List
Updated July 19th, 2012

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 Battle Angel Alita, Ashen Victor, and Last Order graphic novels. No stone is left unturned; everything ranging from the large and obvious to the small and obscure are all listed here, and in such a way that doesn't assume that you know what we're talking about.

All citations are given by novel and page number from the first printings of any given English, VIZ, Battle Angel Alita Graphic Novel issue—not the any reissues, unless otherwise stated. Included in most entries is a link towards more information or evidence for the references; I mean, it's not like we're pulling them out of thin air. :)

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.

20120719 Updates: I had an itch to reread everything I own from start to finish, something I haven't done in years, and I spotted a great many new things that I never did before! Today I'll update everything I spotted in GN1, with a couple from GN2, GN3 and LO9. I also plan on eventually adding entries for the OVA and PS1 video game, and maybe the Another Stories tales as well (once I can find a copy of it!). ... To make it easy, I've highlighted the new entries I've added.

20120124 Updates: Added some new bits for GN2, LO1 and LO7; some of this was stuff that some of you (re)sent me, and one of which is one I added after watching a familiar TV program. But I won't spoil you on what they are! :)

Quick Links

Original Series

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

Last Order

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

Battle Angel Alita (GN1)



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.


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 fall in love and live 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?


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


One of the cylinders says, "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?", from the The Wizard of Oz. As for "But ch'are, Blanche, ch'are!", it's actually 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!"

Now after having read the Japanese version, I find that these are additions to the English version. That is to say, in the Japanese text, the Deckmen instead say:

  • "ハロ ハロ ハ~ロ~オ~" ("Hello hello heeeelloooouuu"),
  • "エケラ ケラ ケラ" ("Ekera kera kera", which seems to be just gibberish, or a reference to a mole cricket, known as a "kera" in Japanese, though I doubt that's what was meant by this), 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 any case, this just shows that the original Japanese text doesn't always translate into English very well (or interesting in any way), so the translators put their own spin on things while still managing to keep the original intent of the scene. That is to say, it's pretty clear to me that in BOTH versions, the Deckmen said what they said in order to confuse and disorientate Alita as she enters the Factory. I guess that's also why "Ohmaigawd!" was written in Hiragana and not Katakana; to confuse the Japanese reader, just as random movie quotes unrelated to the sci-fi world of the Scrapyard would confuse the English reader.

This frame also 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!"


It was taken out of the original English release, but in the Japanese (and new English release), the back of the man's jacket has the logo for German metal band Scanner in it.


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 translator Fred Burke 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 C3PO'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. 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.


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


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

219 (Reissue)

In the bonus info pages in the reissue of GN1, 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 C3P0.


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.)


In the original manga, the Deckman is driving a truck labeled THX1138, a reference to the George Lucas film of the same title.


Although it says "Bar" in translation, in the original manga, the business Hugo runs past in the lower right hand corner is called "Brazil", and the sign looks like the one from the Terry Gilliam film.


When Hugo said that being kissed by Alita "tasted like electricity... it tingled the way it does 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 Hugo'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.


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.


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.


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, Jashugan 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.


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


Top frame, there's Skeletor in the crowd. Then in the bottom-left frame, the guy next to Esdoc looks like one of the Skiff guards from Return of the Jedi.


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.


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: Jashugan wears a pair of sun glasses with Borghesia on them. They were an "electronic body music" group from Slovenia back in the 80's.


One of the ads in the upper panel is for "Kishiro Tile". Who it's talking about should be obvious. Also, in the original manga, there's a word baloon covering up part of a word ending "LTURA". I'll bet this is a reference to the Brazillian band Sepultura.


I saw a sign with a design on it very similar to the one on Jashugan's mug outside a chiropractic clinic. Help with this image would be greatly appreaciated.

Angel of Victory (GN4)



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.


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


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.


In the original manga, Ed's having a Kraftwerk beer to drink. It's just another band Kishiro 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 Jashugan. 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.

Angel of Redemption (GN5)



The song Alita sings in the original manga is "Big Generator", by Yes. The lyrics in the English version is probably original verse by Fred and/or Tosh Yoshida.


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.)


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

Angel of Death (GN6)



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.


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.


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


Bottom half of the page. The Cylinder's remarks are from "The Fly" and "2001".


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.


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


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.

Angel of Chaos (GN7)



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.


"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.


Among other things, Koyomi seems to be looking at a Mickey Mouse doll and a Coke bottle.


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.

Fallen Angel (GN8)



The Scrapyard: Kansas City, Missouri
The Necropolis: Colorado Springs
Radio KAOS: Dallas/Fort Worth
Alhambra: Alhambra, CA
F-1: Burlington, Illinois
F-2: Davenport, Iowa
F-4: Saint Louis, Missouri
F-5: Vincennes, Indiana
F-6: Louisville, Kentucky
F-7: Paducah, Kansas
F-8: Nashville, Tennessee
F-9: Blytheville, Arkansas, or Memphis, Tennessee
F-10: Jefferson City, Missouri
F-13: Springfield, Missouri
F-14: Little Rock, Arkansas
F-15: Pittsburg, Kansas
F-16: Durant, Oklahoma
F-17: Tulsa, Oklahoma
F-18: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
F-19: Wichita, Kansas
F-20: Armirillo, Texas (?)
F-21: Lubbok, Plainview or Sweetwater, Texas
F-22: Garden City, Kansas
F-23: Junction City, Kansas
F-24: Omaha, Nebraska
F-25: Niobrara, Nebraska
F-27: Des Moines, Iowa
F-28: Saint Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota
F-29: Quincy, Illinois, or St. Louis, Missouri

I took a map and tried to find the closest cities to the farms listed on the map. Others have suggested other cities, but I'm not about to redo the map. Incidentally, there is no F-3 listed, but I and others suspect that it could be Chicago, Illinois.


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


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.)


NORAD—NORth 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.


I can't believe I've forgotten to mention this all these years, but crazyankan jogged my memory. The Heng (the Anti-Tiphares 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.

Angel's Ascension (GN9)



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, 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 Great Martian King 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?"


Melchezedek is a Biblical figure; he was the king of Jerusalem at one time. Given that the Japanese name of Ketheres and Tiphares is Jeru and Salem, respectively, it seems wholey 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.


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


"90125" is an album title by Yes.


I dunno... maybe it's because I've played Chrono Trigger too much, but the Megill Co. assassin looks like a Zeal royal guard.


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

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


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 0 = 1957, when Sputnik 1 was launched.
ES 50 = 2007, the not-to-distant past (last Sunday maybe?)
ES 235 = 2192, when Mars was colonized.
ES 250 = 2207, when Venus was colonized
ES 450 = 2407, 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. ... 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.
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, Cognates arrive 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 369 = 2325, the start of the Interplanetary War (the one Yoko fights in)
ES 387 = 2343, the end of the Interplanetary War


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)?


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]


"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.


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.


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.


Whophon's Egyptian theme and, well, over-the-top clothing looks like something out of the world of Yu-Gi-Oh. I wonder if it's some sly, subtle commentary there from Kishiro?

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 tuen 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!")


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.


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)



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


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.


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.)


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), but I think the "Scavenger" part is what gives it away. Anyone else want to chime in here?


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 about Sechs ridin' a missile. Complete with "Yee haw!" to boot!


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.

Last Order: Angel Redux (LO12)



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.


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. :)


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.

Last Order: Sans Angel (LO13)



For the uninitiated, the fish-thing Alita is eating is a Japanese treat known as a taiyaki, but has since spread outside of Japan. In Korea, it's known as a bungeoppang. 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).


The bit where Pissarro Créer de Vicre 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...


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 pilled 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!! ... Google Translate literally translates the text as "Sol win the Mega millions go to Yale!", but I think it means to say "Go to Yale; 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.

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 Jashugan. 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
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).