In Japan, the series is known as Gunnm. The kanji representation for it is 銃夢, meaning "gun dream." The series is authored by Yukito Kishiro (木城 ゆきと).
The original Gunnm series ran from 1990-1995. It is divided into chapters called Fights. The series was first published in the U.S. by Shonen Jump, who made a number of changes to various names, including but not limited to:
After Kishiro grew frustrated with Shonen Jump (during Last Order) and moved his series over to Kodansha Comics, the U.S. division republished the entire original series with all but the first of these changes reversed. This U.S. translation is available in a deluxe box set as well as standard paperback. Interestingly, the movie retains these changes for people but not for places.
Those with old printings should keep in mind that anything after Fight 51 has been retracted by the author and replaced with the Last Order series. This was due to his poor health, which he ended up recovering from. Realizing he would not die, he chose to retract the original Gunnm ending and replace it with a new series.
The sequel to the original series, it ran from 2000-2014. It is divided into chapters called Phases. Phases 1-93 were originally published by Shonen Jump, where the U.S. releases included their name changes from the original series. However, the author grew frustrated with the company during this time over translation particulars, and he ended up moving the property to Kodansha Comics. Despite the move, the name changes were retained by Kodansha in the United States. Kodansha also republished Phases 1-93, but retained Shonen Jump's name changes here as well.
At the time of this writing, Kodansha has not republished the Last Order series with original names as they did with the original series.
The third and current series in the franchise, it began its run in 2014 immediately after Last Order. This is said to be the final entry in the franchise.
Kodansha Comics has been the one and only publisher of this series.
The 2019 movie and the original manga contain a number of differences, the most prominent of which are highlighted below. The anime is not considered here.
|Below Zalem is a settlement called Iron City.||The area below Zalem is simply known as "the scrapyard."|
|Ido had a family with Chiren as his wife and Alita as their daughter.||Ido had no wife and child; Alita was the name of his cat.|
|Ido's assistant is female (Gerhad).||Ido's assistant is male (Gonzu).|
|Alita first wakes up in the body intended for Ido's daughter.||Alita first wakes up with little more than her core; Ido finds more parts for her over time.|
|Alita meets Hugo during her first trip outside.||Alita doesn't meet Hugo until after Grewishka's defeat.|
|Alita learns of Motorball during her first trip outside.||Motorball is never mentioned until after Hugo's death.|
|During the alley battle with Grewishka, she severs his arm and he retreats.||During the alley battle with Grewishka, he severs her into multiple pieces with a single swipe of his hand.|
|Alita receives her Berserker body after her fight with Grewishka under the Kansas Bar.||Alita receives the Berserker body after her fight with Grewishka in the alley.|
|Grewishka survives his fight with Alita under the Kansas Bar.||Grewishka is killed by Alita under the Kansas Bar.|
|Alita was a Berserker shock trooper for the United Republics of Mars (URM).||Alita was a Panzer Kunstler for an independent organization (URM is never mentioned).|
|Ido is a Hunter-Warrior to fund the clinic.||Ido is a Hunter-Warrior because he enjoys it.|
|Ido is Alita's Motorball mechanic.||Alita's Motorball mechanic is named Umba.|
|Hugo is Alita's Motorball coach.||Alita's Motorball coach is named Ed.|
|Alita confronts Vector alone.||Alita confronts Vector with Hugo.|
|Ajakutty's Motorball number is 88.||Ajakutty's Motorball number is 99, and Alita challenges him for it, where she wins.|
|The Motorball Final Champion goes to Zalem.||There is no such concept.|
A cyber-physician named Daisuke Ido is wandering around the junk pile below Zalem looking for spare parts for his patients. He stumbles upon the core remains of a cyborg. He takes her to his clinic and examines her. He learns that she is still alive and revives her. The girl doesn't remember her name, or anything else about herself, so he names her Alita after his dead cat.
While performing as a Hunter-Warrior, Ido begins to collect the cyber body parts of his bounties to give to Alita. Curious about where he's been going each night, Alita follows him into an alley. Mistaking him as a simple murderer, she tries to stop him and says that it's not worth killing people just to restore her body. Alita learns that Ido is really a Hunter-Warrior.
Later, Alita decides that she can become a Hunter-Warrior herself, so she goes to Factory 33 to apply. She then crosses paths with a massive cyborg named Makaku (known in the movie as Grewishka). She is no match for him, and he shreds her body into pieces with one swipe of his hand while she is mid-air. Landing on a single hand, Alita then flips into the air and drives her remaining arm into his right eye. Ido then shows up and damages Makaku enough for them to escape. Ido is severely injured, but manages to rescue Alita and return to the clinic.
Back at the clinic, Ido has Alita equipped with a Berserker body he had found earlier in a ship which had crashed into a ravine. As Ido is severely injured, Gonzu must perform the procedure. Alita later wakes and finds the body to be an amazing fit for her.
Once acclimated to her new body, Alita and Ido head to the Kansas Bar to recruit help for going after Makaku. A Hunter-Warrior named Zapan is extremely arrogant towards this idea, and messes with Alita, causing her to easily handle him and the rest of the bar. Makaku does make an appearance, however, where Alita and himself then fight in the under-levels below the bar. Here, Alita eventually kills him.
Some time later, Alita wakes up to find a mysterious boy standing over her. His name is Yugo and he wants to know if she's okay. They soon discover the bodies of the ones who caused Alita to lose consciousness. She is surprised to see Yugo steal their spinal columns, which are not replacable with synthetics. Alita is not impressed by this behavior. It is then revealed that Yugo not only steals spinal columns from corpses, but also from those who are still living. As all of this is happening, Zapan is watching.
Yugo then has a meeting with Vector who is a tycoon of sorts in the scrapyard. Vector reiterates the arrangement he made with Yugo three years ago: For ten million chips, Vector will send Yugo to Zalem. Vector then talks about how Yugo should have needed ten years to accumulate this wealth, but that he has nearly done it in just three years. Vector then tries to talk Yugo into assuming a position as one of his lieutenants, stating that in Zalem, Yugo would merely be a begger. Alita learns of this arrangement and begins to collect Hunter-Warrior bounties needed to pay the remainder of what he owes. Alita also intends to make enough to travel up with Yugo. Ido knows that this is all nonsense, though.
Some time later, in the middle of a public area of the scrapyard, three individuals are offering cyborg lubrication jobs for two chips each. A cloaked figure emerges and states that he would like to be serviced. When one of the masked entities goes for the back of the figure's neck (his spinal column), he finds extra armor there. The cloaked figure is Zapan and the one going after the back of his neck is Yugo. Realizing that a Hunter-Warrior has spotted them, they all react. Zapan kills Yugo's two friends and then turns his attention directly to Yugo. Yugo then throws a fire-grenade at Zapan and takes off running.
Yugo then calls Vector to let him know that a Hunter-Warrior is after him. Vector tells Yugo to come to where he's at. Yugo then runs to meet Vector, but finds himself thinking of Alita on the way.
While Alita and Ido are discussing the viability of Yugo's arrangement, Zapan appears with the heads of Yugo's two friends. He then informs Alita that Yugo has been stealing spinal columns from live people and that he has a bounty on his head for it. Alita runs off to find Yugo.
Alita finds Yugo and confronts him on the matter. He admits to everything, stating that he did it to pay his way to Zalem. Alita becomes loyal to Yugo as an outlaw and promises to get him safely back to Vector. At this point, a Hunter-Warrior from Yugo's past emerges and disintegrates a large piece of his upper body. Alita kills the other Hunter-Warrior and goes to Yugo. Realizing that he will die, she connects his head to her own life support. She then takes off with his head and remaining body for Vector's place.
On the way to Vector's, she encounters Zapan and other Hunter-Warriors. Having notified the authorities that Alita is aiding a fugitive, Factory Netmen (akin to Centurions from the movie) demand to see Yugo's head. Showing his head, but not his neck, the Factory Netmen are satisfied with the situation. Zapan, flustered with what he's seen, then moves to expose all of Yugo's head, revealing that he is merely asleep and connected to Alita's life support systems. Zapan then becomes aggressive where the Factory Netmen then declare him to be an outlaw for attempting to steal another Hunter-Warrior's bounty. Alita then punches Zapan's face off of his head, causing Zapan to fall a great distance.
Back at Ido's clinic, Yugo has been given a fully cybernetic body. Ido then walks out to Alita and explains to her that Yugo was never going to be able to get to Zalem. Ido states that he knows this because he himself was once Zalemite, as represented by the dot on his head. Yugo, hearing this, becomes indignant and attempts to leave the clinic. Safety precautions keep him in place and he is paralyzed.