The Battle Angel Alita Incident

May 2009 Cover of 'Young Jump' which serializes Last Order


Battle Angel Alita author Yukito Kishiro announced on his blog last week that the recently released 100th chapter of his science-fiction action series would be go on hiatus and that he has not decided if the manga will ever return.

This is result of the most recent battle between Kishiro and his editors over Battle Angel Alita and this time the argument was over choices of dialogue in the most recent chapter by the author, causing his editor to require him to do a reprint. Last Order is the sequel/remake of the original Battle Angel Alita series. From ANN:

“According to Kishiro, an editor asked him to revise dialogue in the original Battle Angel Alita manga while he was in the middle of finishing the 100th Last Order manga installment before its deadline. Kishiro was still drawing the Last Order installment on the evening of June 7 when the editor called him about changing three lines in the original manga for its imminent new reprint.

The three lines have a deckman saying that a female criminal is a mutant who went crazy or “hakkyō” (volume 1), the character Zapan saying he himself went crazy (volume 4), and a hunter warrior cursing someone as a “psycho” (volume 3). There were concerns about the terms’ association with mental disease, although Kishiro noted that similar words for going crazy or madness such as “kurutteru” and “kyōki” are permitted.”

Kishiro completed work on the 100th chapter of Last Order and completed the rewrites required for the first reprinted volume of the original Battle Angel Alita series but shortly thereafter announced the hiatus as well as the fact that there may never be a 101st chapter of the series. Although this seems like Kishiro is throwing something of a fit over this, it is understandable why he is striking back against his editor in such a fashion. This sort of strange after-the-fact censorship of his series would cause any writer to be angry especially when he told his editor that forcing him to make such edits would prohibit him from completing current chapters on time and his editor seemed to be happy with that sort of sacrifice. I do hope that Kishiro and his editor can work something out as Last Order seems far from any sort of ending.

Cover for the French edition of Last Order volume 10

Censorship has been a touchy subject with manga authors lately, with the primary argument being over the ‘Nonexistent Youth’ bill that nearly passed in Japan recently; the bill was intended to be used to regulate the sexualized depictions of imaginary characters that, if it had passed, would have begun a slippery slope of arguments over what should be censored and what should not.

Several well-known manga author protested the bill including Berserk author Kentaro Miura who drew a one-shot comic in a recent issue of the Young Animal magazine making fun of this blatant attempt to censor authors over dubious allegations. The ‘Nonexistent Youth’ bill failed to pass but such movements within the Japanese government still threaten the rights of manga authors.

Kishiro’s decision to put Last Order on hiatus, although having nothing to do with the recent bill, is still caused by some strange methods of censorship on the part of his editor — and it would be interesting to see if any other authors have been having such issues as well, at least within the same magazine that Kishiro released Last Order in.

Battle Angel Alita: Last Order volume 13 was just released this month in America by Viz Media and all of the previous volumes of the original series are also available stateside by the same publisher.


One thought on “The Battle Angel Alita Incident

  1. I would have thought that kishiro would have continued BAA last order because of james cameron doing the pre-stages of the movie which is based off the first series.

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