I’ve finished reading Battle Angel Alita: Last Order – so it’s time to finally get into the back half of the manga.
The second half of Battle Angel Alita: Last Order returns the focus to the tournament arc of the series, with Alita ending up with yet another upgraded body beyond her last one, empowered by the Melchizedek Computer System. Alita, along with Sechs and Zazie, have to make it to the finals of the Zenith of Things tournament. The main opponents in their way are the Space Karate Forces, mainly Toji, Zekka, and Rakan. And through all of this, Aga Mbadi (aka Trinidad), concerned with the level of power on display, is planning on just killing all of them and declaring the tournament a No Contest.
From a raw power level standpoint, Last Order is basically comparable to Cell Games-level Dragon Ball Z. Nobody’s throwing around attacks that could destroy a planet, but they certainly can thrash the environment they’re fighting in.
It makes the overall stakes of the story kind of – odd. By the time Alita’s gotten her newly upgraded body, the story does a pretty good job of establishing that if she was going to take on Trinidad now, she could actually beat him – and that odds are high that he would not live up to his terms of the bargain, and she knows that. Probably so could Zekka. Maybe also could Toji. Certainly, if all 6 members of the two teams put their pride as martial artists on hold and decided to settle things with Trinidad so they could beat the crap out of each other in peace first, Trinidad probably wouldn’t stand a chance.
Now, in the Cell Games in DBZ, they’re able to introduce this level power in the tournament because the series has set up that Cell is actually strong enough to wipe out all life on Earth on his own, and he’s holding this tournament out of his own hubris and desire for a challenge. Trinidad doesn’t quite have this excuse.
That said, the narrative is riveting, and some of the fights are particularly engaging – especially the character arc for Toji and his relationship with Tunpo, the founder of Space Karate. Their character arc gets into the spiritual and philosophical side of martial arts in a way that a lot of Shonen battle manga don’t. Similarly, Sechs’ character growth is interesting, as through this series he’s very much the shouty shonen protagonist the same way that Bakugo is in My Hero Academia, except he’s the supporting character.
However, the conclusion of the story is a little off. On the one hand, Alita has a lot of mysteries to her past that are waiting for her on Mars, and it’s clear that is where the story is going for the next series (even if I didn’t know that Mars Chronicle existed going in). On the other – holy CRAP Alita is OP by the end of this story. I feel like for Mars Chronicle to have stakes, it’s either going to have to keep Alita’s supporting cast in a tremendous amount of peril, or she’s going to end up getting depowered like Samus Aran (or Alucard in Symphony of the Night), so she can get a power arc over the course of the story. That, or Alita’s opponents are going to have to be cranked up to a level that utterly breaks suspension of disbelief.
If you’re looking to pick up the rest of the series digitally, it is available through Comixology. That is not an affiliate link.
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