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 selected references to popular culture, in-jokes, and the like up through Volume Six of the series. All citations are given by novel (1-7) and page number (the Viz Graphic Novel editions):
1:3--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...
1:12--Upper right. "Chemical Youth" is a song off Queensryche's "Rage for Order" album. See below for more...
1:35--Trust Phillippe to point out the obvious. One of the cylinders says, "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?", from "The Wizard of Oz"
1:81--Is that a Game Boy that the balding guy is playing with? Philippe sure thinks so.
1:83--The poster in the back of the bottom pannel reads "Don't ever trust the needle when it 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 (I would appear to be, too 8-))
1:89--In the center right panel, that looks like C3PO's head on the back screen.
1:91--The lower left hand panel shows several robots. The one at the extreme left is Robby the Robot from "Forbidden Planet". To his right is the one from "The Black Hole". One of the others might be from "Mobile Suit Gundam"(?).
1:120--The pseudo-cross on Zapan's forehead has been used extensively by the Blue Oyster Cult. They, 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.
2:63--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.
2:162--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. (see below)
3:0--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.
3:17--Motorball is clearly a variant of Rollerball, though I don't know a whale of a lot about the latter sport (sort of pro-wrestling meets rollerderby, I'm given to understand).
3:126--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.
3:166--One of the ads in the upper panel is for "Kishiro Tile". Who it's talking about should be obvious.
4:5--The sticker on the computer screen that Umba and Ed are looking at in the lower panel reads "Triumph". This is the name of a band, but I don't know much of anything else about it. Philippe says his dad also used to ride on Triumph motorcycles--this could be a tie-in.
4: 86--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"?
4:151--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.
5:12--The song Gally sings in the original manga is "Big Generator", by Yes. This is probably original verse by Fred and/or Tosh Yoshida.
5:16--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.
5:52--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".
5:105--Lower right hand panel. It's probably not intended, but this bit reminded me of "The Wizard of Oz". Probably no parallel.
6:68--Philippe pointed out that this scene is kind of reminicent of that scene in "Predator" where the Predator takes off its mask. Same sound effect, at any rate.
6:81--Bottom half of the page. The Cylinder's remarks are from "The Fly" and "2001".
6:124--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.
6:127--Left page, top right corner. Colonel Bozzel, however vaguely, reminds me of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's nemesis Krang. Bozzel looks cooler, though.
6:215--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.
7:69--"Radio KAOS" is the name of a concept album by David Gilmour, formerly of Pink Floyd. The plot revolves around a boy who, interestingly, is able to perceive radio waves.
7:70--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.
7:100--Among other things, Koyomi seems to be looking at a Mickey Mouse doll and a Coke bottle.
7:102--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.