The Kudos! List Version 7.0

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, from the Battle Angel Alita, Ashen Victor, and Last Order graphic novels. All citations are given by novel and page number from the first printings of any given English VIZ Graphic Novel issue (doesn't count any reissues).

Battle Angel Alita (GN 1)



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...


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


Trust Philippe to point out the obvious. One of the cylinders says, "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?", from "The Wizard of Oz"


Is that a Game Boy that the balding guy is playing with? Philippe sure thinks so.


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-))


Is that The Shadow slinking off into the corner? The Tiphareans called it.


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 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"(?).


There too is a series of novels by a Fred Saberhagen about an army of unstopable warrior robots known as "Berserkers". Might just all be coincidental.


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.


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

Tears of an Angel (GN 2)



In the bottom left hand panel, the robot who gets its head kicked off looks like C3P0.


Check out one of Yugo's posters. It's the Batmobile!


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.


In the original manga, the Deckman is driving a truck labeld 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.


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)

Killing Angel (GN 3)



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 of the same name, 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).


The Tiphareans have observed that "There can be only one" is a nod to Highlander


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.


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.


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 (GN 4)



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.


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.


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 (GN 5)



The song Gally sings in the original manga is "Big Generator", by Yes. This 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.


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".


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 (GN 6)



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.


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.


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.

Angel of Chaos (GN 7)



The fight between Gally 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 (GN 8)



The Scrapyard: Kansas City
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: Pittsburgh, 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


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?


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. Good eyes, Philippe.

Angel's Ascension (GN 9)



Philippe oserves that that looks like Bert and Ernie in profile at the top of the page.


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 Tiphares and Ketheres 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



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)



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.


Obligatory Mac reference. Deckman 100's front computer monitor is not unlike a Classic Mac. It even has the "Hello."!

Last Order: Angel of the Innocents (LO2)



I forgot to mention this; the MIB Drones kinda look like the Martian spaceships from the movie War of the Worlds. At least their eye-piece does.


Three classic cameras on Koyomi's desk; two I can't put my finger on (though I'll bet the box is a Kodak something-or-other), but the one in the back is a Poloroid instant camera. My dad has one. It's pretty old, back from the 70'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 above 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 above 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 Mac G4 "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 future (next 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

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 Gally by Ido). Certain dates match up perfectly with the dates given in LO3. For example:

BK 315 = ES 250, when Venus was colonized
BK 330 = ES 235, when Mars was colonized.

Using some math, we figure that...
BK 565
= ES 0, when Sputnik1 was launched.
BK 0 = ES 565, when Koyomi was born and when Ido found Gally (GN1)
AK 2 = ES 567, Gally and Yugo fall in love, Yugo dies, Gally plays Motorball (GN2-4)
AK 4 = ES 569, when Gally and Berzerker-Zapan battle (GN5)
AK 14 = ES 579, Tuned Gally, End of Barjack War, Battle at the Granite Inn, Death of Gally (GN6-9)
AK 15 = ES 580, Nova revives Gally in Tiphares, Gally meets Ping Wu in Ketheres (LO1-3)

This means...
BK 0 & ES 565 = 2522, when Koyomi was born and when Ido found Gally
AK 15 & ES 580 = 2537, the events in Last Order.

So... basically most of everything you've read in the entire Gunnm graphic novel series takes place between 2522 and 2537. ... Here are some random fun dates:
BK 521 & ES 44 = 2001, September Eleventh tragedy and the start of the War on Terrorism. One figures that since Yoko was a Martian terrorist, this war never ended. :P
BK 510 & ES 55 = 2012, the Geocatastrophy which turns Earth into the barren wasteland we know and love. (Third Impact? :P)
BK 440 & ES 125 = 2082, Melchizedek implements the Rehibilitation Settlement Project
BK 196 & ES 369 = 2326, the start of the Interplanetary War (the one Yoko fights in)
BK 178 & ES 387 = 2344, the end of the Interplanetary War

... Unfortunatly there's ONE minor set back to all this dating business. On Page 88 we see footage of the Olympus Spaceport in flames, and it's dated 591/03/09. This official date of 591 sort of supercedes my gustimation of 580.... unless the events in Last Order take place 11 years after the Granite Inn battle in GN9?


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, namely 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.


"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 an exact replica of a NASA moon suit designed by Grumman/Space General from the 1960's.


Owein, Lancelot, and Percival were part of the famed Knights of the Round Table.

Last Order: Haunted Angel (LO5)



Caerula Sanguis is another fan-created character that Kishiro used. (See Page 78 in LO1 above for more info.)


Similarlly, the entire Guntroll team are more fan-created characters.


"Blood Red Skies": A little piece by Judas Priest. And I assume 20031201 is when this particular piece was drawn (December 1st, 2003).

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. (More info here.) 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 to me!

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?...

Daniel Snyder, for the original Kudos guide
Philippe Van Lieu, for contributations

If you find any new bits of Kudos! goodness that isn't on this list, feel free to email and tell them to me (er, Philippe).