'Alita: Battle Angel' Director Explains Its Anime Eyes

20th Century Fox dropped the first trailer for the live-action adaptation of Battle Angel Alita, and one thing fans didn't expect of a live-action anime film was to get such accurate eyes.

The eyes have lead to a pretty mixed reaction from fans, though its palpable. According to the film's director, Robert Rodriguez, that reaction is what they intended.

Speaking with Empire, the original idea for the eyes came from original director and now producer, James Cameron:

"It was always Jim's intention to create a photo-realistic version of the manga eyes that we're so accustomed to seeing. We really wanted to honour that tradition and see that look standing next to any human character. To have the right person to emote behind it was really essential. Her origins are in the film and you understand why she looks that way. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, we have some pretty big windows. You can see a lot going on in there! When it gets to the emotional scenes it's really uncanny and striking. And captivating!"

James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez decided to depict Alita's eyes as such to further push her into uncanny territory, which is also most likely to highlight how different she is to the rest of the world. It seems like a visual shortcut necessary for the amount of storytelling needed to do with little alotted time.

But while fans have had mixed reactions to Alita: Battle Angel, its original creator Yukito Kishiro is optimistic about its future noting that a Hollywood is like a "dream come true" for him.

For those unfamiliar with Battle Angel Alita, the series was originally created by Yukito Kishiro. The series is set in a post-apocalyptic future and follows Alita, a cyborg who is found in a garbage heap by a doctor and rebuilt. Completely devoid of her memory, all she has to cling to is a legendary cyborg martial art known as Panzer Kunst. With this knowledge, Alita decides to become a bounty hunter. Originally published in Shueisha's Weekly Business Jump in 1990, it was collected into nine volumes and licensed for an English language release by Viz Media.


The series was adapted into a short anime OVA series, and was the only anime adaptation to date. The film, Alita: Battle Angel, had been struck with production delays for several years before finally debuting its first trailer. Alita: Battle Angel will be directed by Robert Rodriguez, produced by James Cameron and Jon Landau, stars Rosa Salazar (as the titular Alita), Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley, and will hit theaters July 20, 2018.

via Empire