Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, known in Japan as Gunnm: Last Order (銃夢 Last Order Ganmu Rasuto Ōdā?), is a manga series by Yukito Kishiro that serves as the sequel to Battle Angel Alita It continues the story of Alita; continuing her quest to uncover her mysterious past, expanding beyond Earth to occur primarily in space. The manga ran from November 2000 to January 2014, making it Kishiro's longest running manga. It was followed in October 2014 by the direct sequel Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle.
Last Order continues from the final volume of Battle Angel Alita, but diverges from the original ending. It ignores the transformation of Ketheres into a nanotechnological space flower, Alita's subsequent transformation into a flesh and blood human, and her reunion with Figure Four. Instead, it takes place after Alita was killed by a doll bomb planted by Desty Nova.
The story begins when Alita is resurrected by Nova's nanotechnology in the floating city of Tiphares a year later. The secret of Tiphares is publicly exposed and results in a brutal civil war, but Tiphares and the surface turn out to be a small part of a more complex world. Going into space with new and old companions alike to rescue her lost friend Lou Collins and find out more about her forgotten past, Alita is caught up in an interplanetary struggle between the major powers of the colonized Solar System. Along the way, she forms an alliance with three of the former TUNED agents who have now begun to think for themselves, an unsavory superhacker, and Nova himself when she enters the LADDER-sponsored Tenth Zenith of Things Tournament (ZOTT), a Solar System-wide fighting tournament held every ten years. During the course of the story, more background about the setting of Battle Angel Alita that was not disclosed in the prior series is revealed, such as how the Earth emerged from a cataclysmic impact winter that wiped out most of humanity.
The ZOTT, which takes place over the course of several days, eventually forms the primary story arc of Last Order as the motivations and backgrounds of additional teams are revealed while other events transpire in the background. With Alita's Space Angels making it to the Finals and eventually triumphing, the stage is set for her to again affect the course of human history.
Yukito Kishiro has stated that he was sick at the time of Battle Angel Alita and was forced to cut it short with an ending he was not satisfied with. After working on other projects and the manga Aqua Knight, he decided to go back to Alita's story in 2000. Originally, the story was planned to follow that of the PlayStation game Gunnm: Martian Memory, but its story is only used partially and sparingly, as Kishiro expanded and changed the story.
Kishiro has solicited his readers for suggestions on character designs for Last Order, which can be submitted through his website, Yukitopia. If accepted, he retains the copyright for the adaptation. Accepted designs are highlighted at the end of the volumes and in a special section of Yukitopia. The most notable characters that were based on reader submissions are Aga Mbadi and Caerula Sanguis.
Last Order was first published by Shueisha, Kishiro's longtime publisher, beginning in July 2001 and serialized in Ultra Jump. In June 2010 it went on hiatus since the 100th installment due to a disagreement between Kishiro and an editor at Ultra Jump. The editor had wanted Kishiro to refrain from using the word "psycho" in his manga dialogue for the new reprint of Battle Angel Alita, the Gunnm: New Edition. Kishiro later offered to resume the manga only if the legal department of Ultra Jump apologized to him for questioning the three sections of dialogue in the New Edition and Shueisha would recall it and revert the revised sections to their original form. If his requirements were not met, Kishiro threatened to switch publishers to Kodansha's Evening magazine. Kishiro's requirements were apparently rejected by Shueisha and Kodansha subsequently announced that Last Order would join Evening in the eighth issue in March 2011, which was released on March 22 with Phase 101 of the manga.
The first 15 volumes of the tankōbon were published by Shueisha, and Kodansha has continued with the 16th volume. Kodansha also began publication of the Gunnm: Last Order New Edition, a reprint of Last Order, in July 2011.
The manga is published internationally in the following languages:
- Chinese: By Tong Li Comics as 銃夢II Last Order (Gun Dream II Last Order?).
- English: By Viz Media as Battle Angel Alita: Last Order. Because of the switch in publishers to Kodansha, its American distributor, Kodansha Comics USA, replaced Viz as the current publisher starting with Volume 16.
- French: By Glénat Manga as Gunnm Last Order.
- German: By Carlsen Comics as Battle Angel Alita - Last Order.
- Spanish: By Planeta DeAgostini Comics as Gunnm Last Order. The number of volumes is higher as they do not correspond exactly to the original tankōbon.
- Italian: By Panini Comics as Alita Last Order. It's published into two versions an (old) 38 volumes B6 size and a (new) "Deluxe" version A5 size.
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