Battle Angel Alita: Mars Chronicle, known in Japan as Gunnm: Mars Chronicle (銃夢火星戦記 Ganmu Kasei Senki?) is a manga series by Yukito Kishiro and the third and latest series in the Battle Angel Alita saga. It is the sequel to Last Order, taking place on Mars three years later with intercut flashbacks to Alita's childhood as Yoko.
In Sputnik Calendar Year 373, during the chaotic Martian civil conflicts leading up to the Terraforming Wars, a young cyborg girl named Yoko befriends a cheerful one-eyed girl named Erica Walt while being treated by a nomadic medic named Finch, who equips Yoko with a remote control to help her better control her completely mechanical body. The two are left at an orphanage in the town of Mamiana, the matron leaving them in the care of a girl named Ninon Silber - the leader of a group of bullies and the self-claimed heiress of the Flammarion ruling family. Ninon's friends bully Yoko over her mechanical body until Erica intervenes, sparking enmity between her and Ninon - who wants Erica as her servant.
A trio of bounty hunters looking for Yoko - Das, a cyborg gunslinger; Rocco, a spider-like cyborg; and Gillatin, a bounty-hunter clad in black armor and wielding a whip-sword - come across a group of soldiers killed by Grünthal - the same soldiers previously seen in Battle Angel Alita: Last Order who were forcing Yoko and Erica to cross the minefield. Reluctant to get involved with the Kunstlers, the bounty hunters deduce what had happened and that Yoko must have been left at an orphanage.
The next day Ninon apologizes to Yoko and Erica for bullying them and invites them to her hideout at the village pump station, showing a kinder side to herself when she reads a Martian folktale to Yoko. Mamiana is then suddenly attacked by the Papagei Corps, who destroy the town and slaughter its inhabitants, including Ninon and her friends; with Yoko and Erica being the only survivors solely due to propaganda purpose. The Papagei Corps dispose of the bodies and blame the rival Winde Corps for the massacre, with Yoko and Erica being picked up by Finch, who returned to the town half a day late and missed the massacre. When the Säule supporting Cydonia Territory's baldachin is destroyed, they are rescued by the Gartner of Beine 244, Mui, who demands they sacrifice their lives to repair the Säule; but is ordered to release them by her superior, Priesterin Neff.
Erica is returned to her hometown of Curie Stadt, eagerly telling Yoko and Finch about her amazing family; but as they draw closer she begins feeling phantom pain in her missing eye. Erica's home district turns out to be a war-torn slum underneath a damaged part of the dome, littered with unexploded bombs; and Erica's house is nothing but a burnt-out shell. Erica suddenly regains her memories that her father was an abusive alcoholic grave-robber who sicced the family dog to attack her for entertainment, costing her an arm, and her mother was a psychotic prostitute who'd stabbed out her eye with a fork. Realizing her false memories of her family were made up based on an idealized billboard outside her bedroom window, Erica remembers she had tricked some thieves into killing her parents and then gleefully burnt the house down herself. Traumatized, Erica retrieves a book of old Martian folktales which her father had said was priceless treasure, and returns to Finch to learn he found someone claiming to be Yoko's mother. While waiting for Yoko's mother to arrive, Erica shows Finch her father's book. A woman named Kyoko Bima arrives, stating herself to be Yoko's mother and that Yoko lost her body due to illness, but Erica refuses to hand Yoko over; breaking down in tears when they are separated.
A meeting of the Martian lords is interrupted by Baron Muster, the masked leader of a criminal syndicate, who demands to be given control of the irradiation rights for the Cydonia Territory, threatening to kill the committee with krista morten, a poison that causes flesh to crystallize The committee capitulates when he kills Policella Porwit, the representative for Cydonian Queen Kagura Dornburg, as a demonstration, swearing revenge against her.
After leaving Curie Stadt, Finch and Erica are attacked by the bounty-hunters looking for Yoko. Giratin destroys Finch's vehicle and Rocco determines that Yoko isn't there. Das threatens to kill Erica, but Baron Muster arrives and reveals that the bounty-hunters' employer (Porwit) is dead. The bounty hunters turn down Muster's offer to hire them, and he reveals that Yoko is being taken to the Baumburg household in Sklodowska, the Cydonian capital. Muster grabs Erica before departing, while the three bounty hunters decide to resume their pursuit of Yoko.
Muster reveals himself as an old acquaintance of Erica's father, whom he says stole the book Erica has from him. Muster demands Erica relinquish the book to him, intending to throw her off his speeder, but their struggle causes it to crash. The two are stranded in the desert and sucked into a buried spaceship by quicksand. Calling a truce until his subordinates arrive, Muster reveals to Erica that he contracted an illness called the Maske Tumor - which causes autonomous tumors in the shape of grotesque human faces to grow all over, even inside, the afflicted person's body. When Erica suggests he go to a hospital, Muster replies that he wants revenge on Queen Kagura - who he was besotted with as a young man and had infected his family with the Maske Tumor looking for an ancient treasure called the Immortal Nostrum, killed his father and sister, and tortured him into insanity looking for a cure when she herself was infected with the disease. Muster states he seeks the Immortal Nostrum to cure his Maske Tumor, and Erica tries to threaten him but accidentally activates the Goldstock - one of the three treasures related to the Immortal Nostrum. Erica reveals what she did to her own family, impressing Muster into making her his disciple and training her in the ways of villainy.
After they are rescued, Erica is taken by Muster to his fortress in the Valley of Despair and trained in combat by Muster's lieutenant, Zoe; slowly nurturing and embracing her hatred under Muster's guidance. Erica encounters and becomes infatuated with a prisoner named Damjan, whose 'fiancee' Muster had murdered. Muster makes him Erica's servant and she secretly promises to help him get revenge. As time passes, Erica discovers that the woman who had supposedly been Yoko's mother was a servant of Marquis Maruki Baumburg, who was collaborating with Baron Muster to depose Queen Kagura; and awakens a love for killing when she uses Krista Morten to kill Professor Chinmoy - a scientist working on the poison for Muster. She subsequently embraces her sadistic, wicked side to the extent that Muster expresses concern that she would turn on him if she learned how weak he was getting. Erica helps Muster solve the puzzle of the Immortal Nostrom, but Damjan is revealed to be an undercover assassin and tries to kill them all. However, Muster reveals he was aware of Damjan's plans all along and had tricked him into consuming the krista morten and killing himself.
One year later, in 374, the Cydonia Territory suffers a brutal winter as a result of Baron Muster's machinations, with only the Baumburg Mansion being unaffected. Baron Muster visits Marquis Baumburg to review their plan to depose Queen Kagura using Yoko and a Ngema's Report stating that Yoko is effectively Kagura's daughter, having been born from one of Kagura's maske tumors. Erica is reunited with Yoko and reveals to Kyoko that she is aware of the deception, sadistically threatening to reveal the truth to Yoko unless she obeys her. Kyoko, who had developed genuine maternal feelings for Yoko, agrees to obey Erica and Erica reveals that Muster and Marquis Baumburg are planning to kill them when the latter has control of Cydonia's Ethnarch Odeon Bach. Erica suggests that they run away and reveals that she's already made arrangements - having hired Das and Rocco to assist her in their escape. Giratin, who was hired by Marquis Maruki, pursues them intending to capture Yoko. Rocco sacrifices himself to buy the others time to escape. Despite Erica pleading with him to stay with them and become a surrogate father to her and Yoko, Das leaves to fight and kill Giratin - reminiscing about their time together as comrades - before being gunned down by Marquis' gunship. Realizing they can't escape, Erica stabs Kyoko in the heart in order to get her to admit that she lied, but Kyoko says that regardless of her not being Yoko's birth mother she genuinely loves her as a daughter. Embracing them both, Kyoko tells them that she loves them both while inwardly lamenting the emptiness and cruelty of life. When the Marquis and Muster find them, Erica tells him that Kyoko hired the bounty hunters in an effort to abduct Yoko, and then committed suicide when she realized they couldn't escape; though Muster notices the wound isn't self-inflicted.
At the ceremony to transfer the crown of Mars from Kagura to Yoko, everything goes smoothly until the chief priest reveals that Yoko is not related to Kagura. Marquis Baumburg is outraged, wondering how this could be possible when a previous DNA test indicated there was a match. The chief priest unmasks himself as Baron Muster, shooting several of the noblemen with krista morten bullets and revealing that while the Ngema's Report was correct in that Yoko is a fully autonomous maske tumor, he had altered it to falsely state that Kagura was her mother. Revealing that Kagura had become a bloated mass of flesh completely covered in maske tumors, Muster mocks her and then guns down the rest of the nobles, including the Marquis. He forces Kagura into the ethnarch, where he says her sweetheart is waiting for her, and then locks her inside. Erica realizes that Muster is actually Zoe in disguise, smugly prompting her to unveil herself; while the real Baron Muster greets Kagura inside the ethnarch. Zoe reveals that Yoko is in fact unrelated to Kagura, and her real genetic mother is Muster's late sister Nollin, before threatening to kill both Yoko and Erica, but Erica calls her bluff and shouts her down. Meanwhile, Muster, who deliberately chained himself, allows Kagura to physically torment him in order to activate the Odeon Bach into autonomity, before killing both Kagura and himself by pouring hydrofluoric acid. The Odeon Bach then goes berserk and devastates the capital city, leading to Cydonia falling into anarchy which soon spreads to the surrounding regions. Erica and Yoko escape Cydonia and begin a wandering life of survival and adventure.
In the Sputnik Calendar Year 594, three years after the Zenith of Things Tournament, Alita returns to Mars with her ally Danko - a sentient shoulder-cannon engineered on Venus using Berserker cells. Alita visit a memorial dedicated to the massacre of Mamiana, laying a boquet of flowers on the ground in front of it. Dako alerts Alita to someone standing behind the memorial, and Frau X - revealed to be Erica - steps out from behind it. Initially friendly, Erica cordially chats with Alita, stating she'd had the memorial built to lure Alita there and asking where she'd been. Alita states she was on Venus, where she had met Danko while working as a Last Order agent. When Alita reveals she knows of Erica's terrorist activities with the Neo-Third Reich, Erica uses Schatten Forgen to flirtatiously grope her backside, bemoaning the loss of her tail. Revealing her bloodthirsty side, Erica then attacks, showing a mastery of classic Panzer Kunst that surpasses Alita's own altered style.
Onboard the SNS Guntroll, Captain Qu Tsang chats with Caerula Sanguis, revealing that Sechs has joined Guntroll looking for Alita and that Queen Limeira has almost succeeded in her efforts to unify Mars. Tsang mentions that Zappa Terracotta, a former ward of Guntroll's orphanage, has become the leader of a separatist movement based out of Mars' moons, and that Limeira had gone to arrange a treaty with his government. Caerula reveals that the attack on Guntroll's orphanage three years prior had not been Aga Mbadi's doing, but the work of a figure named Dasein, who was also behind the Neo-Third Reich's activities. Caerula warns Tsang that her research has uncovered the existence of the Einherjar, a group of undead Necro-Soldiers whose ranks include Frau X and the leader of the Neo-Third Reich, which had merely been a cover for the Einherjar's activities. Speculating that Alita may unwittingly be a pawn of Dasein's, Caerula states she believes he's somewhere on Mars.
Defeating Alita, Erica scolds her for letting her skills decline, but is caught off-guard when Alita reveals that she'd killed her 200 years previously; allowing Alita to sever her left arm to escape. Alita reveals that Caerula told her about the Einherjar and that Erica is a Necro-Soldier. Erica has a breakdown, denying this and rebuking Alita when she suggests they team up to take down Dasein. Alita stops holding back, forcing Erica to amputate one of her feet to get away. Enraged at the loss of her limb, Erica decides to utilize her own modernized version of Panzer Kunst, Panzer Taitaan, but their battle is interrupted by the arrival of the other Einherjar - fellow Kunstlers Parabellum, War Doctor Bremen, and Master Gergt. Gergt orders Erica to retreat, revealing that Alita was supposed to have been killed by Caerula during the ZOTT and reconstructed into a Necro-Soldier. Revealing that he knows Alita is a Last Order, Gergt declares her the sworn enemy of the Einherjar. Tossing a young boy with an explosive device strapped to him in order to prevent Alita from pursuing, Gergt and the Einherjar depart. Alita saves the child, but is abruptly confronted by Zazie and her troops, who brutally attack her despite her nonviolently surrendering and then arrest her for the attempted assassination of Queen Limeira - who had been badly injured by an assassin identical in appearance to Alita's Imaginos 2.0 body.
Put on trial by the Mars Kingdom Parliament Army, Alita denies involvement with the Einherjar when Zazie accuses of being a member based on her meetings with Erica and Gergt. Zazie and her comrades poke holes in Alita's alibis; but before she can be sentenced Mui - now the Priesterin - arrives and orders that Alita be released. Alita remembers Mui from her childhood, and Mui warmly complements Alita while remarking she's disappointed by Erica. When the judge refuses to comply, Caerula arrives and also vouches for Alita, revealing what she knows about the Einherjar and Dasien. Caerula reveals that the Martian military and government have been infiltrated by Necro-Soldiers, asking how Limeira is doing. Limeira arrives, fully recovered, and asks if Caerula was worried she was turned into a Necro-Soldier. Caerula uses her enhanced sight to scan the Queen but is unable to detect any abnormalities, revealing that Mbadi had been aware of Dasien's schemes and been able to detect Necro-Soldiers, his death making it possible for Dasien to move in the open. Departing, Caerula reveals that she and Alita have been unwittingly used as pawns by Dasien and need to act with caution. Mui petitions Limeira to free Alita, and the Martian Queen agrees to have her set free. Zazie gives Alita a tracking device and asks if she deliberately plotted to be seen together Erica, but Alita swears on her honor as a warrior that it was a coincidence. As Caerula's ship departs, she realizes it's going in the wrong direction and discovers that the pilot is gone. Caerula realizes that she's been tricked and that someone present at Alita's trial had been a Necro-Soldier, just before her ship explodes.
Onboard Mui's ship, Alita is impressed by the advanced technology and embarrassed by Mui's habit of wandering the ship naked. Alternating between being cheerful and stoic, Mui apologizes for how she'd treated Alita when they'd met 200 years prior, and becomes flustered when she misinterprets Alita's expression of forgiveness as a love confession. When asked by Mui what she intends to do, Alita declares that she's going to find a cure for the Necro-Soldiers and take Erica back from the Einherjar. Mui reveals she knows of a scientist who possesses the knowledge to do such a thing. As they arrive at the scientist's lab, Mui asks Alita why her arm isn't regrowing, and Alita responds that her Imaginos body's regenerative abilities had been weakened to the extent that it will take a week to grow her arm back; having Mui free Danko.
At the Einherjar headquarters, Erica - having reattached her foot - furiously confronts Gergt regarding Alita's accusations and is devastated to learn that she is indeed a Necro-Soldier, having been mortally-wounded by Yoko 200 years ago. Revealing that he is also a Necro-Soldier, Gregt states that Caerula had been prying into their affairs and that he had managed to temporarily stall her, then berates Erica for questioning their mission.
When Mui's ship arrives at the scientist's laboratory, Alita recognizes Tzykrow and they attack each other despite Mui asking them to bury the hatchet. Alita easily defeats Tzykrow, interrogating him to see if he knows anything about the Einherjar. Realizing he knows nothing, she reveals that Gregt is still alive and pretends she's on a mission from him. Terrified that Alita has been sent to exact revenge for his desertion of the Panzer Kunst, Tzykrow surrenders and begs her put in a good word for him, which Alita says she'll do if he helps her. Super Nova emerges from the laboratory and greets Alita, and Mui wonders how everyone seems to know each other. Super Nova remarks that he and Alita are old enemies and remarks that the fact she didn't attack him on-sight means she must have learned restraint; inviting Mui and Alita into his lab. Inside, Alita asks if Super Nova can restore a Necro-Soldier to a living being, saying she won't take no for an answer; and Super Nova gleefully agrees when Mui and Tzykrow also petition him.
Mars Chronicle is published in Kodansha's Evening magazine and began serialization on October 28, 2014. Its English publisher is Kodansha Comics USA.
|Volumes and Chapters|