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Motorball (モーターボール Mōtābōru?) is the most popular fictional spectator sport in the Western District of the Scrapyard, with the Coliseum being the equivalent in the Eastern District. The Motorball is an event with big structures formed by multiple labyrinths with complex and dangerous layout. It is a sport trying to have similarities with base-ball and car racing (Formula 1 style) at the same time.

Functionally, it serves an important role in society as it allows viewers to temporarily forget the despair of their situation. In actuality, this hyperviolent cross between gladiatorial combat and speed skating relieves stress much more with violence than it does with sport. The goal of each race is to carry a heavy motorball across the finish line, or to be the last player standing.

History and role in the Scrapyard[]

Motorball was created by the Factory to relieve violent tension in the Scrapyard. It currently continues to receive funding from the Factory. However, the large amount of gambling and revenue garnered from tickets may make motorball self-sufficient at some point.

In Ashen Victor, which is set about six years before the start of Battle Angel Alita, motorball is still focused largely on the players' racing ability. Despite his dismal racing record, Snev impressed those who watched him by performing exceptionally during his tryouts, although it is suggested that talented players like him are becoming a rarity. Players are not explicitly depicted as fighting during a race, and are not yet equipped with the variety of weapons that are seen later on in Battle Angel Alita. However, the sport is moving in a more violent direction driven by the bloodlust of the audience. Ben mentions that motorball is no longer a sport and that the audience now comes more for the violence. Holmegolud, who is much older than he is, also states that motorball is now "all carnage and no skill."[1]

This trend towards an increasing desire for violence on the part of the spectators is also reflected in the results of a viewer poll conducted by the owner of Team Spandau, which found that their monitor viewers preferred to experience a crash rather than an actual motorball victory. The use of performance enhancing drugs was also becoming an accepted practice, as is shown in Dolagunov's endorsement of the nervous system performance enhancing drug Accel and its rising popularity. He continued to use the drug after the dissolution of Team Spandau until his retirement from motorball as a result of abusing it.


Motorball is organized into a pyramidal structure in a series of leagues.




Top League

The apex of the motorball pyramid. Races are broadcast in Tiphares itself. Jashugan was the reigning champion until his defeat by Alita. Ed was a Top League player before he was forced to retire.


Second League
A popular league, characterized by its players' strategy, combat techniques, and gimmicks. The players performances make this league the most popular of all.

All four members of Alita's challenge team came from the Second League.


Third League
The entry league into Motorball, characterized by its violence, the Third League attracts numerous fans. Both Snev and Doluganov were in the Third League.

Ten out of Alita's twelve races were in the Third League.


Sandlot League
An unofficial league which includes amateur players. Races take place in the streets.

The different Motorball Leagues are coordinated by the Factories. The sport attract many players at Scrapyard, some of them even coming from beyond the frontiers to try their luck.

Consecuently, the number of participants, if we include the Sandlot League (or base league), is enormous. The 10 huge circuits distributed in Scrapyard give work to a lot of people, that's why Motorball is one of the big industries of the city.

A system of bets sportive loto-style is set up for each race. The spectators also can live their favorite player exploits and feel the same emotions connecting themselves to the monitoring of visual information.

To increase the monitors audience rate, the desire to win is not enough; the players often have to make a show during the match.

The motorball[]

The motorball weighs 40 kilograms and is 30 centimetres in diameter. It is heavy enough that it can slow down the fastest of competitors from their normal supersonic speeds. The motorball has several randomly activating protrusions that simulate random movement. The protrusions, and thus the movement, can be stopped by hitting a switch within the finger holes of the ball. Should the motorball be lost on a course, a new motorball will be released a predetermined distance from the finish line.


In a normal match, starting position is determined by computer lottery using amidakuji, a type of random selection. The motorballers start when a stoplight turns from red to green. The motorball is then released by a launcher. Alternatively, in a smaller or special match, a smaller amount of competitors can be led by a pace car, where competition begins when the car releases the motorball itself.

The Big 7 rules of Motorball[]

#1. Is declared winner the one who pass the finish line with the Motorball in hand.

#2. The circuit has one way only. Any player moving back more than 3 meters is penalized.

#3. A player stopped more than 1 minute during the race is disqualified.

#4. When the Motorball is outside or damaged, the race is paused while it is replaced by a new one on the track.

#5. Melee weapons non-integrated to the body, weapons with jet or propulsion, weapons with radiations, explosive weapons are prohibited in the Motorball, as it is forbiden to fly or to use boosters.

#6. Any combat on the "Pit Lane" result in a disqualification.

#7. A player can't enter the stands when in possession of the Motorball.

General rule[]

In the case there are only two players left on track, the gane is declared Duel. The winner of the Motorball is the winner of the hand to hand fight.

The regulations #1 to #4 are not applied in a Duel.

Some arenas may have variations on the rules or an increased rate of dangerous gimmicks on the tracks.

Additionally, combatants may at any time enter their pit area for repairs. Because of the high rate of limb loss, these stops can be frequent and costly. Re-fitting limbs also tends to decrease their efficiency.

Spectator participation[]

There are three methods of spectation. The most popular is a first person chair focused on a single competitor. The chair has sensory input, which allows the spectator to feel minor jolts. The second is live spectation in the arena, where fans are protected by a high fence. This still has its hazards however, as players can fly off the track and crash through the fence into the audience. The last, commonly used when sensory input chairs are sold out, is a series of standing-room only monitors. Races are also broadcast throughout the Scrapyard.

The reigning grand champion was the neurally enhanced cyborg Jashugan, who was so powerful that he only participated in matches with a 3-on-1 handicap and one arm removed. He was later defeated by Alita, but she retired right after, and motorball was only touched on sparingly in the story since. The participants are grouped into several divisions and can advance after certain conditions are met. Although motorballers who prefer fighting to winning tend to not meet these conditions, fighters become popular among spectators.

CG Movie[]

Main article: Gunnm 3D special

A 3 minute 3D CGI rendered video clip was included in volume 6 of the Japanese Gunnm: Complete Edition. It showcases Alita in a Third League motorball race and depicts events from three of her races.


  1. Race 1 - Holmegolud reacts to Ben and Dolagunov's conversation.
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