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The truth about whether or not Alita is a human

What does it mean to be human?

That's a common question in sci-fi and artificial intelligence circles, and it has followed the powerful cyborg known as Alita since her creation. While Alita is certainly played by a human actress, Rosa Salazar, in Alita: Battle Angel (2019), it's a fair question whether the character herself qualifies as human. After all, Alita is found in a pile of garbage at the start of the cyberpunk film: Her body is dysfunctional, broken, and presumably dead. After Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) reboots her lifeless body, though, she once again shows human qualities, such as being able to taste food, show compassion, and fall in love.

Unfortunately for Alita fans, a sequel to Alita: Battle Angel has yet to hit screens — and might never. That means while the sole Alita movie gave audiences a glimpse into the post-apocalyptic world Alita calls home, so many questions remain, to say nothing of the apocalyptic cliffhanger. However, given the nature and makeup of Alita, audience members will always have questions about whether or not she is human, so here is an assessment on whether that is the case.

Fans believe Alita is human, but it's complicated

In 2020, fans took to Reddit to decide this debate once and for all, with one user saying, "Everyone on earth (in the movie, manga, and anime) is basically human, even though some have lost body parts or organs (in accidents, diseases, crimes, war, self-improvement), like legs, arms. , face or the whole body) and then replaced by cybernetic parts (artificial, bionic ones)." This makes sense, and it is true that Alita, without a doubt, is a cyborg — a being with biological and artificial parts. Translation: Alita is part human, part machine. In Alita's case, she has a human brain and a cyborg body. 

That would mean, in essence —particularly if you look to the manga for answers — that Alita was once all human. 

What about now, though? There's a clear difference between love interest Hugo (Keean Johnson), who is flesh and blood at the start of Alita: Battle Angel, and Alita herself. In the film, Alita even questions her humanity, saying, "Does it bother you that I'm not completely human?" To this, Hugo responds, "You are the most human person I ever met." Does a human brain with robotic parts qualify as human? He certainly thinks so, though the truth comes down to personal beliefs. Alita still has the same human brain that she was presumably born with, and Hugo considers her not only human, but a person.

Alita's manga humanity roots

There's only so much live-action material to pull from, since only one Alita movie has come out, to date. There is, however, a manga series to shuffle through. Last Order reveals that Alita has been in her cyborg form since age three, despite Mars Chronicle stating she's been a cyborg her whole life. It appears, on that note, that not even the manga series can agree on an answer. 

Alita's original given name is Yoko, and there's manga material stating she was born a human on Mars. So, is Alita a Martian? Maybe we should not muddy the A.I. waters to that degree.

In any case, everyone's favorite battle angel couldn't remember her name after being lost in a sea of trash in Alita: Battle Angel. In fact, she couldn't remember anything, and had to, in a sense, learn all human abilities once again. That's a big reason why she struggles with the grasp on humanity throughout the movie. The question of whether or not Alita is human is one Alita herself struggles with. However, it's worth noting that a person is still rightfully considered a human if they have, say, a pacemaker. By that standard, although Alita's body appears to be mostly robotic, the Motorball champion is also — yes — human.

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