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Why The Number 55 In Alita: Battle Angel Is More Important Than You Think

Directed by Robert Rodriguez — from a screenplay co-written by "Avatar" filmmaker James Cameron and "Altered Carbon" writer Laeta Kalogridis — "Alita: Battle Angel" was one of the most ambitious blockbusters of 2019. Adapted from Yukito Kishiro's 1990s manga series, "Battle Angel Alita," the film attempted to bring the manga's cyberpunk world and unique characters to life in live-action form on the big screen, incorporating elements of cutting edge visual effects along the way. Critics were mixed at the time of its release (it holds only a 61% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes), but the film's supporters and fans have only seemed to grow in the years since its theatrical debut.

The film performed reasonably well at the worldwide box office, raking in over $404 million (via BoxOfficeMojo), but with a $170 million budget, it wasn't impressive enough to guarantee a sequel. However, the uncertainty surrounding the property's big screen future hasn't stopped fans of the film from revisiting it, and each new rewatch seems to lead to the discovery of new Easter eggs and details hidden throughout the film. In particular, the number 55 carries significant weight for dedicated Alita fans.

The number 55 is references the source material

Keean Johnson's Hugo plays a huge role in the plot of "Alita: Battle Angel," as well as Alita's overall emotional arc throughout the film. What some fans of the film may not realize is how the blockbuster also uses Hugo to pay homage to its source material.

Originally noted by Sinfully Cinematic, Hugo repeatedly wears a brown shirt with the number 55 on it throughout "Alita: Battle Angel." While that may not seem like an important detail at first, it takes on some new meaning when looking at the "Battle Angel Alita" manga series. Specifically, fans believe that the repeated appearance of 55 throughout "Alita" is a reference to a moment from the original manga, when Alita challenges a renowned motorball champion to a high-stakes arm wrestling match. Alita offers to give her heart if she loses, while her competitor pledges to give a coin from Factory 55.

Because Alita attempts to give Hugo her heart in the live-action film, it's likely that the film's creative team chose to have Hugo wear a shirt with the number 55 as a reference to a moment in the "Battle Angel Alita" manga when she also put her heart on the table. It's a clever nod to Kishiro's original manga that even the most keen-eyed of "Alita" fans may have missed.