Why Alita Has Big Anime Eyes And How The Internet Is Reacting

Why Alita Has Big Anime Eyes And How The Internet Is Reacting

When the Alita: Battle Angel trailer hit last Saturday, it was impossible not to notice the character Alita’s anime-style eyes.

[GIF via 20th Century Fox]

While talking to IGN Brazil, Sin City director Robert Rodriguez explained the decision to give the character these peepers, saying, “The manga anime eyes that we’ve seen since the ’30s and Astro Boy has never been done photorealistically. So, usually when we see an anime translated, it doesn’t feel like that.”

Continuing, he adds, “The early artwork I saw that Jim [Cameron] had, before it was even technically possible, had that in her [Alita]. It was so striking and so arresting, I thought, ‘My god, we have to do that. We have to be the first to bring a true manga and anime character to life.'”

You can see the full response below:

Here is how people have been reacting to the trailer on Reddit.

[Via Reddit]

[Via Reddit]

[Via Reddit]

[Via Reddit]

[Via Reddit]

[Via Reddit]

And the response on Twitter:

Alita: Battle Angel opens on 19 July 2018, big eyes and all.


  • I didn’t have any problems with her eyes and thought it was quite fitting given that Alita has distinctly large eyes in the manga compared to most other characters. It’s kind of one of her defining traits. What I didn’t see were her face markings, though they may just not have included any scenes from when she got them because spoilers.

    WRT Scott Kurtz’s tweet, I was looking for the hammer too and it does appear in one of the scenes. That was when I breathed a sigh of relief.

  • I honestly never through this movie would see the light of day. So much so, I had forgotten it was even a thing! Seriously though, I found the eyes off-putting in the trailer. It might be something you stop noticing after a few minutes; but for now, it looks wrong for the wrong reasons.

  • The eyes debate really undercuts my problem with the trailer.

    Rather than a cyberpunk wasteland bereft of hope, the Scrapyard setting feels like a lame dystopian young adult novel.

  • I feel like this specific genre of “cyborg Pinocchio” story had been done to death already, Astro-boy, short circuit, Stephen Spielberg’s AI, wall-E, chappie, terminator 2 (technically), Bicentennial Man, Iron giant, to a certain extent blade runner as well, and this is all I can remember from memory, there are a lot more other examples.

    Unless this movie really is an exceptional masterpiece, it won’t leave any memorable impression behind.

    • You clearly haven’t read or even heard about the source material. The main character is not a “Pinocchio, as she’s actually human to begin with, if only by the barest of definitions. The story constantly edges on full body horror in a disturbing interpretation of the classic dilemma of Theseus ship. Ghost in the Shell threaded similar ground but its angle is much more psychological while Alita’s is fully visceral.

  • She is a machine, why does she have to have normal human proportions? For a straight humans, I get it, but all the human in the trailer have normal eyes. Zero issues here.

  • To me, it just makes her out of place in the movies Universe. All other characters, both human and android, have normal looking eye proportions. Alita is the ONLY one in the movie with eyes that huge in the movie from what we can see. It just doesn’t fit with the rest of the world.

    (Side note to mods: My account has been under moderation for every post for 2 weeks. Can you remove that or let me know if I should just not bother posting anymore)

    • Sorry, I can’t remove it. Looks like your past comments have landed you in trouble with the automod and I don’t see a way around it.

    • Alita is the ONLY one in the movie with eyes that huge in the movie from what we can see. It just doesn’t fit with the rest of the world.

      But, she is unique in that world.

  • Hopefully they end up showing the eyes as cybernetic in the movie and we aren’t all left to assume the eyes are real eyeballs. I mean all other characters in the movie so far appear to have normal eyes, so yeah…

  • I feel like they’ve done this because of a fundamental misunderstanding about why eyes are drawn / animated larger in anime to begin with. It makes the characters more expressive within the limitations of 2D artwork. You don’t need exaggerated eyes for a live-action character, human faces are vastly more expressive than a drawing is. Instead of making the character more appealing, they’ve thrown her right into the Uncanny Valley – our brains are screaming at us that it looks human but this one feature isn’t and so is wrong and dangerous and creeps us out, which is not how you’re meant to feel about the character at all.

    I’m still stunned that Cameron is hung up on making the movie as well. Gunnm / Alita made sense as something to look at adapting in the late 90s, but it’s been largely forgotten now.

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