Howdy! It’s MDMRN here filling in for TWWK this week on our journey through Battle Angel Alita.
As we arrive at volume six, Alita has now given her time, skills, and freedom to a Zalemite organization. She surrendered her everything to this group, promising to use her considerable set of skills to help them with Barjack, led by renegade former Zalemite Doctor Desty Nova. Alita had encountered Nova in volume six where he caused her considerable harm…and caused the apparent death of Ido.
As we follow Alita in volume six, we later find her on a train protecting it from Barjack troops. There she meets fellow rail mercenary Figure Four. Figure is a skilled martial artist and former fisherman who is also 100% human. His goal is to earn enough money to get back home to the west coast. He wants to be out of this scrapyard life. He wants his freedom.
Freedom looms large in the first half of volume six. Figure talks about the concept of freedom and after getting to know Alita, his mind is changed.
Until this point, to Figure, freedom was a mindset of solitude and complete detachment from others and worldly connections. However, upon meeting Alita, he sees a different form of freedom: as having control of your life. He witnesses Alita seemingly marching down her own path, ignoring what others think, even disregarding the Zalemites trying to control her and is inspired. That is the freedom he wants, the freedom to do as he pleases when he pleases. Figure views freedom through a lens of control.
The problem is, even Alita does not have that type of freedom. She has been manipulated and controlled by various factions throughout the manga. She rarely is truly in charge of the rudder of the ship called life. At this point in the story, Alita remains a tool of the Zalemite organization, even as she talks about rebellion. Her life goes in so many different directions due to the influence of everyone around her. Yet despite her lack of control, she appears to be a willing slave to the flow of her life.
Alita is not seeking freedom or control; she is seeking love and family. Ido was her family, the only family she knew, and she will do anything to reunite it. If that means giving up everything, including her entire body, so be it. She is not seeking control over her life, because she knows in the end that outside forces are constantly at work in her life.
I know this feeling too well.
In my life there are many, many outside forces far beyond my control. There is the overall economy; the individual people in my life including each of my children and my wife; the weather; and so many random factors that I have absolutely no control over. While I like to feel in control, I never truly am. So many forces beyond my control are moving me forward. All I can do is trust in the one who truly is in command of my ship, the Lord.
I believe in a God who knows the ending and where I am heading. As long as I keep my eyes on Him, whether I am in control or not is ultimately irrelevant. This does not mean my choices do not matter; of course they do. However, it does mean that ultimately there is a beginning and an end of which I have no authority. If I focus instead on the things that do matter (my family, my faith), instead of this entire concept of freedom, I will have a true freedom—a freedom to live apart from the worries of this world.
As volume six winds down, Alita and Figure shift their focus, too—from freedom to love. As this attitude adjustment happens, and aided by the unexpected miracle of fish falling from the sky, both of them find hope, and in that, the freedom they had long been seeking.
Join us next Friday as TWWK jumps back in to handle volume seven of Battle Angel Alita!