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There were other factors to Battle Angel’s short-lived existence as an anime. In conversation with Polygon, Amanda Winn Lee, the OVA’s ADR Director and the English voice of Alita/Gally, says that the reason Battle Angel’s additional manga volumes weren’t adapted was due to the anime’s poor sales in Japan.
Battle Angel arrived at the tail end of the OVA market boom, when Japan’s economic recession rattled the business. Then Neon Genesis Evangelion happened, and changed the anime landscape forever. Evangelion showed you could do adult sci-fi in a television setting and the audiences would show up in droves. That made it less likely that producers were going to pursue more OVA adaptations.
Lee also recalls hearing that audiences just didn’t find Alita “cute enough” and “they wanted more fan service.” After the failure of Battle Angel, Animate, Movic, and KSS produced Plastic Little, which was considered a direct response to the thoughtful science fiction story. “Lots of girls, lots of boobs. [Plastic Little] is what they invented the jiggle counter for,” Lee says.
The voice actress also has her own regrets over the movie; Lee says she recorded her Gally lines with a 102-degree fever, and while recording the “battle foley” screams that accompany bigger action scenes, apparently passed out in the booth. “Sometimes I wish I could have gone back. I don’t know how different it would have been, but that movie will always have a very, very special place in my heart,” she says.”