“Alita” Director Tries To Justify Anime Eyes

The first trailer for the Robert Rodriguez-directed and James Cameron-produced live-action manga adaptation “Alita: Battle Angel” arrived earlier this week and all that anyone is talking about regarding it are those ‘manga eyes’ of the titular character.

The robotic character is played by a regular actress with mo-cap to render an otherwise realistic human looking CG character – aside from disturbingly large eyes which push things into the serious uncanny valley territory.

In a recent interview with Empire, Rodriguez explained that the idea for a ‘real world’ recreation of Alita’s looks from the comic came directly from Cameron who wanted a photo-realistic version of the manga eyes:

“We really wanted to honour that tradition and see that look standing next to any human character. To have the right person to emote behind it was really essential. Her origins are in the film and you understand why she looks that way. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, we have some pretty big windows. You can see a lot going on in there! When it gets to the emotional scenes it’s really uncanny and striking. And captivating!”

Cameron of course has been dealing with the “Avatar” franchise in recent years which boasts creatures with large eyes, but those are deliberately alien and cat-like which makes the larger eyes less distracting than they are here.

Said to be budgeted at a whopping $200 million, “Alita: Battle Angel” stars Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and Keean Johnson. It opens July 20th next year.