February 15, 2019

A brief history of presidential lethargy

A television set turned on in the West Wing of the White House. AP Photo/Susan WalshNo one doubts the job of president of the United States is stressful and demanding. The chief executive deserves downtime. But how much is enough, and when is it too ...
February 15, 2019

A brief history of presidential lethargy

A television set turned on in the West Wing of the White House. AP Photo/Susan WalshNo one doubts the job of president of the United States is stressful and demanding. The chief executive deserves downtime. But how much is enough, and when is it too ...
February 15, 2019

Rat lying next to empty Hennessy bottle goes viral: ‘Might need mouse to mouse resuscitation’

“Must've had a hell of a night.”
February 15, 2019

How white became the color of suffrage

Female members of Congress wore white in a nod to suffragists during the State of the Union. AP Photo/Carolyn KasterDuring President Donald Trump’s Feb. 5 State of the Union address, scores of Democratic congresswomen wore white to pay tribute to suffr...
February 15, 2019

How white became the color of suffrage

Female members of Congress wore white in a nod to suffragists during the State of the Union. AP Photo/Carolyn KasterDuring President Donald Trump’s Feb. 5 State of the Union address, scores of Democratic congresswomen wore white to pay tribute to suffr...
February 15, 2019

Is This Alita Character’s Fate Permanent?

Warning: spoilers ahead for Alita: Battle Angel. If you’re looking for a romantic movie with a happy ending, then Alita: Battle Angel is definitely not for you. James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez’s gritty sci-fi epic didn’t just kill an innocent puppy (I'm still not OK), it also turned the titular 300-year-old cyborg (Rosa Salazar) from a teenage girl in love into a hardened, revenge-obsessed warrior when her love (Keean Johnson) dies. But is Alita's boyfriend Hugo really dead?

Well, while the love story between Alita and Hugo broke audiences' hearts, the source material doesn't offer much comfort. Hugo's story is actually way more heartbreaking in Yukito Kishiro’s 1990 manga series Gunnm upon which the movie is based. So count your blessings that the movie didn’t explore Hugo’s backstory from the comics even further onscreen.

Hugo Was Kind Of An Awful Dude

While a lot of Alita: Battle Angel ’s love story between Alita and Hugo was lifted right from the comics, Hugo’s death was definitely even more tragic in the manga series. Hugo (or Yugo in Japanese) is an orphan who was raised by his unnamed older brother and his brother’s wife Nana (she actually betrayed her husband’s illegal activities, which resulted in his death). Hugo then ran away from Nana and was forever determined to make it to a sky city himself, which is how he became involved in stealing cyborg parts for Vector (Mahershala Ali). He actually first caught Vector’s eye by selflessly trading his own hand for his brother’s which he recognized being sold by one of Vector’s dealers.

He Let Alita Pine Over Him, Which Is Also Awful

Vector’s scam in the movie (promising Hugo a ticket to the sky city of Zalem for a million credits) was also how he got Hugo to commit crimes against cyborgs in the manga series. But the lie went even further in the books, as Vector made Hugo promise to pull in 10 times that amount to achieve his dream. Hugo and his friends would paralyze cyborgs, stealing their spinal columns to sell on the black market, in hopes of earning enough to get to a sky city. When Hugo met Alita, she instantly became interested in him romantically. But he was so obsessed with getting to a sky city that he was oblivious to her interest. The romance was extremely unrequited for Alita, and she even went on a bounty-hunting spree to try to help Hugo earn his 10 million chips. But it was all for nothing.

Everything Else In The Movie Pretty Much Matches Up

From that point forward, Alita: Battle Angel and Hugo’s story in Gunnm is pretty much the same. Zapan (Ed Skrein) set up Hugo to become a marked bounty himself, Alita learned the truth about Hugo’s illegal activities and still tried to help him make it to a sky city. After an attack by a hunter-warrior, Alita kept him alive by hooking up his brain to her cyborg body, and Ido (Christoph Waltz) transformed Hugo into a cyborg himself. When Hugo learned the truth about how Vector’s promise was always a scam, he tried to climb up to the sky city with his newly upgraded cyborg body, but security measures on the tube severely injured him and he fell to his death despite Alita’s best efforts to save him. His death then inspired Alita to become a Motorball champion, earn her ascension to the sky city and avenge his death.

So Yeah, He's Probably Dead

Hugo’s fate in the movie seems to be the same as in the manga series, but at least in the movie his love for Alita was real, rather than something he manipulated for his own gain. As for whether or not that makes his tragic death at the end of the movie more heartbreaking, that’s up to you. But since his body was never recovered and he wasn't technically shown dying, the next film (if Alita: Battle Angel gets a sequel) could rewrite comics history and Hugo could return for a big romantic reunion with Alita. And hopefully we won’t have to wait another 20 years to find out what happens.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

The Final Scene Of Alita Is Basically A 30-Second Campaign For A Sequel 

Everything You Need To Know About Alita's Last-Minute Character Reveal

Alright, What Was Up The Those Totally Unexplained Blue Flames In Alita?

February 15, 2019

The Final Scene Of Alita Is Basically A 30-Second Campaign For A Sequel 

Warning: spoilers ahead forthe ending of Alita: Battle Angel follow. Anyone looking for closure at the end of Alita: Battle Angel was left sufficiently wanting. The cyberpunk adaptation film from James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez left off on a massive cliffhanger, begging the question: was this all just set-up for a sequel? Well, sort of. There is meaning to Alita's ambiguous final scene.

Based on Yukito Kishiro's manga series Gunnm, Alita: Battle Angel stars Rosa Salazar as the titular cyborg with a human brain. The mechanical warrior spends the majority of the movie discovering her past as a 300-year-old badass fighter, the last of her kind from the last sky city Zalem in the sci-fi dystopian future. Before the end of the movie, she upgrades herself to a Berserker body with the help of her adoptive father Ido (Christoph Waltz) and falls in love with the human Hugo (Keean Johnson), who was subsequently hunted down by Alita’s enemies. Despite Alita and Chiren (Jennifer Connelly) saving his life after an attack by turning him into a cyborg, he falls to his death trying to climb to Zalem thanks to an attack from Zalem overlord and surprise bad guy, Nova.

The purpose of her final moment in the film isn't explicit, but it definitely has to do with avenging Hugo’s death. Alita decides to get to Zalem, and Nova, the only way she knows is possible: winning Motorball and becoming the top champion, which should earn her ascension. She aims to finally meet Nova (played by Edward Norton in a surprise, uncredited cameo), the mysterious scientist from Zalem who wielded control over all the humans and cyborgs on Earth with the ability to transfer his consciousness into theirs. Beyond behind being behind all the attacks on Alita (and Hugo), which would be enough to justify her aims, Nova also knows more about her past than she does.

The final scene of Alita: Battle Angel sees Alita gearing up for a fated Motorball competition, determined to win and finally arrive in Zalem to confront Nova. Of course, instead of showing her inevitable success in an epic Motorball action scene, that's cruelly where the credits suddenly began to roll. We never see Alita get her revenge on Nova for controlling her life and killing Hugo. We also never learn why Nova was so interested in Alita’s life and his connection to her past, or how she ended up in the junkyard after her attack on Zalem with her fellow warriors. However, the books on which the movie is based hold tons of answers — which means that yes, this entire final scene is basically a trailer for the possible Alita sequel.

If that Alita: Battle Angel sequel happens, these questions and more will surely be answered. But for now, fans will just have to speculate on whether or not Alita will finally get her revenge (or, you know, read about it in the manga series).

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

Is This Alita Character's Fate Permanent?

Everything You Need To Know About Alita's Last-Minute Character Reveal

Alright, What Was Up The Those Totally Unexplained Blue Flames In Alita?

February 14, 2019

Jose Cuervo launching all-you-can-drink tequila train excursion

All aboard!
February 14, 2019

Tesla’s latest features are for criminals and dogs

Window insurance.
February 14, 2019

This trait could be key to a lasting romance

'I'm not perfect – and I know you aren't, either.' Pixabay

Passion and commitment are widely believed to be the foundation of strong romantic relationships.

But a relationship is made of two unique individuals, and personality traits these individuals possess or lack can often make a relationship more likely to endure.

In a recent study, we found that one trait in particular – humility – is an important indicator of successful relationships.

An honest view of shortcomings

Humility can sometimes be confused with low self-esteem, low confidence or meekness.

But researchers have come to realize that being humble generally indicates the presence of deeply admirable personal qualities. It means you have the ability to accurately assess your deficiencies without denying your skills and strengths.

For example, you might recognize that you’re smart but realize it would be absurd to call yourself all-knowing – especially when the scope of human knowledge is so vast. This is an honest and sober view of your shortcomings.

As the philosopher Jason Baehr has argued, “To be humble is to be attentive to and disposed to ‘own’ one’s limitations, weaknesses, and mistakes. A humble person does not ignore, avoid, or try to deny her limits or deficiencies.”

If you’re humble, you lack a host of negative qualities, such as arrogance and overconfidence. It means you can acknowledge mistakes, see value in things that are riddled with imperfections and identify areas for improvement.

The link between humility and forgiveness

Humility appears to be a huge asset to relationships. One study found that people tend to rate this quality highly in their significant other. It also found that someone who is humble is more likely to initiate a romantic relationship, perhaps because they’re less likely to see themselves as “too good” for someone else.

But in our study, we wanted to explore the link between humility and forgiveness in couples.

Humility is tricky to measure; we worried that people who were arrogant might presumptuously declare their humility, while people who were actually humble would, as a sign of their humility, downplay this trait.

So we approached this question by asking each partner in a romantic relationship about their own and their partner’s humility. We hoped that even if a truly humble person didn’t consider themselves humble, at least their partner would recognize this trait.

We asked 284 couples from the Detroit metropolitan area questions about how humble they were, how humble they thought their partner was and if they were likely to forgive their partner if they did something that was hurtful, like insulting them.

We found that people who felt their partner or spouse was humble were more likely to forgive them following a hurtful situation. This wasn’t true, however, of those who felt their partner or spouse was arrogant. Many of our respondents with arrogant partners indicated that because their partners were less likely to admit to any personal failings, they were less likely forgive them.

Interestingly, the strength of an individual’s social network can play a role too. If someone has a humble partner, they’re more likely to forgive that person. If someone has a lot of close, supportive friends and a humble partner, they’ll be even more likely to forgive that partner after he or she has screwed up. But if your partner is arrogant, it doesn’t matter how many great friends the couple has, they’ll still be less likely to be forgiven.

The ability to forgive is so important because pain is an inevitable part of any relationship. People mess up. They might say something they don’t mean, be unknowingly inconsiderate or forget an important event. So when looking for a partner, it’s probably a good idea to find someone who recognizes that making mistakes is part of being human.

The Conversation

Toni Antonucci receives funding from the Templeton Foundation which supported this study.

Kristine J. Ajrouch receives funding from the Templeton Foundation which funded this study.

Noah J. Webster receives funding from the Templeton Foundation which funded this study.