“Does it bother you that I’m not completely human?” Alita asks, but it’s really just how huge her eyes are that’s freaking people out.

One reason Hollywood adaptations of anime are difficult to pull off is that the visual language of Japanese animation doesn’t always translate to live-action. Costumes, hairstyles, and poses that communicate strength, stylishness, or sex appeal in anime can sometimes look silly or distracting when applied to human actors.

So when making the transition to live-action, a lot of the more stylized character design elements get muted. But for the upcoming American-made Alita: Battle Angel (adapted from 1990s manga anime Battle Angel Alita, also known as Gunnm), the producers have decided to keep one very characteristic anime aesthetic for the titular heroine: giant eyes.

Battle Angel is a cyberpunk action tale focused on Alita (named Gally in Japanese releases), a cyborg who is found broken in a scrapyard, repaired, and becomes both a mercenary and competitor in the violent future sport of Motorball.

As a series with its roots in the early ‘90s, when the trend was for even bigger eyes in anime than what’s seen in series today, the cast of Battle Angel Alita has big peepers in both Yukita Kishiro’s original manga and its two-volume anime. But for the live-action Alita, it looks like only Alita herself (portrayed in voice and motion capture by actress Rosa Salazar) has anime-size eyes, and the effect is jarring.

Given the involvement of CG quality stickler James Cameron as a producer for the film, it’s likely that the unnatural quality of Alita’s eyes is an intentional way to constantly remind the audience that she’s not 100-percent human, something her dialogue alludes to in the trailer. If that’s indeed the intent, the strategy definitely works, even if “big eyes=not human” doesn’t really align with the source material.

The live-action Alita’s eyes are so big, though, that sometimes they’re almost comical, bordering on looking like a “What if [Western live-action series] was an anime?” parody video. That’s probably not the reaction the filmmakers are going for, so it’ll be interesting to see whether the effect ends up helping or hindering the film’s ability to say what it’s trying to say, and also if Alita’s eyes get downsized before the film’s release in July.

Source, images: YouTube/20th Century Fox

Follow Casey on Twitter, where now that the Battle Angel movie is finally happening, he wonders if we might really see the live-action Mai, the Psychic Girl.