Umba is a tiny man with one cybernetic eye and the other non-functional, similar to Sechs' right eye. He has thin hair and typically wears a cap and dark outfit. While with Esdoc Motors he used a tracked harness for mobility and to work. He is later shown using a larger platform with mechanical arms. In Gunnm: Martian Memory Umba wears green clothing and his harness is orange.
Although an expert at what he does, Umba told Alita after Ed's death that he could not survive on his own, suggesting that he is not capable of living independently. He has agoraphobia and is thus no fun on an outing.
Umba got along well with Alita. He saw her accomplishments as validating his efforts as an engineer in addition to her abilities. However unlike Ed, he was not as emotionally invested in seeing Alita succeed on the circuit and thus respected her decision to retire following her challenge race against Jashugan even though it put him in a difficult position. Nonetheless he helped her later track down the Berserker Body after learning that Ed had sold it.
Umba worked well with Ed and it is suggested that he relied on him in some degree for survival, focusing on his job as an engineer.
Following Ed's death, it is implied that Thompson took over the role that Ed had fulfilled for him in helping him survive, becoming his partner in establishing an engineering company.
Umba is a highly skilled engineer and was responsible for repairing Alita’s motorball body as well as tuning and upgrading it. He took immense pride in his work and his efforts in combination with Alita's Panzer Kunst helped her reach the top of the motorball world and be in a position to challenge the champion, Jashugan.
Battle Angel AlitaEdit
When Alita ran away from home following Hugo's death, she was found in Joe's Bar in the Western District by Ed and signed to a 12 race contract. Umba then began working with her. Although her motorball body had not been fully tuned yet, she still won four straight races in the Third League. Following her fourth race, Umba was amazed at this accomplishment and anxious to get to work. He suggested that the Top League would be possible but also reminded Ed that he had promised not to bring up how he had found Alita. When asked, Umba told Alita that her body had female proportions because she was a woman, was high speed and lightweight, and well liked by the spectators.
Following Jashugan's Top League challenge race, Umba equipped Alita with crippling gear for practice. She still heavily damaged three practice dummies, one by using the Hertza Haeon to inflict critical internal damage. Umba was impressed by her abilities, but she still had not fully regained her memories of how she had learned Panzer Kunst. Nonetheless he suggested that she could defeat Jashugan's Maschine Klatsch. They were then called by Ed, who introduced them to their new sponsor, Thompson. Thompson revealed that the move to the Second League would not be a problem if Alita was willing to take a new player number, as number 99 was already being used by Ajakutty. As only one player at a time in a league could use a particular number he was unwilling to relinquish his without a fight. When Ajakutty appeared and insulted Alita, Ed tried to dissuade her, but Umba was also insulted and urged her on. Both players agreed to settle the matter in a practice game in which whoever took a skull two out of three times would earn the right to wear number 99. Ajakutty took the first round and tore off one of Alita's legs below the knee. Umba fitted her with the only spare they had which took 40 minutes. Umba was not able to fully adjust the leg as it would have taken him much longer and he lacked a high quality synchronizer. Nonetheless Alita took the second round and Ajakutty decided to concede to her when he realised her superior abilities.
Following the practice match Ed and Alita went out one day but did not take Umba, as Ed revealed that he had agoraphobia. A week later during her Second League debut race, Alita was damaged during her confrontation with Zafal Takié. Umba had to replace all of her limbs and align them in less than six minutes to give Alita a chance to defeat Takié. Using an "octopus" exoskeleton and a synchronizer, Umba was able to take in the information from 15 sensors and control 20 arms simultaneously, in effect performing the work of ten engineers. He got Alita back onto the track and she defeated Takié, although Tiegel was the eventual winner of the race.
After Ed was shot and killed by a junkie who had tried to take out Alita, Umba was devastated as he could not survive on his own. He nonetheless fitted Alita out for her final career race and after she revived following her defeat of Jashugan, told her that this meant goodbye. Two years later Umba started a successful engineering company with Thompson. He wrote to Alita about her Berserker Body, which he had managed to track down to Desty Nova after Ed had sold it to try and keep her on the circuit. This started the chain of events that led to Daisuke Ido's fateful meeting with Nova and Alita's final confrontation with Zapan.
He was one of the many characters from Alita's past shown when Melchizedek reached out to her consciousness after her ego was shattered and her Imaginos Body dissolved following Super Nova's Seca attack. He was later seen among the spectators from her past watching the Tenth Zenith of Things Tournament Finals between the Space Angels and the Space Karate Forces.
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