Manga Mondays: All You Need Is Kill

Title: All You Need Is Kill (オール ユー ニード イズ キル)
Author: Ryōsuke Takeuchi
Artist: Takeshi Obata
Genres: Seinen, Military, Action, Sci-Fi, Mecha
Rating: M (18+)
Published: 2014
Volumes: 2  [Complete; an omnibus version is also available]
Japanese Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: Viz Media
Available to Purchase in English?: Yes (Indigo / Amazon / Barnes & Noble)

 

Synopsis: Strange creatures known as “Mimics” have invaded Earth, sparking a global war that has humanity fighting for survival. In response, mankind forms the United Defense Force, a joint organization whose purpose is to overcome this new threat. Dedicated to the extermination of the growing Mimic menace, soldiers are plunged into battle, wearing special exoskeleton combat suits in an attempt to gain the upper hand against their foes.

New recruit Keiji Kiriya is immediately killed after his very first deployment, but to his shock, he wakes up exactly one day before his unit was dropped into a Mimic invasion. After experiencing the same event yet again, he realizes that he is stuck in a time loop triggered by his death. As he relives the day of the battle hundreds of times, Keiji begins to make use of what he has learned about the phenomenon, gradually building up his strength and improving his skills so that eventually, when he comes face-to-face with death once more, he will be ready to change his fate. (MAL)

 

This review contains some graphic descriptions of violence. Please read at your own discretion.

 

I was reading the back of my omnibus copy when I thought to myself, ‘Hey this sounds like the plot for a Tom Cruise movie I think I discovered recently.’  And lo and behold, when I went and wiki’d this manga, I learned that the 2014 Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow was indeed based on this book! I thought that was pretty cool.  However the ending of the movie apparently differs from the ending of the manga. There is also a light novel which the manga is adapted from, but I don’t know if that ending is similar to the manga or the American movie.

Anyways, so All You Need is Kill.   ^_^v   I knew going into this title that it was going to be about a war against aliens, there were going to be some kind of mecha, there were going to be lots of aliens, and it was going to be violent. However I didn’t realize the degree to which All You Need Is Kill shows… well, everything. Within the first few pages the main character gets his arm blown off. He gets a spike to the head. He shoots himself in the mouth with a handgun. And oh man, you see it all.  /shudder  So, let’s just say that the M rating for this manga is well earned.  >>;

The manga begins with main character Keiji Kiriya waking up from what he thinks is a dream in which he died a very violent death. However he soon realizes that something is wrong and he is trapped in some kind of a time loop. He does not know what caused the loop, nor why he appears to be the only person caught in it. Keiji learns that he can make small changes to his daily routine which may have a small impact on what happens around him, but the end result is always that he dies in battle the day after the loop begins.

Keiji marks the passing loops on his hand as he struggles to find an exit to his situation. He resolves to kill as many aliens as he can by becoming as strong as he possibly can, so Keiji takes on additional training with his supervisor. This increase in strength helps Keiji in later loops as he is able to take down more and more Mimics, yet he continues to die at the hand of the Mimic army.

After many dozens of loops, Keiji notices a young woman named Rita Vrataski. She is a famous Mimic-slayer with a gigantic metallic battleaxe, and she’s also the only other person to have lived through a timeloop. The million dollar question is, can she rescue Keiji from the timeloop he’s stuck in?

After meeting Rita and explaining his situation to her, Keiji seeks out a tech on base to craft him a stronger weapon, one similar to Rita’s. Together they are like two halves of one unit on the battlefield and slaughter hundreds of Mimics. Can they figure out the trick to freeing Keiji from his timeloop?

Most of All You Need Is Kill takes place from Keiji’s perspective, but there is a couple of chapters around the middle which are from Rita’s perspective and give some insight into her backstory.

The artwork in this manga is extremely detailed, about on par with Berserk (and I can only think of one other title which belongs in that category – A Bride’s Story). Actually, now that I think about it, All You Need Is Kill is almost as gory and violent as Berserk is too. Very detailed, very realistic, very graphic. I love me some sci-fi, especially stuff that deals with time travel or time loops. I just find it really fascinating for some reason.

 

Do I Recommend This Title to Others?: Yes! I like that it’s short and sweet (2 volumes/1 omnibus). Some online reviews said that the ending felt a little rushed, which I think I agree with, but for a violent war story involving mecha and aliens with laser-breath, I enjoyed All You Need Is Kill a lot more than I thought I was going to.

Final Score: 9/10

 

Author’s Note: I am returning to post-secondary school at the end of August and will continue with my biweekly Monday schedule. However I will be covering only one entry instead of two. Thank you for your understanding!

 

 

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