All You Need is Kill (2014)

Volume 1

All You Need is Kill - Volume 1 (2014)

Author: Hiroshi Sakurazaka
Artist: Takeshi Obata
Other: Ryosuke Takeuchi (Storyboards); yoshitoshi ABe (Original Illustrations)
Publisher: Young Jump Comics

In the brutal war with the alien Gitai, new recruit Keiji Kiriya has a dream of dying on the battlefield and after dying, he wakes up just as before. He soon realizes that he's caught in a time loop and the only way to survive is to use what he learns from each death to become stronger, just like the legendary "Bitch of the Battlefield" Rita Vrataski.

I'm working backward through the phases of adaptation, having seen the American film first, then reading the manga and lastly digging into the original light novel. As such, my perspective is going to be a little warped, so bear with me. I was expecting that changes were made from the original story to the movie, but honestly, pretty much the only thing in common is the basic concept. This may strike you as good, bad or indifferent, but it's something to be aware of. Keiji is fairly interesting as a green recruit who nevertheless has a bit of an analytical side to him that helps him process his new circumstances. For someone whose first experience is the movie, seeing Rita as this tiny little waif of a girl may be a bit off-putting, the same goes for cute little meganekko Shasta as the analog to Noah Taylor's Dr. Carter. I won't say they're bad things, though. Just different and decidedly Japanese. Unlike the movie, where Cage sought Rita's help early on, Keiji here devotes a lot of time to trying to break the cycle all on his own. Rita's a periphery character at best in this first half, but this showcases Keiji's methodical nature, so that's certainly interesting.

With Takeshi Obata doing the art for this manga, you're bound to catch a bit of a Death Note vibe. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. Everything looks outstanding. The art is of very high quality on all fronts, characters, mech design, etc. Few punches are pulled with the violence, so be prepared for that.

If you're like me and was drawn to this story based on Edge of Tomorrow, you're in for a rather different experience, but it's still a good one and well worth reading. Death Note fans might get a kick out of Obata's artwork, so that's something else to consider.

Own It