The new Tom Cruise film “Edge of Tomorrow” is out at cinemas now, but I heard it was based on a Japanese sci-fi book called “All you need is Kill”. Then I found out there was also a short manga adaption of the book, illustrated by non other than Takeshi Obata (Death Note, Hikaru No Go) and so read the entire thing in one go.
The story is set some time in the future. An alien race known as the “Mimics” have invaded earth, taking over most of the world. The next battle stage is set in Kotoiushi Island, where our hero Keiji Kiriya is a new recruit for the United Defence Force (UDF). The story starts with his dying on the battle field, as the legendary Rita Vrataski standing over him. Cut scene, he wakes up in his bunk the night before the battle, confused by “dreaming of his own death” However he soon realises that each time he dies on the battlefield the next day, he is transported back to his bed the night before, stuck in a loop.
I can’t say I’ve read too many sci-fi books in my time, but I found the plot to be very original. Not the part where Keiji is stuck doing one day over and over, but the explanation for why he’s stuck in the loop. In so many books and films with similar premises, the explanation for why the time travelling loop occurs isn’t explained nor used very well, often being more of an easy plot device. In “All You Need is Kill” however the loop is throughly explained and plays a much larger role to the story than just “this is happening”.
Compared to a book, the manga is also relatively short. In terms of manga, it would fit in a single volume which would for me, count it as a “one-shot.” Although they could have easily expanded it more, filled it out perhaps, they could have made it a longer running series. However the length is just about right, with enough action and speed of movement to keep you interested. The only thing that suffers perhaps from it is further character development, especially with supporting characters.
The main characters however are interesting. Rita Vrataski is shown as much smaller and more delicate looking than the film adaption, creating a very interesting juxtapostioning to the title “Full Metal Bitch”. The main character also seems to be very set and determined, managing to use the loop to improve himself and try to survive, even before understand why it was happening. The independence of the main character is refreshing. Both characters are strong, but also have their own weaknesses which they find out together.
The art is amazing, as expected from Takeshi Obata. His level of realism (for manga standards) shows a wide variety of facial expressions. The mech suits are also really well drawn, something I haven’t seen him do before. I think his art style was perfect for this story, gritty warfare but also interesting sci-fi.
I’m a little bit worried that I’ve read the manga before going to see the film adaption, especially since I enjoyed the manga so much. I was really looking forward to watching the film. I think it’ll still be good, as long as they don’t divert away from the story too much. Tom Cruise already looks to old to be Keiji but oh well! Also the aliens from the trailer look nothing like how they look in the manga! That being said, since the manga is also an adaption on the novel (which I’ve downloaded to my kindle) I’ll try and watch it with an open mind!
I really do recommend you go read this manga, and once I’ve read the book, I’ll tell you if you should go read that too! I’m also hoping to make a follow up review of the movie. If you have seen it or read this story, tell me your thoughts on it!