All You Need Is Kill, original story by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, storyboards by Ryosuke Takeuchi, original illustrations by yoshitoshi ABe, art by Takeshi Obata, translated by Tetsuichiro Miyaki
See how long this post title is above? Well, apparently, I seem to be discovering this spectacular story (and it really, truly is!) in its umpteenth iteration. Better late than never, I must say, because I’m convinced that this manga rendition is the very best presentation of all.
But let’s backtrack a bit. The progenitor of these variations is a ‘light novel’ – I keep seeing that description and am still not quite sure what it actually means – which was first published in Japan in 2004 by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, with art by yoshitoshi ABe, hence the respective “original story” and “original illustrations” credits here. The Japanese title is actually written in katakana [ オール・ユー・ニード・イズ・キル] to phonetically emulate the English words, All You Need Is Kill.
A decade later, the “official graphic novel adaptation” was released in May 2014, envisioned by Nick Mamatas with art by Lee Ferguson. Then in June, a Hollywood version hit U.S. screens as Edge of Tomorrow: Live. Die. Repeat., starring Tom Cruise [no, I haven’t seen it, but the original story features a teen protagonist, which makes Cruise seem miscast, but I guess his name sell tickets?]. Then in November 2014, the version you see here – a deluxe double volume in English translation – hit Stateside shelves. The graphics are stupendous, the pacing is riveting, the story is edge-of-your seat fascinating (especially if, like me, you knew nothing else before this). Do you need anything more to start reading it yourself?
Okay, so if you’re still here, meet Keiji Kiriya. He’s a teenage soldier in the United Defense Force, tasked with killing the Mimic monsters that threaten to wipe out all of humanity. Tomorrow, he ships out to the front lines with his team, alongside U.S. Special Forces led by legendary soldier Rita Vrataski. Her supreme military prowess seems to have no equal.
On this last day before going to war, Keiji is haunted by last night’s dream of violent death. But was it? Every morning he wakes up in the same lower bunk, with the same open book in his hand, his upper bunkmate talking about boozing up for a party … and the announcement of imminent battle. That number on the back of his hand might be the key to what’s happening … over and over and over again. Think brutal Groundhog Day with an excessive body count, even if the same bodies are involved. How Keiji is supposed to break this vicious cycle of ultimate war and neverending death is a heart-thumping thriller not to be missed.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
© Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi, yoshitoshi ABe
Original Japanese edition published by Shueisha Inc.