All You Need Is Kill Manga ReviewJanuary 6, 2015
All You Need Is Kill, adapted from a novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka into manga form by Death Note creator Takeshi Obata, tells the story of a soldier named Keiji Kiriya. When aliens known as Mimics invade Earth, intent on ending all human life, Keiji dies on the battlefield fighting against the alien menace. When he wakes up in his bunk a moment later, he’s not sure what to think. Was it all a dream?
As Keiji will soon come to discover, he’s reliving the same day over and over. Using the aliens’ own power of time looping against them, Keiji goes from a green as grass recruit to a battle-hardened veteran, dying on the frontlines over and over again until he gets it right – training and honing his skills, crafting more efficient weaponry, and adapting to the Mimics’ strategies. It’s all very similar to respawning in a video game – Keiji essentially resets at a checkpoint, with the memory and experience of his previous battles and exponentially increasing rage against the bastard aliens that keep killing him and his friends in this horrific nightmare of an existence.
Takeshi Obata has illustrated several well-known mangas, such as Death Note and Bakuman, and his work here is exquisite. The artwork expresses every character emotion, while the violence is rendered in sickening detail. I absolutely love the design of the exosuits in the All You Need Is Kill manga adaptation, and I think they look much cooler than they did in the Tom Cruise blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow, which is another adaptation of Sakurazaka’s novel. Edge of Tomorrow was awesome though – if you enjoy this manga, go and pick up the Blu-ray. There are a lot of notable differences but both versions are very cool in their own ways.
All You Need Is Kill has a lot more supporting characters than Edge of Tomorrow did, and although not all of them were fully fleshed out (like the eye candy female chef), you feel like there are more characters that are important to the story than just Keiji and Rita – additionally, the bond between the two protagonists feels stronger than it was in the film. By the time you reach the climactic battle at the end of the manga, you’re guaranteed to feel something emotionally. It was really cool to learn about Rita’s past, and how she became this badass soldier in the first place. Not to mention she’s a strong female character and there aren’t too many of those around these days.
Overall, I’d recommend picking up the All You Need Is Kill manga adaptation if you’re a fan of the Tom Cruise film, or a fan of Obata’s other work. It’s a pretty short read, and the fantastic artwork makes repeat readings a pleasure.