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.
All You Need Is Kill was published in English by VIZ Media in a 2-in-1 omnibus under the Shonen Jump Advanced imprint on November 4, 2014. The English version was nominated for the 2015 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material Asia. It was also published in Italian by Panini Comics under the Planet Manga imprint from June 21 to September 20, 2014; in Spanish by Norma Editorial; in Polish by Japonica Polonica Fantastica in 2014; in Portuguese by Devir in 2015; in Brazilian Portuguese by Jbc in December 2014; and in Turkish by Akılçelen Kitaplar in December 2015.
If you've read some of my other reviews, you know one concept that interests me is that of immortality. Time looping is another concept I find enthralling. It's almost like being immortal, except you live the same time period over and over again. In some ways, I feel this could be even worse than immortality, since usually the situation that is repeated is an unpleasant one.
Before we dive into the story, I'd like to mention the artwork. It's absolutely top notch. Every panel has a painstaking amount of detail, from the character designs, to the suits, to the environments. Obata Takeshi is responsible for
the designs, whom some of you may recognize as the illustrator of Death Note and Bakuman. While I haven't read either of those manga, I can only assume his work is in top form here.
Aside from the time loop aspect, the story isn't that special. I won't spoil anything, but expect a typical sci-fi mecha setting. The time loop is what makes things interesting. The main character slowly learns the rules of the loop, and the reader along with him. If you have a scientific mind, the implications of each rule will leave you fantasizing for at least fifty loops.
An important aspect for a time loop story (especially one where the main character remembers the loop) is how the character(s) adapt. Do they resolve to find a way out? Do they learn to accept it and endure for... well, eternity? Or do they lose their minds? There are so many ways for a character to react. Yet, the one that makes the reader's blood boil the most is when a character strengthens their resolve and soldiers onward (literally).
The main character is many people's definition of "cool", and it works for this setting. Unfortunately, not all characters are created equal. The main character and main heroine get some pretty heavy development, but none of the side characters do. It's understandable considering the nature of the story. Not much can change after all. However, we never even learn much about these characters. They're just faces that pop up every once in awhile. This, for me, was probably the weakest aspect of the manga.
People who don't enjoy gore should avoid this, as the artwork is very... detailed. I'd recommend this for people who like sci-fi or heart pounding action sequences. I enjoyed this manga, and it wasn't that long of a read. If you find yourself with nothing to do, this manga won't leave you asking for your time back (unless you're just selfish, then shame on you).
The manga is now finished, so it's the time to make a review based on full read through and here is what I ended up with:
Story - as far as story and concept goes, I think that's the weakest aspect of this manga..
Concept of the story is pretty much a continued session of 'loops' of the exact same time period happening. Some people who maybe have just started with reading manga may find it innovating, but it really isn't, as such concept was used in numerous manga series already.
Story itself was a bit disappointing too - the story is based on the light novel,
but the manga misses a few important details, which ruins the overall experience and may make the manga feel a bit rushed.
Story gets something between 7 and 8, I had much higher expectations.
Art - certainly one of the strongest aspects of the manga. I enjoyed both the style and how detailed everything was. Usually we only get detailed MC's, but in this case almost all the side characters are pretty detailed too.
Art is a strong 9.
Characters - characters sure do feel alive, the MC's personality realy changes a lot due to loop and the progress of that is well described. Side characters also get some personality, but they aren't realy developing, mostly because manga is stuck in 1 day probably.
Relations between character felt a bit rushed though and it felt like relations of side characters to the MC were improving with loops even though they don't know about it. We shouldn't forget that MC is supposed to be a green newbie in eyes of the army and higher ups probably wouldn't ever pay attention to him.
Characters get an 8.
Enjoyment - I personally found it very enjoyable and entangling, I loved the concept of looping and enjoyed the development of MC's personality. The plot also isn't complex at all for such concept, as it usually is, so it should be realy enjoyable for a casual reader.
Enjoyment is a 9
Overall I think the manga was very good (8) - it felt a bit rushed at times, but the art and some twists really kept you entangled enough to enjoy this short read.
It is interesting enough to read through, but don't expect anything complex, I judged it based on the fact it's an 17 chapter manga and for such length the plot was realised pretty well, but I originally hoped they would make it a bit longer, skipping less small details.
Japanese light novels (novels with illustrations that normally target the young-adult demographic) are widely popular, in Japan, that is. Sadly, most of these novels are never properly translated and fans have to use fan-translations. All You Need is Kill is an exception to this ruler, even receiving a manga adaptation and Hollywood movie adaptation.
All You Need is Kill is the manga adaptation of the science-fiction light novel of the same name. While the original novel was released in 2004, the manga adaptation was made one decade later, to coincide with the release of the movie adaptation, Edge of Tomorrow. While the original story was created
and written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the manga adaptation was penned by Ryōsuke Takeuchi (ST&RS) and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, who normally works with Tsugumi Ohba and did the art of Death Note and Bakuman.
All You Need is Kill takes one of my favorite ideas of science-fiction, the time-loop, and puts it in a militaristic setting. While it is not exactly a new idea, it is brilliantly approached and used. The effects of the loop are fairly evident to Keiji, who learns a bit more with each iteration, but also descends further in despair. The only "but" is that some more iterations could have been adapted to better get the impression of Keiji's slow evolution.Despite that, the pacing is fine as it is. The other protagonist, who understands the first protagonist's situation, is properly introduced and brings something new to the story. This protagonist's presence also makes this entertaining story into a more emotional one. This gives a fairly decent amount of depth to it, making it much more enjoyable than it first seems.
Because of the nature of the story and its small "size", the side characters are not really explored. The relationship of the two protagonists is predictable and a bit cheesy, but not boring. The final touch of it is hugely emotional and only happens because of a fairly interesting and logical twist.
The art by Takeshi Obata is pretty great and full of details, but perhaps a bit too full. It doesn't pack any punches in showing the dismembered bodies of soldiers and aliens and also captures pretty well the atmosphere of a chaotic battleground. People with weak stomachs may wish to avoid All You Need is Kill, as it is pretty visceral.
I enjoyed it greatly, because of my love for time-loops, but also because All You Need is Kill was much more than it first seemed.
Fans of science-fiction might want to give it a try, as well as fans of the military genre. Also, if you want an emotional story, but that also has great action, All You Need is Kill is a nice option. Now, if you dislike time-loops, you will probably hate it.
After the release of the live-action movie "Edge of Tomorrow", it was interesting to find that it was actually based on a Japanese light-novel. It came even more as a surprise to see that a manga version had been released, likely coming after the acclaim of the live-action film. The film had some good characters, writing, and some interesting use of the plot's lore. It shouldn't have been a stretch to expect even more from the actual source material, not being held back by the hour and a half length of the movie. However, the biggest surprise came when it became clear that the movie
didn't cut content, but actually beef it all up.
The "All You Need Is Kill" manga was taken up by the mangaka behind the art of manga like "Death Note", so it should be expected that the artwork would be top-notch. The characters and designs for the mechanisms and creatures are all well done, and there are plenty of well-realized actions shots to go along with it. Even with such great detail in the artwork though, there isn't enough world-building in place to truly make a lot of interesting locations or situations be shown. The action moments get slightly repetitive and the reader might begin focusing on the dialogue to move onwards. Even though that kind of direction would fit with the story at hand, it's still a less interesting way to present things when you take into account that this manga is only seventeen chapters long.
The length of "All You Need Is Kill" brings rise to the next, and biggest, problem with the manga which is that it's too rushed and forced. The basic plot of "All You Need Is Kill" is that a soldier on a futuristic earth is sent out to fight an army of alien invaders that are seemingly impossible to defeat, but he has been trapped in a time loop that makes him face defeat and death over and over again. That's a potentially great plot element that could be used to make some really interesting situations. However, the story is rarely ever imaginative with that element, making the details behind it very basic and simple to conclude. The movie, "Edge of Tomorrow", put in-place more depth and reason behind what goes on, and made everything that happens interaction-wise more intelligent and complex.
The lore of the manga is just used as a gimmick from what it develops into and what events it creates in the process. Besides the most basic of effects from adding the time-loop element in the story, the manga doesn't go into detail about how the main character can better be successful in his next attempts or what might be going on elsewhere in the world at the time. The whole situation with the alien invaders, known as "mimics", is presented as if they're destroying the entire human race across the globe. However, the entire manga takes place on a small battle on an isolated island. The world is never delved into and it's just assumptions to what happens elsewhere, even though characters in the story end up being involved.
The characters in the story aren't bad, but they aren't too unique either. The main character is generally smart and acts reasonable for what situation he's gotten into, but most of the other characters never feel as focused on as him, making them all feel like side characters. A romance also forms a bit into the story, but this romance still suffers from that same problem of other characters besides the main not being treated well enough. The story ends up trying to force content from the love-interest of the main in a chapter or two, focusing on what's going through her mind. Being so forceful in her character development, when moving to a lovey-dovey scene right after, just makes the entire relationship feel contrived. During the build-up of their feelings for one-another, which takes up a very short period, their characters also change slightly in ways that don't seem natural for what is going on for them. They change in slight ways to make their relationship feel more justified and more powerful, but in the end it just makes it feel even more artificial.
That romance leads to the ending, which is mainly where the plot felt rushed and where the focus changed for the worse. The main situation at hand noticeably took the back-seat as the drama of the romance clearly became the main plot of the manga. Barely receiving any development in the details of what is causing the time-loop and what will happen due to it, a quick bow is tied around that entire plot element along with the relationship, making it feel as though the producers of the manga just wanted to end the story and move on. I haven't read the novel, so I couldn't say whether or not it went through everything in the exact same way, but I would imagine that might be what happened when looking at the short length of the novel as well.
The main flaw with this story was the length as the beginning of "All You Need Is Kill" was actually well-paced and had generally good characters. However, wanting to fit everything in just a few chapters later made everything very unsatisfying and feel extremely rushed. The characters take a hit during this time. The lack of length makes the ending less detailed and complex from what it could, and should, have been. The story becomes basic and simple, wasting the potential of the manga's gimmick. The manga had a good budget in the art and design, but the lack of those other details makes for some repetitive scenes and some lack of presenting the world beyond the front-focused battle. "All You Need is Kill" is enjoyable and still worthy of being read, but it would be much more enjoyable to watch the live-action movie first then move on to the manga for some interesting comparisons.