Jul 27, 2015
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.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9
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