All You Need is Kill
by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
published by Viz Media, LLC (San Francisco)
2004 and 2014
I was impressed by the movie Edge of Tomorrow (whose posters read. “Live, Die, Repeat,” a slogan which was better known than the movie title). While perusing my new access to the Viz Shonen Jump library, I checked out this title, and… it is the story that Edge of Tomorrow was based on!!
And… it is somehow… darker!?!?
For those of you who didn’t see the movie, the premise is: aliens attack earth, and they are nearly indestructible. A solider dies in battle, and then wakes up the morning before his death. He has to live through that day, the battle, and his death all over again. And again. And again. Though he can change things, he still always winds up dying. And he’s the only one who appears to be repeating that same day – for everyone else, it’s a new day, and they don’t know what is coming. This experience, of brutally dying daily, haunts and hardens him.
Since nearly any skill can be mastered with repetition, and repeating one day IS brutal repetition, he trains to become a super solider, to see if surviving the day can break the loop.
And then, he meets someone else who is experiencing the same thing. And may have figured out how to end it.
It’s a great, painful, dark story. It differs from the movie – it is more compact, there are fewer characters, the deaths are more gruesome, and the mechanics of the time trap are different. Different enough that, even if you’ve seen the movie, you may be impressed with this more cruel and concise version.
I recommend each and every one of these seventeen chapters zealously.