Friday, November 14, 2014
Manga Review: ALL YOU NEED IS KILL
VIZ MEDIA/Haikasoru – @VIZMedia
STORY: Hiroshi Sakurazaka
STORYBOARD: Ryosuke Takeuchi
ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS: yoshitoshi ABe
ART: Takeshi Obata
TRANSLATION: Tetsuichiro Miyaki
LETTERS: Evan Waldinger
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7601-5; paperback, (November 2014); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
430pp, B&W, $14.99 U.S., $16.99 CAN, £9.99 UK
All You Need is Kill is a Japanese science fiction novel written by author Hiroshi Sakurazaka, and first published in 2004. Bestselling author John Scalzi (Old Man’s War), called All You Need is Kill “science fiction for the adrenaline junkie.” The novel is also the source material for the 2014 film, Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.
Back in July 2009, All You Need is Kill was first published in English by Haikasoru, the science fiction imprint of VIZ Media, the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America. VIZ Media also produced an original comic book adaptation of Sakurazaka's novel, All You Need is Kill: Official Graphic Novel Adaptation, created by Nick Mamatas (script adaptation of the novel), Lee Ferguson (artist), Fajar Buana (colors), and Zack Turner (letters).
There is a manga adaptation of All You Need is Kill, produced by artist Takeshi Obata with writer Ryosuke Takeuchi (storyboards) and yoshitoshi Abe (original illustrations). VIZ Media originally premiered the manga in its Weekly Shonen Jump digital manga anthology. Under its “Shonen Jump Advanced” imprint, VIZ recently published an omnibus print edition (5.5” x 8.25”and 430 pages) of All You Need is Kill the manga, which is black and white with several color pages.
All You Need is Kill opens sometime after Earth has been invaded by the alien Mimics. In Japan, the United Defense Force (UDF) was created to fight the Mimics, which are difficult to defeat. In the 17th Company of the UDF, Keiji Kiriya is a “Jacket soldier,” named because of the armor he and other soldier wear, called a “Jacket.” One morning, Keiji awakens after a strange dream in which he died in battle. He spends the rest of the day with a sense of deja vu.
Then, the U.S. Special Forces, which is basically the only military that is successful against the Mimics, arrives. Keiji sees Rita Vrataski, the leader of the U.S. Special Forces, known as “the Valkyrie,” and also as the “Full Metal Bitch.” Keiji knows that he has seen her... on the battlefield... before he died. Keiji has been dying in battle, only to be reborn the next morning, to fight and die again and again. Is the Full Metal Bitch the key to Keiji escaping the cycle or the catalyst to meeting his final death?
Takeshi Obata is one of my favorite manga creators, so I was excited when VIZ Media gave me a copy of the All You Need is Kill manga for review. It truly deserves to be called a “graphic novel,” not only because of its length of 430 pages, but also because of the epic scope of its narrative.
All You Need is Kill is rousing military science fiction, and it offers the thrill of a frenetic action movie. It is also the manga adaptation of a light novel reborn as a genuine shonen battle manga, because this feels less like an transfer of mediums and more like something first born as a manga.
Ultimately, what makes the manga All You Need is Kill successful is the attention to character drama and personal details. Readers will buy the idea that Keiji and Rita are imperiled because the creators of this manga go to the emotional center and into internal conflicts of the characters. The world seems at risk because the readers see it through characters in which they can believe, so the risk feels real.
Takeshi Obata deserves to be called “great” because his storytelling is always potent, regardless of genre, and he gives texture and life to drawings on paper. All you need is talented manga creators who can deliver and you get high-quality science fiction manga like All You Need is Kill.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux
The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.