All You Need Is Kill
is a science fiction light graphic novel (i.e. a novel with manga drawings) by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and my God, is it AWESOME!
Keiji Kiriya is a rookie soldier, enlisted in the Japanese division of the Global Defence Force. He drives a mech suit (called Jacket) and fights the alien invaders for sweet Mother Earth. He has also died repeatedly on the battlefield for more than a thousand times. But trust me, he’s getting better.
Rita Vrataski is an American war veteran, nicknamed the Fullmetal Bitch. She’s killed hordes of the invaders and there ain’t no force on Earth or heaven that can stop her when she gets going. This is her first visit in Japan, but she’s been bumping into Keiji for a long time, already…
What I think about this book:
I really, honestly don’t like anime. I used to, but I guess some sort of switch was flipped inside my brain at some point that just got me off them completely. I am also not a huge fan of manga, with only a few notable exceptions. I don’t think that the Japanese can make comic books worth a damn, is what I’m saying.
But their books, oh god, their BOOKS. Especially the horror and the sci fi genre, are chock-full of brilliant examples and excellent storytelling. I don’t know how they do it, but they seem to get it. Japanese writers get sci fi and horror better than any other writing nationality I’ve read so far. There. I made a stereotype. Deal with it.
All You Need Is Kill is, at first glance, a book that takes Fullmetal Jacket, mechs and Groundhog Day, puts them in a particle accelerator and smashes them into each other at trans-light velocities just to see what happens. And what happens is glorious. The book is short, to the point and well-written. The translation is also exquisitely done, which means that there were no cultural misunderstandings in the text and that a lot of the Japanese pun silliness was replaced by more… western type of humour.
When you buy the book (and you should buy it), note the contents section. You’ll notice that there are two branches. One’s the linear branch (i.e. Keiji’s story) and the other’s an alternative path. Which means that if you read the book in that order, you get a wholly different story, simply by rearranging the chapters.
I need a new word to define how awesome this is. The term I’ll be using from now on will be awesomerrific.
- Words: 40,000 ish
- A healthy dose of military fiction, sci fi and battlefield horrors
- Hiroshi Sakurazaka (?? ? Sakurazaka Hiroshi?, born 1970), a Japanese science fiction and fantasy light novel author.
- A tabletop particle accelerator
- Good music
Konstantine Paradias is a short story science fiction and fantasy writer, who has his own blog, called Shapescapes. There you can find a free novel, called Stone Cold Countenance as well as a series of sci-fi comic book reviews. For comments, requests or plain old contact, you can find him at firstname.lastname@example.org