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Goin’ Japanesque!

SF Manga “All You Need Is Kill”: Movie Adaptation Stars Tom Cruise!

The original story of this work is a genre of youth novel called “light novel” in Japan. It was produced as manga when the Hollywood film adaptation was made. Majority of manga works created this way have a strong element of commercial advertisement and it usually ends up being a mere ”pot-boiler”, but this piece turned out to be an exceptional manga work.



One day mankind was attacked by unknown entities called “Gitai”.

Against “Gitai” that invades with overwhelming materials and superior power, mankind countered with powered exoskeletons, waging seesawing battles throughout the world.

In the world as such, the story is staged in “Flower Line Base”, located on Boso Peninsula, Japan.

“Keiji Kiriya”, a new soldier assigned to the base encounters strange experience.

“Keiji Kiriya” is supposed to have died on the battlefield on his first sortie. When he comes to senses, he is back in time on the morning of the day before, and he has been repeating such an experience many times.

However, he discovers that certain “rules” exist in this looping experience.

Rule 1: When I die, the time goes back to the morning of the day before the sortie.
Rule 2: Rule 1 applies no matter where and how I die.
Rule 3: I cannot escape from this loop.
Rule 4: Even when the time is set back after my death, my memory remains.
Rule 5: When the time is set back, the same occurrence does not always happen.

And so “Keiji Kiriya” starts a lonely battle against “Gitai” in the time loop.



1. Keiji Kiriya

He is the main character of this story.

He is an ordinary youth enlisted in the army, and he dies on his first sortie.

Afterwards he has been trapped in a time loop in which time is set back to the morning of the day before the sortie and he goes out again on the same sortie.

2. Rita Vrataski

She is a female soldier that belongs to the Special Forces.

With her high combat abilities, she has been receiving accolades from people around her as a “hero”.

This time she has been sent from the United States on a mission to defend Flower Line Base.

3. Sergeant Bartolome Ferrell

He is a former instructor of the training school, and a veteran warrior stationed at Flower Line Base.

Owing to his career, he has been training new recruits including Keiji Kiriya and leading them as a captain.



The original of this manga is a novel with the same title, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

Many stories written in Japan have had Hollywood film adaptations. However, this story may be the first in having a major film adaptation starring a top Hollywood actor like Tom Cruise.

This may be the reason that the manga adaptation of this story was not like others. It involved as many as three mangaka for production; configuration was designed by Ryosuke Takeuchi, characters are drafted by Yoshitoshi Abe and illustration was drawn by Ken Obata.

It is unusual for a manga adaptation of a novel or movie to involve as many as three mangaka.

In addition, it is also unusual that a popular mangaka working at the forefront, such as Ken Obata, was employed to be in charge of illustration.

Furthermore it is a rare piece that exhibited unusual thoroughness in trying to fully reflect the original story in two volumes of comics, when most manga produced as a movie promotion completes the story in one volume.

Because this work is exceptional to this extent, the quality of manga is naturally first-rate, too.

This story is condensed with battle actions against “Gitai” and suffering and actions of the main character “Keiji Kiriya”, and they are illustrated with stable drawing techniques of “Ken Obata”.

The biggest drawback is in its high level of perfection; readers of the manga may be so satisfied that they lose interest in watching the movie or reading the original novel.

This manga can be considered to have such a high level of perfection.

However, it is based on the fact that the original novel of the manga is a good piece of work. This is proven by the fact that the manga “All You Need Is Kill” is complete in its story, while a sequel is reportedly being planned for the movie adaptation.

It is evidence that the story of the manga version has also received a good reputation.

As a matter of fact, time loop is a popular theme. Many manga sets up a world in which a certain period of time keeps repeating many times, and such manga is called as “time loop type”.

It is often adopted in anime as well, and you can see an expression even in “Evangelion”, which makes you feel the existence of time loop.

But it is also a difficult theme to handle, as readers loose interest in the story all at once when the setting blows up with time paradox.


This manga version has been created by multiple authors based on the original novel. Having overcome such a problem, it has strong appeal that makes readers read through the story at once, without letting them lose interest.

Works with time loop theme are similar to suspense novels, and their appeal tends to be reduced in half once readers know how the story ends. Therefore we would like you to read this manga version first, before reading the original novel or watching the movie if possible. We would like you to enjoy the wonder of this work at first sight.

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Berial the Demon

About the author

It has been over 40 years of reading manga in the deep world of manga. Japan’s manga has an endlessly wide variety of genres. I will be recommending special manga for you to read from such infinite amount of works.

View all articles by Berial the Demon