The book centers around Japanese united defense force APS (called Jackets) virgin pilot Keiji Kiriya and American Special Forces Jacket pilot Rita 'Full Metal Bitch' Vrataski during the defense of the Japanese mainland against waterborne alien invaders called 'Mimics'. Keiji is killed in his first battle with the Mimics, but wakes up each day in his bed back at their base, on the eve of battle, destined to repeat each day over and over. Over the 158 times, Keiji, much like Bill Murray from Groundhog Day, attempts to escape the time loop web, only to bounced back to the same day. Then it finally ends, when he and Rita team up. I originally came across this book in 2009 when Viz Media published it in English during research on armored power suits. I recently spied the novel at the Barnes and Noble bookstore on University drive in Fort Worth, and snapped it up quick a few months ago.
Adding to the praise of the author is the orginality of the Mimic aliens and the Jacket APS units. I was also sold on the whole time loop idea, and the way that Kiji responses, balancing madness and boredom. Much like me, Sakaurazaka fills his characters with the real world, where characters think of food, sex, their hobbies, even during times of war, creating a real-world atmosphere. This all translated into All You Need Is Kill being an enjoyable, easy, MSF read, and one of the more successful APS themed novels ever written.
As much as I believed in the original concept for the time loop that trapped Keiji and Rita, the last fifteen pages begin to take on the smell of bad sushi when Hiroshi begins to extend the concept, and I then knew a bad ending was coming my way...and then it happened. Frankly, I hated the end of the novel with it's odd dreamy, loose end that is coming place in modern films and novels, more over, it resolves nothing with the Earth-Mimic War, or the fate of Keiji.
Should Read All You Need Is Kill?
If you are searching for a good, quick reading MSF novel with good combat scenes, and some original concepts, than All You Need Is Kill is for you. This is one of better MSF novels out there, it was both light, easy to slip into, and complex at the same, like a good piece of sushi or pint of beer (yeah, I doing both while reading this!). I would also recommend reading the novel before Hollywood alters the novel and piasters Tom Cruise's face over the original art work...or worse, prints a book based on the movie and not the original source material.
The All You Need Is Kill Movie