Wednesday, 25 June 2014

All You Need Is Kill

Lowdown: A Japanese warrior dies fighting aliens every day.
The executive summary would say
I heard of the comic All You Need Is Kill online; it sounded promising. Then I read it and went: “meh”.
Which made me even more determined to see what the fuss is about.
According to Wikipedia, All You Need Is Kill started life a decade ago as a Japanese light novel. It was then converted into a comic which was released in English form just a month ago. At less than a hundred pages long, that is the version I was exposed to.
Our hero is Keiji, a Japanese member of a United Nations type force assigned with fighting the aliens that invaded earth. Keiji’s story is truly a simple workman’s one: he wakes up in the morning, trains, fights the baddie aliens, dies fighting, repeat ad infinitum. I mean, we all feel this way after a day at work; Keiji’s case is just a bit more literal.
Clearly, the idea at hand is a nice one. Where I was less than enchanted by All You Need Is Kill is the question of where the comic tries to take the idea to. Or rather, where it doesn’t. What is it trying to say, given the special place allocated to an eccentric American female axe wielding female character? Is there special meaning to be derived from this story of international interaction? And what are we to take home from those aliens, who turn out to be simply mimicking whatever they interact with?
My problem is, I found All You Need Is Kill's answers to those questions rather lacking. Perhaps the recently released Tom Cruise flick based on this story, Edge of Tomorrow, would shed further light?
I doubt it.
Overall: 2.5 out of 5 crabs. No, I still do not see what the fuss is about.


Uri said...

I read the book, and really liked it.

It’s like Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopers. What’s not to like?

Maybe it’s a matter of expectations. Nobody told me it was the greatest thing ever.

BTW, I read it in early 2010, and told the story to the kids, and now, when the Tom Cruise trailers started popping up, they recognized the story, so it must have made an impression on them as well.

Moshe Reuveni said...

I suspect you're right and the problem is expectations. In this particular case, my expectations of the comic format + my expectations for the level of depth a 100 pages comic can deliver.
On the other hand, other comics do manage that feat (Y: The Last Man is a fine example).