All you need is kill

The fine folks at VizMedia, a leader in bringing Manga titles to the US, now have a cool literature imprint called Haikasoru, specializing in importing and translating cutting-edge science fiction titles from Japan. I was at Meltdown Comics this weekend and came upon one of the first titles from this exciting new division, a book called All you need is kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. A quick look at the back cover and I was interested enough to buy an unknown book by an author I've never heard of before. So, I have to deduct 5 points for the name of the book, but the paragraph synopsis was tops. ;)

AYNIK is set in the not-too-distant future, on a planet Earth that is being overrun by "mimics," a mutant species that may or may not be alien, and may or may not be sentient. All that humans really know about the mimics is that they are incredibly difficult to kill and they leave death and destruction in their path. Even their metabolic waste is a deadly poison.

They story gets interesting when a fresh army recruit, Keiji Kiriya, during his first battle, inadvertently sets himself in a never-ending time loop, repeating the battle over and over again. The comparisons to Groundhog Day will be plentiful, and rightfully so, as the story revolves around a man constantly reliving the same 30 hours. But, Sakurazaka has actually created a unique phenomenon for the novel which is internally consistent, interesting, and very entertaining to try and piece together.

The other central character is the Earth's greatest warrior, a slight, red-headed American woman called Full Metal Bitch, or Valkyrie. Kiriya knows immediately that their lives will become intertwined, but doesn't realize until it's too late exactly what that means.

AYNIK is a fantastic, energetic read with two strong characters and a plot that pushes you forward. Translation work by Alexander O. Smith is extremely well done, with a modern style and a compelling mode of storytelling that makes for a fast read that is difficult to put down. I hope that the imprint continues this partnership and that we see more work from both Smith and Sakurazaka in the future.

Don't drive angry.