Presumably not by chance, Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel follows similar themes to Issui Ogawa's The Lord of the Sands of Time, also published among the first wave of Japanese sci-fi novels under Viz's new Haikasoru fiction imprint, but in reality the two books are very different in approach. Again the theme is one of using time-travel in order to combat the overwhelming invasion force that threatens to wipe out the entire planet. In the case of All You Need Is Kill, the time-travel is however on a smaller, more personal scale, but the outcome could equally be of global importance.
Here, one fresh Japanese recruit in the United Defence Force, Keiji Kiriya, is caught-up in a Groundhog Day style loop, seemingly doomed to fight and repeatedly die in a major battle with the Mimics that, like a computer game, is continually reset until he can build up the necessary fighting experience and find a way - if there is a way - to overcome the merciless onslaught of the strange mechanical amphibian creatures that threaten to destroy life on the entire planet. That experience might be found in Rita Vrataski, a young American UDF soldier of formidable killing power known as the Full Metal Bitch, but the Mimics are also learning new moves with every battle.
Much more dynamic and with harder-hitting writing than the Ogawa novel, Sakurazaka takes conventional genre and gaming elements and puts a fresh and entertaining spin on them, keeping the repetition of the loops to a minimum, finding new ways of moving the plot forward and keeping the viewer interested in finding the answer to this strange phenomenon. A good translation also makes the book highly readable and entertaining.